Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring training trip

This is the wrap-up of the first annual (hopefully) Blue Sox Baseball spring training trip. First, thanks to Rachel for planning the trip (for my birthday) and for her invaluable assistance with the technical aspects of the video blog.

Before heading home (but after filming our last video post) we hit St. Petersburg for lunch on the pier and a visit to the Salvador Dali museum. We had a nice lunch food wise, but the wind kicked up after we sat down, making for an uncomfortable situation. The museum was cool, though. I recommend it if you're in the area.

We made it back to Dayton (on a direct flight) without incident and were happy to be home and see Scout.

I guess the story of the trip was the Reds starting pitching. In four games, the starters (everyone but Arroyo) went 21 innings, with only 12 hits allowed (six by Owings), 9 walks (five by Owings), 17 strikeouts, and only one run. Harang led the pack with 6 no-hit innings. Save for 1 2/3 innings from Bray and Cordero, the bullpen went 13 1/3 innings, giving up 5 hits and a walk, while striking out 12 and giving up no runs. They did allow 1 inherited runner to score. Bray, of course, lost the Boston game, giving up two runs in the 9th, and Cordero gave up three runs, one earned, against the Twins, which didn't change the outcome. In both innings, the two pitchers walked the lead-off guy. That had to drive Dusty crazy. The defense played well, with only one error, that did lead to two unearned runs, and three guys thrown out at the plate by the outfield (two by Dickerson).

The issue for the Reds, which I also expect to be their issue throughout the year, was the offense. In four games, they only hit two home runs (Gomes and Hernandez) and scored only 16 runs. They need to be closer to 5 runs per game. But if the pitching holds up they'll be competitive.

Our pitching MVP for the trip was Harang with the no-hit innings. Runner up was Danny Ray Herrara, a very small guy, who soft-tosses, but gets everybody out. I could see the Reds keeping him on the roster, but that would probably require a trade of Bray, something John Fay suggested as a possibility last week.

Our non-pitching MVP was Dickerson. He was 3 for 4 with three runs scored and a stolen base. He played a solid left field, and threw out two guys at the plate. He looks good. Gomesy was our runner-up with the home run and two rbi's. He was 2 for 6, with 2 k's.

Our overall MVP was Priceline. We got a great deal on the Cobalt, and enjoyed both hotel rooms a lot. All were purchased on Priceline.

This week, we'll try to take a look at the couple remaining roster spots, and then gear up for Opening Day, one week from tomorrow.

Right now, the lefty bench spot is still open with the Reds cutting Daryl Ward, my favorite for that role. He went 2 for 3 the day before he was cut. Jacque Jones played a lot of first base in the games we saw, as did Rosales (a righty) so I think the Reds will keep Jones because of his lefty bat and position versatility. With A-Gon hurt, Hairston will likely be at short, which means we need the extra outfielder. I think Rosales makes the team if Keppy gets traded. Look for the Reds to send Keppy, who is out of options, to the Reds Sox, who need a back-up for Lowrie now that Lugo is on the D/L, and a back-up for Lowell in case he gets hurt. We'll follow this story closely this week.

The Colonial League draft is Thursday night, so I'll get a recap of that draft up this weekend.

I really appreciate everyone joining us on Blue Sox Baseball during the spring training trip. We had a blast. By the way, I've added a couple of photos some of the previous blog entries, so scroll down and check those out.

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