Reds Hot Right out the Gate
You have to go back to 1990 to find a Reds team that started better than the current one. The Reds pushed their record to 4-0 with an 8-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
It's the best start since the 1990 wire-to-wire world champions started the season 9-0.
The key to such a start? A good spring.
"It starts with spring training," left fielder Jonny Gomes said. "Guys had some really good spring trainings. Our starting right showed up healthy. It sure beats not getting off to a good start."
The offense, which cranked out 31 runs, has been a big part of it.
"I haven't seen so many guys swinging this well this early," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It goes back to spring training and how they worked in the cage with (hitting coach) Brook Jacoby and amongst themselves.
"We knew with our pitching situation coming out of spring training we had to score some runs."
It starts at the top of the order. Leadoff man Drew Stubbs is hitting .438, No. 2 hitter Brandon Phillips is hitting .375 and No. 3 hitter Joey Votto is hitting .357.
--RHP Johnny Cueto threw 37 pitches in a bullpen session Monday, his first since going on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. "I felt good," he said. "No pain, no nothing." The plan is for Cueto to throw two innings in a minor league game at the Goodyear complex while the Reds are in Arizona Friday to Sunday.
--RHP Homer Bailey threw long toss Monday. He's set for the bullpens on Saturday and Monday or Tuesday. He'll pitch in a minor league game in Arizona on April 14. "Everything felt good," Bailey said. "It gets a little better every day."
--OF Chris Heisey started Monday in place of RF Jay Bruce.
"Jay (Bruce) doesn't need a day off,' manager Dusty Baker said. "But I'm trying to figure out a way to keep Heisey strong. He had such a good spring. (Houston starter J.A.) Happ is tough on left-handers, even though Jay's been getting better against left-handers. It's just that Happ is one of the tougher ones." Heisey went 1-for-2 with three RBI.
--RHP Mike Leake made his season debut, going six innings and allowed two runs on three hits. "He was sharp," Reds manager Baker said. "Those guys can hit over there. He made some quality hitters swing and miss."
--LF Jonny Gomes walked twice Tuesday, giving him seven on the year. Last year, Gomes only walked 39 times overall and only three times in April. "Jonny's doing a good job of being patient and making them pitch to him," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
--2B Brandon Phillips left the game Tuesday in the fifth. He knocked the wind out of himself sliding into home in the fourth. He's OK.
BY THE NUMBERS: 31 -- Runs the Reds have scored over the first four games. They allowed only 13.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I hadn't pitched in six months coming into spring. I needed those first five outings to remember how to pitch. The sixth outing was pretty good. I still have some things to work on, but it was nice to go out and pitch six innings." -- RHP Mike Leake, on allowing 156 runs in his first 15 1/3 innings this spring.
--2B Brandon Phillips (lost his breath) left the April 5 game. He came out merely as a precautionary measure, and he is OK.
--RHP Homer Bailey (sore right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 24. He hoped to miss just two regular-season starts. He threw long toss April 4. He's set for the bullpens on April 9 and either April 11 or 12. He'll pitch in a minor league game in Arizona on April 14.
--RHP Johnny Cueto (right shoulder impingement) had to leave his March 11 start after two innings, then had to leave after one inning March 19. He went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He threw 37 pitches in a bullpen session April 4, his first since going on the DL. The plan is for Cueto to throw two innings in a minor league game the weekend of April 8-10.
--RHP Bronson Arroyo (mononucleosis) returned to action March 29, and he should be ready for his first regular-season start.
--RHP Jared Burton (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 29.
--OF Fred Lewis (strained right side) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 27. The injury wasn't considered serious.
--RHP Jose Arredondo (Tommy John surgery in February 2010) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 25. He should be able to return in mid-April.