This was the last game of my little trip. The highlights:
- The story of the game: Aaron Harang and Homer Bailey look much, much better than last year. I don't think anyone needs another confirmation of this, but yes, Aaron Harang looks much thinner than last year. It's noticable.
- Harang was spotting his fastball for called strikes all over the place, and I could tell his breaking stuff was working, even sitting on the 3rd base line.
- And, after seeing Homer pitch his two innings, I'm starting to get anxious about this rotation. Notice that when I say that, I say "rotation", because if he keeps pitching like that, I think he's forcing their hand to put him in the rotation. They told him going in to ST that he had to earn his rotation spot, and well, he's getting it done. He gave up a few hits, but unlike he would have last season, he stayed calm, buckled down, and made pitches to get out of it.
- That being said, his line wouldn't have been nearly as great as it was without a fantastic diving catch in RF by Jonny Gomes. I think watching him the last 4 days has really gone to confirm the fact that I think he's still the favorite for the last bench spot. Dusty seems to be auditioning all of his backup OFers for 1B spots to back up Votto if needed (Exhibit A: Jacque Jones played a few innings there today), and Gomes showed the other day that he can handle it if needed. He's hitting, he's playing D, he's hustling, he's on the team.
- Another guy who I think has to head north is Chris Dickerson. This guy keeps hitting, and keeps stealing bases, and is another guy with the attitude you want out of a major league ballplayer. How they'll be used is anybody's guess at this point, but I think they both go north.
- Does that mean Hopper is the odd man out here? I don't think he's done much to help his cause so far, even with a hit today.
- Arthur Rhodes looked pretty darn masterful on the mound. The first two hitters he faced both struck out on 3 pitches. Glad to see him and Weathers bouncing back from rough outings in the early spring in the last few days. Cordero, you're up next.
- Burton looked meh, and Roenicke looked good.
- Oh yeah, and Laynce Nix hit a shot over the wall in CF in the 8th. He's yet another guy who really really wants to make this team. Will there be enough spots for all these guys? Whoever said it yesterday said it best, we're going to have a tough AAA team this season (and hell, AA too).
- Darnell McDonald was 2-for-2 with a SB. I don't think there will be room for him out of spring training, but he keeps sounding like the type of guy to get a midseason callup after hitting somewhere in the .330s in the IL this year.
- Francisco looks pretty good playing D at 3B. Janish looked better. If he could hit, his defense is good enough to play anywhere in the infield.
Pics of the day are after the jump.
Harang throwing a pitch.
Homer getting it done.
Roenicke throwing heat.
These girls were walking around the concourse, so I got a pic. This one's for you, Madville.
Name that Red!