Thursday, June 10, 2010

Debuts. Bucs LOSE

5 12 0 10
7 10 2 6

It was not for a lack of hits that the Pirates lost this game.  In fact, they out-hit the Nats by 2.  Five Pirates had 2 or more hits: Jose Tabata, Neil Walker, Garrett Jones, Lastings Milledge (3), and Brad Lincoln (!).  The Pirates' bats with RISP continues to be a problem, however.  In this contest, they had 16 such opportunities, but only were able to get hits in 4 of them.  Andy LaRoche is particularly terrible in this regard.  He was 0 for 3 today, and his YTD average with RISP is .229.  This number is misleading, as he was actually hitting decently early in the season.  I can't count how many times I've seen him up to bat with a runner on and 1 out, only to ground into a double play and end the inning.  Which is why for the life of me I can't understand why Russell had him batting 5th in this game.  OK, I can understand him being ahead in the order over Cedeno and the pitcher Brad Lincoln, and maybe even Jason Jaramillo since he doesn't have that much experience batting.  But why was he placed ahead of Lastings Milledge, who has a hit in all but 1 game this month?  It boggles the mind.

Speaking of Brad Lincoln, it was nice to see him and Jose Tabata finally get a shot at the bigs.  Lincoln pitched well for his first time out, I think.  He's no Stephen Strasburg, but hopefully he'll be a quality Maholm-type player and the #3 or so in the rotation once guys like Jameson Taillon and hopefully Stetson Allie make it to the top.  His 5 ER was mostly due to some defensive blunders, although he did allow a 2-run homer off Adam Dunn, who I'm steadily growing to hate.  Lincoln didn't put too many runners on base (7 hits, 2 walks), and had 3 Ks in his 6 innings.  Those numbers mostly reflect his nervousness at pitching in the majors for the first time I believe, and once he calmed down a bit he started to really get his great curveball going.  Hopefully next time he'll be able to pitch a good game the whole way through.  One weird note is that he went 2 for 3 at the plate and drove in a run, frankly amazing numbers for a pitcher in any game, and even more so for a first-timer.  Not expecting this to happen again, but it's good to know that he can connect for a hit once in a while. That's more than most pitchers can say.  Lincoln left the game with the score tied at 5, but a bad hop off Carrasco's shoe allowed the Nats to go up for good, and Donnelly let in another in the 8th.

Jose Tabata was nothing short of a beast.  His speed helped him beat the throw for an infield single twice, and he also drew a walk, making him 2 for 4 on the night.  Not bad for someone who wasn't putting up overwhelming numbers in AAA.  He did go down with some sort of injury in his 5th plate appearance, but hopefully it's just a cramp and not something more serious.  He probably won't play on Thursday, but hopefully he'll be back once interleague play starts up on Friday.

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