James McDonald continued to be impressive in his start last night. J-Mac had six strong innings and retired the first six in a row, including three strikeouts through two innings. He also had a 2-1 lead over the Brewers. However, things spiraled out of control in the seventh inning for McDonald and the Bucs.
Two runs scored and it should have been a second out, Instead the Brewers toook a 3-2 lead.
Jonathan Lucroy, who went 2-for-4 on the night, had an RBI single. J-Mac was pulled after 6.1 innings, seven hits, six earned runs, two walks and seven strikeouts.
Chris Resop came in for relief and gave up consecutive doubles by Corey Hart and Ryan Braun, three more runs scored.
The bleeding stopped after six runs scored, the Bucs down 7-2.
“I thought McDonald threw the ball very well,” said Pirates manager John Russell. “He just couldn’t get out of that inning. After that, he just couldn’t get back in the dugout. You can’t give up six runs in the seventh.”
“It’s not frustrating, things happen. We played hard. Things didn’t fall our way,” McDonald said. “I felt like I had good stuff today. Sometimes I’ve had great stuff and I’m out in the fourth inning. I still went deep in the game. Things didn’t fall our way, but we’ll get them next time.”
Chris Synder hit a solo-home run and Ronny Cedeno hit a RBI single for the Bucs two runs.
James McDonald got the loss, dropping to 2-4 on the season.
Other News and Notes:
- The Pirates lost their oppurtunity to win three games in a row. The last time the Pirates did was June 30-July 2nd. They have only done so three times this season and four straight would have been the first.
- MLB Commissioner, Bud Selig said that he is convinced the Pirates are headed in the right direction.
“I evaluate everything that goes on, and people tell me the kids that they’re [drafting and] signing are good,” Selig said. “I know there’s frustration, and I understand that and I’m not unsympathetic. But I really think they’re on the right track.”Selig was asked whether he would like to see the Pirates increase payroll for 2011.
“That’s up to them, but I read already where they said they would,” Selig said. “People can talk about money, but they’ve spent a lot of money on scouting, a lot of money on player development. The frustration levels, I understand it from the fans’ standpoint. But it takes time to show. I’m satisfied that they are making good progress right now.”
Read more here
September call-ups can begin on Wed but GM Neil Huntington said he will wait until the AAA-Indy season ends on Sept. 6th. Likely players to get the call would be John Bowker and Joe Martinez (who the Pirates received in the Giants trade, sending Javier Lopez). Also, Brad Lincoln, Charlie Morton, Jason Jarmillo and Pedro Ciriaco may be called up as well. Brandon Moss, who is not on the 40-man is also being considered.
Saturday’s Pitching Matchup:
Zach Duke 6-12, 5.10 ERA
Chris Capuano 2-2, 3.72 ERA
Duke is coming off his best start of the season when he outdueled Mets’ Johan Santana. Zach pitched seven innings, gave up one run on five hits and struck out five. For Duke to be successful his sinker needs to be on and he needs to not have one huge run inning.
Capuano is replacing Manny Parra. Chris returned this season from a second Tommy John surgery. He has been primarily used from the pen’ and in his past 10 apperances, Capuano has not pitched more than three innings.
Friday’s Pitching Matchup:
James McDonald 2-2, 3.97 ERA
Chris Narveson 9-7, 5.69 ERA
McDonald’s command issues during his last start against the Mets cost him in the loss, the game was called after six innings due to several rain delays. J-Mac went five innings, gave up five runs on six hits, walked five and struck out four.
Narveson threw 64 pitches in his last start against the Padres. He lasted just three innings, gave up three runs on four hits, walked three and struck out zero. In his last three starts Chris has only six strikeouts and a 5.79 ERA in just 14 innings.
News and Notes:
- LHP Rudy Owens and C Hector Gimenez were named to the Eastern League post-season All-Star team.
- Pirates’ Hanrahan finds direct route to strikeouts -Pittsburgh Post Gazette
- Brandon Moss’ confidence returns with hitting stroke -MLB
- Everything I learned about Baseball I learned from my Grandmother -Cardinal Diamond Diaries
McCutchen 8, Tabata 7, Walker 4, Jones 3, Milledge 9, LaRoche 5, Cedeno 6, Snyder 2, McDonald (2-3, 5.04)
*Pedro Alvarez is batting just .171 (6-for-35) his in last seven games, 0 HR and just three RBI.
Weeks 4, Hart 9, Braun 7, Fielder 3, McGehee 5, Dickerson 8, Escobar 6, Lucroy 2, Narveson (9-7, 5.69)
- (via @RobBiertempfel)Pirates mgr re:starting LaRoche @ 3b: “It’s not so much Pedro (Alvarez) needs rest; it’s more about getting Andy in there.”
- RHP Jeff Karstens threw bullpen session today w/out problem. He’s in line to start as scheduled Tuesday.
