The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Rosell Herrera opened camp with the Cincinnati Reds by cranking home runs in each of the team’s first two games. The former Top 100 prospect was signed by the Reds after spending parts of eight different seasons in the Colorado Rockies system, and if the 25 year old keeps coming up with big hits like he has to date, he could very well rise from afterthought to a player to keep an eye on going forward.
He had the single biggest hit for the Reds on Monday against the Los Angeles Angels, too, a bases-clearing 3-run triple with 2-out in the Bottom of the 8th, and later scored. His odds of making the club out of spring training as the 5th outfielder are likely still long, but his versatility - he’s played all OF positions, SS, and 3B in his MiLB career - may give him more of a chance than we’ve given him credit for to date. Days like today sure help, too.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Jesse Winker, who doubled and scored; Alex Blandino, who singled in a run, scored, and walked; Joe Hudson, who singled and doubled in a run; and David Hernandez, who fired a perfect inning of relief against his former club (with a K).
- Cliff Pennington booted an otherwise routine grounder at short off the bat of Martin Maldonado in the Top of the 2nd, and that bit Sal Romano when Eric Young, Jr. smacked an RBI triple to the wall in left-center to plate the unearned run. Fortunately, Romano got a line-shot double play to escape further damage, but the Reds trailed, 1-0.
- The Angels plated another run thanks to Cincinnati miscues in the Top of the 3rd. Romano hit Michael Hermosillo with a pitch, and Hermosillo took 2B when a pickoff attempt at 1B was booted by Joey Votto. Colin Walsh then poked a single into CF, and Hermosillo motored around to score. Walsh later moved up to 2B on a productive groundout, which allowed him to score on a soft single into LF off the bat of Albert Pujols. Reds trailed, 3-0.
- Another error led to another run in the Top of the 4th. Romano dropped the flip at 1B from Votto on what should’ve been a 3-1 groundout, and that left the speedy Young, Jr. on base again. He burned the Reds by taking 2B on a ball in the dirt and then scored when Rymer Liriano ripped a double down the RF line. Romano was later pulled with Liriano on 3B with Kyle Crockett taking over, and though Crockett got Walsh to hit a soft grounder towards Votto, Liriano was able to elude the tag when Votto threw home, and that put the Reds in a 5-0 deficit.
- Young, Jr. took another chomp out of the Reds in the Top of the 6th, reaching on a double that kicked off the glove of a diving Votto up the 1B line. That put him in scoring position, which turned into another Angel run on Walsh’s single into CF. Reds trailed, 6-0.
- The Junior Reds were once again tasked with providing the offense on the day, and they did just that off reliever Adam Hofacket when given the chance in the Bottom of the 8th. Winker’s double began the action, and he moved to 3B on an infield single off the bat of Mason Williams. Winker then came home on Blandino’s RBI single through the hole on the left side of the infield, and Sebastian Elizalde then loaded the bases with nobody out with a single into LF of his own. Back to back Ks of Darnell Sweeney and Shed Long put a damper on things, but Herrera then smacked his 3-run triple over the CF’s head and the rally was still on. Hudson later plated Herrera with his double into CF, and the Reds had cut the lead to 6-5.
- Vance Worley took the mound for the Top of the 9th and allowed a run in a blink after a double-single in what I’m pretty sure were just his first three pitches. That left the Reds behind 7-5, which is how things ended.
- Sal Romano had an error, an awkward wild pitch, and watched his defense err twice behind him, which sure didn’t help his outing. He also had several balls hit rather hard, and clearly wasn’t at his best. His final line: 3.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 3 K on 58 pitches.
- Cody Reed threw 2 scoreless innings, but they were far from pretty. He allowed 4 hits and a walk against a lone K, and needed a timely double play with the bases loaded to escape what could’ve been a much different final line.
- Billy Hamilton ran god knows how far into left-center to making a diving catch on a would-be Shohei Ohtani double in the Top of the 1st. If anything, it almost looked routine for Billy despite him being one of the absolute few people on the planet who could’ve pulled it off - though it was truly anything but routine.
- Ohtani, the Angels’ two-way star, started at DH for the Angels and had an 0 for 3 day.]
- The Cincinnati defense committed 4 more errors in this one, which is becoming a somewhat alarming trend this spring.
- We’ve got doubleheader action for the Reds on Tuesday...sort of. While Brandon Finnegan will be making his Cactus League debut for the Reds in Goodyear against Cleveland at 3:05 PM ET, Michael Lorenzen will headline a “B” game in Surprise against the Texas Rangers, as Better Off Red’s Jamie Ramsey relayed earlier. That “B” game is slated for 10:30 AM tomorrow, which I’m assuming is local Arizona time, otherwise that’s a damn early start.