Observations From the Cincinnati Reds’ 4-4 Tie with Cleveland

Feb 18, 2016; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds pitcher Robert Stephenson (55) throws during workouts at Cincinnati Reds Development Complex. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 18, 2016; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds pitcher Robert Stephenson (55) throws during workouts at Cincinnati Reds Development Complex. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
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The second game of the spring season for the Cincinnati Reds brought an almost completely different lineup than the opener. Many of the regular position players who already have a spot secured on the roster did not play, which is normal at the beginning of spring games. Instead, more players who are competing for a spot on the team come Opening Day got to start and show what they could do.

Young pitchers shine

The top two pitchers in the Reds farm system made their spring debut in today’s game and both showed good things in each of their two innings. Robert Stephenson allowed a triple and a walk while striking out two. He showed all three of his pitches and his off speed pitches looked good, especially during a strikeout to Indians shortstop Francisco LindorCody Reed allowed two hits and two runs (only one was earned) and struck out two. In his second inning, Reed got behind in the count to a couple of batters and the Indians were able to take advantage.

New infielders and new positions

Jose Peraza made his spring debut Wednesday and went 0-for-2. He hit the ball hard both times, but both at-bats resulted in a fly out. On the defensive side, he missed a ball hit up the middle in the second inning that led to a run. Fans are used to seeing Brandon Phillips make that play all the time, so it might have been a little surprising to see someone miss that ball. But Peraza also made a sliding play to throw the next batter out and end the inning. It will be interesting to see how he plays going forward this spring.

In his second game, Eugenio Suarez had another double and a run scored. That marks three hits (all doubles) for the now-third baseman in his first two spring games. He also made a great play at third in the second inning. If Suarez can hit as he hit in 2015, it will make the transition at third from Todd Frazier much easier.

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Bullpen options

Jumbo Diaz will likely make the Opening Day roster as a member of the Reds bullpen, but in his first appearance of the spring, he did not pitch well. Diaz only pitched an inning, and gave up one run on two hits, including a home run to Jose Ramirez. Given that he has an inside track to make the team, this performance probably did not hurt him, but he will need to have a better performance in his next appearance. Ryan Mattheus pitched a scoreless sixth inning, giving up one hit and striking out one. Keyvius Sampson also pitched a scoreless inning, allowing one hit and striking out three, including one to end the inning with a nasty breaking ball. All three of these pitchers will likely make the Opening Day roster, but on this team, when it comes to the bullpen, nothing is guaranteed.

Player to watch

Don’t discount Tyler Holt making the Opening Day roster as an outfielder/bench player. He can make contact and he’s got speed. Holt entered Wednesday’s game in the top of the sixth and went 1-for 2-with a single, a stolen base and a run scored. Also a factor is that Holt can play center field, a position that does not have a lot of depth behind Billy Hamilton. Most players competing for an outfield spot are competing for the left field position. If Holt can show the coaches something in spring games, he just might have the edge since he can play center.