Tom Gorzelanny pitched a solid game to pick up his 8th win of the year against the Washington Nationals who managed just five hits and two runs off him.
The win guarantees the Pirates their first yearly series win against the Nats/Expos since 2000, and their second series win in a row. The Pirates are now 16-18 (.471) in their last 34 games.
The Nats scored a run in the first with a Zimmerman double and a Young single scoring him, and Belliard hit a solo shot home run leading off the sixth. Masumi Kuwata pitched 1.2 innings in relief of Gorzelanny and shut the door with a double play in the 8th on one pitch and not allowing a hit in the 9th.
The Pirates offense exploded in the 2cd when Nady singled, Doumit doubled, Paulino walked, Wilson hit a two rbi single, McLouth was intentionally walked, Sanchez singled home two more, and LaRoche cleared the based scoring two more with a right centerfield gap shot that went for a double. Six runs scored overall as Bergmann labored throwing 45 pitches in the inning.
LaRoche added another run when he crushed a Schroder pitch into the right centerfield stands with nobody on in the 5th.
Duke is said to have inflammation in his left elbow and is not expected to make his Tuesday start against the Brewers. That’s perfectly ok with Pirate fans who have watched him get hammered by the Brewers this year (8.00 ERA, 2.11 WHIP).
Now the question becomes, who makes the start? You have to assume it will be a right hand pitcher since the Brewers have been choking on them, so I have to believe it will be either Wasdin (God forbid), or Chacon going no more than 60 – 70 pitches.
I suspect we’ll probably see Duke eventually put on the DL Burnett finally brought up. Just a guess since the Pirates promoted Bouknight to Indy today as well. The Pirates are seemingly planning to promote an Indy starter – the question is who.
Bullington’s arm isn’t anywhere near ready to be brought up yet even though he is pitching better than Burnett, so look for Burnett if his arm is healthy enough. This move the Pirates make will define what they plan to do with Burnett.
Coming into Saturday night’s game, the Pirates cleanup position is batting a woeful .224.
Jim Tracy had an interview with a Washington radio station where he said he was very pleased where the team was right now because they have won 8 games more than they did at this time in 2006. He felt that if the team played .514 baseball in the second half this year like last year, they very well could be in the division race.
I’m not so sure I buy that, but ok. Let’s see how we handle the Brewers and Cubs next week on our own turf first.
I tip my hat to FSN for talking about the protest during the broadcast. Not only did they show the fans in the seats before and after the third inning, they were also pretty fair about how many left at the end of the inning (hundreds to perhaps a thousand or more).
One thousand walking out of twenty-seven thousand in the stands is 4% which is not a strong showing by any means. Even if 5,000 had walked away from their seats, I’m afraid the message would still have been weak. The ownership group knows 99.9% of the fans are not happy – make no mistake about that. And I still say if you aren’t happy with their product, don’t buy it.
But walkouts don’t work.
I also have a lot of new found respect for Bob Nutting who ventured down to his home plate seat during the start of the third inning to be visibly present during the walkout. That took guts – I’ll hand that to him.
Just don’t give the fans anymore cheesy statements Bob like ‘we all want to win.’ You know it’s time to put a few dollars where your mouth is, whether it’s in scouting, coaching and development like rovers, or free agent acquisitions to field a reasonably competitive product.
Not only did very few people leave their seats and walkout at the end of the third, but the fans still in their seats boo’d those who did walk.
As if to tease the angry fans, Bob Nutting wore his own yellow t-shirt which was the symbol of the irate fans in 2006.
Ironically, there were still many fans with green t-shirts still in their seats when the 4th inning began. And even more ironic was the fact the fans still in their seats started clapping loudly as the inning began obviously showing their support for the players.
But the angry fans did get their message out, albeit weakly.
In Pittsburgh, trinkets and fireworks rule.
The score? Nutting 2 – Fans 0
(the irate fans protest in 2006 was a dud too)
Chris Duffy was indeed put on the DL today even though his X-ray was negative and an MRI revealed no ligament damage. This is not good.
Then the Pirates brought up Matt Kata from AAA of all people and designated for assignment Marty McLeary for God’s sakes.
Obviously the front office is unraveling to allow McLeary to be exposed to the wire over the likes of Morgan, Wasdin, Armas, or Rogers. Heck, next thing we’ll probably see is dope smokin Corey brought up and Bayliss put on the wire.
