There’s an old saying in baseball that whenever you are making your debut that the ball will find you, and on Opening Day that’s exactly what happened to Jonathan India. The first batter of the game hit a ground ball right to him at second base.

“I knew it was coming,” India said after the game. “I felt it. Lefty was up, I just felt a ground ball was coming right to me and it was a nice easy one. It was a good ground ball to get out of the way.”

Jonathan India was the first Cincinnati Reds position player to make his debut on Opening Day since Chris Sabo in 1988. He was the first player to debut at second base since Pete Rose in 1963. Those guys turned out fairly well for the Reds. India got things started in his debut in a good way, going 2-4 with a double.

In his first trip to the plate Jonathan India worked a full count before taking strike three. In the 4th inning he returned to the plate and this time he took an offspeed pitch from Jack Flaherty and lined it into left field and raced around the bags for a double. The next time he came up to the plate he hit a laser off of a 95 MPH fastball from Ryan Helsley, singling a liner at 109.7 MPH into left field. In his final trip to the plate he would fly out to right field.

All throughout the game Jonathan India looked like he belonged. He looked comfortable. He didn’t look nervous or like he was pressing at the plate to try and “make something happen.”

“Before the game I was waiting for the nerves to kick in,” India said. “Funny thing is, I wasn’t nervous out there. I was comfortable with the guys and I think it all started in spring training with the guys we had – they made me feel comfortable out there, made me feel like I’d been there before. They helped me throughout the day, they told me to really take it in. Don’t forget to breath. It was a great feeling, I’m so happy it went the way it went today. ”

As for that double that went for his first hit of his big league career? Well, that baseball is going home with his parents.

“I’ll give it to them tonight at dinner,” India said. “They’ll hold onto that one. I dedicate that to them, especially with all of the sacrifice they’ve done for me in their lives with baseball throughout my years, so it definitely goes to them.”

57 Responses

  1. CFD3000

    Welcome to the big leagues Jonathan India. He looked solid, and getting that first hit(s) out of the way means all pressure is off, though he didn’t look like he was feeling any. Here’s hoping he stays healthy and has a great season.

    • JayTheRed

      I feel like he is going to have a nice season. Don’t know why but maybe a ROY candidate that people didn’t expect.

  2. Scott C

    He did look like he belonged. At least one feel good story from the game.

  3. ClevelandRedsFan

    Similar to how we love pitchers who miss bats, I love hitters who don’t swing and miss.

    Yes…yes…it’s one game. But India made contact all day and his only strikeout was called strike 3 that looked a bit inside. Reds need more guys who can make contact consistently.

      • MK

        How many guys have been rushed only to stumble, struggle or be sent back. Better to let him prepare then get there.

        He certainly looked like he was ready. But it was one game and hopefully he continues.

  4. Mark Bir

    The fact he is the first position player to make his debut on Opening Day since 1988 is a sad fact. I am happy for the man but this goes a long way in explaining the failure of scouting, development, and overall management.

    • Doug Gray

      I think that it says a lot about service time manipulation in the last decade and a half. Bruce and Senzel both should have made their debut’s on Opening Day. Then you’ve also got stuff like September call ups that had some guys debut in September, too. But yeah, it’s been a long, long time.

      • Redleg Bob

        Good point. It’s just rare to see a debut on Opening Day anymore.

      • MK

        As usual it was a lot about injury (ankle) on Senzel’s debut.

      • Doug Gray

        Senzel injured his ankle on the backfields after he was sent back to minor league camp. Had they not been trying to play service time games with him he would have never been in that game and been injured sliding into second.

    • MK

      Much can be put on Bryan Price who would bring a guy and not playing them a few days wanting them to get their feet on the ground allowing them to lose any momentum they had before reporting. The thought also that Spring Training doesn’t matter does let a Spring like India had allowed him to make the team. Pete made the team the same way in 1963. I was 9, faked being sick to stay home that year and had no idea who this guy named Rose was.

      • Greenfield Red

        I saw a ranking somewhere that showed Pete as one of the top 50 all time players at like 4 positions. Remarkable.

  5. Bred

    Well, the FO frustrated me throughout the off season, and they were rightfully were called out for their inaction this off season. The FO, even though they caused the problem by not getting a SS this off season, not holding back India for service time issues deserves a tip of the cap. India for ROY!

    • Tom Reeves

      If the Reds really did take a financial loss last year, the lack of free agent signings over the winter – and especially at SS – make sense. That’s especially true not knowing the level of attendance revenue that would be available.

      Moving Suarez to SS makes a lot of sense and it’s a big help to the team if he can handle the position.

      • RojoBenjy

        Was it a loss or did they just not make as much as they projected?

      • VaRedsFan

        Everybody lost money. Let’s remember, they only had to pay 1/3rd of the salaries too

      • Greenfield Red

        Castellini is a Billionaire with a B. I’m not worried about him losing a little money. He promised us a winner.

