Final R H E
St. Louis Cardinals  (1-1)
 0  3  1
Cincinnati Reds  (1-1)
 1  6  1
W: J. Hoover (1-0)   L:  C. Martinez (0-1)
Box Score   |   Play-by-Play    |    Stats    |    Depth Chart    |    FanGraphs Win Probability

The Good

Tony Cingrani. There has been considerable talk about how the Reds are going to miss Bronson Arroyo and his ability to take the ball every time out. And that still might be true. But, Cingrani has been nothing short of amazing in his first 19 career starts for the Reds. This is one mind-blowing stat: Tony C. now has 19 straight starts with 5 or fewer hits allowed. That, friends, is the longest streak in major league baseball in the last 100 years. For 7 innings tonight, Cingrani was almost untouchable again, with 9 strikeouts and 2 walks.

Joey Votto got his first 2 hits of the season, numbers 1000 and 1001 for his career. And he had his first walk of the season. Talk amongst yourselves about that.

Two superlative defensive plays by Zach Cozart—both times ranging into the outfield—bookended his ground out to third with the bases loaded in the 4th inning. This just might be a microcosm of Cozart’s season. His game is likely going to be all about run prevention.

The bullpen really got the job done tonight. When Manny Parra came in at the top of the 8th to face the right-handed hitting Peter Bourjos, I thought Price really is serious about not playing the matchup game with his relievers. J.J. Hoover threw some serious gas to get the win.

My boy, Chris Heisey.

The Bad

Billy Hamilton went 0-4 again today. Like Wainwright on Opening Day, going hitless against a pitcher the quality of Michael Wacha is nothing to hang your head about. Still, it looks like a these attempts at bunting for a hit may be putting more pressure on young Hamilton than if they simply let the kid swing away. Twice he bunted the ball much too hard resulting in easy fielding plays. Perhaps he’s simply trying too hard.

The Ugly

Still Yadier Molina. The neck tattoo went 0-4 tonight.

Not so random thoughts …

The Cardinals were 0-6 with RISP tonight. That’s 0-10 to start the season. Yes, the Reds were nearly shut out again, but the Cardinals haven’t done any better. When pitchers like Cueto, Wainright, Cingrani and Wacha take the mound, you shouldn’t expect anything else but a lot of very sad hitters heading back to the dugout.

Is Kolten Wong the answer at second base for the Cardinals? It’s early, but the first two games suggest the Cardinals still have defensive issues to address.

My Big Red Smokey Play of the Game:  Matt Adams beaching himself like a whale just short of first base as Cingrani picked him off in the 5th.

Someone should tell home plate umpire Kerwin Danley there’s a 40% off sale at LensCrafters. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

Join the conversation! 40 Comments

  1. I missed the game tonight. Will be nice to see Cingani’s pitch distribution for this season or just for the game if someone has it.
    Is he a once every hundred years player? I sure hope so.

  2. Cingrani, Cozart and Heisey won the game. Lets win the rubber match tomorrow, Heisey and Barnhart most likely in the lineup.

  3. This might be the best Recap that these eyes have ever read. From pejoratively referring to Yadier Molina as “the neck tattoo” (all lower case, mind you, no proper nounship shall be given) to noting Adams’ cameo as a “beached whale.” You sir, have done fine work tonight. (Oh, and the analysis was pretty solid, too…)

    Hey y’all, whatdya say we go ahead and take a series from the presumptive division champs tomorrow? Amirite?

  4. Wow, what a start to the season. Splitting two 1-0 games with the Cards with Cingrani proving to be the equal of the more famous Wacha.

  5. Impressive start by Cingrani, only 2 walks and pitch count at 92 over 7 innings, even with 9 K’s. More of that please assuming most of it was not Kerwin Danley influenced per the comment in the recap. lol.

  6. Was at the game last night. By the time the game started the crowd of 36,000 had dwindled to about 20,000. By the 9th it had dwindled to about 10,000 as people had to leave to get some sleep so they could work the next day.

    Oh, but the noise those 10,000 brave, worthy souls made.

