Results tagged ‘ Andy LaRoche ’

The future’s open wide

strasburg.jpgThe hour building up to the debut of Stephen Strausburg against the Pirates may have been the most excited I have been in quite sometime.

His every move was watched as 44,000 in Nationals Park and millions around the world were focused on this kid who is only six months older than myself.

It was like a presidential procession as he left the dugout to warm up in the outfield as a handful of security guards surrounded him as media and fans attempted to get a glimpse of the hurler.

With all the craze and hype developing since he was drafted as the first overall pick in 2009 Strasburg handled the moment the best way he knew how, striking out 14 Pirate batters.

It was the most unique way I personally have ever watched a baseball game as I focused solely on the 6’4 220 pounds pitcher. He is straight up Nasty, with a capital N.

 

He throws so hard hitting the upper nineties like it is nothing. His changeup clocks in at 91. His changeup! His sinker and curveballs would make Pedro Cerrano cry. They are simply unhittable.

He gave up a two run homerun to Delwyn Young and Andy LaRoche recorded the first hit off him in the third inning. Strasburg will be great, time will tell if he will be mentioned in the same breath as the Randy Johnson’s and Roger Clemens’s and if he will end up on the Yankees. But I think it is safe to say he will be the 2010 Rookie of the Year.

A much less hyped up debut of a pair of major leaguers will also be occuring soon.

The Pirates’ outfielder Jose Tabata and pitcher Brad Lincoln will make their first appearances sometime this week.

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jose-tabata.jpgBoth have been hailed as saviors for the big league club and will also have to fight the adversity Strasburg is going through in order to prove they can belong.

Lincoln was the Buc’s first round draft pick in the 2006 draft, 4th overall. He’s had a solid minor league year at AAA Indianapolis going 6-2 with a 3.16 ERA. It has been his best year since returning from surgery in 2007. He has the potential to be a number one starter in the rotation but alsi has to develop himself into that role. Soemthing that homegrown Pirates pitchers fail to do.

Tabata is a unique story. He came over to Pittsburgh from the Yankees in the trade that sent Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte to New York. The Pirates also recieved Ross Ohlendorf in that swap. Tabata is best known for having a 35 year old wife who kidnaps children (long story). His on the field reputation is good as he has great potential at the plate. He is batting just over .300 with three homeruns this season. His best year came in 2008 when he arrived in AA Altoona. He hit for a .348 average. Tabata will split time in the outfield with Ryan Church, Lastings Milledge and Garrett Jones, when he is not manning first.

Both players will get early playing time by being thrown into the fire right away, I like that. That kind of development and on the job training is necessary to succeed. That is why they are up here anyway, to play.

The Pirates and the rest of Major League baseball all took a step in the right direction towards their future.

I was pleased with Pittsburgh’s draft class as I have been the past two years. It picked up who Baseball America called the two hardest throwing pitchers in the draft in 2nd overall pick Jameson Taillon and second rounder Stetson Allie. Not only do they both have sweet names, they have sweet pitches. Both can hit the 100mph mark which I think is ridiculous for both of them coming right out of high school. I still have doubts that the Pirates will be able to sign eitehr of them. They will demand a boatload of money and I am sure the Bucs will short change them. I can only hope owner Bob Nutting is ready to open up the checkbook.

I was most ecstatic about former West Virginia short stop Jedd Gyorko going 59th overall to the San Diego Padres.

 

Gyorko-Header-6810.jpgI have covered Gyorko and the Mountaineer baseball team for the past two years and he is head over heels the best collegiate player I have ever seen. He leaves WVU as the best hitter in school history with a .404 Batting Average and 35 home runs. He will help the Padres up the middle as well with a good gloves and wide range.

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Kaybee and Hyun Young; enjoy him. He is a pleasure to watch and an even greater guy. He stabnds just a generous 5’10” but plays much bigger. He does have a stocky build and natural raw power. He was definitely picked up because of his bat and will be able to transition from aluminum to wood nicely. He is such a nice dude who was a pleasure to talk with and develop a trusting relationship. Yesterday was a big day for him and his family yet he took time out of it to do an interview with me. You guys can read my article about Gyorko here at The Daily Athenaeum website, the official school newspaper of WVU.

photo credits:

postgazette.com

insidepittsburghsports.com

media.scout.com

msnsportsnet.com

War is Over!

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So this is the Brewers

And what have you done?

Took two out of three

It sure was a lot of fun.

Thank you John and Yoko, a great song for a great series.

The Pirates defeated the Brewers ending a 22 game losing streak in Milwaukee on Tuesday with a 7-3 victory.

