After Two First-Inning Hits, Pirates No-Hit In 1-0 Loss

The Pirates got two straight hits off Roy Halladay to kick off Opening Day (one of which was a swinging bunt by Jose Tabata), then were no-hit for nine innings after that. That's an incredibly embarrassing way to start the season. At least they stayed in it -- Erik Bedard (who pitched seven great innings), Chris Resop and Juan Cruz only allowed one run. The Phillies' only run came off Bedard on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Ruiz, as Ty Wigginton just barely beat Tabata's throw home.

What else? A play in which Neil Walker somehow fielded a ball behind shortstop and threw out Wigginton at first? A big ovation for Nate McLouth? Pedro Alvarez working a few counts before eventually making outs? There weren't a lot of highlights for the Pirates in this one. Still, Bedard's pitching was very good, and if he can pitch at anywhere close to that level the rest of the season, the Bucs will win a bunch of games. Obviously, though, at some point, their offense has to do something. Fortunately, there are worse pitchers than Halladay to start scoring some runs against.

I've been at school all day, so here are a few notes now that I have time to watch the action a bit more closely.

-P- Pedro Alvarez's first at-bat ended in an out, but it looked better than any at-bat I can recall seeing from him this spring. He took pitches that were balls, swung at pitches that were strikes, and ended up hitting the ball relatively hard. He also didn't get any help from the home-plate ump, who called strike two on a pitch several inches outside.

-P- I was impressed with Bedard in Spring Training, and that continued today. He obviously doesn't throw hard, but he has great command, and he pitches with a plan. His confrontation against Shane Victorino in the third was typical. On the first pitch, he swung in a breaking ball for a strike. On the second pitch, he tried to sneak in a breaking ball on the outside corner, and he missed, but that set up a fastball on the third pitch that Victorino was behind. Then Bedard went inside for another fastball and Victorino took it for strike three, like he didn't know what happened to him. On the next batter, Bedard got two straight strikes against Placido Polanco with his breaking ball, then narrowly missed strike three with a fastball just below the knees. Then he got Polanco to hit a weak grounder on another breaking ball. Dude knows what he's doing.

In general, it just looks like the Phillies didn't want anything to do with Bedard's breaking ball, which is a very good pitch, and he made them pay, as he threw it in the first two pitches of a ton of at-bats, often for strikes.

-P- Not that the Pirates had a lot of hard-hit balls in this one, but the game would have turned out pretty differently if Neil Walker's drive to deep left with Andrew McCutchen on the bases in the fourth had gone a few more feet. Or Clint Barmes' drive to around the same place in the fifth.

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