- Triple-A Radio Broadcaster, Scott McCauley spoke with Brandon Moss regarding September call ups and International All-Star Nod. You can read the whole interview on his MLB Blog
Tell us your feelings on a September call-up (Brandon would need to be added to the 40 man roster)
I’m pretty sure the season is going to come to an end and I’m not going to be a call-up guy. Strictly because they have to make a move and I’m not on the roster. The Pirates have guys they envision being there a while. They are trying (Ryan) Doumit in the outfield; they have Lastings (Milledge) and Garrett (Jones) who needs at-bats and I don’t think I’m a call-up guy because there is no room to play me. I’m pretty sure they don’t want to call a guy up to sit and get paid. I really envision September 6th is going to come, we are going to play our last game at Louisville and I’m going to go back home to Georgia. With that said I’m proud of the year I’ve had and no matter what will happen in September I’ve put myself in a good position for next year. Will I re-sign with the Pirates if I don’t get called up? Who knows, that will be a decision I make with my agent and my family and will be decision based solely on what best for me and my family. Everything will play out over time and I’m happy with the position I have put myself in and will go into Spring Training with the plan of winning a Major League job somewhere.
I was spotted on T.V.
This is proof that the Pirate Parot is always picking on me. He’s hilarious though, so I don’t mind too much.
Daniel McCutchen made his first start last night in a little mover a month. The expectations weren’t so high, let’s just be honest. Since he was moved to the bullpen, the longest outing he has pitched was four innings. And against the Cardinals line-up, well, I was hoping for five decent innings from him.
McCutchen pitched six scoreless innings, giving up just three hits and struck out five (which included a strike-out swinging from Albert Pujols) Daniel picked up his second win on the season and the Pirates won 5-2.
“I didn’t feel a whole lot of pressure,” McCutchen said. “I wasn’t thinking about how deep I was going to go in the game. I was just trying to focus on every hitter and every inning at the time.”
“He did a good job,” Cards manager Tony La Russa said. “As I remember, we scratched out a run here and a run there [last time facing him], but he’s an impressive looking young pitcher.”
Yes, you read that correctly. The Pirates took 2-of-3 from the Cardinals. The last time they won a series against St. Louis was May of 2009.
Poor Tony La Russa. The Cardinals are in the pennant race, currently 3.5 games back. They probally thought they would come to Pittsburgh and sweep the Pirates; easy, and make some ground in the NL Central. Woops. Your welcome Reds.
“To go out and to play like we did, and pitch like we did against that lineup, is something that we strive for and what we’re working toward doing on a daily basis,” said Neil Walker, whose handprint was all over this victory. “Obviously, teams like the Cardinals have shown from a professional standpoint that they’re able to do it. To know how we played these last couple days is something that we’re striving for.”
The Pittsburgh Kid, Neil Walker did it once again. Tuesday night he delievered the game winning runs, Wed night was no different. In the third inning, Synder reached base by a hit by pitch. Daniel McCutchen reached on a bunt attempt that Pujols tried to get the Synder at second, but was unsucessful. Andrew McCutchen hit a dribbler twoards the third base line.
The bases were loaded and Walker stepped up to the plate.
“As a competitive baseball player, that’s anybody’s dream to come up with the bases loaded,” he said. “To be able to have the opportunity the last couple of nights, to have some guys in scoring position, has been great. Approach doesn’t change. Just try to put the barrel on the ball.”
Walker didn’t treat Westbrook very kindly. Neil launched the sinker off the wall in center field. If it was elevated by a few feet it would have been a grand slam. Walker settled for a bases clearing triple.
Walker upped his batting average with runners on base to .381.
“You want to be aggressive, you want to be energized, but you want to stay within yourself and let the process of the swing and the at-bat take over,” Russell said, pointing to Walker’s steady approach as the reason behind his success in such critical spots. “Good things happen when you do that.”
Jose Tabata had a bases-loaded hit in the fourth and Garrett Jones’ solo homer in the eighth gave the Pirates the 5-2 Victory.
“He threw a great game,” manager John Russell said. “He was sharp, the ball was down, you have to tip your hat. For him to go out and pitch six innings against that team and shut them down was outstanding. I can’t say enough about what he did.”
“A lot of it goes to (catcher Chris) Snyder,” McCutchen said. “I felt like he had a good game plan and knew what I was capable of doing. He didn’t ask me to do too much but really kept them off-balance with all the pitches early in innings. Going to off-speeds early, I was able to throw for strikes and stay ahead in the count for the most part.”
The Pirates bullpen pitched well again last night too.
Chris Resop pitched 1/3 of an inning. He did give up a solo-Home run to Lopez in the seventh. To be fair, it was a cheap home run as it hit off the foul poul.
Ledezma came in and finished off the seventh, gave up two hits and struck out one.
Evan Meek pitched a perfect eighth inning. He retired the heart of the lineup, including Pujols and Holliday.
“Things seem a lot different now,” reliever Evan Meek said. “This past week, we started having this meeting going over the night before.”
“And guys start talking,” Meek said. ” ‘This guy had a heads-up play doing this.’ Or ‘This guy had a big hit.’ We’re starting to pay attention to what guys are doing. It’s not so much individuals. It’s more of a team.”
