Hey, make a couple of tough catches and the Pirates are still playing. But Xavier Nady had a ball tick of his glove, Jose Bautista couldn't come up with another, and that's all the help Wandy Rodriguez needed on his way to a 2-0 win.
Well, that and the bat of Kaz Matsui, who went 4 for 4 and scored both Astros runs.
Rodriguez went six innings and gave up five hits, while Phil Dumatrait matched him in innings, yielding his pair of runs on 7 hits. Both bullpens kept the zeros coming.
The bright side is that the Buc rotation shows some signs of a pulse lately. The bad news is it's too little, too late. The Cubs have won 9 in a row and the Pirates are in the cellar, 10-1/2 out and fading.
Thursday's draft will continue Pittsburgh's efforts to restock. And it looks like the Buc roster will be up for bid not too much later.
On the hot stove front: MLB Trade Rumors posts that Xavier Nady is the numero uno target of teams looking for a corner OF'er, and Jay Bay isn't far behind.
"Among right fielders, only Ryan Ludwick has been more productive than Nady this year. He earns $3.35M and won't reach free agency until after the '09 season. It'd be tough for Pirates fans to watch their incredibly productive outfield be dismantled, but trading Nady and Bay might serve the greater good."
>Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post says to "Keep an eye on the Yankees' interest in Brian Fuentes, whom they have liked for years. New York needs a reliable setup man to replace Joba Chamberlain, who joins the rotation.
Also keep in mind that if the price for Fuentes is too high, Brian Cashman can turn to familiar target Damaso Marte of the Pirates."
On the minor league front: GM Neal Huntington told MLB.com his take on the Pirate farm system:
"Our initial read on our system shows that we have a decent number of guys that could develop into credible Major League players. The largest area of deficit is the overall depth of the system, and in particular, that of potentially above-average Major Leaguers. While we have a few, our overall depth is not where it needs it to be."
Guess he's a half-full glass kinda guy.
>Steve Pearce played 1B for the first time this season at Indy. He also hit his sixth home run, and is batting .261 after having a brutal April at the plate.
>RHP Jared Hughes (2-7, 4.70) pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed three hits. He struck out 3 and walked a pair for Lynchburg. He's another guy that had a terrible start but is beginning to right the ship.
On the ex-Bucco front: MLB Trade Rumors has an ex-Bucco as the next in line behind Nady for the chopping block. "Brian Giles, 37, sports a .313/.398/.496 line in 367 ABs away from PETCO since the beginning of last season. He makes $9M this year (plus another $2M if traded) and his $9M option for '09 carries a $3M buyout. He can block trades to eight teams."