by Zane Heiple
|Photo by pirates.com|
The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates today 8-6 in Grapefruit League action. It was an up and down day for the Pirates as they totaled 14 hits and had three errors. Pittsburgh was leading 6-5 going into the eighth inning when Tampa scored three runs to put a cap on the game.
Jeff Karstens started for the Buccos today and did not have his best stuff. He was able to work five innings and struck out three batters, but he would give up three runs, two earned, while giving up four hits and walking four batters. Karstens still has time to work out some kinks. I would like to see him be able to go another inning of work and cut down on the walks before April gets here. Daniel Moskos would only go 2/3 of an inning allowing one run on one hit while striking out and walking one batter. Jason Grilli had by far his worst day of the spring allowing three runs on four hits and giving up a home run while working one inning.
The Pirates did account for three errors today. While that is a high number, only one error was made by a player that will be starting for Pittsburgh on opening day. That was made by Clint Barmes who missed a catch. The other two came from relief pitcher Doug Slaten and outfielder Nick Evans.
The offense fared pretty well today. A key to the 2012 season will be stealing bases and Nate McLouth, Alex Presley and Barmes each swiped a bag today. Barmes also scored a pair of runs today. The big offensive output of the day came from Yamaico Navarro who would go 3-4 with 3 RBI and a home run while making the start today. His versatility in the infield and .303 batting average during spring training make him a viable candidate for a bench spot when the club heads north. Rod Barajas also played well going 2-3.
Today’s game proved that while there are still things to work on before the season opener in two weeks, this team is showing improvement in certain areas. Pittsburgh will host the Detroit Tigers for the only time this spring tomorrow at 1:05. Charlie Morton will have the task of starting the game against one of the hottest offenses of spring training.
Grapefruit League Record: 7-11
Let’s Go Bucs!