Tonight’s Cincinnati Reds game against the Milwaukee Brewers was supposed to be a normal series opener. The Brewers started the season hot, taking 3 of 4 from the Cardinals over the weekend. Noted Reds killer and reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich had hit a home run in all of those games, becoming one of the few players to ever do that in baseball history. For the Reds, Tanner Roark was slated to start, and fans who settled in on a chilly night at the ballpark were excited to see what he could do during his first start in a Reds uniform. The baseball gods had other ideas in mind, though. It all started with an early 6:40 PM first pitch.
Roark was able to get Yelich out, which is a plus. The only problem was that he faced all nine hitters in the Brewer lineup, throwing 34 pitches and giving up three runs.
The consistent theme for Reds starters last year was their inability to get through six or more innings. When the bullpen wasn’t tired last year, they pitched very well. That’s a key for this year’s rotation if the Reds are going to perform well.
Matt Wisler was traded to San Diego for Diomar Lopez. Lopez is a 22 year old righty who has spent most of his time in rookie and single A ball. Wisler is out of options, so it makes sense for the Reds to trade him for a young arm.
Yasiel Puig delivered his first hit and RBIs in the bottom of the 5th to cut the Milwaukee lead to one. Puig has been maligned early at the plate, but he was able to get out early on the first pitch and get a great hit on a pitch low and inside.
Also, Puig’s celebration was elite.
Matt Kemp gave the home plate umpire the business after a low strike three call ended the rally in the Reds’ 5th inning. Kemp hasn’t been able to provide much yet from the plate, but if he’s willing to get thrown out for his team, I’m fine with it. His ejection also paved the way for Jesse Winker to enter the game after not starting.
Our favorite new guy Derek Dietrich – known as either Big Dick Dietrich or Tiddies depending on who you ask – hit into a fielder’s choice and beat the throw to first in order to score Jose Peraza to make it 3-3. After taking an early 3-0 deficit, tying the game up was huge for confidence in the Reds’ offense for this year. Dietrich has been huge off the bench early this year, and was effective in replacing Jose Iglesias last night.
Obviously, this hurts the Reds’ future, but it adds to the list of injuries they are facing only a week into the season. Alex Wood, Scooter Gennett, Nick Senzel and Greene all picked up injuries in Arizona over the past month. You can’t chalk injuries up to much other than bad luck, and it’s better for Greene to have his surgery while in the minors instead of the majors. It still sucks to have another exciting prospect get injured.
Raisel Iglesias came on in the 9th to hold the tie, and did not look great in attempting to do so. With two outs in the top of the ninth, he gave up a double to Yelich, and then another double to cheater and former Red killer Ryan Braun to score Yelich. Iglesias has not looked exemplary in either of his two outings this season, giving up a homer and two walks on Opening Day and the run tonight. Those screws need to be tightened, and quickly.
After a titanic struggle attended by nearly 7,000 people, Puig popped up to the catcher in foul territory to end the game in losing fashion. Josh Hader gave up a leadoff double to Curt Casali, but got the top of the order out with relative ease. Going up against Hader is a tall task, but you need to somehow find a way to get that runner in scoring position over and in as George Grande would say. Multiple fans on Twitter asked why the Reds chose not to bunt. Here’s the simple answer: Hader is probably not much easier to bunt off of than to hit. If you waste an at bat on trying to bunt, then you’re up against the wall with one out. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation for David Bell. I thought he played his cards correctly and trusted his top of the order to come through. They didn’t, and that was that.
After three games in the season, we shouldn’t make any snap judgments on this team yet. These eight events, though, all will have an impact on the future of the team. It’s insane that so much happened in the span of one game. Maybe tonight we won’t have as much going on, and Reds Country will hopefully be able to sit back tonight and watch the team pull out a win.
With the Reds luck, though, that’s probably not happening.