Results tagged ‘ Andrew McCutchen ’

Tippin’ their hats and callin’ the Pirates their daddy

Sorry Pedro…

 

 

 

pedro-martinez-7001381.jpgAnd sorry Yankees…

 

Thumbnail image for jeter.jpgYa’ll are much better currently and historically than the Pirates, but give me time to enjoy a win.

The Buccos defeated the Yanks 12-7 on Tuesday, but most impressive was what was done in the first inning.

Andrew McCutchen got things started with a single.

Ronny Cedeno…a single also.

Lastings Milledge brought home McCutchen with a double.

Then this guy…

 

GFJ1_edited-2.jpgMade it rain!

Jones blasted a three run homer off none other than CC Sabathia. Sabathia got rocked in two innings pitched giving up seven hits and five earned runs.

It was nice to see us do some damage against Sabathia. The Pirates totaled 15 hits against NY, the most of the spring. It wa salso nice to out hit a team for a change also, the Yanks recorded just eight.

Charlie Morton, anticiapted fourth starter, had a decent outing with a three inning showing on four hit ball. He did give up three runs, but struck out a pair.

By the way, that Garrett Jones picture, photo shopped by yours truly. I got the program for my brithday and have been playing around with it.  

Tomorrow it is Pittsburgh-Baltimore live on FSN Pittsburgh. 

photo credits: nytimes.com, espn.com

 

 

 

 

A 2-0-1 weekend

The Pirates competed in a trio of ballgames this weekend in the Sunshine State.

They did not lose a single game.

 

 

 

 

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The jolly roger was raised for the first time this spring training season on Friday in a 5-3 win over the Orioles.

One of my favorite prospects in the organization is catcher Tony Sanchez.

tony sanchez.jpgI was able to catch one of Sanchez’s very first minor league games in person back in Youngstown, OH. He was with the State College Spikes facing my hometown Mahoning Valley Scrappers.

He is a very likeable fellow coming out of Boston College. 

In his very first spring training at bat, Sanchez belted a solo homerun off Baltimore’s Troy Patton.

Sanchez is just 21 years old, eight months older than me. It is very funny that someone my age is one of the hottest prospects on a major league ballclub. I guess it is really not too much to fathom as I am a year from graduating college surrounded by Division 1 athletes at one of America’s top sports universities.

Sanchez will probably begin the year in AA Altoona, but will find his way in the ‘Burgh by 2011.

On Saturday the jolly roger may have been raised, but just halfway.

The Pirates and Philies played their way to a 3-3 ten inning tie.

The reining National League champs got hot right off the bat with two runs in the first inning. Pirates starter Kevin Hart looked very sloppy. He looks to be the 5th starter in the rotation so he really needs to hone his mechanics for the remainder of March.

The bottom of the first inning let the Pirates match the Phils, in fact they one upped the boys with Brotherly love. The Buccos scored their only three runs of the contest in the first frame. Ryan Church delievered a two run home run.

On Sunday’s day of rest, the Buc’s bats did anything but. Pittsburgh destroyed absolutely destroyed Minnesota 15-5.

Bobby Crosby gave a good audition for the starting shortstop position with a four RBI performance.

Crosby belted a 3-run homerun while going 2-for-3. It was great to see this guy come through. Whether starting or on the bench he will be vital to the team’s success. Garrett Jones also connected for a homerun, his first of the spring.

The weekend was fun filled with Pirates baseball.

On Sunday it was 30 Clubs/30 Days featuring the Pirates on MLB Network. I think the broadcast team led by Matt Vasgersian really brought to light the hope and promise of the Bucs. They were valiant to praise the efforts of Neil Huntington and the restocked minor league system. They also had good interviews with Lastings Milledge, Andrew McCutchen and Paul Maholm. McCutchen also had a “wired-in” segment with him playing around with teammates comparing his speed to Usain Bolt (a stretch) and hitting an opposite field homerun into the Allegheny River at PNC Park (a bigger stretch).

