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Pirates plunder Reds, steal their bats, win 5-0

Not the debut Sonny Gray was hoping for, either.

MLB: Spring Training-Cincinnati Reds at Los Angeles Dodgers Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

This game was cold and forgettable. Sonny Gray was well off his game (more on that in a moment), and the Reds were completely tied up by young Pirates starter Trevor Williams. Despite the stuff not being particularly nasty, the Reds offense didn’t come close to figuring it out, and it’s reflected in the score. Mama said there’d be days like this.

So, Michael Lorenzen gets the nod here, because his performance is one of the only positive things from the game as a whole. After having to put out Gray’s fire in the second inning, Lorenzen pitched two more full innings, allowing only a hit and a walk, with two strikeouts. He also just missed sending a fat Williams offering into the batter’s eye in CF. It was a solid outing that kept the Reds theoretically in a game they really had no business still being in.

So, way to go, Mike!

Honorable mention to Wandy Peralta, I guess, who worked around two walks for a scoreless inning. Jared Hughes made things as interesting as possible in his scoreless frame, too. Jose Iglesias made several slick plays from SS that helped limit the damage early in this one, and chipped in with a hit, too. Joey Votto had a single and a double (that just missed leaving the yard), too.

Key Plays

  • Sonny Gray wasn’t particularly sharp to start this game. Gray induced a groundout to put away Adam Frazier, and then was (somewhat foolishly) charge with an error trying to leg out a play with Starling Marte at first base. The error would haunt, of course. Corey Dickerson lined out sharply to right before Marte stole second and then came on around to score on a Josh Bell single to center. Gray managed to wriggle out of the jam, but the Pirates get on the board in the first, 1-0.
  • Same for the second, really. Melky Cabrera beat the shift with a groundball to left to get aboard, and then was moved over on an Erik Gonzaelz groundout to short. Gray had to battle the damn pitcher, who ended up punching one the other way, just out of the reach of Votto. Cabrera scored from second on the grounder. Frazier then looped one into center, sending Williams to third. Frazier took an extra base, too, while Scott Schebler fumbled around fielding the ball. Marte walked to load the bases, but luckily Dickerson put his grounder right back up the middle, off of Gray, who snagged it and threw to home to start the double play. Pirates only get one more, somehow, 2-0.
  • And, well, the third happened, too. Bell grounded out to open the frame before Cervelli singled to left. Jung Ho Kang walked, Cabrera flew out, and then Gonzalez walked, too, to load the bases. Gray then walked the damn pitcher to score a run, and that would be it for his day. Michael Lorenzen came in in relief and induced a groundout to Frazier to put out the fire. Somehow, the Reds escape the third only down 3. 3-0.
  • Nothing much happened again until the top of the 8th. After a 1-2-3 7th inning, Robert Stephenson returned for the 8th. Pablo Reyes struck out swinging for the first out, but Frazier laid down a bunt for a hit to 3B, which Suarez then threw into the seats. Marte uncorked a double down the left field line to score Frazier. Stephenson then allegedly tried to pick off Marte at second, but the throw landed closer to Puig in right than second base. Dickerson hit a grounder for out number two, but it scored Marte. Bell flied out to center to end the inning. 5-0, Pirates.
  • And that was that. If you’re just waking up from your mid-Sunday nap to check this recap, don’t worry, the Reds were napping too. Pirates win, 5-0.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • So, it was a pretty cold day for baseball. Hell, it was a pretty cold day for anything. As relayed by the Junior Nightengale, the temperature at first pitch (35 degrees fahrenheit) make this the second coldest game on record at Great American Ball Park. Yikes.
  • If you were down at the park today and still have functioning fingers, let us know if it was as miserable as it sounds.
  • Sonny Gray’s Reds debut was... pretty bad. He just didn’t have it today, only being able to locate the fastball. The breaking stuff was completely lost, and a lot of the pitches that did find the zone got hit really sharply, even if it didn’t create a lot of damage, His final line: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER (3 R), 4 BB, 0 K. I’m sure the weather played a part in the performance, but, yeesh. Can only go up from here.
  • We’re all very old.
  • The defending NL Central champion Milwaukee Brewers will roll into town to begin a three gamer tomorrow evening, first pitch scheduled for 6:40 PM EDT. Tanner Roark will make his Reds debut in that one, and he’ll be opposed by Zach Davies for the Brewers. Christian Yelich has so far tied an MLB record by homering in his team’s first four games of the season. He’ll almost certainly break that by playing the Reds, right?
  • Tunes.