Eyewitness Report: Louisville Bats vs. Durham Bulls

So last Friday night, Slyde, jsl413 and I ventured down to Louisville to watch the Reds AAA affiliate take on Durham in Game 3 of the first round of the IL playoffs.  We had a pretty good time.  Slyde got some pretty sweet tickets for $12.50 each.  We ended up about halfway up the box seats, one section to the left of home plate.  Here's a view from our seats:

Behind_home_plate_medium

That, my friends, is prime real estate.  More about the game (and more pics) after the jump.

We were treated to quite the lineup on our trip, and everyone in the Louisville lineup had at least one hit.  Sam Lecure started the game for the Bats, and pitched pretty well for the most part.

Lecure_medium

He was throwing in the 88-91, and has some off speed stuff that is absolutely filthy.  He had one rough inning, but the rest of his game wasn't bad.

Yonder Alonso hadn't done much for the Bats since getting called up before the playoffs started.  In his first home game in Louisville, he didn't disappoint.

Yonder_medium

Yonder went 2-for-3 with a solo HR (to the opposite field to left), and a pretty nice diving stab at 1B to save a run on the defensive side. 

Similarly, this guy also had a good game.

Roar_medium

ROAR!  El Nino Destructor also had a decent defensive play, and was 2-for-5 with a RBI.

On the other hand, not everyone had a great game.

Frazier_medium

That's Todd Frazier, and he struggled at the plate for most of the night.  He got badly fooled in one at bat and didn't really hit anything hard all evening.  He did end up redeeming himself big time by continuing rallies by hitting infield singles in the 7th and 9th, but I didn't come away impressed.  We didn't get much of an opportunity to see some of that vaunted 2B defense, but he did turn a pretty nifty double play to save a run.  (The Francisco-Frazier-Alonso DP combo was sick.)

A few other notes from the game:

  • Louisville Slugger field was pretty good.  Cheap tickets, free parking down the street, and a fairly cheap food and beer selection.  I got an Amber Bock draft that would have cost me $8.25 at GABP for $4.75. 
  • We met up with xjjeep90 at the park, where he sat in our section for the entirety of the game.  Good times.  No word on where Rick House was, and we didn't meet Red_Poodle either.  What gives, Poodle!?
  • Chris Valaika didn't look like he's anywhere close to being a major league player.  He looked bad for most of the game, and ended up striking out to end the game.  Maybe he just had a bad game, but I thought he looked better when I saw him in Spring Training in March.
  • Out of the 12 total hits, minus the 2 home runs by Chris Denove and Alonso, the rest of the hits were singles.  Of those 10 singles, probably 6 were infield hits.
  • Jeff Kennard is a career minor league journeyman.  He pitched two pretty decent innings.  If there's room for him, I wouldn't mind seeing him in camp next spring.
  • Speaking of journeymen, Lew Ford started in RF for the Bats.  Let's just say he didn't impress too many people.
  • I like what I saw from Chris Heisey.  He had a hard-hit single, which is more than you can say about most of the other players on the team.
  • That being said, every position player on the Bats had a hit.  It sure didn't seem like it.
  • Jay Bruce struggled in his rehab start at DH.  He looked great on his hit and ran the bases well in his 2nd AB, but kind of jogged to 1B in his first AB when he reached on an error. 
  • The most impressive pitcher on the field wasn't on the Bats.  That honor belonged to Durham's Winston Abreu, who closed out the game for them.  He threw in the upper 90s, and he struck out the side in the 9th (Heisey, Bruce, and Valaika).  Alonso and Francisco both managed to fight in their ABs to get infield hits.
  • It should also be noted that Valaika batted in front of Alonso, which seemed ridiculous at the time.  Even more ridiculous when you figure that Yonder could have been up with the game on the line other than Valaika.
  • Logan Ondrusek warmed up at some point, and he looked kind of out of place.  I didn't realize this, but he's listed at 6'7", and probably was taller than that.  It reminded me of any professional basketball team with a token white center from eastern Europe over 7'4".
  • It was a really exciting game, to be sure.  After taking a lead on a home run by Chris Denove, the Bats were down 4-1 after LeCure got roughed up a bit (in a time that seemed like a split second).  They then battled back to score a run each in the 6th (Alonso's HR) and 7th (smawl-bawl!). 
  • In that 7th inning, they had a walk, a single to left by Luis Bolivar, and two infield hits by Frazier and Francisco, both of those with 2 outs.  Chris Vaiaika killed the rally.  At this point, jsl and I decided he should have been batting 7th instead of Alonso.
  • In the 8th, Yonder led off with a single, and was stranded at 3rd.  This would have been a good time to see Danny Dorn pinch hit, but that didn't happen.  (Another guy we didn't get to see was Zack Cozart, who didn't play the entire series.  Huh?)
  • Once again in the 9th, Frazier and Francisco started a rally with 2 outs, and were stranded by Valaika.  Not his night.  Bats lose 4-3.

All in all, it was a good experience, despite the game outcome.  I was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere there, as the fans were extremely into the game and knew who most of the players were.

I'm already thinking an RR outing in Louisville needs to happen next year too.  Takers?

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