Sunday, May 14, 2006

Swept At Last

According to my family, my being at the game on Saturday is the sole reason the Reds were swept this weekend, so I apologize. I tried to explain to them that Saturday was the first time they lost a game I had attended. Granted, they lost the first game of the double-header last summer, but since they won the next one (the one we paid for), I've decided it doesn't count.

All three games featured surprisingly decent pitching from three men in whom I have little to no confidence. The Lizard King pitched 6 innings with 7 hits and 3 runs, only two of which were earned. Williams had his best outing by far, going 8 and a third with just 5 hits and 2 runs, only one of which was earned. Claussen also looked much better than his last game. 8 innings, 4 hits and 1 run. His run was entirely earned. The bullpen blew it over and over again. Pretty soon it's going to get to the point that I can't hear Weathers' name without assuming the game is lost. I'm also about done with Rick White. But, the starters looked pretty darn good.

Unfortunately, so did the Phillies' starters. And their bullpen didn't blow it. Their pitching staff held the Reds to 5 runs on 16 hits over the three games. Cole Hamels looked especially good, giving up 1 hit over 5 innings in his major league debut. He was kind enough to walk 5 in the process, though.

Friday was a pretty close game until the 9th when Shackleford gave up four earned runs to put the Phillies up 8 to 2. A minor rally in the bottom of the inning got the Reds up to 4, but they were stopped short and lost 8 to 4.

Saturday wasn't actually all that horrendous. Williams' pitching vastly exceeded my expectations, and he even made it into the 9th. The game lasted all of 2 hours and about 15 minutes and ended with the Phillies ahead again, this time 2 to 0. More on that game to come when I get it all sorted out in my head. It wasn't as cold as last time, though that might just be because I was better prepared.

Sunday brought the Reds' last hope for a win against the Phillies. The game started out about as actionless as the previous day. Actionless, that is, until LaRue swung his bat in all its pink glory to smack the ball out of the park and put the Reds on the board first. The Phillies tied it up in the 8th with a home run from Ryan Howard (who later earned the distinction of becoming my Least Favorite Philly). For the second time this week and this season, the Reds got to see some extra innings, only this time Fate did not smile upon Griffey. Instead it was Ryan Howard's turn, who hit his second homer of the game, and took up his position on my Least Favorites list. Final score: 2-1.

The Reds were swept and it's kind of sad. But, the Phillies are on a mega hot streak and the Reds' offense has been a little chilly of late. Later on, we'll get 'em.

Up next, a nice little pick-me-up with the Pirates. First in Cooperstown on Monday for the Hall of Fame exhibition game, and then in Pittsburgh on Tuesday for a three-game series that goes on the record. Harang's pitching on Tuesday. Monday just might feature someone I've never heard of, but it appears we'll have to wait a bit to find out.

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