This weekend I also recieved a package I have long been anticipating.

daveparkerposter.jpgMy Dave Parker poster finally came! I saw this on ebay for a nice price of seven bucks and could not pass it up. It is actually a 7-up ad from the early 80’s. I’m sure the cobra will be so proud to know a college id knows who he is and that the Pirates pride is still stemming from the “We Are Family” days.

On Tuesday I will get the opportunity to see live baseball for the first time in a while.

The West Virginia baseball teams hits the recently snow vacated field to do battle with Duquesne. I once again will be the beat writer for the school newspaper covering the team.

photo credits:piratebox.com, AP/sportingnews

 

Colin Curtis pulls off his best Mazeroski impression

 

maz.jpgIn a much more meaningless game, the Yankees defeated the Pirates 6-3. It was however game one of the 2010 Spring Training season.

Sitting in my Economics class I was antsy. I couldn’t listen to the lecture about unemployment, I just wanted to watch my Bucs. As soon as we got out I rushed to my buddy’s girlfriend’s apartment where MLB Network would be on the HD TV. I do not get it at my apartment so I really thank Alyssa for allowing me to crash at her place for a few hours and enjoy a real live baseball game.

mccutch.jpgThe game started out nicely as Andrew McCutchen led off the contest ripping a single through the infield.

After that it was rather uneventful.

The Pirates only totaled three hits in the contest.

THREE HITS!

Now this wasn’t a game against Javier Vazquez, CC Sabathia or AJ Burnett. Rather it was Chad Gaudin, Sergio Mitre and Alfredo Acceves. Now those are guys with major league time, but I would hope some of our young Bucs could sneak some hits in.

The Pirates used a pitcher an inning for nine frames. It was a unique move that made the YES network announcers ponder using that tactic in a regular season game. The unanimous decision, it couldn’t work.

The announcers brought up a good point also. It has to deal with the numbers of baseball.

cutch76.jpg The picture on the right is McCutchen from a 2008 Spring Training game. Notice the astronomical number. 76? Andrew McCutch aint no 76! But players like him, back in 2008, are just marginal prospects with a long shot of making the MLB roster. Being handed a number that high may be a downgrade, but in his case I think it was just a motive to work harder. The TV announcers said anyone wearing over 60 in ST will not make the big leagues that year. No Wayne Gretzkys (99) here is how they put it. It’ll be an interesting stat to look back on come April.

Anyway, back to the game. The nine Pirate pitchers did not do a bad job containing the Yanks. Steven Jackson and Virgil Vazquez were the only ones giving up multiple hits and runs. I was never a big fan of this tandem and found more reason to not support them today.

The game was toed 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth until powerhouse Colin Curtis stepped to the plate.

colin curtis.jpg Curtis ripped the pitch to right field over the head of Jose Tabata and into the stands. A 3-run bomb by the former 4th round pick in the 2006 draft. Curtis was the hero for the day much like Bill Mazeroski was back in October of 1960. Maz’s walk off home run to beat the Yankees is still fondly remembered by baseball fans around the world today, it is doubtful Curtis’s homer will even be though of at the end of March. However, his wikipedia page already remembers the event.

“He hit a 3 run walk off homerun in the Yankees first 2010 spring training game against the Pirates.”

 

Maybe it will be forever etched in Yankeess lore. I doubt it.

The Braves are up next!

photo credit: mlb.com, buccobits.mlblogs.com, flickr.com, baseballprospectus.com    

Pirates Caravan-Morgantown, WV

caravan.jpgIt was the moment I have been waiting for since the date was announced back in December. The Pirates Caravan rolled into Morgantown West Virginia to appease the 125 fans waiting for them at Damons. On top of having a great selection of barbecued items, Damons was gracious enough to host the Morgantown stop for the caravan.

The event began at noon, perfect timing for my 19 credit hour semester. I had a class at 9:30-11 and my next was not until 2:30. There was nothing greater than having my normal lunch break along side some of my favorite players. Manager John Russell, relievers Evan Meek and Kevin Hart, center fielder Andrew McCutchen and broadcasters Greg Brown and Bob Walk and the Pirate Parrot came to the event.

