This past weekend, Mrs. Diamond Hoggers and I took off early Saturday morning for Cincinnati to see Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers take on the Reds. This would be the second time I’ve seen Kershaw pitch live, the first time he definitely got the best of the Reds. I figured it to be a long day. But I also was determined to soak it in and enjoy it as much as I possibly could.
We checked into our hotel room and I climbed out onto the steep balcony. It was a 90 degree day in Cincinnati. It felt good. It was the kind of day in which I wanted a sunburn.
We went to the Rock Bottom Brewery after checking in and dropping our bags. We had a great lunch and really soaked in that there was a good crowd in town to take in this one on a beautiful Saturday afternoon with a fair amount of Dodgers fans. They travel well.
After finishing lunch and heading back to the hotel, we drank some Leinenkugel Summer Shandy and Miller Light and waited for our shuttle down to the ballpark. Mrs. Diamond Hoggers and I got a pretty good buzz going as did our friends Megan and Tyler.
You can almost feel the heat coming off the field, can’t you? I am too lazy to check, but I’m almost certain it was over 90 degrees at first pitch. I wanted a sunburn, but after catching a buzz I soon forgot about the fact that I wanted to sit in the sun and settled for some good seats in the shade. I was planning on a long day of Clayton Kershaw dominating the Reds and he began by doing exactly that. He would end up striking out 9 on the day in all, and the Reds didn’t have a hit until there were 2 outs in the bottom of the 4th when Joey Votto lined a single to left field.
The Dodgers held a 1-0 lead and the game continued to fly by until there were two outs in the bottom of the 6th inning. Brandon Phillips blooped a single into right field with a couple of men on to tie the game at 1-1, and it felt like there was some sort of moral victory in just scratching a run across on Kershaw. Lost in this entry is that Johnny Cueto threw a really nice ballgame to match Kershaw.
The next batter after Phillips was Joey Votto, and he hit an absolute seed into the seats in right field to give the Reds a 4-1 lead. It was an MVP moment. There’s not much else you can say except I was drunk by this time, and elated.
Cueto is the Reds best pitcher right now. He went 7 innings, allowing only five hits, two walks, and two runs while striking out three and lowering his ERA to 2.27 on the day.
Also pay attention to the man in the bottom of the pic. I would love to tell you this is no accident, but it was a beautiful accident. That man is none other than Larry F’in Bowa.
Oh, the modern miracles that snapping off a random picture can bring. I truly love that man.
A lot to see in this shot.
You’ll notice Matt Kemp, who was a one-man demolition crew on the Reds pitching staff. Kemp would homer as the first batter in the top of the 7th inning to cut the lead to 4-2. I was still feeling pretty comfortable.
Notice that this game was also nationally televised on FOX Saturday Baseball. Pretty cool, I guess. It would have been cooler if Kemp didn’t come up later in the game with the Reds leading 7-3 and hit a grand slam off Nick Masset to tie the game at 7-7.
Kemp is absolutely unbelievable. And he sent me into a 12-beer buzz fueled rage that had me yelling at Carlos Fisher for not only giving up four runs in the 11th inning, but also walking a pitcher, forgetting to cover 1st base, and making a costly throwing error that might have served as the dagger on the day.
If you want to see the boatload of highlights from this one, head over to MLB.com’s video page and take a look.
Jay Bruce went 1 for 5 with a couple of strikeouts on this day. He lashed a nice single off Clayton Kershaw to center field, I believe it was his first hit off the tough lefty. We caught Jay Bruce on a day when he was at the tail end of the best hot streak of his career, and he failed to deliver the long-ball we all so craved. That said, it was good to see him play and face one of the best lefties in the game.
After the game, we walked over to Montgomery Inn for some Ribs and to take a look at all the sweet memorabilia they house at the Boathouse location. Then we headed back to the Garfield Inn & Suites where our friends passed out and Mrs. Diamond Hoggers puked and passed out, leaving me on the couch to watch a Canadian team win game two of the Stanley Cup Finals and pass out cold in my undies on the hotel room couch.
It was a great trip to Cincy, complete with everything except late-game heroics that would have allowed the Reds to win the game and keep on rolling.