Final — 11 innings R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates (0-2) 4 8 1
Cincinnati Reds (2-0) 5 11 0
W: Hoover (1-0) L: Liz (0-1)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Joey Votto had two hits, both of which drove in runs, but his walkoff single in the bottom of the 11th inning was the highlight of the game.

–Billy Hamilton had three hits, reached base four straight times, stole three bases, and scored a run. In the bottom of the fifth, Hamilton stole second base, but was sent back to first because Joey Votto unintentionally interfered with catcher Francisco Cervelli’s throw. No sweat, says Hamilton. Billy then proceeded to steal second (for the second time) and third. First person in big league history to steal three bases in one inning, yet still be stuck on third base? Unfortunately, he was stranded at third when Votto, Frazier, and Mesoraco all struck out.

Hamilton should have just stolen home, I guess.

–Lots of effective pitching from the Cincinnati bullpen tonight, but the best of the bunch was…wait for it…JJ Hoover. Hoover pitched a scoreless ninth and tenth, and looked very, very good in the process. As Steve said on Twitter, there is reason for hope that Hoover will have a bounce-back season and be an important member of this bullpen in 2015.

–Todd Frazier opened the scoring with his second homer of the season. He later singled and scored another run.

–Mike Leake loaded the bases in the sixth inning, whereupon manager Bryan Price promptly called upon newly-minted reliever Tony Cingrani. No sweat: Cingrani struck out Pedro Alvarez to keep the game tied at 3.

–1-2-3 inning for Jumbo Diaz in the eighth inning. Then Aroldis Chapman was his usual effective self in the ninth. Then JJ Hoover pitched a very strong tenth inning.

The Bad
–In five at-bats tonight, Brandon Phillips saw precisely eight pitches. That means that, in 8 AB over the first two games, BP has seen 13 total pitches. He’s taking this “I refuse to walk” thing seriously, I suppose.

–Brennan Boesch made his Reds debut in the bottom of the seventh, and tHom Brennaman praised him for working a 10-pitch at-bat. Well, Boesch struck out, and swung at at least five pitches that were nowhere near the strike zone. This, after not taking a single walk all spring.

Yep, sounds like he’ll fit in on this Reds bench just fine. Just fine, I tell ya.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–You can’t win them all if you don’t win the first two.

–Mike Leake went 5.2 innings, allowed 5 runs on 6 hits and 6 walks. First game with 5+ walks for Leake since 2010. Through five innings, Leake had surrendered three one-run leads, then couldn’t make it out of the sixth inning. In case you hadn’t guessed: not Mike Leake’s best outing.

–The first pitch of Burke Badenhop’s career as a Red resulted in boos, as a single up the middle by Corey Hart scored Andrew McCutchen, giving the Bucs a 4-3 lead. He got two ground balls from the two hitters he faced in the 7th inning, though. That’s what he does. One just happened to go for a poorly-timed single.

–Hamilton’s at-bat in the 11th showed a lot of maturity. He was patient (when every other Reds hitter before him in the inning had gone to the plate hacking away), and he worked a walk that extended the inning and allowed Votto to win it.

–Marlon Byrd collected his first hit as a Red, a little popup that somehow found grass in left-center field in the bottom of the eighth.

–First pitch was delayed by two hours and 35 minutes, then the game goes into extra innings. Rain delay and extra innings make Chad something something. I’m exhausted. Why did I agree to write this stupid recap anyway?

83 Responses

  1. docmike

    Under good, you need to mention that JJ Hoover pitched TWO strong innings, including facing his nemesis, Andrew McCutcheon.

  2. docmike

    Overall, the relievers were very effective tonight. They combined to pitch 5 1/3 innings, allowing just 3 hits and 1 run.

    The bullpen was outstanding, and Kevin Gregg and Manny Parra were the only guys not used. Coincidence?

    • robcheshire

      Don’t worry, we will see both pitch this afternoon…..!

    • charlottencredsfan

      Give Price his due: masterful use of the pen tonight/today.

      • lwblogger2

        There were some questions as to why Price lifted Cingrani for Badenhop when Cingrani had already effectively faced RH batters earlier in the inning. Well, it was the right move. Hart was up to pinch hit and he murders LH pitching. He got a good swing on Badenhop’s first pitch and drove it through the infield for a single. It happens. Sometimes a manager makes the right move and it just doesn’t work out.

