Brisk pitchers’ duel

It’s not something you see a lot of in Spring Training…a 1-0 final in two hours, 14 minutes. That’s what the Reds got in their win over the White Sox on Monday — their third victory in the last four games.

“The pitching was outstanding,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Homer threw the ball great, everyone did. Masset, it was nice to have him back. Mahay threw the ball good. Arredondo was good. Ondrusek was also very good. Fisher, that’s the best outing he’s had this spring. He threw the ball great.

“We didn’t get a lot of hitting but scored just enough to win. That’s actually what we talked about this morning, winning one-run ballgames. Whatever we need to do, we’ll talk about that morning.”

*It was a scoreless pitchers’ duel most of the day, 0-0 through eight innings in fact. Chicago lefty Chris Sale worked six scoreless innings with six strikeouts.

*The lone run of the game came with one out in the ninth and in unique fashion. Wilson Valdez dropped a perfect squeeze bunt to the first base side of the mound, scoring Daryl Jones.

“He’s a smart player,” Baker said of Valdez. “He did what was necessary to get that run in and stay out of the double play. That’s what they were trying to get in that situation. That was heads-up baseball. “

*Homer Bailey looked good after a lousy previous outing vs. the Dodgers. Today’s line: 4 ip, 3 H, 1 BB, 1 K. Bailey thought he would go five innings but threw additional pitches in the bullpen instead.

“The biggest difference from the last game was we kept the ball down,” Bailey said. “The last time we were up in the zone and some breaking balls didn’t go where we wanted to. If you get the ball up, you’ll run into bats. Other than that, our defense made a couple of really good plays today and Mes did a really good job behind the plate.”

Bailey has a 7.15 ERA through four starts.

“The last game was the one I really felt bad about,” Bailey said. “The rest of them I thought I threw pretty well. It’s building up and I’m feeling really good, which is a change. So you have to be happy with that.”

*Nick Masset’s return to action was neat and clean — 3 up, 3 down. Masset got two groundouts and a flyout in the fifth,
all routine. Total number of pitches: six.

“Typically your job is to get strikes early and get ahead and get outs as quick as you can,” Masset said. “That’s the way it worked out. I didn’t to work as many pitches as I wanted to work and get it going. But I got three outs and it was a clean inning.”

*Logan Ondrusek pitched the bottom of the eighth and struck out the side.

*Here is Aroldis Chapman’s line for Class A Bakersfield vs Carolina today: 2.1 ip, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 WP.

*First pitch temperature: 54 degrees

*Attendance: 5,163


Does the good starting pitching of late mean anything? (Not a sarcastic question – I’m really curious)

The only thing it means is that it relieves, a tiny bit, the psychological pressure that would have built up if ithe pitching had remained as poor as it was in the earliest going. I don’t think there is much competition to be resolved…Chapman to Louisville and Francis either accepting of a non-starting role or packing his bags.

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