Let’s recap today’s titanic struggle….
WP: Ondrusek (1-0)
LP: Axford (0-1)
–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.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.
–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.–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!
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org.