Remember Mrs. Arroyo’s comments earlier in the year after she took an old fashion butt whipping from the Pirates?
"I was embarrassed to be beaten by those guys. That’s not to say you can’t be beat on any given day, but I thought it was a horse (****) outing, especially against a team like that. I mean, they are one of the weakest teams in baseball. That’s just the way it is. If I gave up four runs in six innings to the Yankees, I probably wouldn’t be embarrassed, but I was. If I can’t stand on the mound and feel comfortable against that lineup, then something’s wrong with me."
I guess there is something wrong with her weak game as she lost yet again to ‘one of the weakest teams in baseball’.
I guess that makes Arroyo.. umm.. weaker, huh?
Bend over Arroyo..
The Buccos handed wimp sister Arroyo yet another "L" in her resume Saturday night and all it took was her to walk Doumit and Paulino to double him home in the second inning. That was the only run the Pirates needed to beat the punk – even though we scored a couple more off her.
Tip your hat to Marty McLeary, as his 10 years in minor league baseball finally paid off with a 5-hit shutout over a pretty much "B" Reds lineup in a rain soaked game. The Reds never managed to get a runner past 2B on him. It got so bad for the Reds that even David Ross was bunting to try and get on base. LoL
Freddy Sanchez went 0-4 and Cabrera went 1-4 so the NL batting title is still very much in his hands as we expected.
– Tidbits –
The Pirates today named Tom Gorzelanny their Minor League Pitcher-of-the-Year and outfielder Andrew McCutchen their Minor League Player-of-the-Year for the 2006 season. This follows on the heels of Baseball America’s ranking of McCutchen as the consensus #1 South American League Top Prospect. It is rare to have a consensus #1 pick so McCutchen ran away with the honor.
Jim Callis at BA had this to say about McCutchen in his September 27th chat at ESPN:
Nomah (Richmond, VA.): Hey Jim, Andrew McCutchen didn’t seem to skip a beat after the Pirates jumped him to Double-A. Could he arrive in Pittsburgh sometime next season?
Jim Callis: He could. He sometimes gets lost in the crowd of talented outfielders from the first round of the 2005 draft, but McCutchen is one of the game’s best prospects and has more power than fans may realize.
Unfortunately for Pirate fans, Littlefield didn’t allow Cutch any polishing time this winter as he isn’t headed to the AFL or Hawaii. Ughh..
Only one Pirate prospect made Baseball America’s 2006 Minor League All-Star rankings – Brent Lillibridge at Hickory.
With Saturday night’s win the Buccos are guaranteed at least a .500 winning percentage in the second half of the year for the first time since 1992. They will also end up 15-11 in Saturday night games (26-26 in Friday and Saturday night games combined).
A few notable facts regarding Freddy winning the NL batting crown..
– the last time a Pirate won a batting title was in 1983 when Bill Madlock did it after winning it in 1981 as well. The last Pirate before Madlock to win it was in 1978 when Dave Parker won it.
Ironically, four of the years the Pirates had a batting champion were either the year of, or a year after, when there were no Atlantic hurricane landfalls on US soil (2006, 1983, 1981, and 1978).
The years no Atlantic hurricains hit US soil were 2006 (so far), 1994, 1990, 1982, 1982, and 1978.
1994, of course, was the strike infected year. In 1990, the Pirates led the NL in defensive efficiency, Bonds was the MVP, Drabek won the Cy Young, and Leyland was manager of the year.
Taking this same stuff one step further, every year the Pirates made the division playoffs since Parker’s batting title in 1978, it was either the year of, or the year after, no Atlantic hurricanes made landfall on US soil (1990 and 1979 — the 1974 division title was after a 1973 no cain year – the last one before 1978).
So, if you believe in baseball Gods, 2007 should be a playoff year if no Atlantic hurricanes make landfall the rest of the year on US soil.
I’ll leave you tonight with one other Jim Callis comment from his ESPN chat:
Pat WI: Jim: a couple weeks ago you said the Brewers will contend in 2007. I love the Brewers but I just don’t see it. Part is that I consider their outfield to be weak.
Jim Callis: I continue to lead the "Brewers in 2007" bandwagon that I jumped on a few years ago. They have some holes, but that whole division is weak and winnable.
