C. Trent sniffed around until he found a way to describe the smell of yesterday's Opening Day affair. Yeah, yeah, yesterday's game was kind of the worst case scenario for Bryan Price, and that was a bummer. I'm won't put much stock into a single game (against a great pitcher and rival opponent), but it was unfortunately glaring that nearly each of the "new" ideas Price employed either didn't work out or backfired completely. Stacking lefties Joey Votto and Jay Bruce resulted in a collective 0-fer in the 3/4 spots in the lineup; bringing in Manny Parra to face mostly righties saw him allow as many baserunners as he got outs (2); and using defensive shifts saw one, if not two opposite field dinks go for hits. I trust the process, but man, what luck.
Joe Posnanski took in Opening Day in Cincinnati, too, and had some great things to say about it. I'm consistently torn on what to think about Cincinnati's place in baseball on Opening Day, Opening Days, or Opening Day/Night depending upon which side of the world you're on. Sure, there's the "tradition" of having the first pitch in baseball thrown, but that hasn't actually happened in years. I'll firmly agree that Opening Day on the banks of the Ohio River is better supported, better attended, and put on a better pedestal than anywhere else in the game, but I also tend to want to say "isn't that enough?" Isn't it enough to know that Reds fans have done it, do it, and will do it bigger and better than everyone else? Does it really have to be "first," too? The timing of it seems like an insignificant quibble, really; New York is where the New Year is rung in regardless of how many other cities in earlier time zones across the world stake claim, and we're all fine with that because New York's history of celebrating it trumps the others. Your stage is good enough to leave others feeling puny, Cincinnati, and you don't need the help of additional spotlight for that to be true. Fistbump.
Mark Sheldon made the rounds in his latest notebook for Reds.com. Included are notes on Aroldis Chapman, Bryan Price's first Opening Day as manager, the recovery of Mat Latos from knee surgery, and Billy Hamilton's nervousness prior to his first Opening Day start. There's no denying that Hamilton had a rough start to the season yesterday, but his 0 for 4, 4 K performance isn't something to be terribly hung up about. Jay Bruce had no hits and 4 strikeouts on last year's Opening Day (and struck out in 5 of his first 6 PA, I believe), and he managed to turn things around just fine.
The Reds should be announcing the 2014 rosters for their Minor League affiliates either today or tomorrow, and Doug Gray broke down who he thinks will be the top players for each club. I still find it pretty confusing to see Phillip Ervin assigned to Dayton (again) when he seemed fast-tracked last year. He and Yorman Rodriguez were born a month apart from one another, and while I still think Yorman has as much potential as anyone in the system, Ervin showed a much more mature and developed game last season...yet will start 2 steps lower on the ladder than Rodriguez. I thought he'd at least start in Bakersfield, but Ervin even stated on Twitter that he was Dayton bound to start the season.
Finally, the Reds struggled to create any offense yesterday. Seems as if every team playing against the NL Central struggled, too: