PNC Park | 12:35 | Gorzelanny vs. Ben Sheets | Box
Don’t look now, but the Pirates are playing major-league baseball.
All along they’ve been playing in Major League Baseball, but the quality hasn’t necessarily been there. They’d pitch but not hit, or hit but not pitch, or hit and pitch but not field. Over the first three months of the season, rarely did the Pirates put together a complete effort.
It looks as if we’ve turned a corner, though, as the Bucs took three straight from the division leader and have won seven of their last 10. I don’t have dreams of October just yet, but I could get used to this winning. First .500, then the world.
Tom Gorzelanny threw seven strong innings, Adam LaRoche and Ryan Doumit hit home runs and Matt Capps earned his ninth save. Good pitching and timely hitting, it turns out, is the start of a recipe for success.
Much of the pre-game talk focused around the Pirates’ lineup. I like it, and it worked. Try it again tomorrow, skipper.
This afternoon’s start was delayed nearly two and a half hours due to a passing thunderstorm. Paid attendance was announced at just north of 15,000—not bad for a rainy businessman’s special, but not exactly sparkling when you consider the caliber of the pitching matchup.
The rain’s coming down hard outside my window, so it’s tough to say whether this one will get off as scheduled. Weather.com says that scattered thunderstorms are in the forecast, with the probability of precipitation set at 40 percent.
The lineups are posted at MLB.com. Nasty Nate’s leading off, but the remainder of the order may come as a bit of a surprise. Freddy was shifted up to the second slot, followed by LaRoche, Nady, Doumit, Bay, Bautista, Wilson and Gorzelanny.
Jose is 5 for his last 29 and hasn’t recorded a multi-hit game since July 17 against the White Sox. He batted lead-off in that one, and for part of the West Coast roadtrip following, but then he cooled off considerably prompting Tracy to bump him to second. Perhaps dropping him in the order even further will take some pressure off.
Batting seventh this year, Jose is putting up a .321/.367/.429 line. His OPS as a lead-off hitter is .906, boosted by an on-base percentage of .392. He seems to be more patient at the top of the lineup, which leads to more walks and more power—he tees off on mistakes rather than swinging earlier in the count.
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