The Reds went one extra last night in Surprise, ultimately calling it a draw with the Rangers at 6 – 6 (box). I was hoping to see our old friend Shin Soo Choo, but He’s dealing with some elbow inflammation (or so the Ranger’s announcers said, I think). But the Rangers didn’t come empty handed, as recent ex-Red Ryan Ludwick got two hits out of the DH slot, and Adam Rosales got an AB late in the game.

Staring Pitching: Jason Marquis was not sharp last night, but the Reds offense had him in line for the win. He went 6 full innings allowing only 2 runs, but he walked 3 and gave up 6 hits. The outs he got were pretty loud too, for example, doubling up Prince Fielder on a scorched liner in the first with two men on. He also seems to be pretty “deliberate” to the plate, and the Rangers stole 3 bases in the first 5 innings pretty easily.

If this was a regular season game I’d be happy with the result from Marquis, but it wasn’t the most inspiring performance. I have to think we’re in for a lot of this, but hey, it worked for Alfredo Simon last year. Maybe Marquis will be an all-star this year!

Bullpen Meltdown: More troubling was Badenhop blowing his third save of the very short spring. I was pretty happy with the Reds signing Badenhop, and we all know that spring stats don’t mean a thing, but jeez louise. He only got 2 outs last night, giving up 4 hits, 2 walks, and 4 runs, raising his ERA up to tidy 24.30. That’s a whole bullpen’s worth of ERA. When that’s the guy you brought in to save the bullpen, yikes.

Offense: It wasn’t all doom and gloom, because the Reds did some pretty nice hitting against some pretty decent pitching. The Rangers top pitching prospect was throwing hard and moving the ball all over the place, but the Reds managed to work some good ABs and threatened all game. Maybe it will be the Reds offense that keeps them in games this year, that would be a change of pace, right?

The stars of the show were Byrd (2 hits, 2 runs), Mesoraco (2-run HR), Negron (2 hits, 1 walk), and Dominquez (long 2-run HR). Hamilton had 2 walks and a steal and Frazier chipped in a hit and a steal of his own. Votto did a lot of swinging, and not a whole lot of hitting, which wasn’t fun to watch but at least it wasn’t a bunch of boring walks!

Optimistic Takeaway of the Game: For all my griping about the Reds getting a very old LF instead of a very good LF, Marlon Byrd looks good right now. I’m starting to see how this Reds team might compete this year, and it’s not the way that got them into the playoffs 3 times in 4 years. Right now, Votto, Frazier, Bruce, Mesoraco, and Byrd all look healthy and dialed in. If they all hit like they can, that’s a heck of a 2-6. The Reds might score a lot of runs this year.

20 Responses

  1. reaganspad

    Not sure how we can keep Negron out of the lineup. Have been thinking SS, but does he start over Billy if they counted tomorrow?

    The kid can hit

    • jdx19

      I share your optimism about Negron, but a very short track record in the majors (about 150 ABs), does not outweigh 4 fairly lackluster seasons in AAA.

      I think he should be on the team, for sure, but I think you have to stick with Billy until he shows that he hasn’t improved from the 2nd half last year. You can’t play Billy, even with his defense and running, if he’s batting .220/.265/.300 or something like that.

      • whereruklu

        By as early as next year, Negron will either be the starting ss or 2b. Love this guy, can’t keep him hidden.

  2. BigRedMachine

    Question for you Jeremy. You said:

    “Right now, Votto, Frazier, Bruce, Mesoraco, and Byrd all look healthy and dialed in. If they all hit like they can, that’s a heck of a 2-6.”

    I know he didn’t play in the game you just recapped but isn’t Phillips the 3rd hitter? Or is that not settled yet? I don’t think I’ve seen Phillips bat 7th in any spring training game yet this year but I might have missed it.

    • jdx19

      I’m holding out hope that Price is just trying to get his regulars more ABs by batting them higher and letting guys like Falu and Dominguez bat at the bottom of the lineup.

