Tag Archives: Freddy Sanchez

Pirates/Giants Recap

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image from espn.com

Pirates 2 Giants 4

Pirates 2 Giants 3

Pirates 0 Giants 1

Man, this is an depressing interesting team to follow around the trading deadline.  Two (three?) more quality players said sayanora since the Arizona series concluded.  Jack Wilson and Ian Snell are now Mariners, and (this just in) Freddy Sanchez will stay behind in San Francisco (if you don’t believe it, there’s a picture of Sanchez in a Giant uniform up top.  Just let it sink in).  In return for Wilson and Snell we get Ronny Cedeno, AAA first baseman Jeff Clement, and 3 A-ball pitchers.  So, the way I see it, we trade Snell for Clement (both are borderline MLB talent), we downgrade from Wilson to Cedeno (a journeyman, but major leaguer) and we make up for it with the young arms.  That’s fair.  Plus it gives us another shortstop for the short term.  My only concern is Clement.  He’s the supposed keystone of the trade.  The report on him is that he can hit for power, but he’s got a hole in his swing (he can’t hit curve balls.  Think Pedro Cerrano, the guy who practices voodoo in the movie ‘Major League’).  We traded Sanchez straight up for AA prospect Tim Alderson.  So let me get this straight: we traded an established major league second baseman who still has a lot of production left in him for a kid with a heck of a lot of promise, but zero major league experience.  How did we not get hosed in this deal?  It’s a gamble.  I get it.  It’s a known commodity (Freddy’s remaining production) for something that could be greater than that or less than that.  But usually a GM will add in another prospect to kind of hedge the bet a little bit.  Now, this was a quality kid.  No doubt about it.  He was #4 in their system and he’s only 20 years old.  But for him to make this trade a success, he has to be a multi-time all-star.  That’s a heck of a lot of expectations for a kid in AA.  I sure hope we know what we’re doing.  Oh, and one more thing: we’ve been stocking the minor leagues forever.  We should be kicking butt down on the farm even if we’re struggling up in the ‘burgh, right?  Well, lets look at the standings and get a whiff of good news, shall we?

AAA International League West Division

Louisville (Reds) 59-44

Indianapolis (Pirates) 50-53

Toledo (Tigers) 48-56

Columbus (Indians) 45-57

2nd place.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.  2nd place by a mile and still not above .500, but it’s decent.  Nobody’s perfect.  We were in last place last year.  So improvement at least.  Let’s continue:

AA Eastern League Southern Division

Akron (Indians) 63-41

Erie (Tigers) 57-45

Reading (Phillies) 56-46

Bowie (Orioles) 56-47

Harrisburg (Nationals) 46-55

Altoona (Pirates) 41-63

Ouch.  That smarts.  Especially since this is supposedly where all the major talent like Pedro Alvarez, Gorkys Hernandez and Jose Tabata are.  I’m not going to lie, that’s embarrassing.  But one team does not a system make, so onward:

A Carolina League Northern Division

Potomac (Nationals) 58-41

Lynchburg (Pirates) 56-45

Wilmington (Royals) 56-45

Fredrick (Orioles) 48-53

Ok.  Another solid middle of the pack showing.  Not too bad.  This team is actually above .500 unlike the other two.  That’s encouraging.  One more team:

A South Atlantic League Northern Division

Kannapolis (White Sox) 19-13

Hickory (Rangers) 18-14

West Virginia (Pirates) 17-13

Lakewood (Phillies) 18-15

There are others in the division, but no one cares.  The point is that we’re seeing a bunch of middle of the pack minor league teams in our system right now.  We’ve traded away every arguable major league player in Pittsburgh.  These minor league teams are now the future of the Pirates and they aren’t getting much better without years of drafting.  The revitalizing through trades is almost done (there are one or two more trades left, but none that should bring much of a return).  If we’re not dominating or at least playing .500 ball down there, what makes you think it will change when they’re playing the same guys in the bigs in a few years?  Just a depressing thought for the future.  Anyway, that turned into another post by itself.  I have a series to recap.  So here’s the short run-down.

