Extra notes from a 9-0 loss

Not a very good day for the Reds, who were handed a 9-0 blanking by the Cubs.

“It wasn’t a pretty ballgame,” manager Bryan Price said. We weren’t sharp. It just wasn’t a good game. There’s nothing really about it, no redeeming pieces.”

Some news and notes:

*Billy Hamilton walked to begin the bottom of the first and stole second base and third base on consecutive pitches by Jason Hammel. Hamilton 6-for-6 in steal attempts this spring. Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel said he did Hamilton a “favor” by walking him.

“I’m going to try not to do that during the season,” Hammel said.

When Hamilton stole second, he took advantage of a drop by catcher Welington Castillo on a third strike to Zack Cozart.

“He stole third base on me,” Hammel said. “I felt like I was pretty quick. I was slide-stepping at first, and he didn’t really go. Welly bobbled the ball on the potential strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out. I don’t know what kind of jump he had there. I felt we held him pretty good there. He stole third base off me. He’s obviously going to be threat. It’s a good place for him in the top of the lineup.”

*Reds pitchers issued eight walks in the game, but it was a particularly tough day for reliever Logan Ondrusek. He walked his first four batters and forced home a run. Two more runs scored next on a single up the middle. Ondrusek was lifted after getting the first out with a strikeout. Trevor Bell finished the inning and kept more runs from scoring.

“He just lost his release point,” Price said of Ondrusek, who entered the day with two scoreless innings and two hits. “There’s a lot of moving parts with that kid at 6-8. He was coming open. His head was pulling off the target. The head is the most important part of the delivery. You’ve got to see a target to hit it. There was a lot of movement with his upper body. He was trying to make all the adjustments. It doesn’t happen too often where you struggle like that to throw strikes, especially a guy like Logan. I don’t anticipate we’ll see anything like that again.”

*On the other hand, Hammel loaded the bases on walks in the first inning but escaped without a run crossing.

*The morning workout featured the return of pop fly drills, which was not easy to do in on a windy Saturday at the complex. As a coach fired the balls skyward around the field with a pitching machine, there were an impressive 29-straight catches without a ball dropping in. They were going for 50 in a row. Joey Votto was yelling the count out each time and how many were left (ie: “That’s 20, 30 to go!”). Unfortunately, Votto was on the hook for the streak ending when he missed a ball that swirled in foul territory. Then Jack Hannahan missed the next one.

*First pitch temperature: 75 degrees.

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