Hmm.. no hurricanes landing.. Callis says the division is weak.. ahhh.. winter is upon us when we can hope like no other time in the year until we realize..
Ogden Nutting is in control and Dave Littlefield is his yes man.
Oh.. and I put Z E R O stock in the PG’s article that McClatchy might be back next year. If he is, I will be more shocked than anyone. I tend to believe his post-season announcement will be generic because he has no plans to leave the CBA talks. We won’t know until after February when the partnership agreement ends what Kevin will really do. He might stay until June then leave.. but he’ll be gone next year from everything we are hearing.
Bucco Blog is reporting that Freddy Sanchez has clinched the National League Batting Title with his 2-4 Friday night performance coupled with Cabrera going 1-3. While Cabrera is not theoretically eliminated yet, the mathematical probability of Freddy not winning it now is statistically insignificant, especially with Freddy’s career numbers against Arroyo and Belisle.
Congratulations to Freddy Sanchez for his wonderful accomplishment.
Zach Duke had a nice year too but left Friday night’s game on a bit of a sour note as Tracy decided 108 pitches was enough despite two outs in the inning and Duke due up second.
Duke allowed 12 hits and 4 earned runs, including a two-run homer by Aurilla. Although Duke didn’t look sharp, he was able to keep the game close by getting out of a couple of jams with a little bit of luck. Bautista threw out Castro at the plate to end the 4th and Duke picked off Hopper in the 3rd.
Harang pitched a good game as he always does against the Pirates, striking out 9 and allowing 8 scattered hits and 2 earned runs.
The Pirates offense has simply gone to sleep the last week to ten days. Part of it I understand as some players are deservedly tired, like Paulino. The other part is that most of the roster is full of rookies that are traveling for their first full year and playing an extra month of baseball. That’s not easy when your body is conditioned differently.
So hopefully this all means we will come into camp in February in better condition for 2007. I suspect we will.
– Tidbits –
I don’t understand why the Pirates didn’t move Walker to AA earlier than August 31 and allow Andrew McCutchen a chance to play in the AFL. And I further don’t understand why Nyjer Morgan is going to play in Hawaii and Cutch isn’t.
The Hawaii League is specifically designed for mid to high A ball players that aren’t ready for the polishing the AFL provides. So why isn’t McCutchen getting a chance to play?
I have to believe there is more to this story than we know. Are there other plans for McCutchen this winter? He remains playing in the Florida Instructional League, however. Go figure.
The Pirates 2007 tentative schedule is now up.
The first 12 batters Gorzelanny saw he shut down in order. Only 3 of the 12 even managed to get the ball out of the infield. 54 pitches and perfect. 35 pitches later Gorzy had allowed three singles, hit a batter, walked two, and the Astros had three runs on the board. That was the 5th inning. Gorzy needed just 25 more pitches to shut the Astros down in the 6th and 7th.
All in all, Gorzelanny had a three-hitter, allowed three runs, walked three, and struck out two. A very fine performance for as long as he was on the sideline.
Unfortunately, Oswalt was better. 7 innings of work, four scattered hits, and no runs. The Pirates have only beaten Oswalt once in his last 8 starts against us now. We had our chances but Nady, for the second game in a row, choked two times with men in scoring position with 2 outs.. Doumit once. Combined, Sanchez, Nady, and Doumit left 10 individual runners on base which was the team’s total. Wilson and Bay went 5-6 but were left stranded all day.
The Pirates have now lost 9 games since September 9th despite holding the opposition to 4 runs or less in 5 of the 9 losses. In the 4 games where the opposition scored more than 4, one game was started by a "B" starter (Youman), Chacon and Snell each started one, and Gorzy’s last outing after coming off the DL. That’s not too shabby by any means – despite the losses.
Home plate ump Paul Schrieber must love the Astros because they have won every single game except one when he starts behind the plate since September 2001. How do the Pirates fare with Schrieber? We have won only one since 2000 when he calls balls and strikes. It’s all a coincidence, of course, but a solid one.
Well the Reds come into Pittsburgh having lost 13 of their last 17 games on the road, not counting Thursday’s game. The Pirates are 7-2 in Duke’s last 9 games at PNC and he has a 1.31 ERA last 3. Harang is pitching very well too sporting a 3.05 ERA on the road this year and a 3.51 ERA in night games.
