Nationals Park | 7:10 | Duke vs. Odalis Perez | Box
I don’t know how to explain it, but Zach Duke was very effective despite not fooling anyone. He recorded one strikeout and let in two runs in seven innings of solid work. His lone whiff was his mound opponent, the equally effective Odalis Perez.
The Nats managed their two runs of Duke in the second inning when Wil Nieves singled in a pair of runs. The Pirates tied it off Perez with solo homers from Freddy Sanchez and Ryan Doumit.
It remained tied until the 8th. John Grabow replaced Duke. He gave up a pair of hits, the last of which was a two out single from Austin Kearns. That was the first run that Grabow had allowed all year. That was all the Nationals needed. Luis Ayala pitched a scoreless 8th and Jon Rauch finished up with a scoreless 9th.
The Bucs put only four men on base all night. Three hits and an error by the Nationals.
For the second straight game, the Bucs will face O. Perez. This one is Odalis Perez. Despite his 0-3 mark, he has pitched well so far, having an ERA+ better than league average. He has given up two runs or fewer in all but one of his six starts. Not too bad for a guy that came to Spring Training with a minor league contract.
For his career, Perez is 2-4 vs. Pittsburgh with an ERA of 3.94 over 8 starts. He hasn’t face the Bucs since 2006. Freddy Sanchez (3-5) and Xavier Nady (3-4) have accounted for six of the nine Pirate knocks in 29 ABs off of Perez.
Like Perez, Zach Duke is looking for his first W of 2008. He, however, has not pitched as effectively as Perez. Duke is 1-1 vs. the Expos/Nats for his career. His ERA is over 6.00 in three starts.
Despite his ugly ERA vs. Washington, the collective batch of Nationals hasn’t fared very well. They are just 14-60 overall. No one has more than three hits. Ronnie Belliard is 0-10 career vs. Duke.
Chad Cordero is out for a while with shoulder issues, per the Washington Post. A free registration is required to read the article. So, no direct link.