      • jdx19

        Err…last night. This morning… I give up.

    • docmike

      My point is just that Gregg, and to a lesser extent Parra, should not be pitching in high leverage situations.

  3. User1022

    I’m liking what I’m seeing from BHam so far, seems a lot more patient and selective at the plate. Hopefully this continues for the whole season.

    • charlottencredsfan

      If you see Billy with a square batting stance, you will see a very, very good Billy. Bank it, bet farm, etc. When he opens it, sell all stock.

  4. vegastypo

    I could almost understand using Dominguez to pinch hit, if the Reds think he has the power to end the game with one swing. But Schu over Negron? What’s a guy got to do to get in the game?

    • earmbrister

      Don’t understand the affection for Negron, and the disgust with Shoemaker that is common here. Negron overachieved last year to post a .270/.333/.473 with the Reds, but it’s a bit early to say that those numbers are his new norm. In 9 seasons in the minors he hit .246/.323/.360: hardly a force at the plate. I like him better then the retreads we’ve had on our bench in prior years, but I hardly get excited about him or his playing time. Shoemaker underachieved last year, but he was playing hurt from the very start of the season (much like Bruce). In 11 seasons IN THE MAJORS he has hit .281/.339/.366 (nice OBP by the way); better numbers than Negron’s minor league stats. People like Negron for his hustle, or his grit if you will, the very label that’s used in derision by many here when referring to Schu. I don’t get it.

      • Matt WI

        Well, I think it’s because in the time they have both been wearing a Reds uniform, Negron has achieved and Shumaker has not. Nobody would contest Shu has had a better career, but Reds fans can’t help but notice that Negron has made things happen, Shu hasn’t. Negron has given himself some room to come back down to those numbers. Shu may never make it back up. In the meantime, people will bet on youth.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Love your stuff EA but you are off-base here. Negron had a very good half-season last year and a great Spring Training. You bet he could be overachieving but how about letting him prove it? Nothing against Schu, who I believe is a serviceable utility man but Kris is looking good……

        I will be excited about his playing time, until proved otherwise.

        Just one man’s opinion.

      • earmbrister

        My comment had more to do with Schu than with Negron. I like Negron, and said so. Schumaker dragged his battered body onto the field time and time again last year, and gets criticized for it. If Negron was hurt, I’d expect much the same from him. They both hustle, and work hard at their craft. It’s a shame that many Reds fans appreciate one while dismissing the other.

        I really like the bench. It should provide more pop and more OBP than in years past. Someone will inevitably underperform this year, as is the case every year for every team’s bench. However, the upside with this group is better than that of recent Reds benches.

      • Jeremy Forbes

        Earm, dragging your battered body onto the field time and time again isn’t an admirable thing if you hit .235/.287/.308 and have -1.1 WAR. That means he was 1.1 wins WORSE than a replacement level player that any team should be able to readily produce from AAA. That’s doing more harm to your team than good by not going on the DL and letting someone healthy take over. Nobody is going to cheer that.

      • WVRedlegs

        The proof is in the puddin’ E.
        Schu is a washed up 35 year old ex-Cardinal that blistered a slash of .235/.287/.308 in 271 PA’s for the Reds last year. Negron, though not drafted by the Reds, came up through the organization and is one of our own. He slashed .271/.331/.475 in 158 PA’s in 2014 for the Reds.
        Negron = “tastes great”. Schumaker = “less filling”.
        Negron, more please. Schumaker, less please.
        More hit, and less grit.

      • earmbrister

        WV, I like your tastes great, less filling labels. However, one season proves very little. Should we be concerned that Bruce is finished, or can his 2014 results be attributed to his injury?

        Time will tell on the bench, but I do like BOTH players.

      • i71_Exile

        Negron is the new hotness. I hope the love he gets on this board is still there when he regresses. His minor league numbers are what they are and most minor league numbers are predictive. Maybe Negron will be an exception?

  5. sezwhom

    I’m exhausted. Why did I agree to write this stupid recap anyway?

    Said thoughts crossed my mind when there was a calling for writers. Heck, why not do today’s day game too. Nice job Chad. As Votto goes, so go the Reds.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Agree. the new writers are all money but the old timers are missed too. Nice work Chad, you still have it. JJ?? Man, that is a shot in the arm – keep it up young feller!

