April 17, 2006: Cincinnati, Ohio — The Reds found a cure for their recent ailments in the form of the AAA-like Florida Marlins, winning 9-1. The Reds routed the Marlins, pouring on 9 runs and 12 hits. The dismal Marlins came into Cincinnati with a $14 million dollar payroll and a 3-8 record.
The Reds jumped all over Marlins’ starting pitcher, Brian Moehler, early, scoring five runs in the first two innings. With the way Reds starter Brandon Claussen was pitching, that was more than enough run support. Claussen did an excellent job in stopping the two-game losing streak. He pitched seven scoreless innings, scattering five hits, striking out seven, and issuing two walks. After two consecutive games with poor starting pitching (Dave Williams and Bronson Arroyo), Claussen’s performance was exactly what the club needed. Claussen’s outing netted him his first victory of the year (1-1) and lowered his ERA to 3.18. He also made a couple of nifty plays with his glove.
Adam Dunn continued his homerun hitting tear. His last 6 hits have all been homeruns. Dunn hit a two-run homer off Moehler to get the offense going in the bottom of the first. My friend Marcus and I could almost sense the homerun before Dunn took Moehler deep for his eighth of the year.
With the streaking Austin Kearns now batting in the cleanup hole behind Dunn, Dunn has much needed protection in the lineup. Kearns proved himself worthy of the fourth slot last night by hitting his fifth homerun (solo shot) of the year.
Brandon Phillips, the newly acquired ex-Indian, starting his second consecutive game at second base, went 3-for-4 with four RBI’s and a run scored. Phillips has always been known for his glove work but hitting has not come as easily. If Phillips is able to prove himself offensively, the Reds will have a formidable duo with Felipe Lopez at shortstop and the aforementioned Phillips at second.
• There was absolutely no one at the game. It felt like the game was being played in Florida’s Dolphin Stadium. If you were on a first date, you could use the old joke that you rented the stadium out just for him/her. A half hour before the first pitch, we could still count the number of people in the stands. I’m not joking.
The Reds announced 16,960 paid, but the amount of no shows was overwhelming. It’s still safe for baseball fans in the Cincinnati area to buy the cheapest ticket ($5) and move anywhere in the stadium. Aside from the couple of lower sections behind home plate, every open seat is available. The ushers will not say anything.
• Last night’s game was two hours and 48 minutes. There’s nothing better than a baseball game under the three hour mark.
• My friend Marcus Von Waggoner was absolutely torn up about the new Reds cheerleaders. I had already had a game to let it all sink in, but this was Marcus’ first game. Even though I tried to prepare him for the event, he did not handle it well. Cheerleaders have absolutely no place in baseball. Cheerleaders are fine at high school and collegiate football and basketball games, Dallas Cowboys games, and anywhere in the Bring It On movie franchise. But that’s about it. There are no exceptions. A team with any sort of dignity or pride would pull the plug on this ill conceived idea immediately.
• This was three-month old Brandon “Big Baby” Von Waggoner’s first baseball game. While he did not break the record of my Aunt Susan and Uncle Kevin taking their newborn to Camden Yards, it is still a pretty impressive feat. “Big Baby” has already been to a collegiate hockey game, multiple high school basketball games, a NCAA Tournament play-in game, and a high school baseball game.
• Former Reds general manager and current Washington Nationals vice president and general manager was arrested for driving under the influence in Miami Beach, Florida, Sunday night. In a statement released to the press, Bowden stated that he intends to plead “not guilty” and fight the charges. Reports were inconclusive if Bowden was drinking with Ryan “I’ll Have Another One” Freel.