Game one was a disaster.  Tim Lincecum pitched a complete game and struck out 15.  The kids good.  And he was on his game on Monday.  But jeez.  That’s embarrassing.  4 hits for the Pirates.  4 hits.  That will never win you a game.  That will almost never get you 2 runs, but we at least pulled that one off.  Waste of a decent game by Maholm

Game two was the same story.  We faced a good pitcher (Barry Zito).  We had a decent pitcher on the mound (Charlie Morton).  We got a good game from our guy, and blew it by getting absolutely no run support.  We managed 10 hits this time, but still only turned them into 2 runs.  I didn’t realize that was possible.  This game will mostly be remembered for Garrett Jones bobbling a ball in the outfield, and the amazing catch (or not) by Delwyn Young that ensued.  In case you missed it, here it is:

Cue the circus music.  Man.  Only the Pirates.  The sad part is that blown call cost us a run and consequently a shot at extra innings.  Not like we would have won there, anyway.

Game three was the worst offensive showing yet.  A shutout.  The third time we’ve been shut out in a week.  Pitiful.  Matt Cain threw a gem for San Francisco.  No doubt about it.  But this is more on us.  We managed 3 hits.  In 10 innings!  That’s right.  Due to an equally impressive 7 innings of shutout ball by Zach Duke, we  brought the game to extra innings scoreless and we STILL couldn’t do anything!  That’s the worst part.  All we needed was one run.  One stinking piece of luck or anything, and we couldn’t muster it.  Makes you want to smack your head into a wall.  But to be fair, lets look at our lineup from this afternoon and where they were last year.

Player Team @ end of ’08 Class

Andrew McCutchen                  Indianapolis                                         AAA

Andy LaRoche                            Pittsburgh                                              MLB

Delwyn Young                            Los Angeles (NL)                                 MLB

Garrett Jones                              Rochester                                               AAA

Steve Pearce                               Indianapolis                                          AAA

Brandon Moss                            Pittsburgh                                               MLB

Ramon Vazquez                        Texas                                                         MLB

Jason Jaramillo                         Lehigh Valley                                        AAA

So there you have it.  Half of our 8 position players were in AAA at the end of last year.  Add on to that by qualifying that Andy LaRoche was in AAA last year before coming to Pittsburgh, and none of the other 3 were regular starters, and you’ve got quite the lineup.  When people joke about Pittsburgh being a AAA team, they’re only half joking.  Remember that.  It’s going to be a loooooong rest of the season.


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Pirates/Diamondbacks Recap

image from espn.com

image from espn.com

Pirates 4 Diamondbacks 11

Pirates 10 Diamondbacks 3

Pirates 0 Diamondbacks 7

Pirates 0 Diamondbacks 9

Life is not good for Pirate fans right now.  I realize that’s par for the course around here, but it’s especially bad right now.  We just dropped 3 of 4 to a fairly bad Arizona team, and we were shut out twice by some mediocre pitching in the process.  In addition, two of the only guys on the team who actually belong on a major league roster (or at least  have an argument to be on one) are involved in some heavy trade rumors.  Yeah, it’s gettin’ pretty bad around here.  But that’s our Bucs.  Win a couple of series’ to get our hopes up, then collapse.

Game one started out innocently enough.  We were tied going into the 8th, and the bullpen just puked on itself, giving up 5 runs.  We were never going to come back from that.  Disappointing for sure, but on a bad team like the Pirates collapses like that are going to happen.  The one thing that stung a little bit was that John Grabow was involved in the melee.  He’s been pretty steady.  Garrett Jones and Steve Pearce both had decent days which was nice to see.  This one was kind of a bitter pill to swallow, though.  Especially because we took a 4-1 lead in the 5th only to see it immediately disappear into a tie game again.  But these are the breaks in baseball.  Not every lead is safe.

