The Good, Bad, and Ugly: Spring Training Game 1
As we cover Spring Training this season, we will focus our attention on the good, the bad, and the ugly from each game, or as many game as we possibly can. In the simplest of terms, we are looking to identify the different items we can take away from each game and classify them as being either positive, negative, or just downright awful. The goal is to help understand where the Indians might be in their evaluations of certain players as they prepare for the 2014 season. We kick things off with yesterday’s 8-3 loss at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds.
- Lonnie Chisenhall‘s first at bat of the game was a positive step in the right direction. After struggling with plate discipline for much of his time at the big league level and doing everything in his power to not draw a walk, Chisenhall battled his way back from an 0-2 hole, and laying off a couple tough breaking balls, to draw a lead off walk. If Chisenhall can continue to work counts and take walks, it could go a long way in helping him win the third base job.
Aaron Harang pitched only one inning, but it was an effective inning. He allowed only one hit and didn’t give up solid contact to any of the hitters he faced on the day. Harang struck out Ryan Ludwick on three pitches to start the inning, got Todd Frazier to pop up to Jason Kipnis on three pitches, and a one pitch fly ball to Ryan Raburn in left. Even the one hit he allowed was on weak contact, a pop-up on a curveball low and away that fell in between Kipnis and center fielder Nyjer Morgan. The battle for the fifth spot in the rotation figures to be intense, but the veteran right-hander got off to a great start.
- Yan Gomes did his part to reaffirm the decision to make him the everyday catcher. While he threw the ball into center rushing to throw out Billy Hamilton, he was able to cut down Brandon Phillips attempting to steal second a few pitches later. Yan Gomes doing Yan Gomes things is a win for everyone.
- Ryan Raburn continued right where he left off last season. While he grounded into a double play in his first at bat of the game, he doubled his next time up. That double set up the opportunity for the Indians to score their first run of the game when Tony Wolters singled on the very next pitch. He later scored to tie the game up at 2-2.
- Finally, Nick Hagadone looked good in his one inning of work. The big lefty had struggled in recent years with his control but that was not the case yesterday. Hagadone had command of the strike zone and looked dominant against the top third of the Reds lineup, Hamilton, Phillips, and Joey Votto. Good to see him off to a good start.
- Yesterday was our first opportunity to see Trevor Bauer‘s new mechanics and the results were mixed, to say the least. In his one inning, Bauer did not surrender a run, but he did walk the first two batters of the game. It’s the same issue that plagued Bauer throughout his starts last season. However, he was bailed out when Yan Gomes caught Brandon Phillips trying to steal. Bauer then regrouped to strike out Joey Votto and get Jay Bruce to pop out. It wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t that good either.
- The Indians offensive attack was nearly non-existent yesterday afternoon. The Tribe, albeit working with a mixed lineup, mustered up only 3 runs on 3 hits. They also squandered opportunities, particularly in the fifth inning. The Indians managed to plate two runs, but squandered a potentially huge inning when David Adams grounded into a double play.
- Colt Hynes, acquired from the Padres this offseason, is in a battle to be one of the left-handed specialists out of the pen. This probably wasn’t what he was hoping for in his debut. He made it through only two-thirds of an inning and allowed two runs to cross the plate after loading the bases. This first crossed the plate on a walk (can’t happen) and the other on a fielder’s choice to the right side of the infield.
- I may have railed against the Indians new batting practice jerseys, but at least they make sense in the grand scheme of the Indians team identity. Meanwhile, the Reds continue to roll out with the whole black for black’s sake trend that was popular in the late 90′s and early 2000′s. Why are the REDS wearing black? I thought they had finally gotten away from that. Let’s just hope the Blue Jays don’t go back to wearing black.
- With the exception of Trevor Bauer, Aaron Harang, and Nick Hagadone, the rest of the Indians pitching staff was pretty awful. They allowed eight runs to cross the plate and were unable to limit the damage the Reds offense was able to do. It doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, after all, this is only the first game of the season, but it’s still a bit disappointing. The Indians pitching staff allowed 18 runners to reach base as a whole.