I know, it was just one game. But what Brandon Drury did in the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day win against the defending champion Atlanta Braves helped set the tone. Don't be surprised to see Drury back in the lineup tonight.
With two outs in the sixth inning, Drury took the newly inserted Braves' pitcher Collin McHugh deep to left field and gave Cincinnati a 6-1 advantage. Kyle Farmer had chased starter Max Fried from the game in the previous at-bat after his bloop single put runners at first and second base.
It was not an overly impressive display from the Reds bats prior to Drury's home run. Nick Senzel had rocketed a single back up the middle at 98.2 MPH and Farmer put the Redlegs on top 1-0 in the second inning with an RBI-hit that came off the bat at 100.8 MPH. But Fried was inducing a lot of soft contact all night.
Brandon Drury was a surprise start for the Reds on Opening Day.
Be honest, when you saw Brandon Drury's name in the starting lineup, yo kind of cringed a little bit. After all, Drury was just added to the active roster, was little more than a bench player for the New York Mets last season, and seemed to have no business starting in place of the departed Eugenio Suárez at third base on Opening Day.
Until Donovan Solano and Jose Barrero return from the Injured List, Reds fans better get used to seeing Brandon Drury in the lineup. Not only that, they better get used to him playing third base. I know it was strategic to get a right-handed bat in the lineup versus left-hander Max Fried, but Drury is afar better defender than Mike Moustakas.
But the home run wasn't Drury's only base knock. The 29-year-old also poked a single into right field during his second at-bat of the game in the fourth inning. Drury is representative of a shift in how the Cincinnati Reds may approach hitting in 2022.
Gone are the aforementioned Eugenio Suárez, MVP candidate Nick Castellanos, and left fielder Jesse Winker. Those were three guys who could take the opposing pitcher deep with one swing of the bat. This year's team looks as though it's going to have to figure out more ways to score runs than to just rare back and slug it over the fence.
But that's exactly what Brandon Drury last night in the Reds 6-3 victory over the Braves. Yes, it's just one game, but after the offseason that the Cincinnati faithful had to endure, it feels like a series sweep. The Redlegs will be back out tonight in Atlanta, and despite right-hander Charlie Morton on the bump, Brandon Drury should still be in the lineup.