Thursday, August 30, 2007

Harang Shuts Down Bucs

Everywhere you look Aaron Harang continues to get referenced as a sleeper pitcher that doesnt get the respect he deserves. Baseball writers continue to emphasize that because he isnt in a sexy market, most fans don't know who, or how good, he really is. However, i think its fair to say that hitters in the National League know who Aaron Harang is, and more importantly, they know how good he has been.

Harang, who led the NL in K's and W's last year and is 14-3 this year threw a complete game shutout against the Pirates last night, allowing 2 hits, and striking out eight. Griffey Jr. and Brandon Phillips homered in the 8-0 win, handing the Pirates just their second loss in the their last eight games.

Bay and Kata had the Pirate hits. Ian Snell was roughed up to the tune of 7 runs in 5 and a third.

For at least the second time this year, Ian Snell was involved in some sort of a dispute with a teammate or member of the coaching staff. This one was a short argument with Chacon in the clubhouse before the game, and neither player would specify after the game.


- Snell is the 377th pitcher against which Griffey has homered

-Thanks to Jason Bay's double, Pittsburgh kept alive a club-record streak of 88 consecutive games with at least one extra-base hit

-Jack Wilson should be available today

-King Salomon had a shot in his arm, literally, yesterday. He might pitch again in 07

-Sean Burnett also got an injection yesterday. He still might need surgery that could cost him 2008

-Duke Welker will not be shut down for 07 after all and should make one more start for State College before instructional league

-Zach Duke will start Saturday for AAA Indy

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Doubleheader sweep!

The Bucs keep winning, and keep hitting. Freddy Sanchez uses a grand slam in the first game to help secure a win, while Adam LaRoche knocks home the game-winner in the nightcap to complete a doubleheader sweep of the Reds.

I've badmouthed him plenty of times before, but I'm willing to learn from mistakes. Is it possible that I simply didn't give Paul Maholm enough time to adjust to the majors? Now don't get me wrong, I know Maholm is no ace. He's not going to be our No. 1 or No. 2 starter. At best he could fill in at the third spot, but I'm really not starting to mind the thought of him at the back end of a rotation. He's been in some tough situations thus far in his young career and it's quite possible that things will only look up for him. He is still very young.

The only bad thing about the day is (and I can't believe I'm going to type this) that the Cubs beat the Brewers, so we weren't able to gain an extra game in the standings. Since the Bucs are only 8.5 games out of a division lead somehow, it got me thinking. I wonder if any team has battled for the next year's No. 1 draft pick and a division championship in the same season?

Think about it...

One bad week and the Bucs could be very close to the worst record in the majors.

However, one good week and they are 3-4 games out of first place.

No matter what, this recent surge certainly has made the final month or so of baseball in Pittsburgh interesting. I know I'm excited.

Monday, August 27, 2007

In the Minors

Indy: Game One, 7-0 Win vs. Columbus
Bixler, Ryan and Morgan each had a hit.
Eldred was 3-for-3 with a two-run homerun
JVB went seven strong, allowing four hits, one walk and struck out five.

Game Two, 3-0 loss vs. Columbus
Morgan, Cutch and Pearce had a hit
Morgan tripled
Davidson worked an inning, allowing an unearned run, walking two.
Sharpless gave up a run in two innings.

Altoona: 3-0 Win vs. Reading
Bowers had three hits, Boeve had two, including a two-run bomb
Munoz threw seven shutout innings, allowing five hits, striking out two
Munoz is now 11-5 with a 3.82 ERA
Petersen saved his 26th game with a scoreless ninth

Pachecho hit his 25th homerun for Hickory

Maybe, Just Maybe

Dave Littlefield is smarter than both you and I.


For it was the majority of opinion of Pirates Nation that turning down a deal for Jack Wilson that included Jair Jurrjens was a mistake, especially considering Jurrjens status as a top prospect in the Tigers system, and especially including the Pirates diluted minor league system, ESPECIALLY pitchers and even more, a deal that was rumored to include another prospect in addition to Jurrjens.

Throw in Jurrjens major league debut, and his subsequent start after that, and well, it was yet another bonehead move by Davey L.

But then, Jurrjens left his latest start with an arm injury, and was immediately placed on the DL, with those close to the situation saying the details were bad, possibly very bad.

Did Dave and his scouts do their homework? Was Jurrjens an injury waiting to happen, so the Pirates needed to get more for him so when Jurrjens broke down, there were more prospects to point to?

Possibly, consider this from the story of Jurrjens injury:

Jurrjens has had shoulder problems before, most recently a strain that forced him onto the DL at Double-A Erie near the end of last season. That pain, he explained, was lower in his shoulder, around the lat area. This recent pain, by comparison, is around the back of the shoulder.

It turns out Jurrjens injury might not be that severe, but that's moot. The question is, did Dave get it right?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Playing the Matchups

Jim Tracy loves to play matchups.

Sunday, he played one that lost the Pirates the ball game. In the bottom of the eighth Marte got Lee to groundout, but gave up a double to lefty Luke Scott. Tracy hooked Marte for Chacon, to bring the righty-righty for Wigginton. Right handers were hitting .226 against Chacon, but Wiggy was 3-for-9 in his career off Shawn with 3 RBI's.

It didnt take long before Wiggy went deep to left and the Astros had the lead back.

Brad Lidge walked a guy in the ninth but struck out two straight. Game.

McLouth had two hits, LaRoche two hits and two RBI and Freddy went deep for number 10.

Armas went five and a third giving up three earned. Marte and Chacon each allowed an earned run in two-thirds of an inning.

-Josh Phelps continues to get fielding practice at every position on the field besides the bump
-Danny Moskos is NOT hurt
Cutch had a hit in four at bats in Indy, while Walker didnt hit in his pinch hit appearance.

Bullington allowed 11 hits and didnt make it out of the sixth.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Streak Continues, Bucs Win

Jose Bautista homered twice and Matt Morris put up a quality start as the Pirates won for the seventh time in their last eight, and continued their hard to figure out dominance of the Astros.

Rookie Troy Patton, making his ml debut, wasn't bad, but he wasn't great, specifically with his changeup and Bautista welcomed him to the bigs with two bombs to that short porch in left, one of a change over the middle of the dish in the fourth. Oh and Josh Phelps hit another home run off the bench. It's starting to become hard to ignore the numbers he has put up in his short time with the Bucs.

Morris, in his short time with the Bucs, has been quite the roller coaster. After a first few starts that were anything but special, he has ripped off two straight quality starts. Against the Astros he allowed one run on four hits over six innings, including inducing Lance Berkman into a huge double play with the bases loaded.

-Paulino had three hits, Bautista had three RBI
-Wilson left the game with a shin injury that looked worse than I think it was. Ty Wigginton caught Jack with a spike during a breakup slide on a DP, however, I think Jack just got cut up a little and should have a good bruise but no real damage
-Torres hit the DL retro to Aug 22nd
-Maholm will bump up a day and throw game 2 on Tuesday vs. the Reds

In Indy, N. Morgan had two hits, Cutch was 0 for 3, Pearce had a hit, Walker was 0 for 4 and Sharpless gave up a run in one inning.

Wandy Rodriguez vs. Tony Armas on Sunday

I have a fantasy football draft at noon. If I get first pick I am taking Danny Moskos, since he isn't busy with game action anymore or anything.

Lineup Posted

The lineup's posted for Tonight's game vs. Houston

CF McLouth
SS Wilson
2B Sanchez
1B LaRoche
RF Bautista
C Paulino
3B Castillo
LF Kata
SP Morris

Jason Bay gets the night off

Romulo Sanchez Gets Call

The Pirates have placed King Salomon on the DL and have called up Romulo Sanchez, a reliever from AA Altoona.

Sanchez, a 23-year-old right-hander, had a 2.81 ERA in 40 appearances out of a setup role with the Curve, with 52 strikeouts and 17 walks.

Torres will be back in Pittsburgh Monday for a doctor's visit.

We're back!

...yeah, yeah -- we know. So Matt and I have been out of the game for quite some time now and we're itching to get back. The work world has gotten to us both, but we've still managed to follow the Bucs this whole time. We're still fans -- don't think we've jump shipped yet.

Anyways, we're coming back with a little help and we're going to try and have some more writers with us. If you're interested in being a writer of this blog, E-mail us at

In the meantime...let me get to some thoughts.

- It took an injury to Chris Duffy and a trade of Rajai Davis to get Nate McLouth regular time in the outfield? That is crazy. McLouth was always the better prospect out of the three and should have been given the chance before. I'm glad to see he's taking this opportunity and running with it.

- Matt Morris? Awesome, haha. I don't even need to say anything here. Remember when he won 20 games in a season? That seems like forever ago.

- So I would have taken the Jack Wilson trade straight up for Jair Jurrjens if that was offered... but DL wouldn't. Heck he wouldn't even do it with a couple of other players added to it. His inability to trade is simply remarkable.

- Steven Pearce has put together quite an impressive season. And I'm glad to see the rest of the prospects moved up to AAA.

- Daniel Moskos? Wow. He can't even dominate the rookie or short-season leagues. This oughtta be good.

