Yesterday we traveled to Scottsdale, the Spring Training home of the defending World Champion S.F. Giants. The game had a completely different feel from the more relaxed atmosphere of Goodyear. And that's a good thing. The announced attendance was over 12,000 and the park looked full. At one point we were looking for a spot to move into the sun, and didn't see any. (I thought the shade was great but, believe or not, it was a little chilly in the shade with the breeze.) The grassy hill (a staple at stadiums out here) was so full it looked like stands with people sitting in seats, not a grass with blankets. The park had more going on, too, but we thought that was because it's also used as a minor league park during the year, so it made more sense to have more stuff.
We heard parking would be tough, so we got there super early and parked right by the stadium (for free). Then had a good lunch (except for the food) at a Mexican place called Los Olivos. El Rio Grande is better, but we were able to sit outside in the shade of a big umbrella. That part was very nice. And the salsa was great. Scottsdale is a really cool area.
Tim Lincecum was the Giants' starter. He's probably my favorite major leaguer, non Reds category. It was fun to see him pitch, but even more fun to see the Reds hit him and hit him pretty hard. Brandon Phillips had two hard singles up the middle, and the one time he did make an out (2-3) he lined hard right at the left fielder. Talking to Phillips afterward, he said he loves to hit against the top guys. It really showed in his approach. Francisco homered (man that guy can hit) and doubled in another run. But the big blow was a three run shot to center by Fred Lewis. That one was not wind-aided. All told, the Reds got to Lincecum for 6 runs in five innings.
Unfortunately, that's all the Reds could scrape together. And they needed more. The Reds' newly minted fifth starter, Sam LeCure, pitched well, giving up just one run over 3.1 innings. He gave up five hits and walked two, striking out three. For Arizona, that seemed like Cy Young. Dusty pulled him after he got the first out in the fourth. That's when the wheels fell off. Bray came in and gave up two singles and a sacrifice bunt (the second out) and got the third out on a home run. With two on, Torres hit a home run to left. But the umpires (after one apparently gave the home run signal) said it didn't clear the wall and the Reds tagged Torres out as he jogged to third. To me it looked like the ball hit about eight feet in front of the wall, but BP said later the ball cleared the wall and bounced back. Proof, I guess, of what we've seen all week; it's really hard to see the ball when it's in the air. So the Reds escaped the inning with a 4-3 lead.
Massett pitched an inning of scoreless relief and then Chapman came in for the 6th. He faced five batters and gave up three singles, a double, and a hit batsman and threw two wild pitches. All five scored without Chapman recording an out. Hopefully, this will be treated as just one of those outings and everyone will forget about it.
Nobody else scored and the Giants took the win 9-6. We are now worried that perhaps we've jinxed the team. We have our last game today, at Goodyear against the Diamondbacks. I expect it to be pretty crowded with Diamonbacks fans, but we'll see.
Before the game, BP threw us a ball in the stands. We were about 16 rows up (actually in the second section) and he threw it right to me. But this tall guy in front of me made a great catch on it. When he realized we were Reds fans, though, he just gave me the ball. A really nice Giants fan. (I bought him and his friend a beer). Turns out, he went to junior high with Jonny Gomes.
Check back for a final report on today's game and for the trip recap.
Mike Mussina, Hall of Famer
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