Game two was the lone bright spot in the series.  There was a promotion where for every run scored in the last three games of the Arizona series, tickets for select seats for Friday’s game would be reduced by $1.  Not a bad idea.  And the Bucs looked like they really wanted to make up for their past poor performances by giving the fans free seats.  Garrett Jones hit another home run (what else is new), but I’m waiting for pitchers to figure him out.  I think most of his success has a lot to do with his new car smell.  Once pitchers get a book on him, he won’t last (though I hope I’m wrong).  We strung together some hits, and managed to get a 10 spot on the board!  Arizona doesn’t have the fire-power to match that.  $10 off tickets with 2 games to go: the fans were sitting pretty on Friday night.

But, unfortunately, it didn’t last.  In game three, we spread out 8 hits, and were shut out.  I will say that it was kind of a cheap shut out, though.  A timely hit in one of a number of places would have put an end to that.  Doug Davis was throwing a 5 hit shutout through 6 and was still yanked.  That’ll tell you everything you need to know about him.  But the bottom line is that we definitely didn’t deserve to win that game.  Also, Evan Meek had another disastrous outing.  He better get things together pretty soon.

Game four was deja vu all over again.  Another shut out.  It’s amazing how bi-polar this offense can be.  This time the pitching culprit was Max Scherzer.  7 innings and 5  hits.  We went 3 up 3 down in the 8th and 9th, so those were also our only hits of the game, too.  I’ve said it before this season, but that’s an embarrassment.  I don’t care who you are, getting shut out in back to back nights against a team like Arizona can’t happen.  Virgil Vasquez pitched horribly.  I know I kind of came to his defense last series, but that’s now 2 or 3 really bad outings in a row.  Maybe I was too quick with the praise.  Freddy Sanchez capped off his awful series by going 0 for 4.  Maybe he’s subconsciously trying to destroy his trade value so he can stay.  I don’t know.

So that’s where we stand.  In a heap of trouble.  On the bright side, however, Steelers training camp opens this week.  It won’t be long before we can have something else to watch around here.  Plus, there’s $10 off some tickets to Friday’s game.  Too bad it’s the Nats in town.  Oh, well.  AAA baseball is still baseball (and I’m only half kidding about that).  Yipee!

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Pirates/Giants Recap

image from espn.com

image from espn.com

Pirates 2 Giants 1

Pirates 2 Giants 0

Pirates 3 Giants 4

Alright.  When we last left the Pirates, they were on desperate times.  They had an awful series in Philadelphia where nothing went right.  They had an offense on life support.  They had made some major trades that severely downgraded their outfield, and their closer had just blown an awful game.  Coming out of the All Star break, we get Tim Lincecum and the Giants coming into town.  Just what the doctor ordered for an aching offense: a Cy Young contending pitcher.  Lets see how it went, shall we?

Well, we were lucky.  Lincecum pitched the game you would expect him to pitch.  He struck out 10 and gave up only 1 run and 5 hits in 7 innings of work.  Not too shabby.  We countered with Paul Maholm who pitched a gem of his own going 8 innings while giving up 1 run and 4 hits and striking out 7.  Everyone came to see a pitchers duel on Friday, and that’s exactly what they got.  Fantastic.  The game went to 14 innings before Garrett Jones hit a walk-off solo jack to win it.  Drama abound.  This after Jones hit another one in the beginning of the game to score the Pirates only other run.  I haven’t talked much about Jones even though he’s been on the radar for awhile, so I’ll formally introduce you to him.  He’s been in the Twins organization for a while, and after becoming a free agent this off-season, we picked him up.  He came up when we traded Eric Hinske, and has been doing nothing but hitting home runs since.  Seriously.  He has 7 home runs so far this year.  In 14 games which is a very impressive rate.  However, he only has an average of .286 and an OBP of .333.  That means if it doesn’t leave the park, he’s in trouble.  Not much of a singles hitter, this one (he’s got 16 hits including the 7 home runs).  When I said it’s all or nothing, I wasn’t kidding.  So, to recap, Jones and Maholm carry the rest of the team to a win.

