May Day! May Day!
Perhaps it’s good the Pirates are headed home after playing six on the road – the last three of which were all losses to conference rival Milwaukee. 2-4 on the road isn’t the way the Pirates wanted to finish off April.
They now sit in a three-way tie for second with Cincinnati and those Brewers in the NL Central with the Cubbies a half game out.
Despite the skid, this is the Pirates best April since 2002, going 11-10. Clap, clap.
There still is a stench in the air. It would be nice to blame the whiff on the lack of a 3 and 4 hitter, what with Doumit and McLouth on IR, but really the killer attitude doesn’t seem to be there just yet for the Bucs. How else to explain two one run losses in the last two nights? How else to describe the hitting that allowed Yovani Gallardo looking like a pro?
Take this into consideration: in his previous 25 starts, Gallardo had never thrown a shut-out. Previous is the operative word here. Throw in 11 Ks and Milwaukee spends a night sleeping soundly – without dreams of a grinning CC Sabathia.
Oh and that homer that lost it? Hit by Gallardo too.
Players pointed out to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that Gallardo may have been getting a bit of help from the home plate umpire Marty Foster. But all of this comes across as sour grapes. No one wanted to step up and salvage a gutsy performance by Snell. So let’s blame the umpire. Let’s blame the home field advantage guys!
But not all was lost up there in Wisconsin. Ian Snell worked a great 7.0 innings scattering 5 hits and allowing one run. It will come as no surprise to Pirates fans that it was a homer that scored that one run – in five games this season Snell has been tagged for five dingers – but John Russell let him throw 131 pitches so something must have been working.
Snell is the first pitcher this season to throw over 130 pitches in the Majors. No Joba Chamberlain pitch count here. So even if he did hang that flat, fat, slider to Gallardo, you have to tip your hat to Snell – he’s a competitor.
At least the Bucs will get another shot at Milwaukee on Monday at PNC. Payback? Cincin is in town for the weekend also and then the Pirates are off to new Busch for a quick 2 game stand. By next Friday when the Pirates roll into New York, they could be anywhere from 1st in the division 5th. One hopes Houston doesn't get hot in the meantime.
In what will become a running portion of this blog, it is now time for the Pirates fantasy baseball watch! Can’t get enough Pirates? Come find out whose doing what in the realm of fantasy!
James Quintong asks which Zach/Zack is better – Greinke or Duke? While Greinke is owned in 100% of the leagues, Duke at this moment is sitting at only 44% despite both pitchers sporting torrid starts to the season. Quintong points out though that we should remain careful with Duke. But c’mon, what Pirates fan doesn’t know that.
Quintong writes: “But he's probably better than the worst guy on your staff in mixed leagues.”
Ah yes. Zach Duke – sicker than your average.
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Written by David Fulco