It was a good day at the plate for a lineup for Cincinnati that looked like it could be the one run out there on Opening Day. The Reds pounded out 10 hits – four of which went for extra-bases – in a 7-1 victory of the Cleveland Guardians on Friday night.

Cleveland Guardians (6-12-1)
1 5 1
Cincinnati Reds (10-10-1)
7 10 2
W: Ashcraft L: Civale
Box Score | Game Thread

The Highlights

After a rather quiet first two and a half innings of the game, the Cincinnati Reds offense got to work. Curt Casali led off with a double and scored when Jose Barrero followed up with a double of his own. Jonathan India then singled and made it 2-0. Joey Votto singled and stole second base to put two men into scoring position. A ground ball off of the bat of Tyler Stephenson brought in the third run of the inning as India scored from third base.

Graham Ashcraft took his 3-0 lead and kept it there in the top of the 4th inning, working around a single for a shutout inning. In the bottom of the inning it was Curt Casali getting things started once again as he began a 2-out rally with a walk. He scored on Jose Barrero’s triple, and then Barrero scored on a single by Jonathan India to make it 5-0. Ashcraft returned to the mound for the top of the 5th, but his day was over after Josh Naylor reached on an error by Spencer Steer to begin the frame. Ashcraft allowed just two singles, walked no one, and struck out five batters in his 4+ innings of work. Bennett Sousa came out of the bullpen to take over and got out of the inning without any issues and kept the shutout going.

Derek Law took over in the 6th inning and ran into some trouble, allowing back-to-back 1-out singles before working out of the jam by getting a pop up to Jonathan India and a fly out to Wil Myers.

Things didn’t go as well for Joel Kuhnel in the 7th. He walked Josh Bell to begin the inning and he was replaced on the bases by pinch runner Sterling Romero who proceeded to steal second base. Romero then scored on a single by Josh Naylor to cut into the Reds lead and make it 5-1. Kuhnel settled in from there, striking out the next batter before getting an inning ending double play.

Cincinnati got that run back in the bottom of the inning after Wil Myers singled (was then replaced by a pinch runner in TJ Hopkins) before a 2-run homer by Jake Fraley that made it a 7-1 ballgame.

Hunter Strickland came out for the top of the 8th and worked around an error for a scoreless inning. After the Reds offense went quietly in the bottom of the 8th, Buck Farmer took the mound with a 6-run lead in the top of the 9th looking to get his team back to the .500 mark in the spring. He made easy work of things, striking out all three batters he faced to seal the win.

Jose Barrero went 2-2 with a walk, two runs, and two runs batted in. Joey Votto went 1-2 with a walk before exiting the game. Jake Fraley keeps on raking and is now hitting .324/.395/.647 with three homers. Derek Law’s shutout inning dropped his ERA to 1.69 on the spring. Graham Ashcraft now has just two walks and 15 strikeouts in 11.1 innings.

Saturday’s Game

Cincinnati returns to the field on Saturday afternoon as the Reds take their skills on the road to face off against the Oakland Athletics. Brandon Williamson takes the mound for Cincinnati with first pitch set for 4:05pm ET.

54 Responses

  1. MK

    Strickland pitched a scoreless inning , hopefully they give him the game ball as his final reward. But I bet Bell pushes them to keep him.

    • Melvin

      Wouldn’t be surprised. 🙂 …….unfortunately.

  2. Melvin

    Star of the game = Barrero He definitely SHOULD BE THE SS come opening day. No doubt.

    Most underrated pitcher on the Reds staff = Ashcraft

    There IS a big THREE.

  3. Rednat

    i doubt the reds win 60 games this year but I am so pleased that Joey looks like he will be ready to go. I really wasn’t sure he would play again after surgery but I am sure glad he is back. Will definitely try to get down to GABP As much as possible to see him this year now!

    • IndyRedsFan

      I predect 75 wins. And if I had to do an over/under on that, I’d take the over.
      Anyone else?

      • Old-school

        Vegas says 65.5
        The lack of pitching depth is the biggest reason to go with the under but i do think the Reds cratered as an organization in 2022 and the youth and new players will win more than last year. I’ll go with 70 +/- 3 as they will be trying to win in August and September this year instead of tanking. Myers may be the only meaningful trade piece at the deadline. A healthy India and Stephenson with a healthy big 3 should be a fun nucleus to watch and to see which young players break out.

