Thursday, April 26, 2007

Pirates 5 Astros 3

Seriously, can nothing be easy for the Pittsburgh Pirates? We're 10-10 after 20 games and, hey, I'm a Pirate fan and I'll take that. But it just as easily feels like we could be 5-15 or 15-5. Closer to 5-15, honestly, but with the complete lack of offense who knows what to make of these guys?

Anyways, let's start at the top. Anytime you can win when Tony Armas Jr. starts, I think that's a sign that it's a good day, no matter how terrifying the win turns out to be. I want to say Armas wasn't bad today, but we all know that the truth is that the Astros offense sucks. Still, he did get us five innings in which our depleted bullpen didn't have to pitch and we were still in the game when he left. Most teams don't ask for more of their fifth starters, so I suppose we shouldn't either.

Unfortunately, it took our "offense" more than five innings to break through against freaking Wandy Rodriguez. That shouldn't happen. Bay singled in two runs in the sixth to give the Pirates a lead they wouldn't relinquish, no matter how hard they tried. We piled on a couple more in the eighth with Xavier Nady's bruised hamstring taking a pitch for the team with the bases loaded, then Ryan Doumit picking up his second hit of the game and first two RBIs with the big club this year by singling two more runs in. Since I refuse to bury LaRoche yet, I won't say, "Why the hell was this guy in AAA" after one game, but why the hell was this guy in AAA?

Anyways, I thought Tracy made the right move bringing Torres out for the ninth with a 5-1 lead. It's not a save situation and the Astros offense has been pretty awful, so it's a good chance for Sully to rebuild some confidence, right? Wrong. After getting Jason Lane to ground out, Torres gave up two walks, a single, and a sac fly to pull the Astros to within 3 runs. For the second night in a row, Jim Tracy went straight to John Grabow, who promptly served up an RBI single and caused most Pirate fans paying attention to this one to soil themselves. THEN he walked Morgan Ensberg and I think I could heard the discontent at the stadium out my window. Finally, he got Adam Everett to bounce into a force play and end this one. I'm all about letting players hit their strides and ignoring the small sample size of April, but I do know this: a team that is having as much trouble scoring as the Pirates cannot afford a pitcher that is pitching like Salomon Torres is in the closer role. It's just not a viable way to win games.

Matt Capps for closer.