After a .500 home stand, the Buccos hit the road for a six game road trip. Their first series was against the Washington Nationals. The Nationals have been a surprise this year as they entered the series with a record of 27-31, which isn’t too bad for a team that finished with the worst record in baseball the year before.
Tuesday June 8: One word to describe this game. Strasburg. Stephen Strasburg, the number one overall pick of the Washington Nationals in 2009, made his major league debut tonight and he lived up to all the hype. With a fastball hitting 100 mph, a curveball dropping four feet in the strike zone, and a changeup around 79 mph the Pirates offense had no answer for the phenom. He would finish the night going seven innings giving up two earned runs on four hits, striking out fourteen, and walking zero. The Pirates would get their only offense off of a two run home run by Delwyn Young in the fourth. This would be the only mistake Strasburg would make on the night. The Nationals offense would tee off on Buccos starter Jeff Karstens hitting 3 home runs in the game as they would go on to win 5-2. Pirates losses aren’t usual historic, but if Stephen Strasburg goes on to a Hall Of Fame career, this game will go down in Major League Baseball history.
Wednesday June 9: A day after the Nationals saw the savior of their franchise pitch, the Pirates called up two of their top prospects for their first major league starts. Pitcher Brad Lincoln and outfielder Jose Tabata showed that not only were they ready for the big leagues, but that they can be big pieces to the Buccos writing the ship. Tabata would go 2-4 at the plate with a walk and a stolen base, while playing solid defense. Lincoln on the other hand did not have a Strasburg like night, but no logical Pirates fan expected that. He would go six innings giving up seven hits, five earned runs, walk two, strike out three, and give up one home run. In Lincoln’s defense the Pirate gloves weren’t helping him much in the field with a slew of bad plays. He would also show his ability with the bat going 2-3 with one RBI. Unfortunately, with all the excitement of two prospects entering the lineup, the Pirates would go on to lose 7-5. Adam Dunn would hit a 2 run homerun in the bottom of the first for the Nationals. The Pirates held a 4-2 lead going into the bottom of the fourth, which is when the Nationals added three more runs. Washington then broke a tie in the bottom of the seventh with a Ryan Zimmerman single.
Thursday June 10: When you think of hat tricks and Washington usually Alex Ovechkin comes to mind. But on this night it would be Adam Dunn who would capture a series hat trick by hitting his third home run in as many days. It would occur in the bottom of the fourth with a solo shot. That was followed up with a solo shot from Josh Wilingham. The Pirates only offense of the night came in the top of the sixth from a Jose Tabata double that scored Zach Duke and an Andrew McCutchen sacrifice fly that scored Tabata. This would not be enough as the Nationals would win the game 4-2 and sweep the Pirates in the three game series. Zach Duke once again pitched an alright game giving up two earned runs in five innings pitched, but the Bucco bats did not help Duke out when it came to the game results as his record dropped to 3-7. Evan Meek came on in relief in the bottom of the sixth and worked his way out of a bases loaded jam.
This was once again a very disappointing series for the Pirates, but we as Pirates fans should not be surprised. This team is not good and could easily be headed to a 100 loss season. If you have read my part of the blog you know how I feel about the offense, defense, and pitching. I would recommend to all Pirates fans for the rest of the 2010 season, that when you watch a game do not worry about the score of the game, instead focus on the individual aspects. Watch the improvements of players like Tabata, McCutchen, Jones, Doumit, Walker, and Lincoln. These are the players that will be dealt with the difficult task of turning the ship around. Rumor has it that 2008 first round pick Pedro Alvarez could be called up for the June 15 game against the White Sox.
Current Record: 23-37
And…As Always…..Lets Go Bucs