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.

Va Tech Tragedy

Obviously this won't be the first you have heard of it, but there has been a shooting at Va Tech and at least 30 people are reported to have been killed. Both Alan and I are or recently were college students and we realize this could have happened anywhere in the country. We would like to send our prayers out to everyone involved in the tragedy.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Barry says Goodbye

Ah, the series every Pirates fan waits for each year. Pirates vs. Giants -- and a chance to give Barry Bonds all he can handle. Nothing tops dropping monopoly money on the guy though when he first left Pittsburgh.

And what better way to combat our arch-nemesis than to have one of our young, top dogs on the hill. This will be great. That is, until Zach Duke forgot how to pitch.

After that, the rest was history. The Giants scored five in the first and two in the second. However, there's still a chance when Russ Ortiz is your opposing pitcher. As we all know, Ortiz is currently being paid by the Diamonbacks to not pitch for them. After being releases last year, the Giants picked him up off the scrap heap. It's amazing this guy has a freaking job. But, somehow, he shuts down the entire Pirates offense.

Ortiz used to be a 20-game winner -- that's more unbelievable than Don Kelly and John Wasdin making our roster.

BUT -- you saw the game. Bonds homers twice and shoves it in our faces. We strand runners like crazy and somehow Chacon gets to bat with two runners on and one out. We were down 8-2 at the time, but come on. Pinch hit and make something happen. Bucs lose, 8-5. The three runs in the ninth were pointless. Sorry Duffy.

Dogs of the game:

...listen, I'm going to change this up a bit. I usually give one, two and three dogs for a total of six dogs per loss. Well, I see only two things worthy of dogs, so I'm just going to divide it up evenly.

3 DOGS - Zach Duke (For not showing up.)
3 DOGS - The Offense (For not realizing the season started a week ago.)

3-2 Cards loss Dogs

This game feels like it was forever ago, and since I was also upset with the Pens loss, doing the dogs just slipped my mind while I was at work and enjoying my weekend. So, since I know everyone has been waiting, let's get right to it.

1 Dog - Jack Wilson (6 left one base. If Duffy goes 3-for-4 and doesn't score a run, we're doing something wrong.)
2 Dogs - Brad Eldred (Big Country had his chances and didn't do a thing. 5 left on base for him.)
3 DOGS - Salomon Torres (I hate to do this, but the home run to Chris Duncan makes me. Get it together, Torres.)

Now, let's all forget about this series and move on. Winnable games, but we lost all of them. And as Matt already said in his furious post, it was exactly what the last 14 years have been.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Kurkjian on Torres

For ESPN the Magazine and, Tim Kurkjian writes this excellent piece on Salomon Torres. King Salomon is a fascinating guy, and this article exploits some of the reasons he is so special.

Torres is in for a roller-coaster year with the Pirates faithful, in fact, it's already started. After three games, he was exactly the reason we traded Gonzo. After 9 games, he is the reason they should have kept him. This won't change until he is out from under the scope, he knows it and he'll be fine.

Duke vs. Ortiz Tonight. Bucs are favored. Russ Ortiz stinks.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bitter. Bucs Lose Again, 3-2

Let me start with this. I am in an awful mood. Nothing is going my way at this minute. I should have written this recap earlier in the day, instead I waited and focused on the Penguins.

That was a mistake.

Now I am bitter. Furious. Upset. Distracted. And I am going to take it out by picking a fight with Jim Tracy.

Look, managing in the big leagues can't be easy. I won't say that it's hard, hell, Terry Francona won a god damn World Series and he couldn't manage his way out of a paper bag in Philly.

Luckiest Man Alive.

But it isn't easy. There is no magic potion or answer, unless you are giving a high payroll and the some of the best players in the league on a yearly basis (see above reference). It isn't a Staples commercial, there is no easy button.

"Hey Terry, push the button and we'll buy you a pitcher..."

My initial paragraph here was to say that LaRoche had no buisness having the day off against a righty. I was unaware, until now, that he was out with stiffness in the back. Fair enough Jimbo.

Secondly, I didn't think Torres needed to throw in the ninth. I know the guy has a rubber arm and can throw 500 innings a season, but he threw 25 pitches less than 18 hours before and didn't have his best stuff. Now you trot him right back out there, just to get him back on the horse? It's too easy to second guess and play armchair manager, but like I said, I am bitter and I am picking a fight with Jim Tracy.

