The PITTSBURGH PIRATES notched yet another victory over the Chicago Cubs yesterday at Wrigley, this one by a 2-0 count. Brad Lincoln allowed just four hits in earning his first MLB victory, and Octavio Dotel finished off Lou Piniella's team for his 16th save.
Garrett Jones drove in the winning run in the eight inning, and Lastings Milledge drew a bases-loaded walk for the Bucs' second run. The Pirates managed the usual seven hits, with two singles from Andrew McCutchen leading the way.
Daniel McCutchen (0-3, 11.00 ERA) duels with Cole Hamels (6-6, 4.08) as the Phillies come to PNC Park for a 7:05 game tonight.
My take: If only this team could play the Cubs 162 times in a season, all our worries would go away. While the Bucs did win two games, they scored a grand total of five runs in the three-game series, winning 2-1 and 2-0 and losing 3-1. It's fantastic that the Pirates pitched so well, but they can't expect to win many more series when putting up such little offense.
SERGEI GONCHAR will go to unrestricted free agency today, and it's looking less and less likely that he will return to the Penguins. Ray Shero has been quiet on the talks with Dan Hamhuis, but apparently nothing has happened on that front, either.
Rob Rossi listed some of the Pens' alternatives in a column for the Trib today, including Kurtis Foster of Tampa Bay and Zbynek Michalek of Phoenix. Mark Eaton and Jordan Leopold would also move up the priority list in the event that Gonchar and/or Hamhuis decides to move on. Meanwhile, Joe Starkey is looking at another year of Winger Roulette, and adds a few names to the mix of players who could fill the always-present void at that position.
My take: It's funny how quickly things can change in sports. A few days ago, we heard about the plan to keep Gonchar and Hamhuis and build one of the league's deepest defenses. Now it's looking like neither one will sign with the team and the Pens will be scrambling to fill holes with lower-tier players. On the heels of the failed Alexei Ponikarovsky experiment, Ray Shero is in need of a truly solid deal; not necessarily a home-run, but definitely an extra-base hit.
THE PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS found enough room on their future schedules to ink a three-game deal with Syracuse, to be renewed in 2013 at New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Syracuse would play at Beaver Stadium on September 19, 2020, and the Nittany Lions would visit Syracuse on September 18, 2021.
Meanwhile, a certain local college football team with a bit of history sits idly by, still not worth of the Nittany Lions' time. Coincidence? Obviously.
My take: You really don't know my take on this by now?