If Pittsburgh only practiced what its' coaches and management preached - fundamental baseball - there's no telling what its' record would be today.
The good news - Bay and LaRoche homered, the Bucs battled from behind twice, Zach Duke was strong and got the Pirates to the eighth, and the bullpen notched seven more strong innings. But Phil Dumatrait was the goat tonight, giving up four runs in his three innings.
Two of them were compliments of an Aramis Ramirez homer. Remember him? We wonder where Bobby Hill is now (Actually, we don't. But if you're curious, the 30 year old is playing for the Newark Bears in the independent Atlantic League along with former Buc and MLB outfielder Ruben Mateo.)
But its' what the Pirates don't do that mark this young season. The runs in the 15th were set up by a wild pitch (two outs, first and second, wild pitch advances them, intentional walk, single, goodnight. Sound familiar?)
The eighth inning is the Pirate's 2008 storyline. Two outs, runner on second, and Frankie Osaria pitching. He gets a hard grounder smashed up the line to LaRoche. LaRoche gloves it nicely and tosses a strike to first, a play that must have been practiced a hundred times in camp.
Osaria missed the throw; it ricocheted off the end of his glove. He didn't just drop it; he swatted it far enough along for the runner to come around and score.
So the Bucs came to bat down 2-0. The first two batters reached base. Luis Rivas got the call to pinch hit for pitcher Damaso Marte. He squared around to lay down a bunt, but instead popped the ball in the air, and goodbye big inning - it's caught and turned into a double play. The next hitter, Nate McLouth, doubled in a run, but the Buc's golden opportunity was by the wayside.
Please remind me again why the Pirates cut Ray Olmedo instead of Rivas. He had trouble at short in Pirate City, and hasn't gotten any better.
Another night, another self-inflicted loss. It's the same old song so far this season.
On the minor league front: The Tigers signed left-hander Casey Fossum, who will report to the AAA Toledo Mud Hens. He was a Pirate cast-off in camp, and opted for free agency rather than an assignment to Indy. We guess the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence.