Thursday, April 03, 2008

Game 3: Pirates 4 Braves 3

This has been a crazy, crazy week. After three days, the Pirates have been outscored by the Braves 24-18. They've seen both of their starting middle infielders get hurt, made a bunch of errors, used Tyler Yates in three straight games, and had their best start come from Zach Duke. Somehow, the Pirates are 2-1.

If we want to talk only about tonight's game (because, I mean, what else would we talk about?), then we have to start with Duke. He was not bad tonight. That doesn't mean he was particularly great either. He certainly didn't get bashed around the park like we're so used to seeing, but he didn't miss many bats tonight, either (only 1 K in five innings). He gave up ten hits, but four of them were in the sixth inning that was almost certainly one inning too many. Through five, he'd shut out the Braves on six hits, no walks, and one strikeout. That means we'll chalk tonight's outing for Duke up as "encouraging, but only mildly so." He's simply gotta get up around that 5 strikeouts per 9 rate to be any kind of effective for a long period of time.

Beyond Duke, this was a mostly disappointing performance from the offense. I mean, they scratched Hampton right before game time and went with Jeff Bennett, who pitched both Monday and Wednesday. Still, they were only able to score a couple runs off of Bennett and then were mostly shut down by a tired Braves' pen tonight. I mean, Bobby Cox pulled a trick out of the Chuck Tanner hat and used Chris Resop twice tonight, using him to pitch to Jason Bay and Xavier Nady with Royce Ring to pick to LaRoche in the middle. Of course, that was where the Braves lost the game because Xavier Nady came up with his fourth huge hit of the season, knocking in Nyjer Morgan in the top of the tenth.

Really, this first series was mostly marked by messy baseball. There were a lot of errors, several unearned runs, and a couple injuries. Regardless, the Pirates are 2-1, and while I certainly don't expect it to last, that's really all that matters.