Reds outfielder Nick Martini proves that his Opening Day performance was no fluke

Nick Martini continues to come up clutch for the Reds in a pinch.

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Martini
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Martini / Ben Jackson/GettyImages

Nick Martini has been the Cincinnati Reds MVP through the first two games of the 2024 season. Martini hammered two home runs during the Reds' 8-2 victory of the Washington Nationals, and on Saturday, came up with a clutch two-RBI pinch hit in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 4-4 tie. Unfortunately, the Reds lost the game 7-6 after the bullpen blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning.

Martini was not in the Reds starting lineup with left-handed pitcher Patrick Corbin on the hill for the Nats. But after a leadoff single from Jonathan India and walk to Jeimer Candelario, Reds manager David Bell turned to Martini to pinch hit for Santiago Espinal.

After falling behind 0-2, Martini stayed alive by fighting off two pitches in the bottom of the strike zone, then hit a line drive into right field scoring Bubba Thompson (who pinch ran for India) and Candelario.

Reds outfielder Nick Martini proves that his Opening Day performance was no fluke

You can't make this stuff up. Martini's roster status was hanging by a thread throughout the offseason, but the Reds kept the outfielder on the 40-man roster while waving goodbye to younger players like T.J. Hopkins and Daniel Duarte.

Martini was the hero on Opening Day. The Reds pummeled former Cincinnati farmhand Josiah Gray. The right-hander was chased shortly after Martini took him deep for a second time in as many as at-bats. Many fans were hopeful that non-roster invitee Mike Ford would make the roster after his stellar showing during spring training, but Bell preferred Martini.

Martini played sparingly for the Reds down the stretch last season, but did come up big when it counted. Through the first couple games of the 2024 season, the 33-year-old has continued to be clutch.

How Martini will fit once centerfielder TJ Friedl returns from a wrist injury remains to be seen. But for the time being, it's a good bet that Bell will be turning to Martini almost every time a right-handed pitcher is on the mound.

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