One down, 161 to go
Who’s written the season off after one game? That’s a common occurance after an Opening Day loss, especially in Cincinnati. Just remember, it’s one game and only the first game. Obviously, the opener is a bigger deal around here, it doesn’t mean the season is over already.
While there were some negatives to take away from the 2-1 loss to the Mets, I will start with my positives:
- Alex Gonzalez looked pretty good and played all nine innings in lousy conditions. He also made a nice diving stop to his left on Johan Santana’s second-inning groundout for the third out. Dusty Baker considered not playing Gonzalez because of the weather.
“I considered it but he probably would have shot me after he’s been out a year and a half,” Baker said.
- The late-inning bullpen effort was strong. Arthur Rhodes and David Weathers each threw a perfect inning. Francisco Cordero was throwing 94 mph and gave up one hit in a scoreless ninth.
- Aaron Harang had a high pitch count of 114 but mostly got out of jams. He only gave up one run and seven hits. Of those seven hits, two were infield hits, three were bloopers and there were two solid hits – including the homer by Murphy.
- The outfield defense was sloppy. Darnell McDonald and Jerry Hairston Jr. seemed to get crossed up. I think Willy Taveras makes a couple of the balls McDonald didn’t get to.
- I know Johan Santana was pitching for the Mets, but just three hits in the game isn’t a good sign for those of us (me included) worried about whether the Reds will have enough production to be real contenders.
Dusty Baker post-game quotes:
“Our outfield is still learning the range of each other. They’re learning the speed of each other. We’ll get it together. I love our outfield. They’re not going to be too many balls that drop in.”
“He usually leads the league in strikeouts. A lot of people don’t get a lot of runs against Santana. Aaron matched him except for that home run he gave up to the youngerster we don’t know either. There weren;t many negatives today. People look for negatives when you lose, but they played a good game and beat us today.”
“I love the way [Harang] pitched. His zip and velocity were back. He had a sharp breaking ball. He got some tough hitters out in some tough jams.”
Harang on throwing a lot of pitches the first game:
“I was up to 100 pitches at the end of spring. It was definitely hard to pitch in those conditions. Johan had the same situation to deal with. You want to have enough feeling in your fingers to keep track of the ball.”
Harang on the conditions — 37 degrees and raining:
“They’re up there trying to keep their hands warm but they’re not out there trying to throw a ball with numb fingers. When it gets cold like that, the ball gets real slick and you might not have your best stuff. Now that I think about it, hitters have a little more of an advantage.”
If you were at the game, or watched on TV, what did you think?