Not that this is anything to fuss too much about one way or the other, but the Pirates lost their 2011 Spring Training opener against the Tampa Bay Rays Saturday afternoon, 9-5. Charlie Morton started the game and allowed a hit and a walk in two innings, but got rid of both baserunners with double plays and faced the minimum six batters. Most of the runs were allowed by relievers Dan McCutchen and Justin Thomas (and all of Thomas’ four runs were unearned, after an error by third baseman Josh Fields); neither McCutchen nor Thomas have much of a shot at making the team.
Offensively, Garrett Atkins had a double, and Alex Presley had two walks. Rays pitchers racked up nine strikeouts against the Pirates.
Again, Spring Training games mean very little, so it might be wise to suppress that “here we go again” feeling we all get when we hear the Pirates lost their spring opener. Now, if the Bucs lose their first five games in April, that’s a different story.
The Pirates face the Orioles and Rays in split-squad games tomorrow.