The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Jay Bruce has quietly put together a rather impressive Spring Training, and today only added to his cache of accomplishments. Bruce went 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI, and his double was a vintage Bruce smash that left quite a honked dent in the CF wall some 410 feet from home plate. Bruce struck out once, and that leaves him currently with the same number of walks as strikeouts (11) so far in his 2014 Cactus League campaign, an impressive feat given the disparity he's seen in those numbers in previous years. Bruce is never going to have the eye and patience of Joey Votto, but it's nice to see that he's either benefiting from improved plate discipline or is willing to take 1B because he's being pitched around.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Joey Votto, who went 2 for 4 with a pair of runs scored; Ryan Ludwick, who also added two hits (one an RBI single); Zack Cozart, who had an RBI double; and Ryan Dennick, who tossed a clean 7th inning in his first appearance with the big league club.
- Alfredo Simon got the start for the Cincinnati Reds today, and he once again struggled to retire opposing batters. He was victimized early by the long ball, too, as he allowed a solo shot to Lonnie Chisenhall in the Top of the 2nd and later gave up a 2-run shot to Ryan Raburn in the Top of the 3rd that scored Michael Brantley, too. Reds trailed, 3-0.
- The Reds got one back in the Bottom of the 4th thanks to the heart of their lineup. Votto hit a 1-out single, Bruce followed with a single that moved Votto to 3B, and Ryan Ludwick singled to LF to score Votto. Reds trailed, 3-1.
- Some bad defense allowed the Indians to get one right back, however, as Ludwick misplayed a deep fly ball from Jason Kipnis to lead off the Top of the 5th. Kipnis would end up on 3B, and he scored two batters later on a Raburn sac-fly. The Indians then went to work on on current former future closer J.J. Hoover in the Top of the 6th, as Chisenhall and Brantley both singled before Hoover tossed up a mole that Kipnis whacked for a 3-runs worth of tickets. Reds trailed, 7-1.
- Votto and Bruce did their thing again in the Bottom of the 6th, with Votto leading off with a single and coming in to score on Bruce's double off the wall in CF. Ludwick then singled to LF, but Bruce was forced to hold at 2B to make sure the ball fell in. Fortunately, Cozart followed a Todd Frazier strikeout with a double of his own that scored Bruce. A pair of strikeouts by Brayan Pena and pinch-hitter Chris Nelson ended the rally, however, and that was the end of the Reds' offense on the day. Several Indians I've never heard of smacked around Lee Hyde for another run in the Top of the 9th, and that was that. Reds lose, 7-3.
- Remember when Alfredo Simon started the Spring with a series of scoreless outings? Yeah, about that... He's now given up 5, 1, 5, and 4 runs in his last 4 starts, respectively. Not each of those was earned, but those numbers (5, 1, 3, and 3) haven't exactly been much better. Let's just hope it's a byproduct of him working on a screwball or a forkball or a spitter or cheeseball and that it's not him losing his magic.
- Actually, scrap that hope. Let's just hope that Mat Latos gets better as quickly as possible so that Simon can simply go back to being his previously dominant reliever self. Speaking of which, Latos pitched in a minor league game today, and looked good enough to where Cowboy (who was there watching) said he'd take him right now. Homer Bailey, too, was pitching in a minor league game, and he dialed up 76 pitches before being pulled in the 4th inning because he'd reached his previously allotted pitch-count. Both guys reportedly sat in the mid-90's with their fastballs, which is super rad awesomepotatopancakes.
- Todd Frazier and his wife Jackie welcomed their first child over the weekend, a baby boy named Blake. Look for Blake to be hitting balls so hard for the 2026 Little League World Series Champions. Congrats, Fraziers!
- Homage Tunes.