Game two saw another decent pitching matchup (for a Bucco game): Charlie Morton vs. Barry Zito.  Morton is pitching decently since moving over in the McLouth trade.  Zito, umm, used to be good at some point.  Morton did very well while out-pitching Zito.  He puts up a line of 7 innings, 0 runs and 3 hits.  Very solid.  So solid, I’m wondering whether this is San Francisco’s lack of offense that’s making our staff look unhitable.  But, I digress.  We eek out 2 runs on 6 measly hits and once again do juuuuuuust enough to win.  Oh, and Matt Capps picked up the save (after allowing 2 hits), and gives a huge fist pump.  Whatever builds his confidence.

Game three matches Matt Cain against Zach Duke.  I know I’m making a huge deal about pitching in this series, but these are two teams that rely heavily on their staffs to get it done.  These were three good matchups, and they didn’t disappoint.  Anyway, Duke does ok, giving up 4 runs in 7 innings.  That’s usually enough to at least keep you in the game if not let your team get a lead.  But Matt Cain is having a heck of a year, and against our lineup he did very well.  We were down 4-1 when he left after 7, got two back in the 8th, and come up just short of the sweep.  Brandon Moss hit a homer.  That’s his 4th of the year.  That number was expected to be much much higher by now.  Our buddy Garrett Jones goes 0-4 with 2 strikeouts.  Ouch.

So that’s your series.  The pitching staff couldn’t have carried this team any more if there were handles installed.  Garrett Jones continues to be Mr. Fire and Ice.  If he gets some consistency and patience, he’ll be something.  Otherwise he’ll be a very frustrating player.  We’ve got enough of those.  Jack and Freddy were offered ‘contract extensions’.  Most of the fans saw right through that ploy.  The news just came out tonight that both players rejected the contracts that were roughly half of what they were to make next year.  I guess it was a smart move, though.  Offer pitifully low contracts.  If they sign them, great.  If not, you can blame them when you trade them.  That would have worked, would this not have been the most skeptical, pessimistic fan base in baseball (and with good reason).  So you can count the days until our team becomes even worse.  We have no one in the minors to replace them.  Remember Brian Bixler’s time in the bigs earlier this year?  Remember how he struck out more times than the AV club president on ladies night?  Think about that being permanent for the rest of the year.  *shudder*

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Pirates/Phillies Recap

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image from espn.com

Pirates 2 Phillies 3

Pirates 7 Phillies 8

Pirates 2 Phillies 5

What can you say about this series?  It was a disaster in every sense of the word.  It was embarrassing to be a Pittsburgh fan.  Just awful.  We found new ways to lose.  I even had to take an extra day to calm down so I can write this.

How bad is the impression of the Pirates around baseball?  How about this one.  Jonathan Sanchez (a pitcher for the Giants) was rumored to be part of a deal for Freddy Sanchez.  He responded by going out on Saturday and tossing a no hitter.  Seriously.  Now, there’s two ways to interpret this news.  First is to realize the lengths players will go to to avoid being a Pirate.   Second is to realize that this is one more  instance where the Pirates have rotten luck.  We pull the trigger on a trade for him last week and maybe that no-no goes for us.  Nah.  You still need to score runs to win.  Even during a no hitter.  I forgot.

Anyway, game one was an odd-ball.   Zach Duke pitched a complete game (which literally probably made him an All Star).  He gave up 3, but over 8 innings I’ll take that in a heartbeat.  We were down 3-1 in the 9th, got a solo shot from Brandon Moss to pull within 1, and weren’t able to do anything else.  The case of the missing bats continues.  6 hits and 8 K’s.  Once again we see that reoccurring theme of striking out more than we’re getting hits.  We blew a gem by Duke.  Simple as that.  Poor guy would have had 10 wins by now on any other team in the bigs.

Game two was a heart-breaker.  The bats kind of showed up, and we got 10 hits and 3 home runs.  That never happens.  We have to take advantage of that, right?  We finally get one, right?  …..Please?  Nope.  We built up a 7-3 lead going into the 9th, and we have our closer coming in.  Usually a game over situation.  But not this time.  Capps proceeds to totally throw up on himself and give up 5 runs and 6 hits while only getting 1 out.  So now if you hear Pittsburgh fans talk, we don’t have a closer.  All of a sudden all of those times he’s put men on and made us sweat before getting the outs he needed matter.  I realize he’s not a great closer, but c’mon he plays for the Pirates.  We get about 1 save opportunity a week (maybe less after the trades).  If there’s one position we can save money and get a sub-par player, it’s closer.  The fact that he’s not Mariano Rivera is not news.  But I digress.  Capps had a bad day.  An especially bad day.  Which is alright.  Everyone’s entitled to one.  What I can’t understand is why he was allowed to stay out there for 5 runs and 6 hits while only getting 1 out.  Where’s Russell realizing that ‘gee.  My closer just gave up 2 home runs.  Maybe it’s time to stick a fork in him’?  You have to know your team better than that.  Just a killer loss.

