Friday, April 30, 2010

Hold 'em. Bucs WIN

2 5 1 7
0 4 0 7

On a windy day in Los Angeles, the Bucs drag out a win to make it 3 in a row.  Ryan Doumit hits a triple to drive in 2.  That was it for scoring in this game.

Brian Burres wasn't great, but he was good enough to get it done with no runs allowed, although he walked 4 (including the final 2 batters he faced in the 6th).

Jack Taschner and Evan Meek played great shutdown baseball in relief with 3 Ks.


Miscellaneous shit

Great to see the Bucs grind out a win and shut out the Dodgers. Also great to see them hold the lead when the offense went quiet.

Evan Meek has only 1 ER in 15 IP (0.60 ERA).

Only 2 games under now.  Go get another one, boys.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

SERIES 8 - Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers

Thursday, April 29, 10:10 PM (FSN)
Friday, April 30, 10:10 PM (FSN)
Saturday, May 1, 10:10 PM (FSN)
Sunday, May 2, 4:10 PM (FSN)

Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California

Listen live on [WPGB]

Well, after a huge breath of fresh air in Milwaukee, the Pirates head further west to take on the slumping Dodgers in the first 4-game series of the year.  The Dodgers have lost 4 in a row and 8 of their last 10.  All I can say is keep them reeling and deliver a knockout punch.  Realistically, this Dodgers team is not as bad as their record indicates right now, and taking 2 games here would be a big victory for the Pirates.

Expected Pitching Matchups

April 29: Brian Burres (0-1-2) vs. Clayton Kershaw (1-0-3)
April 30: Charlie Morton (0-4-0) vs. Chad Billingsley (1-1-2)
May 1: Zach Duke (2-2-1) vs. Charlie Haeger (0-3-2)
May 2: Jeff Karstens (0-0-1) vs. Hiroki Kurada (2-1-1)

This might be the last chance for Charlie Morton.  One more nightmare start for him and he's down to AAA.

Proposed Lineups

1-R. Martin C
2-G. Anderson LF
3-M. Kemp CF
4-A. Ethier RF
5-C. Blake 3B
6-J. Loney 1B
7-J. Carroll SS
8-B. DeWitt 2B

1-L. Milledge LF
2-A. LaRoche 3B
3-A. McCutchen CF
4-G. Jones RF
5-R. Doumit C
6-J. Clement 1B
7-B. Crosby 2B
9-R. Cedeño SS

Let's Go Bucs.

Epic. Bucs WIN


Damn, it feels good to win a series in Milwaukee.  And this game was absolutely incredible to watch.  By the 13th inning, I couldn't sit still and started pacing back and forth in front of my TV.  I just can't express in words how happy I am that the Pirates proved me wrong by winning this series.  I lost track of the stated goal of this blog, but then again, it was one of the worst stretches in Pirates history.  The way they played in these last two games showed the talent I knew this team had since the first series of the season.  All we need now is for the Pirates to keep their level of play this high for the rest of the season.  Easier said than done, obviously.

Bucs started  things off strong with 2 homers in the 1st; the first, by Andy LaRoche, scored two runs; the second, by Cutch, was a solo shot.  Then the bats went quiet for 7 innings as Milwaukee slowly built a 4-3 lead.  Paul Maholm had another solid outing, keeping the Brewers' bats relatively quiet over his 7 IP.  His 5 BB is a little concerning, but his 6 Ks made up for it.  Maholm has been the most consistent starter for the Bucs, as he has not given up more than 4 ER in a start.

In the top of the ninth, Ryan Doumit happened.  A solo dinger ties the game and gives Trevor Hoffman his second blown save in as many games.  The Beers might want to start looking for a new closer, because he looks like he's running on fumes at this point.

In the tenth, both teams scored a run to keep it even.  Cutch had his second homer of the game.  But Casey McGehee drove in Lloyd Braun to tie it back up.

Nothing terribly interesting happened in the 11th or 12th.  In the 11th, Andy LaRoche was thrown out of the game for throwing his bat to the ground after a called 3rd strike.  Bobby Crosby took over his duties for the rest of the game.  A couple Bucs hits in the 12th, but mostly it was guys going down in order.

In the 13th, there was a scare as Escobar hit a single to left-center and it looked like Edmonds was going to score.  Milledge throws to home where Ryan Doumit is waiting.  Praise the Lord, he made the tag!