Joel Hanrahan pitched the ninth inning, although it wasn’t a save oppurtunity. He gave up one run on two hits and the Buccos won 5-2.
News and Notes:
- The Pirates have an off-day on Thursday. They have a three game road series against the Brewers and Cubs before the return back to PNC Park on Septemeber 3rd.
- Altoona Curve’s Broadcaster quit during the middle of the game -Pirates Prospects
- (Via @LangoschMLB) In case you’re curious: No, Pirates D. McCutchen didn’t earn another start w/ his sharp outing Wed; Russell says back to the ‘pen for Cutch.
- Former Bucco, and award winner of FLUKE SEASON, Jose Bautista is talking crap on the Pirates -ESPN
- Like Jason Heyward? Why Not Pedro Alvarez? -Bloomberg Sports
- Ross Ohlendorf was placed on the 15-day DL and Brian Burres was re-called from Triple-A Indy. Burres was called up for the third time this season and will be used primarily out of the Bullpen.
- The Pirates still have not decided on who will start in place of Ohlendorf on Sunday. Charlie Morton or Brad Lincoln are options or the Pirates could use Burres or Gallagher if they are not used much in the pen’.
- 4th round pick Nick Kingham made his pro debut on Wed: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
The Pirates have finalized their deal with Columbian shortstop Dilson Herrera. The 16 year old will get a $220,000 bonus.
The Pittsburgh Kid, Neil Walker’s seventh inning two RBI single off Adam Wainwright gave the Pirates a 4-3 much needed victory on Tuesday night.
(By the way, you can totally see me in that picture. Just above Walker’s right shoulder, I’m the blonde in the purple shirt)
Ronny Cedeno hit a lead-off double, Jose Tabata with a two out walk (after about a 10 pitch AB) and also stole second base. Walker singled to center, sending Cedeno and Tabata home.
“It was a fastball middle-in and in those type of situations, since being up here sometimes it’s easy to get excited and in the moment, I really tried to make a conscious effort to go in the opposite direction and tried to relax a little bit more and trust my instincts, get ready for a fastball and adjust accordingly,” Walker explained.
“He threw a fastball and I was able to pull my hands in and use that part of the field, and that was important for me, and I was able to find some grass.”
“Wainwright is tough and it’s no secret that’s why he has the numbers he does,” Pirates manager John Russell said. “He’s pitched very well against us and you have to give [Paul] Maholm a lot of credit keeping us in the game and giving us an opportunity to tie it and take the lead.
“Some games this year we haven’t been able to stay close and tonight we did, and if you’re going to beat a guy like that, just like we did Santana the other day, you’ve got to stay with them and get that opportunity and come through, and the guys did a great job tonight.”
Let’s not forget about the great pitching by the Pirates as well. Paul Maholm pitched 6.2 innings giving up two runs on seven hits, walked one and struck out four. After Maholm allowed a two-run homerun to Matt Holiday in the first inning, he settled in and pitched like his normal self (which has been up and down a lot this season). Glad to see a nice outing by Maholm. He did receieve his seventh no-decision of the season.
“Maholm gave us a great start,” Russell said. “Especially after [Monday] with [Ross] Ohlendorf coming out, we needed him to cover some innings and he’s done that a few times this year where we needed a quality start and he gave it to us. The 0-2 home run in the first, I’m sure he’d like to have it back, but he really settled down and didn’t let it get to him, and he really threw a nice game for us.”
Joel Hanrahan came replaced Maholm in the seventh inning and pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, striking out one, picking up the win.
Absolutely nothing against Hanny, but I’m glad John Russell gave Evan Meek a save oppurtunity last night. Since Dotel was traded, JR said that he would give them both the oppurtunity to fight for the closer role. (I know there haven’t been many save oppurtunities) but Meek hasn’t gotten the chance, until last night.
Meek gave up four hits and one run and picked up his second save on the season. Evan actually pitched better than his line shows. Randy Winn’s single trickled past Meek’s glove and a throw couldn’t be made, Cedeno miss played a ball hit by Jay and a run scored bringing the game to 4-3. Alvarez also miss played a ball hit by Pujols but the tying run on third did not score. Bases were loaded with just one out. Holliday and and Lopez both popped up to seal the victory.
Talk about intense.
“A good team is going to do that,” Meek said. “They are going to get hits and they are going to drop them in. I was kind of getting frustrated because we were working those lefties in and they weren’t getting barrel on the ball, they were shooting the other way and hit in the perfect spot, but in a situation like that you’ve just got to go one pitch at a time, and just go out there and try to get three outs and it turned out in my favor.”
Russell was happy with the work from his bullpen.
“That was outstanding,” Russell said. “The guys came up big — Hanrahan and Meek. I thought Evan threw the ball well, infield singles, but he kept pounding the strike zone and that was big.”
“It was fun to get the job done and I think some of the guys fed of of that,” Hanrahan stated.
It’s been a rough year for the Pirates, but they have come up big against some of the game’s top pitchers and are hoping that bodes well for the future.