...that's all I got for now. Check later for more updates and continue to come back regularly. Hopefully we can successfully pick this back up. And again, if you have any interest in writing, E-mail us at

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Bullpen Blowup -- Bucs Lose

Box Score -- Recap

Couple things:

1. Jim Tracy looks as though he is going to lose it when it comes to this bullpen. And I mean, lose it.
2. Great punch from the middle of the lineup today. LaRoche, Bay and Sanchez go 6-for-12, 3 runs, 3 RBI, 2HR.

3. Another great start from Tommy G. 6.2, 7 hits, 3 earned. He tired a little, but he game them a chance to win.

4. The Dodgers bullpen pitched three shutout innings and allowed just one hit. King Salomon allowed four hits in one-third of an inning.

5. Heres Ryan Doumit since May 19th.
4-for-32, 2 runs, 1 RBI, 0 doubles, 0 homeruns.
Avg dropped from .375 to .310

6. The Pirates have a dismal nine pinch-hits this season in 72 at-bats, which calculates to a concerning .125 average for anyone who really wants to know.

Friday, June 01, 2007

No Zach Attack -- Bucs Lose

Boxscore -- Recap

Maybe Zach Duke will figure it out soon.

Maybe he won't.
Maybe the Pirates can contend in the Central in 2007.

Maybe they can't.

One things for sure though, if Zach Duke keeps this up, it's going to be mighty hard to accomplish the ladder.

Duke allowed five runs in six innings, including the game-winning homerun by Russell Martin the fifth inning. Sir Duke allowed eight hits, walked two and struck out just three, raising his season ERA to 5.73 and lowering his record to 2-6.

Jose Bautista continued to look comfortable in the lead off spot going 2-for-4 and Jason Bay stayed white hot with a 2-for-3 night, including his 9th homerun of the year. Chris Duffy tripled home two runs to tie the game at 4 before Martin's homerun.

The Pirates continued the trend of leaving runners on base with 14 Friday Night.

Before the game, the Pirates announced that Matt Capps will take over as the closer full-time from here on out and that King Salomon will revert back to a set-up role.

Kuo vs. Snell Saturday night @ 7:05pm

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A week's worth of stars and dogs

Okay, I said I wouldn't slack. But I'm working my tail off and I now manage a baseball team for my boss in a summer league where I'm from. Plus I took a vacation to Ocean City last weekend, so give me a break. Here's the updated list of stars and dogs.

I'm glad to see that the Pirates are still hovering around the .500 mark and an actual first-place spot in the division standings.

5-3 loss to the Cards:
1 dog - Ian Snell (Three home runs. Not a good start.)
2 dogs - Matt Capps (Gives the Bucs' one run in the eighth right back.)
3 dogs - Ryan Doumit (0-for-4 with four left one base.)

3-1 loss to the Cards:
Three guys will split the six total dogs. The 5-6-7 hitters did nothing.
A combined 0-for-10 for Bay, Nady, Paulino. Two dogs each.

10-4 win against the Reds:
1 star - Paul Maholm (A decent start for once.)
2 stars - Xavier Nady (2-for-5, with a home run.)
3 stars - Jason Bay (2-for-3, with a home run.)

9-5 win against the Reds:
1 star - Xavier Nady (2-for-5, with 3 RBIs.)
2 stars - Adam LaRoche (2-for-4, with 2 RBIs.)
3 stars - Jason Bay (3-for-4, with 3 RBIs.)

14-10 win against the Reds:
1 star - Zach Duke (Not a great game, but gets a win.)
2 stars - Jason Bay (3-for-5, with 3 RBIs and a home run.)
3 stars - Freddy Sanchez (2-for-3, with 4 RBIs.)

4-0 loss to the Reds:
1 dog - Ian Snell (Couldn't outduel Kyle Lohse?)
2 dogs - Chris Duffy (0-for-4 in that two hole. Why's he there?)
3 dogs - Jose Bautista (Left two on in scoring position with two outs.)

4-1 win against the Padres:
1 star - Salomon Torres (12th save.)
2 stars - Jason Bay (THE hottest hitter that week.)
3 stars - Tom Gorzelanny (Another solid start.)

9-0 loss to the Padres:
1 dog - Jonah Bayliss (He's got to go.)
2 dogs - Paul Maholm (Ugh.)
3 dogs - Adam LaRoche (0-for-4 with three Ks.)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Who was that? -- Bucs Win Opener

Recap -- Box Score
Was that the 2007 Pirates out there Tuesday night?

No, really, THE 2007 Pittsburgh Pirates?

With clutch hitting, solid fielding, a great effort from the SP and a door shutting bullpen?


Tommy Gunn went 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 7 hits, walking 3 and striking out 4.

Jason Bay went 2-for-4 with his 8th homerun. Adam LaRoche had three hits and an RBI.

Fast Freddy and X had the other Pirate RBI's.

Matt Capps, John Grabow andKing Salomon worked scorelessly through the 8th and 9th.

Paul Maholm vs. Chris Young, Wednesday Night, 7:05pm

Bucs Get Healthy -- Win Series

You could have dreamed up a scenario for how the series against the Reds could go.
Your dream couldn't have been much different than the way it actually played out.

3 wins. One loss.

An offensive barrage. A solid outing from the struggling Maholm. An improvement from Zach Duke. Never mind the shutout in game 4 and the struggling bullpen. I won't bring it up if you don't.

5.5 games back. Only six games under. Poised for a run?

Housekeeping Time...

-Jason Bay was named NL Player of the week...(he was also player of the week on my NL Only Fantasy Keeper team)
-Hey Brian Rogers, see you later. Welcome to the majors Josh Sharpless!
-Ryan Doumit should return to the lineup full time on Wednesday against Chris Young
-Some idiot wastes the Pirates mailbag writers' time asking if Adam LaRoche is a fixture here

Friday, May 25, 2007

Break Out -- Bucs Win Opener

Box Score -- Recap

It took some at-bats against David Weathers to get it going, but the offense finally found it's groove Friday night in Cincy. The Pirates managed more hits in two innings against the Reds bullpen then they did against Aaron Harang over his eight strong innings.

It got ugly quickly for Weathers after he finished the ninth unscathed.
In the tenth, here's how it went down.

- J. Wilson singled to left
- N. McLouth hit for J. Bayliss
- N. McLouth reached on fielder's choice, J. Wilson to second
- J. Bautista singled to left, J. Wilson to third, N. McLouth to second
- C. Duffy hit sacrifice fly to right, J. Wilson scored, N. McLouth to third
- F. Sanchez ground rule double to deep center, N. McLouth scored, J. Bautista to third
- A. LaRoche intentionally walked
- J. Bay hit by pitch, J. Bautista scored, F. Sanchez to third, A. LaRoche to second

Weathers hit the showers. His ERA before the game was 2.08
After the game, it was 4.30. Ouch.
Brad "Poached" Salmon came in and allowed a three-run double to Paulino and an RBI single by Xavier Nady. King Salomon did not look sharp at all allowing two meaningless runs in the bottom of the ninth, but at least we aren't relying on Mike Gonzo to close in 2007.

Paul Maholm went seven innings allowing 7 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks with 6 strikeouts.
Jason Bay was 2-for-3 with his 6th homerun.
Nady hit his 6th homerun as well to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Looking forward -- Bucs Swept

I'll be honest, I think the Steelers will be rebuilding this year.
I don't think it will be a playoff year. That is my first thought.
It's just going to be a big transition year and I see them as a possible 9-7 team.

The Penguins, however, this season is going to be something special.
They get most of their guns back, hopefully resigning Roberts and Recchi.
They should add Letang from Juniors.
They could sign Paul Kariya, Brandon Shanahan, or Kimmo Timonen.

They could easily be one of the top 3 teams in the East. It could be a cup year.
Training camp can not come soon enough, right?

What's that? This is a Pirates blog? Oh.


They aren't very good.
They got swept today.
They are eight games under .500
Their number 2 got hurt today
None of their players can hit
They are afraid to promote their top prospects
They are afraid to do anything different.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bucs stars

I'm getting bad at this, and I promise to keep up. Work and school have been killing me. As are the Buccos. You know things are bad when Matt starts puking and using the same image he's used once before for a recap.

That being said, let me at least update the site a little in terms of records, stats, dogs and stars.

Bucs 7-2 over Marlins:
1 star - Jason Bay (Scored two of the runs.)
2 stars - Ronny Paulino (1-for-3 with 3 RBIs.)
3 stars - Shawn Chacon (Saved Armas big time.)

Bucs 11-5 over the Dbacks:
1 star - Ian Snell (Not his best, but another win.)
2 stars - Xavier Nady (2-for-4, 3 RBIs.)
3 stars - Adam LaRoche (This is just long overdue.)

Bucs 9-8 loss to Dbacks:
1 dog - Marty McLeary (.1 innings, 1 run. Blown save.)
2 dogs - John Grabow (Four runs in .2 innings. Wow.)
3 dogs - Matt Capps (2 runs in 1 inning for the loss. Bad day for the pen.)

Bucs 5-2 loss to Dbacks:
1 dog - Freddy Sanchez (0-for-4. Set no tables.)
2 dogs - Adam LaRoche (0-for-4. Back to the grind.)
3 dogs - Paul Maholm (One good start all year.)