And so it's on to the 14th.  Iwamura beats a throw to first for a single.  But then Crosby and Cutch line out and fly out.  Somebody has to step up.  The Legend comes to the plate.  He hits a single to far right.  Aki scores.  6-5.  All that's left is for Carrasco to finish it off.  He takes them down in order.


Miscellaneous shit

  • The Beers' decision to pinch-hit Edmonds for Corey Hart in the 10th looks like a terrible decision in retrospect.  Not only did he fail to reach base, but on the game-winning hit by Garrett Jones, he made an absolutely awful throw to the infield, which allowed Iwamura, who had started the play at first base, to reach home safely.  Not to mention that tag at the plate in the 13th.
  • Andy LaRoche's bat quieted somewhat in this game, only going 1 for 5, a two-run homer in the 1st.  Not to worry, though, as Cutch went 4 for 7 and Iwamura went 3 for 6 with a walk.  Both scored two runs.  GFJ also had two hits, including the game-winning RBI in the 14th.
  • All but one of the Bucs' runs came off homers.  The sole exception was Garrett Jones's game-winning single in the 14th.
  • This is the first series the Bucs have won in Milwaukee since a late-July series in 2006.  Coincidentally, Maholm was the starting pitcher in the series-winning third game back then as well.
  • Bucs now stand at 9-12, currently tied for 4th in the division with Milwaukee.  Incredibly, second place is only one win away.  First place is still a ways away, with 5 games between the Bucs and the Cards.
  • It's effin' TIME. woooo

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


7 14 0 9
3 8 0 9

I have been a Jeff Karstens fan since the almost no-hitter in 2008.  He had some bad outings in 2009, but when he was moved to reliever later in the year, he did pretty well.  I have no idea why he was not on the roster since the beginning of the season.  He has been pretty much all over the map in Indianapolis, granted.  He has pitched anywhere from a 2-hit 0.00 ERA in 4 IP to a 6-run, 15.00 ERA nightmare over 3 innings in AAA.  I still believe he should have a spot on this Pirates roster.  If not a starter, than in relief.  If Ross Ohlendorf does not start next week, give Jeff a try.  Or maybe you could give Charlie Morton some work in AAA.  Maybe give the bullpen some rest and let Karstens pitch a few innings.  Whatever it takes.  Jeff has the talent to pitch in the majors.

There is no doubt that tonight he was our savior.  He held a Brewers offense that has been absolutely explosive against Pirates pitchers to only 2 runs over his 6.6 IP.  He is the first decent start against the Brewers since Paul Maholm allowed 1 run in 7.6 IP to cap a sweep of the Brew Crew in Pittsburgh in late August of 2009.  Maholm, coincidentally, will start tomorrow afternoon.

One player I have not mentioned often enough is Andy LaRoche, who went 4 for 5 today.  He has been absolutely amazing so far with a .400 batting average, albeit in fewer games due to injury.  In players with 40 or more at bats this season, he ranks 3rd. Unfortunately, due to injury, he is not eligible for the batting crown at this point.  His OPS is a team-best .959, not counting Ross Ohlendorf's 2 walks in his only at-bats.  It's funny, but I always considered Andy to be the lesser LaRoche when his brother was on the team.  Boy was I wrong on that count.  Keep up the good work, young man.

The Brewers took a 3-2 lead into the top of the 9th, thanks to a tie-breaking home run by Prince Fielder off Javier Lopez.  So Trevor Hoffman comes in, looking for his 14 bazillionth save.  What he didn't count on, however, was Ronny Cedeno homering.  Or Andy LaRoche singling.  Or Lastings Milledge doubling.  Garret Jones gets intentionally walked.  No problem.  Ryan Doumit decides to roll some salami.


D.J. Carrasco strikes out the first two.  Then Lloyd Braun grounds out to short.  He just liked ringing that bell.



Miscellaneous shit

Three Buccos went 3 for 5 or better: Andy LaRoche, Ryan Doumit, and Jeff Clement.

Trevor Hoffman is 42 years old.  He certainly looked like it tonight.

The Bucs look to begin a new streak and take the series win tomorrow at 1:10 pm.  Paul Maholm will get the start against former reliever Chris Narveson.

