From: Subject: Date: April 21, 2005 3:53:51 PM CDT Hankblog

Monday, April 05, 2004

Blogging Opening Day

That's all folks. Going to save my strength on the afternoon game as I try to decide if I am staying here for the NCAA championship or not. Take care all. And to commemorate the game I blogged today...


Parting thoughts The Philly Phanatic lost a silly string war to the Pirates' Parrot between innings on the other TV. I know some people hate these mascots, but I thought it was pretty damn funny. Course, that's after 2 twenty-four ounce beers. The ticker on the bottom of the Cubs-Reds game noted the Jays-Tigers score (Final Tigers 7, Jays 0), and mentioned that today is the first day the Tigers have been above .500 since April 8, 2001. Three friggin years? That's pathetic. I wonder if the Tigers and Devil Rays have ever been in first place at the same time since the D-Rays came into existence (doubtful). With the Cubs and Red Sox as the chic picks to make the series, and W in the White House, I think it's fair to say the apocalypse is definitely at hand ;-).
4:02pm CST Joe Borowski is showing why, if this is the way he's going to continue to pitch, LaTroy Hawkins will be closing for Chicago by the first of June. Coming in to close out the 9th, Borowski got Freel and Castro easy as can be. However, he then walked pinch hitter Ray Olmedo and Jimenez and ran to 2-2 on Barry Larkin, before punching Larkin out to end the game and pick up the save. In the books, it'll be a cheap save (3 run lead), but he made it far more adventurous than it should have been.
3:53pm CST Todd Jones took over in the top of the 9th for Cinci, and immediately got into trouble. Grudz singled, and Patterson walked. Sosa flew out to deep right to make the first out and give him an 0 for 4 collar on the day. But things get really wild when Alou singles to center. Grudz tries to test Creel's arm in center, and Creel throws out Grudz at the plate, despite a passing forearm shiver to LaRue's mug. LaRue then gets up to throw out Patterson as he tries to advance to third. Whacked DP that wastes Alou's 1 out single.
3:44pm CST Kyle Farmsworth takes over in the bottom of the 8th for the Cubbies. Gives up a single to Casey before retiring the next three in order. Still 7-4 Cubs, with time ticking away for the Reds. Meanwhile, the Phils and Bucs are still scoreless, but Philly is threatening with 2 on, and Milwood up to potentially help his own cause.
3:31pm CST Keystone Cops defense costs the Reds another run. Ryan Wagner took over on the mound for Cinci, and struck out Alou and Ramirez. Derek Lee walked, and then Gonzalez drove one to deep left center that neither Freel or Dunn really called for. Dunn made the play on the ball, but it popped up and both Dunn and Freel had a chance to catch it before it hit the ground. Lee scored, and then Gonzalez scored on a single by Barrett. Talker pinch hit for Mercker and popped out to third, but damage is done. 7-4 Cubs going into the bottom of the 8th.
3:16pm CST Reds played the percentages this inning. Phil Norton started the inning and got a couple of quick outs sandwiched around an infield single by Grudz. Reds brought in Brian Reith to face Sosa, who grounded out to Reith to end the inning. On the other TV, they just switched to the Phils Pirates game. I don't have any real NL loyalties, but I do wish the Pirates could get their act together and field a competitive team. They've got what looks like a real pretty ballpark on TV. I like that the city and the bridge are framed by the left and right field stands. It's a nice view over the batter's eye. Cubs changed pitchers in the bottom of the 7th, going to Kent Mercker (he's still pitching?). Mercker got Valentin who was pinch hitting to fly out and Jimenez to pop out. Larkin ended the inning grounding to Grudz.
Mmm.....french fries :-D
3:03pm CST I don't know who Mike Wuertz is, but if he shows more of what he did this last inning, the Cubs bullpen is already markedly better than last year. Wuertz just gutted LaRue and Freel, 2 Ks on 8 pitches, and then got Castro grounding out to 2nd. Wuertz hit 94mph in relief of Wood. Nasty.
2:58pm CST John Riedling comes in for Lidle, and has a nice inning. Cuts down Derek Lee swinging, then gets Gonzlez and Barrett on identical dribblers in front of the plate. This is followed by a new TV trailer for Kill Bill Vol. 2 which has me drooling. Can't wait for next week.
