Reds show spark towards end of Opening Day


Dayton Daily News

Joey Votta, Devin Mesoraco, and Eugenio Suarez celebrate at home plate during Opening Day

After nearly seven and a half innings of some of the least entertaining baseball I have ever watched which included only nine hits, four that occurred in the first inning and a half of Opening Day, the Reds finally turned up the offense by scoring five runs in the home half of the eighth inning to pick up their first win of the season. However, throughout the Reds first game of the season, both their veteran and young players, most who were acquired in trades that shipped fan-favorites to teams around the MLB, showed glimpses of some great baseball.

First, Opening Day starter Raisel Iglesias, the first Cuban to be the Reds starting pitcher on Opening Day in nearly 90 years, pitched six quality innings while only giving up two runs both of which were scored on Freddy Galvis home run that was only two rows over the right field wall. Iglesias was given the starting role for the Reds on Opening Day after fellow starter Anthony DeSclafani was deemed unable to pitch due to a strained oblique.

In relief of Iglesias, the combination of Jumbo Diaz (1.1 IP), Tony Cingrani (0.1 IP), Ross Ohlendorf (0.1 IP), and J.J. Hoover (1.0 IP) combined to allow zero runs, allowed zero hits, and struck out three batters in a combined three innings pitched to close out the game for the Reds.

Zack Cozart had three hits and a sacrifice during the Reds 6-2 win on Opening Day over the Phillies
Gary Landers – AP Photo
Zack Cozart had three hits and a sacrifice during the Reds 6-2 win on Opening Day over the Phillies

A year after an ACL injury ended his season early, veteran Zack Cozart reached base in each of his first three plate appearances by hitting two doubles and a single as well as a sacrifice fly in the Reds five-run eighth inning. Cozart, who is in his six year as a member of the Reds, will be looking to become a cornerstone of the Reds in the upcoming years.

Two other veterans, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, both struggled in the beginning of the game but turned it on when it counted. Votto, a member of the Reds for the past nine years, started off the 2016 season by looking silly during his first three at-bats which were all strikeouts. However, Votto showed his reliability with his two-run single in the eighth inning giving the Reds the 4-2 lead. Bruce, who didn’t look very impressive in his first three at-bats during Opening Day, also came up clutch in the same inning with his own two-run single two batters later to add two more runs onto their lead.

Aside from the veterans showing up late, two young stars for the Reds also showed their skills in the field.

Billy Hamilton, who is in his fourth year with the Reds, is known around the Majors for his speed on the base paths. Hamilton showed that he can also use his speed while playing center field when he covered so much ground in such little time to make a diving catch to get the second out while trying to close out the ninth inning.

However, moments before Hamilton’s incredible catch, little-known left fielder Tyler Holt completely laid out for a ball by the third-base line that may have topped Hamilton’s snag. Holt, who was claimed off waivers by the Reds in the off-season, was placed into the game in the eighth inning as a pinch runner who then scored the game-tying run. After hustle-guy Chris Heisey left the Reds two years ago, they have never really been able to find another high-energy guy to fill his void but I believe that Tyler Holt would fit that spot perfectly. Watch both Holt’s and Hamilton’s incredible catches here.

Everyone is predicting the 2016 Reds to lose 100+ games this season which I can see happening. However, I think there is something special about this team and I believe that if we give them a few years, they’re gonna be just fine.