The man of the hour looked to be Trevor Hoffman.
 

“Hells Bells” resounded and chants of “It’s Trevor Time” could be heard around Miller Park. After all, the MLB saves leader deserves an ovation like that.

Ryan Doumit must have took offense to the fanfare as he took matters into his own hands.
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Hoffman checked into the game with a 3-2 lead. Ronny Cedeno got under his skin launching a solo home run.

A few batters later, with the bases loaded Doumit jacked a grand slam deep into the second deck over the right field wall. That sealed the deal and ended the torment.

It never seemed like it would come.

The series began right where it left off in Pittsburgh following that 20-0 history making contest.
Pittsburgh fell 17-3. It was just an ugly game, something Pirates fans have been used to this past week.

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On a play at the plate that Gregg Zaun was clearly safe, manager John Russell got his butt of the bench for the first time in quite some time. Originally I believed Doumit made the tag and Zaun was out. Russell obviously did not get to see the replay multiple times like I did at one of Morgantown’s famed bars, the Boston Beanery. I was glad to see Russell defending his players and actually talking during a game. He looks like he is going to fall asleep at any time and also can hardly be heard during post game interviews. WVU basketball coach Bob Huggins is the same way in the interviews. A very low talker who is quite soft spoken and talks in “coach speak.” However, Huggins is the most in your face, smash mouthed coach in any sport. Russell needs some lessons from Huggy Bear.

The rubber match on Thursday was big. A win by the Pirates would actually tie the Brewers for fourth place in the Central. Now it is quite an accomplishment considering the beat down the Brewers have laid on the Bucs.

Welcome to fourth place boys!
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Andrew McCutchen teed off for a pair of homeruns and Andy LaRoche kept his big bat hot with a homerun and two hits of his own.

The marathon game went to the 14th inning. It should have been over way before that.

Hoffman came in again. Blew it again. Without saying, Pirates closer Octavio Dotel forfeited his own save a few innings later.

After going hitless the entire game Garrett Jones drove in the winning run to cap off the win and take the series. A great series. There is nothing better than raising the Jolly Roger in Miller Park. After all it was 22 game since it last happened.

photo credits: AP/postgazette.com

Hoping we leave the losses in San Francisco

Thank you Edgar Renteria.

 

edgar.jpgWithout your error in the top of the ninth inning of Tuesday’s 6-5 loss to the Pirates, the lowly Bucs would not have won a game in the series.

Everything fell apart for the Pirates in the series. Falling apart may not be the best descrption because it seems like this team is what we’re going to get all season.

Charlie Morton got shelled on Wednesday giving up 3 home runs. One of which included an inside the parker by Aubrey Huff. Not the speed king at all but he just lucked out. His deep ball carromed off the base of the wall and took a bounce that would never occur 99 times out of 100. After watching the replay about 25 times I can assure everyone that it was not Garrett Jones’ fault for misplaying it.

Wednesday was the only game where the Bucs manufactured key runs. Aki Iwamura drove in a key run in the ninth inning and hit a home run earlir in the game. Andy LaRoche also helped out with his first home run of the season, a two run shot.

The west coast was not kind to Pittsburgh as we won just two of six. With a 4-5 record the Pirates face the 5-4 Reds. Now it is early in the season but I’m taken the Divisonal race seriously because lets face it. The Pirates are not going to be doing anything this year.

A sweep would be nice. And so would 2 out of 3. COming out of the weekend standing at or above .500 is the goal.

See ya’ll at PNC Park on Friday!

photo credit: zimbio.com

Buccos fall to Braves and bitter McLouth.

Two games in. Two losses

The Pirates lost 2-4 at the hands of Atlanta on Thursday. The Pirates have put up miniscule hits these past two days, recording just four against the Braves. Compared to the five hit by Atlanta, I guess it should not be too big of a talking point.

Two of the Bucs reaching base safely were new additions. Ryan Church and Bobby Crosby.

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Church got the start in right field, but should not be too commended for his effort. He struck out twice while getting his single in three at bats. Over the weekend I called in to a local sports talk station. The guys were talking about off-season accquisitions by the Pirates and failed to mention Church. I chimed in expressing my interest in him and that he could be a central part to our team. They agreed and complimented me, a good feeling considering I am not a frequent caller to these type of shows. I normally just like to sit back and listen. The show was Sunday during an intermission of the USA-Canada hockey game and I was lucky enough to be directed straight to the show. I did watch the game and if anybody else did I hope you were listening intently at the very beginning of the first period. Announcer Doc Emerick dropped a Pirates mention saying “I bet the Pittsburgh Pirates are glued intently to this game.” Perplexed I was, but later found out Emerick is a huge Pirates fan. The New Jersey Devils announcer earned major points in my media heroes book.

