CINCINNATI - It's just one game, right?
Cincinnati Reds fans sure hope so.
In 42 at-bats, the Reds managed a mere three hits, two of which came from the new guy, center fielder Shin-Soo Choo, and that's about the only thing positive one can say about Monday night's Opening Day performance on the offensive side of the 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 13 innings .
As a team, the Reds posted just a .071 batting average, collectively striking out 13 times.
Just one extra base hit, no RBIs, 10 men left on base and despite two walks, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips combined for an 0-9 performance with two strikeouts. Jay Bruce had four strikeouts in five at-bats. Combine those two stats with Chris Heisey's two pinch-hit strikeouts filling in for an injured Ryan Ludwick and Todd Frazier's two Ks, and the Reds 2-6 hitters struck out a total of 10 times.
All this against good starting pitching, but six mediocre relievers. Angels starter Jered Weaver was brilliant, as he normally is, but the six pitchers that followed have a career average ERA of 3.73, which for the Reds should have been reasonable enough to hit.
Game 3 of the NLDS against the Giants saw the Reds went 4 for 33 as a team. Games 4 and 5 they left a combined total of 21 men on base. The Giants had great starting pitching, but average relievers that man-handled the Redlegs down the stretch. The final month of the 2012 season, the Reds had a .230 batting average as a team.
The good news is that even though the Reds' bats seem to still be drowsy from last season, their pitching is still red hot.
Reds ace Johnny Cueto looked great, and pitched well enough to win 9 out of 10 games, with 9 strikeouts, allowing only three hits, throwing just one bad pitch in his 7 innings that led to the 3rd-inning home run by Angels catcher Chris Iannetta.
And those that followed matched Cueto's brilliance. Jonathan Broxton got two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 inning on the top of the lineup in the 8th. Chapman also got two Ks and handled the power-portion of the Angels lineup with no problems. Sam LeCure came on in extras and kept the Angels at bay despite a few walks.
But it was only a matter of time for a lineup as strong as L.A.'s, especially when a young J.J. Hoover couldn't keep runners off the basepaths.
The beauty of a Major League Baseball season is that it really is just one game. There are 161 more opportunities for the Reds offense to bounce back.
Or if you're pessimistic, 161 more opportunities for the Reds to continue to rely far too heavily on their pitching, especially with the injury to Ludwick that could sideline him for several weeks, if not months, leaving a gaping hole in the Reds clean-up spot.
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