But the tale of the tape is that the Reds are batting just .241 last 10 and below the Mendoza line vs. southpaws. With Freel and Griffey out, the Reds are just not the same team.
Time for a sweep. Along the way, we need to teach punk Arroyo a lesson Saturday night for running his mouth earlier in the year. A 10 spot in the first would do it..
This was a game I started watching and I had to leave after the first 4 innings as my son was ill. I came back just in time to see Bayliss issue a walk to the lead-off batter in the 15th and I pretty much felt the game was over at that point. A couple of batters later, Ausmus hit a sac fly to bring home Biggio and the Astros won yet again.
Has Chacon’s team ever won with him starting against the Astros? Ever?
How about Nady and Bautista’s combined night? 2-13 with 10 individual men left on base. Yikes. That sure is a lot of no clutch at bats.
Kudos to the Pirates pen for holding down the fort. They pitched about 9 innings and allowed just a few hits and two earned runs (plus the inherited runner Sharpless allowed to score).
Torres took the knock for a blown save but he got the groundballs he wanted. Taveras simply beat out the throw and Scott’s single was a seeing eye grounder up the middle. Hard to blame Torres for that type of outcome.
Instead, I look at one play as the difference maker in this game.. a little fly ball by Everett hit to Bay at medium range depth in left and Bay didn’t charge the ball to get a good throw off, and Huff scored easily from 3B. To me that was an advancing runner that our left fielder should be able to make routine plays at home on. Bay rarely – if ever – is able to throw anyone out on that and it has cost us more than a few games this year. Those are the types of allowed runs we need to reduce in 2007 to have any chance at all.
Now don’t get me wrong – if Sharpless hadn’t thrown the wild pitch and Paulino had done a better job blocking the ball, Huff might still have been at 2B anyway. So there were several failure points during the Everett at bat.. not just Bay’s. And, if Chacon hadn’t hit Huff to begin with..
– Tidbits –
The org shut down Ian Snell due to ‘forearm numbness’. Any kind of numbness in the arm is a red flag so we hope Ian is ok. Unofficially, we have heard that it is tightness in the right elbow that has Snell shut down.
Nady doesn’t have a walk off winning hit in his career yet. He certainly had his chance in the 11th with the bases loaded but grounded out meekly to 3B.
Did anyone else see Wheeler’s Ape Man imitation on the mound when Garner went to the mound to tell him to intentionally walk Sanchez and Bay? He pounded his chest and said something like I can get him.. I can get him.
The Cardinals are on the verge of breaking the 1934 New York Giants and 1938 Pittsburgh Pirates shared record for the largest division lead in September that failed to win.
Nice to see Phil Garner investing some more bucks in the Pittsburgh area — a second downtown Marriott. This time a Residence Inn planning to open in 2008.
The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Dusty Baker will be fired after Sunday’s last game for the Cubs.
The Pirates have lost the first two Florida Instructional League games Monday and Tuesday.. 4-1 and 6-5, from what I was told today. The Pirates played the Phillies Wednesday, the Rays Thursday (1:00) and Saturday (10:00) in St. Petersburg, and Friday travel to Tampa to play the Yankees (1:00).
For some reason, trying to get a roster and schedule from the Pirates is like asking Bush to open the doors to Fort Knox. I have been told that Burnett and Vogelsong are not on the roster, which is no surprise, that Lincoln, JVB, and Bullington are all still rehabbing, and that the Altoona boys are now with the team.
BTW, I have had a lot of hits on the website lately from one area in Japan so I wonder if someone is scouting Vogelsong? Good luck to Ry as he is a great guy.
Oh Freddy.. just one more 3 for 4 or a couple of 2 for 4 games. Almost, but not quite..
Same old Ian Snell – through 4 innings and 75 pitches he was gold giving up just 4 hits and 1 earned run. From the 76th pitch on, his world collapsed.. one walk and three singles later, he allowed another two runs and was done for the night.
I swear, the more I see Ian Snell, the more I realize he is an 80 pitch pitcher. I know, you have heard that from me before.. few buy into it. It has to be a coincidence they say. But consider this – he has lost at least 4 games now starting an inning +/- 5 pitches from the 80 pitch mark and given up a ton of runs that inning. It’s not a fluke and it doesn’t happen every outing.. but almost.