  7. Price did a few things last night that reminds me he is not Baker.
    1.) The way he handled the bullpen made me extremely nervous. I could usually predict who Baker was going to send in. He left in Parra to face Holliday. Scary, but it worked out.
    2.) Marty was wondering why Cozart wasn’t bunting in the 9th. I’m yelling, “You’ve only got 3 outs left. Why give away one?” Then Cozart got a hit. Take that bunt fans!! Dusty is bunting in that situation.
    3.) Todd Frazier was playing 2nd on some of those shifts.

    Price did a few things last night that reminds me Baker has had some influence.
    1.) I guess the catcher will always hit 8th.
    2.) There are more. Just a tired brain.

    • “2.) Marty was wondering why Cozart wasn’t bunting in the 9th. I’m yelling, ‘You’ve only got 3 outs left. Why give away one?’ Then Cozart got a hit. Take that bunt fans!! Dusty is bunting in that situation.”

      Are you interchanging Frazier and Cozart? Despite my best effort, I did not see most of the bottom of the 9th, but woke up to find the bases loaded and Heisey coming to the plate. I believe Cozart actually did lay down a sac bunt to move Ludwick and Frazier into scoring position with one out. I think it was Frazier who eschewed the sac bunt in favor of a single to left to put runners on 1B & 2B with no outs. Your point is well taken that Bryan did NOT order up the sac bunt with a runner on 1B and no outs. Hopefully those days are long gone and never return.

    • cozart sacrificed with a bunt in the 9th????

      • I do have to agree with the Cozart bunt in the 9th. With it, we get a man on 3rd with one out, where a sacrifice can win the game. If Cozart hits into a DP, we lose the sacrifice if we get the man to third.

        The thing where it would backfire was, at least while Baker was here, it seemed like no one knew how to bunt. Like last night, if you are trying to get a man to third, you try to bunt to the 3rd baseman. The first game, we saw Cueto in a similar situation and try to bunt, sending a liner directly to the pitcher, throwing the player out at 3rd.

        Then, while Baker was here, if the bunt did work, it seemed like we were striking out or popping out, doing something that never drove the run home from third.

        So, an anti-Baker fan here, I will say I never had that much of a problem with Baker calling for the bunts. It just seemed like many of not most of the times I was watching, we couldn’t bunt worth a darn. Then, the few times I remember when it did work, still needing something to happen after the bunt, we were striking out or something to end the inning. So, slipping back into anti-Baker mode again, it would seem to me that a manager would know the strengths of his players and/or what plays they need to be working on if he is going to be calling them.

        • Bunting is all in the technique. Other than Cozart and Leake, most of the Reds players have terrible bunting technique. Hamilton is coming around but needs some more work. I used to teach it. To be honest, it’s not hard to have good bunting technique. I have no idea how much time their players spend on bunting, but by the looks of their results, it isn’t much.

        • That’s the whole idea, WV. Bunting is something you learn early in baseball careers. I mean, they could literally just throw the bat at the ball and probably bunt better than they are right now. It is all technique, but it isn’t that hard of a technique at all.

          Heisey bunts well, also; I’ve seen him do that. He’s just called upon a lot to get the hit.

    • Other than mistaking Frazier and Cozart, you make some good points.

      Cozart’s bunt, with a guy on 1st and 2nd, with no outs is the opportune time to bunt. Cozart’s a good bunter, and when 1 run will win it, you want to get guy 90ft away with less than two outs. I have a feeling Baker would have had Frazier bunting to move Ludwick to 2nd. But then you have Cozart and Pena following and the chances of either of them delivering a hit are slimmer than trying to make something happen with Frazier at the plate.

      I like that he let Parra face the righties. He’s too good of a pitcher to be used as a LOOGY. He actually handled the RH’ers better than the lefties last night.

      I also thought his use of PH’ers was good. He sent Bernadina up in the 7th because we didn’t have anyone on. Bernadina, being LH and having had the best spring of all our hitters, had the best chance of getting on, and then using his speed to either get in scoring position or score on an extra base hit. Using Heisey in the 9th was good because he has the pop and experience as a PH to get the ball in the air, allowing for a sac-fly opportunity. He went ahead and got the hit, which was even better.

  8. Not only did Wacha and Cingrani put up simply outstanding numbers, their performances were even more impressive with the strike zone called by that pitiful home plate umpire. Not only was the strike zone invalidly minimized, it was inconsistent. Good job by Cingrani in dealing with that frustration and still pitching a dominant game.

