Reflecting on 2010: April


Back at it. Blog Red Machine hopes all its readers had a great holiday. We also hope that all will have a great week leading into 2011.

Over the next week, BRM will recalling some events from each of the six months during the Reds 2010 season. Today, we’ll take a look back at the opening month of April.

Oh, by the way, Opening Day 2011 is only 94 days away.

While the Reds 2010 season overall was successful, it didn’t quite start out that way on Opening Day.

Opening Day in Cincinnati is always something special. Something no other city with an MLB team can duplicate. The tradition of the Findlay Market parade. Another tradition held by Cincinnati used to be that the Reds would provide the first pitch of the baseball season on a yearly basis. That custom has since been “taken away” from a franchise that is overloaded with tradition. Don’t even get me going on that.

But I believe the tradition of Opening Day in Cincinnati was summed up best by Sparky Anderson:

"It’s a holiday—a baseball holiday! Ain’t no other place in America got that!"

The Reds dropped an 11-6 decision to division rival St. Louis on Opening Day 2010. The Reds had closed the gap to 6-4 entering the top of the 9th with a pair of runs in the bottom of the 8th. Nick Masset could not keep the Cards at bay and allowed 5 runs in his inning of work. Those five runs proved pivotal as the Reds countered with 2 more in the bottom of the frame to account for the final score.

Chris Carpenter would get the win while Aaron Harang was set with the loss. Fans numbering 42,493.

A few days later, Cincinnati traveled to PNC Park in Pittsburgh. This three game set proved to be the low point of the month as the Bucs swept the Reds by scores of 4-3, 5-4, and 5-3. In the first two games, the Reds were either tied or leading going into the bottom of the 9th. Many were left shaking their heads after the series even though it was still extremely early in the season. In May, the Reds would extract their revenge.

On April 27th, Reds skipper Dusty Baker made a move that would be a precursor of things to come. The Reds offense was still a bit lacking and things needed to be shaken up a bit. Baker inserted veteran and silent leader Scott Rolen in the clean-up spot in the batting order. The only time for the remainder of the season Rolen would not bat 4th was in games he didn’t start.

On the month’s final day, Francisco Cordero recorded his 9th save. The Reds would finish April with a 12-11 record and would occupy second place in the NL Central, three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals who sat atop the division with a 15-8 record. A theme throughout the 2010 season would develop with the Reds and Cards battling for the top spot.

For the month of April, Rolen led the Reds with 5 HR. Drew Stubbs managed to swipe 7 bags despite struggling from the leadoff spot in the batting order. Orlando Cabrera was amass the most RBI with 13. Joey Votto would end April with 4 HR, 12 RBI while batting.275. The best was yet to come for the 2010 NL MVP.

From a pitching perspective, Francisco Cordero registered saves in 9 of the Reds 12 victories. And who would have actually thought that rookie and 2009 first round pick Mike Leake along with Micah Owings and Nick Masset would all have 2 wins a piece, leading the staff in that category. Bronson Arroyo led the staff with 23 strikeouts. How many Reds fans would have thought that as well?

While the Reds didn’t exactly come blazing out of the gates, better things would happen on down the road.