Tag Archives: John Grabow

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 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/Tigers Recap

image from espn.com

image from espn.com

Pirates 1 Tigers 3

Pirates 9 Tigers 3

Pirates 6 Tigers 3

I think those scores are a microcosm of the Pirates season right there.  You never know what you’re going to get on a given day.  No matter how consistent the opponent is (like scoring the same number of runs 3 straight days), we’re all over the map.  Anyway, I digress.  You’ve still got to be happy with taking a series from a first place team like the Tigers.

Game one was just a mediocre showing with the bats.  We had 8 hits (we’ve done worse, but not much), and stranded 5.  Ian Snell was his usual wild self, but managed to scatter his 10 hits over 7 innings so that he only gave up 2 runs.  That was all the Tigers needed, unfortunately.  I’d love to point to individual batters who streak and are inconsistent, but I can’t.  It’s everyone.  The annoying thing is that they all seem to streak together.  I’m not sure if that’s a psychological thing or not, but if someone starts out well, they all start hitting.  We can rally like noone’s business, but we can also go through 4 or 5 straight 1-2-3 innings.

Game two was just a great outing by Zach Duke.  He gave up 6 hits and 3 runs, but lasted 8 innings.  I’m sure the bullpen owes him dinner for that one.  You’ve got to love when a starter can give your bullpen the day off.  It really makes you all the more dangerous the next day.  Game one had only two position players get multiple hits (both had 2), but everyone had at least one hit in game two with 5 players getting multiple hits.  The bi-polar bucs strike again!  The final tally was 16 hits (5 for extra bases), and 2 home runs.  We managed 9 runs despite grounding into 3 double plays.  When a team is hitting like that there’s not much you can do.

Game three was a throwback night.  Both teams were wearing uniforms from 1909 (when the Pirates defeated the Tigers in the World Series.  You can see the bucco uni’s up top.  Complete with Pittsburgh Baseball Club stitching on the arm.  I like it).  The marketing department went all out for making it seem like 1909…by which I mean totally removing itself from the game.  They turned off all scoreboards around the stadium.  They didn’t have any marketing stuff in-between innings (and the fans lived without the pierogie race.  I was so proud), and the jumbotron had an old time scoreboard projected on it that they left up the whole time (no replays, no nothing).  So, basically, the marketing guys gave themselves a day off and called it a promotion.  <stands and claps> Brilliant!  I love it!  I can just see the meeting now: “hey!  We should give ourselves a day off and call it ‘marketing free day’.  We could sit back and drink a beer and watch the game for once.”  “Yeah.  Marketing-free day.  Like the old times.”  <slowly looking at each other>  Yep.  That’s how it went.  I’m continuously amazed by the Pirate Promotions Department.  But, anyway, back to the game.  We didn’t have to worry about the bi-polar bucs this time, because Dontrelle Willis just walked everyone before they could get the chance to hit.  He issued 8 free passes is 3 and 2/3 innings.  That’s crazy bad.  Jeez.  Remember when he was on the Marlins and the best thing since sliced bread?  My, how the mighty have fallen.  Ross Ohlendorf was his usual self: solid to start out but fading in the 5th/6th inning.  He lasted 6 and handed the bullpen a 6-1 lead.  The bullpen then did what they do best: try their darndest to blow it.  Steven Jackson came in in the 7th and promptly gave back 2 of the runs before failing to finish the inning.  Sean Burnett had to come in and clean up the mess.  Grabow and Capps both walked the leadoff man, but finished their innings without a run.  And that was pretty much it.  Thank the D-Train for this one.

So that completes a weekend where you want to crawl into a hole if you’re from Detroit.  The city economy is in the tank, you’re football and basketball teams offer no hope, you’re hockey team loses in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and to top it all off your first place ball club drops 2 of 3 to one of the worst teams in the league…that happen to be from the city that just beat you for the cup.  Ouch.  Interleague play continues tomorrow with a series in Minneapolis.  I hope management goes up and sees how a small market team really works.

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Pirates/Astros Recap

image from espn.com

image from espn.com

Pirates 1 Astros 9

Pirates 6 Astros 4

Pirates 4 Astros 6

Ok.  So we follow up a sweep of the first place Mets with….losing 2 of 3 to the last place Astros.  The bipolar ball club strikes again!  Following the Pirates is getting depressing.  Every time they show a glimpse that they can play, they pull the rug out from under you and remind you how much they suck.  I realize that most of you reading this are too swept up in the Pens to care what the Buccos are doing.  It’s so frustrating, I can’t put it into words.  So I’ll just make a soundtrack for you to listen to while you read to try to set the mood.  Of course the mood is blues.  Take it away, Mr. King:

So, game one was characterized by…you guessed it…the bats disappearing again.  This time we managed only a depressing 6 hits.  We made Mike Hampton look like an all-star.  No extra base hits all day.  Just depressing.  I guess the one redeeming thing was that we picked the right day to fall flat in the batters box since the pitchers had a rough outing themselves.  Jeff Karstens got knocked around 6 runs and 9 hits in a little over 5 innings.  The baffling thing about it, though, was the walks and strikeouts.  He walked 4 and struck out 2.  Not that unusual until you see that he threw a first pitch strike to 21 of the 28 batters he faced.  To start out ahead so much and have that kind of final results is very troubling.  It’s something to definitely keep an eye on.

Game two was a rare example of the Pirates jumping on a team early and slamming the door.  I think when we start seeing more wins like this, we’ll see the Pirates turning the corner.  We jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the 3rd and wouldn’t let them come back.  The Astros scored a single run in the 3rd and 4th, but that was it.  Paul Maholm went 7 and gave his usual quality start.  Grabow and Capps then shut it down.  We’re a small ball team this year.  Small ball teams can win, but they have to learn to keep leads when they get ’em.  That’s why I like this win so much.

Game three was just maddening.  So we go into the 7th down by 2.  We get a little bit of a rally going and tie the game at 3.  We’ve got the bases loaded and 1 out.  The Astros have their second pitcher of the inning on the mound.  The Pirates can smell blood.  Up steps Adam LaRoche to hit into an inning ending double play.  That’s another strong claim by Adam for the ‘player you would LEAST like to have up in a critical situation’ award.  This is followed up by the bottom of the 7th when the Astros have men on first and second with 2 outs.  Tejada steps up and hits a grounder to short.  Ramon Vazquez makes a diving stop and proceeds to throw a wounded duck 3 feet away from second base.  This despite the fact that he was 2 feet from the bag when he caught it.  A run scores on the play, and the Buccos pack it in.

That was our season in a nutshell.  We keep making enough plays to get us in contention.  To be right where we need to be.  Then we get to crunch time and proceed to choke.  Every time.  I can’t believe how bad we are with runners in scoring position.  That’s the thing that drives you nuts with this ball club.  Everyone on the team has a lot of talent.  No one on this team is consistent with that talent at all.  Next up is a four game set with Atlanta that should be fun because of you know who.  It’s yet another wounded team we can steal a series from.  Lets hope for better results.

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