The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Everything seems to be in place for Anthony DeSclafani to be the Opening Day starter for the Cincinnati Reds. Everything except an official announcement, at least. Disco got his first Cactus League innings in on Thursday against the Cleveland Indians, and his outing certainly did nothing but emphasize that he's the best starter the Reds can count on rolling out every five days. He struck out one, and pitched a perfect pair of innings in his start, and his velocity looked good in the process.
Have a trophy, Anthony. Here's to many more this season.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Joey Votto, who walked (drink) twice (drink again); Ivan De Jesus, Jr., who was 2 for 3 with a run scored; Adam Duvall, who had a 2-RBI single; Phillip Ervin, who singled twice, stole a base, and scored; Chad Wallach, who doubled in a run (and scored one himself); and Juan Duran, who launched a solo dinger.
- Jake Cave led off again in this one, and he took 1B on a walk by Danny Salazar to begin the Top of the 1st. He moved to 3B when De Jesus, Jr. singled to RF, and a walk to Votto loaded the bases for Brandon Phillips. BP lifted a deep sac flay to RF to score Cave and move the other two runners up a base, and a single up the middle from Duvall drove them both in two batters later. Reds led, 3-0.
- Joey Butler singled up the middle off J.J. Hoover to lead off the Bottom of the 5th for Cleveland, and he ended up on 3B when Votto threw a would-be double play ball off the bat of Tyler Naquin away into LF. Erik Gonzalez then lifted a sac fly to RF to score Butler. Reds led, 3-1.
- The Top of the 6th for the Reds started off wholly emblematic of the team's current
transitionreboot. Jay Bruce doubled off the wall in left-center only to be removed from the game and replaced by pinch-runner Juan Duran. Duran then moved to 3B on a single by Ervin, Ervin then stole 2B, and Jesse Winker then singled to score Duran. Chad Wallach then smacked a double to score Ervin, Brantley Bell was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Tyler Holt singled up the middle to score Winker, I changed the laundry, you mowed the grass, your kid who was seemingly just born "grew up so fast," Blake Trahan grounded into a double play that allowed Wallach to score, Gavin LaValley walked, we laughed, we cried, the Indians changed pitchers, and Calten Daal blooped a single into RF to score Holt and move LaValley to 3B. Phew. That brought Juan Duran to the plate to complete the bat-around and lineup overhaul, only for him to strike out in much the same way that the current Reds' RF has been so criticized for since 2008. Thanks for the symmetry. Reds led, 8-1.
- Duran then led off the Top of the 9th for the Reds with a mammoth opposite-field donker, and that wrapped the scoring for the afternoon. Reds win, 9-1!
- Tucker Barnhart was thrown out in the Top of the 4th somewhere within a nautical mile of 3B. He rounded 3B, and he slowed to a stop as it appeared he may have thought Alex Blandino's single to RF had actually been caught. Billy Hatcher has had his work cut out for him as the new 3B coach so far in just the first week of Cactus League play.
- The Reds no-hit the Indians through the game's first 4 innings. Then I mentioned it. Then the Indians got a hit. Then my dogma barked at my karma.
- Duran was placed on the team's restricted list in February after it was announced that he would be suspended for 80 games for testing positive for PEDs. That obviously won't begin until the regular season, though, hence his appearance in today's game.