My buddy Andrew and I arrived at the restaurant ten minutes before noon and took our seats. We scouted the crowd and realized we were the only two college students among the fans. Weird considering Morgantown is a full fledged college town, but also understandable because this generation of Pirate fans really ceases to exist. I am of a rare breed and even Andrew (who is a die-hard Orioles fan) considers himself a bigger Pirate fan than most baseball fans in this area. I agree with him whole heartedly.

 

piratescaravan 007.jpgAs we dined on our pulled pork sandwiches we were joined by two familiar faces, fellow WVU students in the journalism school. Although I give them credit for being at the event they were self proclaimed “not Pirates fans.” However, they had a good time and admitted that they would follow along because they do support the Penguins and Steelers.

piratescaravan 008.jpgGreg Brown got the festivities under way by taking the mic and adressing those in attendance.

“Look at this sell out crowd!” he said in a joyous tone. I turned to Andrew and said, “He doesn’t get to say that very often” A reference to the infamous spotty crowds that PNC Park is accustomed to.

However, he got the ball rolling introducing Meek, Hart, McCutchen, Russell and Walk to us all. Each Bucco member gave a minute long introduction and expressed their gratitude along with aspirations for the coming season.

While everyone pretty much sugar coated how great the upcoming season is going to be it did give me up. Hearing John Russell speak is not the most exciting thing in the world. He speaks softly with a monotone voice and it really could put you to sleep. However, he did seem excited with an intimate group of fans in front of him, but still maintained the montotone clarity, or lack there of.

The crowd cheered the loudest for this guy.

 

piratescaravan 013.jpgNo, not Andrew, o wait, yes Andrew. McCutchen that is, not Schuerholz. When his name was announced there were hoops and hollers. Many questions were directed his way including one of my own. I asked a question opened to all on the panel but only Cutch answered. I asked, “Who was the most missed player traded last season?” A genral question without getting too in depth. I was more interested in what Russell had to say, but he did not answer. Meek was hurt most of last season and Hart came to Pittsburgh mid season by way of the Tom Gorzelanny/John Grabow to the Cubs trade. I did not expect them to form too tight of a relationship with the current Bucs. It was obvious that McCutchen said Nyjer Morgan, I knew it was coming. It was well documented back in Spring Training of 2009 that the duo were best buds and forming great chemistry that rubbed off on the rest of the team. I was happy when a large smile grew on Cutch’s face when talking about Morgan.

I ended up collecting many autographs which are displayed below.

 

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Evan Meek, Kevin Hart, Andrew McCutchen, Bob Walk, Greg Brown and John Russell all signed these beautiful picture cards. Each year I have been a Pirate fan these cards are passed out throughout the year. Usually they are just headshots of the players on a small sized card. This year has one of the best sets of these cards I have seen. The McCutchen pose is one of my favorites. He is thrusting his arm towards the air in celebration after one of his home runs.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thumbnail image for piratescaravan 019.jpgThe shrine dedicated to McCutchen is one of my favorite. I had him autograph a ball on the sweet spot a picture card that was provided and the November issue of Baseball America which features Andrew on the cover, I had the card signed during a game at PNC Park earlier this year. 

It was an awesome hour and a half, we had a great time. This weekend I have another Pirates event coming my away. Pirates Fest is taking place in Pittsburgh, my WV buddies plan on going up Sunday. The event begins Friday night and concludes Sunday. Talk about an awesome Pirates week!

Here are some more photos from the day:

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The autograph line

 

 

 

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Andrew McCutchen and me. Too bad Andrew Schuerholz couldn’t have taken a better pitcture from a better angle.

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Announcer Greg Brown and myself posing for the camera. I explained to him about my journalism aspirations and that I hope to take his job someday. He was very encouraging and a down to earth fellow.

 

 

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The Pirate Parrot made an appearance and brought laughter to the party.

Thank you all for letting me share this experience with you all!

2009 Buccos close the door on PNC Park….

WITH A WIN!

