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 Post subject: Game Report: Bucs vs. Reds 4/17/10: Walk-off 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:39 am 
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I just got in from the ballpark and all I can say is wow!

It was freaking freezing cold tonight. My hands are still defrosting so this could potentially be riddled with typos. Accept my apology ahead of time.

When we got to the park I couldn't believe how many cars were in the lots. I thought for sure the cold weather would keep people away but just looking at the parking lots it seemed the net gain of the fireworks night was more than the loss from the cold. Once we got inside it didn't look nearly as full as I thought it would be. I didn't catch the paid attendance but I am guessing somewhere around 15,000. I've got nothing to base that on, either.

I didn't get to go to the nationality day because we didn't get down there early enough. I'm not too worried about it, but I am curious as to whether they have good food at those things.

Oliver Onion won the pierogi race but I didn't win the grand prize again. Lightning just couldn't strike twice.

As far as the game, here are a few observations I had:

McCutchen really serves the ball up sometimes. He's the kind of pitcher that could make fans really nervous. He doesn't have overpowering stuff and he hasn't quite figured out the mental aspect to pitching yet either. For a pitcher like him to be successful, he really needs to make sure that his control is impeccable and his mind is sound at all times on the mound. The double play has to be his best friend. The bottom line is that he is a super hittable pitcher and he showed that in both starts he has had so far this season. The good news about him, though, is that he has two guys on the roster who he can look to for advice on figuring out how to pitch that style. Maholm and Duke are similar but they've obviously figured out how to play the game better because they have more experience.

The bullpen was really sharp tonight. Meek was really good. I'm really happy to see him having a good start to this season because he's a guy I was shaky about coming into the year. He's really played well for us in the early going and he's starting to get rewarded with playing in the later innings because of it. It'd really be great if he would continue to mature and progress with this club. Carrasco was pretty good as well, striking out three hitters. It was nice to see Donnelly and Dotel off for the night. We might need them tomorrow.

Ronny Cedeno continues to look like an MLB player on defense and at the plate. Although we all think he's a pretty weak shortstop, it's obvious that he does have talent. He made a really nice sliding stop tonight on defense, spun, and threw the runner out at first. His homer was about as short as it could be and still be out of PNC Park but obviously we'll still take that anytime. He was also patient enough drawing a walk to become one of the runners we needed at the end of the game to seal the deal.

Iwamura didn't have his best stuff at the plate tonight. Sometimes, with his swing, it looks like he is really lunging at the ball on the outside part of the plate. He does well hitting to the opposite field, though, and actually has some power in that bat when he connects so I won't criticize too hard. I just hope that routine flyouts that way aren't the norm with him. He hits a lot of mushrooms.

A contrast to that is Lastings Milledge. Milledge has gap power and I like it. Even though he hasn't homered yet this year, he hits the ball on a line. I don't think he's ever going to hit many home runs because of the fact that he hits so many line drives. He also knows how to work an at bat.

My one criticism of Milledge and a few of the other players in the late going is that after the 7th inning they were taking massive cuts at the ball. With only being down one run, we needed base runners. Home runs are nice but I would have liked to see some of them shorten up their swings a little and play more situational baseball instead of looking to crush the ball. In the end, Jones did crush the ball to bring the winning run in but prior to that many in his shoes swung and hit nothing but air. Guys like Milledge are contact hitters and should understand they can shorten up and make solid contact better if they do so.

Church had me hot tonight. I don't know how this looked on TV because I only saw it once and it was live but twice I felt like he made mistakes baserunning tonight that were just stupid. After his single, the ball was misplayed and mishandled by the Reds CF (Drew?). Being down one run, getting to second base would have been huge. From where I was sitting it looked like he could have definitely made it ahead of a throw if he would have been alert and a little more aggressive. He chose not to run, though, and this to me was the lesser of the two evils. The second was on McCutchen's line out to center. He was nowhere near the bag and ready to tag after McCutchen hit the ball and instead he had to stay at third. Again, I only saw it live and so I didn't see a replay but it just doesn't seem like smart baseball to be halfway down the basepath instead of ready to tag and run in to tie the game up. I also don't know what kind of arm the outfielders have on the Reds. These things obviously also won't be amplified because we won the game but could have been much different had we lost.

Walk off wins are just about the most exciting thing you can witness at the ballpark. Congratulations on another one tonight!


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Reds 4/17/10: Walk-off 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:15 am 
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Great report, NDL, and your estimate of the attendance was spot on. The announcers said that the attendance was just a bit shy of 15,000.

As to the Church baserunning on the Cutch fly ball, I will tell you this. Professional instructors advise that when the outfielder has to come in a significant distance to get the ball, the base runner needs to be off the bag about 10'. If the guy catches it, there is no real possibility to tag. Indeed, on this play, the CF'er gunned the ball to the cutoff and it arrived a second after the catch was made. If Church had tagged, the cut-off guy would have had the ball in his mitt when Church was 30 feet away ... from 3rd base, not home.

If the base runner is on the bag and waiting to tag, and the ball falls in and the fielder one-hops it, the guy very well may not score. The base runner is 90' away, and the OF'er is relatively close. In that circumstance, the base runner would have to explain how he did not score from 3rd on a single to the outfield.

