|St. Louis Cardinals (1-2)
|Cincinnati Reds (2-1)
|W: J. Hoffman (1-0) L: C. Martinez (0-1)
|Statcast | Gamecast Play-by-Play | Game Thread|
In the forefront of everyone’s mind was how yesterday’s proceedings would influence the emotional tenor of today’s game. The Cardinals as a team always insist on having the last word, so you wondered if retaliation would be the order of the day. Would this turn into Pirates-redux? Would the umpiring crew continue to give Molina & Co. the benefit of the doubt in the next altercation?
In the end, none of this mattered.
In the bottom of the 4th with one out, the Reds broke through. Of course it was Nick Castellanos. Of course, it was.
— MLBBarrelAlert (@MLBBarrelAlert) April 4, 2021
The next batter was Joey Votto. And like Panera, Votto delivers. A single laced to right-center field brought the first run of the game home. After a walk to Eugenio Suárez, it looked like Martinez was coming unglued. But the Cardinal hurler would steady himself and get out of the inning.
After 4 excellent innings on the hill, Jeff Hoffman gave up a double and eventually the lead when Tyler O’Neill doubled hard and later scored. But, the poise Hoffman showed when it looked like he might be vulnerable, getting a double-play and an inning ending strikeout, spoke early volumes.
In the bottom of the 5th, it all came undone for the Birds. Tyler Stephenson hit a chopper Goldschmidt couldn’t handle—and as we’d see later—the Cardinal defense began to bend under pressure. Kyle Farmer would walk. Then, Castellanos would take center stage as if to say, “the downstage lights are for me, and me only. You must find what light you can.” Nick would slip the surly bonds of earth for his second home run of the season and it was officially ON.
By the bottom of the 6th, everyone was getting into the act. Walks and wild pitches became the order of the day, Suárez and Senzel taking ball fours, following by India and Stephenson singles, culminating when Tyler Naquin attempted to hit the Big Boy sign out in right field.
— Redleg Nation (@redlegnation) April 4, 2021
The 3-run homer from Naquin truly put the game away by making it 10-1. Cincinnati tacked on two more runs with a 2-run double by Alex Blandino as they brought their total runs scored in the series to 27.
Hoffman’s final line: 5 innings, 3 hits, 1 earned run, and 6 Ks. There’s something magical going on with the Reds’ pitching development. Hoffman is just the latest example
You may want Tejay Antone to start, but it was awfully nice having him on the mound to shut the Cardinals down after Castellanos put the Reds ahead. Carson Fulmer and Sal Romano finished out the game in fine fashion.
What did we learn today?
We learned that Opening Day was not a harbinger of bad things to come. What this fan base needed was an Optimism Vaccine. Nick Castellanos provided the shot. The rest of the team seems inoculated. Today was the first opening series win since 2017 when the Reds took the series from the Philadelphia Phillies.
Sorry, boys in the booth. That Red Sparrow nickname doesn’t quite cut it. I’m going with Jonathan “Capt. Jack” India. That’s better.
That Jim Day interview with Nick was hilarious. Try as Jim might, Castellanos gave nothing but monosyllables. Priceless.
On Deck for the Redlegs
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds
April 5th at 6:40pm ET
J.T. Brubaker vs. José De Léon