April 17, 2006: Cincinnati, Ohio — The Reds found a cure for their recent ailments in the form of the AAA-like Florida Marlins, winning 9-1. The Reds routed the Marlins, pouring on 9 runs and 12 hits. The dismal Marlins came into Cincinnati with a $14 million dollar payroll and a 3-8 record.
The Reds jumped all over Marlins’ starting pitcher, Brian Moehler, early, scoring five runs in the first two innings. With the way Reds starter Brandon Claussen was pitching, that was more than enough run support. Claussen did an excellent job in stopping the two-game losing streak. He pitched seven scoreless innings, scattering five hits, striking out seven, and issuing two walks. After two consecutive games with poor starting pitching (Dave Williams and Bronson Arroyo), Claussen’s performance was exactly what the club needed. Claussen’s outing netted him his first victory of the year (1-1) and lowered his ERA to 3.18. He also made a couple of nifty plays with his glove.
Adam Dunn continued his homerun hitting tear. His last 6 hits have all been homeruns. Dunn hit a two-run homer off Moehler to get the offense going in the bottom of the first. My friend Marcus and I could almost sense the homerun before Dunn took Moehler deep for his eighth of the year.
With the streaking Austin Kearns now batting in the cleanup hole behind Dunn, Dunn has much needed protection in the lineup. Kearns proved himself worthy of the fourth slot last night by hitting his fifth homerun (solo shot) of the year.
Brandon Phillips, the newly acquired ex-Indian, starting his second consecutive game at second base, went 3-for-4 with four RBI’s and a run scored. Phillips has always been known for his glove work but hitting has not come as easily. If Phillips is able to prove himself offensively, the Reds will have a formidable duo with Felipe Lopez at shortstop and the aforementioned Phillips at second.
• There was absolutely no one at the game. It felt like the game was being played in Florida’s Dolphin Stadium. If you were on a first date, you could use the old joke that you rented the stadium out just for him/her. A half hour before the first pitch, we could still count the number of people in the stands. I’m not joking.