Wednesday March 17th
Brewers- Alcides Escobar looked alright today. Nothing too special or bad, just steady. Doug Davis pitched pretty well too, which is a good sign for Brewers fans who will be heavily relying on their old starting pitchers. George Kottaras also looked like he might be fine behind the plate and might live up to his considerable potential at least somewhat. on the opposite end of that spectrum was Carlos Gomez who looked dreadful at the plate, barely making contact and not looking at all like the guy they need him to be. Rickie weeks also had a very good day, belting a homer off Aroldis Chapman (more on him in a minute) and looking very patient at the plate (2 BBs, and the home run came on a 3-1 count). Not a bad showing for the Brew Crew.
Reds- The story here was Aroldis Chapman, the hard-throwing young Cubano of the Reds. He has hit 102 on the gun before, and while the speed gun at the park was not functional, I would bet he cracked 100 a few times. He is still very raw and will probably not be in the majors until September, but I came away fairly impressed. He needs to develop a more consistent breaking ball, or a better change up if he wants to be a superstar, but as it is he is very good and made a lot of good hitters look bad. The only guy he really struggled with was Rickie Weeks who got him for the only run and only hit of his day. Weeks also drew a fairly easy walk, so maybe he jsut has him figured out. Once again, we have an inning-by-inning breakdown for you.
1st Inning- 17 pitches, 10 strikes, 2 K, 1 HR, 1 ER. Weeks got him to lead off the game, but he calmed down nicely, getting a popup out of Carlos Gomez, and Ks out of Ryan Braun and Corey Hart. That ball explodes out of his hand.
2nd Inning- 11 pitches, 9 strikes, 2 Ks. Yeah, he is really good, and when he is on it is scary. Ask any Brewer who faced him not named Rickie Weeks and they will tell you how good he can be.
3rd Inning- 118 pitches, 10 strikes, 1 K, 1 BB. Keep in mind that 4 of those balls were to Weeks with 2 outs already and it does not seem as bad, even though the numbers look very good. The slider needs to get more consistent, and I would really love to see this kid throw a change up (safe on the arm), but he has really good stuff.
Aroldis Chapman absolutely impressed me today. He has a lot of growing to do and 30 million is a lot for a guy who has never done a thing at the major league level, but he looks like he is going to be worth it. Color me interested in seeing Aroldis Chapman in the future.
Not really anyhting else notable about the Reds except they struggled to hit without many of their better players. Chris Dickerson once again looked good and may nip Chris Heisey for the starting job in LF.