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Redbirds in Vegas

I'm working in Las Vegas and got to go to the Redbirds-51s game last night, and will be there tonight for the series finale.  I actually only saw the last 9 innings last night, after arriving in the 3rd.

My biggest concern was the infield defense.  Barden seemed fine but both Hoffpauir and Freese looked more like college players than major leaguers. The box score only gave the Redbirds 3 errors:

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=t235&gid=2008_05_08_mrbaaa_lvgaaa_1&cid=235&t=g_bo

But there were a few other questionable plays.  It might just have been one bad night, but based on the defense I saw I'd be surprised if either Hoff or Freese plays in St. Louis this year.

The offense and the pitching looked promising.  Jaime Garcia looked good, he was consistently ahead of hitters.  Motte and Perez each pitched well.  (The run off Perez in the 11th should have been UNearned - the runner who scored reached on a soft floater to 3rd that Freese definitely should have caught.)  If the Cards need bullpen help anytime soon, those two look like reasonable alternatives to Kelvin Jimenez.

Stavinoha and Freese both did what was asked of them to get Phelps home in the 4th.  Phelps had led off with a double; Stavinoha forced a grounder to second to move him to third, and Freese then fouled off several pitches before lifting a fly ball to score the runner.  Nice to see young players executing the fundamentals.

Speaking of which, Joe Mather looked like the real deal.  He was officially 2 for 5 with a double and a run scored.  He also crushed a ball that was caught (Cashman field has a lot of room for flyballs to die - straightaway center is 433 feet), laid down a nice sac bunt in the 12th to put the lead run in scoring position, and made a nice throw from RF to complete a double play to end the 51s tenth.  He'll definitely deserve a look if any of our outfielders gets injured or traded

Anderson can hit and he's a lot faster than Yadi on the basepaths.  Rasmus looked like he's still trying to find his swing, but he was solid in the field and displayed a strong arm.  Anthony Reyes is listed as the starter for tonight, that should be interesting and I'll try to post my notes as soon as I can.

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