      • Greenfield Red

        Thanks for that correction. I understood him to be worth more. Regardless, we were promised a winner, and it has not happended.

  6. JB

    I would love to see the top 3 in the batting order be Senzel, India and Winker. Speed in front of Winker and Castellanos at 4 and Suarez at 5.

    • Tom Reeves

      I could see India eventually batting lead off. I would put him there Saturday but at some point this season, he may be ready.

      • MK

        I think they should leave him alone for a month and let him get his feet solidly on the ground. Just like we shouldn’t freak out about Suarez’s defense India’s game has to be in perspective of one game.

  7. RedsFan11

    I think this offensive lineup is the best since 2012/13. If India can stay consistent and Senzel healthy then the only real hole is catcher. Stephenson could fill that hole, but he did himself no favors yesterday

    • ClevelandRedsFan

      I agree. Also, I’d take this lineup over the 2013 lineup. When Stephenson is in the lineup, it’s solid 1-8. There aren’t any black holes. In 2013, Reds had Votto, Choo, Bruce, Phillips, Frazier was solid, and everyone else was a black hole.

      Ludwick missed most of that season after injuring his shoulder on opening day. So Cozart, LF (Heisey mostly). Teams just pitched around Votto and Choo and it was too easy.

      2021 lineup is more balanced. I don’t have the hard numbers, but I’m willing to bet having every guy with a .330 OBP is better than having the whole team average .330 with guys in the .200s and others in the .400s.

    • Old Big Ed

      “If Senzel can stay healthy.”

      If Wimpy could stay away from cheeseburgers. If Billy Hamilton could hit. If Wile E. Coyote was faster. If Faulkner used punctuation. If Deshaun Watson could stay away from masseuses. If frogs had wings. If the Bengals had different owners. If politicians were sincere. If French fries were good for you.

      Senzel can’t make a peanut butter sandwich without hurting himself. It isn’t a moral flaw. I am sure he is nice to his mother and grandparents, and is a good citizen. The Reds just can’t rely on him to be able to play.

      • MBS

        LOL, “If Wimpy could stay away from cheeseburgers”

      • KDJ

        It brought back to mind a classic injury report about Devin Mesoraco. The good news is that his hip only hurts when he squats.

  8. TOM

    Starting pitching is going to be the problem. Antone should be a starter, which I think the Reds will find out before long. Votto should be platooned. Moose has to start hiting. Maybe Schrock should be playing more. Like the OF make up.

    • RojoBenjy

      They say Antone is just building back up from injury time lost. Many suspect him to get starts after that.

  9. RiverCity Redleg

    One thing I thought about yesterday, if we were going to move Suarez to 3rd (if they would have considered it sooner), we could have made a run for Arendondo. Cards got him fairly cheap (I’m too lazy to check if that’s true).

  10. GreatRedLegsFan

    Good to finally see a drafted player making the team in opening day. Five out of the eight position players in opening day’s line-up were actually drafted by the Reds. Lodolo should also be joining the rotation this season, to go along with Gray, Castillo, Mahle and Miley or Lorenzen.

  11. Frankie Tomatoes

    I’m trying to keep my expectations realistic but there is something about India that just has me thinking he will be a difference maker. Not great at any one thing but good or better at everything. All around player in todays game.

    • James

      Same here. I really think India can really play the bigs well. He made real-good contact except one time, but that was off the strike zone aways. I think Jonathan India can help the Reds extremely. If he keeps playing how he’s been playing , oh boy, he is going to be amazing!

    • TR

      India seems to me to have a bit of Cardinal grit.

  12. James

    Same here. I really think India can really play the bigs well. He made real-good contact except one time, but that was off the strike zone aways. I think Jonathan India can help the Reds extremely. If he keeps playing how he’s been playing , oh boy, he is going to be amazing! Hopefully he can do the job.

  13. DaveCT

    It’s hard to appreciate Jonathon”s splash without the contrast of Nick Senzel.

    In fairness to the latter, his development has been botched by the Reds to a certain degree, learning CF on the fly in the ML’s and then having his swing deconstructed midseason as a rookie. Mookie Betts learned the OF more or less on the fly, but he’s Mookie Betts. However, it was almost unconscionable for Turner Ward to attempt this with a rookie hitter facing ML pitching. What a few months at AAA would have given Senzel, who knows?

    As for injuries, Senzel has to demonstrate he can stay on the field. The bottom third of the lineup with Senzel, India, and Stephenson is much, stronger than other combos at the same positions (sorry Tuck). I am certain Nick knows this better than anyone, which I imagine makes yesterday bit more difficult, and not just for Nick but the team. We all saw it, during at least the ensuing rallies, Senzel’s replacement (Aquino) left six runners on base. That has gotta sting.

    • MBS

      Senzel’s development was rushed to the Reds. I do think a few more months in the minors would have helped him a lot. His biggest “botched” issue is his inability to stay healthy, as you mentioned. In (2016 – 68 G) (2017 – 119 G) (2018 – 44 G) (2019 – 112 G) (2020 – 23 G). He’s got talent, but he needs to be able to stay on the field.

