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Cincinnati Reds lose opener to St. Louis Cardinals, 5-4

That’s a 5th straight loss.

Pittsburgh Pirates v. Cincinnati Reds Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Welcome to The Show, Ryan Hendrix.

Called up for the first time earlier on Friday, the young Cincinnati Reds righty reliever took the big league mound on Friday in St. Louis, in doing so earning the right to tell the world forever that the big leagues include him. Then, he went out and totally looked the part.

Hendrix hit 97 mph on the gun with his heater, but it was his breaking ball - the pitch that consistently saw him viewed as a big leaguer in his days in MiLB - that really, really looked the part. He struck out a pair in his spotless frame, and in a week when bullpen outs have been incredibly hard to come by, that was an incredibly welcome addition.

(Unfortunately, a lot of other stuff didn’t go well for the Reds.)

Key Plays

  • Some dude on the Cardinals socked a 400 foot solo dong off a 93 mph Sonny Gray fastball in the Bottom of the 2nd, keeping it just inside the LF fair pole to put the Cardinals in the lead, 1-0.
  • Home plate ump Joe West blew a would-be third strike call with pitcher Kwang Hyun Kim at bat in the Bottom of the 3rd, so naturally he reached on a stubbed infield single down the 3B line one pitch later. That got things going against Gray, as after Kim was swapped out for Tommy Edman on the bases via force out, a single by Dylan Carlson followed, and Paul Goldschmidt then cleared the bags with a double down the LF line, too. Nolan Arenado then drove him home, some dude doubled to drive him home, too, and the Reds were in a 5-0 hole.
  • A solo blast from Castellanos got the Reds on the board in the Top of the 6th, and that put the Reds on the board, albeit in a 5-1 hole.
  • The Top of the 9th saw the Reds flirt with a rally, with Alex Blandino coaxing a walk off Jordan Hicks and later scoring on a Jonathan India ‘triple’ that featured two Cardinals OFs almost running into one another before bailing at the last minute to the Reds (and India’s) profit. That made it a 5-2 game, and back-to-back-to-back AAU National Championships walks forced in yet another run, too. Another run scored on a passed ball on a 3rd strike, but Eugenio Suarez eventually K’d to end the rally and leave the Reds on the wrong side of the 5-4 scoreboard.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • Nick Castellanos socked another dinger, and that was awesome.
  • Sonny Gray simply didn’t have it tonight, and after a 4th inning visit at the mound from David Bell and the training staff, you have to wonder just how right he is at the moment after a lingering back issue and a lack of a full spring camp. He stayed in the game after said visit - walking another batter before exiting - and his final line was very much un-Sonny: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 6 K on 86 pitches.
  • Heath Hembree looked good in his Reds debut, while each of Jose De Leon and Amir Garrett put up zeroes from the bullpen, too. That’s...something?
  • The Reds will turn to Wade Miley for Saturday’s action, doing so under the .500 mark again for the first time since the last time St. Louis thumped them to open a series. John Gant will toe the rubber for the Cardinals, with first pitch set for 2:15 PM ET.
  • Tunes.