In the first inning the Pirates played poor defense and allowed three runs to cross the plate that shouldn’t have scored. With one out, Snell walked Lamb and Berkman hit a perfect double play ball to Nady who hit Lamb running to 2B with his relay throw to Jack. The ball bounced off Lamb, scattered into short left field, and Lamb took 3B. The inning should have been over.. but it wasn’t. Two more singles and a little ground ball later, the Astros had three runs.
One error.. one miscue.. that was all it took for the Pirates to be out of this game.
Ironically, the Pirates tied the game in the second with a Bay solo home run and a Bautista 2 run shot after Paulino doubled. Those three runs we scored should have been enough to keep the game close..
.. if we just had some defense behind our pitching.
Snell gave up another run in the 3rd when Lamb led off with a single, took 2B on Berkman’s grounder to Nady, took 3B on a passed ball by Paulino (it was called a wild pitch but it went right between his legs which is a passed ball in my book any day of the week whether it bounced or not), and then scored on a 0-1 heater down and away to Biggio for a single with Snell’s defense playing him to pull.
Biggio, of course, poked it through a huge gapping hole between Castillo, who was playing 10 steps off 2B, and Nady, who was holding on Huff that Tracy wanted intentionally walked for some stupid reason. (Memo to Tracy: STOP THE INTENTIONAL WALKS FOR GOD SAKES)
The Pirates had a chance to tie the game twice but Nady choked both times.. once with Sanchez at 3B and once with Sanchez at 2B.
In the 7th, even Tracy got sick and tired of Nady and pulled him out of the game in favor of Ryan Doumit when the bases were loaded and there were two outs. That move told me more about how Jim Tracy feels about Xavier Nady than any other move I have seen to date.
I mean, why in the world would any manager take out the second best power bat in the dugout with the bases loaded in favor of a free swinging strike out machine (28% K’s) especially when the power hitter is supposedly scratched into the team’s plans for 2007 as a regular and the strike out machine isn’t? On top of that, Nady has a .347 BA/BiP to Doumit’s .258, and Nady has the team’s 3rd highest batting average with men in scoring position on the team.
Because Tracy is finally getting fed up with no-defense Nady perhaps? Just like he is about fed up with no-defense Doumit, mild-defense Castillo, no game Madonado, and some of the rest of the cast and crew we have wearing Pirates jerseys that are straight one-dimensional baseball players and will never take this team to the next level?
If he isn’t, he should be.
Ok.. so back to last night’s game. Well, with the Pirates now down 6-3 after the 5th and nobody contributing clutch offensively since the 3rd except Freddy Sanchez, Tracy decides it is time to start running out his "B" relievers and they give up another run and five hits over the last 4 frames.
Then, to add insult to injury, after Freddy doubled in the 9th to score Jack, Tracy pulled out Mr Clutch – Jeromy Burnitz – who grounded out meekly to end the game.
I should mention that Marte left the game with what appeared to be a lower back problem. Perhaps he is hurt – I’ll give him the benefit of doubt. But the more I looked at the video, the more I wonder if he really is. I won’t go any further with this right now and will wait to see how things develop.
– Tidbits –
Freddy had a great night going 4 for 5 but didn’t score one run. How sad is that? And, no, I *still* won’t talk about THAT.. it’s bad luck.
Anybody see Dejan’s chat transcript yesterday? Check out this little nugget:
"Question: Who are the definite arms for the bullpen next year, Gonzo, Torres, Grabow and Capps?
Dejan Kovacevic: I think you will be able to throw Josh Sharpless into that group, too, which leaves you still needing two. Of the rest of the current guys, Jonah Bayliss has the best chance to stick, though he will need to show improved command in the spring."
Oh my God. If we have a bullpen with Sharpless and Bayliss, we are in deep trouble folks. Please Littlefield.. let these kids continue their development in the *farm* and get some quality arms. Note for the record, Sharpless is probably the better of the two and he could have a future as a pen guy but he isn’t ready yet in my opinion and we need a lot more depth than two rookies.
A few folks have asked me my thoughts about Baseball America not having any Pirates in the best of the GCL and NYP Leagues. I don’t put much stock in BA’s list in the lower farm systems – they are about as useless as spring training or September stats. AA and up means something to me and I think we’ll see a few Pirates listed.