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Crosby had a decent day at the plate. With two outs in third he ripped a single through the infield bringing in a run. It was the first tally mark of the afternoon for the Pirates. It was the only noise he would make in his three at bats.

Andy LaRoche hit the first homerun of the Spring Training season for Pittsburgh. His solo shot in the 7th was the only other productive at bat in the contest.

The underlying storyline heading into this ballgame was the matchup against former Pirate centerfielder Nate McLouth.

 

nate.jpgThe 2008 Gold Glove winner was the first Pirate traded in last summer’s infamous fire sale. A shocking move to the city of Pittsburgh and the entire baseball world as McLouth just inked a long term deal with the club in the offseason.

In an interview with Jennifer Langosch Nate announced his disdain for the Pirates organization. Here is a sample of what he said.

It feels good to be in an organization this year that’s going to be in a playoff hunt and not have to talk about ‘We hope years down the road …’ and things like that. It’s good to have that feeling in Spring Training.

It was tough, but I was kind of lucky that I was the first one to get sent out and I didn’t have to deal with it the whole summer. 

If I was in Nate’s position, I certainly would be a bit ticked and I understand what he is saying. At the time I was unsure of the trade, but it can pay big dividends for the Pirates. We got a starting pitcher (Charlie Morton) and a centerfield prospect (Gorkys Hernandez) out of the deal. It makes me happy theat McLouth is not down playing that situation. He truly wanted to be a Pirate and felt betrayed by the organization. Some say it is still a stupid move, but it really was not.

Our outfield now is one of the youngest and most talented in the National League. McLouth refused to move to left field when Andrew McCutchen would be promoted and that may have pre-empted the trade in the first place. McLouth’s numbers also dropped considerably when he was in the ATL.

In 85 games with the Braves, McLouth batted a mediocre .256 and hits 11 home runs, bringing his total up to 20 for the year. His on base percentage dropped a handful of points from the year before and his OPS was .773, the second lowest in his five year career.

It is hard to tell what the short and long term effects of the trade will be. The duo the Pirates recieved from Atlanta has yet to pan out. In sort of a fitting manner, it was Morton that started the game for Pittsburgh. He had control issues walking three batters (including McLouth).

photo credits: piratereport.com, coxnewsweb.com

Baltimore is up next! Bucs-O’s Friday at 7p.m.

  

2010 Baseball Cards- I’ve seen better

 

 

2010toppsseries1baseballcardshobbybox.jpgWhat is nearly as welcoming as a field of green, a glove a bat and a ball? Not much but I can think of something square shaped that comes close. BASEBALL CARDS

Last weekend I spent some hard earned cash on a few packs of cards. Getting razzed by my buddies for wasting my beer money on baseball cards, I feel I made the right decision. 

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Topps 2010 were the first I flocked to.

The base cards are striking with bold pictures and the team name prominently displayed. However, they seem like minature posters rather than baseball cards. Don’t get me wrong I do like them, I just don’t feel we need to “Mickey Mouse” these American traditions any more than they already.

davidwright.jpgWhile these are two great poses demonstrating these two top tier players, most of the pictures are weird and simply do not justify the players. They show the backs of some players.

Being a loyal topps customer I also wanted to dip into what the 2010 Upper Decks had to offer.

udlogo.jpgThe Upper Deck Company has always played second fiddle to Topps it seems. The pictures are always better with UD, but the classic feel is lacking. They definitely showed why they are runners up with this year’s set.

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The set up of the cards are nice, for the most part. The player’s pictures are nice and centralized. Their poses are natural and easily to be deciphered. The mug shot of the player in the lower right hand corner is a nice touch. The only drawback, and it is a very big drawback, is the very bottom of the cars. It’s green! For every team, even if they are not the A’s. It is rather annoying. Also, the player’s names and team name is written in like a Times New Roman style. It doesn’t mesh well with the other natures of the cards.

Of course when opening a pack of cards I get most excited when I draw a Pirate. In the four packs I bought (2 Topps and 2 Upper Decks) I grabbed a Neil Walker and Andy LaRoche. Even though the initial thrill of baseball cards is originally opening the package, I still do not get distraught if I pull some players I could care less about. My favorite part of a card is the back where you can see stats and fun facts. The education you can get about a player from their baseball card is really underrated and something more fans should enjoy.

photo credits: beckettblog.wordpress.com, ebay.com

Move over Sidney, there’s a new Crosby in town

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And his name is Bobby.