Game three saw the Bucs obviously reeling from the loss the night before.  The Phils jumped out to a quick 5 run lead in the first inning and cruised.  Virgil Vasquez was horrible to start, and got no run support.  We scattered 7 hits, and had only managed 1 run going into the 9th (where we added another).  I think we saw the All Star Break looming and packed it in a game early.  That’s probably the most disappointing loss.  The one where we stopped trying.  Not bad luck.  Bad effort.

So with that, we’ve officially entered the dark period of the Pirates schedule.  This should only last until, oh, late September or so.  Get used to it.  I’m starting to get numb to the Pirates.  After the Saturday loss, I kind of packed in the season, too.  I was kind of hoping that this team might gel, and (although a very long shot), come back to challenge .500.  I’m not looking for playoffs this year.  I know better than that.  I was just looking for something (anything) to make me care about a game in September.  Or August for that matter.  It kills me that I’ve lowered my standards that much, and we still can’t meet them.  Welcome to Pirate fandom, I guess.  Where you pay your dues for the Steeler/Penguin seasons.  I’ll see you on the other side of the midsummer classic.

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Pirates Rockies Recap

image from epsn.com

image from epsn.com

Pirates 3 Rockies 7

Pirates 7 Rockies 9

Pirates 4 Rockies 5

Wow.  You can really read John Russell’s face in that picture.  It says ‘Crap.  This Pittsburgh gig is going to be tougher than I thought’.  It’s tough.  We ran into a buzz-saw in Colorado.  They had won 13 of their last 14 games coming into the Pirate series.  Every part of their game was clicking.  But, as usual, our Buccos aren’t one to mess with success (by another team).  We made a red-hot team look white-hot and dropped all three games.  Yipee!

We were never really in game one.  The Rockies put up an early lead and never took their foot off the gas.  Jason Marquis almost went the distance for Colorado, but ran out of gas at the very end.  Jack Wilson got a rare home run.  That was about the only highlight from this day.  Pretty bleak.  No Pirate batter hit over .500 for the day.

Game two was a heart-breaker.  We finally got to a pitcher and dinged Jason Hammel for 6 runs.  This is right where the Buccos want to be.  When we score, we usually can win.  We had some errors (Freddy Sanchez lost a ball in the sun while he was wearing sunglasses…..on the brim of his cap.  I don’t see how that’s not an error), but we were there.  Going into the 8th, we were up two.  Then John Grabow proceeds to give up a 3-run shot and climb into my bad side more and more.  Because we got one in the top of the 8th, that only tied the score.  In the top of the 9th, we had Nyjer Morgan on 3rd with two outs.  Adam LaRoche is up to bad.  The least clutch player on the team.  In a pressure situation like this, you can count on him to get the out you need.  So Colorado naturally walks him and brings up his brother.  I have no idea why.  But I’ll take it.  Does Andy make them pay?  Not a chance.  Inning ending grounder.  So then in the bottom of the 9th with one out and a man on first do we get the inning-ending double play?  Not a chance.  Walk off home run by Todd Helton.  Makes you want to bang your head against the wall.

Game three was just as frustrating.  It’s the 6th inning and we’re down by 1.  Our bullpen is holding strong.  The Rockies had to go to the pen early.  Heck, they even sent up Josh Fogg.  He’s gotta screw up, right?  How many times did he make Pirate fans wince?  Not this time.  The Rockies bullpen throws 3 perfect innings in a row.  That’s right.  We have 3 innings where all we need is one run to tie, and we don’t even get a man to first base.  It really makes you question your loyalty to this team.

