Sunday, April 12, 2009

Harang Harumphs Bucs

-- The Bucs were stymied by Aaron Harang today, losing 2-0 at Great American Ballpark. Harang pitched the complete-game shutout, giving up just three hits, walking none, and striking out nine as he dominated the Pirates.

Ian Snell deserved a better fate. He gave up two runs on five hits in six innings, walking three and whiffing seven in a reversal of his opening outing. Snell hung tough today, twice pitching out of jams to keep the game close. His one mistake was a two-out, two-run, first inning long ball yielded to Brandon Phillips. That was the game.

John Russell still has us shaking our heads over his decision to bring in Jesse Chavez in the eighth inning of a 2-0 game. Hey, it's one thing to show confidence in a guy, but isn't that a little early to be waving a white flag?

Chavez gave up a hit and a walk to the first two batters, but kept the Reds off the board when Edwin Encarnacion hit into a triple play.

The runners on first and second were off on the pitch when Jack Wilson ran down the soft liner in short left, flipped to Sanchez at second for a force, and he made the turn to Adam LaRoche to catch the second runner. It would have been more memorable in a win.

The middle of the Pirate order is still in a deep funk; the 3-4-5-6 hitters, Nate McLouth, Ryan Doumit, and the LaRoche boys, are 11-for-81, a .136 average.

-- The Pirates have six outfield assists in six games. Nate McLouth and Brandon Moss have picked off a pair of runners, and Nyjer Morgan and Eric Hinske both claimed a victim.

-- Tony Jackson of Inside The Dodgers reports that "Delwyn Young is drawing some trade interest. The Indians, Pirates and Phillies all have had scouts in Albuquerque this week to watch him."

The 26 year-old is a switch-hitting corner OF, on DL rehab with an elbow impingement, and he's out of options. His 2008 line with LA was .246-1-7 in 126 at-bats; his career average is .267.

-- Ya think Jay Bay isn't making it hard on the Red Sox to reup him? He has two homers, six RBI, and a .333 average after four games. He and the Bosox agreed to disagree on a long-term deal during the spring; the suits think the free agent market depressed his value. Bay obviously thinks otherwise.

-- Albert Pujols doesn't just kill the Pirates. He hit a grand slam and a three-run homer last night against the Astros. That's seven RBI in two swings, one more than any Bucco has driven home in six games.

-- Hey, you may not have known that the Durham Bulls and Norfolk Tide were going at it yesterday, but the scouts sure did. Baseball America’s top two rated prospects, Tampa Bay's LHP David Price and Baltimore's C Matt Wieters, faced each other in the AAA International League battle.

Price struck out Wieters on three fastballs in the first inning, and then Wieters drew a walk in the third during a twelve pitch at-bat. So the clash of the titans ended up a draw. We expect them to have many more anticipated match-ups in the AL instead of the IL, and soon.

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