Nice days for Leake, Willis

More than a few highlights today from a 5-1 Reds win over the Indians.

*Mike Leake provided four scoreless innings and allowed three hits in a strong performance. A few of the balls that went for outs were sharply hit into the outfield. But Leake also picked up five outs on the ground, which is generally his bread and butter.

“I felt good,” Leake said. “It’s been a progression. I’m trying to slowly get back into it and get stronger.”

*Hustle award of the day for Dontrelle Willis. He ripped a liner into the right field corner. He could have easily coasted into second base but never slowed and lumbered to third base with a head first slide for a triple. More importantly, Willis worked a scoreless inning with one hit. His chances of making the team are looking better and better. It was also his first game since spraining his ankle on Saturday. He didn’t appear to have trouble.

“If he makes the team, he might be in that long relief role,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He always could hit. Him and Leake can both hit. I want Willis to get some at-bats in case in the season we leave him in there. He can still run and hit. He threw the ball well too.”

*Aroldis Chapman survived a one-run ninth where he started out with a single, a walk and a RBI single from Lou Marson. Chapman received a mound visit from Bryan Price and head trainer Paul Lessard.

“He’s OK,” Baker said. “We thought we saw him limp a little bit. He said he was fine.”

*Todd Frazier notched his first homer of spring and knocked one the opposite way to right field for the game’s first run.

*The drumbeat from fans for the Reds to have Dave Sappelt make the club will only grow louder. In his first at-bat in the seventh, Sappelt had a RBI triple to right field. This spring, Sappelt is batting .538 with a team-high tying seven RBIs. Sappelt also leads the club with 14 hits and 24 total bases this spring.

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1 Comment

I’m not beating the Sappelt drum unless he’s The Answer in left field and batting leadoff. Unless he’s a mortal lock to solve those two trouble spots. We know he can hit (minor league and spring training pitching). Can he run? How’s his fielding? Can he throw?

Yesterday, Mark, you said Chapman was doing okay except for a couple of balls to the backstop. It reminded me of Roger (Rogelio) Moret who was a rookie in the Red Sox 1975 bullpen, pitched well during the season and got in the World Series. Spring Training 1976, his first pitch sailed over the catcher’s head and he never pitched in the majors again. I’m not saying anything about Chapman – just that pitchers’ psyches are about as fragile as their arms.

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