2011 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: That. Was. Awesome.

Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….

FINAL
Milwaukee 6
Cincinnati 7

WP: Ondrusek (1-0)
LP: Axford (0-1)
BOX SCORE

POSITIVES
–What a finish. Ramon Hernandez lined a ball over the right field fence with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, a three-run homer that gave the Redlegs a dramatic come-from-behind victory on Opening Day. Hernandez had four hits on the day.

–Drew Stubbs was 2-5 with a homer, a double, and two runs scored out of the leadoff spot. I continue to maintain that Stubbs is going to have a breakout year.

–Jay Bruce and Paul Janish (!) each had two hits. Joey Votto picked up right where he left off, going 1-2 with a homer, two walks, two runs scored, two RBI. M…V…P.

–The Reds got good relief work from Bill Bray and Sam LeCure. Logan Ondrusek was a bit wild, but pitched a scoreless inning to pick up the win. Jordan Smith was pretty good, though he was charged with an earned run. That run never would have scored if it weren’t for a terrible error by Jonny Gomes in left field, so I give Smith a pass.

Clutch Man Monie! (The Enquirer/Cara Owsley)

NEGATIVES
–I know that the Opening Day crowd is largely there for the social aspect of the experience…but it was very disappointing to see the number of people who left early. If ever there were a team that makes you want to stay to the bitter end, it’s the Cincinnati Reds.

–Edinson Volquez gave up homers to the first two batters he faced this season. He settled down after a rough first inning, but the damage was largely done. In the end, Volquez’s line looked like this: six innings, seven hits, 5 runs, 5 Ks, 2 BB.

–Scott Rolen was in postseason form already: 0-4 with two strikeouts. It must be mentioned, however, that his defense was very, very good.

NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS
–Wow. Just wow.

–There was a lot of talk on the postgame radio about whether this game was better than the 2005 Opening Day thriller (the Joe Randa game). Today’s game was great, no doubt about it…but I was at both games, and I think the Randa game was more exciting from start to finish.

Both games, however, are perfect examples of why baseball is the best.

Reds first baseman Joey Votto heads to third base on a controversial hit by Jay Bruce that Brewers outfielder Mark Kotsay insisted he caught (The Enquirer/Cara Owsley)

–I loved hearing the M-V-P chants for Votto a couple of times during the game.

–Rolen and Janish looked great on the left side of that infield. I love Cincinnati’s infield defense (and 2/3 of their outfield defense too).

–Brandon Phillips made a nifty move in the ninth to avoid a tag as he was running to third base. Probably saved the game. Plus, BP was wearing the high socks, and they looked awesome.

–Hernandez is the fifth Red to collect four hits on Opening Day (Bubbles Hargrave (1924), Babe Herman (1936), Jim Greengrass (1954) and Paul O’Neill (1989)).

–That’s the first Opening Day the Reds have won with Dusty Baker at the helm.

–This was my seventh Opening Day game. The experience never gets old.

–The attendance was 42,398. I wonder how many were left at the end. Fewer than half, no question.

–The Reds are wearing a “Sparky” patch on their sleeves, in honor of Big Red Machine manager Sparky Anderson.

What a way to start the season!

31 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: That. Was. Awesome.

  1. What a game! I really like the decision to start Janish at shortstop. Let’s face it…over the long haul, he is not going to hit. I’d expect him to be a .240 hitter without providing any pop…but he is clearly the best defensive shortstop on this roster….and that means something to a championship team. Lets hope Dusty doesn’t have the quick hook after a couple of “0-fers”. The Reds should have enough offense to cover for Janish…and he is worth a few wins in the field.

    I like this team a lot. There is depth that hasn’t been there for years and I think there is enough expendable young talent to make move midyear if need be.

  2. The Columbus Dispatch’s season preview had Renteria as the starting SS. They’re so half-assed, I don’t know why they don’t just reprint Fay’s articles 100% of the time. At least they had 40 column inches on Jim Tressel’s press conference.