Jones crushed that ball. I hoped it would go out for a walk-off grandslam. Good points about Cedeno ... he worked a huge walk in the 9th and made the rally possible. Milledge had a really good AB as well. He stepped out of the box and took a deep breath, and made sure he did not go fishing after a ball out of the strike zone. I really think he could do this every AB and make pitchers work, and work, and work, and work. When batters do this, the pitchers make a mistake.

Finally, as for "shortening" swings, NDL, you probably don't want to poke that bear.


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Reds 4/17/10: Walk-off 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:31 am 
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I'm definitely learning a lot of different things right now. Some is just about baseball in general. The other is how to watch the game live. It's a lot different to only see things once and try to make sense out of them. The nice thing is that my seats are high so I can see the entire field. The only issues are generally just reading the ball from there and trying to see how far it will go or where it will land. I'm getting better at both :).

It's also quite likely Church would have been thrown out if he tried to stretch his single despite the mishandling of the ball by the defense. It's one of those things that can be tough to really perceive when you only see it once.

I know what you mean about shortening swings. That's probably poor terminology on my part, as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Reds 4/17/10: Walk-off 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:44 am 
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Just to clarify, the paid attendance was 25,196. Might have been only 15,000 in the stands, but the box score states the other figure.

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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Reds 4/17/10: Walk-off 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:09 am 
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Thanks NDL for the report. It must have been very chilly watching the number of folks with hoodies and blankets on.

I thought the announcers said 25,000 but maybe I got it wrong.

I was upset with Church for not taging as well. Watching the throws, he would have been out but I still think he should have tried. It wasn't that short for the CF and I have thought for awhile now that we are too conservative from third. My thought was the third base coach should have directed him to tag. And if he's too slow, we should have had Crosby in running for him from the time he got to second as the announcers thought.

No real complaints though-- how can you when we get our second night of walk-off hits. Especially pleased with Milledge who really has grown as a player.

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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Reds 4/17/10: Walk-off 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:25 am 
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NDL wrote:
I know what you mean about shortening swings. That's probably poor terminology on my part, as well.


NDL -
There might be (just hypothetically of course :D ) a particular person on this Board that has no problem with your terminology or the analysis regarding whether hitters are "swinging for the fences." In fact . . . you might actually find someone who agrees with you. Hypothetically speaking, of course. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Reds 4/17/10: Walk-off 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:07 am 
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Thanks for the game report NDL. Much appreciated.

I'm particularly fond of the long-slow-loopy swing myself. 8-)


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Reds 4/17/10: Walk-off 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:15 pm 
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What I don't mean is for them to do anything they don't ordinarily do. I wouldn't say they should alter their swings completely or really even at all. It just looked like we had some guys who were taking some massive cuts at the ball and we really just needed baserunners at that point. You can get them in the form of a single. Just because it's a one run game doesn't mean you need to try to tie it up in one swing of the bat. I know I am no MLB player but I used to do that when I did play baseball and it was the kiss of death for hitting (for me).

Anyways, we got the baserunners and won the game. You're absolutely right: it's hard to find anything to complain about after the last two nights.

Milledge really looks like he is coming into his own. He's definitely one of my favorites. It was great to see Jones get the walk-off hit last night too because his bat has been silent lately. Hopefully he's due to put another one in the river today.


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Reds 4/17/10: Walk-off 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:24 pm 
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Milledge really looks like he is coming into his own

Years ago when I coached high school wrestling, other coaches would refer to an improving kid as a 'real comer'. I am happy to report that I refrained from using that phrase for obvious reasons.

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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Reds 4/17/10: Walk-off 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:31 pm 
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NDL wrote:
What I don't mean is for them to do anything they don't ordinarily do. I wouldn't say they should alter their swings completely or really even at all.


Agreed. Spot on analysis, NDL.

NDL wrote:
It just looked like we had some guys who were taking some massive cuts at the ball and we really just needed baserunners at that point. ... I know I am no MLB player but I used to do that when I did play baseball and it was the kiss of death for hitting (for me).


Once again, good analysis. Hitters trying to put a run on the board with one swing tend to open up and go into "pull" mode, as Milledge did. Trouble is, with pitch down and away, that swing results in swing-and-miss, foul ball, grounder to SS.


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Reds 4/17/10: Walk-off 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:12 pm 
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Substitute2 wrote:
Milledge really looks like he is coming into his own

Years ago when I coached high school wrestling, other coaches would refer to an improving kid as a 'real comer'. I am happy to report that I refrained from using that phrase for obvious reasons.


Hahaha...I had a kid one year, who was an 8th grader who snuck in a Hustler magazine into school and got caught and was suspended two days...The rest of the two years I had him I used to joke around and tell people he was my biggest hustler on the team

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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Reds 4/17/10: Walk-off 2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:25 pm 
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I've probably been to 50 -60 Pirate games over the years, but I can't remember a more exciting one. Just an absolutely great night at the ballpark!!

Evan Meek would have to get some votes for number one star of the game. He was nasty on a night where it had to be hard to get loose.

Just great patience by Bucco hitters.


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