Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Opening Day Success
I attend 20-30 games a season, pretty much every season and at no time in the last 10-15 seasons, have I felt the energy at PNC Park that I did yesterday afternoon. It made you happy to be a Pirates fan for a change. I am often very critical of Pirates fans for their constant complaining and whining and general lack of baseball knowledge, but that wasn't the case yesterday afternoon.
It wasn't just due to it being opening day either. There was a general positive energy through out the fourth largest crowd in PNC Park history. The only sad part is that the energy and the size of the crowds will start to fade away, likely beginning with tomorrow night's game against the Dodgers.
As for the game, atleast for one day, we got a glimpse of what kind of potential talent this team could have if a ton of what if's come true. While they will still finish with an 18th consecutive losing record, you could see that just maybe this team could turn the corner one day.
Offensively, they did it all. Three bombs, including no doubters from Garrett Jones and Ryan Doumit. They utilized their speed, with Andrew McCutchen and Ronny Cedeno swiping bags. They got timely hitting for a change when Ryan Church hit a two out pinch hit double that cleared the bases. Lastings Milledge doubled and Jeff Clement reached base three times as well. Maybe as good as a game they may have offensively as a team all season.
They played solid defense as well. Clement played a solid game at first base in his first major league game there. Milledge made a nice running catch in left and overall, the team made all the plays they should make.
On the hill, Duke gave the team a decent start and the bullpen pitched well, especially the last 2 1/3 innings. Brenden Donally got out of a jam with a couple of strikeouts and Octavio Dotel threw the ball extremely well.
Even manager John Russell had an impact. Atleast for one day, he pushed all the right buttons. Lifting Duke after five innings with the bases loaded was probably the call of the game. He wanted to break the game open and he trusted his bullpen. Even batting the pitcher eighth paid off for a day. Would Ronny Cedeno have come through the way Ryan Church did? Probably not. I still don't like McCutchen hitting second, but it didn't have an impact yesterday. In fact, it seemed to work out the way JR envisioned it. Cedeno reached base a couple times and Cutch got at bats with men on base.
So be happy Bucco fans, your team looked great yesterday. Don't over react though and raise expectations. It is what it is- one win, that's it, but hey first place for a day, Right?
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