Yikes. Well, not the most convincing way for the Reds to begin the series. I'm not in the mood to do a full write-up, so I'll use bullets:
- I arrived at the game plenty early and was able to see the scrubs taking BP off of Billy Hatcher (I recognized Denorfia, Olmedo, Ross, and some pitcher I think...might have been Claussen judging by the hair). Denorfia sent a couple of balls a few rows back in left field.
- Brandon Webb was pretty wicked. Reds hitters were pretty patient with the guy, but just couldn't get him measured and couldn't get the ball elevated. No real surprise there, as Brandon had one of the highest groundball/flyball ratios in the game last year. Our one extra-base hit, Kearns' double down the line, was just a nice job of slapping the ball the other way and getting it past the aging Green in right.
- Elizardo managed a good first inning, and frankly his second inning wouldn't have been *that* bad. Except for that whole three-error thing. Let's recap:
- Lopez's glove hole. Lopez did seem to get confused by the hop the ball took, and appeared to be trying to play it slick so he could transfer to his throwing hand quickly. But he could have stopped the ball if he had gotten his body in front of it, so I won't give him a bye on this one.
- Hatteberg's throwing error. .. Oh I don't know. Two Reds were right there, I can't understand how that happened. We should have been out of the inning at that point thanks to the d-backs base-running mistake.
- Freel's throwing error. Well, he made a good play to get to knock the ball down and get back to it, but seemed to rush his throw a bit more than he needed to (he had enough time to set his feet). I believe (though I'm not sure) that this is the first game that Freel has played at second since Junior went down, so I guess I can understand him being a bit rusty with his footwork. Just really bad timing, ya know?
- Overall, Elizardo was a bit hittable in the 2nd, but did a pretty good job of shutting them down in the other innings. He was routinely hitting 90-92 mph and did a great job of coming back from the second to retire the d-backs in order in the 3rd and 4th. He probably would have been allowed to hit again if it wasn't in the middle of a minor rally, but at that point we needed the runs (and Olmedo came through!). I'm fine with E-Z going out there again on his next turn.
- How about Quinton McCracken's catch to end that inning? He showed pretty good range today on top of the highlight-reel action. Lopez also made several nice plays on balls hit up the middle.
- There might have been another defensive miscue in the 6th. Webb hit a sac-bunt right to Hammond and they would have had a play at third base, except that Lopez failed to run over there and cover the bag. But what the hey, I'm not an infielder, so maybe I'm missing some rationale for him covering second and leaving third wide open in that situation. Feel free to enlighten me. It didn't turn out to matter anyway, though, as nobody scored.
- Dunn hit two bombs to the warning track. I really thought the first was out of there, but Gonzalez (barely) caught it.
- The bullpen did a great job tonight, so kudos to my previous whipping boy Hammond, as well as Shackelford and Weathers. Shackelford was particularly impressive. I was sitting directly behind home plate (upper deck), so I couldn't see up-down movement, but he was throwing what appeared to be change-up that had Chad Tracy, Luis Gonzalez, and Tony Clark WAY out in front. It was coming in at about 75 mph and they were swinging at a fastball. Tracy, in particular, is an awfully good hitter, so that was pretty fun to see. Nasty pitch.
- Highlight of the evening: during "kiss cam," in the middle of the 8th, the camera focused on two Reds players, one of whom I think was Brandon Phillips. Phillips threw open his arms and gave the other guy (Ross?) a nice hug. The crowd roared in approval.
After tonight's debacle, I'm trying to decide if I'd rather go for the game we have a good shot of winning (Arroyo) rather than the Sunday game (Williams). I'll decide tomorrow depending on our schedule.