I don't feel like writing anything else about this game. If you didn't see it, close your eyes and picture the last 14 years. Open your eyes and you just saved yourself three hours.

Pirates lose a one-run game when they get good pitching, no timely hits and frustrate the hell out of their fans, 3-2.

Last night's Dogs

Man, there's so many choices for last night's dogs. By the way, 2 Stupid Dogs is the best show you've never seen. Do some downloading, show these dogs some love. They have more smarts than Bay, who throws to third after that fly out in the ninth? Seriously...who?

As for the dogs, it goes like this today:

1 dog - Adam LaRoche. (Good lord, dude. Hit the ball already.)
2 dogs - Jason Bay (I learned in t-ball to throw to second in that situation and keep the tying run out of scoring position. And I know you had shoulder surgery before, but what a weak throw on the play at the plate. You were throwing from deep shortstop Bay, coming in on the ball! Get it together.)
3 DOGS - Salomon Torres (Blow a two-run lead. I know Wasdin eventually lost it and he's a bum, but come on, it should have never gotten to Wasdin. A two-run lead Torres.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Disgusted, Pirates Lose 3-2

Before the first pitch Tuesday night, the Pirates had two small victories over the Cards. For one, Chris Carpenter wouldn't be starting and instead some guy no one has ever heard of was taking the bump. Second, Scott Rolen was out for the night with back spasms and Scott Spiezio, and his stupid red soul patch, would get the start.


In the first, Tommy Gorz had it rollin'. In the bottom of the inning, it felt like groundhog day in Pittsburgh. Hits from Jack and Freddy, a walk to Bay Day and the bags were packed for the X-Man. Pop-up city, two outs. Then LaRoche stepped in and hammered a ball, to deep center, which was caught at the fence, or as Greg Brown said on the radio broadcast, "fliritin' with a granny..."

"how YOU doin'..."

The Bucs scored single runs in the fifth and sixth. In the fifth, Jose Bautista told Jose Castillo to get comfortable as a backup and went deep for the first time this year. Tracy adjusted the lineup tonight and moved LaRoche to 6, but Bautista, one of three guys hitting above .300, and probably the only hitter on the team to not strike out all season, stayed in the eight hole. And went deep. Maybe Jim Tracy is smarter than me. Maybe.

In the sixth Freddy doubled, then Bay drove him in with a single. LaRoche struck out and the boo birds came-a-flyin'. Somewhere LaRoche's ladies were telling Pirate fans to "F-Off."

"F-OFF, he's ours."

In the eighth, the 1,431 fans in attendance watched as Matt Capps relieved Tommy G and promptly allowed a hit to Aaron Miles. Then Jim Edmonds pinch-hit and smoked a ball right at LaRoche, who stepped on first for the DP. Skippy Schmuker followed with a flyout.

In the bottom of the inning, Freddy got a hit. Then Lanny told us A-Rod homered again. A-Rod makes 15,000 dollars an inning this season. A-Rod could pay my yearly salary in about 45 minutes, and might not even have to bat. After I puked, JBay chopped into a DP, making the pirates 4-for-167 as a team with RISP. Gotta be some kind of record.

Torres Time. Mighty Mouse singled to left and Chris Duncan, who is about 8 feet tall, walked on five pitches. The best hitter on the planet strolled in with his .179 average and absolutely scared the crap out of me. Strike. Ball. Ball. Boos. Timeout. More Boos. Ball. Lanny tells us the outfielders are "deep." Pujols hits a ball 322 feet and Bay tries to throw the ball into T-Bone Shelby in the dugout. Eckstein and Andre the Giant move up a base each because every team in baseball is smarter than the Pirates. Soul Patch Kid drives in both with a single and I consider erasing the derogatory comments about him that are listed above.

Tommy Gorz leaves the dugout and goes down the walkway to bring his lunch back.

Josh Hancock, it's Herbie Hancock, enters the game. Even though this isn't a live blog and my prediction means absolutely nothing, I am saying right now LaRoche is hitting a walk off bomb. I will not erase that last sentence if he doesn't. I won't do it. LaRussa goes Lefty-Lefty with Randy Flores, who keeps the bad facial hair trend coming. Slider, 0-1. Slider, 1-1. Slider, 1-2. Slider, ground out. I won't erase it.

