The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
It was a difficult decision, but Brandon Phillips gets the nod today. He got the offense going with an RBI triple in the first, and drove in another with an RBI single in the third. On a day in which the Reds offense exploded, the contributions were scattered throughout the lineup.
The multi-hit day raised Phillips spring average to .375. Phillips, who vetoed a trade to the Nationals this spring, is entering his 11th season as the Reds second basemen. If Phillips plays well in the first half it's likely Cincinnati could try and trade him again. He only has two years left on his deal, and highly touted prospect Jose Peraza is performing well enough to push for playing time. It's clear Phillips' is on borrowed time in Cincinnati, but there are few players who have been more enjoyable to watch.
Honorable mentions: Tucker Barnhart, a late addition to the startling lineup, provided three hits and an RBI; Joey Votto contributed two hits and an RBI; Scott Schebler drove in two on an RBI double in the third; Layne Somsen pitched two scoreless innings.
- Brandon Phillips got the Reds on the board early against Wilfredo Boscan. With Eugenio Suarez on first, Phillips hit a triple into center field. Obviously, Suarez scored on a triple (Reds 1 - Pirates 0).
- The Pirates responded quickly in the bottom of the first. With one out, Alfredo Simon surrendered a single to Andrew McCutchen. The next batter, David Freese, hit a two-run homer into center field (Pirates 2 - Reds 1).
- The Reds' offense officially went bananas in the top of the third...B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Suarez started the inning with a walk, and Joey Votto followed with a single. Brandon Phillips kept his good day going with an RBI single. Jay Bruce grounded out to first, but Votto was still able to get home to give the Reds the lead. Tucker Barnhart kept the line moving with a single of his own scoring Phillips. There was so much offense in this inning that I don't want to squeeze it all into one bullet point. Just a second...
- It was still the top of the third, and Tucker Barnhart was on first. A throwing error by Josh Harrison allowed Adam Duvall to reach safely. Scott Schebler got Barnhart and Duvall home on an RBI double to left, and then Schebler scored on a Billy Hamilton single (I SAID A BILLY HAMILTON SINGLE!). Suarez walked again to put runners on first and second, and unsurprisingly that was the end of Boscan's day. Joey "destroyer of baseballs" Votto drove home Hamilton with a single into center. The inning mercifully ended with a Brandon Phillips ground out (Reds 8 - Pirates 2).
- The Reds threatened to have another big inning in the fourth. Following a Bruce ground out, Tucker Barnhart singled. Schebler and Hamilton were both able to draw walks and load the bases. With two outs, Zack Cozart reached on a throwing error by new third basemen Jason Rogers, and Tucker Barnhart scored (Reds 9 - Pirates 2).
- The Pirates were able to cut into the lead in the bottom of the 5th. Simon walked Matt Joyce and Sean Rodriguez to lead off the inning, and A.J. Morris promptly replaced Simon. With runners on the corners Jason Rogers hit a double into left that scored both runners (Reds 9 - Pirates 4).
- Pittsburgh chipped away even further when Max Moroff hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 6th off of A.J. Morris (Reds 9 - Pirates 6). Could we be witnessing an improbably rally on the part of the Pirates?
- Nope. Jake Cave stretched the lead when he drove in Bryson Smith and Ramon Cabrera on an RBI triple. Cave scored following a passed ball from pitcher Jorge Rondon (Reds 12 - Pirates 6).
- The Reds added another run (it just seems mean at this point) on a single by...Seth Mejias-Brean (Reds 13 - Pirates 6).
WE ARE ONE DAY AWAY FROM REAL, LIVE, ACTUAL BASEBALL THAT COUNTS
- Today's game took place at Victory Field in Indianapolis. It is the home of the Indianapolis Indians (the Pirates Triple-A affiliate).
- Prior to the game the Reds announced that Devin Mesoraco was scratched from the starting lineup due to stiffness. Tucker Barnhart started in his place.
- The next time the Reds take the field it will be Opening Day in Cincinnati (get out of here with that Sunday nonsense). First pitch will be at 4:10 ET. Raisel Iglesias will be on the mound for the Reds, and the Phillies will counter with Jeremy Hellickson.
- Earlier today Wick Terrell wrote that the Reds might be looking to add reliever Steve Delabar. The reliever was spotted today in a Reds uniform, but nothing official has been announced.
- In former Reds news, Brayan Pena will start the season on the DL. He's scheduled for knee surgery this week stemming from a slip in the dugout this spring.