If there’s one good thing about today’s loss to Cincinnati, it’s the fact that Ian Snell went six innings, allowing five hits, three walks, and striking out seven, with two earned runs in the first inning. The bad news is that, like we saw in the Ross Ohlendorf start, the Pirates offense was shut down, combining for just three hits, with two of those coming from Nyjer Morgan.
Over the past years we’ve seen the Pirates make plenty of average pitchers look like Cy Young. However, the last two pitchers weren’t exactly average. Chris Carpenter, when healthy, is fully capable of the performance we saw Thursday. Aaron Harang, despite struggles last year, and in his first start this year, is no stranger to the type of success we saw today.
Then there’s the fact that the Pirates scored 26 runs in their other four games this season, including ten runs yesterday. That raises the question: which offense is real? Are the big performances we’ve seen just a fluke? Are the games against Carpenter and Harang just an example of the Pirates being shut down by a legit pitcher?
Unfortunately we won’t know, unless we see the Pirates get one hit by someone like Brian Moehler or Russ Ortiz (and hopefully that won’t happen in the next few games).
As for today, Snell had a good performance, and Craig Hansen, Sean Burnett, and Jesse Chavez combined for two scoreless innings. Nyjer Morgan was excellent, getting on base three times. Brandon Moss was the only other Pirate to reach base, going 1 for 3.
The negative points for the MVP tracker go to three players. Nate McLouth, Ryan Doumit, and Freddy Sanchez each lose a point for leaving Nyjer Morgan stranded on second in the first inning. Morgan led off with a double in the first inning, only to see Sanchez, McLouth, and Doumit go down in order without bringing him in. Sanchez and McLouth left Morgan stranded on first in the ninth inning as well.
-The Draft Prospects Tracker was updated. Dustin Ackley and Rich Poythress both homered, with Poythress winning the battle over Kentucky lefthander James Paxton. I’m hoping to do a feature article tomorrow recapping all of the draft prospects, plus a look ahead to next week. I’m going to try to do this each week until the draft on June 9th.
-Tomorrow I’m going to Lynchburg to see Pedro Alvarez in action. Alvarez started strong with a homer and a double in his first pro game, but has gone without a hit since then. I’m hoping he’ll be due for another homer tomorrow night. I’ll be providing updates via Twitter from the game, and pictures on the blog when I get home. Add me on Twitter to get the updates.