Bucs 9-4 loss to Cards:
1 dog - Jason Bay (Eight left on base.)
2 dogs - Adam LaRoche (Still on the grind.)
3 dogs - Zach Duke (11 hits in 4.2 innings. Ugh.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Where Can I Puke? -- Bucs Lose

It's amazing how much Tuesday night's game resembled the overall story of the 2007 Pirates.


1. The Pirates are among the bottom 4 teams in MLB in AVG and RBI's
(The Pirates had the bases loaded in the 1st inning with one out and got one run. The Pirates had the bases loaded in the 2nd inning with one out and got no runs. They had the bases loaded in the fourth with one out and got one run on zero hits. Overall, the Pirates managed nine hits and loaded the bases three separate times off Adam Wainwright and yet only managed two runs. Then there was the circus that was the eighth inning. The Pirates load the bases again, this time with nobody out. Jack Wilson pops out foul to the catcher. One out. Nate McLouth takes two fastballs for strikes and strikes out looking. Two outs. Bautista walks, one run in. Freddy reaches on an error, two runs in. Bay strikes out. If there are three guys that you would want up with the bases loaded, you would choose Bautista, Freddy and Bay. Freddy, who had three hits that didn't drive in any runs, couldn't muster a big hit when it mattered and Bay continued to show that if you threw him all off-speed, every pitch, he would hit about .198.)

2. Adam LaRoche continues on his way to Major League Bust of the Year
(LaRoche hit in the first inning with runners at 1st and 2nd and walked. He hit again in the 2nd with the bases loaded and struck out. Once again, in the fourth, LaRoche hit with the bases loaded and, again, he struck out.)

3. Zach Duke gave up 5 earned runs in 4.2 innings on ELEVEN HITS.
(Duke of course, led the league in hits allowed last year and is on pace to do it again this year. The Pirates continue to maintain that he has the most talent of any starter on the club, and when trade talks are rumored, he is consistently labeled "untouchable" despite unflattering major league numbers.)

4. The Pirates made two errors in the field and a few mental ones that won't show up.
(Albert Pujols out-hustled Jason Bay and got to third on a single to left, something that should never happen. You can blame Bautista, and rightfully so, but Bay didn't hustle and was caught flat footed by a hustling Pujols. Eckstein reaches on a bunt single when LaRoche and Chacon run into each other on the way to the bag.)

I heard/read in a few different places the idea of "remembering" Saturday night's game.
As in, remember it as the night the Pirates season went to crap.
As in, remember when the Pirates lost that game in New York to the Yankees on the bad call.
They were like 30-30 coming in, went 30-60 after that game. Sorta like that.
That idea is starting to look solid.

But what do I know? The Pirates could run off 5 wins in a row and turn this thing around.

Which side of the coin do you think is more likely?
--Note-- I will almost never complain about umpiring when I write but the work done behind the plate tonight was a joke. To think these guys are supposed to be professionals, it really makes you wonder sometimes. The calls certainly had nothing to do with the Pirates losing, and that is not what I am trying to imply, but there were some blatantly terrible strike/ball calls.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A No Good Weekend -- Bucs Lose Series

Alan and I were no good this weekend.

Neither were the Pirates.

Sorry for the lack of recaps. Neither of us had much access to a computer.
Besides, if I had to write a recap for Saturday nights game, I might have killed myself.


I didn't see a single minute of the game, and it wasn't until this morning that I got to read the recap. Wow. Six runs in one inning, and the Pirates LOSE. The always popular bullpen implosion and the offense didn't have enough juice to bring it home late in the game.

Sunday was more of the same for the over matched Pirate offense.
Big Unit vs. this offense = 10 strikeouts and Unit's first ever win at PNC Park.

Tracy continues to try and find the right lineup combo, today it featured Freddy leading off with Bautista batting 2nd, moving Bay up to third. No dice as far as more hits go.

Pirate fans should continue to worry about Maholm, who struggled again on Sunday. He is now 2-6, and frankly, just isn't throwing well. Right now the Pirates have three slots in the rotation in which they never know what they are going to get and it could get worse this week as they try and find a fifth starter.

It won't be Marty McLeary, despite Tracy saying his name was in the mix.

It is expected to be Shawn Chacon, but it could very well be Bullington or JVB. It almost certainly won't be Sean Burnett, at least I wouldn't think so. The only other possibility would be to move Chacon into the rotation and bring one of the young guys up to fill Chacon's spot in the bullpen. The Pirates could then use one of the pitchers in the manner that the Dodgers are currently using Chad Billingsley.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Win some, you lose some

...and this is how it goes for Buccos. It's beginning to look like we win with Snell and Gorzelanny and hope for the best with the rest. The latest sub-par pitching effort -- former first round draft pick Paul Maholm.

A lot of interesting tidbits in today's Pirates PG Notebook:

- Doumit has gained confidence. This only helps the Pirates. It took them long enough to promote him back up, and now with him hitting, he has got to stay in the lineup, whether it is catcher, first base or right field. Just keep him in there!

- Tracy praises Jose Castillo. Go figure. I still like Jose and think he has a ton of talent. But what does he think the Pirates could get for him in a trade? Seriously? What has he ever done besides underachieve on a consistent basis?

- I've been watching this one and waiting for a while now. Matt Peterson, who the Pirates got in the trade from the Mets for Kris Benson way back when, was just promoted to AAA Indianapolis. Peterson was a highly-regarded prospect with pretty good stuff, but then just lost it all. He hit batters, walked batters and allowed a ton of runs. This year he was moved to the closer's role in AA. He has seven saves and a 0.98 ERA there. Keep an eye out on him.

- Bryan Bullington won again. He is now 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA. Neil Walker went 4-for-4 and hit his fifth home run of the season. Andrew McCutchen went 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI but struck out in all three of his other at-bats. I'm beginning to worry a little with him.

Stars and Dogs of last two games:

1 Star - Freddy Sanchez (4-for-5 with 2 RBIs.)
2 Stars - Ronny Paulino (1-for-1, a HR and 3 walks. Getting better at the plate.)
3 Stars - Tom Gorzelanny (Very nice.)

1 Dog - Marty McLeary (Two runs in one inning. Get off this team.)
2 Dogs - Jonah Bayliss (Two runs and three walks in two innings. Ugh.)
3 Dogs - Paul Maholm (He's not that good. At all.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

One Step Back -- Bucs Lose

The Pirates went back to their old ways Tuesday night.

And by old ways, I mean making a sub-par pitcher look great.

Tonight's Cy Young Winner, Sergio Mitre.
Mitre wasn't exactly dominating. He did allow eight hits and two runs in 7+.
But he also came in 0-2 this year with a career 5.49 ERA.

Safe to say he picked up his first win of the season and the Bucs two-game win streak ended right there, at two games.

Offensively, Jose Castillo continued his audition to get out of Pittsburgh with two more hits.

And Adam LaRoche had two more hits, raising his average to .179, but it is significantly better than that in the month of May.

Possibly most interesting of all, was the lack of offense from Freddy Sanchez.
Sanchez, who had been mashing the last two nights, didn't have a hit and the Pirates, as a whole, didn't produce.

It's not fair to say there is a direct correlation, but it certainly was evident Sunday and Monday that Sanchez was very timely with his hits and it helped propel the offense.

Finally, lost in the mess that is Tony Armas 2007 season, is the rought start of Paul Maholm.
With the exception of that dominating CG, Maholm has been pretty bad.
Six more innings and five more earned runs on Tuesday.
ERA balloons to 5.67 with a 2-5 record. Ouch.

Heating Up? -- Bucs Win

What Tom Gorzelanny did Monday night shouldn't surprise anyone.

What the Pirates offense did, however, is still a little shocking.

7 Runs on 11 hits, against Dontrelle Willis no less.
Including four more hits from Freddy Sanchez. And two RBI's.
Solo RBI's from Jason Bay and Chris Duffy.
A solo homerun, the Pirates first during their offensive breakout, by Ronny Paulino.
And a two-run double by Jose Castillo.

That makes two straight games the Pirates offense had 10+ hits.
And two straight wins.

Are they heating up for good?

Oh, and that Gorzelanny guy, he was pretty good too.
7 shutout innings, 5 hits, NO WALKS, and 5k's.
Record moves to 5-2 with a paltry 2.36 ERA

Maybe we should all stop drinking beer?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Stars and Dogs

Wednesday's 1-0 loss to Chicago:

This is hard to do. But the entire offense will get all six dogs. Three hits against Jason Marquis. Three hits. This was just pathetic. 6 Dogs - The Offense.

Thursday's 6-4 win against Chicago:

1 Star - Paul Maholm (Out-dueling Zambrano. Got to appreciate that.)
2 Stars - Ryan Doumit (Another two hits. Keep hitting.)
3 Stars - Jason Bay (Fifth home run. 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs.)

Friday's 4-1 loss to Atlanta:

1 Dog - Adam LaRoche (Left five on base.)
2 Dogs - Jose Bautista (Hitless in that No. 2 spot.)
3 Dogs - Zach Duke (Nine hits in five-plus innings. He gets hit so easily.)

