A splendid SS (SSS alert).
Bruce, Reds devour Easter Fish
After a Bronson Arroyo meltdown in the 7th, it looked like the Marlins were going to take the rubber game of the year's opening series. Jay Bruce put that in doubt with a game-tying leadoff HR in the ninth. Scott Rolen then won the game by hitting a rocket to the stone hands of Hanley Ramirez, driving in Drew Stubbs. Rolen isn't particularly fond of pinch-hitting, even though he's done well (8-18) in that role: "It's certainly not easy. It's not something you're used to. Everybody says ‘cold.' But as soon as you realize you're in the game, your blood pressure goes through the roof."
- The Reds now host St. Louis for three games starting tonight, with Homer Bailey squaring off against Jake Westbrook. The teams will face off 15 times this year, including the final three games of the regular season. The Cardinals cruise into town at 3-1, with their only loss coming at the hands of Zack Greinke on Saturday.
Rough debut for Latos
This winter's most ballyhooed trade brought the Reds a young ace and came at a steep cost. All there is to say following Mat Latos' 4 2/3 inning, 4 run performance on Saturday is ... it's just one start. Latos' breaking stuff was consistently in the dirt and the fastball was straight. Even so, he was still a batter away from getting through 5 innings with just 2 runs. The emotional Latos took it hard,saying "I tried to throw too much of a perfect pitch. Instead of locating the fastball and making my pitches, I'd tried to be too fine. I was trying to make a good impression. It backfired and went the other way." Latos wasn't alone in his struggles. The bullpen, namely Sam LeCure, Alfredo Simon, and Jose Arredondo, all looked shaky.
Phillips extension update
No official news since the rumor first broke last Thursday about a five-year extension for Brandon Phillips. But it's looking like Walt's gonna get this one done, too: "I feel good about it. Hopefully in the next week or so we will get it done." Phillips isn't going to jinx it: "I'm talking about winning and I'm here with the team. If it has anything to do with money, I'm not talking about it. It (money) does talk, but I'm not talking about that. Winning is better." BP may not be the only second-sacker in line for an extension, as Texas and Ian Kinsler are working on a four or five-year deal. Kinsler has been a steady and underrated player for some time now.
- As noted in the game recap, BP reached 1,000 hits as a Red yesterday. 28 other Reds and only three other Reds' Secondbasemen have crossed that threshold (Johnny Temple, Joe Morgan, and Ron Oester). In other milestone news, Joey Votto's Saturday homerun elevated him to 5th place for Reds' Firstbasemen with 116, one behind Sean Casey.
Opening Day ruined for some by counterfeit tickets
The Reds reported to the police that "hundreds" of counterfeit tickets were sold for Opening Day. The deceptive ducats looked like the real deal, according to Vice President of Ticket Sales John Davis: "We had not seen that level of counterfeit tickets before and the time and the detail that went into it." Said Kerry Rowland, Reds Director of Public Safety: "Buyer beware." Dang.
Wizard of Coz masters Opening Day butterflies
Zack Cozart was the first Reds rookie to start at Shortstop since 1971, though you wouldn't have guessed it from his performance. He conceded some pre-game jitters, but said they disappeared once he got his first putout: "When I got called up last year, the first ground ball was hit to me, and [the nerves] kind of went away after that, knowing that the game is the same. Once I caught the popup, it was, 'Hey, it's just another game. Time to play.'"
- Cozart may very well be the team's MVP after the first three games, hitting over .500 with XBHs in each of the first three games. He even hit for an opening two-game cycle after tripling and homering on Saturday. He's picked up where he left off at Goodyear, where he batted.345 with seven doubles during ST. And his fielding's been solid, too. Rob Neyer is looking mighty prescient.
On the mend
The Reds are mostly healthy to start the regular season, but the bullpen has been an unfortunate exception. Nick Masset is on the DL with a sore right shoulder but seems to be progressing well. He's eligible to come off the DL tomorrow, but will most likely go on a rehab assignment first. Logan Ondrusek is on the roster and pitched Saturday despite reports of a sore back. Ryan Madson, incidentally, is still shopping around for a surgeon and hasn't yet gone under the knife.
- The sabr-metrically inclined continue to tut-tut the Ryan Ludwick signing
BPro concedes that the projected WARPs for Heisey and Ludwick are similar but that "a breakout season from Heisey could make all the difference." I think Heisey is a valuable contributor on a good team, but it seems like many people forget that he entered this season with a .317 OBP. Based on the opening series, both look to see plenty of action in Dusty's unusual hard-soft platoon. Ludwick started against a crafty lefty (Buehrle) and a formerly hard-throwing righty (Zambrano), while Heisey got the nod against a power righty (Nolasco). Dusty's faults are well known but he's generally good at utilizing his hitters in spots where they're more likely to succeed. I'm hopeful that the Reds' plan works despite the skepticism of the sabrmetric groupthink.
- Alfredo Simon excited for (another) fresh start
The 6' 6" Simon is on his sixth team, but as Tom Groeschen writes, Simon isn't without his upside. He "throws a fastball generally between 92 and 95 mph with late movement, but he has had occasional issues with his offspeed pitches." Baltimore supposedly let him go due to a groin ailment in spring training, but Simon says "I’m 100 percent now." Baker expects to use him in long relief.
- Reds hope to host All-Star Game soon
Cincinnati last saw the All-Star Game in 1988, before the wave of ballpark construction which resulted in new homes for the Reds as well as most other teams. It sounds as if GABP's turn is finally coming. Last week, Bob Castellini announced "I’m very confident that in the near future we’ll have an All-Star Game."
OMGreds has the goods on game-used swag
"Reds Authentics" are game-used, autographed and authenticated bats, jerseys, and equipment. Dunno if you've heard, but the Reds have recently incurred nine figures of financial liability and would appreciate your patronage of its memorabilia vendors. But seriously, this is really cool stuff - you can now go to a game and walk out with a souvenir FROM THAT GAME. For news on other GABP improvements this year, check out C-ing Reds update.
The Church of Baseball has an interesting look at social media in baseball
Among other nuggets, BP clocks in with the third most Twitter followers in baseball, an impressive feat considering his home market. He's undoubtedly a prolific tweeter, but C.J. Wilson looks like the Babe Ruth of the MLB twitterverse.