Tuesday, August 14, 2007

O-Royals cruise past I-Cubbies

Tonight was one of those nights where it felt good to be a baseball fan. Actually it was more than good; it felt...it felt like the most correct thing I could possibly do with my life. I suppose it was hot outside in Omaha, but if it was I didn't notice. A strong breeze kept everyone cool, and that relief -- the first such relief after a sweltering weekend -- put everyone in a relaxed, happy mood.

It was in that laid-back atmosphere that Omaha welcomed its fans into the year's final homestand with a spectacular game. Billy Buckner started the night by pitching 2.1 perfect innings until Nebraska alum Joe Simokaitis broke it up with a single.

The rest of the game -- a 2-0 Omaha win -- was pretty fast paced, although each team loaded the bases a time or two. Omaha's runs came in on a couple of singles, a sacrifice, and an error on the Iowa infield. It's good to see them score runs that way; I have never become comfortable with their reliance on the long ball to bring home the runs. Maybe it's because no team I've ever liked has had a power lineup.

Buckner ended up pitching seven full scoreless innings, striking out 4 and walking just one. Because I was working (if you can call what I do "work") I didn't get to pay perfectly close attention to the action but I definitely got the impression that Buckner was owning the Iowa offense. I guess he did own them, because he got through those 7 innings with only 95 pitches. Kenny Ray took over to start the 8th inning, but only faced 3 batters before giving way to the dominant Neal Musser. I have no idea why Ray came out of the game, but I very much hope it was a matchup thing and not an injury thing. Musser closed out the game in fine form, striking out three and walking none. He did give up one hit, a single to start the 9th, but that runner was erased in a double play a moment later.

Tonight's game took just 2:08, the pitching was awfully good on both sides, and the weather was beautiful. I'd be the world's most selfish woman if I dared ask for more.

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