Baseball season is underway in Cincinnati, and the Reds are off to a great start. The team won both of their series this week (Philadelphia and St. Louis), and they’ll try to keep things going in Pittsburgh on Monday.
Is it early? Sure.
Will this last? Probably not.
But for now, I don’t mind these standings one bit.
Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.
Can We Have a Mulligan?
Opening Day didn’t get off to the best start in Cincinnati.
– C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) April 3, 2017
After last season’s struggles, fans were excited to get the 2017 season going. Unfortunately, Scott Feldman gave up a home run to the first batter the Reds faced this season. Things didn’t get much better for Feldman who gave up 3 runs in 4.2 innings of work. The Reds rallied back to make it a close game, but Philadelphia handed Cincinnati an Opening Day loss.
Impressive Pitching Performances
There were a lot of question marks surrounding Cincinnati’s starting rotation to open the season. Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani are both on the disabled list, and the team was left depending on Scott Feldman, Brandon Finnegan, and a cast of newcomers.
Finnegan held up his end of the bargain as he pitched 7 solid innings in Cincinnati’s second game of the season. Over those 7 innings of work, he gave up 0 runs, 1 hit, and struck out 9. Eno Sarris of FanGraphs had a helpful breakdown of Finnegan’s performance. He chalked up some of his success to an improved changeup.
The second big pitching performance of the week came on Friday as Amir Garrett made his major league debut. Garrett held St. Louis scoreless for 6 innings, and he only surrendered 2 hits. Garrett is an interesting prospect. He was drafted by the Reds in 2011, but before devoting himself to baseball full time he played two seasons of basketball at St. Johns. Below is a little more information about his journey to the majors.
Three years ago, @Amir_Garrett was playing basketball.
– FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) August 28, 2016
Of course, you also have to mention Scott Feldman’s performance on Sunday. He bounced back from a difficult Opening Day to hold the Cardinals scoreless over 6 innings.
Welcome Back to the Big Leagues Bronson
Before yesterday, Bronson Arroyo hadn’t pitched in a major league game since 2014. Improbably, he made his return to the majors yesterday in a start for Cincinnati. Arroyo was clearly happy to be back on the mound…and St. Louis was happy to see him as well. The Cardinals lit up Arroyo for 6 runs in 4 innings of work. It’s hard to know how much longer Arroyo will be able to stay healthy, but it was nice to see him in a Reds uniform one more time.
– FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) April 9, 2017
What Can’t Michael Lorenzen Do?
On Thursday, the Reds did something a little unexpected. Bryan Price called on reliever Michael Lorenzen to pinch-hit in a game against Philadelphia. How did it go?
Pitch hit home run from Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen pic.twitter.com/tmww4RBez9
– Garrett AtkinsðŸ‘¾ (@13atkins13) April 6, 2017
It was Cincinnati’s first pinch-hit home run since 2015. Because the Reds are employing a small bench to start the season, Bryan Price had mentioned his willingness to use Lorenzen at the plate on days he doesn’t pitch. So far, I’m all in on this strategy.
Oh Look, the Cardinals Are Cheating Again
No, this didn’t happen in a Reds game. However, I’ll never miss the chance to point out when something fishy happens in St. Louis.
On Thursday, Yadier Molina went to block a ball in the dirt. He began frantically looking for the ball once it bounced off of him. There was a small problem though. The ball was actually stuck to his chest protector.
– The Fanatics View (@thefanaticsview) April 7, 2017
What exactly is going on here? No one has come up with a good explanation for what happened. As Chris Cwik notes, it’s commonly accepted in baseball that pitchers will use substances to get a better grip on the ball. Most hitters actually encourage this. However, Molina and/or Cecil seem to be using way more than a little bit of a substance here.
I just chalk it up to the Cardinals being the dirtiest players in the game.
Highlight of the Week: A Rough Trip Around the Bases
Each week, I’ll try and bring you the best highlight from around baseball. This first submission is going to be pretty difficult to beat.
Stephen Piscotty probably had the worst trip around the bases in the history of baseball. Let’s relive all the action with some help from Scott Sterling.
STEPHEN PISCOTTY + SCOTT STERLING
THIS MAY BE THE BEST THING IVE EVER MADE pic.twitter.com/3CIYFFTsiR
– RT Ohio (@RT_Ohio) April 5, 2017
Cincinnati kicks off a three-game series in Pittsburgh tomorrow, and they’ll finish the week with four games against Milwaukee at home.