The Pirates are reportedly close to signing infielder Bobby Crosby to a one year deal on Thursday. The 29 year old shortstop is a former Oakland A with an aresenal of talent hiding within him and six years of big league experience.

As the winter meetings come to a close and the biggest blockbuster officially landing on Wednesday (the 3-way trade of the Yankees, D-Backs and Tigers), it is safe to say this free agent pick up by Pittsburgh will be overlooked, not only by the baseball world, but in the Pittsburgh area as well.

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Theres no question that this guy is not only the most famous Crosby in Western Pennsylvania, but also the most recognizable sports figure in the Steel City in a number of decades. With the Steelers at 6-6 and on the verge of one of their worst seasons in recent history, Pittsburgh is a Hockeytown. Rightfully so, the Penguins are Stanley Cup Champs and with marketable players with such as Mr. Sidney Crosby in town, the Pens not only are a dream on the ice, they really win the hearts of the tween girls of the area.

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In my honest opinion, females are the driving force behind the economics and welfare of professional sports teams. That may be a stretch, in fact it is, but girls enjoy a good team and it doesn’t hurt to have a few handsome players on that team. The Penguins have just that. It is amazing how many Steeler/Penguins shirts, hats, jerseys, jackets and other clothing items you see around the campus of West Virginia University. Any given day they sometimes out number the old gold and blue of the hometown Mountaineers. A majority of the people donning the black and gold of the professional teams of Pittsburgh are girls. It is because they are good and have these marketable players. I can count on one hand the number of Pirates paraphernalia I have seen in the past few years here in Morgantown. It is not many at all, mostly because of the irrelevant nature of my beloved Bucs and because the players are just not that marketable-yet.

The Pirates will be a better team. Maybe not in 2010 but by 2011 they should have a developing young core of guys that will make a push for the playoffs. Once the girls of the metropolitan area catch on, Pirates fever will begin to rank right up there with the recent surge of the Pens. Call me a wishful thinker but if the Pirates flirt with .500 this year and maybe, just maybe make a run at the playoffs Bobby Crosby will be reason for that overdue change of pace.

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He may not have had the greatest year in 2009. In fact he didn’t at all. Being paid over 5 million dollars to hit just above .230 and only knock out six home runs is never acceptable, even for a former Rookie of the Year. In 2004, Crosby earned that award when he hit 22 home runs and carried a .981 fielding percentage. SInce that year he has had a sharp decline in his numbers all around but maybe the six year vet just needs a change of scenery to get things back on track.

He will only be signed for one year at 1.5 million dollars. In no way will he be a starter, but a relaible option of the bench and an ideal utility infielder. Last year he made a majority of his starts at first base surprisingly but he is a natural shortstop. He adds to the expanding depth in the infield as he joins Delwyn Young, Neil Walker and Ramon Vazquez on the bench filling in for Andy LaRoche, Ronny Cedeno and Akinori Iwamura.
Personally I like this signing. It is low risk and worth the 1.5 million for a solid utility guy. For some reason I get a good vibe from he, though just a backup I feel he will give the team a different kind of spark and catch the attention of ladies if, and thats a big, IF, the Pirates catch fire in 2010.

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.

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  

The Timeline of Frustration

7:05- Bucco game starts. Excitement runs through my veins as another Philies-Pirates game begins. I enjoy this cross state rivalry and look forward to the games each year.

7:15- Pirate right fielder Garret Jones launches a home run to right field. I was skeptical of Jones at first. He never did intrigue me. He has since proven me wrong. Since his time in the big leagues he has connected with the ball well and been an asset in the outfield. He showed tonight that he has the power that the Pirates need.

 


jones.jpg7:18- Delwyn Young homers to left field.
 I love Young. He seems like a good guy with a nice personality and a good fit in the clubhouse. He brings a fire and passion to the team and always seems to get on base. A home run from him is always welcome.

7:48- Andrew McCutchen continues the trend and blasts an HR to left field. I had actually called this homerun. With Adam LaRoche on first I was ready for him to score. I figured no time like the present. I said Cutch is due for a dinger and he delievered right on cue. With a   5-0 lead I figured the Pirates had this game in the bag.

 


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- The Phils got on the board with an RBI from Raul Ibanez. This came in the 6th inning where Philly would continue to surge scoring a total of 3 runs.

