Washington 7 – Pittsburgh 5
The Pittsburgh Pirates (23-36) dropped their fourth game in a row, losing to the Washington Nationals 7-5 on Wednesday night.
The Pirates fell to 9-21 on the road and are currently last in the NL Central.
Tonight marked another step towards the youth movement as top pitching prospect Brad Lincoln and top outfield prospect Jose Tabata each made their MLB debuts.
On Brad Lincoln: In his debut, Lincoln went 6 innings, allowing 7 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks and struck out 3. Lincoln did some good things but also made some mistakes.
His fastball was consistently in the low-to-mid 90’s and his curve ball had a lot of movement. Lincoln began to work in his sinker and changeup as the game progressed.
Where he struggled at times was with his command (86 PC – 51 Strikes). Early in the game he appeared to be moving to fast after each pitch and just needed to slow things down.
After opening the game and getting the first two batters out in the bottom of the 1st, Lincoln walked Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn belted his 12th home run of the season to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead.
Lincoln came back in the second inning and kept the Nationals off the board.
Defensively the Pirates made costly mistakes. Most notably Lastings Milledge, Ronny Cedeno and Andy LaRoche. The Pirates did not give Lincoln much help.
It wasn’t a dominant debut by any means but Lincoln did some positive things.
On Jose Tabata: The Pirates top outfield prospect had a very good debut. Tabata reached base three times, going 2-for-4 with a walk, run scored and a stolen base.
Most impressive about Tabata was the confidence he appeared to have at the plate.
Tabata batted leadoff and is an extremely good baserunner. He led the International League with 25 stolen bases. With Tabata’s arrival, Neil Walker (2-for-5, 1 RBI) stayed in the 2-hole and Andrew McCutchen (0-for-4, 1 run scored) batted 3rd.
The Pirates have speed at the top of their lineup and a bright spot in the loss was the aggressiveness on the base pads. The Pirates stole 4 bases as Tabata, Walker and McCutchen each had a stolen base.
McCutchen’s 14 stolen bases rank second in the NL. However, he has only stole 4 bases since May 1.
John Russell announced prior to the game that Dana Eveland will move to the bullpen and Jeff Karstens will remain in the rotation. The Pirates rotation is set with Lincoln, Zach Duke, Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf and Karstens.
*Lastings Milledge struggled in the field and appeared indecisive on the base pads but he hit the ball well going 3-for-5 with an RBI and 2 runs scored.
*Third baseman Andy LaRoche was 0-for-4 and is batting .238 on the season.