The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the
If ya knock a 3-run walk-off dinger, you get a trophy. Them's the facts.
Juan Duran ended one of the Cincinnati Reds' split squad games with just that, a 3-run blast that gave the good guys a win over the Los Angeles Angels, and for that he takes home the modified JNMSot
GD. Duran has been around for seemingly forever, yet the 6'7" farmhand is still just 23 years old. He's struggled mightily with contact and K issues, but as evidenced by today's work and the 37 dingers he's crushed across his last two minor league seasons, the power's there and undeniable when he manages to line things up. Hopefully he'll get his walk rate up quickly, since he's nearing 6-year minor league free agent status rapidly.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Joey Votto, who walked(!); Aroldis Chapman, who tossed multiple innings (2) and allowed merely an infield single to the best hitter in the game of baseball; Irving Falu, who had a pair of hits and the first two successful stolen bases of the Reds' spring; David Holmberg, who danced out of trouble repeatedly but still managed 3 scoreless IP against the Colorado Rockies; Jason Bourgeois, who dingered as part of his 2-hit, 2-run afternoon; Kyle Skipworth, who also rocketed a dinger; and Nick Travieso, who had a Holmbergy performance of his own for 2 scoreless innings.
Key Plays - Reds vs. Angels
- The Reds got to Andrew Heaney in the Bottom of the 1st in this one, thanks to a leadoff infield single that Jason Bourgeois beat out and Joey Votto's first glorious, beautiful, melt-my-heart walk of the spring. Both moved up on a Chris Dominguez grounder, and Boozy scored on a sac-liner that Jay Bruce smoked to RF. Reds led, 1-0.
- The Angels started putting the bat on the ball in their second time facing DeSclafani, stringing together a flurry of singles that gave them the lead in the Top of the 3rd. Josh Rutledge got his first, Kole Calhoun's came two batters later to move Rutledge to 3B, and after Mike Trout walked to load the bases, back to back singles from Albert Pujols and Erick Aybar drove 3 runs in for Los Angeles. Reds trailed, 3-1.
- The Skips skipped skippily around the bases for the Reds in the Bottom of the 5th, as Kyle Skipworth blasted a 2-run dinger that scored Skip Schumaker - who had doubled off the wall earlier that inning. After Skipworth's blast, Boozy followed with a solo dinger of his own. Can't imagine Angels pitcher Nick Tropeano saw that coming. Reds led, 4-3.
- Burke Badenhop's rough spring continued when he came on to pitch the Top of the 6th for the Reds, however. Aybar led off with a single, and after Taylor Featherston replaced him as a pinch runner, he moved to 3B when C.J. Cron followed with a single of his own. Chris Ianetta's double drove Featherston home, but a relayed throw to the plate nailed Cron. A Dominguez error at 3B extended the inning, but Badenhop responded with back to back K's to escape further damage. Game tied, 4-4.
- Potential LOOGY Jose Mijares came on to pitch the Top of the 7th, and was promptly dingered-upon by Johnny Giavotella, who launched a solo blast over Josh Satin's head and into the bullpen in LF to give the lead back to the Angels. Reds trailed, 5-4.
- Ryan Mattheus got Shane Mardirosian to line out to start the Bottom of the 9th, but that's about all that went in his favor on his day. Falu singled up the middle to start the action, and Yorman Rodriguez's well-placed bloop put two men on to set the stage for Duran. Wanderin' then launched a laser of an oppo-shot that just barely cleared the wall in RF, but that was still good enough to get the Reds a W. Reds win in walk-off style, 7-5!
Key Plays - Reds vs. Rockies
- The Reds took a quick lead against the Colorado Rockies, too, putting a pair of runners across the plate in the Top of the 2nd against Jordan Lyles. A walk - this one by Marlon Byrd - got things going, and both Donald Lutz and Eugenio Suarez followed with singles, and Byrd came in to score when Felix Perez smacked a productive grounder gritty enough to draw a smile from Skip Schumaker from the other side of the Land of the Endless Strip Mall. Then Daniel Descalso - a rare bird in that he's a former St. Louis Cardinal who remains yet unsigned by the Reds - booted a ball at 2B off the bat of Tucker Barnhart that allowed Lutz to score. Reds led, 2-0.
- The Rockies scraped one back in the Bottom of the 4th against Dylan Axelrod, as Kyle Parker walked, took 2B on a wild pitch, moved to 3B on sac fly, and scored on a single from Descalso. Reds led, 2-1.
- Colorado managed to level things in the Bottom of the 8th thanks to a string of hits off Pedro Villareal and an eventual Rafael Ynoa grounder, and since it's only Spring Training and none of this really matters, the game ended after 9 innings despite things still being tied, 2-2.
- DeSclafani's rough second trip through the order left his line on the day at 3 IP, 5 H, BB, 3 ER. The 3 ER he allowed are the first earned runs allowed by any Reds starter this spring. The only run they'd allowed was unearned and also allowed by DeSclafani (in his first start).
- Giavotella, Skipworth, and Bourgeois have combined for just 7 dingers in 1,018 major league PAs, yet of course all three launched dingers today.
- Minor Leaguer Tanner Rahier was arrested Saturday and charged with aggravated assault. If the allegations are true - that he drunkenly threw a rock at a woman he'd been dating and knocked her unconscious - I hope the Reds act quickly in getting rid of him. If not, I'll be terribly disappointed, since there's absolutely no place for that type of behavior. Horrible.
- Johnny Cueto will be back on the hill for the Reds tomorrow opposite Kyle Lohse and the Milwaukee Brewers in Maryvale. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 ET.
- Gavin LaValley got his big league camp feet wet today, and looked both trim and nimble at 3B against the Angels.