The Pirates won their Opening Day matchup, 6-3, against the Cubs in convincing fashion, outplaying the Cubs in every phase of the game. Neil Walker led the way with a heroic, no-doubt grand slam to give the Bucs a 4-2 lead, and he also had a double. There's nothing to get the city of Pittsburgh excited like a local kid hitting a grand slam to give the Pirates an Opening-Day lead. Andrew McCutchen also had a double and a homer.
But really, there were so many great things going on today. Kevin Correia looked quite good despite not throwing especially hard - his breaking balls really fooled hitters at times, and he allowed only one walk and three runs (two earned) in six innings. The Pirates' bullpen (today it was Garrett Olson, Jose Veras, Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan) got the job done, with Meek looking filthy and Hanrahan throwing as hard as 99 MPH.
Also, I have to give Ryan Doumit some serious props for the game he played today. He went 1-for-3 with a walk, but much more importantly, his defense behind the plate was mostly excellent, as he gunned down a runner and blocked several pitches in the dirt that he might not have blocked last year. Basically, he looked like a real catcher back there, and I can't remember the last time I've felt that way about him. Yes, it's only one game, but still.
The Bucs also did a nice job making Ryan Dempster and Jeff Samardzija pay for their wildness. The umpire's somewhat inconsistent strike zone certainly helped, but still, you don't draw seven walks by accident. Ronny Cedeno drew a tough walk and was rewarded later in the inning when Walker knocked him home. The at-bat where Walker eventually hit a grand slam was also a very good one, as Walker worked the count full and waited for his pitch. For the most part, the Bucs looked really good at the plate today.
What can I say? It's only one game, and it won't last forever, but for right now, I'm excited. With the exception of a high throw by Pedro Alvarez early in the game and a couple of infield popups that were dropped due to the wind at Wrigley, the Pirates looked really professional out there. Let's hope for more games like this one.