As unbelievable as it sounds, the Pirates are only 5 games behind 1st place St. Louis right now.  A win tomorrow could push them as high as 3rd place in the surprisingly even NL Central.  There's a slight glimmer of hope for the Bucs.  Do it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


3 8 1 11
17 17 3 10

This is what the fanbase looks like right now:

"Winning is coming... winning is coming... winning is coming..."

The Andrews, Cutch and LaRoche, were the only Pirates who had more than 1 hit.  Cutch had 2 RBIs.  Legend added another.


UPDATE: Jeff Karstens will get the start tomorrow against Randy Wolf.

Monday, April 26, 2010

SERIES 7 - Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers

Monday, April 26, 8:10 PM (FSN)
Tuesday, April 27, 8:10 PM (FSN)
Wednesday, April 28, 1:10 PM (FSN)

Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Listen live on [WPGB]

This series is probably going to be brutal to watch.  The Brewers always kill us, even when the Bucs are doing somewhat well.  Right now, the Pirates are playing terrible baseball.  Not a good combination.

And yet, the Pirates need to win this series to stay alive in the division.  Right now they are 4 games out of first place, but it feels like they're a hundred games out.

The Pirates currently have a 21-game losing streak in Miller Park, with their last win on May 3, 2007.  Tom Gorzelanny was the starting pitcher.  Yeah.  Ryan Doumit, Zach Duke, and Paul Maholm were the only current Pirates on that 2007 team.

The rule of averages suggests that the Pirates will win sooner rather than later, but don't count on it this trip.

The lineup for the Bucs gets shaken up as Iwamura moves to the 7th spot, Cutch moves to the top, and LaRoche moves to the 2nd spot.  Will this make a difference?  Probably not.

Expected Pitching Matchups

April 20: Zach Duke (2-1-1) vs. Yovani Gallardo (1-2-1)
April 21: ???? vs. Randy Wolf (2-1-1)
April 22: Paul Maholm (1-2-1) vs. Chris Narveson (0-0-0 in starts)

Yovani Gallardo: 8-0. Nothing to see here.

Randy Wolf: 20-0. Move along.

Chris Narveson: Normally a relief pitcher, he is apparently going to start against Paul Maholm.  He has a 7.20 ERA in 10 innings of relief.

Proposed Lineups

1-R. Weeks 2B
2-C. Gomez CF
3-R. Braun LF
4-P. Fielder 1B
5-C. McGehee 3B
6-C. Hart RF
7-G. Zaun C
8-A. Escobar SS

1-A. McCutchen CF
2-A. LaRoche 3B
3-R. Church LF
4-G. Jones RF
5-R. Doumit C
6-J. Clement 1B
7-A. Iwamura 2B
9-R. Cedeño SS

Let's Go Bucs.

Canyon. Bucs SWEPT

3 14 1 9
10 10 0 8

After 4 starts, Charlie Morton is looking really bad.  He gave up 5 in this contest, and only lasted 3 innings.  I'm of the opinion that he should have one more chance to prove he can pitch at the major league level, and if he looks the same as he has in the first 4 starts, send him down to Indianapolis and bring up Kevin Hart or Jeff Karstens.

The Bucs offense has gotten really anemic, which is not good considering the pitching is really bad.  It's not that they're having trouble getting hits, as evidenced by the 14 in the box score, but getting those baserunners home is turning into a real problem.  The Pirates were 4 for 13 with runners in scoring position.  That's not gonna cut it.  Andy LaRoche was the offensive leader in this game.  He went 4 for 4 with 2 RBIs.  Cutch went 3 for 5, and Doumit went 2 for 3 with a walk.  The Pirates really need to get those runners home, because the pitching and defense is not going to help you win at this point.


Miscellaneous shit

6 in a row.  Time to panic?

Bucs fell to last place in the division.  I really thought this was going to be the year we finally escaped the cellar, but right now it doesn't look like that is going to happen.  Of course, there's still a lot of baseball left to be played, and who knows what will happen over the course of the season.  Maybe Alvarez, Tabata, or Lincoln will spark the Bucs' comeback.  It looks pretty bleak at this point, though.

Not looking forward to the Milwaukee trip.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

In the FACE. Bucs LOSE

2 7 1 7
5 13 1 8

Chris Jakubauskas got the start, and after pitching just 0.6 innings, he was hit in the face by a ball.  He was carted off the field and taken to the hospital.  Reports are that his X-rays came back negative, which is good.

