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Reds Week One Recap: A Very Pleasant Surprise

By: Craig James

Hey NL Central, how’s the view from down there?

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Yeah, that’s right, the Reds are atop the NL Central standings after the first week of the 2017 Major League Baseball season. Damn that feels good to say.  They’re atop the standings after one week because of some great pitching performances (never thought I’d say that in 2017).

These weekly recaps will be commonplace this season. For the most part, I watch every Reds game, maybe not in its entirety, but for the majority of games I’m tuned in for most of it. We will review key moments, notable performances and roster moves each week along with whatever happens along the way. 

Opening Day (still trying to figure out why it isn’t an official holiday in Cincinnati where everyone can take off work) did not go as planned. Nothing better than getting a call from my dad, aka J-bird at about noon, 1:00 o’clock on Opening Day saying his boss just gave him two tickets to the party deck and “can you meet me down there?” Uhh heyy J-bird don’t ask dumb questions of course I can meet you to go to Opening Day.

The very first batter of the season took Scott Feldman deep over the right field fence. You literally could hear the stadium grown and collectively say, “here we go again.” The Phillies came out swinging, in the first inning they were hitting balls hard all over the yard.  They scored two runs in the first off Feldman. The Reds just simply didn’t get the big hit when they needed it on Opening Day, finishing 1-8 with runners in scoring position.  The lone hit was Scooter Gennett’s 2 run home run in the bottom of the ninth. Pretty cool for Gennett to hit a home run in his first game as a Cincinnati Red, a team he grew up a fan of.  

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On Opening night for the Reds, Brandon Finnegan was flat out dominant in his first start of the season. Finnegan threw seven innings allowing no runs, on one hit and he struck out 9. He had a great second half of the season last year and looked very confident in his first start this year. The Reds finished this game off with Michael Lorenzen and Rasiel Iglesias. This one-two combo at the back end of games isn’t going to be giving up many runs this year.

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Both these guys are studs.  Joey Votto, aka my man crush, hit his first bomb of the year on a hanging breaking ball.  This was all Finnegan needed the way he was throwing.  

The Reds wrapped up their series with the Phillies with a 7-4 win. The bats came alive this game as the Reds had 13 hits. The key hit in this game was Michael Lorenzen’s pinch hit home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a 4-4 tie. This ball was absolutely smoked.

Meet @mlorenzen21: pitcher, pinch-hitter, home run hitter. #Reds #PitchersWhoRake

A post shared by Cincinnati Reds (@reds) on

According to Statcast that tracks mph, launch angle and other factors of home runs had this leaving Lorenzen’s bat at 108 mph.  Pretty nice to have a pitcher that rakes while we’re playing with a four man bench. Rookie Davis made his MLB debut in this game. Probably didn’t go the way he wanted as he left the ball up on two different occasions, and paid the price by giving up two home runs. He finished with three innings pitched and four earned runs.  

Three games in St. Louis were next on the docket for the Redlegs. They faced the familiar face of Mike Leake on Friday night. This was a great game to watch, and simply not a game that the 2016 Reds would have won. Reds #2 prospect Amir Garrett made his Major League debut and man it was something to watch. A great pitcher’s duel, with Leake and Garrett both making hitters look uncomfortable all night. Garrett came out the victor; as he was absolutely dominate on the mound, he went six innings, giving up just two hits, zero runs and struck out four. About a good of a MLB debut as you could imagine.  

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It was fun to watch. The Reds went again to Lorenzen and Iglesias at the end of the game and they shut the door on the Cards, Iglesias picked up his second save of the year.     

Saturday’s game marked the return of Bronson Arroyo to the Cincinnati Reds. Arroyo was tattooed all over Busch Stadium as he gave up six earned runs in four innings of work.  He allowed two home runs to Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz (how in the heck do you say that guy’s first name?). This was Arroyo’s first Major League appearance since 2014. Let’s call a spade a spade, Arroyo should not be a Major League starting pitcher and is only here to eat innings because the Reds young rookie pitchers will be on an innings limit this year. The Reds tried battling back as Schebler hit a two run homer in the 8th, but that was all the Reds could muster.  

Sunday, the Reds took the series over the Cardinals in outstanding fashion. This is a rare feat for the Reds as this was the fourth series win at St. Louis since 2006.

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They hammered the Cards for eight runs and beat them 8-0. Yes, you read that right, the Reds shut out the Cardinals twice in a series. Pretty impressive for a pitching staff that many, myself included, don’t expect much from this year. The Redlegs exploded for four runs in the sixth as the Cardinals imploded the same inning. They took advantage of three Cardinal errors that inning.  All of these runs coming against Cardinals ace Carlos Martinez. Scott Feldman rebounded nicely in his second start, after his lackluster performance on Opening Day, throwing six innings and not allowing a run. Duvall and Votto both homered in this game.  

The Reds are now off to Pittsburgh for a three game series with the Pirates.  

Week One Notable Items

  • Amir Garrett first Major League start and first Major League win
  • Cody Reed first Major League win
  • Stuart Turner got his first Major League hit.  A double to left on Sunday against the Cardinals
  • Votto, Duvall, and Schebler each have two home runs
  • Lorenzen and Iglesias have been absolutely lights out at the end of games so far    
  • Lorenzen 3 innings pitched, 4 K’s, hitters batting .182
  • Iglesias 4 innings pitched, 6 K’s, hitters batting .83

P.S.  I’m off to a 1-1 start on attending Reds games this season.  The more important stat is pizza games though. Notching the first pizza game on Thursday for me was HUGE, I’m a big pizza guy.  Yes, I am a dork that keeps track of how the Reds do when I attend games… For instance in 2015 I was 13-11 with 10 pizza games (that’s solid). In 2016, I was 4-4 with 1 pizza game (lackluster performance on my part). 2017 1-1 with 1 pizza game so far.  

P.P.S.  If you want to follow me on Twitter you may do so @CraigJames_28.  Only do so if you like tweets about the Reds and seeing heart eyes emojiis about Joey Votto. Those are the only things I tweet about.   

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