The Cincinnati Reds knew what a great team they had prior to spring training.
They realized they had a very good young pitching rotation and a young bullpen anchored by veteran Coco Cordero.
They knew they had excellent power in Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Scott Rolen, Jonny Gomes and Drew Stubbs.
They led the National League last season in offense and defense. Golden Glove Awards were distributed to Brandon Phillips, Scott Rolen and pitcher Bronson Arroyo.
Their outfield is very good, but not great yet. The only outfield flaw is in left-field where Jonny Gomes roams. He probably won’t be on Dancing With the Stars anytime soon.
He is not bad, just average, yet he looks worse than he is when standing next to Stubbs and Bruce.
They knew all along that Paul Janish is a great defensive shortstop, but have never been sure he could bat well enough to be an everyday starter.
The Mucky Mucks in the front office did not choose to exercise an option on Orlando Cabrera, which left them lacking a shortstop who was a true hitter.
The world champion San Francisco Giants didn’t want to give World Series MVP Edgar Renteria what he felt he deserved, he became a Free Agent.
The two-time Gold Glove Award winner may not be as flashy on defense as he once was, but he can still come up with the clutch hit when it counts.
The latest example is Saturday night’s walk-off single with the bases loaded, giving the Reds a 10th inning come from behind, 4-3 victory over the Florida Marlins.
The Reds had the bases loaded with nobody out, when the Marlins employed a six-man infield to guard against a ground ball single. It worked like a charm as Ramon Hernandez grounded to short, forcing Phillips at the plate.
Janish popped out to first which sent the outfielders to their regular positions. Renteria pinch-hit for Cordero (1-0) hit a 1-2 pitch from Michael Dunn between short and third to clinch the victory in 2010 style.
Ironically, had the Marlins elected not to move their fielders back, it would have went right to one of them.
Renteria has had two multi-hit games this season in limited playing time. He is currently batting .333 with 11 hits and 5 RBI. None have been any bigger than last night, as the Reds could ill afford to drop three games behind the red-hot St. Louis Cardinals.
It seems that everybody has contributed this season, but many were expected to. I think many fans, including Reds fans, thought that he was washed up at 34 since he is now in his 16th season in MLB.
His presence on this young squad can be nothing but promising. He won the MVP in the 2010 World Series, and is ever-present in World Series lore with his 1997 hit to win the series against the Cleveland Indians.
With the injury to Scott Rolen, Renteria is getting a little more playing time at short, while Janish plays third base.