Has Chacon’s team won a game that he started against the Astros? Ever? Oh my..
I have mentioned a million times in my blog that Littlefield should have traded for Carl Crawford. The NY Post reported yesterday that the Rays might shop him for a top of the order starter this winter. For the Pirates, that means we would have to give up Duke and then some.. probably Grabow or Gonzo to boot.
If the Rays would take a Duke for Crawford deal straight up, I’d pull the string. I’d even pull the string if Grabow was attached.
But I doubt seriously the Rays would do that deal as the Angels had reportedly offered Santana at one point and the Rays shot that down. But the more I thought about Crawford and the Rays position as a small market team, they need a southpaw more than they need a right handed pitcher because the division they are in doesn’t hit southpaws as well. Plus, Duke keeps the ball in the park and Santana doesn’t and Duke’s mechanics will keep him off the DL where Santana is a walking DL case with his. It could be a good trade. Crawford will bring to the table true leadoff speed and abilities and he plays a very good left field, which means we could move Bay to RF and pray Duffy finds a bat at his home this winter. Not only would Crawford add a little bit to the runs scored, he would also reduce runs allowed with his defense over Bay.. significantly reduce runs allowed. He has a weaker arm like Bay (but better than Bay’s) but he can flat run down some balls in play. He makes Duffy look like a Bay in the outfield, he is that good running routes. I think I would pull the string if I am Littlefield and risk Duke for Crawford even if I had to give up Gonzo in the package. I would instead try to push Snell and Gonzo but settle for Duke if the Rays wouldn’t bite. The impact Crawford brings to the table costing $7m per year on average over 4 years would be well worth the price of 45+ wins over 4 from Duke. Then I would try and sign Giles to play RF and move Bay to 1B. hehehe
Oh well – forget all that. A credible source told me it would probably take two or three Dukes for the Pirates to get in the Crawford game *if* a Duke-type of arm was even attractive to the Rays. It seems Duke is viewed in the industry as a backend of the rotation guy at best and Crawford one of the games elite young players. There is no matchup with the Rays to get this deal done I’m told.
Kudos to Jason Kendall and the A’s for making it to the playoffs. As much as Kendall is a sore spot in the clubhouse, he is a great guy and it’s nice to see he finally made it to October.
Do we, or don’t we – that is the $15 million dollar question.
On one hand, there would be nothing more satisfying for Pirates fans than to watch Tony LaRussa head home instead of to post-season play. Aaaaaammeeennn brother!
On the other hand, there is Snell’s desire for his 15th win, but he has two starts left.
So.. do the Pirates play possum like they did in San Diego knowing full good and well the Brewers won’t be able to stop the Cardinals the last 4 games of the year, or do we play hard knowing the Astros have taken 9 of 12 against us this year and it is about time we show them who is boss?
Remember now, Gardner is an ex-Pirate..
.. but that may not even matter.
The Astros are throwing Pettitte, Hirsch, and Oswalt at us so they aren’t holding anything back. We are throwing Snell, Chacon, and Gorzelanny against them – respectively.
As for Tuesday night’s game, unfortunately Snell is his own worst enemy at PNC Park where he commands an ERA of 5.51, where 55% of his home runs allowed have been hit, and where he allows the opponents a .353 on base average. Considering Snell has also allowed 10 home runs in his last 34 innings and 7 home runs in his last 24 innings, I would say his work is cut out for him.
On the flip side, the Astros have only lost one game when Pettitte starts against the Bucs and that loss was all the way back in April of 2005. The Astros have already beaten the Pirates in Pittsburgh this year with him on the mound.
However I think the series will boil down to this stat: the Astros are hitting right hand pitching to the tune of .292/.344/.503 the last 10 days and we are sending out two righties against them. The Pirates are hitting southpaws at a .270/.372/.378 clip last 10 (notice the lack of slugging) and are only hitting righties to the tune of .228/.281/.325 with 9+ K’s per 9, and we will face a predominant right hand relief corps and two righty starters.
As for Wednesday and Thursday’s games well, you know I mentioned the other day Gorzy should have stayed on the pine instead of making his last start and I think this is another start he will wish he stayed on the DL. As for Chacon, who knows with him – he is a Josh Fogg clone. One day he’ll shock you, the next outing he’ll give the game away. I expect Chacon will have a tough time with the Astros, but I expected that his last time out too.
