Reds Recap: Redlegs Swept by Nationals, Take 1st Game From Cubs to Kick-Off the 2018 Season
Opening Day: Nationals 2 – Reds 0
After their initial game was canceled due to rain, the Reds dropped their Opening Day game against the Washington Nationals 2-0.
The Nationals jumped on top early in the top of the 1st inning after Reds were unable to complete the inning-ending double play, where 2B Scooter Gennett was not able to make a clean throw do to Bryce Harper’s hard slide into second base. This would be the only run given up Reds’ starter Homer Bailey (0-1) would give up over his 6 six innings of work, and the Nationals would not scratch across another run until the 9th inning. The main issue would be Cincinnati’s offense, who despite outhitting the National’s hitter 7 to 6, struck out 14 times. 10 of those K’s came from back-to-back Cy Young Award winner and Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer (1-0). The lone bright spot for the Redlegs was Gennett, who started his 2018 campaign 4-4 at the plate.
Despite the loss, seeing Homer Bailey healthy and excelling was a good sign. Bailey has spent the majority of his career injured but has also thrown two no-hitters. The Reds’ pitching staff already has plenty of holes, so Bailey becoming the Reds’ regular ace is essential.
The scripts flipped in the second game of the series from defensive stalemate to offensive shootout, but the result for the Reds was the same. Nationals 1B Matt Adams hit a 3-run home run in the first inning, and the Nats would score about in the 3rd inning on a Bryce Harper sacrifice fly. Tre Turner would do his part in extending the lead in the 4th inning to 5-0, hitting a solo home run. It wasn’t until Reds CF Scott Schebler hit a solo home run of his own in the bottom of the inning that the Redlegs would get on the scoreboard. The teams would continue going back and forth scoring from there, with another Harper sac fly in the 5th, followed by the Reds scoring two in the 6th off a Gennett RBI-single and Adam Duvall sac fly to make it 6-3. Each team’s scores would only go up. After a 9th inning grand slam by Nationals outfielder Brian Goodwin, the Reds put up two more on a Eugenio Suarez two-run home run before the game ended 13-7.
The Reds never really had a chance in the game, but the offense did all they could to try to get themselves back in the game. They put together 7 runs on 12 hits on the day, which should be good enough to get a win. However, Reds starter Luis Castillo (0-1) and a plethora of relievers were unable to stop the Nationals offense whatsoever.
Cincinnati put up a good fight to prevent the sweep, but, alas, they failed. For the third straight game, the Nationals scored in the 1st inning, this time off a two-run bomb from 3B Anthony Rendon. They would then go up 3-0 in the top of the 6th inning when Bryce Harper hit what would go on to be his first home run of the game. The Reds got a run in the latter half of the inning from a Duval RBI double, but the Nats would regain a 4-run lead after Eaton continued his hot start with a solo home run in the top of the 7th. Cincy made it interesting in the last two innings by putting up 2 runs in each of the last two frames, which should have tied the game up. However, as previously said, Harper decided to blast a 425-foot home run to center in the top of the 9th, allowing the Nationals to hang on to the eventual 6-5 lead.
Yes, the Reds lost (again), but they had some quality things come out of the loss. Starter Scott Romano (0-1) only gave up 4 hits in his 6 innings, two of them just happened to beyond the outfield fence. They also showed great resilience at the end of the game and were almost able to take the game into extra innings, only falling just short.
Game 1: Reds 1 – Cubs 0
The Reds finally broke into the win column when they faced the Chicago Cubs Monday night. Rookie starter Tyler Mahle (1-0) dominated in his first outing of the season, tossing six shutout innings and only giving up one hit, as well as striking out seven Chicago hitters. Cincinnati’s offense struggled and was only able to push across one run on an Adam Duvall RBI-groundout that scored Eugenio Suarez, who tripled right before. Thankfully, that would be all the Reds would need, because Mahle and the rest of the pitching staff did an excellent job. Reliever Jared Hughes walked one in his one inning of work but came out unscathed. Wandy Peralta got himself in a slight jam when allowing a walk and hit to put runners on 1st and 2nd base with 2 outs, forcing the Reds to call on closer Rasiel Iglesias to get the 4-out save. He walked Kris Bryant to load the bases but came up clutch with a strikeout to end the inning. Iglesias came out in the top of the 9th and went 1-2-3 to secure the Reds’ first win of the year.
Finally getting that first win is huge for a team like this, that is not predicted to do too well, but they will not be able to rely on their inexperienced pitching staff to toss many shutouts. The Reds left 10 runners on base and went 1-10 with runners in scoring position. To be successful this season, the Reds will need to have a consistent offense, but this gem pitched my Mahle & company is a nice surprise!