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Robert Stephenson knocked around, Reds lose to Diamondbacks 7-3

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Not a good outing for Bob in his quest for a rotation spot.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

You try to never place too much importance on the results in any one particular spring training game. It’s impossible to know which pitchers are focusing more on locating a specific pitch than they are on getting batters out, and the same can often be said for hitters who may simply be working on something at the plate instead of trying to scrap out singles.

That said, with the injuries to Cincinnati Reds pitchers of late and the competition for Opening Day spots, Robert Stephenson had a pretty large spotlight on him with a chance to really put on a show against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday, and it’s safe to say that didn’t work out at all. Bob needed 51 pitches to get through just 2 IP, allowing 4 R (3 ER) on 5 hits, walking a pair while fanning a pair, too. He missed spots with both his fastball and breaking pitches, often up in the zone with both, and threw just 24 strikes against 27 balls. And given how his competition for rotation spots has fared recently, that certainly seems to diminish his chances of getting one of those coveted spots come Opening Day.

The Reds couldn’t overcome those early struggles despite a pair of homers later on, and slumped to another loss as Arizona won, 6-3.

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Tucker Barnhart mauled his 4th homer of Cactus League play in this one, and complemented it by throwing out a runner attempting to steal 2B. That Tucker is becoming more and more of a complete, two-way player is fabulous to see, and the 4 year, $16 million contract extension he signed this offseason looks more and more a bargain by the day.

Honorable Mentions are due to: Scott Schebler, who dingered; Jesse Winker, who smacked a pair of singles and swiped a bag; and Kevin Shackelford, who allowed just a lone hit in his clean inning of work, with a K.

Key Plays

  • Steven Souza dumped a jam-shot single into shallow left-center in the Bottom of the 1st, and since it came with 2-outs in the inning, David Peralta was on the run from the start, scoring from 2B after his leadoff double. Reds trailed, 1-0.
  • It was more of the same in the Bottom of the 2nd against Stephenson, unfortunately. A walk to Jeff Mathis haunted, as those are wont to do, after a single by Ketel Marte and a 2-RBI double to the wall in RF by Peralta. An error at short by Jose Peraza allowed Peralta to move up a bag, and that burned when Paul Goldschmidt plated him with a productive groundout. Reds trailed, 4-0.
  • Schebler got the Reds on the board in the Top of the 4th, following up a single by Eugenio Suarez with a 2-run dinger over the wall in RF off lefty Jorge De La Rosa. Reds trailed, 4-2.
  • Tanner Rainey walked AJ Pollock in the Bottom of the 4th with 1-out, and it, too, haunted. A productive fly-out allowed Christian Walker - who came on to run for Pollock - to move up to 2B, and he then scored on Jake Lamb’s single into LF. Reds trailed, 5-2.
  • Barnhart’s homer in the Top of the 7th inched the Reds closer, 5-3, but an unearned run off Kevin Quackenbush (thanks to a Phil Gosselin error and a wild pitch) put the Reds immediately back in a 3-run hole in the Bottom of the 7th.
  • Arizona tacked on another run in the Bottom of the 8th off Jimmy Herget, a 2-out rally that started with a Ramon Flores walk and ended with him scoring after a pair of soft singles. That put the Reds behind 7-3, which is how things ended.

Other Notes

  • Zack Greinke exited after just 1 IP with what’s been reported as a tight groin.
  • The Reds have apparently signed former Boston Red Sox manager (and former Boston pitching coach) as a scout, according to The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans. You’ll also remember that his son, Luke, was a pitcher in the Reds’ system last year.
  • Tyler Mahle gets the start for the Reds on Thursday in Goodyear as they take on Cleveland. The Reds will be the away team in that outing against their complex-mates. First pitch is set for 4:05 PM ET, and there’s no TV feed.
  • Tunes.