Anybody can win any day, of course, but it looks to me like Tracy has the rotation stacked in the Astros favor. I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if we see some of our "A" players on the pine a couple of the games. Nor would I be surprised if Tracy pulls out our "B" relievers to face them often. Throw in a rusty Gorzy and, perhaps a rusty Gonzo if he makes an appearance, and well, things don’t look good.
In other words, it sure looks to me like the Astros are clear favorites to take at least 2 and possibly 3 of the games. The one I think we have the best shot at is Tuesday.. and I’m not holding my breath on that one the way Snell has been hammered lately. Instead, I’m counting on the Astros to come into that game dead tired.
But the key to a solid baseball team is its resiliency to bounce back on its own turf after being mauled by another team. And mauled we were. Considering we made 19 errors and miscues in the last 3 game set, this entire series could come down to one simple fact: which team makes the fewest errors and miscues. If the Pirates play solid D behind their pitchers, we just might walk away with a win or two.
Which would be nice.
I thought today would be a good day to catch up on BS stuff around the web related to the Pirates:
– Ghost Dog encountered some Pirate fans in Oregon recently (kewl photo dude);
– this white trash dude (so he calls himself) hopes the Pirates do better;
– a New Pirates Generation says Duffy, Wilson, Castillo, Bayliss, Castillo, Chacon, Doumit, and McLouth are among players seen as possible trade bait this winter and thinks Eric Byrnes would be a good fit in Pittsburgh in 2007;
– Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke surmises the Pirates might actually be Phillies fans and that is why they have been winning;
– Brownie wonders if he should join the Air Force Reserve (click his poll at his site) and wonders further who is masquerading around in Pirates uniforms these days;
– Tunesmith & Anthony on KDKA’s Sonni Abatta. Trenni who?
– Did you *have* to wear it John?
– Tidbits –
We heard the first Kevin McClatchy is going to sell and run like **** out of Pittsburgh rumor today. The rumor goes on to say he will announce by November 1st that he has sold his shares to Robert Nutting. I’m sure there will be 100 million more rumors so stay tuned.
Now that the Florida Instructional League is starting to get a bit more serious with the Altoona boys showing up, I’ll trek down there and field some reports this week. I still hear Bullington and JVB aren’t close and that Lincoln could throw a few innings later this week. We’ll see.
Trevor Hoffman, known for his entrance song of AC/DC’s ****’s Bells, passed Lee Smith to become baseball’s career saves leader with 479 saves today as the Padres beat the Pirates 2-1. Kudos to Hoffman for his accomplishment.
Jim Tracy featured a mixed A/B lineup card for the last game in the series by sitting Freddy Sanchez with a mild wrist irritation, letting Carlos Maldonado catch the day game after a night game, and sending Marty McLeary to the mound for the 32 year old to make his MLB starting debut.
McLeary did a good job pitching 5 solid innings and allowing just 4 hits and 1 run – a 4th inning solo shot home run by Russell Branyan. Juan Perez, who started the 6th inning, gave up a lead off home run to Bard and then hit Branyan in the hand and he had to leave the game with Perez walking the plank with him.
Offensively we had chances but Bay and Maldonado both left runners in scoring position. From what I have seen of Maldonado he is an acceptable defensive receiver with zero bat and I can’t imagine Dave Littlefield playing him over Cota in 2007. Perhaps Doumit will be the backup catcher but I would really hate to see Cota released, as hard as it is to find defensive receivers.
Defensively we had a few more miscues and blunders like Doumit getting picked off and Maldonado with a throwing error on Robert’s stolen base. But they didn’t cost us a run.
It was a good game overall considering the product we put on the field against the hottest team in baseball.
– Tidbits –
What do ex-Pirates Abraham Nunez, Randall Simon, Jose Hernandez, Arthur Rhodes, and Rick White all have in common? They represent 1/8th of the Phillies 40-man that currently holds a 1/2 game wild card lead over the Dodgers after the Pirates knocked them out of 1st place. God forbid the Phillies make it to post-season play with Randall Simon. My-oh-my.
