Cueto, Chapman Make Spring Debuts as Reds Fall, 9-3

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3. 61. . 9. 5

W: Bruce Chen (1-0)   L: Burke Badenhop (0-1)

Today was really an ugly game all around for the Reds. The bats couldn’t get it going, the pitching got knocked around, and the defense made three errors. While the game didn’t have many highlights for the Reds, we did see the spring debuts for ace Johnny Cueto and top prospect Michael Lorenzen.

Hitting

The Reds’ first run scored in the second inning. Jay Bruce beat a shift for a nice single in the second inning (it would be huge if he can consistently do that this season) and moved to second on a Brayan Pena groundout. Two batters later, Josh Satin reached on on error to score Bruce.

After a Jason Bourgeois single in the third, Indians pitchers retired fifteen straight batters before there was even a semblance of offense again in the eighth inning. Taylor Sparks doubled and came around to score on a Phillip Ervin infield single. Luis Gonzalez then ripped a double to left field to score Ervin all the way from first to make the score 9-3.

Aristides Aquino, ranked the No. 9 Reds prospect by Baseball America, had a single in the ninth.

Pitching

The pitchers gave up 12 hits today, though Cueto, Aroldis Chapman, Manny Parra, and Lorenzen pitched well.

Cueto got the starting nod for the Reds and looked like his normal self, pitching two scoreless innings. Cueto struck out two batters and yielded a hit.

Pitching the third inning was Chapman (that felt weird to say). He struggled with his control initially, walking the first batter of the inning, but came back to strike out the next three.

Left-hander Parra looked very sharp and pitched a perfect inning in the fourth, striking out one.

Burke Badenhop pitched the fifth inning and his Reds’ debut didn’t go how he had probably hoped. Badenhop wasn’t helped by as defense, as Eugenio Suarez made an error, but he still didn’t pitch particularly well. In two-thirds of an inning, he gave up a walk, five hits, and five runs (four earned), including a two-run home run to Indians catcher Yan Gomes.

Badenhop was relieved by non-roster invitee Jose Mijares. The lefty got the Reds out of the fifth inning, but gave up a run in the sixth after a walk, a single, and a sacrifice fly to make the score 6-1. Mijares was able to limit the damage, however, and got out of the inning with a double play.

More bad defense haunted the Reds when Dylan Axelrod pitched the seventh. Shortstop Carlton Daal made two errors in the inning as the Indians scored three more runs to increase their lead to 9-1. Axelrod’s final line was three runs (all unearned) on two hits with a walk and a strikeout.

Lorenzen, consistently ranked as a top three organizational prospect, pitched the eighth and ninth innings and was fairly impressive. He had a scoreless debut, striking out four while also giving up three hits, a walk, and a hit batter. He also had an outstanding backhanded play on a ball hit back at him.


The Reds also played a “B” game against the Indians today, which they lost 7-4. There’s no box score available for the game, but via Jamie Ramsey on Twitter, we know that pitchers Jon Moscot, Amir Garrett, Nick Travieso, and Nick Howard made their spring debuts. Reds outfielder Juan Duran also hit a two-run homer.

The Reds take on an NL Central rival in the Chicago Cubs tomorrow. Tony Cingrani gets his first start of the spring for the Reds, while big free agent signee Jon Lester makes his debut for the Cubs. The game starts at 3:05 EST.