  3. Is it too late for me to get my projection in for the Reds season record? I’ll go with 121 – 41.

  4. What an ending, I too was disappointed seeing the empty seats at the end of the game. Sure it was cold and we were losing but this is a comeback team!

    Scottie will bounce back and Stubbs will continue his hopefully breakout year.

  5. I thought of the 2005 Opening Day game as soon as I saw Ramon’s HR. That was a better game, but who cares. We won, and this will be a much better season.

  6. Awesome Game! Loved how we never gave up!? Anyone else concerned that we still don’t have a #1 pitcher?

  7. More of an awesome finish than a great game.

    Even though Rolen was o-4 with a walk, it took 31 pitches by the Brewers, so he made them work getting him out.

  8. @ARFoskey: No. Not at all. Arroyo is going to be…well Arroyo(15-16 wins, 200+ innings). And one of the others are going to have a break-out year. Not sure which one, but Cueto took a step last year and Volquez or Bailey(hopefully both) will this year.

  9. Phillips avoiding the tag at third probably did save the game, and was just a neat play to watch. McGehee seriously looked like he was going to cry when Roenicke came out to talk to the ump.

    Methinks Hernandez sold a lot of tickets with that home run yesterday. Coming off last year’s division title, winning the opener in such dramatic fashion really is how a team converts casual fans into regular fans. Of course, about half the casual fans who show up only for the openers had left before he worked his magic, but I suspect this should give them a little boost at the box office early in the season, which is exactly what the Reds need.

    I was all set to blow off an opening loss by pointing out that this is a marathon and not a sprint, but a win like this sets a tone, does it not?

  10. Great game. The atmosphere under the Power Stacks was similar to when Bruce hit the clincher last year. Most of the people who left won’t come to another game until the playoffs, if the Reds are fortunate enough to make it.

  11. I want to commend Dusty Baker for several of his moves yesterday.

    First, keeping Chris Heisey, the team’s best pinch hitter, on the bench in case the game went into extra innings was brilliant. Many people would have been tempted to use him instead of rookie Juan Francisco or singles hitter Miguel Cairo when they came up to pinch hit with runners on base and a home run was needed. Baker was able to ignore Heisey’s pinch hitting accomplishments from 2010 and his 5 home runs this spring. The fact that Francisco and Cairo both made easy outs is irrelevant. If the game had gone into extra innings, the Reds would have been in great shape.

    Second, putting Jordan Smith into pitch the seventh inning was very cunning. Sure, Smith is the seventh pitcher in the bullpen. Sure, we have an off day today, so resting the best part of the bullpen was not an issue. Most other managers would have used Aroldis Chapman, Nick Masset, even Coco Cordero. Now those pitchers will have had virtually an entire week off if they pitch tomorrow night. The run Smith gave up proved to be meaningless.

    Finally, I loved seeing Brandon Phillips sacrifice bunt in the first inning with no outs. Even though the Reds were three runs behind already, that run proved to be decisive at the end. How else could Brandon Phillips have advanced Drew Stubbs to third? And you know, it was important to get Stubbs to third because with his baserunning deficiencies he would have had trouble scoring on a single by any of the three hitters after him. Playing for one run was just what the Reds needed; trailing 3-1 we had the Brewers right where we wanted them. (Until the next inning when they scored another run to go ahead 4-1).

    Oh yah, April Fool!:-)

    Go Reds!

  12. I’m also loving BP’s high socks. What do we have to do to get more players on board?

  13. The rendition of “God Bless America” sung during the seventh inning stretch by Technical Sergeant Felita Rowe of the Air Force Band of Flight was one of the best I’ve ever seen.

    The version of “Take me Out to the Ballgame” that followed by a band called “Cage the Elephant” was horrible, I mean, really dreadful. I was surprised to learn this morning that they are a real band. I was convinced at the game it was a parody.

