Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's The Same Old Song...

Pedro got the usual weekday introduction to PNC; another sparse crowd of 15,218. Many appeared to be late walk-ins; maybe the suits could have made the announcement a day sooner instead of keeping everyone guessing and not cost themselves a good gate. But there is protocol to follow...

For three innings, it was a pretty well pitched and played game. But Zach Duke found trouble in the fourth, his nemesis frame.

A dink single was followed by a triple, single, walk, and another single, all well hit; it was 3-0 without an out, and still two aboard. He got out of it without anymore damage thanks to a short fly and 4-6-3 DP, but even with Pedro around, that's a lot of runs to make up for Pirate bats.

They picked up one in the fifth, but in true Pirate fashion, let a big inning die an agonizing death. After an Alvavrez walk and Lastings Milledge double, the Bucs were in business with runners at second and third with nobody away.

A broken bat bouncer to short froze Milledge and scored Pedro. Then the Zachster hit a soft liner back to the hill, and Milledge was doubled off (though this time there was nothing he could do about it except curse the baseball gods).

The Sox plated another pair in the sixth. A double past Alvarez with one out started it. The knock was followed by a soft RBI single to center and a blast that missed going yard by a gnat's eyelash brought in the second. After a flyout to the track, JR brought in Javier Lopez to close out the frame.

Duke went 5-2/3 innings, giving up five runs on eight hits with a walk and a pair of whiffs; he's been lost on the hill lately.

The game ground on from that point until the eighth, when the crowd saw what it was there for, a bullet home run by one of the young guns. So what if it was Jose Tabata instead of Pedro?

But that was OK. Soon the fans were abuzz in the ninth...about The Three Stooges act the Pirates pulled in the field. Brendan Donnelly gave up a pair of runs - on four errors! Walker made the first when hurriedly bobbled a swinging bunt by Juan Pierre, putting runners on the corners.

Pierre took off for second, and Ryan Doumit's throw bounced off Walker into center, allowing the run to score. Pierre broke for third while Alex Rios was taking ball four, and Doumit threw a strike right on the bag.

Unfortunately, that's not where Pedro's glove was, and the toss went into short left. Bobby Crosby's one hop-throw home got by Doumit, and that's four errors, and six for the game; 7-2 was the final.

You know it's a long day when you commit more errors than you have hits; the Pirates only collected four knocks, two by Milledge.

Hey, it's been a tough two days on the puppy hitters. After seeing power arms and a lot of fastballs in Detroit, Ozzie Guillen sent a pair of soft tossers against them. The Pirate batters weren't aggressive early in the count, and fell behind too often. Time to start absorbing those lessons; there aren't many craftsmen working in AAA.

And Pedro? Like the other guys from Indy, he seems to have a good eye, and went 0-for-2 with a whiff, a line out to left, and a walk, plus a run scored.

The first ball that was hit to him, a big one-hopper, was turned into an around-the-horn DP. But Pedro didn't show much range or a quick glove at third tonight, so we'll be watching how his leather plays as the season rolls along.

Ross Ohlendorf goes against Jake Peavy in the finale. Make that Mark Buehle; Peavy has a sore right shoulder

-- Aki Iwamura was the loser when Pedro came up; he was DFA'ed. There's a chance he could end up at Indy, since he has all his options yet, but in a couple of interviews he said he wasn't sure if he'd report if unclaimed.

-- Steve Pearce, off since May 25th with an ankle sprain, will report for rehab tomorrow, a couple of days behind schedule, with the Bradenton Marauders.

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