2:46pm CST Lidle done for the day. Pinch hitter Wily Mo Pena Ks before the Reds put together a single by Jimenez, walk by Larkin, and a long double to left center by Sean Casey to plate 2. Wood fights back to put down Kearns and Dunn to end the inning. Be surprised if Wood comes out for the 6th. He's already upwards of 95 pitches. Should be seeing Dusty go to the pen.
2:38pm CST Lidle gets an uneventful 1-2-3 inning, retiring Sosa, Alou, and Ramirez in order.
2:32pm CST Wood blows my mind sometimes. Got into a bit of a jam in the bottom of the fourth. Kearnes hit a dying quail between Grudz and Patterson, then Wood walked Dunn. Barrett comes out and has a word with him, and then Wood strikes out LaRue on a nasty heater, gets Freel to ground to the pitcher, erasing Dunn, and the Castro lines out to LF. And Wood's now bringing the heater at 95-96 mph. That's just wrong.
2:20pm CST Lidle comes back to strike out the last two and get out of the inning, but still down 5-2.
2:15pm CST How the mighty have fallen. Michael Barrett opened the 4th with a double in the RF corner that he tried to leg into a triple. Would have been dead by a mile if Barry Larkin didn't double clutch the relay. Reds paid for it next batter, as Wood lined a sharp grounder that Castro defelcted at 3rd on the drawn in infield. And Halladay is now getting killed. From untouchable to down 7-0 in the span of 3 innings. Against the Tiggers? Come on.
2:10pm CST Those Dr Scholl's gelling commercials are obnoxious as all hell.
2:05pm CST Wood's in a jam. Ryan Freel reached on a strikeout that Barrett didn't field. Moved to second on a SB, before Wood walked Juan Castro. Lidle sacrificed the runners to 2nd & 3rd. Jimenez singled home a run, and then Larkin grounded out to the right side. Grudz could only make the play at 1st, though, so there's still a runner at 2nd, and a 2nd run in. Sean Casey got punched out to end the inning. 4-2 Cubs through 3.
1:55pm CST Lidle allowed a single to Ramirez to put runners on the corners before finally getting out of the jam. Lee grounds out the SS to end the top of the 3rd. 4-0 Cubs.
1:51pm CST Lidle got himself into a jam with 2 outs. Grudz turned on a pitch on the hands to single to left. Lidle then hit Patterson on a curve in tight, bringing up Sosa. A wild picth moved the runners to second and third, and then Sosa walked. Bringing up Alou. Alou worked to a full count and then turned on a curve ball for 3 run double. 4-0 Cubs. Lidle just doesn't look good with his curve ball. When he's not nibbling, he's hanging pitches. Inning still going.
1:37pm CST Pepto Bismol just had one of the most unpleasant commercials I've ever seen on TV leading into the bottom of the 2nd. Alex Gonzalez got eaten up by a grounder to allow Austin Kearns to reach. Wood came back and k'd Adam Dunn looking on a curve. Then Jason LaRue grounded into a DP that was a tough play for both Aramis Ramirez and Mark Grudzielanek. 1-0 Cubs through 2. Roy Halladay is still eating up the Tigers, but the one mistake to Pena may cost him. Jays can't seem to get any offense going.
1:28pm CST Lidle has found his curve. Buckled Derek Lee for his first K. 1-0 Cubs through 1.5.
1:22pm CST D'Angelo Jimenez singled through the wickets off Kerry, but was erased on a DP grounder from Larkin. Wood struck out the next batter on a 2-2 breaking pitch. He's still warming up, and the heater hasn't really gotten going, topping out at 91 or 92 mph. 1-0 through 1 inning, Cubs in the lead.
1:13pm CST Corey Patterson opens up on a fastball from Lidle, and the Cubs go up 1-0. End of the top of the 1st.
1:10pm CST Roy Halladay is carving up the Tigers, which bodes well for one of my Fantasy teams. He's down 1-0 though. Bummer :-(
1:02pm CST They're doing the lead in for the game. Miller and Morgan get the call for ESPN today (Yay!). They're talking about how Griffey won't be in the lineup today. This is news? It should be the lead if he's actually healthy and ready to play.

I will be blogging with thoughts and comments on Opening Day. ESPN is carrying the Cubs-Reds opener. So check back here for comments periodically throughout the afternoon from Buffalo Wild Wings on 6th Street!