“It would be easy for us to roll over and cruise our way to the end of the season,” Walker said. “On a daily basis we’re making a conscious effort to find that added motivation, and not just when the big pitchers are throwing, and the guys with the good numbers. It’s important for us to keep battling and keep playing hard, because we want to build some momentum going into next year.”
News and Notes:
- Pirates scratch Jeff Karstens (arm fatigue) for Wed game. Daniel McCutchen will start in his spot. Karstens is expected back for his next start.
- (Via @RobBiertempfel) Pirates will call up bullpen help Wed from Triple-A Indy, then bring up starter (prolly Charlie Morton) to pitch Sunday v Brewers
- The DBacks released Ex-Pirate Bobby Crosby on Tuesday. (Crosby was part of the deal along with Carrasco and Church for Synder and Ciarraco) Crosby, 30, hit .220/.294/.298 in 189 plate appearances with the Pirates and D’Backs this year.
- Ross Ohlendorf thinks his season is over. MRI results diagnosed him with a strained lat muscle behind his right shoulder. He added that neither he nor the Pirates are completely ruling out a late return. Watch the video interview here
When asked when he might be able to return: “For next season, for sure, after I build up the arm strength again and everything heals. There could be a start or two at the end, but the most important thing with an injury like this is to be careful.”
There was no ligament damage, no damage to the rotator cuff and no cause for surgery. “I’m very relieved with the diagnosis,” Ohlendorf said. “I hadn’t had anything like that. Didn’t know what to expect. I was afraid it might be worse. To know I’m going to make a full recovery, pretty much without question, is really encouraging.”
- The Pirates now on pace for minus-324 run differential, which would be second-worst in modern NL history (’62 Mets, minus-331).
Jake Westbrook 1-1, 3.60 ERA
Daniel McCutchen 1-5, 6.65 ERA
Westbrook has made four starts since being traded to the Cardinals, going at least six innings in each but has just one win to show for it. His last start against the Giants, went six innings giving up seven hits and three runs, walked two and struck out seven.
McCutchen will start in place of Jeff Karstens who was scratched because of arm fatigue. Since being moved to the bullpen, in nine relief appearences he has a 1.74 ERA with eight strikeouts.Daniel’s last start was on 7/31 against the Cardinals going just 5.2 innings, three runs on six hits, walked six and struck out just one.
Ross Ohlendorf has got to be the most unluckiest pitcher this season.
- Ohlendorf had an early season month-long stint on the disabled list due to back spasms.
- During the first inning of his July 28 start he was struck in the head with a line drive.
- Ohly has had little run support despite posting a 2.35 ERA in his last 10 starts. He is 1-10 during that span.
After facing just two batters in last night’s start against the Cardinals, throwing just eight pitches Ohly was pulled from the game with shoulder tightness.
”It didn’t feel great, but I felt like I could pitch through it,” Ohlendorf said. “When I gained speed, it didn’t feel as good. It kind of got worse with each pitch.”
It wasn’t from throwing just one pitch though, after the game JR said that Ross felt a little stiffness warming up. His velocity was down as well. 88, 89, 87 was his fastball on the gun.
“We don’t know much,” Russell said. “He just said he felt it warming up a little bit, and he couldn’t get over it during the first couple hitters. He felt a little stiffness and thought it would loosen up and it never did.”
In reading Ohlendorf’s expression, however, there was a sense that he already fears the news.
“It’s sore,” Ohlendorf said. “I don’t really know what’s wrong yet. Hopefully it’s just muscle and not in the shoulder.”
“I feel so sad for Ross,” shortstop Ronny Cedeno said. “He works so hard, and he’s pitching so well. And nothing really is going his way.”
Ross has no history of shoulder problems. Shoulder issues generally are seen as more serious for pitchers than elbows. Ohlendorf will undergo an MRI on Tuesday morning.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the most recent pitcher in Major League Baseball history to have one or fewer wins, 11 or more losses and an ERA under 4.07 was the New York Mets’ poor Anthony Young Sept. 11, 1993, when he was 1-16 with a 3.77 ERA.
If Ohlendorf is placed on the DL, or needs to rest for a start or two, Charlie Morton would probally be the guy to be called up. In Morton’s 13 starts since being demoted, He is 4-4 with a 3.83 ERA.
Sean Gallagher re-placed Ohlendorf and inherited two Cardinals on base and Pujols at the plate in the first inning. He delivered a slider up over the heart of the plate and Pujols blasted it into the Pirates bullpen for a three-run home run, his career 399th.
“You have men on first and third early in the game like that, you want to make sure that we get on the board right away,” Pujols said. “He gave me a pretty good pitch to hit, and I put my best swing of the night on it.”
“It didn’t help that I served him a slider on a silver platter,” added Gallagher. “It was definitely a rocky way to enter the game. I felt like I got hot quick enough, but hindsight is always 20/20. I wish I could go back and take a few more [warmup pitches] to calm myself down and give myself a better mindset. I kind of just came out a little too aggressive.”
Albert Pujols entered last nights game with these career stats at PNC Park:
.381 AVG, .462 OBP, .714 SLG, 23 HR, 69 RBI, 71R
Seven men came to the plate in the first inning with four runs scoring before the first out was even recorded.
