The Reds play the Chicago Cubs for the second straight day, winning 8-4.
This time as Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona. The Cubs had two games on Thursday, playing the Reds in Goodyear during the day and the Arizona Diamondbacks at night. Middletown native, Kyle Schwarber played the night game in Scottsdale. He played five innings and was given Friday off.
Cozart to Peraza to Votto (Iribarren)
The Reds started Zack Cozart and Jose Peraza together for the first time this spring. Joey Votto did not make the trip to Mesa. Hernan Iribarren started at firstbase.
Manager Bryan Price didn’t have to wait long. Reds’ starter Tim Adleman walked Jason Heyward. Albert Amora Jr. hit a hot ground ball up the middle. Cozart made a diving stop directly behind secondbase. He flipped the ball backhanded to Peraza, who made the pivot and threw Almora out easily.
“I am going to adjust playing time to make sure Cozart and Peraza start together,” Price said. “That was nice. Cozart did a great job with the ball up the middle. It was a nice job by Peraza to make the quick turn to nail the double play. I anticipate some really good things from the middle of the diamond.”
The Reds will have three natural shortstops in the infield. Besides Cozart and Peraza, Eugenio Suarez was a shortstop before he moved to thirdbase last season.
Arismendy Alcantara committed three errors but Price isn’t giving up on him this early. “Alcantara is athletic. I still think he can play short,” Price said. “If something happened to Zack, we can move Suarez or Peraza to shortstop, short-term.”
Suarez and Peraza will also get playing time at shortstop this spring.
Adleman and Stephenson Compete For Starting Rotation
Tim Adleman and Robert Stephenson were paired against the Cubs.
Both are in the mix for the fourth and fifth starter jobs.
Adleman walked one in three hitless innings against Chicago. He was aided by the double play turned in by Cozart and Peraza, facing the minimum of nine batters.
Adleman pitched five innings in two appearances, allowing four hits and two runs.
“I was able to find the bottom of the strike zone,” Adleman said.
Adleman has been working on a new pitch, a slider cutter.
“It makes a big difference,” Price said. “It slider/cutter. It’s a bit of a tweener right now. It’s a nice compliment to his fastball, curveball, change. He’s shown really good command of ir.”
Robert Stephenson faced six batters and struck out four of them in two perfect innings.
“Robert was down in the zone and stayed ahead,” Price said. “When he was ahead of the hitters it was hard for them to lay off the split and breaking ball below the zone. It is imperative to work ahead that doesn’t have the traditional strike change up.”
Stephenson rebounded from a rough first outing when he gave up four runs in one inning against the Giants.
“I was a little bit happier with that performance,” Stephenson said. “In my bullpens and when I warm up for my pregame routine, I feel really confident in myself and I hit the glove just fine. I get on the game mound and things speed up on me. I was talking with Teddy (Power). He told me to take the batter out of the equation and just play catch with the catcher.”
Jose Peraza had two singles in four at bats against the Cubs. Peraza is at .437 for the spring.
Suarez was 2-for-2 against the Cubs and was hit by a pitch. He has .555 average and one of the Reds’ four home runs.
Patrick Kivlehan was 2-for-2 with a home run. He is hitting ..500.
Dilson Herrera was 1-for-2 as the designated hitter. He is hitting .500.
Three Reds batters were hit by pitches in the Reds’ five-run third.
Aaron Brooks (2) and Dallas Beeler hit Suarez, Desmond Jennings and Herrera in the inning.
“It’s unusual,” Price said. “Two young pitchers that haven’t made a name for themselves. Hit by pitches come at the inopportune time when it looks like you’re trying to hit guys and you’re not.”
Jumbo Diaz started the eighth inning with an 8-0 lead. He gave up a home run to Eloy Jimenez. Sebatian Elezalde dropped Zach Vincej’s throw with to outs to extend the inning. Yasiel Baleguert followed with a three-run home run.