DJ Carrasco came in and immediately gave up 2 runs.  Game was pretty much over then.  Not gonna win too many when your already over-taxed bullpen has to pitch 7.3 innings.  Andrew McCutchen had an RBI and Jason Jaramillo homered, but that was it for the Bucs' offense, which has really been struggling lately.

It appears that luck is turning its back on the Pirates now.  They have lost 5 straight and are now 3 games under .500.  They are one loss away from last place in the division.  Houston, who had been at 5-10, is now tied with the Pirates.  Like Pat at WHYGAVS would say, the Grand Canyon is starting to appear.  The Bucs have to cut this off now if they have any hope of getting back over .500.

Bucs will try to avoid the sweep at 2:05.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Defense. Bucs LOSE

3 4 1 3
4 7 1 3

Short recap as I'm busy with finals prep at the moment.  Bucs' rally in the 7th fell short and they lose their first close game of the season.  Paul Maholm was pretty much excellent, but the defense behind him was suspect.  If Milledge had started in LF and not Church, and if Bobby Crosby or Andy LaRoche had been at 3rd instead of Delwyn Young (who is NOT a 3B any way you try to spin it), I'm fairly certain this is a W for the Pirates.  Garrett Jones got his 4th HR of the year, scoring 2 runs, and Jeff Clement hit his 2nd HR of the year, a solo shot.

Looks like Chris Jakubauskas will be the starter on Saturday.


Friday, April 23, 2010

SERIES 6 - Astros

Houston Astros

Friday, April 23, 8:05 PM (FSN)
Saturday, April 24, 7:05 PM
Sunday, April 25, 2:05 PM (FSN)

Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX

Listen live on [WPGB]

No TV broadcast on Saturday due to the Senators forcing a Game 6 with the Penguins.

Time to shake off the worst series and loss in Pirates history and get on with the season.  If any team could help the Pirates do that, it would be the worst team in the National League, the Houston Astros.

The Astros jumped out to an absolutely terrible start, losing their first 8 games. Since then, they have been better, winning 5 of 7.  Of those wins, 2 were against the Cubs, two were at home against Florida, and one on the road vs. St. Louis.  Basically, that's three quality wins for this team on the year.

Houston has the second worst run differential in the NL, at -30.  Obviously after the last series, the Pirates have the worst.

Houston has a worse record at home than they do on the road, 2-7 and 3-3 respectively.  They currently sit in last place in the NL Central.

The Pirates, meanwhile, have dropped to 3rd place and 3 games out of first place.

The Bucs are going to have to pull out some wins here, because the road ahead doesn't get any easier.

Ross Ohlendorf is still on the Disabled List, so the starting pitcher for Saturday is not clear at this point.

Expected Pitching Matchups

April 20: Roy Oswalt vs. Paul Maholm
April 21: Wandy Rodriguez vs. ???? (Chris Jakubauskas or Kevin Hart most likely)
April 22: Brett Myers vs. Charlie Morton

Roy Oswalt is 1-2 on the year, with his only win coming in Chicago against the Cubs, a 4-3 victory.  He has an ERA of 2.37 so far and has only allowed 5 ER, one of which was a home run.  He has 17 Ks and only 4 walks on the year, but he has allowed 17 hits.  This is the strongest candidate for a pitching duel.

Wandy Rodriguez is 0-2-1 so far.  He has an ERA of 4.67 and has allowed 9 ER and one HR.  He has 7 walks, 7 Ks, and 20 hits on the year.  This match really depends on how well whoever starts for the Pirates does, but if he is strong it could be a decent day for the Bucs.

Brett Myers has an ERA of 4.05 and is 0-1-2 on the year.  He has allowed 24 hits, 9 ER, and 2 homers so far.  He also has 3 walks and 12 Ks.  Again, this one depends on how well Charlie Morton throws, but the Astros aren't exactly a power-hitting team, so I'm hopeful that we can pencil a win in for this one.

Proposed Lineups

1-M. Bourn CF
2-J. Keppinger SS
3-L. Berkman 1B
4-C. Lee LF
5-H. Pence RF
6-P. Feliz 3B
7-K. Matsui 2B
8-H. Quintero C

1-A. Iwamura 2B
2-A. McCutchen CF
3-L. Milledge LF
4-G. Jones RF
5-R. Doumit C
6-J. Clement 1B
7-Delwyn Young 3B
9-R. Cedeño SS

Let's Go Bucs.