Gallagher pitched 4.1 innings, gave up five runs on six hits, walked two and struck out one. Sean continued to struggle with his control. At one point he retired 10 batters in a row.
Jose Tabata continued his hot bat, going 3-for-4 with a stolen base. He has 51 hits since the All-Star break, second in the NL behind the Cubs Starlin Castro.
Neil Walker led off the sixth inning with a triple and Garrett Jones followed with a two-run home run (his 18th).
The Bucs couldn’t score catch up enough. The cardinals tapped on three more runs in the fifth inning and three more in the eighth. St Louis won, 10-2.
News and Notes:
- The Pirates have now dropped six of the eight games played so far on this 10-game homestand.
- The Pirates have placed 1B Jeff Clement on the 15-day D.L. The move is retro to 8/21, with a left knee irritation. LHP Justin Thomas has been re-called from Triple-A Indy.
- Minor League Update:
John Bowker: 1-for-3, HR (3), .348 AVG
Charlie Morton 6IP, 4H, 0ER, 4K, 0BB (3.83 ERA)
Jeff Locke 5.2 IP, 5H, 1ER, 7K, 2BB (WP 3-1)
Andrew Lambo 1-for-4, 2RBI (.333 AVG)
Zack Von Rosenberg 5IP, 4H, 2ER, 3K, 2BB (3.39 ERA)
- The Pirates have scored two runs in five of the past six games. They have gone seven games without cracking the 3-run mark.
- Neil Walker’s .370 AVG with runners on base is the third highest for the Pirates since 1974.
- Lastings Milledge has not been complaining about lack of playing time since the Pirates have moved Doumit primarily to right field.
“No, I’m not complaining,” Milledge said Monday. “It’s not personal. I know JR loves the way I play, I know Neal loves the way I play.”
“It’s just sometimes certain situations things don’t work out for the time being. I just feel like, when I get my opportunity, I’m going to make the best of it, whether it’s two times a week or three times a week. When I get in there I need to make up for lost time. That’s the approach I’ve been taking. The last couple guys I faced have been No. 1 starters.”
“I could easily fall into that trap, but I don’t care who’s out there right now, anytime I get an opportunity I’m going to take advantage of it. I can’t control how much playing time I get, but I can control my energy level when I get in the game. Whether I start or pinch-hit, I’m going to be the most ready guy on the team. That’s something I take pride in.”
Pittsburgh-Post Gazette’s Dejan Kovacevic’s Pirates chat transcript: (A few questions that I wanted to share)
Greg45478: Is Evan Meek going to get a save opportunity this year, or is Hanrahan the permanent closer right now?
Dejan Kovacevic: Baseball? OK.
I get the impression, though the Pirates will not say so, that they’re being more careful with Meek than they’d like to let on. His inning count is ahead of Hanrahan, and Hanrahan has done it before.
I also get the impression the Pirates would much, much rather have these two work out the closer thing next spring, not now.
colormeskeptical: What is Aki still doing in the organization? Are they seriously thinking someone will trade for him through waivers? Having anyone other than him get those at bats has to be a better use of them.
Dejan Kovacevic: I really couldn’t see the Pirates telling a guy who’s taking that much of their money to just go home and lie on the couch counting it. They are not happy with any aspect of his preparation entering this season, though they have not criticized that publicly.
I wrote back in the spring that I thought Iwamura looked overweight, and that was greeted with some derision. The Pirates now acknowledge that.
He will ride buses all summer.
Chris: How does John Russell continue to keep his job? Watching him manage the game Friday night and not get the pinch hitter or another relief pitcher up when you might have a chance to get back in the game is a joke.
Dejan Kovacevic: I was trying to think the next day if that was the most questionable move I had seen from Russell, and I still ranked it third: No. 1 was not sending his players out of the dugout to take on the Dodgers this April when Ramon Ortiz threw twice at Andrew McCutchen’s head. No. 2 was lifting Zach Duke in the home finale last year at 8 2/3 innings.
Tuesday’s Pitching Matchup:
Adam Wainwright 17-7, 2.08 ERA
Paul Maholm 7-12, 4.92 ERA
After the Pirates finished batting pratice I continued on my adventure. Walking through the tunnel I stopped and checked out some of the cool pictures on the walls.
We walked by the Pirates Clubhouse, not into it sadly.
I spotted the batting cages as well. They must crank the air to make it 40 degrees in there because it was FREEZING! What I would give to be able to go in there and swing the bat around.
I headed up to the Press Box. Waiting for the elevator I ran into Greg Brown. I chatted with him for a few minutes. Tim Neverette and John Wehner also walked by and said hello. Browny was very nice.
I also saw Mets broadcaster and former player, Keith Hernandez.
I walked into the FSN booth where Steve Blass was hanging out. I introduced myself and we chatted for a long time. I love him so much. He told me the funniest joke when I walked in, which I probally shouldn’t repeat. I asked for a picture with him and he said “Of course but we have to do this the right way”. We put on the headsets.
