Final R H E
 Cincinnati Reds (8-8-2) 6 6 1
 San Francisco Giants (5-13-1) 5 8 2
 W: Lorenzen (1-0)  L: Strickland (1-1)  SV: Adleman
| Box Score | AP Recap |

Pitching: Anthony DeSclafani got his fourth start of the Spring and his first since being named to the 2015 starting rotation. He wasn’t terribly sharp with five hits and two walks against three strikeouts, but got the job done with three runs, one earned, over 4.2 innings pitched, taking 82 pitches to do so. El’Hajj Muhammad came in to get DeSclafani out of a jam and despite giving up a single that came back and deflected off his left heel, got out of the jam while allowing neither of his two inherited runners to score.

JJ Hoover pitched a perfect sixth inning, only taking nine pitches to do so.

Michael Lorenzen entered for the seventh and eight inning and showed just how important the win stat is. His W tonight should stand for Walk, as he walked six batters in his two innings, including four straight batters in the seventh inning to drive the only earned run he allowed. Allowing only one run after walking six in two innings is a minor miracle.

Timothy Adleman allowed two hits and a run in his lone inning of work and still got the save. Seeing as how this is the kind of situation the closer will be in during the regular season, it almost makes you want to ask an Inflammatory Question.

Hitting:  Joey Votto is back folks, pitchers beware. He might refuse to swing at balls, but if you give him something to hit he’ll still turn on it and make you regret it. Votto hit a first pitch solo homer to right field in the top of the first. You can see the highlight here on MLB.com. Votto + Power All Directions = 2012 Votto? I salivate at the thought. That said, if the price of batting Votto second this year is this..

 ·  2h 2 hours ago

RT : your best guess of Cinncy opening day batting order?//Hamilton, Votto, Phillips, Bruce, Byrd, Frazier, Meso, Cozart, Cueto

..then I think I will have to say no thank you.

It wasn’t until the top of the ninth inning, when winds were whipping around on the field that the Reds finally opened up their offense. With the bases loaded by an error, walk, and single, Ivan De Jesus Jr got a two RBI single followed by Chris Dominguez doubling in another two runners. Kyle Skipworth added an RBI single before later getting thrown out at third when he tried to advance on a ball in the dirt, ending the inning, but the five run inning was all the Reds needed to secure the win.

The Giants had some great defense in the first inning before they committed the two errors later in the game. Jay Bruce had what would have been a double off the left center wall snagged on a running jump by the left fielder and Billy Hamilton had a bunt single taken away by a nifty barehanded scoop and throw by the third baseman to get him out just in time at first.

The Rest:

-Prayers go out to Cueto, who is back in the Dominican Republic right now with family issues. Hope whatever it is gets sorted out alright there. His exact return date is unknown, but Price remains optimistic he’ll be ready for Opening Day.

-The defense made a couple mistakes on paper, but was mostly subject to some rough officiating. Devin Mesoraco was called for a passed ball with DeSclafani in the fifth despite him being initially set up in a completely different location than where the ball ended up. Zack Cozart was charged with a fielding error when he jumped to try to snag a ball out of the air and the ball hit the palm of his glove, falling to the ground and allowing a run to score. It would have been a decent play had he made it, the normal effort needed for it to be an error could be debated.

Next Up:

The Reds take on the Athletics at 4:05pm EST. Rasiel Iglesias’ (0.00 ERA in 7.2 IP) second start this Spring will be against Jesse Hahn (6.14 ERA in 7.1 IP). The game will be broadcasted on radio on WLW 700.

28 Responses

  1. sultanofswaff

    DeSclafani has a nice slider that I’m sure he’ll feature more in the regular season. I think for him the point of the exercise was to work on fastball command. He sat 92-94 all night. Should make a nice back of the rotation piece who should offer consistency if not dominance.

    Lorenzen had absolutely no fastball command for 2 innings straight. I wasn’t until the middle of the second inning that someone had the brilliant idea to mix in some breaking balls to get him back on track. Thing is, even when all these batters knew he was only throwing fastballs, not a single hitter squared him up nor did he look rattled. That’s a big positive.

