Spring Training Game #24: Indians 7, Reds 7
Masterson struggles then settles down as Moncrief leaves mark
Bourn - CF (Naquin)
Stubbs - RF (Moncrief)
Brantley - LF (Hunter)
Phelps - 3B (Lawson)
Carson - DH (played whole game)
McGuiness - 1B (played whole game)
Diaz - SS (Lindor)
Hernandez - 2B (Wolters)
Jeroloman - C (Santos)
Masterson - 4 IP
Huff - 1 IP
Capps - 1 IP
Allen - 1 IP
Shaw - 2 IP
Baseball...Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose....
...and, in Spring Training, sometimes you tie (or draw, whichever term you prefer. This isn't cricket. They mean the same thing.)
Today, was one of those "sometimes".
A quick look at Justin Masterson's stat line on Sunday would make one think that he was completely lost out there on the Goodyear Ballpark mound, This assumption would be one-quarter true, as all five runs and four hits surrendered by Masterson came in the first inning in what can be described, charitably, as a rough start. The remaining three innings of his appearance passed almost without incident as the only two baserunners came as a result of a 2nd inning fielding error by Indians second baseman Cord Phelps and a 3rd inning leadoff walk of Reds left fielder Xavier Paul. The most likely explanation for this transformation from doormat to dominant is that Masterson was working on something in the first inning and either figured it out in or after the first or moved on to working on something else in the remaining three innings.
David Huff and Matt Capps followed with a no-hit shutout inning each (the former throwing a perfect inning while the latter struggled with control issues (two walks and the aftermath of a Chris McGuiness error, but got out unscathed). Cody Allen, already on the Big Club roster for Opening Day and likely working on areas of difficulty, surrendered two earned runs on two hits in the 7th inning. Unfortunately, given the one inning and done nature of spring relief performances, it is harder to discern any immediate progress on such trouble areas than it is in the case of a starter. Bryan Shaw closed out the game by pitching two shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out three.
Despite the "7" under the "Runs" category in the Indians linescore, there is very little to read in the way of information on the Big Club's starting lineup as the only major league starters to participate in Sunday's game were the three outfielders. Obviously, however, there were some standout offensive performances on the day. Three in particular really jump out from the boxscore.
The first is courtesy of designated hitter Matt Carson, who went 2-for-4 with a walk. If you attend a game in Columbus this year and see his name in the starting lineup (as you probably will), keep an eye on this guy. He really seems to have the makings of something special. Third baseman Cord Phelps also was strong at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double and a walk while also scoring a run. The third and final such performance came from first baseman Chris McGuiness, who was 2-for-5 with a double. Special mention to minor league camp right fielder Carlos Moncrief, whose 9th inning home run to right field off of Reds' pitcher Daniel Wolford tied the game at its final score of 7-7.
In conclusion, on a day in which preparation for the regular season took an even greater backseat to winning than is usual in Spring Training, the game fittingly ended in a tie.
Next up for the Denizens of the Wigwam (Since we're talking about Cleveland Indians, shouldn't it be a Longhouse? Or maybe a Pueblo because they're out in Arizona?) is a 4:05 start on Monday at Goodyear Ballpark against the Milwaukee Brewers. Ubaldo Jimenez will take the mound for the Tribe while righty Marco Estrada will oppose him straddling the rubber for the Beer Crew. STO will have the game on television while the "radio" broadcast will be streamed on indians.com, as per usual for weekday games.
He'll be 32 years old in July. He has 166 career major league at-bats with a .211 average. He's a minor league lifer. He is what he is - a guy to plug in at AAA until a younger outfielder works his way up to Columbus.