Thursday, May 31, 2007
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
Friday, May 25, 2007
- 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
Thursday, May 24, 2007
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
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
Sunday, May 20, 2007
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
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
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.
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
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
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 www.firejeffmanto.com 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
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...
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.
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
A very accurate picture of me as I left work today after the win...
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
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
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.
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
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
Even his Daddy...
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
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 www.firejeffmanto.com, i just need the time and money.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
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
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
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.
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.)