Results tagged ‘ Lastings Milledge ’

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.

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  

Morgantown…transfered from Pittsburgh to D.C.

nyjer bat.jpgA blockbuster day was held in Pittsburgh today. The Pirates downed the Cubs 3-0 which was refreshing, but what came before that was very unsettling.

Eric Hinske was delt to the Yankees for two low A propspects. One is a pitcher, teh other an outfielder. Not much info is out there about the pair but when you are in A ball chances are you are lightyears from the MLB. Hinske was a solid backup player and a good role model for the younger guys on teh team. He will be missed but the fact that chances are he wasn’t returning to the team next year.

What really upsets me was the trade of Nyjer Morgan. There have been talks about dealing the speedster for teh past few weeks but I just disregarded it. I knew what we had in Morgan and believed he was going to be a part of the future. That is going against a lot of theories other Pirate fans have about Morgan. He was a great guy, great in the community, a great teammate and a fan favorite. He could have been beloved in Pittsburgh for many years to come. But then again so could Jason Bay, Xavier Nady and Nate McLouth.

What upsets me teh most about the trade was the return. We recieved Lastings Milledge.

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Headcase extrodinaire. He has been the complete opposite of a Nyjer Morgan. In his 3 stints as a major league player he has been tossed numerous times, fined numerous times and found himself in trouble with the law numerous times.

Right now Lastings is in teh GCL league rehabbing an injury. His skills have been degressing over the past few seasons. He has been demoted by the Nats early this season. Take that in for a moment folks…demoted by the Nationals, the Washington Nationals. The worst team in the MLB. He is just 24, with a lot of room for development. Now some may say this is a great move for the Bucs. they traded a mediocre outfielder for one with much more upside…but I don’t see it. Milledge is a bust, he is overrated and overlooked for good reason. He’s had opportunites but has failed to live up to the hype.

The Pirates need power, and need it fast. Although Milledge will probably not make it up to PNC Park for a few months he may provide some pop. He has the coveted “potential” genes, but if he doens’t use it, makes no sense to me. If he can turn it around with this change of scenery it will be a great move….I just don’t see him getting that hot.

Speaking of hot, if you’ve ever been to the Pittsburgh area you are familiar with Quaker Steak and Lube wings.

TheLube.jpg  It is known as best wings USA.

They are famous for their very hot ATOMIC hot wings. Very few have tried to down 5 of these boned wings. You must be brave, hungry, and able to handle heat to complete the coveted challenge and earn a spot on their wall of fame.

My friend Andrew Schuerholz, nephew of Braves VP John Schuerholz, who I have mentioned before completed the feat today. He was in town visiting from Baltimore and couldn’t leave Youngstown without attempting the feat. He passed with flying colors and earned respect from the restraunt. Congrats Drew!

 

PHOTO CREDITS: mlb.com, roethisteinnews.com, sidesalad.com 

 

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