Milwaukee Brewers

Cincinnati Reds Show the Big Red Machine Is Still Rolling in 2011

CINCINNATI, OH - MARCH 31: Cincinnati Reds players wait at home plate for Ramon Hernandez #55 after his game-winning home run in the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers in the opening day game at Great American Ballpark on March 31, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 7-6. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Joshua BurmeisterContributor IMarch 31, 2011

Action got under way quickly in Cincinnati today with back-to-back home runs to lead off the game. Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez took advantage of Edison Volquez’s mistakes as both led off the game with home runs.

The Milwaukee Brewers proceeded to pounce on the vulnerable Volquez by knocking in another run with Casey McGehee’s sacrifice fly.

While Cincinnati came back to gnaw away a run at a time, the game was Milwaukee’s to win from the first pitch. They did not let up through seven innings.

The Brew Crew poured on three more runs to drive the score to 6-2 going into the bottom of the seventh.

By the ninth inning, the game looked securely in Milwaukee’s favor with the score standing at 6-3.

Brewer’s manager, Ron Roenicke, called on John Axford to come in and get his first save of the season. Axford proved to still be a rookie proving himself by blowing a game to the Reds.

During the bottom of the ninth, the Reds came back in a team effort to chalk up four runs and walk-off with a three-run home run from Ramon Hernandez.

At the conclusion of this offensive-minded game, it is clear that, even in the early part of this season, the NL Central will be decided by an arms race.

Both the Reds and Brewers have proven they have the hitters to compete for the post season. With Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman and Colby Rasmus, it is not even a question if the Cardinals have the hitters either.

This game shows that pitching will decide who takes the crown in the NL Central this year. While Milwaukee’s starting rotation looks to be solidly in place, John Axford pulls into question the strength of the Brewers’ bullpen for another season.

Cincinnati’s bullpen did not look very reliable, either. Jordan Smith came in relief of Volquez to give up another run and even balked.

While nothing is set in stone at the early stages of the season, the tone has been set. The new “Big Red Machine” is rolling, but does it have the arms to carry it all season?

 

NOTABLE MENTIONS

MVP Joey Votto showed his fans that he is going to start right where he left off. The 27-year-old first basemen knocked out his first home run of the season and put into question if last year's numbers could be eclipsed by the All-Star this year.

Drew Stubbs gave Cincinnati fans an exciting day by hitting two extra base hits in the first half of the game. The exciting young player had a break out campaign last year by knocking out 22 home runs and stealing 30 bases. Look for another exciting season from Stubbs as he continues to blossom into an elite outfielder this season.

 

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