Baseball has officially returned to the airwaves. It has definitely been long awaited, and now that we’re here, baseball is being consumed all weekend. For Opening Day 2020, the Cincinnati Reds went head-to-head with the Detroit Tigers. Cincinnati comes into the season with very high expectations, whereas the Tigers are on the other end of that spectrum.
Game 1 of 60: Opening Day
Sonny Gray got the nod for the Reds on Opening Day this year. Last season, Gray was 11-8 with a 2.98 ERA. Opposite of him was Matthew Boyd for Detroit, who was 9-12 with a 4.89 ERA. Sonny immediately picked up where he left off last season, as he had all his pitches working. He immediately struck out the leadoff batter with a couple of nasty curveballs. Despite surrendering a bloop hit to second baseman Jonathan Schoop and a walk to DH Miguel Cabrera, he finished the inning unscathed.
In the bottom half, Boyd struggled mightily. After walking Phil Ervin, he surrendered a solid single to Joey Votto. He then hit consecutive batters with pitches and forced in a run. Another single by Mike Moustakas made it 2-0. The bottom half left the bases loaded, though, as Boyd worked through the latter half of the lineup without harm.
On to the second inning, Gray continued his dominance, as he struck two more batters. He did surrender a hit, but the second double play in as many innings got him out of the inning unsccathed. Boyd started to find his feel a bit as he retired the side in the second.
In the third inning, Gray continued his phenomenal performance as he struck out another batter. Through three innings of work, he had five strikeouts as the Tigers failed to sort him out. In the bottom half, the Reds got on the board again. Nicholas Castellanos continued his affection for hitting doubles as he laced the gap, and he scored on another Moustakas single, making it 3-0 Reds.
In the bottom half, C.J. Cron finally got the Tigers on the board as he hit a no-doubter into the upper deck in left. He hit the ball approximately 428 feet, a complete bomb. That home run proved to be the only blemish on Sonny Gray’s line. After striking out his sixth batter of the night, the Reds couldn’t put anything on the board in the bottom half.
The Big Red Machine 2.0
In the top of the fifth, Gray got some defensive help. Moustakas made a nice diving snag to get the leadoff hitter for Detroit. After that play, Gray struck out two more batters. One of those strikeouts was Gray’s 1,000th career punch out, making him the 522nd player to record 1,000 strikeouts.
In the bottom half of the inning, Votto led off with a solo home run, making it 4-1 Reds. Later that inning, Castellanos hit another laser. This time though, he was robbed by Niko Goodrum on a great play. In the sixth, Gray kept the line moving with two more strikeouts, giving him nine for the game. He finished the inning, ending his night. Gray posted a spectacular line of three hits, one earned run, and nine strikeouts in six innings.
In the bottom of the inning, Manager David Bell made a bevy of replacements to his lineup. With a right handed pitcher on the mound, Matt Davidson was replaced by Jesse Winker at DH. Shogo Akiyama also made his Major League debut, replacing Ervin in left field. He came through with not only his first big league hit, but his first big league RBI. That put the Reds up 5-1.
From the sixth inning on, it became a bullpen game for the Reds. They pitched great and never allowed a hit nor a run. They did sprinkle in a walk here and there, but Detroit couldn’t mount any sort of rally as they were completely stifled by Reds pitching. The bottom of the seventh provided more insurance for the Reds as they added two more runs. Castellanos walked and was replaced by speedster Travis Jankowski. After Jankowski stole second base, Moustakas added to his spectacular game with a 421-foot monster shot to give him his third and fourth RBI of the game.
In the eight inning, local guy Nate Jones, a Northern Kentucky University alum, made his Reds debut. He pitched wonderfully and was helped by a very nice defensive play in left by Akiyama. Shogo gave the Reds a great look into his skillset not only with his plate presence, but his defensive prowess. The ninth went quietly for both sides as Brooks Raley nailed down the win for Cincinnati, pushing them to 1-0 on the season.
This game was a great look into what the Reds could do offensively and on the mound. This team has the makings of a force to be reckoned with not only this year but for the next few years. As they improve to 1-0 on the season, the Reds have two games remaining in this series. After this weekend, they will remain home to take on the division rival Cubs. The next two games are scheduled for 5:10 pm EDT and 1:10 pm EDT.
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