The Cincinnati Reds knocked around the Pittsburgh Pirates on Opening Day for a 5-2 victory led by Johnny Cueto's excellence on the mound and crushed dingers from both Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier. Here's what a few folks took away from yesterday's eventful opener:
- The Enquirer's John Fay caught up with Frazier and Bruce after the game, and the general sentiment from their quotes is that the team is focused on finishing games better than they did in the woeful 2014 season. Fay also made note of Kevin Gregg's foibles, and got a few quotes from manager Bryan Price about it, too. Unfortunately, none of Price's quotes were "I have no idea what I was thinking, and Gregg won't get the ball in close games against the best hitter in the National League so long as his arsenal features 89 mph meatballs."
- Fay's Enquirer colleague, C. Trent Rosecrans, had a chance to speak with Gregg after the game, and he sportingly answered a few questions while obviously aware of how disappointing his team debut had gone. I'll hate on the fact that he doesn't throw hard enough to still be a late inning reliever, but there's serious credit due his way for being available to the media after the fact. Fortunately, it didn't take losing a game for the Reds to see and file this meltdown for future reference.
- In-law of the blog Mike Petriello also chimed in on the Reds afternoon, asking what many of us also openly wondered and taking Price to task for it: why pick Gregg against the thickest part of the Pirates' batting order instead of the best reliever in the game, Aroldis Chapman? Petrirello's point about the Reds being the kind of team that needs everything to go right just to stick around the race rings especially true here, and it made me re-scratch my head in the same spot I spent the entire 8th inning yesterday scratching. Now I need a haircut.
Aside from actually pulling out the victory in yesterday's game, the biggest story was certainly Johnny Cueto's stellar start and his crossing 1,000 career strikeouts in the process. MLB.com's Mark Sheldon spoke with Cueto and translator Tomas Vera after the game, and the Reds' ace was quick to dedicate his triumphs to his mother, whose recent open heart surgery was behind him leaving Spring Training to head back to the Dominican Republic just weeks ago. Stand up guy, that Johnny Cueto.
Friend of the blog Mo Egger watched Cueto spin another gem yesterday, too. His advice to Reds fans: enjoy Cueto while you can.
In not-just-about-the-Reds news, Major League Baseball saw a new Spring Training attendance record in 2015, with the 30 teams combining to host over 4 million fans. As HardBallTalk's Craig Calcaterra noted, it's in large part due to the Chicago Cubs' new Mesa Stadium, which was large, packed, and full of people six generations removed from having seen the Cubs win a World Series.
Over at the /mlb mothership, Grant Brisbee did his Brisbeeist in extrapolating things from the first full slate of games in the 2015 season. Not overreactions, mind you, but putting a spotlight on things you already know to be true and sprinkling some Brisbee on them.
Here's something that'll haunt your dreams for years: it's former Red Aaron Harang's eyes implanted into other MLB players' faces. Ahoy there, nightmare fuel!
Finally, nothing's better than snarky John Fay on twitter once the season finally starts:
Get 'em, Fay.