While the fanfare and celebrations are planned for tomorrow's game, the Indians and Reds quietly opened up Spring Training in Goodyear in front of a small crowd on Friday. The starting lineups for both teams closely resembled what should be the opening day rosters, but the pitching staffs looked a lot more like week one of Spring Training.
Overall, the game was a general mess as far as pitching was concerned. Both teams struggled with control although things did calm down some after the eight run first. Indians starer, Giovanni Soto, struggled and wasn't able to make it out of the first inning after facing the Reds starting lineup (this wasn't really surprising as Soto has yet to pitch above the AA level). Positive pitching notes on the Indians side were that Vinnie Pestano and Frank Herrmann threw the only two perfect innings in the entire game.
Defensively the Indians were a mess all around. Carlos Santana had a passed ball, a few balls snuck their way past infielders that probably should have been caught and a ball dropped right in between the Indians two brand new centerfielders. Michael Bourne especially looked rusty, bouncing multiple throws to the cut-off man from short centerfield. Some of this first game rust can probably be explained by Terry Francona's policy of eliminated intersquad games.
Offensively, the Indians were impressive, scoring both early with their regular starters and late with some of the more unexpected stars. Lonnie Chisenhall and Ryan Rayburn each hit home runs while Nick Swisher, Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley all had RBI as well among the starters. The game was won in the ninth inning by a one out, walk off, three run double by Spring Training invitee, Mike McDade. This happened after Reds reliever Carlos Contreras allowed two walks and a single to load the bases. While the walk off win sounds exciting, it was actually slightly anticlimactic in person as the umpires and players on the field didn't seem to know that the game was over after Tim Fedroff scored the game winning run.
Stay tuned for more updates from Goodyear, AZ