The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Let’s get this out of the way immediately here - this was an ugly, ugly game from the Cincinnati Reds today. Bad defense, baserunning gaffes, an injury, a rare poor Luis Castillo start, and the St. Louis Cardinals made them pay. For the most part, this will hopefully just go down as one lone loss on the season-long ledger, but man, it sure won’t go down as one they’ll want to watch a lot of again.
That said, the bats did finally come alive, a welcome change from how the 2020 season fizzled. Chief among them was Nick Castellanos, who socked an early homer and later added a double and a single, too, picking up on the white-hot start he had to last season. Hopefully, it’s a start that will continue a bit deeper into the year this year.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Jonathan India, who doubled for his first big league hit and later smoked a single 109.7 mph off the bat; Jesse Winker, who singled, doubled, walked, and scored twice; Sal Romano, who mopped-up well with a pair of scoreless IP in relief; and Carson Fulmer, who matched Sal with a pair of those, too.
- The fourth pitch of the season was poked by Paul Goldschmidt down the RF line for a solo homer off Luis Castillo in the Top of the 1st, clearing the yellow line at the top of the fence by the slightest of margins. Reds trailed, 1-0...UNTIL THEY DID NOT. After a lengthy review, it was deemed merely a double to the delight of Reds fans worldwide, and the game remained 0-0...UNTIL IT DID NOT. Two derpy soft singles later and Goldschmidt scored, and after Castillo doinked Tyler O’Neill to load the bases, Yadier Molina hit a slow roller to Opening Day Shortstop Eugenio Suarez [TM], who booted it to allow another pair of runs to score. Dylan Carlson then mauled a meatball off the fair pole in RF for a 3-run blast, and this season was off to a (/wags middle fingers at the sky) kind of start. Reds trailed, 6-0.
- The Reds, to their credit, got one back quickly. Jesse Winker led off with a hustle-double into RF, and after tagging up to take 3B on a productive flyout, he scored on a Jack Flaherty wild pitch. Reds trailed, 6-1.
- Goldschmidt was behind another Cardinals run in the Top of the 2nd, legging out a single after a grounder deep in the hole at short and advancing to 2B on another error by Opening Day Shortstop Eugenio Suarez [TM] - this one of the throwing variety. He later scored on a Nolan Arenado single, and the Reds were down 7-1.
- Tucker Barnhart reached base in the Bottom of the 3rd when a breaking ball by Jack Flaherty doinked him, and that left a runner on base for Castellanos’ blastellanos into the LF bleachers, a 2-run shot that came off the bat at a rockin’ 109.7 mph that made it a 7-3 game.
- Castillo was still in for the Top of the 4th, and his misery continued with a walk of Flaherty, the opposing pitcher. The most ‘infield hit by Tommy Edman’ ever then followed after Joey Votto bobbled a poor flip from Castillo at 1B, and a single & wild pitch combo eventually scored them both, with Castillo’s day mercifully coming to an end a batter later. Cam Bedrosian took over with an inherited runner still out there on 2B, though, and that tacked another run onto Castillo’s total when O’Neill bonked a 2-run homer into the LF seats. Reds trailed, 11-3.
- Opening Day Shortstop Eugenio Suarez [TM] got a run back eventually, socking a solo homer just over the RF wall in the Bottom of the 4th, shaving the Cardinals lead down to 11-4.
- Joey Votto got in on the action in the Bottom of the 5th, poking an RBI single into CF to score Winker, who had walked and moved to 3B on a Castellanos double. An ODSES [TM] walk chased Flaherty to the showers in favor of lefty Tyler Webb, who came on with the bases loaded and only 1-out. Mike Moustakas plated Castellanos with a sac-fly to CF, but that was all that rally could muster. Reds trailed, 11-6.
- Cincinnati loaded the bags with 1-out in the Bottom of the 6th, but a rope by Castellanos was nabbed in CF and Tyler Stephenson was inexplicably doubled-up on the bases before India could score on the would-be sac-fly, and the wind came out of the Reds sails once again. They’d tinker with the idea of threatening to score again, but score again they did not, and an 11-6 loss was in the books.
- It was a cold, dark, dreary day in GABP today, and Luis Castillo’s outing certainly matched that mood. Honestly, it might well be the worst start of his Reds career given the circumstances. His final line: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 10 R (8 ER), 2 BB, 0 (zero) K, HBP on 73 pitches.
- Nick Senzel made a tremendous diving play in CF, looked like he winced when he stood back up, finished the inning, and then was pulled from the lineup the next half-inning when his spot in the lineup was due up. Tyler Naquin took his place. Great, grand, groovy, glorious. It was eventually revealed to be a left shoulder injury.
- Eugenio Suarez dingered and walked twice, which was good. He also had a pair of costly early errors that put the Reds in a hole, which was not good. Hopefully it’s just some jitters for the newly minted Reds shortstop, but it certainly does make you question the team’s decision to wait until the freaking middle of March before deciding to move him to the position.
- Normally I’m apoplectic about the idea of there being an off-day the day after Opening Day, but given how this one went, maybe it’s not a bad time for one after all.
- These Reds will try this whole ‘baseball’ thing again on Saturday, though, and it’ll be superstar in the making Tyler Mahle on the bump. He’ll be countered by Adam Wainwright of St. Louis, with first pitch set for 4:10 PM ET.