... before last night's game, that Jerome Williams would throw six innings and allow one earned run, you'd have been pretty happy, right?
Or that Matt Murton would have his third straight two-hit game?
Or that Scott Eyre would continue to be a dominant force out of the bullpen, throwing two more scoreless innings?
All of those things happened, but new Cub-killer Zach Duke shut the Cubs' offense down and the Pirates evened the series with a 2-1 win, the difference being a throwing error by Ronny Cedeno that allowed the first Pirates run to score.
Oh, and a four-pitch ninth inning against closer Mike Gonzalez. Haven't we learned anything??? The Cubs actually made Duke work in the first inning; he threw 27 pitches, and if that pattern had held, he'd have been out of there after five.
Four pitches, down one run in the ninth, is simply not acceptable. Murton was the only one who took a pitch -- Neifi, batting for Freddie Bynum, who was in the game because Angel Pagan apparently pulled a hamstring running out a grounder, popped up on the first pitch, and Cedeno ended the game with another meek popup. Murton hit a ball right on the nose but right at Joe Randa.
About Pagan, based on what I saw (and probably most of you saw, too), I'd think he'll have to be disabled.
Many of you might be drooling for the major league debut of Felix Pie, but it's not the time -- unless, for some reason, Jacque Jones also has to be disabled. In that case, Pie could come up and play every day. But bringing him up to sit on the bench would be counterproductive.
The last thing we want is to turn him into Corey Patterson II, right?
More likely, the Cubs will turn Pagan into a 12th body for the pitching staff. The possible callups include Jae-Kuk Ryu, Bobby Brownlie, David Aardsma, or even the recall of Michael Wuertz, who was sent down after Friday's debacle and replaced by Roberto Novoa.
Yes, they can do that -- usually, a player optioned must stay in the minors for ten days, but if there's an injury, that requirement is waived.
This post will be mercifully short, partly because there's not much more to tell -- Williams just got outpitched by Duke, although there's reason to be optimistic about Williams' future, given his good outing tonight (the four walks are a bit worrisome, though) -- and also because there'll be an open thread posted later this morning for the day game today. For more details on what happened at PNC last night, I once again refer you to Chris' diary of his experiences in Pittsburgh.