Saturday's 9-2 loss to Atlanta:

1 Dog - Chris Duffy (0-for-3 at the top. Got to start something.)
2 Dogs - Brad Eldred (0-for-4 with two Ks. Bout time for him to go down.)
3 Dogs - Tony Armas (Five runs in two innings. Why is he here again?)

Sunday's blowout over Atlanta:

1 Star - Jack Wilson (On base every at-bat. Production from the No. 8 spot.)
2 Stars - Freddy Sanchez (Three hits, three RBIs. He needs to get going.)
3 Stars - Ian Snell (This kid is good. Enough said.)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bob Walk Says it All -- Bucs Win

"You watch this game, Lanny, and you just wonder, where's it all been?" - Bob Walk

Walk doesn't usually have a clue.

With that comment though, he was right on.

We've been as critical as anyone about the Pirate offense.
We didn't have many hits at today.
We have no problem giving the Pirates credit. In fact we don't even have to write it.

Check the books to see how good it was:
13 Runs on 18 hits
Chris Duffy 3-for-4, raised his avg to .240 and stole a base for the first time since April
Freddy Sanchez 3-for-6 with 3 RBI
Jason Bay 2-for-4 with 2 RBI
Ryan Doumit 2-for-5
Ronny Paulino 2-for-4 with 2 RBI
Jack Wilson 3-for-3 with 2 runs scored

They did all that without hitting a homerun.

Walk sums it up in the ninth.

"One of those games where everything the Pirates did turned out great."

Too Bad it doesn't mean anything tomorrow.

Friday, May 11, 2007

An Obvious Difference -- Bucs Lose

Isn't it funny how little things make the difference.
A likely playoff team vs. one that hasn't been there in a decade.
The difference was built in the sixth inning.

For the first five innings, Sir Zach Duke had it crusin'. 1-0 Bucs.

This may or may not be the inside of my car...

Then in the sixth, he rattles off two quick outs before a shot to center by Chipper.

Nady goes crashing into the wall, ball goes in the glove and out. Double.

Then it all comes unraveled.
- A. Jones homered to deep center, C. Jones scored
- J. Francoeur homered to deep left
- B. McCann singled to shortstop
- M. Diaz singled to center, B. McCann to second

Sir Duke in the dugout after getting pulled...

4-1 before you blinked. And you just knew the offense wasn't bringing us back.

It didn't.

Ball Game.

Like I stated above, baseball is about little things and this game was full of them.

For instance, take the bottom of the fourth. Bucs hitting, no score.
first and second, nobody out, domes at first, bay at 2nd, nady singles sharply to right and cox holds bay at 3rd. laroche drives him in with sac but would bay have gone home and scored and would domes have been at third for laroches fly?

I understand the argument you hold Bay there with no outs, but isn't the Pirates offense a valid enough excuse to send Bay there and take the chance. If Domes and Nady both move up on the throw you have 2nd and 3rd with one out, worst case, and you get the run with LaRoche's sac anyway.

Second thing that bugged me was Nady's at-bat in the sixth. Davies just allowed a walk and a double and he is obviously tiring and you are down three runs and not only do you swing at the first pitch, but you put a half swing on it. If you are gonna swing there, that ball has to be in the cock zone. Say what you want, but a hitting coach or manager has to be installing more discipline there, IMO.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Jump Start My Heart -- Bucs Win Series

Hey, if every time Jim Tracy is going to log on and read this site, he will change the lineup around with the goal of getting the offense going, I got no problem expressing my disgust.
Disclaimer: I am positive my writing had nothing to do with today's win.

Either way, we'll take a 6-4 win and a series from the Cubbies in Chicago.

Domes keeps it rollin' and is now hitting .442. It would seem too obvious to state that he should play EVERYDAY but something tells me it isn't that obvious to Pirate management.
Not a bad start out of Pauly Walnuts. Looked like the stats could have been really pretty until the final two bombs by Pagan and Barrett.

And who woulda thought that what the Pirates offense really needed was a start from Carlos Zambrano, who for the second straight year, is off to a rough start and has an ERA near 6.00

Couple questions about this upcoming weekend series:

1. How long is the leash for Ronny Paulino? Will Doumit take a few starts from him this weekend? Or even on a more permanent basis?

2. Where will Jack Flash end up in this lineup? Is he better in the 2 or the 8? Where will he produce more?

3. Jose Bautista would seem to me to be a great fit in the 2, will he stay there?

I don't need answers now. I'm actually feeling good about this win and I'm going to enjoy it.

A very accurate picture of me as I left work today after the win...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Time for a Change -- Bucs Shutout

It's not the answer. I won't fight that. It isn't all Jeff Manto's fault that Chris Duffy can't hit the ball to the left side of second base. Or that Jack Wilson is a career .266 hitter. Or that Adam LaRoche isn't hitting his weight.

It's not ALL his fault.

But I mean, come on. Lets shake something up, make something happen. Send a message, do something different, because at what point does it become obvious to the people within the Pirates organization that what they are currently doing, isn't working.

Of the six guys who played tonight that are most likely part of the Pirates "everyday lineup",

Duffy, Sanchez, Bay, Nady, LaRoche and Bautista...

...they finished 1-for-21. ONE - FOR - TWENTY ONE

I am dead serious, DEAD SERIOUS, when I say that if Alan and I each got 21 at-bats against a contact pitcher like Marquis, we could each get one hit. There is zero doubt in my mind.

What else can I say about tonight? Great starting pitching, No hitting. I am running out of material for recaps.

Back on track

Start counting the no decisions -- it looks like Ian Snell will lead the majors in them this year.

Snell pitched another solid game, allowing only three runs over seven innings. He did give up 10 hits, but he struck out five and walked NONE to keep the Bucs within striking distance of a win against the Cubs.

Even more impressive than Snell was the work of the bullpen, which worked eight shutout innings, including three scoreless innings by Jonah Bayliss. Bayliss, who struggled in his last three appearances, struck out four, walked none and allowed only one hit in his three innings for the win.

Congrats, Jonah. Way to lower the ERA to 6.11. And our closer, whose ERA now stands at 5.79 saved his 10th game of the season.

Enough of the pitcher. Time for the lumber of the game...You've got to believe at some point that the offense will start "hitting away."

Better teacher of hitting than Manto

...but I don't see that coming anytime soon.

The Bucs left a total of 32 men on base, backing up Matt's assumption that no one on this team can hit in the clutch. Adam LaRoche left six on, Ronny Paulino left five on, Jack Wilson five and Freddy Sanchez four.

And what proved to be the biggest hits of the game? Two sacrifice flies from a guy that went 0-for-6. Jack Wilson, held hitless in the game, tied the game in the ninth inning with a sac fly and won the game in the 15th with a sac fly. These Pirates are something else.

"I think it was by far the worst game of my career and it ended up being two nice sac flies to tie the game and end the game," Wilson said.


Stars of the game:
1 Star - Jack Wilson (He did tie and win the game.)
2 Stars - Salomon Torres (For some reason, I thought he was going to blow it.)
3 Stars - Jonah Bayliss (Definitely thought we were doomed there.)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Just My Two Cents...

There have been some pundits, some minds around the Pirates who continue to harp on the Pirates lack of defense. They continue to overstate the way the defense is costing the Pirates games and how the Pirates will never win without defense and blah blah blah.

This team can't win because this team CAN'T HIT.

It's not that complicated.
Teams who can't field have won the World Series.
Teams who can't pitch have not.
Teams who don't hit better have extraordinary pitching. The 2007 Pirates, do not. Their pitching is good, it's not extraordinary. No staff with Tony Armas and Marty McLeary will be considered "extraordinary."

Then there is another theory gaining steam that states the Pirates aren't in "that bad of shape" because they dont have an offense, a closer or any other thing necessary to compete and are still only four games under. 500!!!!!

Its ridiculous.

Its idiotic.

Its even, ludacris.

Incredible hair out of him...

What fantasy world are fans living in that makes them believe what is happening with the Pirates right now is different than the norm? Or that it will improve?

Pirates hitters fall into three current categories.
1. Overachieving
2. Underachieving
3. We don't know yet
4. Can't hit in the clutch

Here are the overachievers:
Jack Wilson (a career .266 hitter, hitting .280)

Here are the underachievers:
Adam LaRoche (Yes, his career numbers aren't based on that long of a time, but there isn't much to support the idea of him hitting .170)
Freddy Sanchez (He's always hit, and will almost certainly hit above .300 this year. I agree with anyone that says he will turn it around.)
Xavier Nady (I'll give them this one. We don't really know what he is capable of, but in almost a full year, he hit .280 last season.)
Jason Bay (Easily the best player on the team, avg will almost certainly go up)

Here is who we don't know:
Ronny Paulino (One year)
Jose Bautista (No clue yet)
Chris Duffy (The definition of "no one knows")

Cant hit in the clutch:
All of them

So I assume Bay and Sanchez are the two players who can hit close to .300 on the team and can be count on for that much. As for the rest of them, there is no way to count on them for anything? I don't see any proof that would back the idea that the Pirates offense will DEFINITELY improve. I am not saying it won't, I am merely stating that I don't understand the idea of saying, "at least we are winning some games while not hitting, just imagine what happens when we start."

