Got the chance to take in last night's Reds - Nats game from 8 rows back from the Reds' dugout, and thought I'd share some personal observations of what I witnessed.
First, Dave Williams has nothing in the way of velocity, and he wasn't fooling anybody last night. His fastball occasionally topped out at 86-87, but was more frequently in the 82-84 range. His offspeed stuff was even worse, and I witnessed at least two curves that came in at 64. The fact that he managed to give up only four runs is a testament to the National's lack of timely hitting rather than anything Williams brought to the table. Had this been Houston, St. Louis or the Mets, he would have gotten hammered. So don't let the score fool you--they were hitting balls hard off of him all night. This guy has no business being on a major league pitching staff with the stuff he brings to the mound.
Secondly, Dunn doesn't look comfortable at all at the plate right now. Perhaps he just needs a couple of days rest (wouldn't surprise me to see him out of the lineup today), but his timing is completely off right now. I don't think it's anything to be concerned about long term-wise, but I think some days off are certainly in order.
Despite going 0-5, Freel looked good at the plate last night. He stung three balls that happened to go directly where they were playing him, and he could have just as easily been 3-5. So any rumors of his demise are greatly exagerrated, he's hitting the ball fine. Some days they drop, some days they don't.
Even more so than his surprising bat, I think Reds fans are going to enjoy watching Phillips play second. He turned two fine DPs last night, and made a great throw from a very difficult position in short right field to just miss a Nats runner at first. It's encouraging to see all three of our young IFers playing so well, makes me believe that our infield (minus first) is set for the forseeable future.
When Todd Coffey sprinted to the mound and came to a dead stop in front of Narron and LaRue, he reminded me of the guy in the bar who wants to act tough by coming after you, but doesn't really want to fight you and is secretly hoping that his friends will hold him back. I dunno, I just found it kind of funny. And, if he could learn to throw strikes consistently, he could be deadly. He's got somse sick stuff, just needs to learn how to harness it.
And, finally, a recap of last night's game would be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to everybody's favorite left fielder for helping the Reds to the win last night. Soriano can handle routine fly balls, but gets completely twisted up on anythign remotely challenging. I'm not necessarily blaming him, either--he's had hardly any time to learn the position that he didn't feel comfortable playing to begin with. Still, good grief, if people think Dunn looks bad in left, they need to watch Soriano out there for nine innings.
Anyhow, it's (likely) the last time I'll get to se ethe Reds in person this year, so it's great to see them go 2 for 2 against the Nats. here's hoping that we can break out the brooms today.