Yesterday I went down to Washington D.C. to see the Pirates take on the Washington Nationals. I went down with my friend Michelle, actually it was her idea. We met up with Offord at the park and watched the Nats beat the Buccos 7-5. This was the debut of Brad Lincoln, the Pirates number one pitching prospect. And yes, I planned it out this way. Stephen Stras-who? Why would anyone want to see that guy?
For those of you who do not care about baseball stuff, do not fear, just scroll down a little bit and you will get some tidbits about the adventure of going to the city...for you baseball fans though, keep reading.
As most of you know, this was also the debut of Jose Tabata. He had two hits (one was an infield single, but the other was a nice shot out out to the outfield) and showed that he has some speed by swiping a base. Actually the Pirates did a nice job of stealing bases, Walker, McCutchen, and Jones also stole bases. Tabata seems like he could be a very good lead-off hitter and then use McCutchen in the two spot. Or switch them around.
Now, Lincoln pitched alright. He was pretty efficient, I think by the sixth or seventh he only thrown like 70 pitches (I cannot remember the exact numbers). He struck out Zimmerman and Dunn in the fifth inning after getting roughed up in the fourth. Unfortunately, I do not believe all of those runs should have been earned. Milledge made some terrible outfield plays which allowed a runner to score. Cedeno gave up an infield single to the pitcher which allowed a run to score as well. The scorekeeper was very generous to Nats players, ruling no errors in the inning, when there were clearly two and arguably three.
Lincoln did get hit pretty hard though, but from what I remember, that has happened to him at every level he has advanced to. He then adjusts pretty quickly. I do not believe he will ever be a super-dominant ace, but I could see him being a number two or three guy. And right, on a team that has a bunch of fours and fives, a three is a nice welcome.
Two other things I noticed: Milledge, while going 3-5 did cost the Pirates some runs. His outfield play as I mentioned, and then he his baserunning. He hit a lead-off double, but on a flyball to the deeper part of right-center, he failed to advance to third base. Then after another pop-fly he was still stuck on second instead of scoring. The Pirates have to be the best team at leaving runners on without getting a run.
Also, I usually defend Andy LaRoche, but he is not playing all that well at the moment. He failed to get a runner in, especially when he had multiple chances. I think Offord commented that technically he left seven guys stranded, but the box score will only say four...plus he had a costly error. Oh wait, another time where they gave a guy a hit. The ball was hit sharply, right at Andy and he just let it bounce off his glove. At this point, Pedro Alvarez could not do much worse in the field, and maybe he would drive in some runs every once in awhile.
Let me just say, the Nationals Park is pretty nice. We sat in left field, in the first row. It was actually pretty cool because we were hoping to catch a homerun. Unfortunately, Adam Dunn only hits towering shots to right field. Jerk.
We did not really walk around the stadium much, but as nice as it seems, it is definitely no PNC Park. PNC just feels like home. This feels like they are forcing you to feel at home, like being at a wealthy great-aunt's house, it seems nice, but it also feels very sterile. Does that make any sense? I am not saying that I did not like the place, it just makes you appreciate PNC Park so much more.
Anyways, I drove Michelle's car, which has GPS. I have never used GPS before and I can now see how it would definitely spoil a person. It made life so much easier. Instead of my normal method of just getting lost and asking random crackheads for directions.
The plan was to stop at the Greenbelt Park-n-Ride and take the Metro to the Navy Yard, where the stadium is located. Unfortunately, we accidentally put in the stadium as the final destination. Once we hit I-495, the stadium was the wrong way from where we wanted to go. Sadly, we missed any of the park-n-rides and ended up just trying to find parking near the stadium. We found a lot on Maryland and 12th. As soon as we left the car, we had the misfortune of not paying attention which way we were heading...this could be a disaster.
Also, the parking garage was only open until 11:00. What the hell kind of parking garage closes at 11? Anyways, we tried to find the stadium, but to no avail. So we hopped on the Metro at umm, L'Enf-something...and got off at the Navy Yard.
After the game, we caught the Metro back to the French sounding station and then realized we had no freakin' clue how to get back to the car. Apparently streets do not just go straight in DC. Maryland Avenue just stops so we had to walk around. We then asked a bus driver for directions, and his response was "I have no clue where that is, sorry." He did however guide us up the street towards 12th Street. We luckily found the garage with about three minutes to spare.
Leaving the city, the GPS took us on a completely different route. We got to pass the Washington Monument, hell I think we were about 25 feet away from it. Kind of cool. Leaving the city was weird, we were on so many roads that seemed to be out in the middle of nowhere. Hell, at one point, we saw a deer crossing sign, and not two feet from the sign was a deer. Now, I live in the hinterlands of central Pennsylvania, and I have seen thousands of those signs. However, I have never seen a deer standing right beside one.
After that, we arrived home without any troubles. The pictures above were taken on my shit-tastic cellphone. Someone please buy me a camera...the top picture is of the players stretching and the other picture is of Jose Tabata in the outfield.