      • Jonathan

        @IndyReds – OVER. Losing 60-70 games is hard to do. A lot of these younger players are poised to breakout or rebound.

      • mac624

        Depends on how many games Strickland pitches in lol

    • Votto4life

      Last year I had the Reds winning 67 games and they somehow found a way to beat my dire forecast. This year, I think they will win somewhere between 55 a 62 games. Likely around 60.

      If they win 65 it will be a great year for them.

      It’s not easy for a team to improve a lot in one off season, this is especially true when the front office has done virtually nothing to improve the major league roster.

      The Reds had some good prospects in the low minor leagues last year. They are unlikely to contribute much this season. We probably won’t be able to count on them much until the second half of 2024 or 2025.

      So I will go with 60 wins and hope for more.

  4. Redsvol

    I can’t watch the spring training games but that defense by Steer seems pretty rough. Makes me wonder if CES would be much worse in the hot corner. Steer has some things to work on. Maybe flip him and India? India played a lot of their base in the minors

    • Jim t

      I don’t know if moving him to 2 nd is the answer but he has 4 errors so far this spring. In a day when pitch counts are used you can’t give the opposition extra outs. I hope he can get it figured out.

    • Colorado Red

      Would not flip India now. He has come off a down year. Do not want to trade someone at a lower value.

      Plus prospects are still prospects.

      • Dan

        He meant flip positions – Steer to 2B, India to 3B.

      • Randy in Chatt

        I think he meant flip positions, not a trade.

        BTW Fort Collins is an awesome town!

    • MK

      I wonder if Newman can play third because they are going to need a defensive replacement. Wonder if they tell Senzel to prepare as a third baseman. I’ve seen Senzel and India play third base at Dayton, yes some time ago, but Senzel was a lot better. Always thought India had slow or heavy feet for third base.

  5. JB WV

    Great to Ashcraft pitch well after leaving the last game early. Hopefully a little luck on the injury front this year, huh? Reds are due for some

    • Michael

      What are the chances that the big 3 stays healthy all year. I think the chance is low. Just hoping any injuries are minor – the 15 day variety. That’s why I predict 68 wins this season but if they can get to 75-80 wins with this pitching staff, I think the team will contend in 2024.

  6. CFD3000

    A really encouraging day. Love to see Barrero hitting well and gaining confidence. Love to see Ashcraft healthy, building his innings and with a strong outing. And love to see Votto playing regularly, with three solid plate appearances (his out was a sharp liner to deep center apparently), and most of all stealing a base. I don’t know the details, but it’s two weeks from opening day so the steal is unnecessary but it shows me Votto is feeling strong and energized to play. Weird that an SB is the best news on him yet.

  7. Tomn

    I hope this level of play continues into the regular season

  8. MBS

    Call me crazy but I’m feeling good about the Reds right now. Barrero and Steer seem to be ready for a good year, India and Stephenson are healthy Fraley, Myers, Benson and Fraley have all looked good this spring. The 25 Million Dollar Man, “We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better, stronger, faster.”

    • Jim t

      Steer needs to work on his fielding he has 4 errors this spring. He has also looked rough on other plays according to The Cowboy. I hope his bat can buy him some time.

      • MBS

        He does need to improve in the field. Hopefully if he gets everyday reps at 3B, that will help. I think he’s been more of a utility fielder over his college and professional career. That will likely continue unless he improves, Marte is being officially moved to 3B, and Cam Collier is coming up behind him.

      • BK

        He played exclusively at 3B freshman and sophomore years at Oregon before transitioning to SS in his junior year. Twins and Reds have moved him around the infield, but most of his MiLB time has come at 3B. Playing time at 1B and Outfield started late last season with the Reds (including AAA).

      • MBS

        So 3B, SS, 2B, 1B, OF…

        I did see he won Pac-12 Conference All-Defensive Team in 2019. Like I was saying if he gets regular reps at 1 position that could help. If not we have a lot of guys looking for a spot over the next couple of years, and he could continue to play a utility role in the future.

  9. DataDumpster

    One final update on Pinder. The fix is in. He will be one of the 26. Interesting how stories “converge” to make that “news” seem obvious to anyone who follows the team. Just as we were all burning hay with him yesterday, Sheldon at MLB projected that Pinder would make the team. Goldsmith at the Enquirer had a puff piece with David Bell about how Pinder was frustrated at not getting a contract in the offseason and got out the word that he lost 14 lbs. and had a new agility routine. Not to be outdone, a site called “Fantasy Pros” made a projection that Pinder could be “the new Drury” (except for BA of course) since his expected HRs at GABP should go from 12 to 18. Bell gushed over a play he made in the outfield “he ran fast for a long time” and admitted that Pinder’s publicity stunt helped convince him to move forward.

