The Pirates avoided a sweep today by defeating the Reds 6-3. Freddy Sanchez returned from the disabled list and looked exactly like the hitter we saw in 2006. He went 2 for 4 with a double and was also hit by a pitch. Brad Eldred also made his first start of the season and knocked in two runs with a homerun and a double. Jason Bay added a 9th inning insurance run with a solo homerun.
Zach Duke was dominant through 6 innings, shutting out the Reds on only 3 hits. He tired a bit in the 7th, and finished with a line of 3 ER in 6+ innings. He added 5 K's and did not walk a batter. The Pirates finished their opening road trip at 4-2 and will return home Monday in a tie for first place in the NL Central.
- It was nice to have Freddy back in the lineup. Through 4 at-bats, he still looks like a batting champ. His RBI double in the 6th was vintage Freddy Sanchez. Milton placed a perfect pitch on the outside corner, and Freddy drove it right into the gap. It just looks so easy for him.
- I was shocked when I saw the starting lineup. Freddy leading off? Bautista hitting 8th? Nady in center??? And that's not even considering Eldred making his first start in the outfield. Sometimes I think I know what Jim Tracy is thinking. Sometimes he surprises the hell out of me.
- Zach Duke looked very sharp. He and Snell might be a very nice duo this year.
- I have always been a big fan of Ken Griffey Jr. I dream of a different world in which he is taking a run at Aaron's record instead of Bonds. But he disappointed me in this game. My little sister could have been at 2nd on the ball he hit off the leftfield fence in the 7th inning. Of course, my sister is a hustler. She wouldn't be caught dead watching a flyball instead of running. He also seemed to be running in quicksand while roaming rightfield. That makes me sad.
- I had this to say on March 26th: "I don't think Eldred is ready to hit Major League pitching." It was only one game, but I often say things that are wrong.
- I had the game on the radio when Bay homered, so I didn't get a chance to see it. But I was glad to hear he hit one to right. In the 5th, I nearly threw my shoe at the TV when he rolled one to short after attempting to pull an outside pitch. He has plenty of power to the opposite field, and should attempt to utilize it more often.
- Salomon Torres is quietly having a very strong start as the closer.
- Last year, at least deep in my subconscious, I was already depressed as I approached PNC Park for the home opener. I feel a bit better this season. Nice road trip to get things going.