I know it’s early, but let’s consider the small sample of success we’ve seen from the Pirates so far:
-Early signs are showing that Paul Maholm was no fluke last year (1.32 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and only 3 walks in 13.2 innings).
-The Pirates have received four quality starts in their five games. The only reason they’re not 4-1 right now is because Chris Carpenter shut the offense down in Ross Ohlendorf’s start.
-We haven’t seen Karstens yet, but the early return for the Nady trade looks great if that was the real Ross Ohlendorf.
-The team ERA is 3.35, which is about two points lower than last season.
-Nate McLouth may not be hitting that well, but he does have two homers already.
-Nyjer Morgan not only has a .391 average to start the season, but he has three steals, and has created a few runs thanks to his speed.
-Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez are hitting well, with Wilson hitting .368 and Sanchez hitting .391.
Now obviously most of this is just a one week thing. There’s no chance Wilson hits .369, or that Sanchez and Morgan hit .391. I don’t think Morgan will end up with 97 stolen bases, which is what he’s on pace for (but that’s not stopping me from adding him as a stolen base sleeper in fantasy leagues). I don’t think the starters will continue to throw four quality starts every five outings.
But for now, it’s nice to see a good week (props to Joe Kerrigan for the pitching staff: 19 walks in 43 innings, or a 3.97 BB/9). It would be even better if Snell can bounce back tonight.
As for the game, Maholm was excellent, going seven innings, allowing one run on three hits. McLouth homered in the first to give the Pirates a two run lead. Nyjer Morgan created a few runs, first with an RBI triple, then by stealing second and scoring on an RBI single by McLouth. Then Ryan Doumit busted the game open in the ninth inning with a grand slam to put the Pirates up by eight runs instead of four. That doesn’t sound too important, but it allowed the Pirates to use Jesse Chavez for an inning, rather than tire someone like Matt Capps or Tyler Yates in a somewhat close game.
The stars of the game, for the MVP Tracker, are:
-Maholm for his outing. Maholm now takes the lead.
-Nyjer Morgan for his all around great play. 3 for 4, two runs, one RBI, and two steals. Morgan shares the lead with Maholm.
-Nate McLouth for his two run homer, and for his additional RBI in the seventh.
-Ryan Doumit for breaking the game open in the ninth inning.
-The 2009 Draft Prospects Tracker has been updated. Rich Poythress played in a double header on Saturday, his second of the week. Poythress homered in the second game, and went a combined 4 for 9. Poythress takes on another draft prospect today: James Paxton from Kentucky.
Paxton was 4-0 with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP before his last two outings where he posted a combined 14 runs in seven innings.
Two other draft prospects met up on Friday, when Kyle Gibson pitched a complete game to get the win over Kendall Volz, who allowed three runs in seven innings.
-The Pirates signed a dozen Latin America prospects, according to DK at the PBC Blog. I’ll be honest, I don’t know who any of these guys are, but I found it funny that we have another Jose Bautista in the farm system. Hopefully we don’t lose him in the 2012 Rule 5 draft.
-I’ll be going to Lynchburg tomorrow to see Pedro Alvarez in action. I’ll also see prospects Jordy Mercer and Matt Hague. I’ll be providing updates via Twitter, so click that link and subscribe to my Twitter feed. I’ll also have some pictures to post on the blog when I get back.
24 year old lefty Paul Mildren will take the mound. Mildren posted a 2-13 record last year with a 6.62 ERA. I was hoping to somehow see Bryan Morris, but he just went down with a shoulder injury, so maybe I can see him later in the season when Robbie Grossman and company are called up from West Virginia.