Thursday, July 24, 2008

Four in a row...

You wonder what Yoslan Herrera was dreaming on that boat in July, 2005, when he and 17 other Cubanos drifted across the deep blue sea for two days to Miami and freedom. We can't read minds, but we'll bet tonight was high on his wish list.

After a year in the Dominican and and season and a half in Altoona, Herrera won his first MLB ball game tonight, spinning 6 shutout innings in the Pirates 9-1 runaway win over hapless San Diego, which has now lost 9 of its last 10 games.

He gave up six hits - and two of them were Luis Rivas gifts - struck out 4 and walked one. Herrera wasn't overwhelming, but he did a much better job of mixing his pitches and keeping the ball down, and that was enough against the punchless Padres.

He iced the game in the third, when with runners on second and third, he got the PNC-loving Brian Giles to bounce back to the mound, ending the inning and SD's most serious threat against him. The grin splitting Herrera's face after the game said it all.

Denny Bautista and Sean Burnett brought the victory home. Maybe even more amazing than Herrera's game was Burnett tossing his first 1-2-3 inning of the year, in his 29th appearance. The trio struck out nine batters and walked one. You don't see that line often for Pittsburgh.

The Buc bats were efficient, even for them, scoring nine runs on eleven hits. Three left the yard, drilled by Jay Bay, Xavier Nady, and Nate McLouth. Like last night, the Pirates shared the spoils - seven players scored, six had RBI, and four had multiple hits.

Dang, if the X-Man could only play third base, we'd be half tempted to tell the Yankees and Rays to pound salt and keep the gang together.


WilliamJPellas said...

Funny you mention the X-man and third base, Ron. Nady played a little third during his amateur career and---if memory serves---actually started a couple of games at the hot corner very early in his rookie season with the Padres. My understanding without checking his exhaustive minor league records is that he's never played third exclusively or extensively, but that he HAS played the position a few times.

We actually kicked this idea around on another forum. I think he's athletic enough to do it, but he's already a plus player at first and in the OF, so in my view we'd be better served with either a new full time 3B or else bringing back superutilityman Rob Mackowiak to hold the fort until Alvarez gets here. (BTW, I'd much rather have Mackowiak than Rivas as our top utilityman, anyway. Rob is far better and more versatile.)

Ron said...

Well, Will, someone has to move somewhere eventually for Cutch. I was just letting my mind wander and thought with McCutchen & McLouth - now there's a Big Mac attack for ya - at the top of the order and Joey Bats on the bench, well, Pittsburgh would have a pretty formidable lineup.
But that pesky it just a worst case scenario or do those guys really stink is the question? Still, even if the rotation did flounder, keeping Nady and adding a free agent arm - like when we were talking about with AJ Burnett - and you'd have an interesting, if shallow, team.

Ron said...

And I forgot to mention - an expensive team, too.