Blass showed me how he keeps score and the notes that he took from the game before. He explained to me how he does his stats since everyone kind of does it a little different. He was such a nice guy and wished me luck. I love him so much more.
It looks pretty good on me right? FSN if your looking for a in-game reporter, you know who to call.
What a view.
I stopped in a few of the other rooms and chatted with some of the writers. But before I left I was sure to grab all the goodies.
(They kept me company during the multiple rain delays)
After I left the Press Box I headed back down to the Pirates dugout to watch the rest of the Mets batting pratice. After they finished, I headed to my seat to watch the game. The Bucs may have lost that night and I may have gotten drenched from the rain, but none of that mattered because it was still one pretty amazing day.
Saturday was a day I will never forget.
When the Pirates are at home I always like to head to the ballpark early to watch both teams take batting pratice. This Saturday however, I arrived earlier for a much different view of PNC Park.
Upon arrival I was presented with this:
I must admit, I was pretty excited. It was my very first press pass. But hopefully not the last. The first place I was taken to was to check out the FSN truck. The guys that worked in there were really cool. I got to see all the different departments. The pictures turned out pretty blury though. I saw where they do the audio, all the different views of the cameras, etc. I even saw where they imput the scores, stats and trivia questions onto the T.V.
After we left there, we headed down to the Pirates dugout. Deep breath. I got chills when I saw this:
I proceded down the stairs and out into the dugout.
I had to control myself, the kid in me wanted to put on a batting helmet and swing one of the players bats around. I thought better of it though. I didn’t want to press my luck.
The phones to call the Bullpen.
And of course, I had to get my picture taken hanging out on the bench.
Have you ever wondered what the view is like from where the players sit during the game?
After I finished taking a bunch of pictures, I sat and watched the Pirates take BP on THEIR bench, drinking THEIR gatorade. It was pretty awesome.
I said hello to a few of the players and chatted with Tony Beasley for a few minutes. He was very nice and asked where my season ticket was. When I pointed it out, he told me he would tip his cap to me later during the game. What a cool guy!
After the Pirates were done I headed on the rest of my tour. But not before I snagged up a cup full of this:
Dirt. Hell yes!
The rest of my adventure will be in part two.
If someone would have bet me a million dollars that the Pirates would beat Johan Santana by two solo-homeruns by Lastings Milledge and Jose Tabata, I would have shook on it.
Fortunatley for me, I didn’t. That is exactly how the Pirates beat the Mets in game three of the series, 2-1. Milledge who hit his fourth on the year and Tabata with his third, aren’t exactly known for being “power guys”. Although, Jose Tabata being just 22, will gain more power as he gets older.
Zach Duke and Johan Santana both pitched great games but it was Duke that outdueled Santana. Zach who hasn’t won a game in four starts and hadn’t yielded as little as one run in his previous 11 starts, pitched seven innings, giving up one run on five hits, struck out five and walked two.
Evan Meek came in the eighth inning, gave up no hits or runs but walked one. He picked up his 11th hold on the season.
Joel Hanrahan picked up his second save as a Bucco, pitching a scoreless inning, striking out one.
“It’s good to see a well-pitched game and actually win one,” manager John Russell said. “We played an all-around good game.”
“I really felt from the first inning on my location was good with all my pitches and I was able to mix them up,” Duke said. “The fact that I was able to bounce back after the run in the first inning really got the momentum in our favor.
“Then those two home runs were just huge for us,” he added. “Thankfully we were able to get the win that we needed.”
Tabata’s home run was especially meaningful. The game was to be televised in his home country, and Jose talked to his Mother before the game.
I told her everyone in Venezuela will be watching the game, and I want you to see the game because I’ll do something special for you, Mom,” Tabata recalled saying. “And thank God for the home run.”
Just minutes after the game ended, Tabata had received a phone call from his mother.
“She was so happy, like, ‘Wow, my son hit the home run,’” Tabata said. “She said, ‘You told me you’d do something — not the home run, but something — and thank you God, hit the home run.’
Santana pitched eight innings, gave up four hits, two runs, one walk and struck out nine. He is now 10-8 on the year.
Monday’s Pitching Matchup:
Kyle Lohse 1-5, 6.79 ERA
Ross Ohlendorf 1-10, 3.90 ERA
Lohse is coming back from a two-month DL stint. He was rocked for seven runs in three innings on six hits and two walks his last start against the Cubs.
Ohlendorf has a 2.35 ERA over his last 10 starts, though lack of run support he is just 1-4 during that span. He lasted a career-long eight innings in his last start against the Marlins.
Lou Piniella today stepped down as Cubs Manager to take care of his ill mother. As a fan of the game, I respect sweet Lou and wish him nothing best the best. His press conference was very emotional. If you missed it, you can watch the video here.
Piniella tips his cap to the fans as his last day as manager.
Happier news, Vin Scully has annouced he will be back for 2011 season, his 62nd year as the Dodgers annoucer. (He is by far, my favorite)
Vinny addressing the Media earlier today.
Last night did not end well for the Buccos as they lost their fifth straight game, the eigth time this season they have lost at least five straight.