    An interesting advent to the game would be immediate pitch tracking posted on the big jumbotrons. That will never happen, but such immediate accountability would be fascinating. I can just picture Joey just gazing up in the general direction of the jumbotron after one of those horrendous strike calls or Cingrani with an extended glare in at the catcher (actually over the catcher’s head) while the catcher is giving signs for the next pitch after a missed call 3rd strike down the heart of the plate.

  9. Last time: Big +1 to Price for having Cingrani in that game. I know we can’t “prove” anything, but still agree that if this were Dusty’s team, he’d be waiting to take the ball two games from now instead of very effectively dealing with a lineup they need to beat as a lefty.

    • Strong point. Price is right. Price-fixing. Dust-busting. Whatever. More, please.

  10. On the bright side, Hamilton is doing no worse than Matt Holiday to start the season…haha. But Cingrani is quickly becoming my favorite Red, the type of guy you can count on bringing the “Eck” factor as a starter.

    • No worse than Jay Bruce, either. Early days. Shouldn’t we expect Billy to press too hard? He’s been the subject of lots of speculation and undoubtedly feels he needs to prove himself, whether he says so or not.

  11. I said this in the game thread last night, “Price didn’t panic. Let Cingrani just grow up a bit in that 7th inning. Showed alot of confidence in Cingrani. Gotta love that.”
    The way Price stayed with Cingrani in the 7th inning and let him pitch through it was something else. It was a gamble that worked and hopefully pay big dividends in Cingrani’s maturation as a MLB pitcher.
    Those singles in the 9th by Ludwick, Frazier and Heisey were all hit hard on the screws. They lit up Martinez in the 9th. That was worth staying up for until 12:35am.

  12. The Reds have had a LOT of injuries this spring, but all are relatively (A BIG KNOCK ON THE OLD COSSACK”S WOODEN NOGGIN) minor and short-term. After seeing the opening performance by Cueto and Cingrani against the vaunted Bird’s offensive machine and realizing we haven’t even had Latos or Bailey on the hill yet, I’m liking the Reds chances against anyone right now. Pitching and Defense has been the Reds mantra and will continue to be the Reds mantra, but a little more offense wouldn’t hurt…

    • I like their chances, too, Cossack, as long as they get pitching like that. Of course, I’d like anyone’s chances as long as they got pitching like that. Thanks, by the way, for your faith in my belated proofreading.

  13. and just think there were many people on this board last year that tried to tell me that Mike Leake was better than Tony Cingrani. It’s not close. Leake is solid, Cingrani has a chance to be a #1

    • One robin doth not a spring make. Elation confuses prognostication. And so on. Shouldn’t we wait for a few months before anointing the promising Mr. Cingrani as a #1, better than Leake? Still, he looked good, and it’s great to get the win.

      • Uh, did you not read this: Tony C. now has 19 straight starts with 5 or fewer hits allowed. That, friends, is the longest streak in major league baseball in the last 100 years. For 7 innings tonight, Cingrani was almost untouchable again, with 9 strikeouts and 2 walks.

        Hardly based on one start.

        • I said that Cingrani was promising, didn’t I? He’s had more than one start, but it’s still too early to say more than that he’s promising.

    • Not just Cingrani, but the Reds have four starting pitchers with #1 capability and Leake is a solid #3. Latos is also sounding more and more like he wants an extention with the Reds.

      Neither Ludwick nor Frazier got an RBI last night, but how critical were their PA’s in the 9th inning, even without getting an RBI? Shoot, Frazier didn’t even get a run scored, but without his contribution in the 9th, the Reds don’t score the winning run in the 9th. Hello Marty, are you listening and were you watching? RBI’s are stats of opportunity.

    • Well, last year, I would agree, that was probably true. Also, it shouldn’t be any standard to base how good one player is to another based just off one outing. After all, if we did that, we could very well be saying that Heisey is better than Votto since Heisey has more RBI’s than Votto has right now.

      Did Cingrani look good yesterday? Yes, of course. Better than Leake? Let’s wait to get a little bit bigger of a sample size beyond just one outing. I am not doubting Cingrani is better than Leake. Let’s just see more past one outing.

      Boy, reminds me of when Leake first came up and people were proclaiming him the next Maddux. Let the guy get a season in anyhow without any standards to set.

