I had a nice visit to Pittsburgh this weekend. I went to the game on Saturday night, which turned out to be the best game of the weekend (and the only game where a Pirate crossed home plate). It was also marathon weekend in Pittsburgh, so I enjoyed watching some friends run all over the city on Sunday.

Game 22 – Zach Duke pitched well (7 innings, 1 ER), but he got absolutely no help from the hitters. Bronson Arroyo shut down and shut out the Pirates, allowing 4 hits in 8 innings. This loss marked the 2nd game in a row where the Bucs were shutout, and it put the Pirates back to .500.

Game 23 – The Pirates got started early, putting 4 singles, a walk, and a HBP together to score 4 runs in the top of the 1st. Later, the Bucs got some help from a Brandon Phillips error that allowed 2 runs to score. In the top of the 9th, with an 8-4 lead, Matt Capps nearly imploded, but he survived with an 8-6 finish. Once again, the Pirates were a game above .500.

Game 24 – The thrill of victory was short-lived, as Johnny Cueto and Jeff Karstens took to the mound at 1:35 on Sunday afternoon. Karstens looked bad, as he gave up 5 runs in 5 innings. Again, the Bucs never got the bats moving, and they were shutout for the 3rd time in 4 games. No Pirate batter reached 2nd base in this game. Back to .500, and the Brewers are coming to PNC for a 2-game series.

Quick Thoughts
– We really need Ryan Doumit and Jack Wilson back in this lineup. Jen Langosch reported that Jack Wilson took some batting practice swings on Sunday. Ryan Doumit will rejoin the team on Friday.
– Who’s hot? – Delwyn Young looks good in the PH role. He’s 3-7 with 2 doubles. Other than giving up the 3 run homer to Lance Berkman on 4/16, Sean Burnett has pitched clean in relief.
– Who’s not? – Brian Bixler 3-15 and 10K, Brandon Moss 13-66 and OBP .243


I actually did get to watch a majority of this this afternoon’s game since my aunt and uncle have DirectTV, and they happen to be offering a free week of MLB Extra Innings (what luck!).

Offensively, there wasn’t too much to see, as Aaron Harang threw a 3-hitter to defeat the Pirates 2-0. To be 1-hit and 3-hit within the first week of the season worries me a bit.

Ian Snell had an improved outing. After giving up a 2-run homer to Brandon Phillips in the first inning, Snell calmed down to pitch six effective innings, striking out 7.

Defensively, there were two gems late in the game. With one out in the bottom of the 6th, Ramon Hernandez hit a hard line drive up the middle. Jack Wilson made a diving stop, flipped the ball to Freddy Sanchez and second, and Freddy jumped over a sliding Edwin Encarnacion to complete the double play. With runners on 1st and 2nd in the bottom of the eighth inning, Cincinnati had both runners going on the pitch. Edwin Encarnacion hit a bloop pop that was caught by Jack Wilson. Wilson threw to Sanchez then to LaRoche for the 6-4-3 triple play. That was the Pirates first triple play since 1993.

We’re finally heading home for series with the Astros, Braves, and Marlins. Hopefully PNC Park is friendlier to Andy LaRoche who is still looking for his first hit in 2009 (0-14).