The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Scott Schebler entered Thursday's contest with the Colorado Rockies as one of the frontrunners to win the LF job with the Cincinnati Reds, and he proceeded to crank out yet another 2-hit afternoon. The former Los Angeles Dodgers farmhand was the lone Red with a multi-hit day, and he finished 2 for 4 with his 5th ribbie of the Cactus League season.
The fact that Schebler hits lefty and bashes righties means he may have the inside track for the bulk of the PAs given to Reds LFs in 2016, and he sure seems eager to see that through. Today's JNMHSotG is yours again, Scott.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Seth Mejias-Brean, who picked up his first hit & ribbies of the Spring; Jumbo Diaz, who tossed a hitless 1.1 innings with a K and a BB; Brandon Phillips, who went 1 for 2 with a walk; Donald Lutz, who poked a near-dinger double; and Pedro Villarreal, who threw a pair of scoreless innings while allowing just a single hit.
- The Rockies broke the seal in the Bottom of the 2nd, beginning when D.J. LeMahieu singled to RF with 1-out. LeMahieu was retired at 2B on a Ben Paulsen comebacker to pitcher Brandon Finnegan (which knocked Finnegan's glove off), but Paulsen beat out the double play attempt to leave a runner on 1B with 2-out in the inning. That proved large when Dustin Garneau and Charlie Blackmon hit back to back singles, the latter of which scored Paulsen from 2B. Reds trailed, 1-0.
- Nolan Arenado then did what Nolan Arenado does, which was smack a dinger over the wall in LF in the Bottom of the 3rd. Twas a solo shot, it essentially ended Finnegan's afternoon, and it left the Reds behind, 2-0.
- Eugenio Suarez finally got the first Reds' hit of the game in the Top of the 4th after Jorge De La Rosa finished his day on the mound after 3 perfect innings. Suarez singled to RF off Tyler Chatwood with 1-out, moved to 2B when Brandon Phillips walked behind him, and scored on Schebler's single to RF. A bigger rally seemed on the cusp, yet the Rockies got out of the inning when Arenado made a fantastic backhanded play on a sharp grounder off Jordan Pacheco's bat and turned it into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play. Reds trailed, 2-1.
- Nick Travieso took the mound for the Reds in the Bottom of the 5th, and the Rockies' hit parade got to him often. Carlos Gonzalez led off with a single to RF, and that was followed by a long Arenado fly ball to right-center that was caught by Jesse Winker just as the Reds RF slammed into CF Jake Cave. Fortunately, both were OK, but after Winker immediately was tasked with catching another deep fly on the RF warning track, back to back singles by Gerardo Parra and LeMahieu drove in another run. Reds trailed, 3-1.
- The Reds scraped across another run in the Top of the 7th. Phillips got things started with a single to RF, after which he was replaced by Brandon Dixon. Dixon moved up to 2B on a single by Schebler and then stole 3B, which put him in position to score when Juan Duran lifted a sac-fly to RF. Reds trailed, 3-2.
- Cincinnati rallied in the Top of the 9th off Rockies pitcher Charlie Sheen (#notwinning), started by Brandon Dixon's single. He almost motored home when Lutz followed with a massive double off the wall in CF, but Billy Hatcher held Dixon at 3B (which sent Lutz backpedaling to 2B). That brought Mejias-Brean to the plate, and he promptly drove both runners in with a single to CF. SMB then laced up his running cleats and scooted around to score when Brandon Allen cracked a double to the corner in RF. Reds led, 5-3.
- Stephen Johnson came on to try to close things out for Cincinnati, and that got off to a rough start quickly when he walked the first two batters he faced on eight straights balls. Johnson got an out on a grounder, but he then walked another Rockie to load the bases. A sac-fly to LF by Rafael Ynoa scored a run and allowed both other runners to move up to 2B & 3B, but Johnson managed to induce a pop-out to finally close the door. Reds won, 5-4!
Piniella Mocha Latte (#tbt)
- Winker was replaced by Duran the inning after he collided with Cave. It was not immediately announced whether it was due to Winker being hurt, or not, though C. Trent Rosecrans later tweeted that Winker appeared to be fine minutes later.
- Though this one wasn't televised, MLB.com's Gameday did have pitchf/x up and running. Finnegan touched 93 mph with his four-seam fastball in his outing, while he routinely sat at 90-91 mph. That, unfortunately, wasn't fooling many of the Rockies he faced. His final line: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 59 pitches (37 strikes).
- The Baltimore Orioles are apparently going to be making their first round of cuts tomorrow, and it's probably about the time we'll see the Reds trim back from the 62 guys they currently have in big league camp, too.
- Cincinnati will send split squads against both the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics on Friday. Robert Stephenson will get the start against Chicago, while Jon Moscot will take the mound first against Oakland.