I’m was one of those idiots you probally saw on T.V. sitting through two delays and five plus innings of rain. It wasn’t just sprinkling either. At times it was like a monsoon. I don’t mind sitting through the rain actually, on hot summer days, it usually feels pretty darn good.
“I thought the guys were into it, even with the rain,” said manager John Russell. “They were having fun with it. I would have liked to have seen what would have happened if we had finished it.”
Unfortunately, the Bucs didn’t get the oppurtunity to finish the game as it was called in the top of the sixth inning.
James McDonald pitched five innings giving up five runs on six hits, struck out five and walked four. J-Mac was really struggling with the weather and you could tell he was letting it get the best of him. In the fifth inning with two mets on base. McDonald threw a 1-1 fastball to David Wright who launched it over the center field wall for a three-run homerun, giving the Mets a 5-1 lead.
“That was a good pitch he hit, so I have to tip my hat to him,” McDonald said. “He took a good swing at a good pitch.”
“McDonald has got really good stuff, and I think he is very good and is only going to get better,” Wright said. “He’s got very good secondary pitches and has got enough on his fastball to throw it by you. As a hitter, against a guy like that, you really have to go up there and look for certain pitches, and I was fortunate and got lucky and got one I was looking for.”
The Pirates have not scored more than two runs in nine of their past 10 games.
“It’s not his best start obviously, but it’s a four-run game and we still have a chance to do something,” Russell said. “It did get away from him just a little bit. He didn’t have his best stuff tonight and he still managed to pitch pretty well, with the exception of the three-run homer.
News and Notes:
- Rudy Owens at Double-A Altoona last night: 5IP 6H 2R 0BB 6K
- Great Article by Pittsburgh-Post Gazette’s Dejan Kovacevic: “Pirates, Mexican ace faced long odds, long route” –PPG
- Triple-A Starter Brad Lincoln has been placed on the Minor League DL (retroactive to Aug. 20), due to neck stiffness but is expected to miss only one start. Chris Jakubauskas will fill in the open spot on the roster. Brad still seems like a likely september call-up.
- (Via @RobBiertempfel) Pirates might consider 6-man rotation if RHP Brad Lincoln is recalled in September.
- (Via @RobBiertempfel) Pirates players had a closed-door team meeting before tonite’s game against Mets. Bucs have lost 4 straight, 22 of past 28 games.
- The Pirates would need to go 23-16 the rest of the season to avoid the first 100-loss season.
Triple-A Catcher Jason Jaramillo and Pirates reliever Sean Gallagher both have committed to playing winter ball. GM Neal Hunington said recently that he hoped more of the Pirates organization’s players would take part.
“Winter ball, you usually look at guys who missed time — guys who are in the early stages of development who haven’t played a lot,” said manager John Russell. “We don’t have too many of those guys. We’re going to have a lot of guys who are going to have a lot of at-bats and innings.”
Expect most of this years participants to be from the minor-leagues.
Today’s Pitching Matchup:
Johan Santana 10-7, 2.97 ERA
Zach Duke 5-12, 5.33 ERA
Santana allowed four runs over eight innings in a 4-3 loss to the Astros on Tuesday night. In his last three starts however, Johan is 2-1 with an 1.48 ERA. Johan pitched a four hit complete game shutout against the Rockies on the 12th, striking out ten.
Duke lost his 12th game his last time out, in eight of those losses he has allowed four or more runs in one inning. Zach hasn’t picked up a W since July 21st against the Brewers.
*Check back later tonight. I got a really cool tour of the Pirates press box, FSN truck, Pirates dugout, and more. I have a lot of fun pictures to share with you guys.
Well folks, it’s official. After last night’s loss to the Mets 7-2, the Pirates clinched their 82nd loss of the season making it 18 consecutive losing seasons. The 2010 club reached the 82 losses quicker than any other team in the 18-year span.
“No one wants to lose this many games,” manager John Russell said. “It [stinks]. The bottom line is, it [stinks]. I hate to cuss, but nobody likes it, nobody wants it.”
“We have our bright spots, and then we have our days where we don’t look like we belong on the field sometimes,” starter Jeff Karstens said. “It’s part of the growing pains that are going to go on here, probably for the rest of this year. Hopefully, they won’t carry on past this year.”
“You always come into the season thinking positive,” Andrew McCutchen said. “At the same time, you have to leave the season positive. Just because our record isn’t there, we still have to go out there and play hard every day and continue to keep working. We’re not playing to lose, even though we’re losing. Things just haven’t been going our way lately.”
“It hurts. As a guy who wears the uniform proudly, it really does,” Banister said of the streak. “But I also look at it with a different set of eyes because of all the things I’ve been fortunate enough to see. The bigger picture of what we’re about to do. So, for me, no, I don’t like that record. And I know it hurts the fans, too. But there’s another number I think everyone should focus on, and that’s the number of years since our last world championship. Ending the streak someday will be nice, but nobody here should be playing for second place.”