In the bottom of the tenth, Eldred reached because Mighty Mouse couldn't reach first and Duffy got hit by a pitch. Then Walk almost blew a gasket talking about why Jack shouldn't bunt. Jack bunted and Eldred was thrown out at third. Tip your cap to Mr. Walk. Bad K for Freddy. Bad analogy for Lanny about "carrying the mail," and then something about a "winning notice," when discussing Duffy at second base. Bay-Day bombs. Three at-bats with a runner at second base, and not one hitter was even able to advance a runner. This is painful.

In the top of the 12th, with the bases loaded, FSN Pittsburgh forgets how to follow a fly ball off the bat. Not to be out done, Paulino forgets how to catch. 3-2, bad guys.

Duffy walked. Jack lines out. Duffy doesn't even consider stealing. Freddy hits into DP.


Notes: Bob Walk said "no doubles" at least four times tonight.

Tuesday news roundup

Jose Castillo isn't pleased. He wants to play everyday. I mean, who doesn't? But what has Castillo ever done to warrant playing everyday? Nothing... He's inconsistent all the time.

"I'm not going to say anything. I'll wait my turn," Castillo said. "But there are 29 other teams watching me. They watched me for three years. They know what I can do."

I don't know what Castillo is thinking, but I'm sure if anyone out there would offer anything significant for him, the Pirates would probably take it. The problem there -- NO ONE will offer anything of value.

The fans at the game are upset that they didn't see a win. We're all upset about that, but it's just how it works. By the way, check out the interviews along the right-hand side of that story. The PG does a nice job with their audio clips, letting the fan in on what would behind-closed-doors conversations.

The Bucs will see Randy Keisler today, and not Chris Carpenter due to an injury. Because of that, the Cardinals have a huge hole to fill in their rotation.

Robert Dvorchak, of the Post-Gazette, writes a nice piece of the game and the cold weather from the fan's perspective. This too, has audio clips for your listening pleasure.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Today's lineups and game

Here's how the lineups worked out for today's home opener. I'll be listening at work during the game, so I'll be able to update.

Pirates: 1. Duffy, 2. Wilson, 3. Sanchez, 4. LaRoche, 5. Bay, 6. Nady, 7. Paulino, 8. Bautista, 9. Snell

Ian Snell (0-0, 3.00 - 11 K, 1 BB, 0.83 WHIP)

Cardinals: 1. Eckstein, 2. Duncan, 3. Pujols, 4. Rolen, 5. Edmonds, 6. Kennedy, 7. Molina, 8. Schumaker, 9. Looper

Braden Looper (0-1, 4.50 - 3 K, 1BB, 1.50 WHIP)

- Now that I look at the Cardinals' lineup. Man, they are struggling. Outside of Pujols and, to an extent, Rolen, they don't have much. Edmonds is slowly dying off, Kennedy in the 6th hole?...and Molina hasn't figured out how to hit yet in any of his major league seasons. How did any combination of team made up primarily of these guys win a World Series?


1st Inning: Snell with a strikeout and allows a hit. Smooth first inning. Duffy actually draws a walk, setting the table for a little something. Stumble by Looper and Duffy doesn't even have to move to second on a steal, he walks over after the balk. Jack smokes one, but right at the second baseman for an out. Well Tracy doesn't bunt Wilson and now Sanchez can't get Duffy in, nor can he get him to third. This could be a wasted opportunity. LaRoche grounds out on a full-count pitch. Should be 1-0, but the Bucs will head to the second inning still scoreless.

2nd Inning: Some solid defense for the Bucs. Sanchez makes a play at second and is followed by a shoestring grab in the outfield by Bay. The guys are talking about Kip Wells not getting a nice ovation today by the Pirates fans. It doesn't matter to me. I like that the fans show enough support in their team to dislike an opposing guy that failed constantly with them. Snell picks up his a ground out to end the top half. Bay strikes out on a ball in the dirt. Ugh. Nady hits one to the track...WTP - warning track power. And Paulino continues to struggle, going down on strikes. 0-0 into the third.