That idea of starting, is not guaranteed in the least.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Fielder goes yard -- 2 times

So Prince Fielder beat the Pirates yesterday. The Bucs are currently in one of their down parts of the year. We're used to seeing a lot of these. It's frustrating, it really is.

Ryan Doumit is hitting, though the offense is struggling.

Andrew McCutchen hit his second home run of the season yesterday. He's still not hitting the ball consistently, and his home run was his only hit of the game, but maybe it'll spark something.

Oh...and by the way, Roger Clemens has signed with the New York Yankees, which means no Clemens in the NL Central -- at least something to look at for the Bucco offense.

3 Dogs of the game:
1 Dog - Jason Bay (1-for-5, 3 Ks and 4 left on base.)
2 Dogs - Matt Capps (Couldn't stop the bleeding.)
3 Dogs - John Grabow (Loss. Enough said.)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Prince Fielder Show -- Bucs Lose

Prince Fielder had the type of game Sunday that would make anyone proud.

Even his Daddy...

Fielder, who of course was involved with the hit-by-pitch fiasco the night before with Matt Capps, homered twice, had 3 hits, drove in three runs, made a diving play at first and scored the most important run of the game on a single by Bill Hall, narrowly avoiding the tag of Ryan Doumit.

It was a man's performance. It was a day you dream of.

It should also be remembered as the day that Prince Fielder started a personal rivalry with the Pittsburgh Pirates. After he beat the tag from Doumit, Fielder arrogantly shouted and flexed at Capps who was walking back toward the dugout. It wasn't simply a "I'm happy i scored" reaction, it was a "in your face, eat it, and if you don't like it, come do something about it" reaction.

I don't know how it will sit with the Pirates, or with Capps. God knows, the Pirates have bigger problems, but I know it didn't sit well with me. I thought it was unnecessary arrogance from a guy who hasn't played long enough to earn a lot of people's respect as one of the games greats.

As for the rest of the game, the Pirates continued to buy into the

"2007 Pirates Outline of Defeat."
1. Get sub-par starting pitching (Armas went 5, 3 earned, walked two)
2. Don't hit for at least five innings (No Runs for six innings, only five hits through six)
3. Have one breakout inning to tie the game or go-ahead (The Bucs scored four in the 7th)
4. The bullpen blows it and you lose (Capps/Grabow, 2IP, 2 Runs)
Frustrated? We are too.

Updated Stars and Dogs

As Matt has already stated. Excuse us on the lack of informative posts. It's been a long week/weekend for the both of us.

So to catch up on dogs and stars, I'll do a quick run down and get the site back up on track.

I hope you weren't expecting too much out of the Bucs against the Brew Crew -- they look pretty decent this season. The Weeks/Hardy/Fielder top of the order will be a force for the next however many years.

The delayed Cubs/Pirates game dogs:
1 Dog - Jason Bay (Not a good showing.)
2 Dogs - John Grabow (Terrible in relief.)
3 Dogs - Jonah Bayliss ( Even more terrible in relief.)

Wednesday -- the Pirates lost their second game in the same day:
1 Dog - Ian Snell (Not a good outing. Four walks and four runs.)
2 Dogs - Adam LaRoche (Team left four men on base. He left three.)
3 Dogs - Jonah Bayliss (Three runs and didn't get an out.)

Thursday's win over the Brewers:
1 Star - Jose Bautista (Home run, 2 runs, 2 RBI)
2 Stars - Salomon Torres (Another save.)
3 Stars - Tom Gorzelanny (Our most consistent starter. He's good.)

Embarassing 10-0 loss. (How cool were the Brewers' throwbacks?):
1 Dog - Xavier Nady (0-for-4, 4 left on base.)
2 Dogs - Jonah Byaliss (Another three runs.)
3 Dogs - Paul Maholm (He was a first-round draft choice?)

Another series lost:
1 Dog - Chris Duffy (0-for5, 6 left on base.)
2 Dogs - Zach Duke (Start missing some bats.)
3 Dogs - Matt Capps (Gave the game away.)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Five Things We Learned At Miller Park -- Bucs Lose

Five things we learned last night.

1. JJ Hardy could very well have a breakout year. Hardy is now hitting .328 after a 4-for-5 night against the Bucs Friday. He already has seven bombs and 22 RBI. In 372 at-bats two years ago, Hardy had just nine homeruns and hit .247. Health problems have held him back, but this could be his year. Could be bad news for NLCD teams.

2. Maybe John Wasdin wasn't the problem. Marty McLeary, called up to replace Wasdin, threw 2 and one-third innings last night allowing four earned on four hits. Fair questions would include Where is Josh Sharpless? Dan Kolb? Anyone else?

3. We should have been worried about Paul Maholm, not Gorz. Coming out of spring training when fans everywhere were wondering why Gorzy was in the rotation, very little worry was expressed about Paul Maholm. However, it has been Maholm that has been terrible this year outside of his complete game shutout. Maholm is 1-4 with a 5.51 ERA, 19k/11bb in 31.2 innings with a 1.56 whip. Ouch.

4. Did anyone else think there were some bright spots in LaRoche's swing last night? No? Even when he ripped the single? Or when he smoked that ball late in the game? Not at all? Fair enough.

5. Give me some time, I am working on, i just need the time and money.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Raise the Jolly Jose -- Bucs Win

Baseball is a game of numbers, right?

Look at the numbers of Dave Bush, George's cousin, coming into the game.

2-2, 6.23ERA, 1.45 WHIP

So the Bucs gotta jump on him early. Really come out of the gate.

No LaRoche, Nady and Doumit in. Jim Tracy can't win in this situation.

Nady has produced. But LaRoche needs at-bats if hes ever gonna break out.

Fans would persecute Tracy if Doumit's bat wasn't there. So, no right answer.

Duffy, Jack, Freddy...get it going.

Then again in the third. And the fifth. And the sixth.

Then Jeff Manto said he has had enough, either hit or you're cut.

- F. Sanchez doubled to deep center
- J. Bay doubled to right, F. Sanchez scored
- J. Bautista homered to deep left, J. Bay scored
- R. Paulino homered to deep right center

These guys can stay. The rest might be cut. Just like that, 4-2 Bucs.

Capps works the bridge to Trainwreck Torres.

One walk later, Game Over. Bucs Win.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

We All Stink -- Bucs Drop Two

Excuse Alan and I.
The posts around here have been about as interesting as this letdown season of "24"

No word if Nassir is a Pirates fan. It is confirmed shes smoking hott.

I didn't get to see much of Tuesday nights game at all and I missed Wednesdays entirely.

Heres what I know --
1. The Pirates lost two games in one day, somehow
2. Soriano used the Pirates to heat up
3. Cliff Floyd absolutely hammered a ball Tuesday night
4. Jonah Bayliss needs some days off
5. The Brewers are clearly the best team in this division

Heres what I don't know...
1. Will Adam LaRoche hit? Ever?
2. Will Doumit ever come out of the lineup? Ever?
3. What happened to Ian Snell?
4. Are we losing Chris Duffy to the Chris Duffy of old?
5. Can we avoid a sweep in Brew Town?

You say you want recaps of the last two games....

...the Pirates didn't win. There you go.

Alan and I could return to posting for this weekend. Or not. Its Cinco de Mayo.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A little come from behind.

Same old Bucs and lackluster Duke in the early on.

One inning - 1-0 Cubs.

Two innings - 2-0 Cubs.

...and with Rich Hill on the mound. Not a good recipe for a Pirates win.

But then Duke settles in. He pitches yet another ugly game. More hits than innings pitched and barely any strike outs. Who cares, though, when your offense starts to back you up.

Think if that guy was leading the offense.

LaRoche singles in a run. Paulino doubles in another. Bay homers in the eighth. Three runs on seven hits for the Bucs proves to be enough. Capps secures the win, Torres gets the save, although he gets rocketed again in the process. A nice win.


1 Star - Zach Duke (Quality start.)
2 Stars - Ronny Paulino (Game-tying double.)
3 Stars - Jason Bay (Game-winning home run.)

Monday, April 30, 2007

Bryan Bullington... DOMINATING.

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with Bryan Bullington...

In all seriousness, another extremely strong start from Bullington today in Indy.

7 innings, 5 hits, 2 walks, no runs, 1 strike out and a win. He's 4-0 with a 1.17 ERA on the season.

And, according to him, he didn't have his best stuff.

"Not a whole lot was working for me today," he said. "My numbers looked a lot better than I felt I actually pitched. From a stuff standpoint, I wasn't quite where I wanted to be. But they kept hitting the ball at our fielders and I was able to work my way through it."

That statement may be backed up by his lack of strikeouts in the game (1). However, he only needed 84 pitches to get through his seven innings.

"Of course, like any Triple-A pitcher I'm looking to get to the Major Leagues," said Bullington. "Getting back to Pittsburgh is the goal, but I realize they've got a lot of great pitchers up there now. I'm just going to try to keep putting together quality starts and see what happens from there."

What they dont have Bryan, is a very consistent number five right now.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Wheels Come Off -- Bucs Lose

So much for that outstanding starting pitching.

And so much for that no-jump-start offense.

So much for that .500 record.