General stats from the 6-game road series:
– Pirates "A" pitchers (including Gorzelanny) had a 3.00 ERA in 4 starts and 24 innings of work; their opposition had a 3.47 ERA in 36 innings
– Pirates committed 19 errors, base running blunders, or other general miscues
– Pirates averaged 3.67 runs per game and gave up 4.17 runs
I have had a lot of email asking me if I thought the Pirates intentionally gave up the last 3 games against the Padres. Jim Tracy sat Bay with his stomach problem one game, Sanchez had a wrist injury that sat him another game, Paulino sat today with a day off Monday, and Tracy kept running "B" relievers out the whole series.
I won’t go as far as saying that Tracy would breach the integrity of the game, but I’m sure the young Pirates, who are subject to Tracy making out the lineup card in 2007, bent a bit right along with Tracy. But hey, can you blame the players or Tracy? The Dodgers are the NLWD equivalent of the Cardinals in the NLCD. It is kind of like wanting to see the Red Sox win against the Yankees.
The arrow shows the difference in this game.. a few inches.. a foot perhaps. No matter the distance, that missed fly ball by Bautista was the difference to the game as Giles came from 1B to score on the play.
Was it catchable? I think so. Bautista kept looking at the wall instead of measuring the ball in the air and when he got to the wall to make the catch, he was out of position as you can see in the photo. Bautista had only played a handful of games in left so it is hard to fault him entirely. But, he misplayed it all the same.
But don’t get me wrong — Bay would never have made the catch anyway so it is a moot point.
Duke pitched a masterful game early and then started running out of gas in the 5th and the Padres sensed it. After striking out Peavy, Duke got Barfield to bounce a grounder to Freddy who had it go off the heel of his glove, pop right back into the webbing, and he made an offline throw to 1B forcing Doumit to tag Barfield for the second out.
Giles then singled and Cameron hit the fly ball to Bautista that he didn’t catch. Since there were 2 outs in the inning, Giles was off and running with contact and easily scored. Had there been less than 2 outs, Giles would have been stranded at 3B, all things being equal. Tough luck for Duke.
In the 6th, Duke got Gonzalez to fly out and then he walked Johnson on 4 pitches. Walker hit a perfect DP grounder to Jose, who made a nice turn to Jack, but Jack air mailed the relay into the Padres dugout.
In the 7th, Duke tried to run a hook middle-in to Barfield on a 2-2 count and Barfield went yard. Giles grounded out, Duke walked his fifth batter in Cameron (the 5th of the night and the most walks by Duke since May 19), and Tracy had seen enough pulling Duke at the 96 pitch count.
Marte, Grabow, and Capps combined the rest of the way to shut down the Padres but it was too late at that point.
Offensively we had a ton of opportunities early but Sanchez showed he is only human and grounded into a double play to end one threat we had going and, in the 8th, Jack and Freddy both choked with Duffy at 2B and only 1 out.
Sometimes the bounces go your way, sometimes they don’t. Last night they didn’t and Duke ended up with his 10th consecutive road loss despite pitching a 6 hitter and allowing just 2 runs. Duke hasn’t won on the road now since May 2.
Defensively, other than the missed fly ball by Bautista and Jack’s poor relay throw on the double play ball, only Doumit added another error when Grabow picked off Cameron and Doumit made a bad throw to Jack at 2B to nail him. It figures that the only play Doumit was involved in, other than receiving balls hit to other infielders, he created an error. Luckily none of the errors, other than the fly ball Bautista’s way, cost us a run.
Duffy made a highlight catch of Giles liner that was tailing away from Chris in the 3rd. He robbed Giles of an easy double.
– Tidbits –
I guess Bay was given the night off. He certainly deserved it.
Castillo was given a gift hit to break his 0-23 slump in the 2cd inning. He hit a typical mild grounder to Barfield that he bobbled, it went off his glove, he picked up and still almost threw Castillo out, but he was called safe. The official scorer was on drugs I guess as he gave Castillo a hit – but it was anything but a hit.
McLeary goes against Hensley in the series final tomorrow.. a 4:00 start. Since the home plate ump will be Paul Emmel who does not believe in Pirate wins (last time we won a game with him behind the plate was in 2003 – 8 straight losses since), I suppose it might be a good day to head to the beach with the family.
