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Mike Moustakas homers in dream debut as Reds pound Tigers, 7-1

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The big moves the Reds made last winter pushed all the right buttons on Opening Day.

Cincinnati Reds Photo Day Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

When Mike Moustakas signed his 4-year, $64 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds this winter, it was the single largest free agent contract the club had ever doled out. It was a much needed inking of an impact player, but was going to immediately be an interesting fit as a 31 year old who had never really spent much time in the position - 2B - where he was going to be deployed.

Well, one game is certainly not a large enough sample, but hot damn was Moose’s debut the perfect one.

He flashed impressive glovework multiple times on defense, socked a mammoth dinger, and drove in a total of 4 runs as part of his 3 hit day against the Detroit Tigers. And on a day where so many of the recent Reds moves were on display in a positive way, his exploits clearly roared loudest.

Welcome to the Reds, Moose. Keep right on crushin’.

Honorable Mentions are due to: Sonny Gray, who notched his 1,000th career strikeout as part of a very solid day (6 IP, 3 H, ER, 2 BB, 9K); Joey Votto, who bonked a dinger, singled, scored twice, and did all of his damage against a LHP; Nick Castellanos, whose debut was just as fun (a double, run scored, a walk, ribbie, and HBP); Curt Casali, who singled and walked twice; Nate Jones, who fired a clean inning in his Reds debut; and Shogo Akiyama, who singled as a pinch hitter, driving in a run in his first career MLB PA.

Key Plays

  • David Bell and the Reds front office couldn’t have asked for a better start to play. Phil Ervin walked to lead off the Bottom of the 1st against lefty Matthew Boyd, and Votto followed with a single into RF. Boyd then hit both Suarez and Castellanos with breaking pitches, and the Reds had their first run of the year. Moustakas then followed with a bloop single into RF to plate Votto, and the Reds held a 2-0 lead - one that probably should’ve been a bit bigger had they not hit three straight balls after that, none of which left the infield.
  • The long game continued to look perfectly planned in the Bottom of the 3rd, as Castellanos hit a laser into the LF gap for his first double as a Red, and he scored a batter later on a loud single into almost the same spot from Moustakas. Reds led, 3-0.
  • CJ Cron finally got the Tigers on the board in the Top of the 4th, turning around a Gray meatball for a very, very long solo blast over the LF wall. Reds led, 3-1.
  • Votto snatched that homer’s reverberation and turned it into one of his own in the Bottom of the 5th, turning on an inside fastball from Boyd for a solo blast into the RF seats. Reds led, 4-1.
  • A Freddy Galvis single and Casali walk got the blood pumping in the Bottom of the 6th, and Shogo’s 2-out pinch-hit single up the middle scored Freddy to extend the Reds lead to 5-1.
  • Moose’s blast came in the Bottom of the 7th, and scored Travis Jankowski - who had come on to run for Castellanos after the latter coaxed a walk. Moose freaking mauled it, too, a 421 foot bomb into the heart of the RF seats. Reds led, 7-1, which is precisely how this one ended.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • This game marked the single lowest attendance in Reds Opening Day history. And we thought splashing cash in free agency would put butts in seats...
  • Speaking of which, the US of A saw nearly 80,000 new positive tests nationwide on Friday. Wear a damn mask, folks.
  • When Akiyama pinch hit in the Bottom of the 6th to officially make his Reds debut, he became the first Japanese-born player to don the Reds uniform in a big league game. Heck yeah. He also chipped in with an impressive play in LF, too.
  • We’re sorry we ever doubted you, Joey. Won’t let that happen again.
  • Saturday’s game between these two will also be an early evening affair, as first pitch is set for 5:10 PM ET. Veteran righty Ivan Nova will toe the rubber for Detroit, while Luis Castillo will get to make his first statement of the year as Cincinnati’s starter.
  • Tunes.