Two Games, Two Different Outcomes

The first two games on this West Coast trip have had severely different outcomes. I know most of you have watched both. And both had a funky feel to them.

Game 1 just started off weird. Weird in that the Diamondbacks got to Travis Wood early. It was apparent he was fooling no one by the time he departed in the 6th inning. Then, the rain really feel on the Reds parade as the D’backs would push across another 7 runs over the last two innings. Matt Maloney allowed three home runs to aid the Arizona offense.

I’ll let credit go to the D’backs…completely. It was their Opening Day. The 13-2 score is not completely indicative of what the game was like previous to that 6th inning. It simply got away from the good guys, but Arizona brought the bats. That’s all.

Last night’s game had a different feel from the beginning…

Why is that? The Reds actually scored first, something atypical for the Reds this season. And that 2-run first inning would be all that Bronson Arroyo needed to card his second win of the early season. Sure, he’s got mono.

Good thing those runs was all that was necessary because Diamondbacks starter Daniel Hudson was dealing just like Ian Kennedy did the previous night’s game. After the first, the Reds could not even come close to touching Hudson. In Hudson’s last six innings, he allowed just one hit (a single in the 5th to Paul Janish) and a one walk (in the 3rd to Joey Votto). He also posted 7 SO including striking out the side in his final inning of work.

Back to Arroyo. He was in a bit more of bother that Hudson. In fact, Arroyo posted only one 1-2-3 inning and that was the 2nd. It appeared that he was constantly facing a D’backs batter with a runner in scoring position. Didn’t matter as Arroyo showed the mental capacity to completely take control of every run-scoring situation Arizona had and deny them that run. The only run Arroyo surrendered was his own undoing with a poor pickoff attempt in the 6th.

One thing everyone has said is to get to the Arizona bullpen. Was the case last season, was the case last night, too. After Hudson’s 7 inning masterpiece and another inning from David Hernandez, well, the old D’backs bullpen surfaced in the form of Juan Gutierrez. He was once a closer for the Diamondbacks in 2010. That should be all you need to know.

In a bullpen v. bullpen deal, the Reds (with Bill Bray, Aroldis Chapman and Francisco Cordero) were well ahead of the D’backs. No chance last night.

Today’s rubber game has Mike Leake squaring off against Joe Saunders. A couple of things here:

1. Jay Bruce continues to struggle with 2 more SO last night (12 total) and all of 1 extra-base hit. Familiar story. Bruce hit a rough patch at the beginning of last season and eventually worked through it. In fact, Bruce’s batting average would not get over .200 for good until after the Reds 16th game in 2010. He would hit another slump, too. Again, he got through it. With the lefty Saunders on the mound, Dusty may elect to sit him for Chris Heisey.

2. Day game after a night game. We know what that now means…Juan Francisco at third, right? Maybe not. Could be Miguel Cairo instead. Just sayin’.

After the today’s games and the three game series in San Diego, the Reds will get an off day (14th) as they return to Cincy.