If you can’t tell, I’m frustrated right now.  Very, very frustrated.  But at least the expectations were so low that I don’t really care.  I shake my head and move on.  This is the first series where the bi-polar bucs didn’t really rear their ugly head.  They put up some runs.  They put 7 on the board in game 2.   We just couldn’t hold a hot team down.  Tomorrow I’m looking into what makes the Pirates tick, and what makes them lose so much.  It should be interesting…..especially if you like numbers a lot.

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Pirates/Braves Recap

image from espn.com

image from espn.com

Pirates 6 Braves 7 (15 innings)

Pirates 3 Braves 4

Pirates 3 Braves 2

Pirates 3 Braves 1

Hey, remember when I recapped the Astros series and I said this was a frustrating team to follow?  Well, I didn’t know the half of it.  Let’s set the stage first.  The Braves are struggling.  They have a pretty decent rotation, but they can’t seem to score runs.  Their extreme desperation is the reason the Nate McLouth trade took place weeks before the trade deadline.

Speaking of Nate, he wasted no time getting a shot in against Pirate management where it counts.  He went 3 for 7 with a home run in game one.  Funniest scene of the year was Zach Duke’s reaction to the homer.  It just smacked of ‘how the heck could you do that to me, man?’.  The game turned out to be a marathon.  We had a ton of chances in late innings to score a run or two and end the thing, but failed to come up with clutch hitting each time.  There were for times in the 8th inning and beyond (when one run would have pretty much won it) where we had a man in scoring position and failed to get him home.  We came back from a 5-1 deficit to tie it.  We had the momentum and a desperate team on the ropes.  We had our bullpen throwing the best I’ve ever seen them throw, and we blew it.  Again.  The most odd ball thing about this game, though, was the decision to put Jeff Karstens on the mound in the 15th inning.  We had used up every one of our relievers by that time except for Matt Capps.  Now, I know using your closer for a late game relief appearance is not desirable, but why not put him out there for an inning or two before throwing a starter out there?  Karstens of course throws up on himself and walks the first batter.  A sac bunt and two hits later and the game is over.  I’m not a baseball genius, but maybe Jeff didn’t pitch so well because, I don’t know, he hasn’t had to quickly warm up and throw in  relief since he was a Yankee?  I honestly have no idea what John Russell was thinking.  To make things worse, the Braves were in worse shape pitching wise.  Kris Medlen was pitching for Atlanta in the 15th.  He also threw the 14th and was the last relief pitcher Atlanta had.  Plus, they didn’t have a AAA pitcher in need of a quick call-up like Charlie Morton to make up for  using a starter.  If the Pirates don’t give up a run in the 15th, the Braves have to either screw up their rotation or use a position player.  Neither is desirable.  It was an awful game to watch because we had the game won, and lost it with bad strategy and hitting.  The one bright spot, however, was the continued hot streak of Andrew McCutchen with 2 triples.  This soon changed, however, as you’ll read later.

Game two was equally frustrating.  We built up an early 3-1 lead after 4, and just let the Braves slowly eat into it.  Ross Ohlendorf took the hill for the Pirates and gave them 6 innings.  He gets charged with 3 earned runs, but I only credit him with 2.  He gave up a single to the first batter in the 7th before getting the hook, and Sean Burnett let him in.  Having a man on first with no outs is not a hard jam to get out of.  The bullpen definitely let the team down in this one, but I can’t believe how the bats disappeared in the second half of the game.  We were lucky to get one man on per inning after the 4th.  It was pathetic.  We’re a small ball team.  We’ve got some speed, and we’ve got some players who can slap a ball the opposite way for a hit.  We don’t have any home run hitters (especially with Doumit on the bench).  That’s fine.  You can win with small ball (look at Tampa), but you need consistency if you’re going to do that, and we have none.

