Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Homegrown. Bucs WIN


Neil Walker, Pittsburgh born and raised, hits his first major league home run, the game winning RBI, for the Pirates in PNC Park.  If that's not a dream come true story, I don't know what is.  There have been lots of questions concerning the Pirates draft picks in the recent past, but since the Bryan Bullington travesty, only Danny Moskos has failed to produce as expected.  Obviously draft picks since 2005 have yet to reach the major league level, but Brad Lincoln and Pedro Alvarez are almost ready and Tony Sanchez is tearing it up in Bradenton.

This game didn't have the feel of a win early on.  Xavier Nady went 4 for 4, over half the Cubs' hits, and had a 2-run homer in the 3rd.  Fortunately for the Bucs, that was all the Cubs could manage in scoring.  The Pirates' bats slowly chipped away at that lead; a Garrett Jones homer in the 4th and the aforementioned Walker 2-run shot in the 8th.  For Jones (2 for 4 on the night, the only Pirate with more than 1 hit), his 7th home run of the season meant he has passed Cutch again in the Pirates HR standings.

Jeff Karstens didn't have a great outing, but it was very solid and was good enough to keep the score close for Neil Walker to come in and save the day.  The bullpen, true to form, came in and pitched 3 innings of 1-hit, no walk, 4 K ball.  The rotation as it stands now seems better than it did at the start of the year.  With Charlie Morton and Daniel McCutchen out of the rotation, and Brian Burres, Ross Ohlendorf, and Jeff Karstens all doing reasonably well, the Pirates have a decent shot of winning the game on any given night.  Paul Maholm has been pretty unlucky with respect to his record, with the bats, defense, and the rare bad bullpen outing all foiling his attempts at various times.  Surprisingly, Zach Duke has been the worst Pirate starter over the last month or so, and he's still good enough to get a win most of the time.  Of course, no matter how well your pitchers do, your bats still have to score runs to get wins.  Again, some call ups later this month should hopefully fix that situation.

Bucs go for the sweep later tonight. A win tonight will hopefully build some momentum when Frisco rolls in over the weekend.

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