When I was 11 days old, Kevin Mitchell is Batman, Sr. sat me down and explained to me the ins and outs of baseball.
"Junior," he said, "The game is simple until you choose to make it complicated. There are only about four things you really need to know to ensure you can both grow up loving the game and also have the game love you. You follow?"
"Burp! Drool," I said.
"Good. You're learning fast," he said. "Like I said, it's all pretty simple. First things first, you have to know how to play defense. Get yourself in front of the ball at all costs, and you'll always have the ability to make plays to get the other team out."
"Gagah googooh," I said.
"Rule number two," he said, "revolves around batting. Be patient, make the pitcher work, and trust that as the game goes on, the pitcher the other team wants to use least will become more and more available. Rule number three parlays nicely with Rule two, and it's that you always need to anticipate your opponents next move. That means knowing when they want you to hit a grounder, and when they'll try to pitch you inside. It's one big chess match, y'see, and the better you can play your opponent's mind, the better you'll be able to play his actions."
"Yaaeehhhhhagagagaga," I said.
"You're a fast learner. I should have known," he said. "But the last rule is the most important one...above and beyond all the other three combined. If you can't learn and understand Rule four, you might as well forget the other three and quit the game of baseball. Are you ready for Rule four?"
"Buuuuurrrpppdroool," I said.
"Alright then," he said. "You're ready. Rule number four? Well, it's as basic as it gets. Whatever you do, whomever you are, wherever you may be...FOR GOD'S SAKE, DON'T BRING UP THE FACT THAT YOUR PITCHER IS THROWING A PERFECT GAME LEST YOU RUIN IT FOR HIM, FOR YOU, AND FOR ALL PARTIES INVOLVED!"
"Got it, Dad," I said.
The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Bronson Arroyo was perfect through the first 5 innings of the game tonight. Perfect, I tell you.
Despite the gaudy strikeout numbers being posted by his opponent, Lance Lynn, Arroyo held a 1-0 lead following the Top of the 6th inning...at which point noted Reds' announcer 'tHom Brennaman decided it was wise to tempt the baseball fates by noting how little offensive support Lynn had received throughout the game. 'Not a batter has reached' against Arroyo, he revealed.
Karma reared its ugly head in the Bottom half of the 6th, but that does nothing to diminish the effectiveness shown by Arroyo through the first portion of the game, as I'm placing full blame for his diminished juju on the Brennaman. Aside from Broyo, the rest of the Reds' lineup was seemingly hungover from the excess that was yesterday's 9th inning, as only Choo and Votto (who else?) reached base more than once. There were no extra base hits.
- Both Lynn and Arroyo motored through the first 3 innings, but the Reds broke through in the 4th. Zack "MVP/GG" Cozart singled, and he advanced to third on a single on a hit-and-run by Joey Votto. Brandon Phillips then hit a deep sac fly to plate Cozart. Reds led, 1-0.
- Brennaman broke rule number 4, and Daniel Descalso immediately doubled to lead off the 6th. Matt Adams pinch hit for Lynn, and promptly hit an Arroyo breaking ball a million miles over the RF fence. John Jay singled, Matt Carpenter singled, Matt Holliday was walked intentionally, Allen Craig drove in Jay with a grounder, and Carlos Beltran hit a single to CF that scored Carpenter before Holliday was thrown out at home. Reds trailed, 4-1.
- In the 8th, Manny Parra allowed consecutive hits to Carpenter and Holliday, and Carpenter came around to score the last run of the game on a Parra wild pitch...and that was that. Reds lose, 5-1.
- J.J. Hoover was asked to pitch in the 9th inning of a 9 run game the Reds led yesterday, making his 5th appearance in 7 games. Tonight, Manny Parra was asked to pitch 2 innings in a 3 run game where the Reds trailed. Hoover, in every aspect, is a more valuable pitcher than Parra. I'm confused.
- The weather forecast for tomorrow in St. Louis looks quite frothy. I'll be interested to see if the teams can get in a full one without some sort of rain/lightning delay.
- I miss uber dominant Joey Votto. He'll be back soon, I know, but I wish he was here now.
- It's late. Listen to something funky.