Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Game 1: Pirates 4 Astros 2

Ahh, the first recap of the year. If you missed the liveblog, you can catch all the goodness here. If you want to read my attempt at being partial about the game, you can catch my Fanhouse recap here. If you want to read the insane ramblings of a Pirate fan that will be (slighty) shorter than the liveblog, read on my friend.

In September, a win is a win is a win. There isn't a "got dominated by Roy Oswalt but won when the Astros closer imploded" category. We're 1-0. It wasn't pretty and we got lucky, but we're 1-0.

Zach Duke was lucky to have Chris Duffy and Jose Castillo tonight, but only walking one batter in 7 innings is good for him. Walks were his biggest problem in the first half last year. He got hit hard and he's going to have to strike people out if he wants to be the pitcher lots of us think he can be, but this was at least an encouraging start.

I hope Jim Tracy was paying attention to the pitches Jason Bay saw hitting in front of Adam LaRoche tonight and puts it in his notebook for when Freddy Sanchez comes back. Bay was literally baffled by strikes in his first three at bats tonight. When he figured out that strikes were coming, he launched the game winning homer and nearly hit one off of Wheeler in the 8th. Maybe I'm imagining things, but I thought it was a visible difference. Also, this approach will fail if Adam LaRoche strikes out four times a night.

Both Joses were great in the field tonight. Clearly a fire was lit under Jose Castillo by his benching that hasn't taken place because of Freddy's injury. He is thin and he looked as good in the field as I've ever seen him look tonight turning DPs, getting a liner up the middle, and applying tags.

As much as I try to defend Tracy's moves and how he handled the team in the second half last year, I'm still furious about his decision to pinch-hit Kelly in the 9th. I mean, come on. Lidge didn't have anything. Righty/lefty clearly didn't matter. Eldred eats fastballs for dinner and would've put Lidge's weak shit over the train tonight. We won anyways, but if we lost that move would've been a big part of it.

Oswalt, 92 pitches, 75 strikes. Damn. Oswalt's good but not that good. Someone needs to learn to take a pitch. We had exactly one good at bat against him where we worked him deep into a count and make him work, and that was Jack Wilson in the first.

Nate McLouth, eh? Really?

Let's not forget how awesome it is that the two out game tying homer was hit by a guy that missed half of spring training with an intenstinal infection and he hadn't hit an extra base hit or driven in a run since 2006. Xavier Nady, you have replaced Craig Wilson. Fight on Weapon X.

Greg Brown's "X MARKS THE SPOT!" home run call was down right Jim Nantzian.

Remember how I keep saying we need everything to go right to finish .500 and be competitive? It happened tonight. Despite my own negativity, you can be damn sure I will root for this to continue happening.

Also, note that I'm not gloating about Bay's clutch homer. OK, well, maybe a little.