Owings and Volquez look great
To this point, Micah Owings couldn’t ask for a better spring to compete for the fifth starter’s spot. Against the Twins during his fourth outing of spring, Owings cruised for four scoreless innings with two hits allowed and four strikeouts. The Reds won the game, 1-0, on a long Jonny Gomes homer to left field off of Francisco Liriano.
“It was weird throwing a night game after all of those day games,” Owings said. “It was nice to be under the lights again.”
That gave Owings a 1.23 ERA in four starts with eight hits, two walks and 16 strikeouts over 14 2/3 innings. His track record is not as a strikeout pitcher.
“I’m not really going to look too much into it or think much about it,” Owings said if his strikeout total. “The main thing is I’m focused on trusting my stuff and getting ahead. Ryan Hanigan was again back there solid calling pitches. We were on the same page the whole time. The biggest thing is getting ahead of hitters and being in position to put them away.”
Edinson Volquez followed and dealt three scoreless innings with one hit and two strikeouts. On the ballpark radar, one pitch reached 96 mph.
Volquez needed just 36 pitches to retire the Twins and rarely went deep in the count.
“It’s all about going deep in the game and not throwing too many pitches,” Volquez said after the game. “I threw a lot of first-pitch strikes. I had to go to the bullpen and throw 20 more pitches.”
Also — I forgot to mention earlier that Dusty Baker will have the rotation in this order during the regular season: Harang, Volquez, Arroyo and Cueto. At this point, Owings is looking really good for the No. 5 spot but there is still a ways to go and Homer Bailey will have something to say about that.
And one more thing: Alex Gonzalez came through his second start at shortstop with no issues. Gonzalez went 1-for-3 with a single. He made an abrupt stop between first and second base and scampered back after his hit. He also turned a nice 1-6-3 double play on defense.
“I felt good,” Gonzalez said. “I had no problems. Each day I take another step. I have to keep working and keep doing what I’m doing. I’m getting stronger with my legs.”