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CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 17, 2009: Into each life a little rain must fall...and yesterday it fell in Clearwater, Florida. I made the mistake of believing Weather.com's forecast that morning. They predicted showers in the morning, but no precipitation after noon. Liars.
It didn't rain really hard. There was no thought that the game would be called or anything. It was just enough to be annoying (and to make me wish I'd brought a rain cover for my camera). A lot of the Phillies not-so-faithful left early because of the rain. (The fact that the score was 6-0 after two innings might have had something to do with it, too.)
The matchup sounded good on paper: Aaron Harang vs. Brett Myers. It was disappointingly one-sided in reality, though. Brett Myers beat up on the Reds like he'd married them or something.
The game was sold out. I got the feeling that the World Series win last year drew more fans to the ballpark than had been there last year. I bought a ticket from a scalper, and ended up way out in right field. It was a little further out than I wanted to be. I had no trouble getting much better seats last year.
I did get a pretty good view of Jay Bruce.
It looks like he's spitting, but I think it's actually a bubble gum bubble popping.
The worst thing about where I was sitting was that when a ball was hit into the corner, the right fielder disappeared behind the outfield wall. Unfortunately, Bruce spent quite a bit of time yesterday digging balls out of the corner.
The game got off to a promising start. Willy T's at-bat was so short I almost missed it. But Dickerson came through with a single to center, and then the right kind of havoc, successfully stealing 2B.
But Votto struck out, and BP flew out, ending the threat.
Harang struggled in the bottom of the frame, giving up a double and a single. He escaped without giving up any runs...but in the second inning, the floodgates opened.
The bottom of the second was nightmarish. They batted around on Harang. He gave up four doubles and three walks. Throw in an EdE error, and six runs were on the board for Phillies.
Dickerson fielding one of four doubles in the second.
Bruce takes off at the crack of the bat.
But it's Taveras who makes the catch.
Meeting on the mound.
The outfielders have their own pow-wow.
Roenicke didn't have a great day, either. He gave up singles to the number 8 and 9 hitters. (Brett Myers now has a .333 batting average.)
Hanigan singles off Myers:
He ended up stranded, as Harang popped out and Taveras and Dickerson struck out.
A-Gon was 0 for 2, but he hit one fly ball so deep to left that many fans thought it was gone. (Ibanez caught it against the wall.)
Bruce doubled in the 4th:
But he, too, ended up stranded.
Taveras brings him his hat and glove.
Bruce fixes his hair before putting on his hat.
They actually played "Closing Time" when Brad Lidge took the mound.
Nix fields a fly ball.
The people sitting behind me at this game were really into sports. They had kids who had played in the minor league levels, and are now sportscasters and such. They got all excited about Laynce Nix. He was 0 for 1, but hit the ball hard. They remembered him from his Rangers days, and couldn't understand why he hasn't been more successful.
Also interesting was their take on Myers' spousal abuse. The women thought it was awful and he was a jerk. The men thought it was private, and none of the fans' business.
Some of the Phillies fans on the berm were heckling Bruce throughout the game. "Bruuuuuuuuuce! Brucie, Brucie, Brucie. It's coming right at you, kid!" Nothing really bad, just constant.
When Bruce left the game, the hecklers turned their attention to BP, who was running sprints by the right field wall. While Bruce ignored the fans, BP said something to them. Nothing rude - I think he explained politely that he couldn't sign any autographs until after the game. This really plecked them off, since they didn't want an autograph. They wanted to annoy him.
Bruce and Encarnacion:
I don't think I've seen the Reds run sprints in the outfield during the game before. Maybe the rain kept them from working out earlier.
Chris Dickerson working out in right field.
Speaking of autographs, the only Reds player I saw sign during the game for a fan was Sea Bass. He was incognito, wearing a jersey with no name or number on it, but one of the Phillies fans recognized him, and got a sig for it.
The Reds went down fighting in the ninth. Janish worked a walk to lead off.
Cry havoc! Janish tries to go first to third on a Rosales single.
Keppinger grounded out. Rosales got to 2B on defensive indifference, and scored on a Craig Tatum double.
But the rally fell way short. Hopper struck out to end the game.
Final score: Philadelphia 8, Cincinnati 1.