Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wednesday's Reds notes: Spring opener recap, over/under season wins, and more

So, the Cincinnati Reds played a baseball game for the first time in five months on Wednesday. I'm stating the obvious here, but it was glorious to see/hear Reds baseball again.

As promised, Billy Hamilton batted lead-off and played center field. He wasted no time stretching out his legs after working a 10-pitch walk and then swiping second base. An errant throw led to Hamilton standing on third base before the Indians could even record an out. Unfortunately, the Reds couldn't get him home and the youngster eventually wound up 0-for-2 on the day.

Joey Votto, Ryan Ludwick, Tucker Barnhart, and Chris Nelson each notched an RBI. Chris Heisey provided some fireworks when he blasted a two-run homer in the top of the seventh. Heisey followed that act by smashing a double in the eighth. Donald Lutz chipped in a triple and a couple of RBI, too.

From the pitching side, Alfredo Simon got the start and turned in two innings of scoreless ball. The same can be said for Chad Rogers. However, Tim Crabbe came in as relief in the fifth and surrendered a pair of runs on two hits and two walks. Curtis Partch, the only pitcher in MLB history to surrender a grand slam in the first batter he faced in the big leagues, allowed a run and a hit in his lone inning of work. Lee Hyde, Pedro Beato, and Trevor Bell combined to throw three innings of hitless ball to close out the affair.

It all added up to an 8-3 Reds victory in Bryan Price's managerial debut.

+ For those of you planning a trip to Goodyear or for those of you who are already there,'s Mark Sheldon cranked out an unrivaled list of eateries around the area. This should serve as a great guide for fans who otherwise wouldn't know where to go to satisfy their hunger during spring training.

+ This is some bit of old news, but I haven't seen it reported anywhere. According to the team's official transactions page, the Reds have signed right-handed pitchers Andrew Matos and Pat Egan to minor league contracts. Egan, 29, owns a respectable 3.11 ERA and 30-23 record in 245 career minor league appearances. He has yet to see action at the major league level though. Matos, just 17-years-old, appeared in 10 games in the Dominican Summer League while pitching as a member of the Rockies in 2013.

+ Kyle Johansen of Rant Sports took a shot at predicting what Cincinnati's Opening Day lineup may look like. I'd say it's pretty much already set, barring injury.

+ TMZ Sports caught up with Reds legend Johnny Bench to ask him what he thought about MLB's new collision ban at home plate. See what he says right here in a short two-minute video clip.

+ With a hat tip to C. Trent Rosecrans for the assist, here's a link to the 2013 TOOTBLAN review for the Redlegs. TOOTBLAN stands for "Thrown Out On The Bases Like A Nincompoop" (yes, that's a real thing). Apparently, Shin-Soo Choo led the way with 12 such goofs last season. Brandon Phillips wasn't too far behind with 11.

+ Rosecrans also explains how the Reds are coping with the implementation of instant replay. It'll be interesting to see how things shake out this year under new replay procedures.

+ So, the over/under for Reds wins this year has been set at 84.5 by the oddsmakers in Las Vegas. Would you go over or under? For me, I'll take the over.

+ Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus ranked the farm system as 16th-best in baseball. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Pirates each ranked among the top six, while the Brewers were 29th.

+ Buster Olney broke down the early season schedules for every team in the National League and determined that the Reds have the 8th-toughest. Conversely, the Cubs have the toughest strength of schedule, but that's what happens when you're the underdog in most every game you play.

+ Jesse provided a preseason outlook on Cincinnati's bullpen this morning. Also, the proud husband, father, and staff writer here at Redlegs Review is celebrating his birthday today. Ah, another year older and another year wiser, right? Happy birthday, buddy.

+ In non-related Reds news, the Cardinals are apparently upset with the way reliever Carlos Martinez has been "favoriting" rather risque tweets on his Twitter account. [NSFW]

+ The Reds and Indians are set to tangle once more tomorrow. Should be fun.

Photo Credit (@ctrent)

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