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.

Quotes:

“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

15 Comments

This baseball/hockey fan loves the 3 stars idea!

Love the three star idea also. Keep up the good work!

Cueto was a stud.

And Marshall! Holy cow, he made them look silly.

Meanwhile in Louisville, Paul Janish hit two home runs, including the game winner in the 9th. Good gravy.

Thanks for all of the insight from yesterday’s game and hopefully good news will be forthcoming next week on Brandon Phillips.

That bunt made me jump out of my chair cheering LOL It was a great bunt. Great game all around. Love the start of 2012!

If the Reds can lock up Phillips for several years, I think we have the makings of a new Big Red Machine era. The current right side (Votto, Phillips & Bruce) looks to me that it is as good or could even be better than the BRM era right side (Perez, Morgan & Griffey, Sr.). Yes, I know the BRM era right side included 2 HOF’rs but the defense played by Votto & Phillips is better than that played by Perez & Morgan and Bruce & Votto hit for more power than Griffey, Sr. & Perez.

Got to give Bruce a bit more time to see, but, eventually, you may be exactly right!

Great start to the season! I really wish that I didn’t have to wait until Saturday for game two!

I’d love to lock Dat Dude BP into a long contract, and I guess I’m hoping we get it done… BUT… having just given Votto a crazy big contract, I’m kind of wondering what such a move will do to the club’s long-term viability. Aren’t we still in a tiny market? 22 Mil to Votto and say 16 Mil to Phillips each year for the rest of the decade may put the club in a slightly precarious financial position, don’t you think? When these guys are 38 years old, could we be competitive given our budgetary limitations?

I remember hoping that StL and Milwaukee would sign their 1st basemen to giant contracts because, in the long run, those types of contracts would hurt those franchises. Now I’m afraid the Reds have fallen into that trap. I LOVE Phillips – he’s easily my favorite Red – but after paying absolute top dollar to Votto, do we have anything left to spend? Maybe there’s a magic money machine in Castellini’s office and I shouldn’t worry. I hope so. I’d love to keep Votto, Phillips, Bruce, Cueto, Latos, Chapman, and have the money to keep making big offseason additions, but is that really an option?

Does anyone know what happened to Clay Zavada? He’s not on the Bats roster, or any other minor league or major league roster than I can find.

By the by, DRO – I hope you’re non-appearance streak goes to 41 as well. Can’t wait for Saturday’s game! Go Reds (again)!

Thanks for that thought…though it is a highly unlikely match given health in recent years and the fact that no one in my family, either side, has ever approached such an age.

Oh, and I was wrong – they will use Chapman as a set-up guy. Who knew? (Dopn’t answer that!)

Final thought – Volquez pitched San Diego’s opener.

Yeah, and he was the same old Volquez. Looked like a total stud…until he fell apart, walking in two runs. Which was the margin they lost by.

Reds definitely need to re-sign Phillips, if this team is to make any waves, now and in the future too!

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