Sunday, April 26, 2009

Big Zach Attack

OK, so GW isn't that great at prognosticating. We thought this was going to be a small ball, tightly played series with the Padres. A 10-1 Bucco romp hardly qualifies. We added that AA pitchers of talent should be MLB ready; the Padre's young relievers looked like they were, well, a AA staff.

We said that Brandon Moss would eat up the innings in left because of all the Padre right handers. Shoulda checked with John Russell; he put Craig Monroe in left, and all he did was bang out three hits and drive home three runs.

But hey, we'll take being wrong if all ends up right with the Pirates. Zach Duke spun 8-1/3 sweet innings, giving up six hits and one run while running his record to 3-1 and dropping his ERA to 2.43.

The Bucs needed the pick-me-up after using up the bullpen in yesterday's 11 inning loss. Duke provided the bulk of the work, and Evan Meek came on to get the final two outs on two pitches.

The offense crossed the plate ten times, but it was small ball that led to the outburst. Twice they started off innings with runners on second and third; twice they brought them all home a station at a time. Another four runners crossed the dish after two outs. The attack was brutally efficient, paced by Monroe's and Freddy Sanchez's three hits.

It was even more impressive considering that Pirates are dropping like flies. Ryan Doumit (wrist), Nate McLouth (oblique), Jack Wilson (sprained finger), and Craig Hansen (neck & shoulder spasms) were all MIA tonight.

But this year's Pirate club has a bench that can step up. Monroe, Jason Jaramillo, Eric Hinske, and Ramon Vazquez combined to go 8-16 with three doubles, four RBI, and five runs scored against SD. Pretty good day for the pine riders, we'd say.

The Big O, Ross Ohlendorf (1-2, 3.00), will try to take the rubber match, with San Diego countering with Jake Peavy (2-2, 5.13), who is off to an uncharacteristic slow start.

-- The injury report: Doumit and Hansen are on the DL (Robinzon Diaz and Evan Meek took their spots), McLouth should be back sometime during the Brewer series early next week, and Wilson is day-to-day with a swollen finger that just won't heal.

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