3rd Inning: Snell cruises through the top. Three up and three down. Bautista tries to sneak a grounder through the middle of the infield, but it doesn't happen. Snell resides in Bradenton now, I like that. So during the off-season, his home is the off-season training facility of the team. Duffy doubles to right field as Schumaker fails to make a running play on the little lefty's hit. Ends Loopers no-hitter chances! Wilson fails to do anything again with Duffy on second. SIGH. Scoreless into the fourth.

4th Inning: Pujols doubles. It happens. Rolen drives him in. Must be nice to get someone in from second base. Kennedy steals second on Paulino. It's the ninth stolen base on the Bucs already. Teams are 9-for-11 in stolen bases. LaRoche shows his patience and draws a one-out walk. Bay singles him to second. And Nady follows that up with a routine double-play ball. This is getting ridiculous. 1-0 Cardinals into the fifth.

5th Inning: Snell picks up the first two outs of the inning. Eckstein singles to prolong it. Eckstein steals second as a ball pops out of Paulino's glove. This is going to be a fun year on the bases if this keeps up. Snell gets out of it after giving up a walk. Time for the offense to do something. Snell's got Bautista on first and needs to bunt him over. He gets it down. Now here we go with another runner on second. Duffy flies out. Inning over. 1-0 Cards into the sixth.

6th Inning: Edmonds doubles, but is thrown at third trying to steal. Paulino nails him by a mile. Remember, though, Edmonds is getting old. Snell ends the inning. Eckstein moves to his left to make a nice play on Wilson to start off the Bucs' half of the inning. Sanchez grounds out - two outs. LaRoche pops out to Eckstein. Pirates once again do nothing at the plate. Did I mention Braden Looper was pitching this game for the Cardinals...Braden Looper. Cardinals 1-0 into the seventh.

7th Inning: Looper will bat with two outs in the seventh. Interesting, though I guess he is shutting the Bucs down. But still. Snell deserves to at least pick up a no decision in this game. He's holding down the defending champs in the home opener, but the offense is simply doing nothing. Bay drills one high in the air to the pitcher's mound for the first out. At least Nady gets to first by any way possible -- gets hit by a pitch. Oh wow and looky here. Paulino grounds into yet another double play. Cardinals 1-0 into the eighth.

8th Inning: Snell out, John Wasdin in. It's a shame for Snell. Another solid performance, though. Hopefully we can pull something out for him and not let him go home with this loss. Paulino doesn't block a ball in the dirt and Eckstein moves up. Bad defensive day for Paulino. Wasdin and Marte end up giving more runs. This game is pretty much over since the offense failed to show up. Bautista grounds out with Ryan Franklin now on the hill for the Cardinals. Nate McLouth to pinch hit. McLouth singles. Again, he's the guy to show up. Duffy Ks. Wilson Ks. Cardinals 3-0 into the ninth.

9th Inning: Bayliss relieves Marte to clean up the ninth. Strikes out Molina. Schumaker flies out. Taguchi strikes out. An inning and two Ks for Bayliss -- I can respect that. Trying to make Izzy blow a save. Not going to happen with a leadoff groundout by Sanchez. And the rest is history, not even worth mentioning. Pirates go down in the home opener behind a strong effort by Snell.

Box Score - Recap


1 Dog - John Wasdin - We sucked but we were still down only one until Wasdin came in and did nothing good on the mound.
2 Dogs - Jack Wilson - This is simply his lack of getting Duffy over in the first inning. That could have been the run we needed. Also leaving Duffy stranded at second another inning.
3 Dogs - Ronny Paulino - Terrible behind the plate. Terrible with the stick. Two double play balls to end innings. Stolen on twice and a passed ball. Ugh.

Home opener!

The Bucs, along with the rest of the Pirates faithful, are preparing for today's home opener against the Cardinals. Game time is sent for 1:35 p.m., but the weather isn't going to be that of good baseball weather.


Last night in Indianapolis, Bryan Bullington pitched five shutout innings. He allowed three hits, struck out four and walked one.

If Bullington, Burnett and Van Benschoten can get it together in AAA, the Pirates' rotation just got really deep, in both left-handed and right-handed pitchers. Let's all hope that can happen. But it feels good to wish that these guys get better only in order to strengthen the depth of the rotation. No longer are we relying on them to anchor a staff or looking for them dominate in the upcoming years -- Snell, Duke and Gorz are taking care of that now.

