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John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Reds lead: Deee-fense

Reds took a 4-0 lead over Pittsburgh after one. RBI double from Alex Gonzalez, RBI singles from Jeff Conine, Josh Hamilton and David Ross.

Kevin Kelly's covering today. I'm on Opening Day section duty. But I wanted to make a point about defense and why the Reds invested $14 million in Gonzalez to play short.

Chris Aguila started the second with a smash up the middle. Gonzalez went to his left, went down to his knees to stop it, popped up and threw out Aguila easily. Good enough play to get a star on the old scorebook.

But what happened afterward shows how defense can pay. Milton struck out the next hitter. But Jose Hernandez doubled. Had Aguila reached, he would have scored. Don Kelly followed with a single. If Aguila would have reached, it would have been one out and runners at first and third, instead of two outs. That allowed Milton to pitch around the eighth hitter, then get the pitcher to escape without damage.

If Gonzalez doesn't make the play -- a play Felipe Lopez or Royce Clayton don't make -- it's at least one-run inning and possibly a big inning.

Lopez will probably hit more than Gonzalez, but if he makes enough plays like Sunday's, the Reds will be happy with their investment.


at 4:52 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw Encarnacion committed another error today. I haven't seen him play yet so I was wondering your take on how and if he's improved defensively. If he hasn't, is it unreasonable to think the Reds will play a solid glove like Juan Castro at third and then count on Brandon Phillips to be the big right-handed bat in the lineup?

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