What a refreshing way to close the door on PNC Park for the 2009 campaign. It is bittersweet for me. I hate the end of baseball season (yes I know the Pirates still have two series of road games to play and yes there is still playoffs, but the fact I gotta wait til April to see a live game puts me in a tizzy) Bu anyway the faith is still there. The Pirates actually have a little life and a fight in them to take 3 of 4 from the mighty Dodgers.

On Friday the Bucs edged the Dodgers 3-1, they struggled on Saturday but remained in the 8-4 defeat, it was 6-5 on Sunday as Lastings Milledge nailed a 3-run walk off double and on Monday the Bucco big bats came out in an 11-1 victory.

It is all bittersweet. I loved the way we played against LA but where was that winning spirit throughout the course of the season. Pittsburgh is swept by the Reds but can win three games against the Dodgers in the same week. It just doesn’t come full circle. I honestly believe we have the talent. McCutchen, Jones and Milledge will be cornerstones on this team. However, it takes me than three solid major leaguers to win ballgames. The other regulars on the team have had flashed of brillance but never enough to sustain a winning record.

Andy LaRoche was one of those flashes today

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He went 5-5 with a pair of homers, two doubles and a triples. With a showing like that you would think this guy is a superstar but this year he has been far from it. He’s batting .259 with 12 homeruns. Totally mediocre and he has played the 3rd base position all year. For a player at that position he should be doing much better. He has been a dissapointment considering the hype around him. After all we basically got him for the price of Jason Bay. He’s been off and on all year with a 2 week slump here and a week of greatness there. Emma from CRZblue has been asking about her former top prospect in LA. Emma, what you saw today is really just Andy wearing his “good baseball player” mask. He has a lot of slack to pick up if he wants to guarentee his spot next year. Pedro Alvarez is in the minors and knocking at the PNC Parks doors rapidly.

LaRoche came over from the Dodgers in the three way trade last year. The Dodgers gave the Bucs another key player that has been a starter for Pittsburgh most of the year.

Delwyn Young is a natural corner outfielder. Since the Pittsburgh trade he has been converted
to a second baseman. It took him a while to get adjusted but since he has been more nurtured he has been a soild infielder. He’s been seen on top plays and web gems. He’s been strong at the plate doing his job as speedy guy and getting on base. He is a pure singles hitter who always seems to get a hit. He’s flireted with a .300 batting average for most of the season. He has descended throughout the past 2 months and is now at .261. I’m sure this being his first full time position player season he is winded and will need some much needed R and R this offseason.

The Pirates-Dodgers connection extends beyond the baseball field.

Last week the Pirates took a trip out west to Sunny California and were warmly welcomed by the Dodgers in historic Dodger Stadium.

Like always Cat was at the game showing her pride and watched her Dodgers sweep the Bucs in three games. While she was there she so genuinely picked up a token of memorabilla for me.

She was able to snag an autograph from Pirates reliever Jesse Chavez. Chavez has been very rocky all year and isn’t the most liked guy in Pittsburgh. However, he is nice with the fans and always takes time to sign autographs and throw balls to fans in the stands. I’m impressed with him and all the Pirates players. They relaize their not a team like the Dodgers and should be happy with the strong fan base that will always stick with him. I just want to say thanks Cat! I’m definately keeping this on display, my favorite part is actually the Dodgers season ticket stub. It is very cool and add to my baseball collection. I also want to say hey to my friend Steve, he’s lurking in the background and got caught in the pic.

CUTCH!

cutch walk off.jpgTell me that isn’t the sweetest walk off arrival at home plate ever. I got goosebumps when I saw it. I smiled, laughed, and just through my hands in the air. Doing his best Nike Jumpman impression Andrew was airborne leaping into the dogpile that was awaiting him.

Jumpman_logo.jpg Air Jordan should be Air McCutchen. This dude’s got ups. He was also a football player in high school but if the devlopment league b-ball team in Pittsburgh needs a shooting guard look no further than Andrew McCutchen.