    2 weeks until Opening Day. Sure would be nice to see Hamilton and Phillips show something……….anything.

  2. desertred

    Phillips potentially batting third and Byrd fifth, ahead of Mez and Frazier? Price is truly certifiable.

    • Jeremy Forbes

      The writing was on the wall a bit, since they both have the most AB at those spots, but I was hoping it was just Spring Training messing around. I like BP and I think he can still be a valuable second baseman for at least another year, but the reality is he hasn’t been an above average hitter according to OPS+ since 2011, or 2012 if you look at wRC+.

      It’s not just Price, because in both 2011 and 2012 they had BP get the most AB on the team batting 4th.

      They think he is something he simply is not, but after the last three years he is now a sub-average offensive player for his career. Second basemen get worse, not better when they’re 34.

      • redmountain

        How old is Utley? Aside from his salary, would lots of team take him? Phillips has been injured often the last few years is his decline more from injuries or age?

      • Jeremy Forbes

        Notice that last year Utley had a 109 OPS+, the lowest of his career since 2004.The major difference between Utley and Phillips is the peak they are declining from, but both of them have their best baseball behind them.

        BP has had 4 seasons of 100 OPS+ or higher in his career, his highest being 118.

        Utley has had 10 seasons of 100 OPS+ or higher in his career, his highest being 146.

        So say they both have declined 20 OPS+ (just tossing out a number for the sake of the example) after their career years. They both would have had the same amount of total decline, but the relative decline would be different because 146 – 20 = 126 (still a very good OPS+) while 118 – 20 = 98 (making him a sub-average hitter). BP simply didn’t have very much room to be able to decline while still being an above average hitter while Utley did. It’s not because Utley is immune to aging.

        Utley OPS+ age 26-30 seasons: 132, 125, 146, 136, 137
        Utley OPS+ age 31-35 seasons: 123, 110, 114, 126, 109

        BP OPS+ age 26-30 seasons: 105, 94, 103, 102, 118
        BP OPS+ age 31-33 seasons: 99, 94, 91

      • jdx19

        Spot on, Jeremy. There is a reason why Utley likely makes the Hall of Fame…he’s been very good for a very long time! He’s at 59.2 WAR at the moment, and 60 WAR is about the low-end of HOFers.

  3. B-town Fan

    The other positive for Lorenzen is he threw 53 pitches which helps to stretch him out, if the Reds are still looking at him as a starter, which seems to be what they were doing by letting him bat for himself, wihich he got a hit to boot, The Gaints announcer Mike Krukow a former pitcher commented that “as a pitcher you want to have some long stressful innings in spring training, it helps to condition your arm and makes you stronger during the season. You don’t want to have all your innings be pitch efficient, you want to have those during the season”. I thought Lorenzen showed his mettle, he didn’t seem panic. The fact that he only gave up one run with six walks, was a positive, showed that he can get out of trouble and with the Stuff to do it. I don’t think Marquis would have only given up one run with six walks in two innings. Lorenzen’s velocity was impressive for that many pitches, it was kind of a double take for me, a couple times when he hit 96 and 97 mph, it just didn’t look like he was throwing that hard.

  4. Kevin Patrick

    After watching the game last night… my impression of DeSclafini is that he looks like Curt Clawson. He needs to miss closer to the strike zone. He’s going to get shelled until he gets better command. Even if you wanted to swing at a ball, his balls are too far away to swing at. He’s going to have high pitch counts and a lot of walks with early exits. I hope I’m wrong… Bailey also looked similar when he was younger. I don’t think this is the year he puts it together though. Other thoughts… I listened to Bruce being interviewed on XM radio the other day and he was saying all the right things about the shift. He’s going to not change anything in his hitting approach… blah blah blah…. I say this… the shift gets in his head. I think it just makes him uncomfortable. I worry about the Reds striking out too much again this year. On a positive note, I think Cozart is swinging much better. On a negative note, am I the only one that doesn’t think Hamilton is a major league player yet?

