Pirates Outlast Astros In High-Scoring Affair

By Chad Carlson
Photo Credit:  http://www.bucsdugout.com
The Pirates beat the Houston Astros this afternoon in a high scoring affair, 9-7.  With the win, the Bucs improved to 8-13 in Grapefruit League play.  The two teams combined for 16 runs on 30 hits.  Pitchers’ duel, anyone?
Brad Lincoln struggled today, surrendering three runs on four hits, including two homeruns, in his four innings of work.  His ERA this spring is at 10.50, and he hasn’t had the command or consistency we’ve been looking for, at least from the perspective of him perhaps becoming a member of the team’s starting pitching rotation.  I would argue he has all but solidified himself as a minor league player to start the season.  The only exception would be if he’s a long man out of the bullpen, but I think that’s even a long shot at this point. 
Chris Leroux also struggled today, giving up three runs on two hits and three walks in the seventh inning, while Jared Hughes got touched for a run on three hits in the eighth frame.  On a brighter note, though, Evan Meek was impressive today, tossing two scoreless innings.  He seems to look more comfortable each time out this spring, which is great news for the Bucs.
The Buccos brought the bats to the field today, tagging Astros’ pitching for nine runs on 20 hits.  Yamaico Navarro led the team with four hits, including a triple, while Garrett Jones added two RBI’s as well.  In all, five Pirates had multi-hit afternoons, including Clint Barmes, Casey McGehee, Rod Barajas, Navarro, and Nate McLouth.  It was nice to see the bats come alive.  One of the main points we’ve spoken of in regards to the Bucs’ success this year is the ability to score more runs.  They will need to give the pitching staff more support on a nightly basis, and while Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, etc. will be expected to contribute in massive amounts, the likes of McLouth, Barajas, and Barmes all represent significant pieces to that Pirates’ .500 puzzle.
A special note on Navarro here:  he has had a nice spring this year, and he may prove to be a very valuable asset to the team.  He’s been solid with both the bat and glove, but what may keep him up with the big club this year is his versatility and ability to play multiple positions.  He is able to play in the outfield or infield, and can pinch hit, as well as do platoon work or even spot starts in case of occasional maintenance scratches for players like McCutchen, Walker, etc.  We’ll see what happens, though, as players like Josh Harrison, Matt Hague, etc. are also making a strong case to start the season in Pittsburgh as well.
The Pirates will keep the Grapefruit League ball rolling tomorrow night under the lights against the Baltimore Orioles at McKechnie Field.  First pitch is slated for 7:05pm.
Grapefruit League Record:  8-13
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!

Chad Carlson

Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands, Pirates' Beat Writer For Armchair Report, Sports writer for AMN, SteelTownRock And Music City Encore Editor

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