Cutch went 2 for 4 with a stolen base in the game. Solid numbers for the rookie. He did however promptly blow the game in the top of the ninth inning. He misplayed a ball hit to him and forced two Philly runs to score that inning. I hate when this happens because I never have faith when the Bucs aree behind in the bottom of the ninth. I was proved wrong tonight when McCutchen came through to put a smile on all black nd gold fans in Western Pennsylvania (and northern West Virginia for that matter) as the Pirates top the Phillies 6-4.

doumit hr.jpgMaybe it was J. Quist’s  report on Ryan Doumit, but the catcher went off tonight. He was just 1 for 2 but it took just one swing of the bat to tie the game 1-1 early in the game. He belted a homerun that landed in the right field stands.

ohlendorf.jpgAnother tip of the cap goes out to Ross Ohlendorf. Very quitely the young hurler racked up 10 wins on the year. He gained the no decision in tonight’s game but was very solid and in line for the W. In 6.1 innings pitched Ohlendorf gave up just 5 hits and 2 earned runs. 

I feel so great about this win. It hurts to see so many Philly fans taking over PNC Park. People from the east side of the state come in with their nose up in the air and walk with their chests out since the World Series win last year. I can’t blame em cause I know it happens everywhere with every team but its hard to swallow win baseball supremacy of teh state of Pennsylvania is not in Pittsburgh. However, tomorrow I hope to get the bandwagon rolling once again. I will be walking around the WVU campus with my McCutchen shirt and Bucco hat. Hopefully some other Pittsburgh fans will come out of the woodwork and join my cause.

One last time, thank you Buccos! Lets Go Pittsburgh! 

 

nike.com

AP Photos 

Worth the Wait

So after being back at West Virginia for a a weekend I haven’t had time to write an entry as you can tell.

Maybe I should have stopped writing for a few days more during the season.

bucco jump.jpgThe Battling Buccos have been on quite the roll. Pittsburgh swept the Brewers in a 3 game set and over the weekend took 2 of 3 from the Reds. I’ve been folowing itently on this run, much to the dismay of my friends and roomates. I hear a bunch of “Come on, it’s the Pirates”, “who cares” and “Theyre out of it anyway”. But my Friday and Saturday night was fixated watching these players develop in a crucial series in terms of NL Central Standings. The Reds and Pirates flip flopped throughout the weekend in the race for 5th place. The Pirates are now in the cellar with a record of 51-71. 20 games out of a .500 record. When I put it like that it sounds ugly. Attrocious actually. Especially after a prediction of 85 wins after the Home Opener victory against the Astros. My friends called me crazy and comprimised on my prediction. My WVU buddy, Andrew, gave me the benefit of the doubt giving me a 75 win plateau. For every win over 75 he will owe me a dollar, and for every loss under-I owe him a dollar. Fairly innocent and resonable. There is still enough time in the season for a run much like the 5-win run that occured over the weekend. I still watch the games intently for that sole reason and the reason for future development.

jones-cutch.jpgThis is one of my favorite pictures captured throughout the entire season. Maybe its because of teh vintage unis. Which I love by the way, Some say they are disgusting, others say they are pajamas, I say they are classic and they should incorporate them into their combinations, much like the Brewers do with their vintage jerseys. But back to the picture. McCutchen and Jones are the centerpiece of this team now. In his last ten games Cutch has been on base in every game driving in 4 runs in theat span. He holds a .284 batting average and 7 homeruns and 6 triples. He is undoubtebly they best Pirate on the roster and at only 22 years of age you know he is the real deal. There is nobody else touching him in the National League in terms of poise, talent and skill. He should be the runaway favorite for Rookie of the year.

Garret Jones could also be considered a candidate for ROY. He was called up in early June and has been the driving force behind the Pirates power attack. In just over 3 months he has 14 homeruns and flirts with a .300 BA. H ehas trouble getting hits with runners in scoring position-a key stat for individual and team success but no one can complain with his power numbers thus far.

The wildcard in the Pirates offense is Lastings Milledge.

