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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Reflections on Today's Game (4/12/06)

I watched tonight's game thanks to a tivo'd-WGN telecast. Not quite as much fun to watch as yesterday's game was to listen to. Some quick thoughts on the game:
  • Griffey's knee. Yikes. According to the AP report, Griffey initially hurt it shagging balls in the outfield during batting practice, but clearly aggravated it on that awkward, twisting attempt check his swing. I noticed that he took a few very ginger steps as he got up and started back toward the dugout, though he then resumed a normal stride. Hopefully he's right and it isn't serious. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think his serious leg injuries have had more to do with hamstrings and groins than knees...but then again there's been so many, I might not be remembering one.
  • I thought Claussen pitched a heck of a ballgame. His defense wasn't exactly gunning on all cylinders, particularly in that ugly 3rd inning when he still only gave up a single run. He was missing up in the zone a lot in the first inning, but from that point on was more or less hitting Valentin's glove with most pitches. If he hadn't encountered the defensive difficulties that he did, he probably would have been able to go deeper into the ballgame. As it was, he hit 96 pitches through five innings.
  • I'm sure a lot of folks will ride EdE pretty hard about today's game. And it wasn't his best game. But a few points:
    • As I understand it, his first error was due to the fielding half of the play as opposed to the throwing half of the play. In that case, it's a pretty tough error. The ball was a rocket that he was fortunate to knock down, let alone make a play on. Of course, his throw almost sailed into the dugout, but was saved thanks to a nice defensive play by Hatteberg...
    • EdE's second error of the night was also a tough scoring decision, as he showed good range toward the line to get to that ball and make the throw (I doubt Randa would have been able to make the throw, and maybe would have allowed a double). Unfortunately, he threw it off-target just enough that Hatteberg couldn't stay on the base. Nevertheless, as Bob Brenly pointed out in the Cubs' booth, Lee rounded first base, albeit accidentally while trying to dodge Hatteberg. If Hatteberg would have tagged him, rather than argue with the umpire about whether his foot was on the bag, the effect of that error would probably have been negated.
    • EdE's third error...well, ok, he booted that one. Getting antsy to throw home I guess.
    • While he wasn't really tested over the rest of the game, I thought EdE recovered very well from that rough start. He did make a nice play on the 1-4-5-3 double play to tag out Murton and then fluidly throw on to force out Cedeno. He also drove home the only Reds' run of the game on a well hit double of the otherwise unhittable Greg Maddux. Eddie will get more consistent. Don't worry. At least he's hitting!
  • Freel keeps on chugging. Comes in to replace Griffey and goes 1-1 with a walk. The guy's just a stud. I'd expect him to get the starts in center field while Junior's out over the next few days. And if he's in center, I'd think Aurilia would get the starts at second vs. righties (and lefties) over Womack, as there's no point to having two speed guys like that in the lineup. Especially when you're down Griffey's bat.
  • Womack went 0-4 with a K, and looked a lot less comfortable at the plate then when I saw him last week. In those games, he was fouling off pitches, working the count, etc. I think the honeymoon may be over... BTW,has he hit a bunt fair this year? Just wondering.
  • Ultimately, the Reds didn't lose today because they made five errors. They lost because Cubs pitching, including a Greg Maddux that was eerily reminiscent of the Maddux from the late 90's, was outstanding and shut down the Reds offense for just the second time all year. The Reds pitching/defense, however, held the opposing team to less than 5 runs for the second straight game. And the bullpen didn't allow a run for the first time all year! That's a good thing.
One piece of news that is actually important: Vern Ruhle is scheduled for a bone marrow transplant on June 1 in Houston. I don't have any experience with cancer treatment (fortunately), but this indicates two things to me: 1) they're being very aggressive in treating this, and 2) it's nasty enough to require said transplant rather than straight chemo/radiation. I am really looking forward to the day that we see Ruhle in uniform again.