Well, that was the best possible way to begin the season, huh? The Brewers are widely considered the biggest threat to a Reds repeat and our team just swept them. And not only did they sweep them, but they won each game in a different and uniquely satisfying way. On Thursday they won in thrilling come-from-behind-snatch-victory-from-the-jaws-of-defeat fashion, scoring four runs in the bottom of the ninth, capping it with a walk-off home run. On Saturday, Travis Wood dominated the Brewers lineup, giving them zero opportunity to get into the game. And Sunday was an all-out offensive onslaught, a blitzkrieg of bats bludgeoning the Brewers in a bold and boisterous bisplay of brute borce. Hollywood could not have written a better beginning to this season.
Of course, it is unreasonable for us to expect things to continue at this pace (...or is it??). I mean, no team in history has ever posted a +648 run differential over 162 games, and if they were to maintain this weekend's pace, that's exactly what they would do. But that doesn't mean everyone is performing above expectations. Here I want to take a look at some of the goings-on that we can expect to continue, as well as the performances that are just completely bonkers.
Travis Wood is legitimate
Woody threw one hell of a game on Saturday, pitching seven stupendous innings while giving up only a solo home run and striking out seven. His most impressive feat would be that he did not allow a walk, if it weren't for his incredible pitch efficiency: he only threw 83 pitches. Now, I'm not so foolish as to believe that he will post a 327 ERA+ for the entire season, but it's definitely reasonable for us to assume that he will continue to impress as the season rolls on.
Bronson Arroyo is Bronson Arroyo
Bronson's day on Sunday was a typical Goodroyo day. He threw seven good innings, serving up a few homers and a few runs. He wasn't terrific, but he was solidly good enough. That's kinda been the story of Bronson all these years. At this point, we all know exactly who he is. His young rotation mates all have the potential to be better pitchers than he is, but there is some comfort in the known quantity. Especially knowing that he will ALWAYS take the hill when called upon, regardless of infection or malady. He's one tough hombre.
The Way Too Good
The catchers are not Barruth Pulliams
Not even the nefarious mad scientist Professor Maximillian Baseballenstein could conjure up a monster as devastatingly awesome as Ryan Hanigan and Ramon Hernandez were this weekend. Their collective OPS this weekend was 2.260. If they were to continue this pace over the entire season, they would post an unfathomable 37.8 WAR, which is about as much as Dave Parker amassed over his entire career. There is just no possible way these guys are this good. I would not be surprised if they were to be one of the most productive catcher tandems in the NL this season, but if they were to continue this pace much longer they would black out like astronauts in a G-force simulator.
Jonny Gomes has kicked off the season in auspicious fashion, moseying down to first base the easy way five times already. For those of you scoring at home, that's a 35.7% walk rate. His career rate is only 9.3%, which isn't too shabs, but I doubt he suddenly acquired superhuman pitch recognition abilities. Also of note, Gomes is three-true-outcoming at an extraordinary rate, as eight of his first 14 PAs have concluded with either a strikeout, a walk, or a home run.
In short, this weekend was hella fun. Things are rolling about as well as anyone could have hoped. The Reds have two games on the Cardinals and three on the Brewers all before we've played a full week of baseball. Of course, taking the long view, this weekend is really no different than any random three-game set in June or August, but being the opener it certainly feels like something really special. Every game counts the same as any other, and getting three out of the gate is still getting three. The Reds don't face another team projected to win 80+ games until the 22nd in St. Louis, so we should reasonably expect the Reds to do well over the next few weeks. Getting these first three is a good start.