Indians Recap: Tribe drops Cactus League opener to Reds

Rob Tringali

Don't get caught up in the final score, just enjoy the fact that baseball is back.

The Indians lost their Cactus League opener 8-3 to the Reds. Trevor Bauer was the starter for the Tribe, and while he would only be pitching one inning, we were eager to see how he'd do, coming off an offseason in which he spent a lot of time reworking his mechanics, leading Terry Francona to say the difference was "like night and day."

See the full box score here, if you're interested.

Bauer started off by battling Billy Hamilton for 10 pitches, eventually walking him. Hamilton isn't a great hitter, so ideally Bauer would have found the right pitch to put him away, but I think in an AB like that, you tip your hat to the batter, and don't sweat the walk. The same cannot be said for the next AB, in which Bauer walked Brandon Phillips on 4 pitches. Phillips is a solid hitter, but not a patient one, and not one with a ton of pop. While Bauer was walking Phillips, Hamilton (the best base stealer in baseball) stole second, and took third when Yan Gomes' throw skipped into centerfield.

First and third with nobody out and Joey Votto coming to the plate is not a recipe for success, but Bauer managed to strike Votto out (swinging) on a high fastball, and Gomes made up for his earlier miscue by nailing Phillips at second base on the same pitch. Bauer fell behind 2-0 to Jay Bruce, but then got him to hit a lazy flyball to left field, escaping the inning.

I don't know enough about pitcher-mechanics to say if Bauer's delivery was improved or not, but he threw 12 balls on 23 pitches, which is not a good ratio. We're talking about one inning in February though, so we shouldn't get too worked up just yet.

Aaron Harang, another candidate for the final spot in the rotation, pitched a scoreless 2nd inning, with a strikeout and a couple pop flies. A number of other guys pitched; among those with a legitimate shot at making the Opening Day roster, Nick Hagadone pitched a 1-2-3 inning, Colt Hynes gave up 2 hits and walked in a run, and C.C. Lee gave up a 2-run home run.

The lineup didn't do much all afternoon. Lonnie Chisenhall drew a walk, something I'm hoping to see him do a lot more often in 2014 than he has in the past. Jeff Francoeur walked as well, which is an even more rare event that the Chisenhall base on balls. Ryan Raburn hit a double, the only extra-base hit of the day for the Indians. Francisco Lindor struck out in his only PA, and didn't play in the field at all.

It's not worth getting bent out of shape about, but this isn't the game we hoped to see from the Indians. Tomorrow's another day, hopefully the results will be better. Justin Masterson will start, while Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber are also scheduled to pitch. The big news is that Carlos Santana will be at third base for at least 3 or 4 innings, so we'll get out first chance to see how he looks there in a game situation.

Tomorrow's game starts at 3:05 ET, and will again be available on MLB.TV.

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