- Adam LaRoche was out of the lineup on Thursday, using that time to work with coaches and take extra batting practice. He was back on Friday, and lined the first pitch he saw right back into center field for a base hit. LaRoche made a slight change to his stance during his day off, opening up his front foot a bit more than it had been early in the season. The goal was to allow him to see the pitch better, as well as to keep him from opening his hips too quickly while swinging. Whatever he did, it seemed to work. LaRoche went just 1 for 3 in that first game, but ended up 5 for 11 with a double and two RBI's in the series. That might not sound all that extraordinary, but LaRoche no longer seems lost at the plate. Look for him to finally break out of his season-long slump.
- Ryan Doumit keeps on hitting. He now has a line of .441/.500/.765 with 5 doubles and 2 home runs in 34 at-bats since being recalled from AAA. He has been the bat that the Pirates have so desperately been seeking all season. Hopefully he will continue this production (or anything close to it) when the LaRoches, Bays, and Sanchezes start to come around.
- Freddy Sanchez was 5 for 17 in the series, giving him a .346 average through six games in May. Freddy's struggles in April can likely be attributed to his knee injury in spring training, as he was allowed a very limited number of plate appearances before being inserted into the every day lineup. He finally seems to be getting into a bit of a rhythm offensively, which the Pirates will desperately need if they are going to compete. He did not, however, have a strong series defensively.
I was desperate for some bright spots after this series. But I think we can be encouraged by the performances of some of the big "guns" in the Pirates' lineup. The Bucs are in Chicago tonight to begin a three-game set with the Cubs. We could really use a series win.