This is the Billy Hamilton the Reds envisioned in the offseason.
The overwhelmed rookie center fielder who went 0-for-12 with seven strikeouts in Cincinnati’s season-opening series with St. Louis last week was replaced by one this week who put the ball in play, got on base and used perhaps the most unstoppable asset in the game.
In Wednesday’s 4-0 win over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, Hamilton went 3-for-4 with a walk, two steals and two runs. His signature moment, turning Jay Bruce’s fly ball, which nobody else in the league would have tagged up, into a sacrifice fly with blinding speed that routinely beat Jon Jay’s throw home from shallow right field.
“That’s kind of the game we’ve been waiting for,” Reds manager Bryan Price said.
Some preseason predictions forecast that Hamilton could steal 100 bases this season. A notion that seemed downright laughable last week looked much more legitimate following Wednesday’s game.
“I’m starting to have fun,” Hamilton said. “I’m feeling more comfortable at the plate now.”
The team is back at Cincinnati and will enjoy a day off today, tomorrow night the Tampa Bay Rays come in for a three game weekend set and it’s a start of a six game homestand.
Pitching matchup for game 1 of the series is a must watch: Johnny Cueto vs David Price