The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Afternoon Full of Awful, Debilitating Baseball (and other sports, depending on your respective fandom)
Jesse Winker has already been optioned to AAA Louisville, but that didn’t stop his solid Cactus League output from continuing. The sweet-swinging lefty got the start for the Cincinnati Reds in RF against the Chicago Cubs, and proceeded to go 2 for 4 with a dinger, a double, and a wall-scraping fly-out that was almost his second big fly of the afternoon.
On a day when hardly anything else in the baseball world was worth emphasizing, that’s good enough for a trophy.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Sandy Lugo, who allowed 8 runs in just 0.1 IP, and while that’s amazingly awful, it’s nearly impossible to pull off such a performance and is therefore noteworthy; Louis Coleman, who was the lone Cincinnati pitcher to record a scoreless outing against the Cubs; Joey Votto, who had a 2 for 2 day (that included a walk); Jose Peraza, who went 2 for 3 wih a dinger, 2 runs scored, and a ribbie against the Seattle Mariners; Chad Wallach, who dingered against Seattle; Desmond Jennings, who dingered and walked against the M’s; and Rookie Davis, who allowed 3 ER in 4.2 IP against Seattle (but also bonked a solo dinger of his own).
Cubs 22, Reds 4
Votto blocked a punt and Winker recovered it in the Chicago end zone for an initial safety, and the Reds later benefited from a holding call on Anthony Rizzo in the end zone for another 2 points on the afternoon. Unfortunately, Kris Bryant threw for 377 yards and 3 TDs against the Cincinnati defense, with Albert Almora, Jr. catching two of those TD passes.
On a more serious note, this is how Tim Adleman's start began (and keep in mind it only got worse for the Reds after that):
Adleman's start vs. Cubs began:— Wick Terrell (@wickterrell) March 26, 2017
Pause for orange slices due to exhaustion
Mariners 7, Reds 6
A late sac-fly off the bat of Carlos Ruiz and a subsequent single by Ian Miller scored a pair of 8th inning runs of Lucas Benenati in this one, and despite Wallach's 9th inning dinger that proved to be the difference on the afternoon.
Davis struck out 7 against a lone walk in his 4.2 IP, but allowed 6 hits and 5 runs (3 earned) in what might well be his final showing for an Opening Day rotation spot. Tony Cingrani shrugged off his recent stumble with a perfect inning of relief (with 2 Ks), Jennings had a solid day that should put fears that his hip injury is serious on the back-burner, and while Devin Mesoraco didn't get anything going offensively, he stayed in the game long enough behind the plate to get 3 ABs, which is what the team's looking for more than anything at the moment.
- With camp breaking on Wednesday and Opening Day just over a week away, it's not surprising to hear roster rumors leaking out of camp.
- On Sunday, we learned that it's likely that the Reds will begin the season without Devin Mesoraco, who just isn't in enough game shape to be a dependable catcher at the moment. Hopefully, "at the moment" is the key portion of that phrase and that he'll be ready in another few weeks, but for the time being it looks like Cincinnati will be leaning heavily on Tucker Barnhart in April.
- We also learned that it's increasingly likely that Bronson Arroyo will make the club as a 40-year old, which is both fun to think about and a bit of damning critique of the pace of the rebuild. That came from Mark Sheldon at MLB.com, as did the note about Lucas Luetge having a decent shot to make the club as a lefty reliever due to, well, basically no other options.
- Cincinnati will return to playing just one game on Monday, as they'll tangle with the San Francisco Giants in Scottsdale at 4:05 PM ET. Cody Reed will start for the Reds against hopefully-what-Cody-Reed-turns-into lefty Madison Bumgarner.