    • earmbrister

      Nice work Chad. I bagged the game after the 9th, completely exhausted. Great job under trying circumstances.

  6. vared

    Very nice write-up for those of us who couldn’t get through any more than the first few innings. Hopefully there will be a heavy dose of Chad this year?

  7. charlottencredsfan

    Might be an omen of good times ahead? Don’t know the number but how many come back wins did the team have in 2014 after 7 innings? I’m guessing 1 maybe 2?

    I realize there is no such thing but if there was, Joey would be considered clutch. The numbers with RISP is ridiculous (.334/.477/.578). And Cingrani? Tony. Tony, Tony.

    • jdx19

      Remember in 2013 when everyone was calling him “un-clutch” because he was getting some poor luck with RISP? The funniest thing was, at the time, he had the highest career BA with RISP of any active player. Not sure if it is still true,but yeah… the dude can hit!

  8. Boneill1621

    Joey Votto is really good at baseball. Period.

    • gaffer

      Reading an article on how Yasmani Thomas is horrible, they said Goldschmidt was the NL’s best first baseman. Its amazing how quickly people forget.

      • ragekage83

        Last week espn was running articles with the “10 best” players at each position and Votto was listed at 7. Seemed a bit low, with the likes of Rizzo and Encarnacion ahead of him.

        Also: First post on the site!!

      • Janet

        Welcome!! Yes, that does seem very low, but maybe they were basing it off last year’s performance.

      • lwblogger2

        I think they have to take the injury years of 2012 and 2014 into account. That’s why he was rated so low. If healthy, then yeah, he’s going to be much higher on that list. They can’t assume health on lists like that though.

        And welcome! I hope to see a lot more of your posts!

  9. Carl Sayre

    I am thinking Todd Frazier has seen his last fastball anywhere close to the plate for a while. I expect JV to do what he is doing but Frazier out of the gate and Hamilton playing to his strength makes this Reds fan a happy camper. Two games is all i need to see that a Byrd in LF is not nearly as good as a Byrd on the bench, when Schumaker is a major upgrade in defense it is BAD.

    • earmbrister

      Agree that the top of this lineup is very promising. I’m not ready to bail on Byrd after two games; if so should we be calling for Mesoraco to be benched cause he’s hitting .000? Hitting can be streaky, see Bruce, Jay. Two, or three, months will be a better indicator of any player’s performance; two games are meaningless.

  10. Jeff

    In case you missed it, Ctrent accidentally gave Cingrani a new nickname on twitter last night: Tony “Kingpin” Cingrani. I’m on a mission to make it stick!

    I have to admit, I went to bed when they went to Hoover, glad he made me regret it.

  11. Art Wayne Austin

    The Reds have a great one-two in Billy and Joey. And what about Todd?, hitting consecutive home runs in two straight at bats. Those first three guys are feeding off one another. 2 games in the win column, 88 more to go. Hamilton 3 hits, walk and three stolen bases. Joey, two rbi singles including the game winner, Brandon, an rbi single, Cozart, a single and first run scored, Byrd’s first hit as a Red. Pitching, who could ask for any more with Hoover adding the icing on the cake.

    • lwblogger2

      Cozart actually ripped a double. He missed a HR by about 4-6″. Was nice to see him walk too. He had some decent ABs yesterday.

  12. Steve Checkosky, Syracuse

    Looking ahead. I see where Jason Marquis is scheduled to pitch on Friday vs the Cardinals. Any bookies on the site? I don’t gamble and I would hate to bet against the Reds. But Jason Marquis? Versus the Cardinals? That won’t be pretty.

    • charlottencredsfan

      If you give odds, I’d bet you. Great test in any event but I wouldn’t count those chickens quite yet, Steve. I picked Jason as my “good” surprise pitcher, so he has that going for him!

      • lwblogger2

        That’s a bold pick! I poo pooed the Latos trade and he laid a huge egg and looked bad doing it in his first start. I’m not ready to eat crow quite yet as it was just his first start but, I have started picking out my bird 😉

        I’d love to be wrong about Marquis. I think the odds are very much against it but it would make me happy if he pitches well. I’d rather the Reds win and players do well than be right and have them tank.