Paul Maholm did not have his best stuff, six runs in four innings, and despite the fact that the Pirates offense scored four runs in the first three innings, the Reds battled back and beat the Pirates, 9-5. The Pirates fell to 11-12 on the season.

In the 2nd, Jose Bautista continued his clutch hitting driving in a run with a ground rule double before Maholm helped himself with a two-run double. 3-0 Bucs.

After a Reds run in the 3rd, Doumit doubled in Bay to make it 4-1.

Then disaster struck. The 'one big inning' the Pirates must avoid came to head.

It was called the Top of the Fourth.
- J. Conine singled to center
- J. Conine to second on passed ball
- A. Gonzalez walked
- A. Dunn walked, J. Conine to third, A. Gonzalez to second
- E. Encarnacion tripled to deep center, A. Dunn, J. Conine and A. Gonzalez scored
- A. Harang singled to center, E. Encarnacion scored
- B. Phillips doubled to deep right, R. Freel scored
The Encarnacion triple is what we like to call, "The Big Blow."

Joe Lansdale obviously means buisness...

That punch less offense came back and mustered just two hits over the next five innings. If it wasn't for Ryan Doumit's 4-for-4 day including a solo bomb in the ninth, would have been the typical Pirate offense minus four hits and a home run.

Lets Dog it up

1 - Brad Eldred (0-4, 3k, 4RLOB)

2. Adam LaRoche (don't know when it will stop)

3. Paul Maholm (what a difference five days makes)

Win streak over .500 again. The one day above it sure was nice.

There isn't much to say about this loss to Reds. Gorzelanny pitches his worst game of the year and Matt Belisle pitches the best game of his career.

Seriously, Matt Belisle?

The little winning streak spoiled us all. The Bucs returned to their old self in this game, meaning they couldn't hit anything. Props to Duffy to bringing home Paulino for the only run.

Resume play today against Aaron Harang. If it stays like this game, look for Harang to K at least 12.


1 - Jack Wilson (0-for-4, an off game, a dog nonetheless.)
2 - Jonah Bayliss (not a good outing in his inning of work.)
3 - Tom Gorzelanny (pick it back up next start, kid.)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Back Over the .500 Hump -- Bucs Win

Beggars can't be choosers.

Pirates fans can want it all, but they can't have it all.

We as Pirate fans can be begging for offense, but we can't be choose to not accept these games. It may not be pretty, but the Bucs are winning.

The Pirates rode another ridiculous starting pitching effort from Ian Snell en route to a 3-1 victory over the Reds tonight, pushing their record to 11-10. It was the Bucs fifth win in a row.

The bullpen, Marte and Torres, closed it down, but not without a scare again. Torres was hit hard, allowed a run, but most importantly shut the door.

It seems as though Matt Capps has become a contestant in the 'Waiting Game', now on DVD.

That Cover art is sick.

The offense was dreadful again. If you watched the first inning, left the house to get a steak and egg Primanti's and some Dave and Andy's ice cream and then didn't come back until the ninth, you would realize you didn't miss anything between innings Two and Eight.

Heart-attack on bread...

To me, the most important thing about this series is that the Bucs must win a Snell-Milton and Gorz-Belisle matchup, and they took the first step tonight.

3 Stars

1. Jack Wilson - Energizer Bunny so far
2. Jason Bay - Two more RIBS
3. Ian Snell - On fire...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Doumit Makes it Count -- Bucs Win

The Pirates aren't always full of feel good stories, but today they had one.
Ryan Doumit.

Domes had two hits and two RBI, including what proved to be the game winning runs for Pirates in their 5-3 win over the Astros. It was the second sweep of the Astros this year for the Bucs.
So to break that down, the Pirates have won 10 games this year.

6 of the wins against the Astros. They have scored 24 runs in six games, yet won them all.

We do a lot of complaining as Pirate fans, but I wouldn't want to be running 'Astros Wire' this year.

It would be impossible to say Tony Armas was good, well, simply because he wasn't. But with respect to his first few starts, we will take what he gave us on Thursday. 5IP, 1ER, 4K, 4BB.

It would also be impossible to say the Astros offense has less punch than the Pirates, because even though they have better hitters on paper, they haven't proven that against Pirate pitchers this year.

Where there is some talk starting around the Bucs and that would be with King Salomon, who has not been sharp as of late. And as Dejan put it this morning, a team that needs wins as bad as we do can't afford a shaky 9th inning guy. Maybe this King Salomon shtick should stop. How about...?

Trainwreck Torres?

3 Stars - 1 Tony Armas
2 Jason Bay
3 Ryan Doumit

Bring on the Reds.

Guess Who's Back?

Well that didn't take long did it?

Ryan Doumit, sent to AAA to work on his "defense" tore the cover off the ball.

Ronny Paulino did not hit in Pittsburgh.

Two plus two equals the Pirates are desperate for offense, thus Doumit gets the start today for the big club.

Welcome back, Ryan. The pressure's on, trust me.

Good for Adam -- Bucs Win

If you stayed up for all 16 innings last night, you were rewarded with a Bucs win.

They didn't deserve it. But they got it.

The Pirates got a great start from Zach Duke, step one in the "How the Pirates Win Games" process guide. They got a few, A FEW, hits when they needed them including a bomb from Big Country.

But King Salomon wasn't good, his defense was worse and the Bucs blew the lead in the ninth.

Then it took seven more innings of at-bats before the Pirates could scratch a run across.

I am genuinely happy for Adam LaRoche, nevermind the trouble he is causing my fantasy team.

One thing you will notice on this blog, is that I won't hesitate to praise someone when it's deserved. And I certainly won't hesitate to dog someone when deserved as well.

With that said, I owe a tip of the cap to a few guys.

First, Shawn Chacon, who I think is the worst pitcher on this staff and is one of the most over-paid players in Major League Baseball. However, I can't fight what he has done this year, including 4 shutout innings last night.

Second, Brad Eldred, who must read Bucco Wire, because I told him last night, that if he is going to get starts, he must produce. Good work Bradley.

Third, Chris Duffy. I keep having the feeling that at some point he will cool off, that he will revert back to last April/May Chris Duffy, but he hasn't yet. 5 stolen bases, three more hits last night, and he's almost up to .300. Can't ask for much more.

Now lets get the sweep this afternoon...
3 Stars - 1 Zach Duke
2 Shawn Chacon
3 Adam LaRoche, why not?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pauly Shut-Out -- Bucs Win

The way I look at it, if you looked up "Pittsburgh Pirates Victory" in the dictionary this game should be what you would find.
It's painful to watch at times, but it's there.

We don't score alot...

Tonight's game breakdown is simple.

Just look at the positives and negatives.

Positives: 1.Paul Maholm, obviously. CG with 99 pitches, HE THREW STRIKES to all hitters and he let his defense back him up.

2. Jason Bay. He's clockwork. The only Pirate you shouldn't worry about. And now hes breaking out.

3. Flash. Over .300 still, two more hits, setting the table, doing his job. Whether he should be in the 2nd hole or not, it doesn't matter, he is and hes doing a fine job.

4. Paulino, they need him and he might be coming around. Forget a Doumit platoon, the Pirates won't have that happen, so forget it.

Negatives: 1. Adam LaRoche, obviously.

2. Brad Eldred, if you are going to get at-bats, you have to use them. Wouldn't it make sense to have McLouth against righty's and Eldred against lefty's? Eldred doesn't hit for power against Lefty's but he does hit above .200 and McLouth is 50 points better against righty's.

3. The rest of the offense.

The modern Pirates will never be a team to score a lot of runs.

Not to overcome bad pitching.

Not to just give good pitching a big cushion.

The Pirates will only win when they get GREAT pitching and a few timely hits.

It's not the best baseball to watch at times, but it is what it is.

Tip your cap to Pauly, though, real solid work.

Three Stars: (3) Paul Maholm, CG Shutout.

(2) Jason Bay, Only run producer really

(1) Jack Wilson, table setter.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Bucs snap skid

Matt didn't watch the final innings of the game, thus you are left with a lackluster recap by yours truly.

Tom Gorzelanny and his 1,000,000.76 spring training ERA entered this season with many doubters wanting him down at AAA. Well, look at his first few starts. Gorz shuts the door again, picking up a 7-5 win over the Dodgers.

Adding to Gorz's performance was Chris Duffy, who is still managing to make me look like an ass (I still prefer McLouth). Duffy had three hits, scored three runs and stole two bases. Kudos to finally realizing he's fast enough to swipe second base.

And LaRoche's bat wakes up, sort of. Only one hit and it came with no one on base, but still a home run. Sigh.

Torres rebounds to save a game. Bucs back on winning track.

3 stars of the game:

1 star - Salomon Torres (For not giving up the lead...again.)
2 stars - Chris Duffy (A leadoff hitter who can steal and set a table. This is new.)
3 Stars - Tom Gorzelanny (Very nice.)

Four-game losing skid dogs

Let me first say thanks to Matt for doing the updates. I have been out of town and nowhere near a computer, so that's why the dogs are a bit behind, and the site as a whole. That's my bad and please forgive me. But now, we must look at the dogs of the past four games. I would love to just dog the whole team, but for argument's sake, let me actually get into things.

