Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sweatin' Those Last Cuts

The Pirates treated Jamie Moyer and the Phils like AIG treated the fed's bailout money this afternoon, pounding out a 10-4 victory. And even better, it gave GW three storylines, a blogger's delight.

The big story is how the Pirates' bubble players are refusing to get cut without a fight. Andrew McCutchen went 5-for-5 with a home run, three doubles, two RBI, and three runs scored. Brian Bixler went 2-for-4 and scored, while Garrett Jones hit a three-run homer as a pinch hitter.

Hey, their fate may be predestined, but it's sweet watching guys force the suits to make hard decisions about roster spots instead of the usual annointing of players.

The next tale concerns Ian Snell, who lasted six innings with a line of one run on two hits, with three walks and five whiffs. Snell induced 9 ground outs to go with his 5 K's and a Jason Jaramillo pick-off (JJ also threw out a would-be stealer, showing why he made the cut).

The only caveat is that his control could use some sharpening. But on a day when the winds were blowing out at 30 MPH, it was key to keep the pitches down. He did, against a lineup that featured Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard, and Carlos Ruiz with top subs Geoff Jenkins and Matt Stairs.

And finally, the Bucs got a chance to let some of the minor league boys get their feet wet. Jim Negrych and Brian Friday ended the game as the middle infielders, Rob Grossman got some time in right field, and Erik Krantz finished behind the dish. It's nice to see the second wave of prospects get a sip in the bigs, even if only for a spring game.

All in all, a good day to be a Pirate. We'll see if they can do it again tomorrow afternoon in Tampa against the Yankees. Zach Duke will make the start against A.J. Burnett.

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