I just don’t get it.
One of the media’s more outspoken critics about the Pirates planned protest has been KDKA radio’s Fred Honsberger. He’s got green walkout t-shirts at his website, songs of protest, and he’s been joined by KDKA TV Sports Anchor, John Steigerwald, blasting the Pirates.
But get this – KDKA seems to be owned by CBS:
Plus, KDKA-TV seems to be also owned by CBS.
What we are seeing is two media giants in Pittsburgh (KDKA Radio and KDKA-TV) being very loud about the walkout and both are seemingly a part of the CBS family which is a partner in the Pirates current ownership group.
So why would CBS allow that?
Are the fans being duped?
You know – hey, be mad Pirates fans. Bring your family, buy tickets, and then walkout after the Pirates cash registers have already rung their bell – over, and over, and over. Let’s do this several times this year – and next year too.
What’s up with that?
Maybe the Pirates learned a lesson from last year’s angry crowd when they saw t-shirts flying off the shelf in protest? So why not push the angry fans toward the ticket booth instead of watching them go to someone else’s t-shirt stand?
After all, with ticket sales down this year, what better way is there to boost sales than to use the power of fan disorientation to get people in the stadium that normally wouldn’t show up because they are angry?
Ok.. I hear you – it’s a long shot at best that the Pirates were smart enough to conceive this sort of plan.
Yet, we’re talking about the same group that was able to pull off funding a new stadium in Pittsburgh after the taxpayers said no, were able to convince the City of Pittsburgh to hand them another loan after they didn’t pay on the first one, and then were able to get those same loans written off so they never had to be repaid if the team never leaves, they continue to draw millions despite fourteen consecutive years of losing giving away trinkets and fireworks shows, and you’re wondering if their multi-million dollar PR machine couldn’t dream this up?
Whether they did or not is anyone’s guess. Perhaps all they are doing is letting events unfold while being hospitable?
But let’s watch and see if there isn’t a lot of air time about the walkout on every media site in Pittsburgh tomorrow – or all over the country, for that matter – mysteriously taped from inside the confines of PNC covering the event everyone thinks the Pirates are wanting to keep hush-hush.
I mean, can you imagine all the angry Pirate fans eyes lighting up like deers caught in headlights as they proudly watch themselves in the media coverage? And of course they will be drooling from the mouth as they make their plan for the next walkout.
Next week.. and then another the week after that.
Brilliant.. simply brilliant. The Pirates should win an Emmy.
Maybe I do get it now.
Baseball is a game of luck – just ask the Pirates.
pitch pinch hit triple by Nate McLouth who had hit just .182 his last 6 games, and a game winning sacrifice fly by Jose Bautista who had been hitting just .148 over his last 27 at bats, helped the Pirates to their fifth win last seven at PNC Park.
The Nats loss continued their tailspin as they have now won just 3 of their last 13.
As I expected, Snell hit the mound with very little in the tank but was still good enough to keep the Nats honest other than Langerhans solo-shot home run in the 3rd.
The 7th started with Young hitting a groundball through the left side for a single, Kearns was hit on a 2-0 count pitch, and then Church hit a routine double play groundball to Sanchez, but it ate him up and he was only able to get the force at second. Lopez then hit a sac fly to score Young.
Despite only throwing 86 pitches, Snell did not come out in the 8th. Instead, Wilson walked in the bottom of the 7th and McLouth
pitch pinch hit for Snell by crushing a line drive off the right center field wall for a triple scoring Wilson, and Bautista eventually hit a sac fly to score him.
The score remained tied 2-2 until the bottom of the 9th when Paulino lined a leadoff single into center, Wilson moved him to second on a sacrifice bunt, and John Rauch threw a wild pitch (scored a wild pitch but clearly a passed ball) that allowed Paulino to get to third. Castillo was then put in to pitch run for Paulino.
McLouth was then given a free ticket to first with an intentional walk, and Doumit, pitch hitting for Davis, walked loading the bases and bringing Bautista to the plate with one out.
With 32,000 screaming fans on their feet and the players in the Pirates dugout waving and screaming their heads off, Bautista hammered a 3-2 pitch into center and Castillo came in to score the winning run. The Pirates dugout quickly emptied onto the field to celebrate the win with Ian Snell leading the way.
