March 28, 2007

Reds 6, Pirates 4


Pitching: Harang was the starter and did not look sharp. How many times have you heard that one before? Probably as many times as I am going to say what follows: wouldn't it be nice to see Harang have a dominating performance? He hasn't looked like the #1 all spring. Somehow I don't find it reasonable to just believe he will turn back into the ace on April 2. In fact, history says he will completely suck for the first game. As long as it's just the first game, I'm cool with that. He just doesn't look good. Anyway. This game was 5 innings, 10 hits (!), 2 K's, and 3 earned runs. Santos picked up the win as he pitched the 6th and 7th innings. Very well, I might add. I like the guy and have all spring and still feel he is a dark horse to potentially start. He gave up just one hit, walked 2, and K'ed 2. Majew pitched the 8th, walking 1 and K'ing 1 in his scoreless inning. Nice to see him doing well. Jared Burton got the save in the 9th, although he gave up 2 hits and a run.

Hitting: Hamilton led off and was 1/3. Dunn was 2/3, scoring twice and knocking in one. EdE was also 2/3. These men had back-to-back home runs in the 6th inning which was pretty dang exciting. Dewayne Wise had an RBI hit. Griff was 1/2 and got his first RBI of the spring. Castro & Ross were both 0/3, as was Gonzo. Bottom of the order stuff, baby. Chad Moeller, pinch hitter extraordinairre, knocked in a 2-RBI double for Santos in the 7th inning to break the 3-3 tie. Huge hit. Chad Moeller? Looks like he's in.

Fielding & such: Gonzo had another error. What the???? Granted, it's only 2. But it's 2 in 3 games, and that's just weird. No more, Gonzo. Also, Godwin had an error but nobody cares about that. Dewayne Wise got picked off of first base. Yikes. Also, there were supposedly 2 double plays for the Reds, but I can't decipher what any of it means. The people involved were Javier Valentin, Gonzo, Castro, and Conine. Cool.

Phillies 6, Reds 2


Pitching: Lohse went a little over 4 innings and wasn't great. Wasn't too bad either, but nothing to write home about. Gave up 2 homers but only 2 earned runs, so thankfully both homers were solo shots. Still not great. Also mixed in a walk and a hit batter, but had 4 K's. Coutlangus finished out the inning and K'ed both Chase Utley & Ryan Howard. Howard had 3 strikeouts on the day, but still very impressive. I just don't think the kid has a spot on the team. Coffey took the 5th, gave up 2 hits and a walk but managed to escape. Nice to see Rheal Cormier back, but OH NOT REALLY as he took the loss. His inning of damage included 3 hits, 1 walk, and 2 K's for 3 earned runs. Hermanson pitched a useless 8th and looked rusty, giving up 2 hits and a run.

Hitting: Freel led off with a hit, but that was the only at-bat he was going to get as he plated his face into the outfield wall. We know he just got down on himself for not giving it his all thus leading to his latest injury, but how wise is throwing your face into a wall thisclose to Opening Day? Maybe not smart. Hamilton took over and was 1/2. Griffey was 1/3, but you won't believe how he notched his hit. On a bunt. !!!! On a perfectly placed bunt! Haha. It's just unbelievable stuff that you'll only see once in a lifetime. So Griff is on base with a bunt and then EdE comes up and just SMASHES one out of the park, so that's where the runs came from. EdE added another hit later in the game.

Fielding & such: No errors today as Bellhorn was sent down. Ouch! Just kidding...maybe? Two guys caught stealing though. Not great. Freel was a culprit as he is accustomed to. Gonzo was the other guy.

Devils 3, Islanders 2

Whew. And a big whew. So maybe WHEW. And so forth and so on.

On a night where the Devils needed to win to keep pace with the Penguins, they did so. The teams remain tied at 98 points, each snagging a playoff berth last night with their respective victories. This will be a dogfight until the end folks. For team morale and fan morale, it would make sense for the Devils to be the #2 seed. But, like I've said before, it might work in the Devils favor if they were to lose the Atlantic to the Pens and ended up #4 or #5. Granted, it wouldn't be great to face the hot Ottawa Senators, but do you really want to see a matchup against either the Atlanta Thrashers and Tampa Bay Lightning as the #7 team? I know I don't. Either way, I look forward to the playoffs, although I'm not optimistic.

