Wednesday, March 23, 2011

7 MLB Games in 5 Days

Seven games in five days. Ten different teams in five different stadiums. I'm pretty sure this is the record for me.

Tuesday was my second consecutive day-night doubleheader on consecutive days. I am exhausted, but it was fun.

The day began with the Cubs at the Dodgers. The Dodgers looked much better, mostly due to the fact that they had Chad Billingsly pitch six excellent shut-out innings. The offense was still weak, they scored only one run, in the fifth, until the 10th inning when they scored a game ending run. This was probably the game I saw that was most like a real game, although the Dodgers did not start many of their projected starters.

Ryan Dempster pitched well for the Cubs, allowing only the one run, and the Cubs looked better than I imagined now with Pinella retired. But I think this more more a case of two good but well-matched teams, rather than two excellent teams playing one another. I don't see either of the teams in it for the long haul.

My last game was the Angels playing the Royals in Surprise. This was a letdown, especially after the Dodger game. The Angels played mostly scrubs, and I don't know why. Usually by this point in spring training the teams are starting to look like the real thing. Starter Tyler Chatwood made a good case for making the team. He gave up 3 runs in the first two innings but then settled down to look good for the remainder of his 5 innings pitched.

Former Rockie Jeff Francis did not look so good, giving up 6 runs in his innings (although only 3 earned, the Royals had a whopping five errors in the evening). He threw a lot of pitches. Unfortunately I do not think he will ever be the pitcher he once was.

Offensively the Angels were on fire, scoring 14 runs off 15 hits, although only 8 of the runs were earned.

A little math tells me that this is my sixth trip to spring training in eight years. It's still a lot of fun, but it has changed since I started coming in 2004. It's much more mainstream. It was a lot easier (and cheaper) to get great seats when I first started coming, and easier to find a good hotel room. The parks have changes, several have been rebuilt and are much larger now, which makes it less like spring training. But it's still a lot of fun, and I expect to be back whenever I can.
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