April 5, 2010

Pirates Treat Dodgers Like An Undefended Oil Tanker

PITTSBURGH, Pa. / April 5, 2010

In a result that stunned no one who has read this site, the Pirates began their championship season with an 11-5 dismantling of the favored Los Angeles Dodgers.

I took some pictures at the game but for now these girls in Jolly Roger flags will have to suffice.

The weather, sunny in the mid-seventies, was quite warm considering my Opening Day ensemble of black Pirates hat, black long sleeved shirt, black jeans, black socks and black shoes.

For me the highlights were:

1. Garrett Jones's first inning home run
One of the longest home runs I've seen at PNC, this hit was an absolute rocket that easily cleared the right field bleachers. Was 2009 actually an off year for Garrett? Also props to Iwamura for forcing a leadoff walk so Jones could hit with someone on base, as he did so few times last summer.

2. Ryan Church's bases clearing double
This was a pretty huge spot for Church's first Pirates at bat: bases loaded, two outs in the bottom of the fifth with a 4-2 lead. Showing why they named a whole Brew Works after him, Ryan cleared the bases with a double to make it 7-2 and chase Dodgers starter Vicente Padilla. It is really nice to have a legitimate pinch hitter off the bench, and actually with Delwyn Young the Pirates have one from either side of the plate.

3. Octavio Dotel's ninth inning
The outcome wasn't really in doubt, but it was nice to see Dotel come in, go right after hitters with confidence, and pitch a 1-2-3 ninth. I hope to see that many times this season. Matt Capps is a great guy and had some good years here, but I really prefer a power pitcher closing.

Honorable mention to the defense, which was solid all day in marked contrast to the Dodgers' sloppy play. Lastings Milledge in particular was impressive with both his range and his arm, and Garrett Jones had a good catch as well in right field.

And the lowlights:

1. The people next to me
In order to get tickets for the sold out Opening Day, this group had to plan at least several weeks ahead and navigate one of the worst traffic/parking situations of any given season. Yet after arriving in the middle of the second inning, they left for good after the fourth. I hope that their kids leave Take Your Daughter To Work Day at 9:15.

2. The batting order
I believe I mentioned on this very site that the problem with batting your pitcher eighth is the possibility of needing to pinch hit for him before you really want to take him out. Pinch hitting Church for Zach Duke worked in the fifth, but Church still would have pinch hit if Ronny Cedeno was batting in the eight hole. This forced Zach Duke out after five innings and 79 pitches when he could easily have thrown another inning.

3. The front end of the bullpen
I thought the Pirates would have an improved bullpen, but what happened today was not confidence-inspiring. With an 8-2 lead, D.J. Carrasco hit and walked his first two batters before giving up a two-run single to Manny Ramirez. Ramirez later scored to make it 8-5. Three runs allowed by Carrasco would have been fine if he pitched the final 3.1 to close it out, but instead the Pirates had to use three more men to finish the game. So really this complaint was just about Carrasco, but I didn't want his first bolded mention to be in a negative light.


  1. It took some finagling but I was able to get off work to come down for the opener. Glad I did. PNC Park is way more fun with a good crowd.

  2. NCF what the fuck you faggot you stole my tickets!