Yes, the Cincinnati Reds are fine-tuning their intensity.
For most of spring training, the Reds’ players were obviously testing out things other than winning. Which was fine. For the first time since I can remember, there were no true battles for roster spots. Everything was set, and everyone had time to work on things and ease back into baseball. Now that opening day is less than a week away, it’s time to practice how to win. And the Reds have done that two games in a row.
Yesterday, Mike Leake made his final start of the spring and did well. Leake pitched 6 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits and no walks while striking out 4.
The offense has woken up, too, and I’m certain that all the regulars playing most of the game is a factor. Shin-Soo Choogot the Reds on the board in the 5th with a solo shot. But Ryan Ludwick was the hero for this game, hitting his first spring home run in the 7th inning, a 3-run shot that broke a 1-1 tie.
Then in the 8th, Joey Votto added his own 2-run home run to extend the lead, which was good, since the San Diego Padres scored a couple more in the top of the 9th.