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Milledge has the tools for success and very well could become an impact player. Fans have been down on him in recent weeks in liey of his diminishing performance. Milledge came to the Pirates in exchange for Nyjer Morgan. Everyone loved Nyjer, he was a great person and no one could argue his heart and the effort he put forth on the field. When Lastings took over left field people had a right to get down on him. This weekend, he put on a show which included a homerun and a four hit weekend. He opened some eyes and gained some faith that he is the man for the job.

Tonight it is the battle for Pennsylvania. The Philies come to the Burgh for a series. It could get ugly as the Philies need a strong push as they head for the postseason. It is the big news around the campus of WVU. There is a great population of students from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia so the rivalry extends south to West Virginia as well. To surprise the number of Philly fans and earn bragging rights a series win would be fantastic for the Bucs.

 

So this is what a win feels like

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Before I express my feelings of relief, just got to ask one thing. Whats up with this celebration? I love seeing it. I love the look on the players faces when they are in mid air rejoicing after a win. I just don’t like that every team does it. I feel so proud as a Pirates fan knowing the Jolly Roger has just been raised and my boys are up like this, but every team in the MLB does it. It really rubs me the wrong way. I hope some team, I would love it be the Pirates, to come up with their own victory celebration. I would honestly like some touchdown celebrations of sorts. Nothing too drastic just an after the game dance or diddy out in the outfield. It would be a great marketing tool and players and fans alike can partake in their own jigs.

Now enough about that let me just say that a win is a win. They don’t come often but I surely enjoyed this 7-3 win over the respectable Rockies.

The Pirates owned this game from start to finish. Nearly every player contributed to the win in their own special way.

ross o.jpgStarting pitcher Ross Ohlendorf was outstanding on the mound. He picked up his tenth win and now stands at 10-8. He went 6 innings giving up 6 runs and surrendering 3 earned runs. He was a little shaky as he gave up 2 home runs but still managed to work his way out of jams. He showed that he has the poise to avoid disastorous situations and get the key outs.

 

 

 

ryan doumit.jpgRyan Doumit maneuvered his way out of a deeper funk. He notched a double as he went 2-4 with a walk and run scored. Doumit has been iffy all season. He started out hot, but went down with an injury that kept him out for a few months. On his rehab stints he stunk up the joint in the minor leagues. He failed to get hits and looked like a scrub. He has been equally scrubby since his return to the 25 man roster. He’s had his moments with 2 hit games, such as this one, but he has gone hitless in too many games. A good showing at the plate and a win may boost his confidence.

 

 

 

 

last. m.jpgLastings Milledge is not off the hook either. I love his potential and upside but he still has not proven he is the answer in left field. I still do miss Nyjer Morgan but I honestly believe Milledge will live up to the hype and be a star. You can see he puts in time in the weight room and stretches out those meaty legs. He flashed his hops during the game robbing a homerun and elevating above the outfield wall. It was a sensational grab and earned the number one spot on Baseball Tonight “Web Gems” The hosts ,emtyioned that the Pirates hold the lead for team appearances on the web gem segment. A cool honor and rightfully so as it seems night in and night out there is also a Buc on the spotlight.

 

 

 

cutch run.jpgAndrew McCutchen had another hat trick tonight. Remember 2 weeks ago when he hit 3 homeruns. Well as an encore a few days later he went hog wild again. Cutch stole 3 bases. An amazing feat and something only those special players can perform. He has some outstanding speed in those legs. To get him off and running is a great sign, and a warning sign for opposing teams. Getting him on base and on the move will definately score some run. (3 for him tonite)

 

DY-TB.jpgOne of my favorite faces of the Pirates organization is 3rd base coach Tony Beasley. Not only does his last name rhyme with mine he is a charasmatic fellow, like myself. I sometimes question his decsions about sending and holding runners, but 9 times out of ten he knows how to handle it. Last week his father and aunt dies, just a few days apart from each other. He was on leave to be with his family in these tough times. I love his courage and wish the best to his family. Its great to have him back guiding the Bucs. Here Beasley is with Delwyn Young. DY just laced a triple scoring two runs. He finsihed the game 2-5.