    Sorry, Charlie, not buying it but I would not put it past Bell to give Pinder 350 AB and maybe he will hit 15 HRs, not withstanding his 2022 10K/BB ratio and current SP .111 avg.

    • LDS

      Still won’t be surprised if Newman and Pinder make up the starting left side of the infield. Neither of them should be using up roster spots.

      • Jim t

        Of course you won’t. I’d be surprised if you saw it any other way ?

      • LDS

        Observation coupled with watching Bell screw up for the last several years. He is a lousy manager with a preference for the mediocre, the has beens, and the never weres.

    • JB

      With Steers defense being terrible it’s an opening for Bell to insert Pinder as a starting Third Baseman.

      • Jim t

        How about this if Steer wants to keep his spot catch the darn ball. I’m sure the pitching staff will be very happy if he does. They have careers based on their performance as well.

      • Harry Stoner

        How about if Pinder wants to play third he hits his weight?

        Why not send him to AAA as well until he ‘proves’ he has earned the job?

        “Running fast!” after a fly ball and hitting .110 may be enough for Bell and some RLN fans.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Harry, maybe that’s why Pinder was pumping up the fact he lost weight in the offseason? Much easier for him to hit it. Ha!

  10. Doc

    Good for Jose Barrero. Nice spring.

    Maybe he is over his mother’s passing, his name change, his hamate fracture and is now getting back to being Jose (Garcia) Barrero.

    • TR

      If Jose Barrero is injury-free, he should be penciled in every game at least until the end of July. I hope management in the dugout and front office will give Barrero a real chance to take over the shortstop position.

      • Daytonnati

        Which raises the question: If Barrero had finally found his groove, where does EDLC go? CF?

      • Melvin

        CF is the best position for him in my view.

  11. Dan

    Was this one a fielding or throwing error by Steer? Is he gonna be okay over there at 3B? I like Steer, and I’m optimistic about him in general, but man… 4 errors is a lot in, what, 12 games?

  12. Jim t

    As a frequent visitor to this site I’m very confused my some of the comments. I understand the reds are not going to compete for the title or even the playoffs. Lots of holes in the lineup and pitching staff. We also are saddled with an ownership unwilling to commit resources needed to upgrade the team.

    As fans it has led us down the road of giving all young players spots on the major league roster to prospects with the hope they can develop at the major league level while bypassing some much needed developmental time in the minors. Isn’t that what the minors are for? Do we hurt some by rushing them to the majors? We want to bench any player that we perceive isn’t a possibility to be on the team when we are competitive. A example was Farmer. Having a great year but not part of the future. Is that fair to him? Those players are usually dealt away to obtain more prospects. That is also confusing because if we don’t play them what value could they have to anyone else. Whatever happened to the concept play the best players or players earning their way in the lineup. Seems we have excepted this as our fate and we don’t mind ownership turning The Home of Baseball into a minor league team. It even goes beyond that even if we do develop a good young player he then becomes trade bait because we don’t have enough pieces around him to compete. We are in a perpetual rebuild with a occasional, if we are very lucky competitive team. Am I wrong?

    • Luke J

      The thing about it is, the unproven prospects ARE the best players on the depth chart. You can’t bring in Pinder and Newman, etc…and think they have earned anything. At least the young guys are performing at the level they’ve played at, and haave a shot to continue to get better at the ML level. The throwaway veterans on minor league deals with an invitation to spring training are NOT the better option. Get the young guys ready to compete. And only major league opposition can truly get them ready.

      • greenmtred

        Luke: In your comment you acknowledge that they are unproven. We (well, possibly excepting LDS and Harry who would need to drastically recalibrate) fervently hope that all of the young guys become good MLB players for the Reds but, as you say, they are unproven and very possibly will increase their chances of being good by working on weaknesses–defense, for some–away from the pressure of MLB.

    • Stock

      I think you are wrong.

      I for one did not want CES in Cincinnati in April. In fact if I were the GM neither CES nor ELDC would step into GABP until September. The only three “prospects” that I would consider bringing up prior to September are McGarry, Williamson and Stoudt. I for one feel that prospects should not be rushed this year.

