I think we can officially issue recalls on Aaron Harang and Chris Carpenter’s stellar outings tonight. Mike Hampton tossed six shut-out innings at the Pirates tonight, striking out eight and holding the Pirates to just four hits. When that’s happening, well, I’m just embarrassed.
The second ugly part of tonight’s game was Ross Ohlendorf. I missed his first start this year, but I know I watched him pitch last year and I was still surprised tonight, and not in a good way. He’s a pretty huge guy (listed at 6’4″ 235 lbs), but he really gets very little of that mass into his throwing motion. It’s not to say that he’s actually all arm or anything, but he was really only hitting the high 80s tonight and it seemed pretty obvious to me why. He was very hittable all night and I just wasn’t very impressed at all with him.
So … dominated by Mike Hampton and a disappointing outing from a Pirate starter. I hate to go all Eeyore here, but this is certainly more along the lines of what I expected from the Pirates this year.
There were also a couple moments in this game that illustrated why having everyone wear the same number at once is probably a bad idea. In the sixth inning, Luis Cruz dropped a pop-up behind third base and was mercilesly booed by Pirate fans while the Astros announcers groaned, until everyone realized that it wasn’t Andy LaRoche any more. The Astros announcers then literally took about three minutes trying to figure out the Pirates’ double switch and just sort of gave up in the end. Later on, they couldn’t decide if a pinch hitter was Brandon Moss or Eric Hinske; all they really knew was that the hitter was a lefty.
Jackie Robinson Day is a great day. It’s something that should be celebrated every year. When Ken Griffey Jr. came up with the idea to take 42 out of the mothballs for one day for any player that wanted to wear it, I thought it was a touching and fitting tribute to one of the most important men in baseball history. But issuing a league mandate that everyone has to wear the number? It’s not only confusing to the point of distraction, but I think it’s considerably less personal than players choosing to wear the number out of tribute and removing that part of it kind of misses the point, I think. I guess I just think there are better ways to pay tribute to Robinson.