Bucs take one from Reds

Welcome back Freddy Sanchez!

Defending NL batting champion Freddy Sanchez returned to the lineup yesterday, going 2-for-4 at the plate. He scored a run and drove one in. He hit leadoff, with Chris Duffy getting the day off and Brad Eldred getting the start in right field. I don't know about the rest of you, but I liked this lineup.

The Pirates didn't score until the fourth inning, but that didn't matter. Zach Duke was on his game and held the Reds down, not allowing a run until the seventh inning when it started to slip away. The bullpen came in and closed the door the rest of the way, however.

To me, the biggest highlight of the game came in the eighth inning. An opposite field home run off the bat of Eldred. Add to that his RBI double in the fourth and man am I glad he proved me wrong by making the team. Hopefully he can work out in the outfield. If so, he's a big-time steal.

Recap - Box Score

Stars of the game:

1 Star - Freddy Sanchez (Welcome back with a 2-for-4 at the plate.)
2 Stars - Zach Duke (Very nice performance until the seventh inning.)
3 STARS - Brad Eldred (Home run, two-run double. Big Country showin' the power.)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Bucs lose, 7-5

Tony Armas looked awful in his first start for the Pirates. In which case, the Buccos never had a chance in this one.

The Pirates score two in the first, but it's quickly erased. The Reds put up a three-spot in the bottom half of the inning and another in the second.

LaRoche hits his first bomb in the fourth as the Pirate score three. But the Reds put up two of their own in the bottom half. Ugh. One more in the sixth gave the Reds the eventual 7-5 decision.

Like I said, there was really no chance in this game. Armas was THAT terrible. (5 walks, 8 hits and 6 runs in 4 innings.) Yuck.

Basically, the Bucs got cold.

Box score

In some other good news, Freddy Sanchez will return to the team.

Dogs of the game:

1 Dog - Jack Wilson (0-4, three left on base)
2 Dogs - Jason Bay (1-4, 2 strikeouts. Our best player off to a .190 start)
3 DOGS - Tony Armas (Terrible) - I bet Sean Burnett loved seeing that after his five innings of one-hit ball in Indy to start the season.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

First Dogs of the season

So we aren't going to finish 162-0, oh well. Last night's game brings about the first dogs of the season. For three games now, guys have been battling for stars, but we'll see who fell off this time.

1 Dog - Maybe I'm being a stickler for this one, but Paulino's throw down to third when Freel was stealing was absolutely horrendous. It didn't even make it to the bag. It allowed him to score a run that was essentially meaningless, but Paulino has got to pick it up. We can't have another Kendall behind the plate.

2 Dogs - Jason Bay/Adam LaRoche. Combined 0-for-7 with 2 strikeouts and three left one base. We need more.

3 Dogs - Paul Maholm has got to take this one. The first starter to not throw a good game. We need Maholm to do something this season.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Pirates 5, Astros 4 - Sweep Complete

Recap -- Box Score

Maybe disbelief is the world to best describe Pittsburgh Pirate nation. Shocked and surprised would probably work to. No matter which word you choose to use, they all explain the same amazing start.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are 3-0 are after sweeping the Houston Astros to open the 2007 season.

The Bucs survived a sub-par start from Tom Gorzelanny by relying once again on its bullpen and some timely hitting, mainly from Jose Bautista, to beat the Astros, 5-4. Tommy G went five innings allowing seven hits, three runs but only two earned, while walking one and striking out four. Shawn Chacon and Matt Capps combined for three innings of shutout ball before King Salomon allowed a Craig Biggio homer in the ninth and then closed down his third save in as many nights.

Bautista went 3-for-5 with 3 RBI and Jack Wilson had two hits to lead the Pirate offense, which chased Woody Williams after just four and two-thirds innings of work.

As I type this, Tim Kurkjan is discussing the Pirates start to the season. He said the Pirates are from Pittsburgh, I am actually surprised he knew that.

Craig Biggio had three hits for the Astros, while Chris Burke, Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee all drove in runs.

The sweep marks the first Pirates series sweep in Houston since 1991.

