Saturday, April 18, 2009

Snell's Bells and Mighty Mo

Hey, the Penguins unleashed their two-headed monster, Sid the Kid and Gino, on the Flyers, and the Pirates followed suit today.

Ian Snell threw seven goose egg innings in his second consecutive strong start, and Craig Monroe pounded two three-run shots off of a pair of Brave pitchers to lead the Bucs to victory against Atlanta, 10-0.

Snell gave up four hits, walking three and striking out a trio, in notching his first win. He was also pretty efficient, using 94 pitches to get those 21 outs while the Bucs turned three DPs in his support.

Monroe showed his spring power burst wasn't a fluke. He iced the game with a two-out, three run shot off Jo Jo Reyes in the sixth, and then lit up Buddy Carlyle in the seventh, again with two on and two out, to turn what had been a five inning pitching duel into a laugher.

He wasn't alone in the hitting heroics category. Ryan Doumit had three doubles, Andy LaRoche had three hits, including two doubles, Freddy Sanchez had two knocks, one a triple, and Nate McLouth added a pair of singles. The Bucs banged out 13 hits during the day, nine going for extra bases.

With a big cushion, John Russell turned to Sean Burnett and Jesse Chavez to turn out the lights, and they each threw a 1-2-3 inning to close out the day. The Pirates team ERA is now 2.63; let's enjoy the work while we can.

Tomorrow afternoon's pitchers will be Zach Duke and RH Javier Vazquez; then the red-hot Florida Marlins come to town.

-- Jack Wilson was out of the lineup for the third time in four games because of a strained left middle finger, and hopes to be back on the field tomorrow.

Ramon Vazquez played in his place, his sixth infield start of the season. Vazquez is hitting just .143, but he's only made one error in the field. Remember the iron glove combo of Brian Bixler and Luis Rivas killing the Pirate staff with their hapless defense when Jack Splat went down last season?

-- And for those of you intent on firing up the Jack Wilson trade boards again, Red Sox shortstop Jed Lowry may be facing the knife for a broken wrist that won't knit back together. If so, the Bucs have already scouted their system, and unless Boston plans on giving the SS reins to Julio Lugo...just sayin'.

-- Baseball America posted its first "Prospect Hot Sheet" of the year, and guess who's on it? No, not Andrew, Pedro or Jose, but Altoona SS Brian Friday, listed at #7.

The Curve may be 0-8, but don't blame Friday, the third round pick in 2007 - he's hitting .500 going into tonight's game.

-- Ex-Bucco backstop Raul Chavez was recalled from AAA Las Vegas to take Michael Barrett's place on Toronto's 25-man roster. Barrett tore a muscle; he may be out of action for awhile.

-- Boston overcame a seven run deficit to beat the O's yesterday, 10-8. Jay Bay helped spark the comeback with his third homer; he drove in three against the Birds.

--In the "ya can't win" category: After sending down Lastings Milledge, at least in part for attitude problems, the Nats sat down his replacement, Elijah Dukes, and fined him for reporting to the ballyard late. They warned him that if it happens again - it's the second time he's been tardy already this season - he'll join Milledge in the bushes.

Washington may be putting together the MLB version of the Cincinnati Bengal roster in an effort to upgrade their talent. To their credit, they're dealing with it before it becomes an issue.

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