Another day, another 5-2 loss, but today's loss was not nearly as sloppy as last night's. Cincy had some good pitching. Westbrook looked sharp! Four strikeouts in three innings. I was worried that being backed by an infield of Garko, Rivas, Rouse, and Blake, some ground balls might squirt through, but it didn't happen. Now that I think about it, Blake and Sizemore were the only regulars who played.
It was hot today. I stupidly forgot the sunscreen and got a nice burn (how's your weather?) I arrived about 10:00 but found no ML players on the practice fields. The minor leaguers were out in full force, but some of the fields were closed to the fans. I may have mentioned that the minor leaguers have gray uniforms. The Indians organization does not put names on their uniforms, just numbers and as many as four players share the same number so it is tough to figure out who you are watching practice.
There are a lot of autograph seekers at spring training. I used to try to get autographs but found they weren't as satisfying as a photograph, so now I go after photographs of the players.
After wandering around the complex and finding few photo opportunities, I went to the stadium. Last night it dawned on me that Chain-O-Lakes stadium is about comparable to an ageing A League stadium. Our facility is probably one of the worst in the majors by now. It's good that the Indians finally have plans to move to a new facility - the sooner the better. Winter Haven is a nice city for it's size, but there's not much to do here. I've noticed a big change in the attitude of the locals towards the Tribe now that we're leaving. There's noticeable resentment.
I sat in the RF bleachers near the so-called bullpen. The bullpen is a joke, just two shabby mounds with rubbers, right next to the railing. It's great for photo freaks like me because I can almost reach out and touch the pitcher warming up. Before the game C.C. threw some pitches. I was maybe 10 feet away from him! In fact I had to back away to get any good pictures. (When did he start wearing his hat straight?)
Blake looked good at third, though he did bobble a pickup but he still threw to first in time to get the runner. In the 4th inning, Garko had to go high for a bad throw from Rouse, landed somewhat awkwardly off the bag but had the quickness to reach out and tag the runner for a nice play.
I just looked at the box score and it reminded me that Rivas had a good day, a single, a stolen base, and run scored in his two at bats.
Trot Nixon made his debut in RF. Can't say I noticed anything about his play. Brad Snyder replaced him around the 5th inning. Snyder had a nice hit, driving in one of our two runs. Even though we only scored two runs and had only six hits, there were a number of hits close to the fence (the fence is 320 feet to the poles and 420 feet in center so they were well hit).
Aaron Laffey looks very, very young, and pitched like it. He seemed relieved after his inning was over (4 hits, 3 runs, 1.0 ip). Stanford got roughed up as well.
Probably the best thing about today's game was Westbrook's performance and Nixon's debut.
I'll be posting more pictures later this evening.