I'm sure I won't feel this way tomorrow at 5 a.m. when the alarm goes off, but for now a good night game on the west coast is sort of fun, like camping out. I feel like I should build a fire in my family room and roast marshmallows. Of course, as hot as it is, I could just stick them out the window. That would probably be easier on the hardwood floors.
Mr. Lancaster quotes Jerry Narron to the effect that the construction of the line-up really doesn't matter too much over the course of a season. That seems reasonable enough in general and especially with regards to number of plate appearances, but I think that Casey may be a special case. No matter where he's hitting, it seems to make sense to me to bat someone before him who is not as likely to end up on first base by way of singles or walks, for example.
I really like Dunn near the top of the order, but if Casey is an absolute lock batting third, which he seems to be, Dunn shouldn't be hitting second. Maybe Wily Mo Peña should hit before Casey; he almost never singles or walks.
Kearns Looking Good
Chris Welch interviewed Austin Kearns for the pre-game show. Kearns looked really uncomfortable with the attention, but what a great attitude on that kid. It's hard to believe the difference in Kearns since he went down. Kudos to him. I can only imagine how much that whole ordeal must have sucked, and I'm impressed with Kearns' character.
Plus, just when you thought he couldn't look a bit better doing that thing where he adjusts his battling gloves with his teeth, he goes and drops 15 pounds and proves you totally wrong. Plus, now he can run like the wind!
Quote of the Evening
It was a tough contest, what with all the conversation about pounding Dodger Dogs, but the Quote of the Evening was delivered by Chris Welch in the first inning:
“I know that Jerry Narron likes Dunn in the number-two hole.”
Jim Day and George Grande
Jim Day is pinch hitting for George Grande tonight because George is dealing with an important family issue. I certainly make my share of fun of George during each game, but I do hope everything's OK. He told us earlier this season that his mother just turned 99, so certainly that's a concern.
Jim Day is a dorky and amusing fellow to have contributing to the pre-game, and I usually enjoy his segments, but I'm so glad he doesn't call every game. It feels like he never, ever stops talking. I find myself unconsciously taking extra breaths on his behalf to try to break up the constant stream of trivia. I never thought I could enjoy actual physical relief when Chris Welch started talking. Plus, he relentlessly called Jason Phillips “Spaz.”
The Game Proper
When the hell did Derek Lowe get so freaking effective? The Reds were only able to muster a single hit against him. It was an ugly time. Steve Schmoll took over in the ninth to knock off Ray Olmedo, Jacob Cruz, and Felipe Lopez, all hitting left-handed, and finish out the 4-0 defeat of the Reds.
On the other side of the coin, Harang didn't have the best of nights. He gave up four runs over the course of six innings. Jason Standridge relieved him in the seventh, putting away that inning nicely, but allowing the first two batters in the bottom of the eighth before Little Eddie Encarnación started a lovely double play. Brian “Love” Shackleford took over with two outs and two on in the eighth and finished the inning with one pitch.
The evening's action revolved around Rich Aurilia. Not only did he get the one hit, but by my count he was also involved in eight of the Reds 24 outs. That seems like a lot to me. Of course, that's one fewer than it would have been if he hadn't collided with Austin Kearns on a fly ball in the sixth, an interaction that ended with neither catching the ball.
But the mighty Aurilia was not remotely enough to win this first game of the series. There are three more chances to beat the Dodgers before the Reds continue along the coast to face Joe Randa and the Padres. Here's hoping they can light that fire before then.