With Joey Votto on the bench, the Cincinnati Reds struggled to score runs in 2014, and getting the first baseman’s return has generally been seen as a key to Cincy’s resurgence this year. In their first exhibition game of the Spring, though, still without Votto, the Reds’ offense came to life in pounding the Cleveland Indians 10-0 on Tuesday.
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Cincinnati scored their 10 runs thanks to a balanced offensive attack that featured six doubles by six different players, along with and RBI for each of 10 different batters. Arguably the star of the game for the Reds at bat was infielder Chris Dominguez, a non-roster invitee to camp who went 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI. The Reds signed Dominguez to a minor league deal last month after he was released by the San Francisco Giants, having spent six seasons in their farm system.
On the mound, Jason Marquis was the first of the Reds’ many rotation contenders to show his stuff in game-action this Spring. In two innings of work, Marquis struck out three batters, while walking two. Afterwards, manager Bryan Price was lukewarm in his assessment of the 36-year-old veteran’s performance:
"He was a hair erratic. I give him a little bit of a pass the first game. They are getting acclimated to pitching again. I still think he threw the ball fine. He will get better with the command of his pitches."
Definitely not a ringing endorsement, but it does seem to point towards more time on the mound for Marquis this exhibition season as the Reds try to fill the holes left by trading Alfredo Simon and Mat Latos over the winter. It’s worth noting, maybe, that Marquis didn’t allow a run and picked up the victory, so he is the only Reds’ pitcher at this point with a winning record for 2015.
The first Cactus League game of the year doesn’t tell you much about your favorite team, but, then again, it does. This one lets us know that Cincinnati has at least one decent option for their rotation openings, and that the hitters can make something happen, even in Votto’s absence.
Rose-colored glasses? Maybe, but it’s Spring Training, when even the Chicago Cubs think they can win the World Series. Optimism is allowed.