  14. Thoughts:
    —Every fastball Voltron threw in the first 2 innings was leaking back over the heart of the plate. And yet, it took until the full count on Braun before Hernandez called for a changeup. You’re athletes, make an adjustment!! Gheesh.
    –Despit Janish’s 2 hits, he looked terrible at the plate. Front side leaking big time. That’ll get exposed if he doesn’t fix it fast.
    –I loved seeing the Brewers bullpen exposed so early. Puts a real damper on all that hype, no?
    –I’m sooo over Gomes.
    –I’m sooo into Votto.
    –I’m sooo hoping Stubbs breaks out.

  15. @Steve: Haha. Yes, exactly. Don’t forget using LeCure.
    I don’t know what Dusty was smoking yesterday, but I want some.

  16. It’s shame that people left, but anyone take a look at the stands in St. Louis at the end of that game? Just as empty. There might have even been more people at GABP at the end of the game than Busch and that game went into extras.

  17. @RiverCity Redleg: Is it just me, or does it seem that Drew Stubbs made to wear tall socks? I can’t think of a player that screams “I would look awesome with tall socks” more. I think it is because he reminds me of Grady Sizemore…minus microfracture surgery.

  18. Steve, you got sarcasm all over my keyboard, man. It’s murder getting that stuff out from between the keys.

    BTW, BP in high socks = cool.
    BP in stirrups = automatic contract extension.

  19. 1. Agree on Stubbs in high socks. It is a natural.
    2. Didn’t understand sacrificing in the first either, and I’m a big small ball guy.
    3. LeCure is who I wanted on the mound in the 7th.
    4. This might be really, really picky: but I thought while the patch to honor Sparky was in the right place for Captain Hook, I would have thought that having it painted or made of a more solid piece would have been nicer than using a tarp. It looked like the wind was really impacting it at some points. Unless I was just seeing things.
    5. This is going to be a fun team to watch.
    6. After one day: Reds all alone in first place. Cards in last place. As it should be.

  20. Any of the rest of you pulling for the Astros over the Phillies? I find that I am today. I guess the Phillies have reached an elevated level of hostility to me because of their gross payroll spending, sort of the Yankees of the NL. I would never cheer for the Cubs or the WLB over the Phils, but today, I’m pulled in the direction of the Stros (who are now leading Halladay and the Phillies 1-0 in the 6th innning).

    • Any of the rest of you pulling for the Astros over the Phillies? I find that I am today. I guess the Phillies have reached an elevated level of hostility to me because of their gross payroll spending, sort of the Yankees of the NL. I would never cheer for the Cubs or the WLB over the Phils, but today, I’m pulled in the direction of the Stros (who are now leading Halladay and the Phillies 1-0 in the 6th innning).

      Same here. But I’ve hated the Phillies since I was born

  21. My tweet just prior to the start of the 9th read: “Paging Joe Randa. #Reds paging Joe Randa”

    I never thought he’d actually show! 😀

  22. @Steve: Great April Fool’s post, YOU GOT ME, made me an April fool ! I was reading about how you approved of BP’s sac bunt in the first inning and was about to reply along the lines of … come on, even if BP struck out, Votto’s fly would have gotten Stubbs to 3rd, he would have scored anyway plus it’s a dumb strategy regardless of result, etc.

    Had a good laugh at the end of your post.

  23. I like Stubbs in high socks. Vada Pinson always wore high socks with the stirrups. He was meticulous about it – looked exactly the same (perfect) – every game.

  24. @RC: Agree about BP in high socks and stirrups, awesome. The Reds are regaining their flair.

  25. @Steve: PS Hmmm. If on my first reading of your post I’d bothered reading anything more than the BP bunting paragraph, it would have been very hard to get fooled. The sarcasm’s a little too blatant.

  26. @lookatthathat: I agree 100%. I was thinking the same thing when I made the comment. I was going to add that Stubbs and Janish are doing themselves an injustice by not donning the high socks.

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