Well, we'll say this - if the last two games of this series were playoff games, they'd be shown on ESPN 'til the cows came home. As is, the Bucs salvaged a win in the three game set filled with high drama, taking a 10 inning, 5-4 victory.
Jason Michaels two-out, two run single. Nate McLouth's catch with two out and two on. Brian Roberts going the opposite way for a two-out, two run ninth inning homer to tie the game. Adam LaRoche stroking the game winner in the tenth. Matt Capps getting a blown save and win in the same game, a day after George Sherrill did the same for the O's.
It's what you'd expect to see from two teams that aren't there yet, but heading down the right road. Big hits, big plays, big hearts. And what more can you ask for?
On the Pirate front: Xavier Nady has a left shoulder contusion after crashing into the wall chasing after a foul fly in the ninth last night. X-rays taken last night were negative, but he will have a MRI test tomorrow in Pittsburgh, and the results will tell the tale as to whether he'll go on the DL or be good to go.
> Who woulda thunk it in April? The Pirates have gone a season-high 65 innings without committing an error. That's 7 games plus. Who sez having Jack Splat back doesn't make a difference? (EDIT - Jose Bautista ended the streak at 73 innings with his ninth inning boot today. Nice timing, Joey Bats.)
On the minor league front: C Ronny Paulino hit his fourth home run at Indy, a two-run shot. He's returning a bit to earth - his average is down to .429.
> LHP Danny Moskos is starting to heat up. He pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed 3 hits while striking out 7 and walking 1. His record is 6-3, with a 4.04 ERA at Lynchburg.
For those with a short memory, Clemson's Moskos was the Pirate's top pick in 2007, selected 4th overall, ahead of the now infamous Matt Weiters. He's being converted from a closer to a rotation guy.
> Brad Lincoln is settling in a Hickory. He allowed 3 runs on 9 hits in six innings. He struck out 4 and walked 2 in his shakiest start since coming back from rehab. We're curious to see how his arm holds up as the innings add up. Lincoln is 3-2 with a 2.70 ERA.
> Hickory 1B Miles Durham hit his 11th home run and went 2 for 4 with a triple and 2 RBIs. The 25 year old is hitting .335 with 49 RBIs.
On the hot stove front: Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette wrote today about why Jason Bay may be off the trade market - Hey, Jay Bay May Stay.
> MLB Trade Rumors agrees - "Xavier Nady is more likely to go. The Boras client is not expected to re-sign with the Pirates when he reaches free agency after the 2009 season. Trading him now makes sense - he's hitting well and he's more than a rental."
On the draft front: Scout.com likes the Pirate draft. Their take:
"This is the year that Pittsburgh Pirates' fans have been waiting for. There is perhaps no other team that landed two more impressive talents with their top two picks. If Tanner Scheppers is indeed healthy, he and Alvarez are two of the premier talents in this draft class.
Pittsburgh then took advantage of the depth of college position players, nabbing two quality shortstops in back to back rounds in Mercer and D'Arnaud. Just when it seemed they'd go college heavy throughout the draft, Pittsburgh may have gotten a steal with prep outfielder Robbie Grossman at 174th overall.
Beyond just the elite talent at the front of the class, the depth that Pittsburgh added really is remarkable, and that's where the sleepers come into play for them. In the 8th and 9th rounds they were able to get two quality third baseman still on the board, Jeremy Farrell and Matt Hague.
Their best sleeper pick of all, though, may have been their 14th round pick, Mike Colla. Colla gives them a durable college arm with a good, low-90's fastball."
Hague's the only one they've signed so far, so we'll see how it plays out. Drafting good players is the start, but getting them inked and into the fold is another story.
On the ex-Pirate front: LHP Shane Youman, who was released as part of the Pirate housecleaning over the winter, was cut from Phil's Double-A team, Reading. He was flat-out awful, with an 0-1 record, 11.28 ERA, 21 walks surrendered in 22-1/3 innings and a WHIP of 2.42.