Man did the Pirates need that. One reason I think the Bucs won't trade Paul Maholm at the deadline is because he seems like the only pitcher on the staff right now who's capable of what he did tonight, pitching eight one-run innings to help the Pirates eke out a badly-needed win. As much as we made of the Bucs' weird tendency to win close games and lose blowouts at the beginning of the year, they've actually lost quite a few close ones in the past month or so, and many of those had this weird feeling of inevitability about them, in which the Pirates would have a tie or a small lead and find some way to mess that up. It was a real relief to see that not happen today. And good for Jose Tabata for hitting the game-winning double off the amazing Carlos Marmol. Watch the highlight if you haven't yet - Ryan Doumit almost found a way to blow it for the Bucs.
A few notes for today:
-P- New SB Nation Pittsburgh columnist Ray Oaks has an excellent piece about what it means to be a Pirates fan.
-P- Steve Pearce went 2-for-4 for Indianapolis today, and as others have pointed out, the Pirates face four straight lefties in the next four games. The Bucs should promote Steve Pearce, unless they hate winning.
-P- Bryan Morris had another nice start for Class AA Altoona, although relief prospect Diego Moreno had an uncharacteristically awful outing in the ninth to allow Binghamton to come back and win.
-P- Bradenton had a huge game, piling up 16 runs against Fort Myers thanks to big days from Robbie Grossman (who I'd love to hear more from), Erik Huber and Calvin Anderson. They also got a good start from Jeff Locke (who probably should be promoted from). Locke was relieved by Matt McSwain, who was making his second appearance of the year. This is strange, because the scuttlebutt in Spring Training was that McSwain had retired. He's not a prospect, really, so it's not a huge deal either way.
-P- Zack Von Rosenberg had another disappointing outing for State College. Trent Stevenson made his first State College appearance after he left. It's way too early to worry much about bad outings for these teenage pitchers; even at West Virginia, it's pretty clear that the Pirates aren't having these guys pitch with the idea of piling up the best stats possible. I'm sure they're working with Von Rosenberg on a lot of things, and particularly his fastball. Still, good outings are better than bad ones.
-P- Relatedly, pretty much every pitcher on either team who threw in the Pirates' GCL League game today got rocked, but at least Colton Cain, who pitched for the Bucs, racked up a few strikeouts and didn't walk anyone. Gregory Polanco had six RBIs for the Bucs, and Jorge Bishop, who's off to a huge start, had a big game as well.
-P- You may have also seen that the Pirates are one of the front-runners for Mexican pitcher Luis Heredia, who's one of the top Latin American amateurs this year. Good to hear, although this is a story we heard before with Miguel Sano. Heredia could get a bonus in the range of $2-3 million.