Pirates Notes: Zach Duke has been pushed back a day, to Sunday, to make his second start of the season due to a cracked nail

-The Pirates are off on Thursday and will open at three-game series at Cincinnati on Friday. Maholm will start the series opener against Reds right-hander Matt Belisle.

Around the NL Central: -Ted Lilly dazzled in his Cubs debut as they beat the Reds

-The Dodgers avoided the sweep, beating the Brewers behind Jason Schmidt

-The Cards are 0-3. The defending champs, 0-3.


One Star -- Shawn Chacon -- 2 perfect innings in his season debut

Two Stars -- King Salomon -- 3 nights, 3 saves.

Three Stars -- Jose Bautista -- A couple really clutch hits to lead the offense

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Game 2 Stars

The Bucs are at it again! Yet another comeback victory over the Astros.

We win the opening series. Now I bet no one saw that coming, especially the dominating performance by Ian Snell on the mound. The stars for this one, I think, are pretty obvious.

So I'll do a quick run down for now, and go into a little more depth tomorrow.

One Star - Ian Snell. 6 IP, 11 Ks, 1 BB -- Enough said.

Two Stars - The Bullpen. Three scoreless innings for the win, hold and save.

Three Stars - Xavier Nady. A home run and the game winner. Mr. Nady is off to a good start.

...more tomorrow.

Pirates 3, Astros 2

Recap -- Box Score

Monday night, after the Pirates came back to beat the Astros in the season opener, Ryan Doumit said it best, in a post game interview.

"Dude, that was fun!"

Tuesday night, those words once again rang true. Behind Xavier Nady's second homerun in as many nights and another strong effort from the Pirates bullpen, the Bucs came from behind again to beat the Astros, 3-2, to start the season 2-0.

Ian Snell pitched six strong innings, allowing two runs, both earned, two hits, a walk and striking out 11. Snell was dominant at times, hitting 95 consistently on the gun and mixing in his deadly slider as an out pitch. Snell allowed a Jason Lane homerun and a bloop RBI single from Carlos Lee before giving way to the bullpen. The same bullpen that was air tight last night, locked it down again. Three innings, three hits, no runs and a Salomon Torres save.

Trailing 2-1 in the eighth, Ronny Paulino and Nady both drove in runs off reliever Dan Wheeler to the give the Pirates a 3-2 lead. It was the second straight blown lead for the Astros bullpen.

Nady and Jack Wilson each had two hits for the Bucs. The final game of the series is set for Wednesday in Houston. First pitch is at 8:05 p.m. Tom Gorzelanny goes against Woody Williams. The game will be televised by FSN-Pittsburgh.

Notes: Troubling News for Pirates Prospect Brad Lincoln. The Bucs top pick a year ago had Tommy John shoulder surgery today and will not pitch at all this season. He is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for 2008.

-Freddy Sanchez will workout with Indy on Wednesday and will play in the Indy game on Thursday before being eligible to come off the DL.

Scores around the NL Central:

-The Brewers won again, beating the Dodgers for the second straight game. Prince Fielder went deep for the Crew

-The Cards joined the Astros at 0-2 after dropping their second straight game to the Mets Tuesday night. El Duque held the Cards in check over seven strong innings

Game 1 Stars

So the first eight innings of last night's game were a complete snoozefest. Duke looked good, limiting the Astros, but still giving up quite a few hits. Oswalt dominated our lineup, as he has done so many times.

Thank God for Nate McLouth and recharging the offense in the 8th inning with a pinch-hit home run. That's what I call a nice way to begin the season.

I've always been a big fan of McLouth and I hope he gets more of shot this year. I really like what he brings to the table. So after cutting it to a 2-1 lead heading into the 9th inning, the Bucs are hanging on to one last chance. Xavier Nady up with 2 outs and Brad Lidge on the mound. Yes, the same shaky Lidge that ruined by NL Keeper League team last season. He can't possibly do it again this year. Could he?

And...he does. Xavier Nady launches a ball over the left field fence to tie the game. Capps holds the 'Stros down. Bay launches his own homer in the 10th to win it. Torres closes it out. Game. The Bucs are 1-0. Wow!

Anyways, I'm going to give out 1, 2 and 3 stars after wins and 1, 2 and 3 dogs after a loss. I'm going to keep track of it on the left side and see who finishes first and last at the end of the season.