The Pirates haven’t won a season series from the Expos/Nats since 2000 and one win either Saturday or Sunday will give them that this year.
Pirates were 1-17 at PNC when the opposing team hit at least one home run in a game. Make it 2-17 after Friday night’s game.
The Pirates have announced that Chris Duffy has a "fairly significantly sprained ankle" and is a candidate for the DL. Tracy said that his "mobility" isn’t that good right now.
Evidently that means we are going to see a lot of Rajai Davis, and maybe a lot more time than any of want to see if the Pirates play this into a DL stint with rehab time in AAA.
But you have to wonder how Duffy is going to handle being put on the DL with just a sprained ankle because he knows that there is a chance he might not be back in Pittsburgh until August while one of the favorite sons of the Pirates front office gets his chance.
I guess we are back in development mode again.
Readers pointed me to a chat at Baseball America (subscription required) where author Chris Kline said he thought Neil Walker would be taking over third base next year for the Pirates.
I doubt seriously Walker will be in Pittsburgh in 2008 until he gets a September call up unless there is a significant run of injuries on the team. He has just figured out AA pitching this year while taking on a new position. He’s going to need to season at third at least another year, be my guess.
The same is true of Andrew McCutchen, although there is a very good chance he won’t be seen in Pittsburgh until 2009.
The stage is set for the fan’s protest Saturday. I found it pretty interesting that the camera angles were pulled in tighter than normal in Friday night’s broadcast so I suspect that is FSN Pittsburgh’s game plan.
Interestingly, FSN showed at least one armed guard who took the field at the end of an inning, then they cut to their commercial. Perhaps a subliminal message was being sent?
Tom Gorzelanny will start the protest game under a full moon against the team representing Washington DC where the Supreme Court provided MLB an anti-trust exemption in 1922.
For the first 50 years under the exemption (1923 – 1972), the Pirates franchise went 3937 – 3818 for a .508 winning percentage. The last 35 years (1973 – 2007), the Pirates have gone 2657 – 2795 for a .487 winning percentage.
And in the 1857 games since McClatchy’s group bought the team, the Pirates have gone 816 – 1041 for a .439 winning percentage despite having received over $100MM in revenue just from revenue sharing and other contracts since the Nuttings started taking control in 2003.
That begs the question, is the Pirates ownership group the real problem?
Bucco Blog is pleased to announce the availability of ProTrade’s Win Probability Scoreboard each game for your viewing pleasure.
I’ve had quite an experience the last 24 hours attempting to get a video crew to cover the protest Saturday as a news event.
Of the 30 – 40 calls I made, at least 75% said they no longer attend Pirates games and had no idea what was happening Saturday night. How disheartening. Some even said they were too scared – they preferred not to get involved. How bizarre.
The Pirates own the rights to any video shot within the confines of the game from devices like cell phones or cameras (look at the back of your ticket).
Will they sue you for posting a 40 second YouTube infomercial showing what happens at the end of the 3rd inning? It’s pretty doubtful, but I’m guessing they would immediately file a DCMA complaint with Google to get it removed asap. I certainly would if that was my business.
But the Pirates don’t own the rights to recordings from outside the stadium like from the Clemente Bridge or at the rally. That’s free space. So if you happen to take some footage, send it to me using the email link on the right sidebar and I’ll consider running it.
This protest is not like the irate fans protest last year that was seen in ill-taste for the bad timing. It’s different.
The mood of this event seems to have significantly changed the last few days. No longer is it just a Pittsburgh thing. It’s now a national event with a lot of eyes watching from economists to legal minds, and everyone in between. Interestingly, I’m receiving a lot of email from fans of other teams lately all wishing Pirate fans their best.
Isn’t that something.
My official stance is that I’m against disruptive game behavior like walkouts or throwing bobblehead boxes on the field. Mom and pop that bring the kids shouldn’t have to worry that a riot is going to break out, fear their kids might get hurt from thrown objects, or hear derogatory statements from the angry fans.
I do believe in boycotts for the simple reason that if you don’t like something you shouldn’t spend your money on it, and it’s only natural to tell others how you feel.
That being said, I love the fan’s enthusiasm for the walkout but I’m still at a loss what they think they will achieve even if every single person in the stadium gets up and walks out. I mean, they have already given their money to the franchise owners.
What good is that?
