Thanks to a rainout in Boston, the Cincinnati Reds took the field on Monday afternoon as official open to 2009 Opening Day. It was an ugly day in the ‘Natty – 40s and raining. But it’s baseball season, and that’s all that matters.
Monday – Mets 2, Reds 1: Aaron Harang gritted his way through five innings and only gave up one run, but it took him 114 pitches to do it. He’s a workhorse, and the high pitch count won’t hurt him, but you never want to see your ace throw so many pitches right away. Especially because they were high stress pitches, meaning he was pitching out of the stretch much of the day and never really breezed through any innings. Daniel Ray Herrera struggled in his first appearance but limited the damage to one run. Offensively there wasn’t much going on, but against Johan Santana, that can be expected. Always sucks to lose the home opener but nothing awful here.
Wednesday – Mets 9, Reds 7: Just in case anyone got the idea that the Reds were going to be a defensive-minded team after day one, they ripped the cover off the ball against Mike Pelfrey in game two. Unfortunately, the Mets did the same against Edinson Volquez, who did not make it through the fifth. Mike Lincoln had a brutal inning of work in relief. Joey Votto gave fans a sign of things to come with a 3-run bomb and they made Francisco Rodriguez sweat in the ninth. Lanyce Nix was thisclose to hitting a walk-off grand slam, but Carlos Beltran caught the fly ball on the warning track to end it.
Thursday – Reds 8, Mets 6: Wins for everyone! The Reds got off the schneid behind Joey Votto and a shaky but satisfying performance from Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo, who was supposed to start Sunday but recovered enough from carpal tunnel to pitch on Thursday, tossed six innings and gave up five runs. Things got a little hairy at the end, but Francisco Cordero locked down the win with a 3-strikeout ninth inning. Two four spots off Oliver Perez in the third and fifth were all the scoring necessary to break into the win column.
Hot Fire Player of the Series: Joey Votto. He launched two 3-run bombs and finished the series hitting 7-for-13 with 7 RBI. If he continues hitting at that pace, I can almost guarantee he makes the All-Star team. Call it a hunch.
Weak Sauce Player of the Series: Edinson Volquez. On a day when the Reds score seven runs and have one of their aces on the hill, it’s got to be a win. Volquez gave up five runs on six hits in just 4.1 innings. He also walked four guys. It’s only one start, so no reason to get all flummoxed out there, but get your game up, Edinson.
Records: 1-2 (1-2 at home)
Next up: The Reds host the Pirates in a three-game set this weekend in a NL Central battle for supremacy (or at least mediocrity).