The 2014 Cincinnati Reds season starts off with outstanding starting pitching and bullpen work, but like it was the issue last season, the offense did not show up this afternoon.
This was a pitching duel between two of the best pitchers in the national league in Cardinals Adam Wainwright and Reds Johnny Cueto. Wainwright got the better end of the duel, but not after a sensational effort by Cueto, whose only mistake in the game was a Yadier Molina home run in the seventh inning for a 1-0 Reds loss in front of 43,134 fans at Great American Ball Park, second largest crowd in the park’s history.
The Reds had a streak of not being shut out on opening day, 60 straight openers of scoring at least one run, until today.
Until Molina’s homer, the Cards had only two hits against Cueto, the two were in courtesy of first baseman Matt Adams. Adams got a single in the second inning and a very slow roller past the third base line for a double in the fifth.
In the seventh, with one out, Molina connected on high slider by Cueto, first pitch to the left field to snap the scoreless tie.
The game started with a scare, Matt Carpenter hit a shot to the mound that bounced off Cueto’s left wrist. After being looked at by the trainer, Cueto was able to stay in the game and he pitched one heck of the game after that scared. With all the injuries in spring, Reds country breathe a sigh of relief.
Cueto finished game going seven strong innings, allowing the one run, three hits, one walk and had the strike out pitch working, fanning eight. This is the Cueto we saw in 2012, having him this season is vital.
Leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton would like to forget his first opening day at the plate, he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. Wainwright had his curveball working on Hamilton, kept much of the order in check as well, as he pitched seven scoreless and struck out nine. Hamilton is not the only who struggled though, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Ryan Ludwick, combined going 0-12.
Cincinnati had a couple of chances to score, including the sixth inning, miss opportunity number one, when Wainwright walked Bruce with one out. Bruce moved to second base on a wild pitch with two outs to Todd Frazier. After a Frazier walk, Zack Cozart tapped the ball in front of the plate and was easily thrown out at first base by Molina.
Miss opportunity number two, Brandon Phillips, who got the first red hit in the first inning with a single to right, drew a leadoff walk to begin the eighth that looked like the Reds were about to get on the board. Against one of the toughest lefties in the national league in Kevin Siegrist, Votto hit a roller through second baseman Kolten Wong’s glove and reached on the error that put runners on the corners with no outs. Bruce then grounded to first base, and Phillips was thrown out at the plate, on a fielder’s choice.
Cardinals brought in hard thrower Carlos Martinez to face Ludwick and got what should have been an inning-ending double-play ball. Ludwick reached when Adams dropped the throw to first base, giving the Reds another opportunity. But of course, Frazier looked at a called third strike.
In the bottom of the ninth, Cards closer Trevor Rosenthal made it look easy, having a 1-2-3 inning.
Off day tomorrow, they will resume on opening night, it will be Tony Cingrani for the Reds and Michael Wacha for the Cardinals. First pitch on Wednesday is at 7:10pm
Don’t panic, but it’s Cincinnati, already happening as I write this.