It's so great to see something good happen to this team again. The 8-game winning streak had become a distant memory, past glories never to be seen again. And yet tonight, as I was watching my Tivo'd recording, it felt different. Maybe part of the reason it felt different was that I was watching it on ESPN, rather than on MLB Gamecast, but it sure felt different.
Aren't those two cute?
- It won't be a surprise when I say "How about Elizardo Ramirez!!?" Our 22-year old Dominican kid was dazzling, with pinpoint control, a consistent 92-mph fastball, and tons on tons of poise. 8 innings, 5 hits, 1 walk, and 10 strikeouts?? Amazing. This was his first truly outstanding start, and despite him continuing to have that sorry looking 2-5 record, I think people will begin to really start to take note of how well he's pitched for us this year. Doesn't hurt that he's now sporting a 3.44 ERA. I think we have every reason to think that he could have a ~4.00ish ERA at the end of the season, racking up 150+ innings. That'd be a huge development for the Reds'.
- Todd Coffey seems to be settling into the closer role. Despite clearly not having his best stuff, he was able to battle and get the ground ball when he needed it. Rich Aurilia/Javy Valentin's play at the plate was a game highlight.
- Hammond looked pretty wicked. Even so, my heart stopped when I saw Carlos Lee staring him down. Hope Lee isn't hurt too bad with that little handle tweak he had..
- Griffey managed two important singles late in the game, though he did swing at a horrible pitch down by his right foot in an earlier at-bat. I still think he's pressing, as his typical patience isn't there.
- Freel's catch was outstanding, and he did his job today by getting on twice, including a nice double. It's nice to see him finally out of that May funk. His strikeout rate is up a bit this year (1 per 5.4 AB's, vs. 1 per 6.3 in 2005 and 1 per 5.7 AB's in 2004). Still, he's been remarkably consistent across years with that 0.370 OBP, and I'll gladly take that production.
- And Dunn, ah Dunn. Such a frustrating player at times, but such great rewards too. There's nothing quite like the sound of the ball leaving that bat when he finally connects with one like he did tonight. It'd be easier to stomach his failures if he wasn't so damn good. But tonight, at least, we can celebrate him and his all-important hit with a runner in scoring position.