    • Jeremy Forbes

      If Hamilton can improve a bit at the plate (say.. .260/.315/.385) and cut out a few of the caught stealing, he’ll be plenty fine to be in the majors between the stolen bases and phenomenal defense. Just not as a leadoff hitter.

      • redmountain

        And who do you pick to lead off?

      • Jeremy Forbes

        I’d go non-traditional leadoff and go with Frazier. .336 OBP, 7.9% BB, and throws in 20 stolen bases on top of it. Would give Votto someone on base when he comes up to bat.

        He’d be a Matt Carpenter type leadoff, but less walks and more power and SB than Carpenter.

        At the very least, it’d be better than him batting 6th. Hitting behind Byrd means there wouldn’t be a ton of runners on when he’s up, and whenever Mesoraco doesn’t catch, it’d be Pena, Cozart, and the Pitcher behind him, meaning he’d rarely score a run there. Kind of a waste for the 2014 offensive team statistical leader in most of the stats.

      • charlottencredsfan

        If Billy can’t get it together, my choice would be putting Negron in CF and lead him off. I doubt BHam can clear .200 with the way he is looking at the plate. I love the kid’s potential but this isn’t going to get it. He has nearly zero muscle behind the ball right now. The infield is in, the outfield is in; he has nowhere to go unless he starts hitting line drives.

        Honestly if it was my choice and he looks like this when camp breaks, I’d send him to Louisville – no joke. If Negron can’t cut it, than Frazier sounds fine but the Reds could lose 90 games..

      • ohiojimw

        If Votto bats 2nd the leadoff guy needs to be the next best OBP regardless of who that is. If Votto bats 3rd, the next best OBP guy needs to bat 2nd. i.e. have the greatest % possible that Votto will bat with at least one man on base.

        I fear the motivation for batting Votto 2nd at this point is some sort of misguided notion that Votto directly behind BHam is somehow going to help BHam’s OBP.

  5. vegastypo

    That proposed lineup scares me badly………

    Early in last night’s game, the wind was blowing out, not that Votto needed the wind on that homer. Ball was hammered. Note to pitchers: Get-me-over fastballs to Votto might not be a good idea, even on the first pitch.

    Dominguez’s shot would have been a homer except that the wind had reversed during the game and was blowing in. He smoked it.

    If Hamilton doesn’t have a good first month, I wonder if the Reds will stick with him or give Negron a shot.

    • Jeremy Forbes

      Remember that in 2012 they had Cozart hit leadoff for 443 AB despite hitting .223/.262/.379 and Drew Stubbs was the starting CF for 123 games while hitting.213/.277/.333 that year.

      I think the only way Negron is getting a shot is an injury, and even then he’ll likely be splitting time with Schumaker.

      • vegastypo

        Yes, my only hope is that with Negron, he has been hitting leadoff in spring training. (Yes, I know it’s only spring training.) As for 2012, it seemed at times like Dusty would rather lose an appendage than give up on something that he thought would work, such as Stubbs and/or Cozart at the top of the lineup. I would hope that Price wouldn’t wait so long if the productivity wasn’t there. But your point is well taken about Skip getting time, not that I’d favor that….. But hey, if Hamilton gets off to a good start, I’d love for it to be a moot point.

      • Jeremy Forbes

        Yeah, I wouldn’t be in favor of Skip splitting time in that situation either, but you pretty much know it’d happen, heh.

        Agreed that the best situation would be for Hamilton to just put together a whole season like his first half of 2014. If Hamilton can hit the .285/.319/.423 he did before the All-Star break last year, combine that with Frazier, a healthy Votto and Bruce, and an emerged Mesoraco and you might have a pretty good offense emerging.