True – if multi-year season ticket holders in the front rows walk out with everyone, then the message gets a bit clearer to the Pirates ownership. But I doubt seriously that’s going to happen. In fact, the odds of that happening are more than 100-1. They are probably mostly old school and there to support the organization – win, lose, or draw.
I suppose like I am.
But I wish everyone well Saturday from the players, to the fans, and to the Pirates. There won’t be a winner in all this – nor will there be a loser. But there will be a message sent – one way or another.
If nothing else it’s news, especially if fans in the other parks walk out of their seats in the third inning too.
And no, I don’t think you’ll see Kevin McClatchy sitting in his seat Saturday night. He doesn’t have anything to prove – anymore. But I’ll be very impressed if he is, and even more impressed if Bob Nutting is sitting right beside him. If I was the COB, I would be.
Also, don’t be too surprised if you see new faces in the seats behind home plate and other places where the network camera’s routinely pan if the fans there walk out. I suspect they will be immediately filled by temporary workers rushing down the aisles.
Just a guess, because that’s how big business stays big.
As the game went deeper and deeper, the centerfield circus act between Davis and Duffy was even more impressive. Perhaps thinking they were being showcased for the Marlins, and neither wanting to be traded, they broke in when the ball was over their head, broke back when the ball was hit in, and we even saw a "look Ma, I caught it – oppps, no, it just hit my glove and bounced out" routine.
You could tell it was going to be a long day for Zach Duke when the very first ball in play was hit like a rocket to Nady and it went off his glove for a triple. An error was initially called on Nady and later changed to a hit, but it was a clean error all the way.
By the end of the 4th inning, Duke had thrown 80 pitches and 15% of those went for hits with six runs crossing the plate.
Curiously, Duke gave up just one run to the Angels five days ago after he moved to the middle of the pitching rubber. Then Thursday he went back to the left side again and was mauled – but he never even attempted to adjust back, and the end result was ugly.
I’ve mentioned in this blog many times about Davis running poor routes and boy-oh-boy was it evident Thursday. But he doesn’t just run poor routes – he also doesn’t throw to the right bag and compounds that by rarely hitting his cutoff man.
Davis in centerfield makes McLouth look like an All-Star and Duffy a Gold Glover, much like Doumit behind the plate makes Cota seem like an All-Star and Paulino a Gold Glove receiver.
Why Davis is even on this roster is beyond me.
A .250 hitting Duffy playing center is significantly more valuable than a .275 hitting Davis. Of course, Davis will first have to get above the Mendoza line for us to even consider that anyway.
Davis, Armas.. Davis, Armas.. pick the player with the lowest roster value. Tough call.
So why is Duffy being forced to sit on the pine? He went 12 for 37 (.324) in his last 9 games of May and seemed to be on a roll when all of a sudden McLouth started to play center and then Davis was recalled.
When he was put back into the lineup June 8th, he hit .300 at Yankee Stadium then came home and rolled off an 8 for 28 run (.286) and was benched again, partly due to his hammy. Obviously he is healthy again but Tracy refuses to play him starting Davis with his extremely poor defense and .154 BA instead.
And he’s now looking rusty on the field because of it. Numerous times in Thursday’s game he ran some very poor routes as I mentioned above.
And what is with Tracy continuing to run Bay out in the cleanup spot? Nady’s hot – put him there and bat Bay behind him where he has always felt comfortable. I realize that goes against the old school belief that the guy in front protects the guy behind, but like Bill James says, that’s pookie.
I suppose I shouldn’t worry about it so much. After all, we scored just 8 runs in five games before hitting Miami where we pounded out 16 in three. It was nice to see LaRoche get his 5th three-hit game and the offense put up a 5 spot in the 7th, but it was too little, too late.
And we are just a .423 team playing less than .400 ball lately. Even so, the Astros just slid beneath us in the standings. Go figure that one out.
We finally head home and get the Nats after they had a day off. Friday night’s game will be a rematch of the June 7th Snell vs Chico pitching contest the Pirates won. Don’t be too surprised if you see Snell have a bit harder time in this game that he’s had lately as he has fallen into a pattern recently of two games in a row over 100 pitches and then he loses some command his next outing.
However, don’t get too excited if you are a Nat fan because the Pirates are 7-0 their last seven games when coming home from a road trip of 7 or more days, and we have won game one of the last four series.
But this won’t be just another series for the Pirates.