A win’s a win even if it doesn’t matter, right? Right? Oh well, the good guys still took home a shutout this afternoon on the back of the strong pitching we’ve been so spoiled with these past couple years. With the offseason changes, it seemed that this staff may fall off the cliff a bit, but Mike Leake and Johnny Cueto at least are still making their case for one of the stronger one-two punches in the National League.
Pitching: Leake started the game and threw 4.0 innings of two hit baseball. Both were weak singles in the third, but no damage was done as Leake got Jason Kipnis to ground into a twin killing to end the inning. Leake has been especially strong this spring, throwing 9.0 innings without giving up a run on four hits with eight strikeouts. If this is the Leake that shows up for the long haul in 2015, I doubt any Reds’ fans will be willing to see him ushered out the door.
Aroldis Chapman was next up, going two innings and giving up two hard hits to no damage. Lonnie Chisenhall knocked a double off of the Cuban Missile, and Michael Bourn laced a single an inning later but neither came around to score. Chapman has been more of the same this Spring Training, giving up infrequent hard hits, but also striking out an inordinate number of hitters.
To finish off the game, Burke Badenhop and Tony Cingrani combined for three scoreless, hitless innings. Of note, Cingrani struck out three in his first appearance since Bryan Price relegated him to the bullpen.
Offense: Kris Negron continues to prove why the front office should just clone him and replace Skip Schumaker as he went 2 for 3 today, homering and crossing the plate twice. Todd “the Toddfather” Frazier also added a solo shot in the second inning to put the Reds on the board. Schumaker did triple and come home on a wild pitch, but in his other four at-bats, he flew out twice and grounded out twice. Not much else in the way of hitting; Billy Hamilton did single and bring in a run, Brandon Phillips walked twice, and the Reds were only one hit away from double digits. Progress, gentleman, progress.
Baserunning: Billy Hamilton stole his first base of the spring and confirmed to everyone that yes, he is still fast. Other than that, it seemed that anything and everything that happened on the basepaths today was not due to anything done by the Reds but rather for them by the Indians. With two wild pitches and an error on a pickoff attempt, the Reds gained five bases free of charge from the Tribe.
– The Reds wore green hats today. Bleh.
– Pete Rose is angling once more for his ban to be lifted now that Bud Selig has retired. Somehow this is still considered news.
– No errors committed today by the Reds. No particularly outstanding plays either. For the Reds to go anywhere this season, they’ll need to depend on games like this one. Strong pitching, steady defense, and just enough hitting to put a tally in the win column.
Next up: Jason Marquis goes against the White Sox at 4:05 EST. The game will be broadcast on radio on WSAI – 1360.