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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A trip down memory lane

Tonight, FSN Arizona is doing a rebroadcast of the May 8th, 2001 game of the Arizona Diamondbacks vs. the Cincinnati Reds. I Tivo'd it just to see why they'd be rebroadcasting a Reds game that year -- turns out it's Randy Johnson's 20-strikeout game.

Despite knowing what is going to happen, it's fun to watch this. Here are some interesting tidbits:
  • Entering the game, the Reds were 16-15 and the Diamondbacks were 16-16. The Reds would finish 66-96, 5th place in the central thanks to a 100-loss season by the Pirates. The Diamondbacks, of course, would go 92-70 and eventually win the World Series on a bloop single by Luis Gonzalez off of Mariano Rivera.
  • Chris Reitsma, then a rookie, was the starting pitcher. He'd pitch wonderfully, going 8 innings and allowing 7 hits, 1 run (earned), 1 bb, 2 k's. He was currently the co-player of the week, and had just been acquired from Boston in the Dante Bichette deal.
  • Here is the Reds lineup. Apparently it was Bob Boone's salute to the "lefties can't hit Johnson" rule, although to be fair he only sat Deion Sanders and Sean Casey, as Dmitri Young and Ken Griffey Jr. were both hurt. Still, this is a pretty weak lineup. I mean who would bat Sadler and Castro 1-2, two lineup spots that demand above all else high OBP? Oh right, Bob Boone would:
    • D Sadler lf
    • J Castro 1B (the annoucers mentioned that this was the first time he'd started at 1B since 8th grade)
    • B Larkin SS (first time in the #3 hole all season)
    • A Ochoa RF
    • A Boone 3B
    • R Rivera CF
    • P Reese 2B
    • K Stinnett C
    • C Reitsma P
  • It sure was nice to see Barry Larkin again. He didn't get a hit, but had a great battle vs. Johnson in the 4th inning. Saw and fouled off a ton of pitches and ending up losing his bat TWICE in the same at bat trying to connect with those Johnson sliders. The first one had Larkin giving an embarrassed smile to either the Reds dugout or the Diamondbacks catcher (hard to tell). The second one soared past Ronnie Oester in the 3B coaching box. I miss him. Interesting to note that he'd already had 9 errors on the season by this point. That was his season total for the year, however, because he'd only start 15 more games that season due to injuries.
  • Luis Gonzalez had already hit 16 home runs entering this game. Not a bad first month. He'd hit 57 that year in what was easily his best season.
  • The Diamondbacks announcer was expressing concern that Randy had a tweak in his lower back during the first inning, as Johnson was seen stretching it a bit between batters. I guess he was ok though, as he ended up going 9 innings and striking out 20. :) In the process, he tied and then passed the Bob Gibson for 11th on the all-time strikeout list. Didn't get the win, though as the game ended up going 11 innings.
  • The conclusion of the game? After the Reds scored 2 runs in the top of the 11th, Danny Graves came on to close it out. Here's the retrosheet play-by-play on that last half-inning:
      singled; Gonzalez singled to left [Bell to second]; Sanders
      forced Bell (pitcher to third) [Gonzalez to second]; Grace
      doubled [Gonzalez scored, Sanders scored]; DELLUCCI BATTED FOR
      MILLER; Dellucci was walked intentionally; Colbrunn struck out;
      Counsell walked [Grace to third, Dellucci to second]; WILLIAMS
      BATTED FOR BROHAWN; Williams walked [Grace scored, Dellucci to
      third, Counsell to second]; 3 R, 3 H, 0 E, 3 LOB. Reds 3,
      Diamondbacks 4.
    • Walked in the winning run, eh? Seems eerily prophetic to Graves' 2005 season.
  • Finally, there was an ad for "" in the rotating advertisement box behind the pitcher-batter camera in the 4th inning. What the heck? And no, it's not a registered domain, or I'd provide a link.
Thanks to Retrosheet for allowing me to dig around the 2001 season for a while. I should support their site a bit more by taking advantage of their brilliant database more often. Maybe this offseason...