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Friday, April 14, 2006

Reflections on Today's Game (4/13/06)

It's late tonight as I'm writing this, so I'm going to be brief. But go Reds, nice game.

The biggest topic of conversation has to be Eric Milton's second straight quality start--this time in an even bigger home run park that GABP! He looked good. They didn't show his velocity that often on WGN, but I did notice that the fastball to strike out Pierre in the 3rd was clocked at 94 mph. That's the number I've heard that Milton used to throw at before his knee surgery, so that's definitely a great sign.

Eric Milton also had his curveball working all day long and was consistently able to get it over for a back-door strike to right-handers. Ross set up to throw low for all but about three pitches on the afternoon, so any balls that Milton left up were mistakes (and there were an alarming number of those...). For example, the pitch on Murton's HR was supposed to be down near the ankes, but it came in belt high. In contrast, Murton's single in the 5th was a pretty good pitch down just below the knees--Murton just did a nice job of hitting. Fortunately, Milton didn't get burned in the big situations. He struck out 5 in 6 2/3, which is right about where his career averages max out. Good to see. He also hit a triple...though for future reference, if he swings at a 3-1 pitch with less than two outs in the future, he better get a hit every time. :) All in all, congrats to Milton on a second solid outing. Hope he can keep it up.

Good to see both Kearns and Lopez hit three-run jacks today. If Griffey turns out to be hurt over extended periods of time, we're going to need those guys to contribute to keep pace with our pitching staff. Lopez impressed me today perhaps even more so by walking twice and seeing a good number of pitches in all but his first at-bat. If he can continue to work the count like that he should get on base quite a bit, not to mention get a chance to see some good pitches to hit. Dunn had a very dunnish day - HR, walk, 2 K's, fly ball to the outfield, 2 runs scored. :)

I also wanted to give some props to Aurilia for some solid play at 3B. I'm not crazy about the decision to bench Encarnacion after his rough day yesterday, but Richie did a great job over there..both on Pierre's sac bunt in the 5th and that ball that he wisely let bounce foul later in the game. Those were more "smart" plays than rangey-type plays, but both kinds of plays will help you win ballgames. I'm sure this is part of why Narron likes the guy so much. If Griffey's not back in CF tomorrow, I'd like to see EdE at 3B and Aurilia at 2B, with Freel in CF.

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