The new I-gotta-get-a-scorecard Buccos and the Nats put together an interesting little game tonight, with the Pirates holding on for a 5-4 victory in front of 23,363 curious fans at PNC.
Hey, sometimes games between cellar-dwellers have as many story lines as a battle of the titans. Three of the four players swapped by the clubs played, with some mixed results.
Nyjer Morgan got a hit and single for Washington, though he did manage to get picked off of first base and popped up for the last out of the game. Lastings Milledge got his first Pittsburgh start, and went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. Joel Hanrahan, well, he got in, going 2/3 of an inning and giving up a pair on a hit and walk.
But after the grudge matches were played out, the Pirates new crew did all right. Besides Milledge's night, Steve Pearce had a double, homer, 2 runs scored and a RBI. Ronny Cedeno played a solid short and chipped in a knock, ending a long hitless streak.
Delwyn Young looked a lot like an outfielder playing second base; he'll make Perry Hill earn his money this year. At least the snow-topped Hill can't get any grayer.
Ross Ohlendorf pitched pretty well, going 6-1/3 frames and giving up a pair of runs on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks, earning his ninth win. The Big O hasn't been spectacular, but he keeps the team in games and seems to have settled nicely into the number four spot of the rotation.
Finding that late-inning bridge that John Grabow provided may be a bit more challenging. It looks like JR is going to throw Jesse Chavez, Evan Meek, and Hanrahan into the breech.
They all worked tonight, and only Chavez escaped cleanly. The lefty-righty thing shouldn't be a problem. The Pirates haven't used a specialist since the early Damaso Marte era, and he quickly evolved past the LOOGY stage. But one of them is going to have to take the bull by the horns; there's a golden opportunity for them right now.
Fortunately, it doesn't look like there's gonna be a mental meltdown after the gutting of the team, as some feared. A shortage of talent maybe, but not a shortage of effort (Doumit did dog a DP grounder, but we're not too concerned about his hustle over the course of the season). And that's all you can ask for right now.
-- The next action on the player front will come in the next two weeks. That's all the time the Pirates have left to sign their draft picks; they have 18 in the barn now. And we'll see how the Miguel Sano drama unfolds at the end.