Monday, April 20, 2009

April Showers...

-- The Big O shrugged off a start as nasty as the weather and finished like a spring breeze as he two-hit the Marlins over seven innings in an 8-0 win.

Ross Ohlendorf came to Pittsburgh touted as a power arm, but his offspeed stuff carried the day. He leaned on a nice slider and change-up tonight, striking out five and walking one in notching his first victory as a Pirate.

The Bucco pitching dominated the game. In the final eight innings, the Fish sent up the minimum 24 batters. A hit and walk were erased by a sweet Andy LaRoche DP and Jason Jaramillo throwing out a wanna-be base stealer.

Young LaRoche must have paid attention to Perry Hill; he started the DP on one knee after a diving stop, and earlier threw out the human bullet Emilio Bonifacia on a bunt. His footwork has noticably improved from the beginning of the year.

The Pirate bats did their job, too, capped by a 433', three-run shot by Nate McLouth that bobbed in the Allegheny after landing on the River Walk. Nyjer Morgan and Freddy Sanchez continue to be the league's hottest top of the order, getting on base four times and scoring three runs, and Adam LaRoche added a pair of knocks.

The Marlins looked nothing like the highly praised club that came into Pittsburgh. Maybe nine wins against the Nats and Chipper-less Braves were more a matter of serendipity than ability.

The outfield was lackadaisical, the pitchers ignored runners (the Pirates had three stolen bases, including third twice), the batters didn't show much discipline, and catcher John Baker let three balls get by him for wild pitches that all could have been blocked. No wonder they like Ronny Paulino.

Hey, maybe it was just a bad day at the shop for Florida. Still, we wouldn't complain if the malaise lasted a couple of more days.

Too bad the weather was so miserable. The game was played in front of one of the smallest announced crowds in PNC history, 8,790, and there were less than 5,000 actually in the house. And it was a match worth watching tonight.

Jeff Karstens will take on Anibal Sanchez tomorrow, if the stormy heavens permit.

-- The annual Ryan Doumit injury report has its first entry of the season. Doumit felt a "stretch" in his wrist yesterday. He got a MRI today and is scheduled for a CAT scan tomorrow. Jason Jaramillo will catch, while Craig Monroe will get the start tonight in RF and take his place in the middle of the order.

If he's out for any length of time, Pittsburgh will be forced to juggle the roster and call up Robinzon Diaz. There is no third catcher on the roster, unless John Russell is getting ready to mount a comeback. Recently demoted Luis Cruz was the emergency backstop.

-- The Nat's just DFA'ed three members of their sad sack bullpen. Kip Wells will take one of the vacated spots. Nine lives, hey?

-- And why do grown guys want to play a kid's game? Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald came up with a few million reasons:
"The average salary of an American League player is $3.37 million. In the National League, it is $3.12 million. By division, the AL East, with an average salary of $3.85M, is tops, followed by the NL Central ($3.4M), AL Central ($3.15M), NL East ($3.13M), AL West ($3.04M) and NL West ($2.79M).

Overall, 86 players, or 11 percent of the Opening Day payrolls, earn $10 million or more for a total of $1.18 billion. That portion of total payroll accounts for 44 percent of the total amount spent on player payrolls.

All salary figures are according to the Associated Press and"

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