No doubt it helped to have DiPietro on the shelf for tonight's game. I would much rather face Mike Dunham than America's Goalie, but that doesn't mean the Devils were handed the handicap and the win. They still had to earn it, which they did.

Zach Parise scored a career-high and a team-high 30th goal last night. And it was a power play goal on top of that. And it wasn't the only power play goal of the night for the Devils! David Clarkson, who has been far more impressive than I would have imagined, scored on the power play late in the game as well. Gomez had the other goal, and Elias got the assist on his Welcome Back! tour. Very nice. Goals for the Islanders were Yashin on the power play to make it 2-1 Devils and Jason Blake (of course) late in the game to make it 3-2, which was the final margin. Shots on goal were clearly in the Devils favor, as was the hustle factor.

It was nice to see the Devils play like this. Even the victory against the Panthers was shaky, this one was good. Good to see the Devils still have "it" whatever that may be. Also good to see Langenbrunner back in action and he got 20 minutes. Eric Rasmussen is back and got 16 minutes. Madden & Gionta are still out, but hopefully they will be coming back soon so we can put our complete team together. But the people, such as Clarkson, that don't really play much for the team are filling in admirably well.

Gotta keep up with the Pens, that's for sure. Or make them keep up with the Devils. Should be a good race. At least I'm excited about the Devils again, they looked GOOD.

Dirk Nowitzki "Obviously" Watch

"It was really a fun trip, obviously. We're trying to work hard offensively moving the ball, and everybody's making shots," said Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 15 points while shaking off an illness. "It was a fun trip."

Mavericks 105, Hornets 89

The Mavs win again. That makes the Eastern Conference road trip 6-0. 6 wins, no losses. Played some good teams, played some bad teams, all the games were on the road. That's quite a way to turn it around from that heartbreaking loss to Phoenix. But they did it, and they did it well.

As much as it seems the Warriors have the Mavs number, the Mavs REALLY have the Hornets number. As in the number 21. 21 straight victories over the Hornets of Oklahoma City/New Orleans. That's quite a few wins. The last time the Mavs lost to these jokers was back on Nov. 17, 1999. Back when they were the Charlotte Hornets. Oddly enough, the Hornets wore throwback Charlotte uniforms last night. Didn't help. It's also the current longest winning streak of any team against any team in ANY major sport. So, how's that for impressive?

How easy was this one? The Mavs had leads twice of 31 points in the fourth quarter and the Big 3 didn't play any of the fourth quarter. So yeah.

The Warrior Award (not Golden State style) goes to Nowitzki for everyone thinking he wasn't going to play this game due to having the flu. But he played it, he played for 23 minutes and got 15 points. Certainly not typical numbers, but I wasn't expecting his name to be in the box score. Hopefully he gets well soon. Josh Howard was the man last night, scoring 25 points (2/2 on 3's, and making 3/3 free throws) as well as snagging 10 boards. Jason Terry had 19 points, 7 assists, and once again had amazing shot selection. I hope he can keep this up. He is shooting very efficiently right now. Devin Harris was a little sluggish, but had 14 points.

For the Hornets, Chris Paul 2 points. That's right, all of 2 points on 1/10 shooting. Hilarious. Pargo had 23 points, but nobody was a real threat.

The Mavs shot 55% overall to the Hornets 42%. Mavs are still struggling getting to the line, but I'll imagine they will turn that up come playoff time. They need to get to the basket as almost every team, if not every team, this road trip has shot more free throws than the Mavs. When the Mavs get over 20 assists, I think they are undefeated or something this year. They got 22.

Dominating performance in what should have been one, even with Nowitzki at 77% health. Good stuff. Keep the Suns & Spurs away, let them fight it out, and we'll see what we have on the other end.