“There’s no getting around how important it is. It’s always the elephant in the room,” Walker said. “It’s obviously frustrating. It’s been that way for a long time as a fan and growing up here, and it’s frustrating to be a part of it now. But we’re all working toward that common goal of playing winning baseball here, and I think we’re on the right track.”
The Pirates have a lot of work to do over the last 40 games of the season. If they can end the season on a bit of a high note and playing well together it could give them momentum and postivity for when they report to spring training in 2011.
“With the results right now, we have to really focus on the process,” Russell said. “We have to focus on how we can get our hitters better, how we can work to make our pitching better and continue to work on our defense. We have to really finish off making sure these guys have a good understanding of what they’re doing. The record is what it is. I’m not going to run from it. But we can’t focus on that right now. We need to focus on these guys getting better.”
*Photo Matt Freed/Post-Gazette
Can I just say, what an idiot? The Pirates may have the 18 losing seasons weighing over our heads but I would take the buccos organization and history over the Cubs anyday! How many World Series do the Cubbies have? and when was the last time they won? 1907 and 1908. That’s 102 years that you have been a failure! You haven’t even won a pennant in 65 years! If I were you, I wouldn’t be making fun on the Pirates.
Jeff Karstens took the mound against the Mets Mike Pelfrey. Unfortunately for Karstens, the most consistent starter the Bucs have had all season, was roughed up in the first inning and lasted a season-short 3 1/3 innings. He allowed seven runs on 11 hits, both a season high.
Karstens stats by innings:
Innings 1-5 6 +
Innings 85 13
ERA 3.18 12.46
HR 8 9
OPP AVG .271 .400
The Mets Pelfrey apparently was throwing up before the game and also did so a few times between innings. Despite being sick he pitched a pretty good game and I commend him for still going out there under the weather. He went eight innings, gave up two runs, one earned on six hits, struck out five.
He was really struggling with some type of stomach problem,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said of Pelfrey, who lasted eight innings. “I thought that was pretty courageous of him to go as far as he did.”
In the fourth inning, the Pirates had two men on second and third with two outs and John Russell made the decision to let Sean Gallagher hit. Now, I know there are two ways to look at the situation.
- John Russell explained why he didn’t use Jones or Young to bat there:
“Well, we’re in the fourth inning. We’ve got a lot of game to cover. … You feel like we’ve got five more chances, with the top of the order due up the next inning, to do something. Gallagher was able to give us much-needed innings. You’d like to get the runs, but you have to realize there’s still a lot of game left. You start taxing your bullpen and your bench early in a 7-2 game or whatever it was, and it’s not going to be a very good situation for us.”
The fans did not react well to this at all. Loud boo’s flooded the stadium.
2. Now, If I was JR, I would have used GFJ or DY there. Now I understand that you want to keep your long relief guy in so you don’t have to tax the bullpen. You have the rest of the Mets series and the Cardinals for three starting Monday. But, you also have Daniel McCutchen who can be used for multiple innings as well. And lets be honest. How many times during the span of the game do the Pirates get runners in scoring position? I would let somone PH and worry about the Pen later.
*By the way, only one more runner advanced into scoring postion the remainder of the game.
News and Notes:
- The Pirates achieved 82 losses faster then any other team in the 18 year span. The previous mark was on Aug. 27, 2001.
- The Bucs are on pace for 53-109, a .327 winning percentage that would be the worst since 1953.
- Jeff Karstens is the fourth Pirates starter this season to have at least 10 losses.
- The Pirates have scored two or fewer runs in eight of their last nine games.
- (Via @RobBiertempfel) Charlie Morton (elbow) threw bullpen session today @ AAA Indy. Pirates GM Huntington says he “fully expects Charlie to make his next start”
Luis Heredia will be going to Bradenton to observe and learn the program, director of player development Kyle Stark said.
“Luis will be getting indoctrinated into our program and American culture,” Stark said. ”He will not be pitching there.”
Heredia will stay there through the Florida Instructional League season in October, and “probably will pitch,” Stark said, ”and then we’ll make plans from there. We want him to get as much exposure to us, what we do, and American culture as possible.”
Jose Tabata ranks 2nd in the N.L. in hits since the All-Star break with 46. Hitting .338 (53-157) since July 4.
Former Pirates catcher Ronny Paulino was suspended 50 games for PED use.
A great read: “Pirates commitment to Winning is more evident than ever” -PGH Pine Tar
The Pirates agree with Colombian SS Dilson Herrera for $220K, the third-most expensive international signing this year.
Here are a few pictures from the Mets BP:
Manager Jerry Manuel and David Wright
Lastings Milledge was chatting with his former teamates, David Wright and Jose Reyes.
Today’s Pitching Matchup:
Jon Niese 7-5, 3.38 ERA
James McDonald 2-1, 2.55 ERA
Niese hasn’t gotten a win since July 27th. His last time out againt the Astros he pitched seven innings, giving up one run on seven hits and struck out five. Jon got the No-decision. Niese has a 1.29 ERA in his past three starts but no win to show for it.
J-Mac has been dominant in his two starts at PNC Park. In 17 1/3 innings there, McDonald is 2-0 with 20 strikeouts and three earned runs.