Rays 8, Pirates 2

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

If it feels like the Pirates haven’t won all that much this spring, you’re right. With one loss and one cancellation on Sunday, the team is now 6-16-1 this month. No, it doesn’t mean much – you might remember the Pirates had very good spring results last year and finished the season with only 62 wins. But now that starting pitchers are scheduled to go about six innings and regular position players are playing almost every day and deeper into games, this is the time where you would like to see a few more W’s.

Anyways, some stuff from the Pirates’ loss to the Rays…

***

Ross Ohlendorf did not have a good day. He allowed eight runs (all earned) on 10 hits in four innings. Ohlendorf walked three, had no strikeouts and served up two home runs. In fact, half of the hits against him were of the extra-base variety.

Here is what Ohlendorf had to say about it:

“Obviously, I didn’t pitch well. My slider wasn’t very good and I kept getting behind in the count with it. Also, I was got behind a lot with my fastball, too. Getting in bad counts and my slider not being good were two of my main things. I threw my changeup fairly well.

“I felt good warming up. Usually, warm up doesn’t mean that much. I don’t put too much into it. But my arm felt really strong in warm ups, so that’s usually (a better indicator) of how your arm feels than how you’ll throw. I certainly was expecting to do much better.”

The question is, should we be concerned? Ohlendorf hasn’t shown great command all spring and though I wasn’t able to see him on Sunday, it sure doesn’t sound like this last start was any better.

We’re at the point in spring where pitches should be clicking and pitchers should be finding a rhythm. Ohlendorf could really use a strong final spring start (that will come in Philly on Friday) before making his 2010 debut in Pittsburgh on April 7.

“I’ve been treating the last three like regular games,” Ohlendorf said. “That doesn’t mean I’m going to pitch like this in the regular season. It just means that I need to start pitching better.

“My slider needs to improve, both the action and the location. With my fastball, it’s mainly just command. I feel good. I’m encouraged it will come around. I just hope it comes around in my next two starts. My changeup’s been good. My slider has kind of been following its normal path. It’s usually good the first one or two games, then it’s bad for a little while.”

***

Octavio Dotel made his second Grapefruit League appearance and the command and efficiency in this one was better than the first. The Pirates’ closer needed just 10 pitches (seven strikes) to get through the fifth. He struck out one and allowed a single.

“I just tried to get some work and take care of business,” he said. “I felt good today. I just got to keep going, keep trying and keep it the way it was today.”
 
Dotel is scheduled to pitch again on Monday, which will be his first back-to-back test this spring.

***

Some other random notes:

  • Vinnie Chulk pitched a scoreless inning of relief in his first appearance back from bicep soreness.
  • Brandon Moss made the start in left and went 1-for-4. The hit was his third of the spring, but it was an infield hit to the pitcher’s mound.
  • Jeff Clement connected for his second home run (this one an opposite field homer) of the spring. He finished the day 1-for-3.
  • After Saturday’s dismal fielding day, I’m happy to report there were no errors on Sunday.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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