      I don’t blame a ML Hitting Coach for coaching his players. I do however think the HR or bust thinking the Reds have been promoting for years, is a mistake. Let’s hope the Reds are indeed preaching, putting the ball in play.

      • DaveCT

        Yeah, I still think no one should have supported a rookie completely re-tooling his swing midseason, at least in the show. Joey Votto in 2020, OK. Not a rookie. I just think it’s poor judgment. That said, it was encouraging Opening Day seeing the team use a different approach. The big test, IMO, will be how soon the players revert if there aren’t quick results.

    • Redleg Bob

      The moronic thing is Senzel was hitting around .280 or .290 ( I think that’s right) when they changed his swing. He’d been hitting from the womb with no problem – leave the guy alone and let him rake!

      • DaveCT

        If seems to defy logic. I’m sure his 2nd time round the league back then hammered him, as they better, as with anyone competent. But, what ensued? Not exactly what ya’d a’hoped!

      • Old Big Ed

        It was Senzel who decided in August of that year that he needed to revamp his swing. The Reds didn’t ask him to do it or even have a whole lot to do with it, although I suppose Turner Ward was “helping” him with it. The team, after all, can’t mandate how a guy swings. I think Ward and maybe Joey Votto should have taken him aside and told him that mid-season is not the time to revamp the swing.

        By September 2019, Senzel had abandoned the swing revamp, but that project was his choice, not the Reds’ choice.

        The first of the string of Senzel’s injuries (a tendon injury to an index finger) resulted from fielding a ground ball at third base, in 2018. He then had vertigo, followed by surgery in off-season 2018-19 to clear out chips in his (left) elbow.

        Then, in March 2019, when there was an issue as to whether the Reds should play service time games with Senzel or have him start the season with the Reds, Senzel sprained his ankle sliding into second base. It was not until September 2019 that Senzel hurt himself playing outfield, by running into the wall. He had some minor issues last year, plus an apparent bout with Covid.

        So, he is equal-opportunity DL Senzel. Infield, outfield, baserunning — no matter the task, Senzel will get hurt doing it. It isn’t his fault, or the Reds fault. It is what it is, and it’s going to cost him tens of millions of dollars if it doesn’t change. I’m sure he’s more frustrated than we are about it.

      • Doug Gray

        I didn’t click the link, Ed, so perhaps the information in the article is incorrect, but just to clarify, Senzel’s finger injury happened at second base.

      • DaveCT

        Ed, Ward and others responsible for Nick’s development absolutely should have intervened. The organization has a lot invested in this kid. They are certainly responsible to do more than take him aside. It’s 2021. I still do not understand why he didn’t get sent down to AAA for seasoning.

        Getting hurt or sick is not an issue with the club’s development, unless the club is truly negligent, and they aren’t. Vertigo and, last year, Nick being Covid-positive are illnesses. That is, they are not a sign of poor development by the organization. If Nick were out of shape (he isn’t) or had a poor work ethic (he doesn’t), that’s be one thing, and a character flaw.

        Nick is responsible to keep himself on the field and productive. But the Reds are responsible to assist him.

  14. Magnum 44

    Personally I would love to see Senzel end up in right field he is a good defender but he needs to live in a glass house…….he should never steal a base again either

    • MBS

      I thought the same years ago when we first drafted him, but now I’d be afraid of giving him an extra wall to run into. There may be no safe place for a injury prone player. Even DH’ing, he could get hit by pitch, pull a hammy running down the line, dislocate his shoulder sliding back to 1B. I shutter to think of the possibilities.

      • LDS

        As fragile as he seems to be, sometimes I think trading him makes more sense.

  15. LDS

    India did well to open. Now I’m concerned that Bell will sit him in the next game to give Farmer more time. I would like to see him sit Votto some in upcoming games.

    • Redleg Bob

      That would be a Bell move – give him a day off to get some rest and not tire him out.

  16. MK

    Anyone else notice the way Aquino has changed his batting stance setup? In 2019 he started in a huge open stance with his hands and bat out in front of his body. Then on to the pitch his hands came back kind of cocked his hips and then fired. Yesterday I noticed his stance was still open but not to the degree of 2019, and his hands started back over the back hip. On the pitch he brought his hands further back which locked his hips and eliminated the fluidity in his hips and torso.

    • DaveCT

      He left six men on base. As well. Pretty overmatched. They’d been better with Naquin.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Yes, I sure did. Think he’s better off with the old stance. He seemed to see the ball much better.

  17. DDRedsfan

    Has there been an update on Senzel? Is he out for any extended amount of time? Sorry if I missed it on this thread.

  18. kevinz

    Nice to see for India.
    Always seemed like his Numbers, never matched his approach.
    Been a Fan of his approach. Hope Continues to Improve.
    Good start to have. Good job India.