The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Joey Votto didn't exactly get off the brightest of starts to his 2017 Cactus League campaign, but he's begun to show some signs of offensive life of late. Admittedly, Votto isn't always out there to smash the first spring training meatball he sees, since he's much more interested in seeing as many pitches as possible during these practice games as possible to get himself ready for when they actually count come April.
Tuesday saw Votto in the lineup against lefty (and former teammate) Travis Wood, and he responded by doing what few lefty hitters in the game can do. Votto smoked an opposite field single against Wood in his first PA - lefties hit just .128/.208/.239 in 120 PA against Wood last year - and later the Cincinnati Reds 1B added another single to finish the day 2 for 3.
Was it an all-world performance? No, but it was a good enough outing to use as an excuse to write about Joey Votto for the first time in a bit, and that's always worthwhile.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Sal Romano, who allowed an early solo dinger but overall pitched well (3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K); Blake Wood, who tossed a perfect 1-2-3 inning of relief; Ryan Raburn, who dingered; Eugenio Suarez, who dingered, too; Tony Cingrani, who faced the minimum in his lone inning of work (allowing a single and then picking off the runner at 1B); Patrick Kivlehan, who singled and swiped a bag; and Arismendy Alcantara, who tripled, drove in a run, and scored.
- Romano fell behind to the first two batters he faced. While he manage to retire Raul Mondesi to begin the game, that strategy failed against Mike Moustakas, who belted a solo homer over the wall in right-center to get the scoring started in the Top of the 1st. Reds trailed, 1-0.
- The Reds kicked back in the Bottom of the 3rd against former Red Travis Wood, beginning when Tucker Barnhart singled and came all the way around to score on Alcantara’s triple off the wall in CF. Alcantara later scored on a sac-fly to LF off the bat of Zack Cozart, and the Reds led, 2-1.
- Singles from Alex Gordon and Paulo Orlando greeted Michael Lorenzen in his first two PAs after taking over for Romano, and Gordon eventually scored after back to back productive grounders to level the score in the Top of the 4th, 2-2.
- Raburn put the Reds immediately back on top in the Bottom of the 4th as he swatted the second pitch of Chris Young's afternoon way over the wall in left-center for a solo dinger. That lead lasted only briefly, however, as Billy Burns countered in the Top of the 5th with a solo smack off Lorenzen that evened things once again, this time at 3-3.
- The dinger parade continued in the Bottom of the 5th, as Suarez cracked one of the 2-run variety off Young, scoring Votto (who had singled two batters earlier). Reds led, 5-3.
- Chad Wallach singled in the Bottom of the 7th with 2-out and nobody on, and the Royals' defense conspired to let him eventually score. An error on a ground by Jesse Winker moved him over once, and the bases were then loaded when Tony Renda reached on an infield "single" that was really a bobble by 1B Peter O'Brien. Wallach then scored when Ramon Torres bobbled another grounder, but Torres picked up his boot and fired home to nab Winker to keep the rally to a lone run and end the inning. Reds led, 6-3.
- Kivlehan's single in the Bottom of the 8th started another string of offense from Cincinnati, as both Hernan Iribarren and Gabby Guerrero singled behind him - the latter of which plated Kivlehan for the Reds' 7th run. Reds led, 7-3.
- Lisalverto Bonilla took over to pitch the Top of the 9th for Cincinnati, and things got a bit hairy. His defense brain-farted on an infield pop-up that should've been an out, and it fell for a hard-luck single. A double off the wall followed and a walk to Bubba Starling loaded the bases, but an inning-ending double play salvaged the inning and brought home a victory. Reds won, 7-3!
- Prior to this game, the Reds held an intrasquad game at their Goodyear facility that featured professional rehabbers Devin Mesoraco and Bronson Arroyo in their first live-action of the spring.
- Arroyo's fastball sat around 83 mph, and Mesoraco K'd in his lone PA, but both seemed optimistic about their returns, noting that their performance today was just a single step towards being ready - not an example of them being ready. MLB.com's Mark Sheldon spoke to both, the notes from which you can read about here.
- The Trouts will swim in from Tempe on Wednesday to take on the Reds in Goodyear. LA will send Ricky Nolasco to the mound for his second appearance of the Cactus League season, and he’ll be opposed by Reds starter Amir Garrett. First pitch is set for 3:05 PM ET, and while it won’t be televised by FS-Ohio, it will be on the Angels’ TV network for those who can tune in via MLB.tv.