Tag Archives: Matt Capps

Pitt Update 8/11/09

image from postgazette.com

image from postgazette.com

First and foremost, I’m sorry for failing to update in forever.  It’s been an extremely busy week for me, and I just couldn’t put in the time.  I’ll be better in the future.  As for the Buccos, I’ve missed two straight series recaps, but judging by the hits to the site when I put up Pirate posts, no one really cares about the Pirate recaps anyway.  The quick rundown of the Diamondbacks/Cardinals series are that we stunk.  A lot.  We were swept in both.  The offense stunk.  The pitching stunk.  Matt Capps plunked Albert Pujols out of what I’m sure was frustration.  It was bad.  So, now that that’s out of the way, I figured I’d put up a post about something else.  Usually Tuesday is the new ‘My Two Cents’ segment, but I felt like that was a rut.  I kept saying over and over again that if rules are set ahead of time, they have to be followed.  They can be changed, but they have to be lived with in the present.  People want to complain when the rules that are set up aren’t always ideal or fair.  Well, tough.  Learn from it.  Change them moving forward and live with what happened in the past.  Anyway, I figure I’ll take a week off to see if I can find a different tangent to take.  In the meantime, Pitt’s been in the news a lot lately, and I figured I’d give a quick update of their goings-on.  I’ll probably do likewise for the Steelers this week sometime.  I know that’s probably eagerly anticipated.  I’m pumped to write about something besides the Pirates.  So, without further adieu, here we go:

Uni Change

In case you haven’t heard, Pitt switched their sponsor from Adidas to Nike.  The new football uniforms are above.  They look pretty nice.  Classic and plain.  Just the way I like it.  I’m always in the camp that you can only do harm by putting a bunch of crap on a football uniform.  Isn’t that right, Oregon?

image from faniq.com

image from faniq.com

But, alas, I am no fashion expert.  You can make your own judgement.  Enjoy the future swoosh clothes, Panther fans.

Agnes Goes Overseas

Women’s basketball coach Agnes Berenato was selected to go overseas and speak to the troops with a few other college basketball coaches.  I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Coach B a few times, and I can say that she’s one of the most charismatic people I’ve ever met.  I always leave encounters with her more motivated than when I came.  I have no idea why.  But I know that hearing a personality like that can only do positive things for our men and women overseas.  Agnes is keeping a diary on the post gazette online if you want to keep up.

Couple of Basketball Commits

Chase Adams from Centenary College and Cameron Wright from outside Cleveland both committed to Pitt.  Adams will join the team this year as a point guard and be immediately able to start.  Centenary was a Division I school last year, but is dropping all the way to Division III.  That means all their kids can transfer penalty free.  The book on Adams is that he’s had decent production against good BCS teams (as he should being the centerpiece of the team) and he’s a defense first guy (defensive player of the year in the summit league last year).  He’s only available for one more season, so he better make the most of this year.  I’ve heard some rumblings that this is a sign that Coach Dixon is not impressed with his current stable of guards.  I disagree.  I think this is just a gamble free hedging of his bet.  Travon Woodall would be my next choice for starting PG (I know about Ashton Gibbs and how he’s been doing ok at the point, but he’s still a natural shooting guard).  Travon got hurt and sat out 90% of last year.  The plan was to have him play behind Levance last year and take over this year.  When that didn’t go as planned, Dixon brought in an insurance policy that doesn’t cost more than a one year scholarship we had in our back pocket anyway.  I think it’s brilliant and worked out quite nicely.  A team doesn’t move down in class with an experienced PG we can grab every year.

Wright is the more inconsequential of the two right now because he doesn’t come until next year.  He’s a solid recruit, but not outstanding.  Seems to be a typical Dixon guy.  Not a prolific scorer in high school.  Someone who will buy into the defense/unselfishness that Pitt preaches.  We’ll see how he  pans out next year.

Football Starts Practicing

The Pitt football team started practicing on the South Side again today.  It’s way too early to get a read on anything, but there are a few question marks that will be fun to watch.  Quarterback play first and foremost.  Pat Bostick, Tino Sunseri and Bill Stull will all compete for the job with it apparently being Stull’s to loose.  From what I’ve heard, Bostick had another terrific summer, so who knows what will happen with him.  Maybe this is the year he blossoms into a great QB.  I doubt it, though.  He’s not mobile enough to  be a star in the college game.  However, if there ever was a year for him, this is it.  He needs time to throw, and this is supposedly one of the best line’s Pitt’s seen in a while.  Sunseri is a wild card because he hasn’t played a down, and hasn’t really competed for a starting job yet.  Stull is the known entity.  Sorta.  He had a terrible second half to the season (which most Pitt fans remember and why this is even an issue).  But what most people fail to remember is that Stull had a concussion against Rutgers.  I noticed a drop in production after that.  Maybe a summer to (literally) clear his head will do him good.  Also, a change of system might help him as well.  Matt Cavanaugh’s offense was basically put the ball in Shady’s hands or wing it to Baldwin.  That meant most of Stull’s throws were screen passes or 40 yard bombs.  Well, Stull didn’t have much of an arm, so the over the top plays didn’t work so well unless Baldwin outran his opponent by so much he had time to run under the ball (which happened).  He also just couldn’t make a screen pass to save his life.  I have no idea why.  But he was pretty good on the few routes over the middle he threw.  His strength is definitely his decision making.  Frank Cignetti Jr. said he will open up the offense a little more.  That could mean asking Stull to make more passes that fit his skill set.  Just food for thought.

The other main concern is special teams.  We have to replace a kicker, a punter and a long snapper.  The long snapper is someone who no one will know once he starts playing, so why start now?  I know how important that job is (just ask the Steelers), but I think as long as you do it every day and with the same holder, you’ll be fine.  It’s a consistency issue.  I’m not worried.  The punter seems to be decided: Dan Hutchins.  The kicker will either be him or Kevin Harper.  Not sure about Hutchins’ kicking pedigree, but Harper was recruited as a kicker and had some impressive boots in high school.  We’ll have to just see if he can handle the pressure of NCAA football.

Pitt’s #1

Pitt was ranked as #1 in the Big East by the media.  Most people reacted to this with laughter.  Which I’m a little insulted by.  What’s wrong with us being #1?  We have some issues (see above), but we also have one of the best defenses in the country last year mostly in tact.  I don’t get it.  But I digress.  If you really want to laugh, you’re not looking at the total picture.  The first 5 teams were separated by only 35 points.  #6 was 52 points behind #5.  The #3 team had just as many first place votes as #1.  The voters are clearly telling us there’s 5 teams that could win and Pitt is one of them.  But, unfortunately, most people were too lazy to look at any number besides the one to the left of the team.

So that’s about it for Pitt about now.  I’ll keep you posted as we get closer to the first game.


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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

image from espn.com

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/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/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/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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