POTG: SP Rich Hill (7 IP, 3 H, 4 BB, 5 K, PO – that might have actually been a balk – QS, W 8 – one more to career 500!)
Runners Up: “CF” Alfonso Soriano (2 H, R, RBI), 3B T Riot (2 H, R, RBI), 1B Derek Lee (2B, 3 RBI, BB), C Michael Barrett (2 BB, H, R – his numbers are starting to look okay), LF Floyd (H, 2 R, one excellent slide, one barrel run on a squeeze)
Oh wow, I guess I should not only go to the game, but say something after I come back, instead of fooling around (and playing FFXII for insane and inane amount of hours without making real progress.) At least I got some video ripping done today…
I was calling for the squeeze, and my squeeze loving friend was saying “no, you can’t do that with Floyd and Cesar.” And they did and it was so so great. Floyd didn’t look agile on the bases, but he got around fine in the OF, much better than he did in the spring, and he had better instincts than the guy in center.
Speaking of center, there was something up with Freel and the fans in left center. They were killing him and he was glowing back at them and I had no idea what was going on. Maybe someone was denied a craigslist hookup?
A common topic from our (third base, one section away a foul ball twice) seats was Rich Hill; is he really this good? Well, no, no one really thinks he’s a under 1 ERA pitcher, but is he outpitching batters, or is he benefiting form teams being overly aggressive and now allowing himself to get in trouble. I think it’s him, or at least we can expect all hitters in the NL Central to be no better than the Brewers or the Reds, but his four walks early and Cinncy’s unwillingness to look for more made me the minority.
(After the fact, literally another viewpoint says Rich was getting squeezed. We really couldn’t tell if pitches were inside, outside, or right on from where we were sitting, so that sure seems possible. The Trib has Rich hitting at that too.)
– the Theriot for MVP campaign gains more steam, good
– shutout, great
– a suicide squeeze involving Daryl Ward running home and Cesar Izitirus falling down while bunting, awesome
Not so awesome is Alfonso’s Wild Ride On The Base Paths. It’s a short ride, ending abruptly when he’s randomly cost us an out by being picked off for no good reason. I’m not sure if he’s just taking too big leadoffs, or just can’t read the pitcher at all, but those high Caught Stealing numbers are suddenly making a lot of sense.
Speaking of reading the pitcher, the baserunners were pretty sure they were reading Hill’s delivery and figuring out if he was going home or going to a base sooner than he did. It didn’t help that he was doing his big slow delivery with runners on in the first couple of innings, but there was something else he was doing that Reds figured out, and a little later the Cubs figured out.
The Brandon Phillips baserunning bit a little later in the game was very interesting for this – he was looking for whatever Rich was doing originally, but he had completely reversed it by then. Everytime Hill made a pitch, Phillips saw it as a throw back to first, and so started running the wrong way with the ball in motion. (Phillips also gave no effort on when he was the front end of a double play, bailing out of the baseline seemingly before he got forced out. He was in the dugout a long time after that inning, and we weren’t sure if he was going to be allowed out.)
Rich needs to look over at first a lot more than he does. He does a far worse job of holding people on than you’d expect a left handed pitcher.
I don’t know if the Reds win this game regardless, but…why intentionally walk Ward to face Soriano? Soriano’s not starting the season great and it gives you a righty/righty match, but STILL, you’re not getting enough to make up for facing a far more scary hitter. And it ended up blowing open the inning. The only thing we could figure at the time was they were going IBB Ward AND Soriano to put it all on Theriot. I don’t get the decision making.
It was COLD. It was pretty fine for about the first three innings, with a tiny bit of sun, but then the shifted – it started the game right to left, but then turned come in and right towards us. I had – a pretzel, a hot dog, a churro and hot chocolate. Which was actually probably too much – long after the game was the over, and the sitting around a bar with people you barely know (and aren’t in a hurry to get to know) was over and the driving thru the city with a dozen different pedestrians walking in front of you while moving was over, we went to Burger King and I tried to eat a Whopper and only succeeded because it was in front of me and I had nothing else to do.
My next tickets are May 29th, but I may end up going before then. Whenever, I hope the Cubs flag won’t be on the bottom of the standings pole next time.