Opening Day and a Dodger killing
Did we wait for this, or did we???!!!! I have been off for the last few weeks, since I had nothing to write about save the stuff I’ve rehashed over and over and over again. We could have discussed Smizik’s exceedingly strange criterion using the middle of the order hitters to show the Pirates could lose 100. We could have discussed Vazquez’ DFA, but we predicted that in January. Essentially, we predicted the bench would be Young, Jaramillo, Raynor, Crosby and Pearce. Ryan Church was picked up after that and replaced Pearce.
So finally, Opening Day was upon us. Hopes of an undefeated season, hopes of breaking .500, hopes of prospects, all kinds of hopes. And the Pirates delivered. Garrett Jones with 2 homers, and Church with the big 2 out double to score 3 runs, which in my opinion was the difference maker. Most of the offense got going, save Aki Iwamura and Andy LaRoche- and I wouldn’t worry about either. LaRoche would do well to start hitting early, just so he can leave his tortuous start in 2009 behind him. But both are very good bat-handlers, and I think this could be the beginning of a big year for LaRoche.
How about Garrett Jones! What a story!
The bullpen – scary! We’ve spent a bunch of money but we aren’t where we’d like to be. Hopefully, as they settle in, things will improve. DJ Carrasco is too experienced to not pitch better than he did today. Unfortunately, the others weren’t any better, even though they didn’t give up runs. Taschner did well, but everything points to him imploding sometime soon. The key is, can he get back from there? Donnelly got some crucial outs after putting 2 runners on base. As did Meek. Dotel dominated.
The hitters – DY had an ugly 3 pitch strikeout. He needs to not press too much in limited ABs off the bench. Cedeno’s 2nd inning DP ball that cost the Bucs runs was bad- we need better situational hitting, especially from Cedeno who’s not likely to have a big average or OBP anyway. He needs to do the small things right- get the ball in the air in a situation such as this one. One event isn’t big, btu rest assured Crosby is not far from the starting position, and Cedeno will have to be on his toes.
Clement passed his first test with flying colors, and Jones and Milledge made a few sparkling plays. Milledge hit the ball on the nose a few times, and though he went 1 for 5 looked very good today.
The flipside- Padilla is not very good. I am not sure what the logic behind not starting one of Kershaw or Billingsley was, but whatever it was, it backfired. The Pirates hitters now need to lock in and turn in this kind of performance every day. Remember we were still out hit (in terms of no of hits) today.
Overall, this was a very satisfying opening day! Now, let’s work on putting some distance between the .500 mark and us!