The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
There are several question marks surrounding this edition of the Cincinnati Reds, but there may be none bigger than the potential production from Ryan Ludwick. The LF is being counted on to be the RH portion of an otherwise LH dominant lineup, and that's a tall task to ask of a player return from a torn labrum, yet that's the situation in which the team finds itself. With that in mind, it was rather awesome to see Ludwick show some serious power by cracking a giant 2-run HR in the Top of the 1st inning. Ludwick's making a pile of money this season, and given how slowly he started out in 2012 before turning into an offensive machine mid-season, he's going to get plenty of leash should he begin slowly again. Therefore, it's a great sign that he appears pretty healthy this early, and for that (and the honker) he gets today's JNMHSotG.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Todd Frazier, who used slightly more than zero hands to HIT BALL SO HARD; Chris Heisey, for continuing to knock the heck out of the ball; and Devin Mesoraco, for going 2 for 3.
- The Reds stacked their lineup with a plethora of RH thumpers, and they wasted no time in feasting upon the offerings from LHP Danny Duffy. Chris Heisey led off the Top of the 1st with a double (which would've been a HR had it been hit anywhere else in the stadium), and two batters later he scored when Ryan Ludwick tattooed a Duffy pitch well over the fence in LF. Todd Frazier followed by flying solo to the moon, Devin Mesoraco smoked a single up the middle (and moved to 2B on a bobble), and a Mike Moustakas throwing error on a Max Ramirez grounder brought Mes around to score. Reds led, 4-0.
- Balls were flying out of the stadium in Surprise today, and I'm pretty certain the words "flying, balls, and surprise" haven't been uttered in the same sentence since jch's most recent bachelor party. Salvador Perez got in on the action in the Bottom of the 2nd by launching a Cueto fastball over the wall in left-center. In the Bottom of the 3rd, Justin Maxwell led off with a single, Jarrod Dyson singled one batter later, and after Heisey seemingly saved the inning with a diving catch on a liner to center, Eric Hosmer turned on the Tiant turn to tie the game up, 4-4. Billy Butler then hit a sinking liner that went to the wall for a triple after Jay Bruce's unsuccessful diving-catch attempt, Alex Gordon followed with another triple, and Perez followed with a double of his own to finally chase Cueto. Pedro Villareal got the final out of the inning, but the Reds trailed, 6-4.
- Robert Stephenson is an observant dude, and after he saw a 19 game winner with millions in the bank give up hard hit doubles, he decided he'd do the same in the Bottom of the 4th. Maxwell laced a double off Bob Steves, and former almost-Red Jason Donald followed with a single to plate Maxwell. Bob then got a ground ball double play to get out of trouble to end the 4th, but was dinged again when he came back out for the 5th. Hosmer & Butler led off with back to back singles, and Hosmer came around to score two batters later when Perez singled him in. Reds trailed, 8-4.
- The good guys got one back in the Top of the 7th after Roger Bernadina singled on a jam-shot to 3B off Greg Holland, moved to 2B on the subsequent throwing error, and scored when Ryan LaMarre later singled up the middle. The Royals, however, got that one back in the Bottom of the 8th thanks to some small ball and a wild pitch by Carlos Contreras. That was that, unfortunately. Reds lose, 9-5.
- Johnny Cueto had an afternoon to forget. After breezing through the first two innings, he was roughed up in the 3rd, and he finished with 2.2 IP, 7 hits, 6 ER, 4 K, and 2 BB.
- Starring in today's version of TINSTAAPP was Stephenson, who allowed 5 hits, 2 runs (both earned), and struck out 1 during his 2 innings. Bob routinely hit 96 mph on the gun (which is good), and he didn't really show much of his knee-buckling breaking ball (which, at this early point of the season, is also good). The arm was live, the competition was full of major leaguers, and I'm not worried about him in the slightest. Kelch & Cowboy seemed to really like what they saw, too, and I'll trust in those expert opinions.
- A completely unrelated note: Cowboy raved about Logan Ondrusek and his potential, too.
- Michael Lorenzen tossed a perfect 7th inning, and generally looked (sounded?) good doing it. I'm excited that he's being fast-tracked to the big leagues, but for his sake, I hope they choose to park him in just one town for the majority of the season (Pensacola?).
- I kind of like the Kansas City Royals. I rather hope they put it all together this season and finally make the playoffs for the first time in nearly two sexsalads.
- Joey Votto did not play today. The Reds did not take a single walk today. Correlation means causation.
- Laissez les bon temps rouler! Go get your Fat Tuesday on.