Hey, sometimes when you're snakebitten at home, the best thing for a team is to take a little road trip to change their luck. And the Bucs did see some differences at St. Louis.
For one thing, it wasn't raining. For another, there were 36,000 fans instead of 3,600. But unfortunately, the final results were the same - the Pirates lost, 4-2.
And it was indeed a game they lost. In the second inning, they drew three walks and banged out a pair of hits - and scored once, thanks to a Ramon Vazquez DP and a Colby Rasmus throw-out at home. In the sixth, they loaded the bases with one out.
The Cards started Freddy Sanchez off low and away, a ball he slices into right field 99 times out of 100. This time, he rolled over on it, bounced it to third, and bang-bang, the last Pirate threat of the night was extinguished.
In six innings, they had seven hits, seven walks, and just two runs.
And again, the bad guys made a play and the good guys didn't. Yadier Molina blocked the plate on a late throw to nail Jason Jaramillo.
Nate McLouth, with one out, a runner on third, and the pitcher on deck, caught a short fly in center, but seemed surprised when Chris Duncan tagged. Nate hesitated, and then threw an off-line duck home to allow the insurance run to score. That's the two run swing.
John Russell and the suits have some hard decisions to make with the lineup. This team may still recover enough to be competitive, especially if the pitching remains solid, but it's obvious that this is a year to evaluate players.
So why is Vasquez playing short? If they've lost confidence in Bix, bring up Luis Cruz. And they have to get Brandon Moss and Delwyn Young at-bats; maybe they should platoon them in right, even if their futures aren't in the OF.
Hey, it may well be that Moss is the first baseman of the future, and Young the second baseman. But you'll never find out if they're on the bench. Yah, yah, GW likes to harp on the accountability thing, but Pittsburgh isn't this year's Tampa Bay. And if they ever plan to be, youth must be served, as ugly as it may be.