The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Scott Schebler got off to a relatively slow start to Cactus League play, but the presumptive Opening Day RF for the Cincinnati Reds has been heating up of late. On Sunday against the San Diego Padres, he had a bonkers afternoon, going 2 for 3 with a 3-run dinger, a bunt single to beat the shift, and a pair of runs scored.
There was some initial intrigue into the Cincinnati OF situation when spring first got going given the relatively solid showing from Jesse Winker, but Schebler's done everything in his power to ensure that one of the corner OF jobs on day one will undoubtedly be his, his latest hot streak indicative of the great finish to the 2016 he displayed.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Robert Stephenson, who allowed a lone run in 4 IP, K'ing 5 against just 3 hits and a walk; Jose Peraza, who singled twice, stole a bag, and scored; Desmond Jennings, who doubled, drove in a run, and scored; Patrick Kivlehan, who dingered; Jesse Winker, who dingered, too; and Rob Brantly, who came on late to crack an RBI double.
- Amir Garrett’s strike zone got squeezed a bit early, he "walked" Wil Myers with 2-out in the Bottom of the 1st, and - surprise, surprise - it haunted when Hunter Renfroe followed with a mammoth 2-run dinger into the grass beyond the LF wall. Reds trailed, 2-0.
- Jennings got the Reds on the board in the Top of the 2nd against Jarred Cosart, however, when he spanked a double into the LF gap to score Schebler, who had reached in front of him on a crafty little shift-beating bunt. Walker then folowed with a RF gapper that brought Des home, and the game was tied, 2-2.
- Two singles and a sac bunt set up a sac fly to CF from Travis Jankowski in the Bottom of the 2nd, which allowed singler number one (Carlos Asuaje) to scoot home and score. Reds trailed, 3-2.
- San Diego cleared their bench and sent pitcher Andre Rienzo to the mound for the Top of the 6th, and the Cincinnati regulars took advantage. Peraza singled to lead off and then stole 2B, and both Zack Cozart and Eugenio Suarez walked behind him to load the bags. An Adam Duvall productive grounder drove in Peraza and left a pair of runners on-base, and Schebler then followed with his 2nd dinger of the spring to put the Reds ahead, 6-3.
- Robert Stephenson was solid in his initial inning of work, but he left a meatball out over the plate for Hector Sanchez in the Bottom of the 7th, and it got smoked for a long solo dinger over the RF wall. Reds led, 6-4.
- Logan Bawcom took the mound for the Padres in the Top of the 8th, and the Reds sure appreciated it. Kivlehan led off the inning with a bomb over the wall in CF, and Winker followed him with a dinger of his own. Chad Wallach later reached on an infield single (and took 2B on the errant throw), and he scored on Brantly's double to the wall in CF. Reds led, 9-4, and that's how this one finished.
- Amir Garrett wasn't bad today, but he certainly wasn't at his best. He scattered 8 hits over his 5 IP, allowed 3 ER in the process, and struck out a lone Padre. Still, his Cactus League ERA sits at a pretty 2.20 (since so many of the runs he's allowed this spring were of the unearned variety).
- Yesterday, the Reds got a scare when Bronson Arroyo took a throw down to 2B from Devin Mesoraco square in the face. Fortunately, it appears he'll be OK, as MLB.com's Mark Sheldon noted earlier today.
- Of course, if you read down to the bottom of Sheldon's article, you'll get more awesome news about Raisel Iglesias having a sore elbow and Homer Bailey having a setback to his setbacked setback's setback. Seriously.
- Monday will see the Reds take on the Kansas City Royals in Surprise Stadium. First pitch is set for 4:05 PM ET, and Rookie Davis will be on the bump first for Cincinnati. Jason Hammel will get the start for KC.