Thursday, May 01, 2008

Game 28: Nationals 3 Pirates 2

You know what really sucks? Actually getting a solid start from someone who isn't Ian Snell and seeing it go to waste. Zach Duke again didn't fool many people tonight (only one strikeout in seven innings), but he did limit the Nationals to five hits over seven innings, which is about as good as it gets for him, and no runs after the second inning. The Pirates got rare homers from Freddy Sanchez and Ryan Doumit (his homer rare because it came from the right side of the plate ... at least I think it was, I'm blacked out of Nats' games in Chapel Hill because MLB has a terribly archaic blackout policy) to keep things tied, but John Grabow chose a poor night to give up his first run of the season. It's hard to fault him since he's been so good, so instead we'll place this one on the offense. Two runs? Three hits? Against the Nationals? Honestly, if it's not one thing with this team, it's definitely another.

As an aside. games like this one make me appreciate just how hard it can be to be a big league manager. Duke racked up some serious pitch counts earlier this year, but only had 85 through seven innings and got through the seventh relatively easily. Russell chose to replace him with Grabow, but it couldn't have been a matchup reason because they're both lefites. The top of the order was up, but none of those guys had a ton of success against Duke earlier in the game. I'm not saying it was the wrong call to pull Duke for Grabow, because I don't necessarily think it was, but man, it certainly wasn't an easy one to make.