  6. Jake

    I honestly hope that will not be the lineup. No offense to Phillips but he should not be batting 3. Mesoraco batting 6th?! Ridiculous. My lineup would be
    1. Hamilton
    2. Votto
    3. Frazier
    4. Mesoraco
    5. Bruce
    6. Byrd
    7. Phillips
    8. Cozart

    • Grand Salami

      Statistically that would make sense but club house dynamics being what they are, Fay is playing is safe. I would sooner buy Frazier at #1 with Hamilton at #9 then I would BP at #7. Price hasn’t shown that type of firm resolve yet. Why would he now?

  7. Carl Sayre

    Two things I took away from this game. I know it is still spring training but after about pitch 60 everything DeScaflani missed with was up that will be disaster at GABP. The other thing is their is NO debate about the error Cozart committed the ball hit him in the glove error all the way. The sidebar to that is I wish Cozarts fielding was the only thing this club had to worry about because that will be fine.

    • Jeremy Forbes

      Not saying Cozart shouldn’t have had it, he should have, but it can only be an error if it is a play that a normal effort could achieve. Is a leaping catch really a normal effort play?

      • ohiojimw

        The whole 5th inning was like so many innings in so many games in 2014. It was loosely played throughout and accentuated when a guy failed to make a play he should have and normally does to get them out of the inning unscathed.

        The game to that point pretty much had a regular season feel to ii; and, that miscue which resulted in eventually two runs scoring would have likely been the deciding moment in regular season play.

        The missed signs/ passed ball were obviously mental errors. I would maintain the misplayed liner was essentially the same. Hit right at him. Misread off the bat. Took the big leap and had it go off of the bottom of the glove when a delayed spring off of his tip toes would have gotten the job done.

  8. charlottencredsfan

    Jeremy – thanks for doing these ST Game Wraps.

    • Jeremy Forbes

      And thank you for reading and commenting.

  9. jdx19

    How in the world can John Fay call himself a baseball professional and think Mesoraco at 7th makes any sense at all? Yeah, if we have Billy and Brandon as two of the first 3 batters, the season is over already.

    • jdx19

      Re-read it.. maybe he’s saying that is what he thinks Price will do… either way, ridiculous!

  10. lwblogger2

    I think you’ll see Hamilton, Votto, BP go 1,2 and 3 in the lineup. That’s not good folks. I love BP. I mean I’m a big fan. There is no way he’s my #3 hitter in this lineup though. That guess at the opening day lineup is scary. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Of course he’s not alone in his thinking. There are a lot of managers who put players where they are comfortable rather than where the statistics say they should be hitting. We do need to remember that these are actual people. I think my lineup would go like this though: Hamilton, Votto, Mes, Bruce, Frazier, Byrd, BP, Cozart. Honestly, if Hamilton hits like the end of last year, I’d probably lead off Frazier and bat Hamilton 8th, slotting Byrd, BP, and Cozart up one.

    Cozart’s error was a toughy but I think I probably would have scored it an error as well. It wasn’t a screamer or anything. He also didn’t need to move laterally. The ball didn’t require a big leap either. Cozart is probably going to make that play 9 out of 10 times or so too. It wasn’t a routine play but nor would it have been an exceptional one.

    Mesoraco had a tough time receiving the ball all night. I was wondering if he had a new glove he was breaking in. That’s what it looked like to me. On the passed ball he was clearly crossed up. It’s still a passed ball but and is the kind of stuff that has people questioning his defensive skills behind the plate. I for one think he’s fine back there but my review of his defense is more favorable than others’.

    Those defensive gems by the Giants? One was a bit unexpected as Ishikawa’s glove is um… marginal at best in LF. The other play was not so unexpected as McGahee is a very good defensive 3B, was playing in, and got a great break on that ball. Hamilton is going to have a hard time bunting because he hasn’t shown he can hit the ball past the drawn in IF.

    • charlottencredsfan

      “Hamilton is going to have a hard time bunting because he hasn’t shown he can hit the ball past the drawn in IF.”

      And OF. They are going to pinch this kid until he shows he can hit some line drives.