      However, the trend does suggest BP won’t bat 7th.

    • Jeremy Conley

      Yeah, since this was in my optimistic takeaway section, I was mostly musing about what could be. I still don’t understand how any manager could bat Phillips ahead of any of the guys I mentioned, so I guess I have hope.

  3. charlottencredsfan

    Billy looked better at the plate. Closed his stance up from the previous televised game I watched. Still shuffling that front foot around but…

    Negron looks like a hitter that studies his craft as much as anyone on the club, outside of JV. Doesn’t necessarily mean he will be a good hitter but it appears he has a plan at the plate. It’s a good foundation to start from. If he keeps up, Cozart should be on a very short leash.

    • George Mirones

      Negron’s throws from short seem to have a habit of being high and off target. Votto has had to really reach for 3 of them. He might be better at 2B and won’t mope about batting 7th. He will just be glad to with the team and have a job.

      • Jeremy Conley

        I agree George. I don’t think that Negron has the arm for SS anymore. I really like the kid, but I would start him at 2B.

    • ohiojimw

      If he {Negron} keeps up, Cozart should be on a very short leash.

      Are you and I the only ones that get that Negron is a natural SS and actually won Southern League (AA) defensive SS of the year? And thus the way to get him into the line up is at SS?

      • charlottencredsfan

        Either through injury or someone’s abysmal performance, Negron will get his shot at some position soon enough.

  4. redmountain

    I am a little worried about Badenhop and LeCure, and not worried about the rest. Let us see what happens once the season starts, There may come a time when Negron will become a starter, but for now I am satisfied with what the Reds have offensively and defensively.

    • jdx19

      I’m in the same boat. Our worst bats happen to be exceptional fielders (Cozart and Hamilton), and our best bats all have MVP-level upside (Votto, Bruce, Meso, Fraz). BP is good with the glove and will likely be somewhat close to league average in terms of hitting. Byrd is the unknown. He could be terrible to slightly above-average.

    • Grand Salami

      How can you not also be worried about Hoover unless you have wiped your mental hard drive of his performance last year? (I would if I could.)

      To a lesser extent I’ll throw in Parra. He was off last year and may not be the Price turnaround success story that everyone touted in 2013.

      About the only guys I am not worried about are Cingrani and Chapman. I also don’t worry about Marshall but that’s a product of ambivalence rather than confidence.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Bingo. Hearing whispers that Gregg may actually be the set-up man; not impressed in the least. Give me Jumbo.

        GS, I’m with you anyone not named Chapman, concerns me when discussing the bullpen. Actually, outside of Chapman, Bailey & Cueto, the pitching staff itself has me concerned. At the very least, there are more questions that certainties when it comes to the Reds and pitching.

      • Steve Mancuso

        36-year-old pitcher. Signed to minor league contract. Barely pitched in 2014. Journeyman. Never really been more than a mediocre pitcher. Coming off elbow surgery.

        Sound familiar? Except it’s Kevin Gregg, not Jason Marquis.

        Gregg was effective as the Cubs closer for first half of 2013. No one believed it, though. Cubs tried to trade him at deadline, no luck. Predictable nightmare collapse in the second half of 2013. Released by the Cubs. No one interested in signing him in 2014 until June. He pitched 9 innings for the Marlins and had to be shut down for surgery.

        Kevin Gregg is another Jocketty reclamation project. He’s pitched five innings. No way he should make the roster.

  5. VaRedsFan

    The “I know it’s Spring cliche'” for Badenhop is scary. I’d more at ease if he pitched good, only allowing a run here or there while working on Spring stuff, instead of getting beat up 3 times.

  6. Jeremy Forbes

    Here’s something I haven’t seen touched on much this Spring. The Reds are stealing bases absolutely horribly. They are currently 7 for 17 in stolen base attempts.

    Really hope that gets cleaned up a bit before the season starts. The Reds don’t have the luxury of being able to give away outs.