One star: I can't give it to all hitters. So I'm splitting this one up. Nate McLouth gets a .5 star for showing up today. Duke gets a .5 star for holding the Astros down like he did.

Two stars: Xavier Nady gets two stars for notching the game up at 2 with a blast off of Lidge. Game doesn't continue without that.

Three stars: Obviously this goes to Jason Bay. A great way to start the year with a game winner. I was just about to give the middle of the order three dogs too. Way to go Bay.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Pirates 4, Astros 2 - Final/10 Innings

Recap -- Box Score
Yes, it was only the first game of the year. And of course, there are still 161 games left in the season. But for one of the more anticipated season openers in recent Pirates history, this one had all the makings.

The Pirates were able to put it all together, albeit late, but just in time to come from behind and beat the Astros Monday night. The Pirates got a solid start from Zach Duke, excellent bullpen work from multiple arms, two clutch homeruns to tie the game in the eighth and ninth innings, and the go-ahead bomb off the bat of Jason Bay in the 10th.

Zach Duke pitched seven strong innings, allowing two runs on a Luke Scott homer in the fifth. Duke walked only one and allowed eight hits, throwing 80 pitches. Jonah Bayliss, Damaso Marte, Matt Capps and Salomon Torres combined for three shutout innings, with Torres picking up his first save of the season.

Jack Wilson and Jose Bautista each had two hits to lead the Bucs. Nate McLouth hammered a pinch-hit homerun off Roy Oswalt in his only at-bat. Otherwise, Oswalt was spectacular, twirling seven and two-thirds innings, allowing five hits, the lone run and striking out three.

Game Two: Ian Snell (0-0) vs. Jason Jennings (0-0), Tuesday 8:05p.m. -FSN-Pittsburgh

NL Central Action:

-Ben Sheets struck fear into the hearts of hitters across the NL Central monday, throwing a complete game, allowing only two hits

-Carlos Zambrano struggled and Aaron Harang was in 2006 form as the Reds beat the Cubs

Paulino Bumps Nady out of 5th Spot

The Pirates lineup for tonight has been posted and besides Jason Bay batting third in place of the injured Freddy Sanchez, the only other change has Ronny Paulino hitting fifth and Xavier Nady hitting sixth. It was originally believed Nady would hit behind Adam LaRoche but Paulino's strong spring has propelled him into that spot.

Here is the official lineup:

1. Chris Duffy, CF
2. Jack Wilson, SS
3. Jason Bay, LF
4. Adam LaRoche, 1B
5. Ronny Paulino, C
6. Xavier Nady, RF
7. Jose Bautista, 3B
8. Jose Castillo, 2B
9. Zach Duke, P

Pirates @ Astros (Game 1)


Zach Duke (0-0, 0.00) -- Roy Oswalt (0-0, 0.00)

Game preview -- Astros scouting report -- Offense on Oswalt's mind -- Duke sets bar higher

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Opening Night: Pirates vs. Astros 7:05pm

The Pirates open their 2007 Season in Houston on Monday night. First pitch is set for 7:05pm with Zach Duke set to go against Roy Oswalt. The game will be televised on FSN-Pittsburgh.

Here is the Pirates projected opening day lineup:

CF Chris Duffy
SS Jack Wilson
LF Jason Bay
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Xavier Nady
C Ronny Paulino
3B Jose Bautista
2B Jose Castillo
SP Zach Duke

2006 Season of Roy Oswalt: 15-8, 2.98. 220.2 IP, 166 K

Here is the projected opening day lineup for the Astros:

2B Craig Biggio
CF Chris Burke
1B Lance Berkman
LF Carlos Lee
3B Morgan Ensberg
RF Luke Scott
SS Adam Everett
C Brad Ausmus
P Roy Oswalt

2006 Season of Zach Duke: 10-15, 4.47. 215.1 IP, 117 K.

Astros Notes:
-Luke Scott will start for the Astros on an everyday basis, with Jason Lane getting some time

-Carlos Lee leads the Astros Offense this season, an offense looking to improve on sub-par numbers in 2006

-This will be Roy Oswalt's fifth straight opening day start, putting him into a tie for first place all time in Astros History

-Eric Bruntlett missed the final cut, while Rick White made the bullpen