Thursday, April 5, 2012

Reds shut out the Marlins on Opening Day

First pitch photo courtesy of RR Master Photographer Will Hicks
Opening Day finally came and the first game is in the books. Cincinnati ace Johnny Cueto (1-0) led the Reds into battle against left-hander Mark Buerhle (0-1) and the new-look, new-name Miami Marlins. It all started with a 90-mph fastball, called strike from Cueto to Jose Reyes. It ended on a 76-mph curveball from Sean Marshall to Giancarlo Stanton, as Marshall struck out the final batter to nail down a 4-0 win for the Reds.

Let's look at the good, the bad, and the notables, which count for the first time in 2012:

The Good:
-Cueto was sensational in his first Opening Day start. He threw seven shutout innings, in which he struck out four batters, while allowing just three hits and two walks. He also picked Emilio Bonifacio off at first, in the fourth inning.
-Aroldis Chapman and Marshall each threw a perfect inning with two strikeouts, to finish off the shutout.
-Joey Votto didn't let the money go to his head, getting the first hit of 2012 for the Reds, hitting a pitch to left center in the first. He finished 1-3 with a walk and a strikeout. He also made a few nifty digs with his glove at first to preserve the outs.
-Jay #Bruuuuuce recorded the first RBI of the Reds' season sending a sacrifice fly deep to the warning track, scoring Zack Cozart from third. Later in the eighth, Bruce recorded the first home run of the season for the Reds with a solo shot off Edward Mujica, capping a 1-3, two-RBI day for Jay.
-In his first plate appearance, Drew Stubbs appeased the entire fan base, by laying down a perfect bunt for a base hit in the second inning. It ended up being his only hit, although he did walk once and score a run. He struck out once on the day.
-Ryan Ludwick picked up his first hit and RBI as a Red, with a sixth inning double that chased Scott Rolen home to give the Reds a 2-0 lead.
-Zack Cozart rolled right from spring training into the regular season, going 2-4 with a double and a run scored.
-Batting for Chapman, Chris Heisey had a pinch-hit RBI double in the eighth, picking up where he left off last year.

The Bad:
-Had to really split hairs here because there's not much bad in a 4-0 win, but here it goes:
-The sure-handed Rolen committed a first inning error on a ball slapped to him by Bonifacio. The error did not cost the Reds however, and Rolen did make up for it with a tremendous play to get Gaby Sanchez out in the second.
-Votto was picked off at first base by Buerhle in the third inning.
-Despite the 4-0 win, the Reds were just 1-10 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.

The Notables:
-According to the Reds' Director of Media Relations, Rob Butcher, today's crowd of 42,956 was the largest regular season crowd in Great American Ball Park history, beating the record of 42,794 from 2005.
-Former Red and fan favorite Austin Kearns, pinch hit in the eighth and grounded out to Rolen.
-There were several rumblings on Twitter today that the Reds are very close to agreeing on an extension with Brandon Phillips. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweeted, "Jocketty told Marty, Brad Johansen that he's confident that Phillips deal will be done in a week. For Walt to say that, ink must be drying."
You can see more by revisiting an earlier post on the situation.
-The Reds are now undefeated and tied for first place in the Central, while on pace for a 162-0 record.
-After taking Good Friday off, the Reds will get back at it on Opening Night, Saturday at 7:10pm EST as newly-acquired arm Mat Latos will take the ball against Ricky Nolasco for the Marlins. The first 20,000 fans get a 2012 team calendar, and there will be fireworks after the game.

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