      • Let Cingrani = lady. Nobody’s saying it’s time to get down on one knee but we’re all certainly checking her out from across the room, maybe asking a friend what her situation is. It’s an exciting time of the relationship, the unknown potential.

      • 19 straight starts of five hits or less.

  14. The Cingrani Gif is pretty much the greatest thing I’ve ever seen! I love guys who come up without much hype and kill it at the big league level. Cingrani didn’t have that much hype, he was a converted closer who a lot of people thought had a great fastball but were just hoping he would be serviceable last year. Votto came up without a lot of hype if I recall. Scott Hatteberg was blocking him at first base and people didn’t think Votto should replace him. Great to see these guys come up and succeed. Don’t even get me started on Heisey, what was he, like a 14th round draft pick?

  15. –It was 1st and 2nd with nobody out in the 9th when Cozart sac bunted. Of course, you do that every time.
    –How can you not love the energy of Cingrani, Hamilton, and Frazier? This team will have a different vibe this year. The days of Rolen are over, and I for one am glad. It’s okay to wear you heart on your sleeve.
    –I felt like I was watching pitch calling for Chapman instead of Carlos Martinez last night. Like the Reds tend to do, the Cardinals just mindlessly called for fastball after fastball. Didn’t serve them too well, did it?
    –Ludwick’s bat speed is still there. Don’t count him out just yet.
    –Errors by Peralta and Wong again. Their middle infield defense sure looks leaky.
    –Stupid comment by Thom B. about Billy Hamilton getting ‘burned’ by playing so shallow on Wong’s double. No one could’ve caught that ball, and the odds of Wong hitting in front of Billy are way higher. Let the kid do his job.
    —I just think that so much of our season rides on Ludwick,Frazier, and Cozart producing from the 5,6,7 spots. We need them to come thru in a big way.

    • Great comments but I think the key is to get consistent production up and down the lineup. once Hamilton gets a little more relaxed and starts getting on base, the whole offense will take on a different look.

    • I totally agree about Ludwick. His at bats the first two games have been promising. He looks strong, and has hit some balls very hard. Maybe he won’t be 2012 Ludwick, but I think between him and Heisey, we will have a pretty solid LF this year.

  16. I’ve noticed this over the course of about two years now, but the one thing you can count on after a walk-off win is Johnny Cueto running out with a little Gatorade cup full of water and throwing it on the pile! It’s hilarious!

    Anyways, great win for the Redlegs! There are a lot of things to be encouraged about with this team this year!

    • I thought the same thing when I saw Cueto out there, throwing water on the pile! I love it!

      • Ditto. He truly appears to take delight in dousing his teammates. That said, often times it’s bottled water getting whipped at said teammate(s). I do appreciate Cueto’s predictability in all things, including his drenching.

  17. A lot of rain on the radar and big thunder boomers to the west of Cincinnati. Hope we get this one in today. Might be another 2 1/2 hour rain delay today. April showers I guess.
    If they play, give BHam a day to reflect and give Heisey the start in CF. Bat him leadoff and have Ludwick 2nd just for the day. Move BP to 5th just for the day.
    Tucker Barnhart gets his first ML start today. Good luck to him today!!!! He is a C so I guess he’ll bat 8th.
    C’mon Homer, smoke some Cardinals today. Its illegal in every state but not in Cincinnati.
    Oh, and in Colorado too. Everything is legal in Colorado.

    • The first round of rain could be over around by 5:00 or 6:00. The next round could start after midnight.

      There might be a window this evening if they really want to go for it. Then again, both teams have road games on Friday, and the Cardinals will be coming to town two more times this season.

      I’m guessing that they’ll call this one off fairly early.

    • BTW, Heisey is starting in LF, and Hamilton is still leading off.

  18. I waited through the rain delay and was there in the 9th. I was so glad this game didn’t go to extras, because I wouldn’t have been able to stick around any longer. That 9th inning made it all worth it though. When Ludwick got the hit and Frazier came up to the plate, I said aloud “Let’s all take a moment to be grateful that Dusty is no longer managing.” You know as well as I do that he would have had Frazier giving away an out bunting to “get him into scoring position.”

    Also, I just love watching Tony Cingrani pitch. That pickoff was glorious too.

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