The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Baseball's triumphant return graced our presence today for the first time since that cold, miserable October evening in Pittsburgh, and in a tip of the cap to the more successful days of yore, the Cincinnati Reds showed up and mashed. The lineup cranked out 10 hits, worked 8 walks, and brought 8 of their own around the bases for a run, and while the production was divvied up pretty evenly, Chris Heisey gets the first nod of the Spring for plasming a 2-run Ecto-Cooler into the bullpen behind the LF wall. Heisey, now 29 and arb-eligible, has once again flown under the projected-lineup radar this offseason with the emergence of Billy Hamilton and the return (and contract) of Ryan Ludwick, but today he began stating his case for regular playing time by going 2 for 3 with said homer and a hard-hit double.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Alfredo Simon, who tossed 2 no-hit innings to start the day in his hopefully temporary return to starting pitching; Joey Votto, who first got the Reds on the board with a hard-hit RBI (!!) single up the middle; Ramon Santiago, who reached twice via walk in his attempt to be "guy who makes the 25-man roster for his defense and never gets on base ever again;" Billy Hamilton, who led off the game with a 10-pitch walk and promptly stole 2nd base; Chad Rogers, for tossing 2 no-hit innings and not being eaten by a shark; Donald Lutz, who drove in two runs, one on a braunschweigered triple to the wall; and Skip Schumaker, who walked, singled, and scored two runs in his first fake-game as a member of the Reds.
The Dusty Baker Honorary High-Five goes to Bryan Price, who didn't invent the high-five. Price did, however, lead the Reds to victory today, his first fake-win of his real-managerial career. Congrats, Bryan!
- To start the 1st, Hamilton worked a 10-pitch walk off Indians starter Trevor Bauer (who was a key piece in the trade that sent Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds prior to last season), stole 2B, and advanced to 3B when the throw went into CF. Bad baserunning and a strike-'em-out-throw-'em-out double play led to that being rendered uneventful, but the Reds got back to business in the Top of the 3rd. DH Brayan Pena led off with a single, moved to 2B on a Hamilton groundout, and scored two batters later on Votto's sharp single to CF. Jay Bruce (hi Jay!) walked, and Ryan Ludwick followed with an RBI single of his own to score Votto. Reds led, 2-0.
- The Reds made a line-shift of changes in the 5th, and the Indians picked up a pair of runs in the process. Ryan Raburn doubled off Tim Crabbe, Tony Wolters singled to score Raburn, Jeff Francouer walked (wait...what?), David Cooper walked, and Wolters came around to score on a subsequent double play. Game tied, 2-2.
- Skip Schumaker, Roger Bernadina, and Ramon Santiago loaded the bases in the Top of the 6th with a pair of singles and a walk, and Schumaker came in to score on a The Ryan Hanigan Walk From the 8th Spot Honorary Walk From the 8th Spot of the Game. Lutz followed with an RBI-producing grounder that scored Bernadina. Reds led, 4-2.
- The Indians got one back in the Bottom of the 6th, as Erik Gonzalez threw some havoc shade on the basepaths and scored after a throwing error on a stolen base attempt. Reds led, 4-3.
- Heisey unglued the straw from the back of the Ecto-Cooler box and de-cellophaned one off pitcher C.C. Lee, scoring himself and Schumaker, who had walked in front of him. Ramon Santiago walked and stole 2B in the Top of the 8th, and Lutz followed with a ball so hard it sounded like someone threw a shaken up Mountain Dew into a campfire. That triple plated Santiago, and Lutz came in to score a batter later on a Chris Nelson sac-fly. Reds win, 8-3!
- Joey Votto is going to hit .340 with 125 RBI this year. He's on pace for it, or so.
- Donald Lutz for The Minor League Comeback of the Year Award.
- I might have arbitrarily created a few too many awards.
- Baseball, y'all.
- Tunes? Tunes!