by Zane Heiple
|Photo by Christopher Horner/Pittsburgh Tribune Review|
While wins and losses aren’t the true definition of a successful spring training, holding onto a lead and performance in those latter innings give an organization an idea of what kind of player they have. While yesterday’s loss was just an off day for Daniel McCutchen, today’s game may have marked the end of the line for Ryota Igarahshi. Igarahshi was brought in as a non-roster invitee to challenge for a spot in the bullpen. After today’s outing of not being able to hold a three run lead in the ninth inning, I feel his days with the Buccos are over. The Houston Astros would cap the 5-4 win in the tenth inning over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Errors where also abundant today as Pittsburgh would commit three of them. Maybe its just the surplus of players and not being comfortable with each other, but it seems like the Pirates have been committing a lot of them this spring. It will be important to solve this problem come April 5th, since the Buccos are not a ball club that can give teams extra outs during an inning.
There were some good things that happened today as well. Starting pitcher James McDonald went seven innings while striking out three batter while giving up one run on two hits. Chris Resop would pitch a scoreless eighth inning and Daniel Moskos stopped the bleeding in the ninth by striking out two batters.
The offense looked good as well. Josh Harrison went 2-4 to increase his average to .520. Jose Tabata would go 2-4 and Garrett Jones hit his third home run of the spring.
The Pirates will take the field on Sunday to battle the Astros once again. Brad Lincoln will get his first start since March 7th when he had some calf tightness. Lincoln looks to once again be a pitching option for the Pirates in case of injury or if a spot start is needed from a minor league player once the season begins. First pitch is at 1:05.
Grapefruit League Record: 7-13
Let’s Go Bucs!