Table of Contents

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Game Reflections: D-Backs win their home opener

Sort of a frustrating game to watch. No, I wasn't there, but I will be going to Wednesday's game--if you're in Phoenix, jmcclain19 and I are planning to get together prior to the game for a beer or two. We'd welcome additional company. Some comments:
  • I really enjoy watching Arroyo pitch, especially how he varies that little curve of his with arm angles and velocity. It's such a bizarre looking pitch. Tonight he was locating it pretty well all game, though his fastball location came and went.
  • Doug Davis looked awful tonight, and yet somehow the Reds weren't able to string together more than a couple of hits together. When you work 7 walks (6 unintentional) in a game, you really should score more than 2 runs. Fly balls off the Reds' bats just seemed to die tonight, and that's not the way that Chase Field usually plays.
  • Tonight was the first time, I think, that I've ever written SF-4 in my scorebook, thanks to Dave Ross's sacrifice fly to Orlando Hudson in shallow right field today. Way to get the ball elevated and do the little things. :) Also, heads up play on Junior's part to hustle down the line and score on that play as soon as he saw it going badly for AZ.
  • I really like Saarloos as a reliever. He has good control (word is that his high walk totals in past years are due more to a problem with a need to nibble than poor control), and induces a lot of ground balls. Somehow, he's striking out people at a tremendous rate so far as well (6 k in 4 IP). I can see him as being invaluable as a situational reliever for times when you need a ground ball from a right-handed hitter. That said, he sure left that pitch in the fat part of the plate. I know Orlando Hudson is hot right now, but come on...Orlando Hudson?
  • I was a bit surprised that Narron didn't hit Hatteberg for Conine during the Reds' failed rally in the 8th. Granted, Conine had had a great day at the plate, and ended up having a terrific at-bat. And that it set up the chance to do the double-switch in the bottom of the inning. But the double-switch wasn't really necessary (Saarloos wasn't going to pitch two innings anyway, was he?), and I think you want your best hitter in that situation to drive in Dunn at 2nd. I personally would have played the lefty/right matchup.
  • WPA is makes an appearance on TV: There were two times in the 7th inning in which Fox Sports AZ showed the current Win Probability of the game tonight. One moment was in the 7th inning when Chad Tracy led off with a double, moving the win probability to an even 50/50%. It's nice to see that this matches up perfectly with Fangraph's live wpa reporting at that moment.
  • I know a lot of people have been complaining about Jeff Brantley early in the season, but I'm actually really enjoying the new Reds on Radio crew (I've listened to about 80% of the games since I got my XM Radio, not including tonight). My affection for our crew is particularly apparent after sitting through my first Mark Grace broadcast of the season. I'm sorry, I liked Grace as a player, and he seems like a nice guy, but he is not a particularly...accurate announcer. Tonight he mentioned that Brandon Phillips is a switch hitter, "described" Saarloos's pitches without mentioning his sinker, and, in a joke, repeatedly emphasized that Dave Ross is the best hitter in the history of baseball (Ross hit a home run off of Grace in Grace's only inning as a relief pitcher in MLB) without ever acknowledging that he was an outstanding hitter last year. In contrast, I actually do learn things from Jeff Brantley with some regularity, even if he is known to fib now and then as well.
Photo credit: AP/Ross D. Franklin