Reds 6 Braves 3
Hey....hey....how bout those Reds? They are 1-0 after spoiling Opening NIght/World Series banner night for the Braves.
They put together good AB's early on, fought off pitches, flared and blooped hits, and hit the ball up the middle/other way for 10 hits, including 9 singles by 7 different batters. Six different players scored a run. They didn't hit 'em hard, but they hit 'em where the Braves weren't. Average exit velocity off SP Max Fried was just 81 mph (ML average 88). Aristides Aquino fisted one the other way for a single. Tommy Pham worked a walk after falling behind 0-2 as part of a two run 3rd inning. Tyler Stephenson scored from 2nd on a 2-out one hop single to LF and later lifted a sacrifice fly. They did wind up striking out 13 times, including 7 of the final 9 outs. Braves reliever Spencer Strider was throwing gas and striking out five in two innings.
Big bop: No. 9 hitter/3B Brandon Drury clobbered a 3-run HR as the first batter reliever that Colin McHough faced in the 6th. It took a 3-1 lead to 6-1.
Lengthen that lineup: The Reds 7-8-9 hitters were a combined 5-12, HR, 4 RBI, 3 R.
Doing it with D: Jonathan India made two beautiful sliding stops and throws. Aquino made a fine running catch to the warning track to end the 4th.
Road Warrior: Tyler Mahle was good, as he usually is on the road (2.30 last year). 5 IN, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K. 84 pitches/51 strikes. He worked quickly and efficiently early in the game with 11 pitches in the 1st and 2nd inning. He wobbled a little, with 62 pitches over the 3rd-4th-5th, but avoided trouble. The Braves hit some at-em balls. Average exit velocity was 97 mph.
Pitching, pitching, pitching: Reds arms held the Braves to just four hits, while striking out 13. They did walk five Braves.
Bullpen: 12 outs.....2 runs...6 K..Cessa 1.0, 0 R, 2 BB. ....Wilson 1.0, 0 R, 2 K.....Moreta 1.0, BB, 2 K, 2-R HR Austin Riley. Tony Santillan 1.0, 0 R, 2K. Save.
Gold, Jerry! The story of the night, beyond the win, was Joey Votto wearing a mic for ESPN. He was interviewed while playing 1B in the 4th inning. It was incredible. He talked about hitting, fielding, golf, break dancing, his career, and his upcoming decision to get either a gold or diamond tooth. He brought Ozzie Albies into the conversation after the Braves 2B reached 1st base. Asked about his gold/diamond tooth, Albies said "go for it". He talked to Eduardo Perez in Spanish.
He did what? Votto popped up to the pitcher for the first time in his ML career (8,000+ AB). It was a foul popl along the 3rd base line to Fried.
Tough night: Mike Moustakas 2 K, infield pop-up. He did have a bleeder single up the middle...but forgot how many outs there were and cost himself a base on a Kyle Farmer single to right.
Follow-up/morning after thoughts on the game:
-When is the last time the Reds played a game and used just 9 hitters? 1976 World Series?
-Loved the fact all 9 hitters contributed.....7 different players got hits, the two players that didn't collect a hit.....Tommy Pham, drew a big walk and Tyler Stephenson scored and lifted a sac fly.
-Big bounce back from Dauri Moreta. He appeared nervous from the start of the 8th, walked the first batter he faced and then served up the 2-run HR to Austin Riley. He then settled and retired the next three Braves.
-Luis Cessa walked 2 in his inning. He walked 2 in his 26.1 innings as a Red last year.
-Tyler Mahle was good, but still lets too many AB's get away from him. He was Cy Young like in the 1st two innings. He needed 62 pitches to get through the next three innings. To his credit, he didn't allow an earned run. But needs to give the Reds the extra inning, not the extra pitches.
-Liked that run production in the 2nd inning. Stephenson was HBP, Senzel singled up the middle, Farmer bailed out a bad AB by Moustakas with a 2-out RBI single and 3rd base coach JR House showed no hesitation in sending his catcher around to score from 2nd on a one bounce/hard hit single to LF.
-Liked that run production in the 3rd inning. India flared a single to start the inning. Aquino fought one off the other way. Pham battled back from 0-2 to walk and load the bases with no outs. Votto ripped and RBI single. Stephenson plated a run with a fly ball/sac fly.
-The PitchCom was no issue...at least watching it. The picture of the system that Stephenson wears is posted here.
-Tony Santillan is flat out filthy. I mean nasty. He stands on the mound like he doesn't give a flip about the batter....and is just there to dominate. I loved that.