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LOB City Dunks Reds. STL 5, CIN 3.

An early toilet flush doomed the Reds in the Cards home opener.

Looks like a circle change.
Looks like a circle change.
Joe Robbins

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

The Cincinnati Reds announced prior to the start of today's game that Tucker Barnhart would head to AAA Louisville and that Devin Mesoraco, who had been on the 15 day DL, would rejoin the team.  Knowing that the presumed starter was coming back for his job may have affected some players, but that obviously wasn't the case for Brayan Pena, who NERT'd his way to the best performance of his still-young Reds career.  Pena went 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles, scored the first Reds run of the day, and was clearly the only offensive player worth noticing despite an ill-fated attempt at stealing a base.  Pena's the kind of player who will always be welcome in a locker room for his congeniality, but if his bat continues its hot start, he'll be doing much more than sitting in the dugout regardless of how Mesoraco performs.  Props, NERTS!

Honorable Mentions are due to:  Nick Christiani, who tossed a pair of scoreless innings and made a phenomenal decision on where to attend college; Ryan Ludwick, who had a pair of singles; Zack Cozart, who broke the seal with his first hit of the season; and Roger Bernadina, who had a pinch-hit RBI double.

Key Plays

  • The Reds got off to a seemingly positive start, as Billy Hamilton led off with his first hit of the young season.  Hamilton laced a liner to RF, and used his speed (and instincts, given the wet outfield) to turn it into a double, and he was promptly moved to 3B by a Brandon Phillips bunt.  Yes, a bunt.  In the Top of the 1st.  With the guy who has hit cleanup more than anyone for the Reds in the last decade.  Joey Votto followed by hitting a sharp grounder to Kolten Wong, who caught Hamilton in no man's land between 3B and home for the inning's second out.  Jay Bruce then struck out, and the potential rally was over.
  • That burned, and burned quickly, as the Cardinals jumped on Tony Cingrani in the Bottom of the 1st.  Matt Carpenter and Peter Bourjos both singled, Matt Holliday walked, and two batters later, Yadier Molina doubled to the wall in LF to clear the bases.  Reds trailed, 3-0.
  • The Reds used a pair of sharply hit balls from LH bats to finally scrape across a run in the Top of the 5th.  Brayan Pena smashed a one-out double to the wall, and Bernadina followed with a pinch-hit double of his own to drive NERTS home.  Reds trailed, 3-1.
  • Trevor Bell was brought on to pitch the Bottom of the 7th, and the Cardinals got to him, too.  Bourjos hit a 1-out slapper that bounced just over Todd Frazier's head, and he motored into 2B for a double.  Holliday followed with an opposite field double off the RF wall to score Bourjos, and Allen Craig then singled to CF to score Holliday.  Reds trailed, 5-1.
  • Cards closer Trevor Rosenthal came in to pitch the Top of the 9th despite it not being a "save situation," and he struggled with both location and velocity from the outset.  He walked Bruce and Ludwick to lead off the inning, gave up a single to Frazier that loaded the bases, and then saw Zack Cozart hit a bloop single to CF to score Bruce.  Pena then struck out, but Neftali Soto hit a pinch-hit sac fly to LF to score Ludwick.  Unfortunately, Hamilton popped out to shallow CF, and that was that.  Reds lose, 5-3.
FanGraph Showing a Graph from a Site Called FanGraphs Which Has Detailed Graphs as Voted On by Fans Who Like Graphs

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes
  • The Reds had their leadoff batter on base in each of the first four innings.  None of them scored.
  • The Reds had at least one runner on base in each of the first 7 innings.  One of them scored.
  • Choo, Arroyo, Hanigan, Latos, Chapman, Marshall, Broxton, Mesoraco, Hannahan, Schumaker...2 wins against 5 losses sucks, but putting this all on Bryan Price's shoulders is misguided.  Reinforcements are coming, and they're going to help.
  • Tony Cingrani struggled with location and high pitch counts today, making it only through 4 innings.  His final line saw him walk 4, strike out 5, and allow 3 runs, though his streak of allowing fewer than 5 hits remained intact (he allowed just 3).
  • Todd Frazier's 9th inning single continued his streak of having a hit in each game this season.
  • Tunes.