No baseball for me on the fifth. Today, I made the mistake of rereading a volleyball post I had just posted. It was terrible. It was just badly written. Since I’d already posted it, it wasn’t worth rewriting. Though I’d gone to two volleyball games, watched some Godzilla films, and done some other things, it felt like I’d spent my whole three-day weekend in front of the computer typing. The writing was labored, forced, and tired, and it showed. I need better editing and maybe some more time between writing and posting.
While waiting for the Chihuahuas/Aces playoff game, I finally got to check out MLB’s Twitter/Facebook/social media show, the Dugout. It was at once more casual in conversation than MLB Tonight coverage on the MLB Network, but also more frenetic in pacing. Where it felt like there should have been a commercial break, they kept going. The show felt kind of intense and it must be exhausting for the hosts, especially with their high enthusiasm level. Maybe that’s why they only run this once a week. Overall, it was an interesting venue for baseball talk. Allison Footer was one of the hosts. I’d heard her many times on podcasts. I was surprised she’s an attractive young woman. From her knowledge and experience, I’d assumed she was older (and crustier, like a sports writer).
And here’s where I bury the lead. I was busy with work and never quite caught up. So, I was listening to most of the Chihuahuas’ game, but just didn’t have the time and energy to take more than a smattering of notes. This isn’t a good start for the playoffs for me. I found out a co-worker is going to the game on Friday. She even went to a recent game and a visiting player gave her little son a ball. (I’m surprised the ball didn’t have his phone number on it. She’s a hottie.)
In Reno, a loud and passionate crowd showed up (though not large at 3,100). The fans were issued thunder sticks, which they used for most of the game. Between the “clacking” noise and occasional Latin music, it felt like a Brazilian Carnival was going on in the background. The stadium’s PA was really good at revving up the crowd, and the music and sound effects were good too.
Tim Hagerty was pleased that the rain during the day cleared off that night. He also took pleasure in finally announcing Chihuahua, Nick Buss, as the league batting champ. Tim had been going over his numbers, hits, plate appearances, and so on for a few weeks. I’m sure he’s glad that the storyline finally resolved and happily resolved.
Okay, I heard most of this, but ended up having to reconstruct it from Gameday. Reno took the lead in the second on a fielder’s choice, 1-0 Aces. In the fourth, Hunter Renfroe homered to tie it. Jose Rondon then drove in a run on a fielder’s choice, 2-1 Chihuahuas. In the fifth, Renfroe again got an RBI on yet another fielder’s choice, 3-1.
A light rain started falling in the seventh. Tim tried to sell it as no big deal. The pups hit into a really strange double play. The third baseman picked up a bunt by Chase d’Arnaud and threw to first for one. Travis Jankowski, seeing third was unoccupied, tried to take the base. The Aces’ catcher, however, got up the line and covered for the out. That was 5-3-2. Tim thought Chase should still be credited with a sacrifice.
Top of the ninth, Rondon hit a sure double or more which was caught by a sliding Evan Marzilli in the outfield. Tim and the crowd there were very impressed with the play. In the bottom, the game ended on a double play. 3-1 Chihuahuas win and take a 1-0 lead in the best of five series. Tim was surprised by the low score, since the park and the altitude are very hitter friendly. Chihuahuas’ and Aces’ pitching did well. This felt like a close, tight playoff game. This could be a good series.
I checked out the Braves versus the Marlins on the MLB Free Game. New Suntrust Field is getting some exposure this year. Dee Gordon led off the game with a triple and there was a second one by Marcel Ozuna, as part of a three-run inning. Ender Inciarte was playing in the outfield next to fellow, former Chihuahua Jace Peterson. Matt Wisler, another Chihuahua, came in as a reliever in the Rangers’ game on Labor Day. I hope the Padres got someone good for all these guys.
Chip Caray and Joe Simpson called the Marlins’ pitcher, Dan Straily, “A box of chocolates pitcher.” Quoting from Forrest Gump, you didn’t know what you were going to get whenever Straily takes the mound. Ender stole second in the inning. He got there with Dee Gordon’s glove and the ball underneath his leg and Gordon left empty-handed. Ender was still safe.
Because of the hurricane coming for Florida, the Marlins players had been told to take their families with them on the road trip. The Braves were offering free game tickets to anybody from Florida who was fleeing the storm. That was nice of them. As of today (Friday), all of Florida and now Georgia are being warned. There may not be any games in Atlanta this weekend. The Braves won the game 6-5.
Back in Reno, the Chihuahuas and Aces were playing Game Two of the division series. In the first, Chase d’Arnaud, was announced as “The Strikeout Batter,” on the Chihuahuas. If he struck out during the game, everyone in a section would get a free beer or something. Tim Hagerty seemed a bit put off by the promotion. It was another lively crowd, if on the small side at 3,500. They brought back their thunder sticks.
There wasn’t much offense to start, though Chihuahuas’ pitcher, Brian Rodriguez, got his first hit of the season. He immediately stopped at first. Ooops, emergency, emergency! There’s a new Taylor Swift video with her cat! I had to watch that a couple of times. I can’t wait to meet the cat when I’m finally dating Tay. While working, I walked back into the room just in time to hear Jose Rondon doubling in Hunter Renfroe, who scored from first. Dusty Coleman, who was in the lineup for his defense, hit a two-run home run for a 3-0 Chihuahuas’ lead. The Aces got a solo homer in the bottom, 3-1.
In the fifth, with two Chihuahuas on, there was a pop up near the pitcher’s mound. Two players collided and let it drop to load the bases. (It wasn’t called an infield fly. Back to rulebook, if first base is unoccupied, the rule doesn’t apply.) It was bases loaded with no outs, but the Chihuahuas only got one run on a Christian Villanueva sac fly. That was even with two (could have been three) errors in the inning. 4-1 Chihuahuas.
The pups had their own shaky inning in the seventh. There was a single, a near error, and then another single, which drove in a run. The runners moved up on the throw to the plate. The crowd got back into it. There was a walk to load the bases with no outs. Manager Rod Barajas stuck with Brian Rodriguez. He finished off the inning with a strikeout, an infield fly, and another strikeout. 4-2 Chihuahas.
In the eighth, pinch hitter Diego Goris hit a long fly ball off the batter’s eye. “What’s the call!” exclaimed Tim, waiting on the ump, “Home run!”, 6-2. The crowd immediately went quiet. In the ninth, Christian Villanueva doubled in a run, 7-2, and that was our final. Another great pitching performance for the pups. The Chihuahuas are now up two games in this best of five series and coming back home for the rest.
Let’s take a quick, belated trip around the MLB, mostly because I finally noticed a bunch of streaks in progress. Cleveland, firmly in first in the AL Central, has a 15-game winning streak. A local window business had a promotion related to that streak and had to pay up with a couple of million in free product and services. Lucky they had an insurance policy on that. Arizona has a 13-game winning streak and the Dodgers have a seven-game losing streak. Even with that, it’s still not close in the NL West. In the NL East, three of the five teams have already been eliminated from the playoffs, with a fourth about to join them.