Cubs 4, Reds 1

Arroyo pitched well (9 K’s), but the cold weather froze out the Reds bats

It was hard to believe watching the game on FSN (high definition or ‘HD’ I might add) seeing the snowflakes fall and hearing Thom Brennaman and Jeff Brantley talk about the 85 degree weather at Great American Ballpark on Opening Day, as I looked down and touched my sun burn. I think it’s obvious when looking at the fact that Ted Lilly, a journeyman starter (who’s earning $40 million over 4 years) shut down a pretty potent lineup. The weather and wind also had a profound effect on hard hit baseball in at least 5 instances that I can recall. On a warm summer day, balls hit by Phillips, Hatteberg, Dunn, Conine, and David Ross would have been out. Last night, in the bitter conditions, these balls were nothing more than warning track fly-outs, or in Dunn’s case, a single off the right center field wall that scored the Reds only run.

When you let a dirtball pitcher like Lilly shut your bats down, you know it has to be more than the weather. The reds seemingly couldn’t get anything going all night long. One thing I noticed is David Ross is swinging a sword up there at the plate. K,K,K,K,K, foul out, K……it’s just elementary at this point. If Narron was smart he’d sit him down a game and let Valentin take some hacks. It’s completely forseeable that Ross have some ‘sophomore slumps’ as a starter in this league, and he’s looking it right now.

Arroyo’s pitches were really moving out there. On the first at bat of the game, he made Alfonso Soriano his bitch with three straight sliders. I can say this about Brandon Bronson, the guy has some downright nasty stuff, and he looks like he might be able to re-create some of that magic from last season that saw him be able to lead the National League in innings pitched and become a workhorse #2 starter for the Reds. I like this guy a lot, for now. He pitched well enough to win and 8 times out of 10, 4 runs aren’t going to be enough to beat the Reds in that ballpark. It’s hard to gameplan for that kind of weather, wind, and snowy conditions. For Christ sakes, it is April!

The one play that had me ready to use a revolver on my television was a botched squeeze bunt play that should have been an easy double play for the Reds. The bases were loaded and Arroyo, Ross and Encarnacion all three could have probably made the play. It dropped between them and Ross threw it to second base!?! Little league? Hello?

Not all was bad in the loss, as Dunn nearly should have had homerun #3, and I got to see Lou Piniella get fired up. Upon bringing Gas Can closer Ryan Dempster in the game, he began to get a little wild. Piniella could be seen getting heated from the dugout. He called for a meeting on the mound, cussed visibly, and walked out and said 6 words to Dempster, all 6 of which looked like “fuck”. Then he walked back to the dugout. It straightened Dempster up, and he settled in to get the save.