Big Lead Sports Bar

6/09/2010

LINCOLN'S DEBUT NOT QUITE AT A STRASBURGIAN LEVEL



It wasn't quite the same level of excitement as the night before (OK, it was nowhere near the same level), but nonetheless, Wednesday was a HUGE night for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who welcomed Brad Lincoln and Jose Tabata to The Show in a 7-5 loss to the Washington Nationals.

Lincoln had what I would call a usual first-start for a MLB pitcher on Wednesday, quickly putting the Stephen Strasburg Exception out of memory. The rookie threw six innings, giving up seven hits, five runs, two walks, and a home run while striking out three, while consistently hit 92-93 on the gun with his fastball. Not great, not awful, just a typical first start to get out of the way and build upon. It's also worth noting that Lincoln's defense left a lot to be desired, especially in the fourth inning, when Lastings Milledge, Ronny Cedeno, and Andy LaRoche all failed to make tough plays that would've helped Lincoln's cause in  a three-run inning.

The feeble Pirate offense got an immediate boost from Tabata, who reached base three times and could not hide his excitement for his new gig prior to the game. With a top of the lineup that now goes Tabata/Walker/McCutchen/Jones, even a Debbie Downer like me thinks that things are starting to look up. A certain Alvarez would make it look even better, but all in good time, I suppose. If the threat of Pedro is supposed to motivate Andy LaRoche, it's not working: he's hitting .240 and was 0-for-4 on Wednesday. But I like the baby steps being made to infuse the prospects into the lineup.

Of the Pirates' 12 hits on the night, Milledge had three, while Tabata, Walker, Jones, and even Lincoln had two each. Unfortunately, 10 of the 12 hits were singles, proving yet again that this team is in desperate need of some pop.

The Pirates, who have lost four in a row, are now a season-low 13 games under .500, at 23-36. On Thursday, they'll send Zach Duke (5.43, 3-6) to the hill against JD Martin (2.31, 0-1), with another 7:05 start in Washington.

Regardless of their lousy record and weak offense, this team has gotten much more interesting of late with the additions of Walker, Lincoln, and Tabata, and I'm increasingly looking forward to Alvarez joining the cause. I'd rather see the team get these types of players worked into the mix instead of the Aki Iwamuras of the world that won't be here in 2011.


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2 comments:

BurressWithButterflyWings said...

I thought Lincoln did a nice job last night. It wasn't a blow you away performance like Strasburg, but he was solid. Threw a lot of strikes, hit well to boot. Not bad.

Andy LaRoche is a poor excuse for an MLB 3rd baseman and Lastings Milledge has to be the single dumbest player I have ever seen. There is ZERO accountability there.

Chip said...

Lincoln did look good. The Nats scorekeeper was ridiculous because several of those runs he gave up scored on errors that he called "hits." Really, he should've been charged with only 2 or 3 of those runs.

Milledge is the Ian Snell of position players. Uber-talent but a complete idiot. But he was 3 for 5 yesterday so you can't give up on him. All the people whining about Jose Bautista, Milledge is exactly the same type of guy who could one season wake up and start tearing up the league. And it's not like he's blocking somebody who should be playing.

The problem is the Pirates want to be the Rays and develop young guys and/or fix broken guys. The big difference is the Rays have a brilliant coaching staff led by one of the best in MLB, Joe Maddon, while the Pirates have a bunch of clueless robots led by JR. They really need to find the next Jim Leyland this offseason if they plan on turning the corner in 2011.