Between some traveling I've been doing, the house where I've been staying in Morgantown not having FSN Pittsburgh, and the fact that I'm blacked out of MLB.tv, last night's game was the first I've been able to actually watch in a while, beyond just the highlights. Anytime I miss a few games in a row, which hadn't happened in quite a while before this month, I feel bewildered, because I'm unaware of what people are angry about at that particular time. Anyway, a couple observations.
-P- I hope Neil Walker is ok. He took a nasty hit on the back of his head when he collided with Ryan Church. He was chewing gum vigorously when he stood up, which is good, but he still had to head to the hospital.
-P- Despite one really nice play by Alvarez, the Bucs' defense last night was pretty bad, what with Neil Walker's error in the bottom of the first, D.J. Carrasco's inability to outrace a catcher to first, Ryan Doumit's inability to block the plate, and so on. Brad Lincoln might be an acceptable pitcher with a good defense behind him, but I worry that his fastball isn't nearly good enough to be much of a strikeout guy right now, so he's going to depend very heavily on his defense.
-P- After Lincoln left, the seventh inning was interminable. Despite scoring 14 runs, the A's really didn't hit a lot of balls hard. It was just one bleeder or bloop after another. As badly as the Pirates played last night, at least their pitchers weren't getting destroyed.
-P- Church has played in 50 games now. 50! Akinori Iwamura only got 54 games, during which he actually hit better than Church has. I know this is hardly a new observation here, but let me repeat it - Lastings Milledge is hitting well. Between Milledge, Tabata and Garrett Jones, the Pirates already have three palatable corner outfield and first base options, and there's a fourth in the minors - there is really no reason to keep playing Church and let Steve Pearce linger at Class AAA. Again: Church has hit worse than Aki Iwamura.