Wednesday, June 30, 2010

So Who Needs Hits?

Hey, Pirate pitchers past and present did a pretty good job today. Bad Brad Lincoln notched his first MLB win, going seven shutout frames with four hits allowed, a walk, a hit batter, and six K's.

Tom Gorzelanny threw five goose eggs at his old teammates, yielding no runs on four hits with three walks and five whiffs. But in the end, the Bucco bullpen outshone the Cubbie's relievers, and Pittsburgh got a 2-0 getaway win.

Lincoln only had one worrisome inning, the fifth. Aramis Ramirez singled, and with two out, Starlin Castro lined a double just over Garrett Jones' big mitt, putting Cubs on second and third with two out.

But Lincoln showed some poise and struck out lefty pinch-batter Tyler Colvin on a hook, and that was pretty much the Cub's last hurrah; they would only get two more hits over the final four frames.

Before that, it was a case of the big hit that wasn't for Pittsburgh. The Pirates had two on with one out in the fourth, but Dewey grounded into a double play. Pedro Alvarez and Lastings Milledge hit back-to-back singles to start the fifth, but with two outs and the bases loaded, Andy LaRoche rolled out to short.

The Cubs would soon come to the Pirate's aid, though, and for a welcome change they accepted opportunity with open arms.

LaRoche was given a one-out gift when A-Ram dropped his bouncer to third. Andrew McCutchen followed with a single, and Garrett Jones' doubled home a run.

Chicago intentionally walked Doumit to load the bases, and brought on LHP Sean Marshall to face Alvarez. Good move; he struck Pedro out. Milledge didn't have a two-out hit up his sleeve, but hey, with the bases juiced, he did draw a walk to make it 2-0 Pirates.

Joel Hanrahan struck out two of three hitters he faced, and Octavio Dotel gave up his obligatory hit before putting Chicago to bed and ring up his sixteenth save - and seven have been against Sweet Lou's boys.

For Lincoln, it was a nice follow-up to a decent performance last outing. This time he tossed the out pitch when he needed it, and even coaxed a couple of DP balls. Bad Brad also showed that he can miss some bats this afternoon, and that's a welcome sign.

Cole Hamels will match up against Daniel McCutchen tomorrow night, as the Bucs return home for a quick four-game stand against the Phils. They'll visit Houston and Milwaukee before coasting into the All-Star break.

-- Bobby Crosby is expected to be ready to go tomorrow after his collision with Lastings Milledge put him on ice for three games.

-- The Nat's trade from last year is beginning to look like a win-win. Joel Hanrahan has become a back end force, compared to Sean Burnett's mid-game slot.

Lastings Milledge is hitting .273/.344/.373 with a homer, 20 runs, and 24 RBI. Nyjer Morgan is at .251/.312/.324 with 35 runs scored and 12 RBI (and Nyjmo has 75 more plate appearances). The Pirates got a six-hole hitter, Washington got a leadoff guy, and both sides probably got what they wanted.

Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors featured the deal today; here's how he summarizes it:
I'd rather have Hanrahan than Burnett at this point, and the Pirates' reliever is under team control for an extra season. Morgan's last two months have been discouraging, but he might be better than Milledge defensively and is under control for an extra year. While the Nationals are ahead 0.9 in WAR, this challenge trade remains something of a toss-up a year later.
-- C Erik Kratz was the only player from Indy to be selected for the International League All-Star team. Kratz went into today hitting .306 with 27 doubles, eight homers and 30 RBIs in 47 games.

No comments: