Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Turkeys Don't Fly, And Neither Does This

Game 2 - Mets
Reds 9, Mets 5
Record: 0-2

A few aimless thoughts bouncing around in my head after watching the game tonight:

I did get to watch the game in its entirety, even if it was with the Reds broadcast team at the helm. (George Grande & Chris Welsh; not bad, as they seem to have been at this gig a while.) So glad I had that ocular flush sink installed when I re-upped on the Extra Innings baseball package (and if you haven’t ordered it by now, Rob, you’re an imbecile and a second-tier fan).

For those who’ve been misusing the term for a while now, “irony” is when said Reds announcers mock the Kansas City Royals in the 2nd inning for having tried to make Joe Randa into a power hitter, when “all you need to do is stand next to the guy and you see he’s no power hitter.” That they carried on without mentioning Game 1’s dramatic home run was one thing, but when Randa connected on the grand slam to center in the 8th, it became painfully comical.

Surprisingly good: Roberto Hernandez. I will admit to lumping his signing in with the go-nowhere veteran acquisitions of the recent past (Erickson, Baldwin, etc.). Way premature to say, but if he continues to pitch this way, he may get some saves before it’s all said and done. (Before we coronate him as the closer, let’s acknowledge that he struck out the side against the weakest part of the order.)

Surprisingly bad: Tom Glavine. Missed a lot of spots along the way. True, home plate ump Chuck Meriweather rooked him out of two inning-ending strike three calls, but Glavine came right back with slow stuff that caught the meat of the plate on the next pitch both times. Two K’s turned into two two-run singles, and he can only partly blame the league’s shabbiest ump.

Also not able to blame the umpiring crew: Willie Randolph, who, on the heels of my lambasting upper management for possibly not considering MLB rules, executed the double-secret-probation double-switch. Except . . . by keeping it secret from the umpiring crew, the double-switch was negated. Of course, that crack team of umps, not quite as up on the whole “rules” thing as the attentive Reds coaching staff was, had to be told of the infraction, and then they enforced the violation. So, Willie inserted Chris Woodward for Doug Mientkiewicz at 1B and brought in Mike DeJean to pitch the 8th, but his blunder meant that DeJean would be in the 9-spot in the order with the #8 leading off. In the end, it was moot, thanks to DeJean’s spot-on impression of himself at this time last year when he was setting fires all over Baltimore. Still, every day my confidence in this unit erodes just a tad more.

More on Chuck Meriweather (pun intended, quite obviously): he squeezed Glavine at key moments but somehow expanded the zone against several Mets hitters, including a bad punchout of Mient-o. He just seemed to be all over the map, when what players beg for is consistency. Actually, I think those players need to be more specific, because he was, in fact, consistently bad. His mates were of little help, botching a stolen base call and giving the Reds a neighborhood 2B tag so far off the Cincy announcers were embarrassed. Can’t really blame the loss on them, but man, pick it up, blue.

Of note: balls are flying out of stadia with increased ludicrousness this year so far, despite the expected power drain due to Commandant Selig’s iron-fisted steroids lockdown. David Wright’s opposite-field poke looked like a sure lineout; Joe Randa “Masshole” and his pair of timely jerks defied the odds; the other night I watched Jim Edmonds flick a pitch that was low and outside over the wall in that wiffleball park in Houston; I also saw Todd Hollandsworth put one out in Arizona that had “rolling gapper” all over it. The story of Bud Selig’s secret plot to replace baseballs with lacrosse balls with stitches drawn on them is breaking here first.

What to do about 0-2? Put your faith in Kaz. The other Kaz. You know, guys, you can bring as many guys named Kaz on board as you want and it won’t bring back Kazmir.

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