5 takeaways from Reds season-opening series vs. Braves

Reds play home opener Tuesday against Cleveland

In 1990, the Cincinnati Reds started the season on the road for the first time since 1966 and swept three games in Houston and then three games in Atlanta.

“I’ve been saying for two or three years we have a good team,” shortstop Barry Larkin said after the 6-0 start. “This one has the potential to be tremendous.”

Larkin was right about that. The Reds started 9-0 and won the World Series that season. No one’s quite as high on the 2022 Reds just yet, but the first Reds team to start the season on the road since 1990 opened the season by splitting a four-game series against the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves.

The Reds beat the Braves 6-3 in the season opener Thursday at Truist Park and then, after two one-run losses, salvaged a split with another 6-3 victory Sunday.

“We split the series,” manager David Bell said. “At the same time, even in the games we lost, I loved how we played.”

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The Reds enjoy an off day Monday before playing their home opener at 4:10 p.m. Tuesday against the Cleveland Guardians at Great American Ball Park. Here are five takeaways from the first series:

1. Kyle Farmer is off to a hot start: In his fourth season in Cincinnati and his second full season as the starting shortstop, Farmer had the best performance by a Reds batter in the first four games. He went 5-for-14 with five RBIs.

2. New players provided early contributions: Brandon Drury, who signed a minor-league contract with the Reds on March 22, hit a three-run home run on Opening Day.

Jake Fraley, who the Reds acquired in the trade that sent Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker to the Seattle Mariners on March 14, drove in two runs in the ninth inning Friday in a 7-6 loss to the Braves.

Colin Moran, who signed as a free agent March 17, also had an RBI in the opening series.

3. Another new Red is looking for his first hit: Tommy Pham went 0-for-13 with three strikeouts and four walks in the first four games. The Reds signed Pham as a free agent March 26. He started three of the first four games in left field and made one start Saturday as a designated hitter.

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4. Tyler Mahle was the most impressive starter: Mahle allowed three hits in five innings and struck out seven Thursday in the season opener. The only run scored against him was unearned. He’ll make his second start Tuesday.

5. The Hunter Greene era started on a good note: The No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft, Greene’s long road to the big leagues led to a debut Sunday, and he allowed three earned runs on four hits in five innings.

“He did an excellent job,” catcher Tyler Stephenson said. “Getting his first win was obviously a great thing for him. it was just great to be a part of. He threw excellent. His composure and demeanor the whole time, he was just unfazed by a great lineup and packed house.

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