Dave Littlefield has made some serious blunders in talent evaluation as GM of the Pirates and the Matt Herges for Chris Young trade was one of those. We saw June 4th this year and we saw last night why – Chris Young has some talent.
Littlefield’s objection with Young at the time was that he couldn’t throw higher than 91 mph and he was slow to develop his off speed stuff. Littlefield also felt the way to compete was with a solid bullpen and was determined Herges could help. The bullpen belief has always been Littlefield’s MO and he continues that belief even today. But fewer and fewer believe him anymore after letting players like Young and Oliver Perez get away.
As we head toward the 2007 year, David Littlefield has proclaimed he wanted to find a right handed power pitcher to supplement the starting rotation. Had he kept Young, who is currently being paid $500k, he would have had his man.
Matt Herges? He was released by Littlefield before he threw one pitch for the Pirates, which made Littlefield look even worse.
The Pirates went into the Padres series knowing full good and well that Jim Tracy did not want to win any of the games. I’m sure he never said that to the players but they all know he does not want the Dodgers in post-season play if he has anything to do with it.
Last night the Pirates didn’t have to worry about that too much as Gorzalanny took the mound as a rust bucket and Chris Young made Pirate batters look like little leaguers much like he did June 4th when he pitched 8 innings and gave up just 2 hits in his shutout.
For some reason the Pirates game plan in both games against Young was to go out and hack away at Young early in the count, something we rarely do as a team. Thru 8 innings last night, the Pirates averaged seeing just 3.4 pitches per at bat and they produced absolutely nothing for their effort. In the 9th, the averaged 5 pitches per at bat – about normal – and they ended up with two walks and a home run.
Considering Young’s BB/9 rate is well over MLB league average at 3.53, and his HR/9 is way above league average at 1.48, you would think Tracy and his coaching staff would have learned a lesson from the June 4th game — to sit back and wait for their pitch. But I guess they didn’t.
Tip your hat to Chris Young though – he took advantage of our poor game plan and pitched a great game. We hit him hard at times but Petco is not known to be a home run park so our fly balls landed harmlessly around the outfield.
And tip your hat to Joe Randa for breaking up the no-hitter with a two run home run. At least somebody used a common sense approach at the plate.
Our defense puked. Gorzy made two errors, Doumit made an error, Jack threw a throw wide of 1B, Bautista had one go off his glove, and the #1 ridiculous play of the night was Duffy and Bautista combining to misplay a Piazza fly ball off the center field wall allowing Piazza only his 7th career triple, as slow as he is.
Nady decided to stand pat in right field and watch the play and not back Duffy up, so when the ball hit the wall and shot past Duffy, he had to run almost half the way to where Bautista was standing to field it and throw it in. Talk about a mental lapse that should gain someone some pine time. Whoa.
And Doumit makes Brad Eldred look like a Gold Glover at 1B.. he is beyond horrid. Why Tracy keeps running him out there is beyond me because the kid will never, ever be even a below average first baseman.. he will always be extremely poor. Probably because he hates being there.
And God Bless Jim Tracy for continuing to play guys like Brian Rogers and Juan Perez who have absolutely no business being on the expanded roster yet. Maybe.. maybe.. one day, but that one day is years away. Perhaps Littlefield has a Rule 5/roster problem developing in the winter and he needs to figure out who he wants to keep?
Gorzy should have taken the hint of the organization to shut down for the year. He was not impressive at all and he almost hurt himself on one delivery when his plant foot got caught on the rubber. Then Mike Cameron hit a ball up the middle that went off his leg just above his left ankle. Throw in a poor outing and two errors and, well, Gorzy should have stayed home. I hope Gonzalez stays shut down.
I don’t expect to see much from this team until we get back to Pittsburgh. There is no desire to win any of the Padres games. 2-6 is what I wanted to see on the road these two series and it looks like I might be close.
– Tidbits –
Here is a nice article on Sweat Free Communities U.S.A continuing efforts to get the Pirates to stop buying uniforms made from sweatshop suppliers: http://www.triplepundit.com/pages/from-parks-and-rec-in-europe-t-002264.php
Next week’s week long Pirates fan appreciation party schedule has been posted at: http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20060922&content_id=1676347&vkey=pr_pit&fext=.jsp&c_id=pit
The Pirates are cutting ties with Williamsport: http://www.wnep.com/Global/story.asp?S=5446857