Game three was a close game we finally won.  Once again, we jump out to a quick 2 run lead, but this time we’re able to tack on another run in the 7th to seal it.  That extra insurance makes all the difference, and it especially did in this game because Matt Capps came up with a 2 run lead in the 9th and gives up a solo shot.  Still not a great day for the Pirate bats.  We got absolutely no production from the bottom half of the order.  The 5-9 spots were a combined 1 for 15.  That’s right.  1 for 15.  How terrible can you get?  We also didn’t get a great outing from McCutchen who went 0 for 5.  So, basically, Sanchez and Morgan won us this game.  Thanks guys!  The big news from the game, however, was Charlie Morton’s debut.  He went all of 1 inning before being yanked with a sore hamstring.  McLouth dings us for a homer.  The guy we get in return gives us one solid inning of work.  <smacks head against desk>  Crap.

Game four was the afternoon closer.   This was a pitchers duel from the start.  Paul Maholm and Javier Vazquez both pitched outstanding.  Vazquez struck out 12 in 8 innings.  Maholm struck out 8 in 7.  The Braves struck first in the 4th inning, capitalizing on a rare fielding error by Jack Wilson (he didn’t have his best game overall).  We got it right back in the 5th off a solo shot by Delwyn Young.  That’s his first as a Succo, I mean Bucco.  Andrew McCutchen continued his mini slump, going 1-4.  But that one hit was a key one that started off a game-winning 2-run 9th inning.  I’m starting to wonder if maybe pitchers are starting to figure him out?  I guess we’ll have to wait and see on that one.

So a most frustrating series against Atlanta, but at least we get the sweep.  I feel like we definitely could have taken 3.  This is the not the Braves team that won all those division titles.  This is a team even the Pirates have a shot at.  Detroit is coming to town starting tomorrow evening.  That should be an interesting fan atmosphere on Saturday no matter what happens in game 7 tomorrow.  Lets go Bucs!

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Pirates/Cubs Recap

image from espn.com

image from espn.com

Pirates 10 Cubs 8

Pirates 1 Cubs 6

Pirates 2 Cubs 5

You can’t help but look at this series and see a big wasted opportunity.  The Cubs were about as vulnerable as they get.  They were on a losing streak.  They were starting to show short tempers.  This is a talented team that opened the door for a rare series win on its home turf.  This was the blood in the water that good teams take advantage of.  The Pirates, unfortunately, are not a good team.

Game one was a pitchers duel.  As in both pitchers shot themselves in the foot.  Neither Ryan Dempster nor Paul Maholm made it to the 5th inning.  Fortunately, our bullpen held it together by limiting the exposure.  Gorzo continued to pitch really nicely despite giving up a run in two innings.  Then we proceeded to go through 5 pitchers in 3 innings, but made it work.  The Cubbies pen gave up 4 runs in a great choke job and the Buccos barely held on.  The big news of the game was Sanchez going 6-6.  He sure looks like the Pirates rep in the All Star game right now.

Game two was a wet one.  They only managed to get in 5 and a half, with the Cubs winning 6 to 1.  Neither team had to go to the pen which is a good thing considering the night before.  Ian Snell went schizophrenic as usual.  People have been calling for his demotion.  Management’s response is that there’s no one in the minors to promote.  In other words the decision came down to taking Snell’s mostly bad pitching over someone else’s totally bad pitching.  Reassuring, right?  I can’t help but think that maybe going the full game could have done it for us.  The way we shelled the Cubs bullpen Monday, we might have had a shot.  5 runs is a big hole, though.  Oh, well.  That’s baseball.

Game three will be remembered for one thing and one thing only: Carlos Zambrano’s meltdown.  Bang bang play at the plate (after HIS wild pitch, mind you), and he loses it.  He bumps the ump, throws things, gets a 6 game suspension, and proves…..absolutely nothing.  This is the frustration level of the team we’re dealing with, and we drop 2 of 3 to them (barely getting the one).  The bats again go MIA.  8 hits.  8 K’s.  25 left on base.  Ouch.

So, on that disappointing note, it’s finally back home.  Final record from the road trip is 5 and 5.  Could have been worse.  If you’re a team gunning for a .500 record, going .500 on the road is a great place to start.  Astros are in town this weekend.  But no one cares since the Stanley Cup is also on this weekend.

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