MANAGER BRYAN PRICE filled his lineup card Sunday afternoon with what could be The Starting Eight come Opening Day: CF Billy Hamilton, 3B Eugenio Suarez, 1B Joey Votto, 2B Brandon Phillips, RF Jay Bruce, C Devin Mesoraco, SS Zack Mozart, LF Scott Schebler.
Unfortunately for Price and the Cincinnati Reds, before any of those guys got to bat the Arizona Diamondbacks had a 6-0 lead.
The D-Backs pasted Reds starter Brandon Finnegan for six runs in the first inning, the only inning he pitched. He was scheduled for five innings but used up five innings worth of pitches facing 10 batters in the first inning.
ARIZONA’S JEAN SEGURA, who had three hits and is hitting .571 this spring, opened the game with a single and Phil Gosselin hit a home run. The flummoxed Finnegan then threw eight straight pitches out of the strike for a pair of walks.
Yasmany Tomas doubled to make it 3-0. Finnegan threw a wild pitch to make it 4-0 and there were no outs. After finally getting an out, Finnegan gave up a double to Tuffy Gosewisch to make it 5-0 and Jason Bourgeois, an extra outfielder for the Reds last year, beat an infield hit to make it 6-0.
It certainly wasn’t what the Reds hoped for from Finnegan, who is all but penciled in to be part of the rotation. As broadcaster Marty Brenneman said, “We’ll probably hear that cliche you hear so much during the spring, ‘He got his work in.’”
THE REDS SCORED THREE runs off Shelby Miller in the bottom of the first on only one hit, a two-run double by catcher Deven Mesoraco, making his second spring start. In his first start he played two innings, batted once, and hit a home run.
But those three runs were the sum total for the day for the Reds in a 9-3 loss. After the first inning, Miller gave up no runs and two hits over his next four innings.
And the Reds regular lineup? It was on the field for six innings and had three hits. They finished with four.
The only questionable ‘Regular Eight’ was Scott Schebler. It could be Adam Duvall in left field on Opening Day and Price is hinting that left field could be a shared position.
After a fast start, Schebler’s resume is slipping. He was 0 for 2 with a walk and he struck out on three pitches during his first at-bat.
OTHER THAN MESORACO’S hit, Brandon Phillips, swinging a sizzling bat of late, had a hit and has pushed his average in little more than a week from .176 to .333. Jay Bruce, who is hitting .313, had the other hit by a ‘regular.’
Billy Hamilton, playing defense for only the second time this spring, went 0 for 4 and is hitting .176. He did bunt twice. He bunted leading off the Reds’ first and reached second when pitcher Miller threw the ball into right field for a two-base error. Hamilton then scored. His second bunt attempt went directly to the pitcher and he was thrown out at first by half-a-step.
The point is, though, he is at least working on his bunting game.
After Finnegan’s Wake, Cincinnati pitching was decent. Ryan Mattheus, who has struggled most of the spring, pitched 2 2/3 innings. He came into the game in the fourth with two on and one out and threw a double play ball. Then he pitched two more innings and gave up no runs, two hits and struck out two.
Drew Hayes, who has been pitching his way into a spot in the bullpen, gave up his first run of the spring when he pitched two innings and gave up a run and two hits. But his earned run average is a glossy 1.29.