7-3 loss to Milwaukee

1 Dog - Paul Maholm (He's never going to be worth anything is he?)
2 Dogs - John Wasdin (Get off this team already.)
3 Dogs - Xavier Nady/Ronny Paulino (0-for-8, 6 Ks. Ugh.)

7-5 loss to Milwaukee

1 Dog - Freddy Sanchez (0-for-4 with 3 Ks)
2 Dogs - McLouth, Eldred, Paulino and Castillo (All get a half star. 0-for-4 for these guys in pinch-hit opportunities.)
3 DOGS - Zach Duke (Awful start. Simply awful.)

10-2 loss to Los Angeles

1 Dog - Adam LaRoche (0-for-3, 3 Ks. You ever going to hit buddy?)
2 Dogs - Brad Eldred (0-for-4, 2 Ks.)
3 Dogs - Tony Armas (See John Wasdin above.)

7-3 loss to Los Angeles

1 Dog - Salomon Torres (Another blown save.)
2 Dogs - Ronny Paulino (Big miscues.)
3 Dogs - Adam LaRoche (0-for-3, 3 left one base. Hitting under .100. Good lord.)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Fear the Wolf Pack -- Bucs Lose

The weather in LA called for rain.
Jim Tracy called for the worst possible defensive team the Pirates could field.
He got it.
Top One, after Flash singles, and moves up on a heads-up play, Nady drives him in.
1-0 Bucs.

Then Tony Armas had to face 'Team SpeedRacer.'

No one beat this kid

Armas walks Furcal. Pierre rips a ball Castillo would have turned two on.

Freddy can't get to it, Furcal wheels to third as Eldred over throws 2nd.

Pierre steals 2nd. Two RBI's for Nomaaaahhhh, as Eldred doesn't even try to throw home.

2-1, Blue.

The second inning was inconclusive. In the third, the Merry Go Round started.

14 Straight Years...

- J. Pierre singled to first

- J. Pierre stole second

- N. Garciaparra walked

- J. Kent singled to left, J. Pierre scored, N. Garciaparra to second

- L. Gonzalez singled to center, N. Garciaparra scored, J. Kent to third

- R. Martin hit by pitch, L. Gonzalez to second

- A. Ethier hit sacrifice fly to deep left, J. Kent scored

- W. Betemit singled to right, L. Gonzalez scored, R. Martin to third

- R. Wolf doubled to deep right, W. Betemit and R. Martin scored

During the commercial break, I realized something. These new Pirates commercials.
Have you listened to these people? To the responses?
'I wanna watch baseball.'
'I wanna spend time with my family.'
'What else is there to do?'
How many people said, 'I wanna be part of a pennant race.'
'I wanna root for a team that isn't a joke.'

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Soup's Off for Duke -- Bucs Swept

What if I told you, Mr. Jim Tracy, that somewhere inside Miller Park, at some point during the first inning on Thursday, the Pirates would yet again have the bases loaded with less than two outs and Jason Bay at the plate. Is that something you might be interested in?

Wheres that script on the Ramones Bob?

And after the double play that left the Pirates without a run in the top of the first, you would have Zach Duke dealing against a team he has historically pitched well against and was looking to shake the cobwebs from his last start off, do you think we'd have a deal, or not?

'Yes, I have banged all of the case models...'

For the second straight outing, Duke allowed seven earned runs, this time over four innings. The Brewers racked up double digit hits and the Pirates offense was quiet for most of the day. Derrick Turnbow let the Bucs creep back in with some walks in the eighth, but Frankie Cordero shut it down in the ninth, including a strikeout of Fast Freddy, who struck out four times on the day.

The bullpen was good again, led by my least favorite Pirate, Mr. Chacon, who's season ERA is now, 1.50. X Man goes deep for a two-run bomb, meaningless in the end.

It's on to the West Coast for the Bucs. If you think the recaps have been lacking lately, try writing about the this team on a daily basis.


Box Score

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Highway to the "K" Zone, Bucs Lose

Before it even started, this game had a weird feel. Who are the 2007 Pirates? The Astros and Cards sweeps or the sweep at home against St. Louis? Could this be a real breakout team? Are we good? Do we still have Ryan Vogelsong? Why not?

Is Laroche breaking out?
Is Maholm ready to take it to the next level?
We Will?

Then Paul Maholm took the ball. And shit his pants.

I didn't even have time to find the channel before double, single, homer, 3-0. The 'same old' Pirates montage was brewing, especially on a big slide beyond the wall.

Look at that mustache. Clown.

Down 3-0, it's pretty easy to mail it in. But Jason Bay has pride. Canadian pride.

Bay goes deep, oppo style, then waves the Canadian flag in the dugout.

Bucco Wire would never boo this flag or it's anthem.

Down 3-1, the Bucs entered the "K" zone, and never came back.

- P. Maholm struck out looking

- R. Paulino struck out looking

- X. Nady struck out swinging
- R. Paulino struck out swinging
- J. Bautista struck out swinging

- P. Maholm struck out swinging

- J. Wilson struck out swinging

- X. Nady struck out swinging

- R. Paulino struck out looking

- A. LaRoche struck out swinging

- X. Nady struck out swinging

- J. Bautista struck out swinging

Get the point? The Pirates offense is disgusting. Awful. Terrible. Gross. Puke-inducing.

This game just had that feel. You just wanted to see if the Bucs could start to roll.

They didn't.

Bucs sweep Cards

It was only a two-game series, but we'll definitely take a two-game sweep.

After the first inning of the game, the Bucs looked like the offense was ready to burst out and finally reveal its true self.

Jack Wilson kept up his hot bat. Remember when he collected over 200 hits in a season? Wow. Xavier Nady decided to single Wilson in for the second run.

Two innings later and the Pirates were at it again. Adam LaRoche tells doubters to "kiss off" with his second home run of the sason. It is, however, the only hit he had, but still -- we'll take a three-run bomb. Keep doing that LaRoche.

From that point, it was game over with Tom Gorzelanny dealing. You have to give it to Tracy and the upper management on this one. Despite the weak spring, Gorzelanny has been very solid in the regular season. It's always been said that he's had some of the most talent of all the pitching prospects. We're starting to see flashes of that. But where are the strikeouts? Only two in 8.1 innings of work.

The Cardinals chipped in a meaningless run in the fifth to which the Pirates responded with another in the seventh. Ronny Paulino doubled in Nady.

Cards try to put something together in ninth. Gorz is pulled and Capps shuts the door. Bucs win, 6-1. Back at .500 -- holler!

Box Score - Recap

Stars of the game:

1 Star - Jack Wilson (Two hits and two runs scored. Showing that maybe he can handle the No. 2 spot)
2 Stars - Adam LaRoche (Maybe the three-run homer will awaken his bat.)
3 STARS - Tom Gorzelanny (Keep on pitchin', young man.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Last night's stars

Huge win last night. Ian Snell is quickly turning into a top-notch starter and I can't wait to see how the rest of his season pans out. All those number one draft picks that the Pirates have had and it's too way-late rounders (Snell and Zach Duke) that are leading the rotation.

It's funny how things work out.

Anyways, on to the stars of last night's game. Let me tell you, it's much better to be doing stars than dogs. Let's get on a little win streak now, that would be nice.

1 Star - Salomon Torres. (Big save - he needed that)
2 Stars - Xavier Nady. (Drove in what proved to be the winning run. Way back in the first.)
3 STARS - Ian Snell. (Huge to pitch out of that jam in the seventh. Glad Tracy stayed with him.)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Pirates 3, Cardinals 2

Box Score

Well, there probably isn't a scenario that you can work up that would be worse than the one facing Torres in the ninth. Bases loaded, one run lead, and Pujols at the dish. But give King Salomon his due, he gets the pop-up, gets out of the jam and the Buccos get a big win for Ian Snell, who was dazzling.

The Pirates did not get a lot of clutch hits, as I mentioned in the live blog below but they did get a lot of clutch pitching. One of the best signs of the night may have been Adam LaRoche hitting the ball on the screws multiple times, even though he was left with only one hit.

More of a summary can be found below in the live blog, but overall, a good win for the Bucs and we don't have to wait long before they take the field again tomorrow afternoon in St. Louis.

Extra Innings Live Blog

It isnt often that I have the time to sit back and just watch baseball, but tonight I have that time and I also have the Extra Innings package on TV and the package on the computer. So let's live blog what I see. I will be keeping an extra eye on the Cubs/Brewers because I have Marquis and Capuano in fantasy. Stay Tuned.

8:12 - Hanley Ramierz just tried to stretch a triple into a inside the park bomb and he was chucked at the plate, but you gotta love this kid, he really hustles it up.

8:13- Anthony Reyes' socks really mezmerize me.

8:15- Why is half the Padres starting lineup missing? Mike Cameron? Kouzmanoff? Good news for Marquis!

8:17- Between the flat brim hat and the socks, Reyes is really a fashion statement for bad baseball uniforms. LaRoche just smoked a ball to right, bases loaded for J Bay.

