To say the start by Zach Duke tonight wasn’t encouraging would be a lie. I’m not going to throw cold water on this win by going over Duke’s inconsistent history, including a 2008 season where he allowed just six runs in 18.2 innings in his first three games, only to finish the season with a 4.82 ERA. OK, that was just a splash of cold water.
The Pirates looked strong all around tonight. I say that with most of my opinion based on the box score. I spent the 8-9 hour watching Lie to Me and Scrubs, followed by focusing more on my fantasy aces Zack Greinke and Chad Billingsley on the game mix channel, rather than the Pirates game.
There’s a lot of points to give out for the MVP tracker tonight (although the max is five, so I’m going to have to choose wisely) so let’s break down what went right:
-One point for Duke for his great start. 6.1 innings, 5 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, and one earned run.
-One point for Jack Wilson for a great night at the plate. Wilson went 4 for 5 with a run and two RBIs. Wilson takes the early lead in the MVP race.
-One point for Freddy Sanchez for a similar night to Wilson. Sanchez went 4 for 5 with a run and an RBI.
-One point for Gold Glove Winner Nate McLouth. By the way, is it a rule that you have to mention his gold glove award every time you say his name? I’ve listened to the Pirates and Cardinals broadcasters this year, and I’ve never heard his name without “Gold Glove Winner” prefacing it. Nate gets the point for his first homer of the year, which gave the bullpen some insurance that certainly helped with a shaky performance from Tyler Yates. Also had a nice catch at the end of the game against the wall.
-One point for Brandon Moss for his 3 for 4 outing with two runs before being replaced. The Pirates could certainly use a strong season from Moss, either giving them four talented outfielders (McLouth, McCutchen, Tabata, Moss) or a possible replacement for Adam LaRoche in 2010.