Alex Presley and Jose Tabata opened the Pirates' season with singles in the team's first two at-bats of 2012, but the offense did nothing after that in a 1-0 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday at PNC Park.
It was worse than the score, really.
After Presley hit a soft single and Tabata reached on a sweet bunt, all the rest of the Pirates' at-bats produced zero runs, zero hits, zero walks, seven balls struck as far as the outfield and two hit batsmen.
"Really? No more hits?" Tabata said afterward. "Wow."
Sure, it was Roy Halladay on the mound, but much more is going to be needed from the bats over an April loaded with quality pitching opponents. Cliff Lee is next on Saturday, and the Pirates then embark on a western trip against the pitching-rich Dodgers, Giants and Diamondbacks.
"We've all got to get it done," Garrett Jones said. "We're going to see some great arms, but we think we'll get good pitching, too, like we just got from Erik Bedard. You can't waste that."
Bedard nearly matched Halladay through seven innings, allowing only a sacrifice fly.
Manager Clint Hurdle credited Halladay, but he's also been expressing optimism that the offense will be good in 2012.
"We're very optimistic," Hurdle said. "We're improved across the board. We've got more depth in our starting pitching. We've got a bullpen that's going to be very efficient. Our position player pool is definitely stronger, more versatile, more athletic. We're just a better club. We've got to go prove it on the field now."
LHP Erik Bedard made a strong impression in his National League debut, coolly limiting the Phillies to one run and six hits over seven innings. The lone run came on a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
RHP A.J. Burnett, who opened the season on the disabled list because of a fractured orbital bone, was on hand for Opening Day but then left the team to pitch Friday for high Class A Bradenton. He is eligible to return Tuesday.
RHP Chris Resop, one of three relievers vying for setup duty in front of closer Joel Hanrahan, pitched a scoreless eighth despite early control issues. But with two aboard, he fanned Hunter Pence on a 1-2 changeup. RHP Juan Cruz also pitched a scoreless inning, his in the ninth.
3B Pedro Alvarez, greeted warmly with his first at-bat by the home crowd despite a .191 season in 2011 and an even worse spring, went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. The first of his at-bats was at least mildly encouraging in that he worked Roy Halladay for eight pitches before swinging for strike three.
RHP Chris Leroux, placed on the 60-day disabled list on the eve of the opener, has a severe tear of the right pectoral muscle, worse than the Pirates had anticipated when he was originally hurt earlier in the week. He will not be allowed to throw for three to four weeks before he can begin a rehabilitation stint.
3B Casey McGehee and others can be expected to add some right-handed presence to the lineup for the second game, Saturday against Phillies LHP Cliff Lee. GM Neal Huntington said the team plans to rest Alvarez and LF Alex Presley against lefties more often than not.
By The Numbers:
11—Players back from the Pirates' 2011 opening-day roster.
Quote To Note:
"We've got a really good group. We can get it done, and I believe we will get it done."
—C Michael McKenry, on the 2012 Pirates.