Hey, the good news is that the pitching, with one very noticeable exception, held up pretty well. The bad news is that whatever Donnie Long is teaching Pirate hitters isn't sinking in.
The Pirates went down 3-2 to the Red Sox, despite Paul Maholm's three shut-out innings to start the game. His command wasn't great, but he allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out three.
Javier Lopez, Jack Taschner, DJ Carrasco, Anthony Claggett and Jeremy Powell all put up zeroes after Maholm. But Chris Jakubauskas blew his second save of the Grapefruit League season when he was lit up for three runs on three hits and a walk in 1/3 of an inning. And that was all she wrote.
The attack didn't help, pounding out all of four hits. Delwyn Young homered and Steve Pearce doubled the last run home. The Pirates again had a chance to pull it out in the ninth, but...
...with two aboard and nobody out, Gorkys Hernandez lined out to shortstop Jose Iglesias, who flipped to second to force out Jonathan Van Every, and the Red Sox then caught Brandon Jones in a rundown to complete a triple play after first throwing the ball away. Not exactly fundamental baserunning, boys.
Hey, we understand playing the Yankees, Phils, Red Sox, Twins, et al, is a challenge. But there are two areas of concern that are rearing their ugly heads so far this spring that have nothing to do with the competition, but with talent.
One is the lack of control by the Pirate staff, which added another seven walks to their total today. The other is the pop-gun offense, which is bombs-away twice a week and in sleep mode otherwise.
The Bucs will go as far as their pitching takes them, and without support, that won't be very far. Maybe the problem is trying to find time for everyone; there are 66 guys in camp, and most are seeing some action. It could be that after cutdown and some steady innings and at-bats, the pieces will fall together. But right now...well, 23 days to go before the games count.
-- There are two games tomorrow. The Pirates host the New York Yankees at 1:05 PM on MLB.TV. Charlie Morton will get the start, followed by Vinnie Chulk, Brendan Donnelly, Jean Machi, and Jeff Karstens.
-- There's also a B game at Pirate City against the O's; Brad Lincoln will take the hill for that one, backed by Brian Burres, Bryan Morris, Donnie Veal, and Jeff Sues.
-- Jeff Passan of Yahoo!Sports has a nice piece on Matt Stairs, who made the Pirates one of his many big league stops.