 

 

 

Maybe this game will right the ship and direct the Bucs to more wins. I know its late in the season but I hope they can finish respectably. Like I’ve preached before I want to see hope for the future. Tonight I surely did. My goal for the Bucs is to always finish above the Indians when the season is all said and done. We are a few games back now but if the push continues, watch out Tribe.

Defense wins chmapionships, but not a game against the Nats

 

 

 

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Three “Baseball Tonight” web gems, one of which was by the guy above Andy LaRoche, was not enough to keep the Pirates in the game. Ronny Cedeno’s backhanded grab and diving double play didn’t allow Pittsburgh to put runs on the board. They fell to Washington 8-4. It is tough to swallow a loss like this. One because it was the Nationals, two because it was the Nationals, and three BECAUSE IT WAS THE NATIONALS!

Sorry, but its true. Even though most normal fans would say, “Matt come on its the PIRATES.” But the Bucs had no business losing this game. The bullpen faltered and gave up 4 runs after following starter Charlie Morton. Morton pitched pretty well through 5 innings of work. He shut out the Nationals and struck out 2 batters. The straw that broke the Camel’s back came in the sixth when Adam Dunn belted a homerun. It was tough to swallow and the runs kept coming from hits and a triple by Christian Guzman. It made me very upset to see Charlie let picthes get away from him. After meeting him in Arizona I really have admired his attitude and I know he has it in him to go out and do a solid job night in and night out. I’ll still be rooting hard for him, I just hope the stuffs there longer in the game next time he goes out. The following inning the bullpen came in to give up 4 runs as well. A homerun by Ryan Zimmerman headlined the inning follwed by a bunch of small ball that gave the Nats a good sized lead.

The Bucs offense is not off the hook here either. What started out as a promising game turned ugly and filled with goose-eggs. Andrew McCutchen struck again leading off the first inning with a homerun. He now has 7 on the year and is 2nd on the team with homeruns. It’s great to see that his 3-homerun night was not a fluke and he does have some power built inside.

cutch-milledge.jpgIts a great seeing this sight. The 1-2 punch of McCutchen and Milledge is a match made in heaven. Kind of like and M&M, no pun intended. The charisma they have and established chemistry is great in the clubhouse and at the top of the lineup. Although Milledge did not see the basepaths this game and was 0-5 he still has what the Bucs need. This was the only game Lastings has played in for Pittsburgh without collecting a hit. His failure to reach base may have been a reason for the Bucs failure to put more runs on the board but the rest of the lineup is not off the hook.

3 runs were scored in the first inning and it looked like they were set up nicely to cruise for the W. Steve Pearce, Garrett Jones, Ryan Doumit, set up runs and Delwyn Young scarificed a run in. The rest of the game was dull as the Pirates couldn’t score a run until the bottom of the ninth when Doumit doubled in a run.

On top of Milledge’s o-fer, Ronny Cedeno and Delwyn Young were as well. Ryan Doumit really needed this game to turn his game around. He did not get a hit in the first 3 games of the series. Tonight he was 3-5 with a run and RBI. From the cleanup spot he needs production and he showed it tonight. If he can turn things around quickly and recover from his early season injury he will be a coveted player at the catching position.

The Pirates finished off this series splitting four games with Washington. They start right back up tomorrow hosting the Diamondbacks. I will be attending this game and am very excited to do so. Its kind of funny that of the last three MLB games I’ve been too, the D-Backs have been involved. (Arizona was in Colorado when I was there, at home in Chase Field when I was there, and now here in Pittsburgh.) It is safe to say they are quite familiar. I just hope this result is a little different. The Diamondbacks took 3 of 4 from the Pirates out in the Grand Canyon State.

Tonight, I leave with a great quote from a great player.

“I loved the city of Pittsburgh,” Sanchez said. “I loved going to the ballpark every day and playing for those fans. They’ll always have a special place in my heart for the support they showed after I won that batting title.

“That’s a baseball town in my eyes. I hope all the trades work out, because they deserve a winner there. I’m sure it’s hard for them right now, but I’ll always be watching to see how they’re doing.”

