Tonight was my first real chance to see Virgil Vasquez after missing his start against the Royals over the weekend, and I saw about what I expected; a guy with stuff that’s maybe a little better than Jeff Karstens, but certainly not a long-term rotation option who also happens to wear Demetri Martin’s hair on the mound. This isn’t a bad thing. There’s always a role for guys like this on just about everyone’s roster, whether it’s in long relief or at the back end of the rotation. Last year, it was painfully obvious that the Pirates didn’t have that sort of guy.
Anyways, Vasquez did a nice job keeping the Pirates close in this one, but that just wasn’t enough tonight. I didn’t think Randy Wells was particularly overwhelming or impressive, but we batted Garrett Jones third tonight. If Wells and Vasquez switched places tonight, the outcome of the game would’ve been the same.
The only other thing from this game tonight that I think is worth commenting on is Joel Hanrahan’s Pirate debut. Despite being generally positive about acquiring him, I’ve heard a lot of negative things from a lot of smart baseball people about him in the past two days. When he gave up the leadoff single to Sam Fuld, I was a bit worried. It was good to see him bear down and get the double play, then the strikeout of Derrek Lee to end the inning.
When this series started, I mentioned the Pirates’ home record and the Cubs’ away record as proof that the Pirates might have a chance in this series. What I neglected was the Pirates’ 11-24 (now) record against the NL Central. There’s a reason we’re in last place and there’s a reason that Huntington’s pushing the eject button when we’re “only” six games out of first place.