ARI @ MIL
2 pm, Miller Park
Yovani Gallardo vs. Ian Kennedy
STL @ PHI
5 pm, Citizens Bank Park
Kyle Lohse vs. Roy Halladay
There are also AL games on tonight. Much closer to primetime.
The Senior Circuit, appropriately, has an early bird game today featuring a franchise from a retirement state. The Diamondbacks and Brewers lead off and represent two teams on which I wish no specific harm. In fact, I might catch myself rooting for the Brewers in my own begrudging, jealous way.
We're not so different, us and them. The Brewers have one of their pillars locked up through next decade, while the window on their slugging first baseman is closing this year. It's not hard to draw a few parallels between the Reds and a team they swept to open the 2011 season. The Reds played the Crew 16 times this year and their periodic meetings served as a good barometer for the Reds' declining fortunes. After cutting down the would-be co-favorites in the division with the Opening Sweep, the Reds played them to a 8-8 record as the Brewers accelerated out of reach.
The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, represent an entire state. And one that is heavily armed. Seems unfair. But there are some striking similarities between the Reds and the D-Backs too. No one expected them to compete this year, but with a youthful ensemble cast and an offense led by their Jay Bruce-ian right fielder, they won their division and punctuated the season to the fever pitch of a walk-off home run.
The Cardinals and Phillies we've already spent the better part of the last two seasons kvetching about. My kvetching muscle is sore. AUTOCOMPLETE paragraph: Philadelphia's Phillies, a baseball team from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, home of Iron Tasty Kakes and the Liberty Bell. Grievances are: Being good, humiliating the Reds repeatedly, Cliff Lee didn't bother to run out that grounder, Chase Utley pretended to be hit by a fastball in 2010 NLDS. The St. Louis Cardinals are a baseball team from the state where St. Louis is, home of some buildings. Grievances are [system error. abort, retry, fail?] I chose retry. But that's not an option in life, is it? Just like Starbucks, must move FORWARD.
I've decided who I'll be rooting for in the NL. I will say, though, that having both the Cardinals and Brewers win would validate the NL Central and make the Reds' 3rd place finish very slightly more palatable. Quick dirty rooting Decider after the jump.
PROS: Kirk Gibson, Snakes
CONS: Won World Series after 4 years of existence (get in line), Unless I'm mistaken, further playoff success will put Thom Brennaman and Diamondbacks and commentating on a crash course
PROS: Non-threatening fellow NL Central and post-Industrial Midwestern team
CONS: Shoulda been us
PROS: Playing the Cardinals, Halladay has chance to dilute 2010 no-hitter with perfect game, "Deserve" to win and losing would upset order in Universe
CONS: "Deserve" to win and losing would upset order in Universe
Selected former Reds:
Arthur Rhodes, Cardinals
Kyle Lohse, Cardinals
Jerry Hairston, Brewers
Micah Owings, Diamondbacks
Willy Bloomquist, Diamondbacks