This quote was taken from an ESPN.com article by Jerry Crasnick. It’s greta to see Freddy speaking with such admiration and understanding. I still wish him the best even though he is 3,000 miles away. It does however pain me to see this….                                            freddy giants.jpg  

Riding High

Woo wee. This weekend has been a pivital one for the Pirates. After the firesale of the week before, the Pirates had a big target on their backs. People have been doubting the moves and mentality of the Pittsburgh organization and the Bucs needed to step up and show what they were really made of.

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Andrew McCutchen got the memo and delievered. In a big way. In Friday’s 5-4 win over the Nationals Cutch collected 2 key hits. On Saturday he definetly rose to the occasion. Number 22 belted 3, count em 3 homeruns! It was truly a sight to behold. All 3 dingers sailed over the left field wall in about the same location. He hit one in the first, to lead it off, one in the fourth and one in the seventh. However, he did’nt stop there. McCutchen showcased his outstanding speed and laid down a bunt towards the third base line. He zoomed down to first and was in there with a key single. He ended up 4-5 in the game with a total of 6 RBI and 4 runs scored.

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 Andrew earned his first curtain call at PNC Park. Now I love a good curtain call. The player just completed an aswesome feat and it is so impressive to me that the fans recognize what went down and pay their respects to the player in a very loyal way. I for one think its filled with pagentry that can’t be touched in any way. I take curtain calls very seriously and fondly remember two that took place at PNC Park that I was a part of.

Remember Derek Bell? If not he was a player for the Mets who was a solid big leaguer. He had some good seasons and was signe dby the Bucs one offseason. He started off the year slow and was booed for a good part of the first half. But one fateful Saturday night he belted his first dinger of the season and the crowd went nuts. I’m not sure if it was for his HR or that it put the Pirates up by one against the Astros in the 8th inning. Nonetheless, the corwd remained on their feet for a few minutes after he had touched home. Bell came out of the dugout after high fiving teammates and tipped his cap to the adoring Pittsburghers.

Just this year former Buc Craig Monroe followed in the similar footsteps of Bell. He was an off season acquistion and just getting used to the new club. He was a solid bench player and a likeable guy (the polar opposite of Bell in terms of personality). In a game against the Braves on a Saturday in April Monroe went haywire. He smashed 2 homeruns to starighaway center field that landed in the bullpen. It was great for Monroe to show his raw power and get his name out to the fans. After the second homerun I remember remianing standing and yelling “Hey Craigger” I was sitting behind homeplate close to the field but still a long shot if he actually heard me. Others around me began to stand and cheer loud and even louder than I was. It caught fire and the entire stadium was up and booming, the Craig came to the top step and showed his appreciation. I kind of take pride in the fact that I was kind of the firestarter.

McCutchen’s big night was the number 7 top play on Sportscenter from the night. Sportscenter really did the game justice with about 5 minutes of coverage, honestly the most I have seen given to the Pirates in quite some time. It was awesome sitting on my couch watching the most famous sports show paying all this homage to Cutch and the Pirates. After the 3 minute long highlight the hosts talked about famous Pirates that hit 3 homeruns in one game. Willie Stargell did it as well as Roberto Clemente. Just seeing Andrew’s face among these two MLB legends was inspiring. Even though he is so young Andrew has already left his mark and gotten the attention of everyone in the baseball world. It would feel like a dream if only Cutch can do the things “Pops” and “The Great One” did in a Pirates uniform.

Watching the national attention of the game made me want to laugh and say hey…I told ya so. Earlier in the week ESPN was bashing the Pirates left and right. Reporters on “Around the Horn” was harsh with the Pittsburgh ownership suggesting the MLB step in and kick out the owners. On “Pardon the Interruption” Tony and Michael were also tough and just plain rude. The Pirates won 2 games since the trade dealine and won them impressively. Although they lost 5-3 on Sunday they are still in good shape and poised to finish off the season competitively.

 

Picture credit: postgazette.com, AP

 

 

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