April 01, 2011
You have to like how Matt Diaz(notes) of the Pittsburgh Pirates wasted nothing in preparing for his pinch-hitting appearance Friday. Not only did he take several dry hacks in the on-deck circle — like anybody would coming off the bench — but he got in one live round by spitting out a considerable wad of gum and swinging at it.
Matt Diaz will heretofore be known as "Mr. Perfect"!
Did Diaz hit the gum? The video evidence is inconclusive. But it definitely didn't help him in his eighth-inning at-bat; He struck out (looking) against Chicago Cubs left-hander John Grabow(notes). Perhaps, if he had swung ... or the ball had been made of bubble gum.
In the big picture, though, it didn't matter. Behind a grand slam by Neil Walker(notes), the Pirates beat the Cubs 6-3 to start the season 1-0. The Pirates lost 105 games in 2010, but they went 10-5 against the Cubs.
Another positive about the Pirates getting off to a good start: They need only 17 more road victories to surpass their 2010 total.