  13. sultanofswaff

    —-I think we’re gonna see teams take different approaches to the two headed monster of Hamilton and Votto as far as whether they concede the steal or intentionally walk Votto, etc. It’s gonna be an endless source of debate, in a fun way.

    —-You know defensive shifts are effective when you find yourself surprised that a ground ball makes it to the outfield.

    —-Jumbo and Tony being good is the only shield against Price using Gregg in a high leverage situation. For our sanity, keep it up guys.

    —-Gerrit Cole is Homer Bailey at best…..he’s no Johnny Cueto. Polanco is a mess. If he doesn’t hit, the Pirate’s offense will struggle. And why is it that Cervelli is just now getting his first starting gig at the age of 29? Lot of question marks with this team. I have them just ahead of the Brewers in 4th.

    • sultanofswaff

      —-Zack Cozart took his first walk. After 2 games, he’s on pace to quadruple his total from last season!!!

      • jdx19

        More walks than Votto and Phillips combined!

  14. cfd3000

    The difference between winning and losing those marathon games is huge. Nice win, nice game for a lot of Reds. Anyone have any news on Votto’s behavior at 2nd after his stolen base? Thom Brenneman seemed concerned that he had a physical issue but I haven’t seen any further references…

    • jdx19

      Someone on the gamethread said something like “Well, that’s just a 31+ year old guy running as fast as he can for the first time in a while.” Hopefully that was the case! ‘Ol Joey just got a bit winded, perhaps!

  15. charlottencredsfan

    “—-I think we’re gonna see teams take different approaches to the two headed monster of Hamilton and Votto as far as whether they concede the steal or intentionally walk Votto, etc. It’s gonna be an endless source of debate, in a fun way. ”

    Thinking the same as you about conceding the SB. Billy gets in the opponents heads and that is probably more destructive than giving up the base. Yup, that duo could be amazingly productive. Wishing great health to both.

    • gaffer

      agree but especially as Frazier has solidified his position as a masher. Mes needs to progress to being consistent and then we got something.

  16. Kyle Farmer

    This sure felt like a game that the club would have lost last year. It’s early but the Redlegs are alone in first place! 🙂

    Wonder what the lineup will look like today? After winning the first two, playing until 2 AM with a day game to follow, and the hated Cardinals coming to town, I wouldn’t blame Price a bit if he gave some guys the day off.

    Is it too early to start thinking about Kris Negron in LF?

    We’re headed down to GABP for Friday and Saturday. Because of my kids playing more baseball/softball games this year, I won’t be able to make it down for nearly as many games as we have the past three seasons, so I plan to savor this trip and put those new self-serve beer machines to the test! 🙂

      • Steve Mancuso

        That’s … remarkable … if he’s right.

      • lwblogger2

        It is remarkable. I mean, last night’s game went way late and extra innings. Then the day game today. I’m pretty sure I’d give Mes the day off today.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Skipper Price taking the fight to the opponent. What’s not to like?

      • Steve Mancuso

        Love it. Foot on the Pirates’ throats. Hope it’s right.

      • Kyle Farmer

        Wow. That sends a pretty clear message. I like it.

  17. Matt WI

    BP, while not selective, did bring in a run (Frazier) with two outs after Byrd had once again failed to make anything happen. They needed every one of those runs. I’m happy to have him do his thing from the 7th hole and let the guys up front pile up the pitches on the other team’s starter.

    I love it for Cozart that he’s getting on and he just missed going yard. Great game from him.

    Looking for Mes to get it going today, but maybe we see Pena for the get away special?

    • jdx19

      Hits are important, sure. But if Phillips approach stays the same all year, we could easily be seeing a .250/.290/.330 sort of year, which hopefully I don’t need to say…is bad.

      • Matt WI

        I’m just saying let’s not get so carried away with our disdain for his public comments that we don’t recognize contributions. I’m very much a process over results person, I totally get the overall point.

      • charlottencredsfan

        One game at a time. Big two out hit last night and every run was needed. I’d say BP acquitted himself well.

  18. WVRedlegs

    1-0 in 1 run games. It is a start. Yee-hii. I couldn’t make myself do a woo.

