Three stars, Phillips update
The Reds certainly opened the season in the way any team would hope — with an all-around solid game and a 4-0 win over the Marlins on Thursday.
Although baseball is, and always will be, my first love…I’m also a big hockey fan. One thing I like about NHL games is the awarding of the “three stars of the game” mentions after the final horn blows. It doesn’t always have to be members of the Reds, but it is today.
So let’s give “Sheldon’s Three Stars” a crack:
No. 3 star: Zack Cozart, the first Reds rookie shortstop to start on Opening Day since Frank Duffy in 1971 was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
No. 2 star: Jay Bruce. He was 1-for-3 with two RBIs. Bruce had a sac fly in the first inning and a big blast of a homer off of the center field batter’s eye in the seventh. The solo homer was estimated at 442 feet.
No. 1 star: Johnny Cueto: 7 ip, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 95 pitches. He looked like the ace he is today.
News and notes:
*On the heels of signing Joey Votto to a mammoth contract, the Reds appear close to locking up second baseman Brandon Phillips.
“It’s not done,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said after the game. “I feel good about it. Hopefully in the next week or so we will get it done.”
*Fans have asked about Drew Stubbs and bunting all winter. Perhaps fittingly, Stubbs pushed an absolutely perfect bunt past the mound towards second base for an easy single to leadoff the second inning.
“It’s just an added weapon to the arsenal and I thought today was a great time to use it,” Stubbs said.
*Scott Rolen had an error fielding Emilio Bonifacio’s first inning bunt, but made up for it with a spectacular defensive play in the top of the second. Rolen stopped Gaby Sanchez chopped grounder near the line, fired a leaping and across the body threw to first base, where Joey Votto stretched and scooped the one-hop throw for the out.
*The last time the Reds shut out their opponent on Opening Day was April 9, 1980 vs. ATL.
*The crowd of 42,956 fans was the regular season record at GABP.
“Johnny is a No. 1 guy and supposed to do that. Not to put added pressure on him, that’s what he does. He’s our day one guy, the guy that will matchup usually against other teams’ no. 1. I faced him from the opposing side and he’s got great stuff. “ — Ryan Ludwick on Cueto
“My big goal today, and all year, was just slow down and take what they give me and not try to do too much. From time to time in my career, my emotions have gotten the best of me. I think that’s going to be big key to my success.” — Jay Bruce
“I could have gone another inning. They did not give me the opportunity to do it. I only had 95 pitches. I wanted the ball. I felt strong, like I could have kept going.” — Johnny Cueto
“The young man has matured big time before our eyes. He doesn’t fight Johnny Cueto anymore. Before his own worst enemy was probably himself. I feel he’s gotten past the point and matured to the pitcher he is. Sky’s the limit as long as he stays healthy.” — Dusty Baker