Jose Bautista from MLB.com
A lot to like tonight. Then again, whats not to like about an 11-4 romp?
Jose Bautista went yard twice and collected 4 RBIs while playing a sterling hot corner. Jay Bay and Nate the Great reached base four times, the X Man and Ryan Doumit three times. Chris Gomez dinked another patented two strike, two out, two run hit.
The pen retired 14 straight batters before yielding one infield hit in five innings. The Pirate gloves were at work, too. When the Nats still had some life in the fifth inning, Gomez made a nice grab of a one hop throw to get a force out and Bay made a sweet running catch just inside the line in the left field corner.
In the past week, the Pirate's comedy revue in the field has died down, especially with the steady if rangeless Gomez at short. When and if Jack Splat comes back next week, Pittsburgh may look like a major league team between the lines.
The worst part was that Phil Dumatrait couldn't go five to get the win, which would have been his first in the show. But John Russell made the right move to get him out when he did in the fourth.
A couple more Nat scores would have changed a laugher into a struggle, so he called for Damaso Marte to douse the embers. (He got the win.)
There was a 25-minute delay when the lights went down, and it seemed to suck the juice out of Dumatrait, who looked pretty sharp during the first three innings.
He used his heat almost exclusively the first time through the Washington line up, but after the brownout, he went to more off speed and breaking stuff. They got spanked by the Nat hitters.
So the jury is still out on the Dumatrait rotation experiment. Can he develop an effective off speed pitch, or will the second time through the lineup continue to be his Achille's Heel?
And there's the Freddie Sanchez funk, which continued tonight. His eye has deserted him, and the Nat pitchers got him to fish for pitches in the dirt and off the plate. Ditto for Adam LaRoche. He had a seat on the pine, and K'ed as a pinch hitter.
How about the poor 26,001 Nat fans? Not only did their team get whacked, not only did they sit through a half hour delay, but to add insult to injury, tonight's scheduled fireworks display was canceled because of the time. There woulda been a riot if that happened at PNC.
On the Pirate front: LHP Phil Dumatrait (0-1, 3.92 ERA) replaces Matt Morris in the rotation. Since he's been throwing out of the pen, he'll probably max out at 80 pitches tonight. Dumatrait's looking for his first big league win.
For Dumatrait, it is a second chance to start in the MLB. He was 0-4 as a starter last season in Cincinnati and posted a 15.00 ERA. He once gave up three straight homers to start a game against the Brewers to Rickie Weeks, J. J. Hardy, and Ryan Braun - and that was just last September.
It will also mark the first time since 1994 that a team has started four consecutive lefties. The Nats are doing their best to respond in kind, starting three against the Pirates.
The Bucs and Nats will dress in throwback Homestead Gray uniforms tomorrow. The Grays played at both Forbes Field and Griffith Field during WW2. In fact, it's said that Gray catcher Josh Gibson hit more home runs by himself in Griffith Field in 1943 than the Washington Senators did as a team.
The Grays, btw, were one of the more popular suggestions for a team name when the Nats came into existence.
On the hot stove front: Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News sez that the New York Mets are interested in reacquiring outfielder Xavier Nady. And no, we really don't want Ollie back that badly, thank you.
Lyle Spencer of MLB.com writes "Xavier Nady (26 RBIs) is reaching his vast potential. Wouldn't he look good in the cleanup spot behind Adrian Gonzalez in San Diego, his first home? The power-starved Mets, with their .371 team slugging percentage, also could use the X Factor."
On the ex-Pirate front: Billy Wagner expanded on his blunt criticism of Oliver Perez Thursday during his weekly radio spot, saying the Mets will go nowhere this year if the enigmatic lefthander doesn't learn how to battle through his own troubles.
In his weekly interview on ESPN Radio, Wagner said Perez has to hold himself accountable for lasting only 1-2/3 innings Wednesday on a day the Mets needed some innings from him.
"If he goes out there and battles and comes up short, you know what, we're not going to have a problem with that," he said. "But you have to battle. You have to go out there and find a way," according to Newsday.
Reliever Mike Gonzalez, a year removed from Tommy John surgery, is scheduled to pitch his last extended spring training game May 14 and may then join the Braves, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
On the MLB front: What the heck is up with Roger Clemens? Now the happily (we thought) married father of four has been linked with a jail bait country singer, a stripper, a barmaid, and a golfer's wife. Geez, maybe that was Viagra and Spanish Fly he was scoring off trainer Brian McNamee, not HgH.