9:07- The Pirates got 2 more runs here in the 7th in thanks to a handful of miscues by the Philadelphia defense. Garret Jones drew a walk scoring Jack Wilson. Later in the inning Ryan Doumit knocked in McCutchen to earn his first RBI since returning to the big league club.

9:40- With the Pirates in the field and the Philies searching for any form of life at the plate Jack WIlson showcased his glove making a diving, over the shoulder catch in mid left field robbing Shane Victorino of a hit. Being the always aware, always attentive shortstop he is, Wilson flung the ball over to LaRoche at first doubling up Jimmy Rollins. It was an amazing play and sure to be a web gem and top 10 play on tomorrows ESPN broadcasts.

10:00- Matt Capps comes in with a 7-3 lead. I am always weary of these situations. I’m talking baout when a closer is brought in during a non-save situation. Capps had a little breathing room so I was sure he could seal the deal and give the bucs a win.

10:02- Just a few minutes after coming into the game Capps gave up a solo shot to Matt Stairs. I wasn’t worried yet. I like Matt Stairs, he too is a good guy and a fan favorite no matter where he plays. With the Pirates in 2003 he hit 20 homeruns. He leads all current MLBers with 18 pinch hit homeruns.

 


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Ryan Howard steps to the plate with 2 men on and one out. This was the first meeting between Howard and Capps. Howard took advantage of the Big Bull Rider and absolutely blasted a shot over the centerfield fence. With one swing of the bat the game was tied and another chapter was written in Howard’s legacy book.

10:22- Ten minutes later the ball game was over. The bases were loaded and Paul Bako singled to left field scoring Raul Ibanez, who would be the dreadful winning run.

 

raul.jpgWith the loss the Pirates slip to 11 games under .500. There is little hope for the rest of the season. There is also little hope for the future of Matt Capps. It is inexcuseable for a closer of his nature to blow a game like this. The Bucs recently brought in Joel Hanrahan from the Nationals. I do believe they have plans for him in the pen as a closer here in the near future.

Ryan Doumit performed well in just his second game back from the DL. He was 0-4 in his first game but turned it around tonight with 2 doubles.

Andy LaRoche turned on the jets when he laced a triple in the 8th inning. I did not realize it but it was his 4th triple of the year.

Andrew McCutchen had a heck of a game. He had 2 hits, one being the HR, a stolen base and scored. This is the kind of production we need from him in the leadoff spot.

Virgil Vazquez will square off against J.A. Happ tomorrow for game 3 of the series when Pittsburgh hopes to avoid the sweep.

 

  

 

 

 

Do you believe in miracles? THE PIRATES DO!

MIRACLES.jpgI kind of jumped the gun a little with last nights post. I had just seen Snell get yanked from the game and assumed that the Bucs were detined for another loss, their 29th of the year. However, by the glory of Andy LaRoche teh Pirates pulled together a 5-run 8th innings and propelled Pittsburgh to a 8-5 win over teh Mets. I love answered runs and the Pirates had 8 of them last night.

The Buccos put together a string of 13 hits in the game and were relentless at the plate. Nyjer Morgan went 2-4, Adam LaRoche went 3-5, Jack Wilson went 3-4, Jason Jaramillo went 2-4 and Andy went 3-4 with 3 RBI and a TRIP_TRIP_ TRIPLE.

The big hit was delievered by pinch hitter Delwyn Young. His single drove in the go-ahead run and gave the Bucs momenum to add their insurance in  the same inning. 

This was a special game for a handful of reasons.

1) My good friend Chris Kiernan was able to witness the game. If you remeber a few weeks back when “A Deeper Look Inside Chris Kiernan” was written, he is from New Jersey. Being in teh New York metropolitan area he was able to catch the game on Chris was fresh off a visit to a minor league game where the Trenton Thunder played against teh Pittsburgh AA farm club, the Altoona Curve. Prior to the game he went down to the baseline and scored me some autographs of future Pirates players. He was very generous and so were the players. He offered them words of encouragement in hopes of seeing them at PNC Park in the near future.

2) Capps got a save. I’ve been very nervous as of late when I see him warming up. However, it seems that the dust has settled and the Capper has found his groove once again.

3) Attendance= 11,812. While the Mets were probably shocked at that number the Pirates probably weren’t. For a weekday game that is actually decent in Pittsburgh. We’re so used to crowds below 10,000 dipping into the 8,000s. With summer quickly approaching and the Pirates looking above average get used to Western Pennsylvania residents flocking the North Shore to see some Bucco baseball

4) Its a win and you know what that means…

RAISE THE JOLLY ROGER…23-28

 

 

Photo Credit: AP photo/gene puskar

 

 

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