  19. Sparky

    Fun game to watch last night. Certainly a game we would have lost last year. I’m hoping its just opening season stuff that had Leake putting 6 freebies aboard, without the walks I think his stuff look pretty……Leake. Love seeing the big JV battling through a game! I’m just realizing how much I’ve missed seeing him in good health day to day. We will really see a different team with him out there, in play and attitude. Come on BP and Bruce, Shake off last season and lets start anew.
    Break out the Brooms and kick em when there down!!!!
    Sweeping time and day baseball makes Sparky a happy man!!!

    • lwblogger2

      Leake’s command was off. Pitches were up and he was missing the arm-side corner that he normally nails. He missed Mes’ target an awful lot last night. I’m hoping it was just an off night. He battled and that counts for a lot in my book too.

      Would love to see the sweep today!

  20. gaffer

    Fun facts:

    Votto has NO walks and 2 RBI (Marty should love that)
    Billy has .500 OBP
    Byrd has 5 K’s
    Cozart has over a .300 OBP

    • brmreturns

      Adrian Gonzalez has as many HR’s as Byrd does K’s. Byrd has yet to hit a ball that would have left a Pony League park…..

      • gaffer

        So, the TOO SOON season recap = Votto no longer walks but hits RBI and steals bases, Billy is MVP, we need to trade Suarez as Cozart is a star, and Byrd is the worst player in the majors.

      • greenmtred

        I believe that you have summed it up pretty well. I’d certainly wait 3 or even 4 games before setting my impressions in stone. Nice to see the nearly unbridled cheer across the board, though.

      • Janet

        You actually forgot that Meso is the worst player in the majors. Thanks for the chuckle, though.

  21. eric nyc

    As much as I would have liked to see Votto’s walk-off, I’m glad I didn’t stay up to watch this whole game because blowing all of those leads is just infuriating. And not being able to score Hamilton from 3rd with no outs and Votto-Frazier-Mes up would have sent me through the roof.

    I cam e online this morning fully expecting to see a heaping portion of bench players getting a start after the late night last night, but surprisingly it’s the everyday lineup. Especially surprised Mes is starting. I know it’s way early for guys to need a day off, but less than a 12 hour turnaround has to be tough on a catcher’s knees.

  22. Kurt Frost

    I’m curious why Thom is written as tHom?

    BP TAKE A PITCH!!!

    • Matt WI

      I think it’s just about tweaking him for his often hyperbolic, obnoxious comments and requiring an “h” in the first place. 🙂

      • lwblogger2

        Well that isn’t his fault. His parents spelled it that way. Plenty of stuff to pick on Thom for without resorting to that 😉

  23. Marvin

    Votto in the two hole is just perfect. Couldn’t help but to think of all the people beating the drum to have your best hitter in the 2 hole, rather than batting third, over the course of the past couple years. That extra AB was vastly important, obviously.

    Also–Billy Hamilton is so fun to watch when he is playing the type of ball he has been these two games.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Fabulous point about Votto batting #2 meaning he got the extra AB.

    • seat101

      BH is the only player I would consider giving a day off. He got tired last year. And he is unlikely to miss the All-star Game.

      But I love to watch him play.

      • eric nyc

        He’s also the youngest starter on the team by a mile. Remember last year was his first full major league season. These guys will get their days off over the course of the year, but I’d expect mainly to give the bench guys some playing time.

  24. docmike

    Kinda surprised Mes isn’t getting the day off, considering he just played an 11-inning game that ended after 1 AM. But, he did just have Tuesday off. And certainly no other regulars needed a day off, 2 games into the season.

    Sweep!!

  25. aceistheplace2

    Was anybody else worried when Cozart came around third?
    The second he stepped on the bag he kicked it into a second gear, slid in before the tag. No repeat of last years throw outs at home.

  26. Tom Reed

    If Billy Hamilton maintains a good OBP, he’s going to make a lot of teams nervous.

    • mtkal

      Nervous opposing pitchers, more fastballs, rushed fielders. All good things.

  27. unc reds fan

    My only criticism is that Chapman again pitched one lousy inning. I know his number came up in the top of the next inning leading to a pinch hitter, but surely Chapman could’ve done just as poorly as Schumaker (or any of the pinch hitters did). Or is it we are just so afraid that letting chapman bat might lead to players taking shots at his head? I know he is not a favorite of pirates players. If this is the case, I am now the latest champion of the NL DH, of course if Price was still going to pull him regardless, my critical complaint stands