8:20- Adam Dunn just made a bad baserunning mistake. On second base, he went on contact on a ball back up the shoot, but Capuano made the stab and got him between 2nd and third. Jeff Conine with real nice baserunning got all the way to second after being the batter. I bet Derek Lee was a steal in many mixed fantasy leagues this year with his injury season last year. He's off to a red hot start. Nice at-bat by Bay to bring in the Bucs first run.

8:24-Nice job by Capuano to come from behind on Edwin E. Down 3-1, with a runner on 2nd, he gets two straight strikes for the K. Reyes goes 3-0 on X Man with the bags packed.

8:25 RBI Singles by Derek Lee and Matt Murton get Marquis a 2-0 lead in Chicago. Xavier Nady drives in two with a single back up the shoot. Reyes clearly doesn't have it tonight. Can the Bucs pour it on?

8:26 Ronny Paulino swings at the first pitch. Bad discipline from a guy not hitting his weight.

8:28 23 strikes, 17 balls for Reyes. Paulino smokes one but fielders choice made by Mighty Mouse Eckstein.

8:30 Reyes is not getting the outside corner tonight. I've counted at least three pitches that could have hit the black, all balls. Reyes approaching 50 pitches here in the first. I really like the Cubs home uniforms. Bautista strikes out swinging. 47 pitches. 3-0 Bucs.

8:33 Very nice at-bat by Russell Branyan. Makes Marquis throw nine pitches, fouls off a few and draws a two-out walk.'s idea of a commercial break is showing us the PacMan screen. It's annoying.

8:34 Jeff Brantley says the rain outs have messed with his sons fantasy team. No kidding Jeff. Now Jeff and his play by play guy are arguing over whether Brantley is a "fantasy guy." Brantley sounds irritated. I am not changing the channel.

8:35 Did I mention I bet money on the Pirates tonight? I did. Money lined it. Dodgers as well.

8:38 I have never seen a pitcher more blatantly throw around a batter like Snell just did to Pujols. Wait, strike one. Strike two. I take it back Ian. Ball four. But it wasn't on purpose.

8:40 Eric Milton goes 5-plus, two runs but the Reds have given him no support. The relief is Victor Santos. Eric Milton to Victor Santos. Ugh, if you are a reds fan.

8:42 A terrible disgusted Jim Edmonds with a solid bat toss into the air after popping up with runners on the corner.

8:45 Back in 1978 Bob Forsch no-hit the Phillies for the Cards. This date in baseball history.

8:46 I dont get the non-bunt out of Duffy here. I cant, for the life of me, figure out Jim Tracy. Bad baserunning again in Cincy, as Fielder gets nabbed between 2nd and 3rd with no one out.

8:49 Thats why you bunt him over, there. Jack Wilson is the least clutch guy with RISP, but hes a ground ball machine, no reason there should be a DP there. Worst case scenario, Sanchez hits with two outs and a RISP. 4-0 Brewers, looking good for Chris Caps.

8:52 Scott Thorman just drove in a run with a pinch-hit ground out but he has dissapointed this year so far in replacing LaRoche.

8:55 Snell hitting 96 with his fastball and breaking off 83 mph slides. Filth.

8:57 The Cubs worker who goes and gets the foul balls that hit off the screen behind home plate, sprints out and back, both ways in full speed. Awesome.

8:59 It always strikes me as odd when tv crews show hot girls in the stands at games. Like, its not even hiding the fact that their creepy camera men and creepy producers are probaly talking through the headset about the girl or girls. Classless, yet enjoyable as a man.

9:01 Freddy on third, no outs. Three shots for the run. LaRoche, Bay, Nady.

9:02 Bay grounds to third, Freddy goes on contact. Rolen to Molina and the Pirates can get him in. Things are falling apart for Capuano in Cincy. Hardy makes an error, Phillips singles and Dunn reaches on infield single. Bags packed, no outs. Stinks.

9:06 I believe Brantley just used the phrase, "you usually can kiss the baby" when describing a foul ball straight back by Conine.

9:07 You would have to see this play to believe it. Bases loaded, no one out for Conine. He breaks his bat, humpback liner up the middle, Weeks goes up for it and it rolls off his glove into center. One run scores. I am about to kill someone because Weeks should have had it. Then, by the grace of god, they call it an infield fly!!!! I mean this ball wasnt 10 feet off the ground. Jerry Narron is losing it. Brantley goes "thats a bad call in little league." People are just bitter in Cincy.
9:10 Capuano is done, which I don't like. What I don't like even more is that the play has been ruled a pop out with the runners advancing. This is not what happened. This ball went off of Weeks glove, its an error. I may or may not be getting screwed out of an earned run here.

9:12 Bad to worse. Edwin singles, two runs score and Bill Hall boots the ball in center. It's likely he would have had a play on Dunn at the plate. If I am this mad, Chris Capuano must be losing it in the tunnel.

9:15 Oh, mama. None of the three runs against Caps have been earned. Now I just need the Brewers to finish this one off and I can get the win and the ERA help. Eat it, Brantley and Son.

9:17 My buddy Hauze balls gives me an IM that says Marquis working on a no-no through four. First batter of the fifth, double to right center. Thanks for nothing Hauze.

9:18 It is tee time in Colorado. Durham homers, Molina homers, Feliz doubles. 6-0. That oughta relax Barry Zito and his almost 9 ERA.

9:20 Wheels are coming off for Marquis and Todd Folgers Coffey. Marquis allows an RBI single to Clay Hensley. Folgers allows three base runners with eight pitchers, including two hit batsmen.

9:23 Jim Tracy must be beating his fist against the wall. Three at bats for Duffy, not once has he put the ball on the ground. 0-3.

9:24 I mean Bill Hall absolutely, positively, just smoked a ball into the left center seats for a grand slam. I cant describe how well he pissed on this frozen rope. What an awful inning for Folgers. Jack Flash with the Pirates 2nd triple of the night. Man on third, less than two outs with Sanchez then Bay.

9:27 Big spot for LaRoche. First and third, one out. Reyes is clearly tired. Time to break out Adam.

9:29 Soriano has left the Cubs game with a hamstring injury. We'll see what details the Cubs broadcast gets. LaRoche hits into 4-6-3 DP. This has to stop soon, we need him, badly.

9:31 Mike Gonzo comes into relieve Yates with runners at 2nd and 3rd and promptly walks the first two batters, then induces a an RBI groundout. 5-1 Nats over the Braves.

9:32 Great hustle by Matt Murton just got him an RBI. With runners at the corner, Murton hits a Taylor Made to short, but beats the throw over to first with real nice hustle. 5-1 Cubs. My fantasy pitchers are lookin' gooooood.

9:35 I dont care much for the AL but the Orioles just hung seven runs on the D Rays in two innings to come back from 7-1 to lead 8-7.

9:36 Matt Lindstrom is getting loose for the Marlins in Houston. I havent seen Lindstrom throw yet, but they say he hits over 100 mph. Fair to say I will not be changing channels much.

9:37 Alan sends me that message. Alan is smart. Michael Barrett just went deeeeep off Clay Hensley. This run support for my pitchers is crazy good.

9:40 Reyes is out. Russ Jerry Springer is in for the Cards. El Caballo with two runners on and one out. Another fantasy member. He pops out.

9:42 You can't beat Geico cavemen commercials. I mean it. You can't.

9:44 Do you think Chad Cordero will throw in every Nationals win? Manny Acta will just say you know what, hes our best pitcher. I dont care if its 3-2 or 10-0, hes throwing the ninth to make sure we dont blow this thing? Dodgers-DBacks underway, need Furcal and Gonzo for fantasy, Dodgers for my gambling habit. What kind of life is this that I am living?

9:45 Ugly play by Kennedy, Spiezio and Pujols on a Paulino pop-up. Spiezio falls, Kennedy and Pujols can't catch it. Whoa. Gary Thorne does play by play for the Orioles network? Is this on a nightly basis? Thorne is as good as it gets in the booth. Anyone know his status with MASN, let me know.

9:47 I know there are stats for everything somewhere or another, but I wanna see the stat of how many times Juan Pierre attempted to steal second after walking with no one else on and less than two outs. 80 percent of the time? 90?

9:49 Nice oppo poke by DeRosa over the Under Armour sign at Wrigley. 8-1 Cubbies. Did I mention Juan Pierre actually stole second? Nomaaaaahhhhh drove him in with a double. Things are looking up early.

9:50 Jason Marquis has two hits tonight. Guys a stud.

9:53 Cubs reporters asked Lou Pinella before the game, "rate your outfield arms." Pinella responds with, after a long pause and half smile, "you guys ask tough questions. I have come to that conclusion here in the first ten or eleven games of the season. why cant you all throw a softball right down the middle and let me whack the damn thing and forget all these intricate questions." Gotta love Lou. Orlando Hudson is hitting .412. Really?

9:56 Pretty sure its safe to say the Cubs will get Marquis a win tonight. Floyd goes deeeep into the night, not so much deep into, as he did go deep upwards, for a three run blast, his first as a cub. 11-1 Cubs. Floyd and Ronny Cedeno do a little jig in the dugout, not a good one. Trust me. 10 Earned runs charged to Clay Hensley.

10:00 Well the early games have really become blowouts and non-interesting so I am going to wrap this live run up. If you kept reading during the updates, thanks. I'll be back with a little final note about the Bucs after the game.