The Pirates composed a symphony of 9 hits in their season opener at Houston. While 5 hits off of Roy Oswalt is not exactly impressive, this game marks some drastic improvements for the up and coming team. Chris Duffy got on base more than one time in a game. If he gets on base, his speed will be a valuable weapon over the course of the season. Jack Wilson starts the season swinging a hot stick, poking two singles in the game. Wilson will have to remain productive out of the second spot for the Pirates to maximize their run scoring potential. Bay only had one hit tonight but he made it count for all that it was worth. LaRoche started his Pirate career with a performance that would make him fit in with one of the Pirate teams of recent years. The golden sombraro is about as nice as a golden shower. This leads me to expect a better performance out of him in upcoming games. Paulino went 0 for 5 just as LaRoche but only tallied one punchout to his credit. He’s a solid contact hitter so I think it is safe to assume that he can bounce back. Nady’s only hit was a nice shot to the short porch in left field at a crucial time, 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th. Jose Bautista had a solid game at the dish, and the Pirate nation needed to see him perform well after a dismal spring. I predict that if he plays a full year he’ll put up at least 20 HR. Castillo didn’t produce a hit in the game and it could be attributed to the lack of plate discipline that cost him his starting position.
Good clutch hitting in this game shows promise on the horizon for a team that is pulling itself up from the levels of mediocrity that plagued the organization in recent years. The one thing that will determine the quality that the Pirates can achieve this year is the bullpen. Three scoreless innings from Bayliss, Marte, Capps, and Torres leaves me intrigued by the potential of this team. Maybe the Pirates could be buyers this year at the trade deadline; Dave Littlefield has wisely left some budgeted money aside for such an occasion.