      Second, the players with the greatest number of years under control and have potential should be receiving regular AB this summer. This includes Stephenson, India, Barrero, Steer, Fraley, Benson and Friedl. This leaves two regular spots for Votto and Myers. Let’s find out who the players are in 2023 and field the best team possible in 2024.

      Third, prospects should not be bench players. I don’t mind sending Fairchild to Louisville if that is what it takes to give him everyday AB. I have no problem filling the bench with vet bats Casali, Maile, Newman and Pinder.

      Fourth, Myers should be traded in July for prospects. Preferrably pitching prospects or prospects who are under the age of 20.

      Finally 2024. EDLC and McLain should be starting in Cincinnati on opening day. Also Fraley, India and Stephenson should be in the opening day lineup. The final four spots should be determined in 2023. Does Barrero perform like a top 25 prospect or Mario Mendoza? Does Spencer Steer hit well enough let Votto walk? Can Benson keep his K% under 25%? Is Friedl’s bat good enough to play every day in RF? Can CES perform in the minors well enough to join EDLC and McLain in Cincinnati on opening day?

      I would love to see the following lineup on opening day 2024:

      C: Stephenson
      1B: CES
      2B: McLain
      3B: Barrero
      SS: EDLC
      LF: Fraley
      CF: Benson
      RF: India
      DH: Steer

      SP: Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, Phillips and one of (Boyle, Abbott, Petty)

      • LDS

        The main reason to leave the prospects in the minors is to keep them from being “managed” by Bell. Let him play Pinder, Newman, and the rest of the warm bodies, lose another 100 games, and hopefully get fired. The sooner, the better.

      • Jim t

        Lol!! It’s all Bells fault. Firing him will straighten all things out.

      • MBS

        I don’t see the point of moving Barrero to 3B if his bat warrants everyday play. He’s a SS, and defensively the best one we have, short of maybe Arroyo.

        Barrero is the 1st piece of the puzzle, SS, or bench piece. EDLC is next, SS, 3B, or CF. Then India, Trade, 2B, LF? Then McLain, SS, 2B, CF, RF.

        The good news is we are likely to know these answers by midseason.

      • CI3J

        India does not have the arm to play RF. I’d rather trade him for a RF than move him there.

        Also, what about Marte? He seems like the 3B of the future.

        I think a better lineup would be:

        C: Stephenson
        1B: CES
        2B: McLain
        SS: Barrero
        3B: Marte
        LF: Fraley
        CF: EDLC
        RF: Benson
        DH: Steer or whoever we trade India for

      • LDS

        @JimT, seriously if you think Bell is doing a good job, more power to you. As the saying goes “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”. That would be the Bell apologists.

      • Votto4life

        You want Benson to show he can get his strike outs under 25%. Of the time, yet you want EDLC in the 2024 opening day line up, even though last year, he struck out 33% of the time in A and AA?

        I don’t think EDLC should be promoted until he can show better plate discipline, whether it’s next year or 3 years from now. If he is whiffing 33% of the time in AA, what would his strike out percentage be facing major league pitchers every single day?

        EDLC is a great talent, but he is no where near being ready for the major leagues.

      • Jim t

        @LDS I’m not saying Bell is doing a good job. He has finished above 500 in 2 of his 4 seasons as manager of the club. What I’m saying is he is not the reason our franchise is trending down. It’s ownership. You could bring in any manager you want and without a change in ownership their results will not be what any of us want. My point is Bells management of the team has little impact on this team as it is currently constructed.

      • greenmtred

        And if you get your wish, LDS, how long will it take you to conclude that the new manager is the source of all of the trouble? I’ve said it before: You should apply for the job. It’s the only way you’ll get any peace of mind.

  13. Mark Moore

    Looks like it was a solid win against the Guardrails based on the box score and recaps. Love that Fraley is still raking. Also good to see Joey get in a solid performance.

    Let the final countdown to opening day begin.

  14. Jpser05

    Has anyone heard anything about Lodolo? He has not pitched since March 10th. Green, Ashcraft, Williamson seem to be on a rotation schedule, but Lodolo is missing.

    • DaveCT

      He pitched a simulated game within the last day or so. Probably just sticking with the rotation schedule set up

  15. Dennis Westrick

    OMG, the insanity! First, No. 1 Purdue loses to a No. 16 seed. Now, H. Strickland pitches an inning without giving up a HR or a run or a hit! I’m playing the Lottery tonight!