Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Game 53 Recap: Pirates 5, Mets 1

Well guys, I am back. Feels like I haven't done this in some time, but when your college roommate gets married and the wedding is seven hours away, at the beach, you are going to have some off time and some way away from the blog when you are the only one doing this.

For those interested I had a killer time at the wedding. Seeing your friends get married is a great thing. Since I have left college a few years ago I don't get to see all my really close friends all that often, but it was really nice to have that now. Being at the beach wasn't bad either. I could tell you some stories, but I don't think there are many I would feel all that comfortable telling.

I didn't get to watch all of the game because I got to spend some time with my family before I fly out tomorrow night to go back to Wisconsin. I turned on ROOT in the seventh inning and it did not look pretty bad from what I could gather from the box score and few highlights I saw.

Knuckleball chucker R.A. Dickey looked like a Cy Young candidate and the Pirates struck out eight times. It looked dim and not good. That was until the eighth inning. Ronny Cedeno started the inning with a hit and with two outs Josh Harrison picked up his first ever RBI in his first ever game to tie the game at one. Cutch walked and then Neil Walker drove in two with a single up the middle. Bam.

In the ninth Brandon Wood (!) singled home a pair to round out the scoring for the Bucs.

Great debut by Harrison. He had two hits, knocked in the tying run, scored a run and was pretty good on the bases late. Outside of the bad bunt attempt Dusty Brown got his first hit as a Pirate. Can't knock on that.

After giving up a run in the first JMac was just straight dealing. He went six innings and only gave up the lone run and struck out five. In his last seven starts McDonald has a 2.85 ERA. I think it is pretty safe to say that he is starting to get into form. With the start that gives the Pirates starters 12 straight games giving up two earned runs or less. Not too shabby for a staff that was supposed to be terrible.

The Pirates pen did a hell of a job to close this up. Meek, Veras and Hanrahan didn't even give up a hit and Veras was about as nasty as you could be in the eighth. Actually, if you look up nasty in the dictionary you will see his back door curve to Beltran that he looked at to end the inning. Just filthy. All told the Pirates pen is pretty good and with the starters being just as good it really gives the offense a chance to win games like this. I like it.

Pirates are back at it tomorrow against the Mets. This was also the Pirates first ever win at Citi Field. Cool.

Pirates Game Day 53 Live Blog - @ New York Mets

Well, I am back after being away all weekend for a wedding. I know you all missed me.

Today we learned that a few Pirates were going to be on the DL. Ryan Doumit will miss at least a month with a fractured left ankle and Steve Pearce is week-to-week with a partial tear in his calf. Both were swinging a pretty decent stick as a recent so that sucks.

Josh Harrison (3B) and Dusty Brown (C) were called up with Harrison making his major league debut.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pirates Game Day 47 Live Blog- vs. Atlanta Braves

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Game 46 Recap: Tigers 2, Pirates 0

The Pirates got their four game winning streak snapped today when Tigers starter Rick Porcello dominated then for eight innings before being lifted. The Pirates only collected two hits on the day and never really posed much of a threat to tie the game.

There isn't too much to say. Porcello was excellent for the Tigers and only threw 84 pitches through eight innings of work. The best chance the Pirates had was when Jim Leland decided to pull Porcello after the eighth inning. The Pirates proceeded to get the first two hitters on base but failed miserably with a chance to tie the game up.

Ronny Cedeno and Xavier Paul had the only two hits for the Bucs. Only four batters saw 10 pitches or more in the lineup today. That is not real good. Andrew McCutchen drew two walks also.

Paul Maholm had a pretty good outing. He went only 5.1 innings and struck out five. Most of the reason he was out so early was becuase of him throwing 96 pitches. He wasn't wildly efficient but he wasn't getting much help from the offensive side. On the season the Bucs offense has only scored 14 runs in 10 outtings while he has been on the bump. That isn't going to lend to many wins for Paul which is mostly why he is 1-7 on the season. I mena they have to score some runs for him sometime, right?

Although this wasn't an inspiring game it was still a really good series for the Bucs. They were facing three pretty good pitchers and were able to take two of three games. The Bucs will not get another day off tomrrow and then have a quick two game series with the Braves.

I will be taking a trip back to Pittsburgh for a friends wedding so the blog might be silent for the next week or so but the live chats should still be up for every game.

Pirates Game Day 46 Live Blog - vs. Detroit Tigers

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Game 45 Recap: Pirates 6, Tigers 2

The Pirates won another impressive game tonight over the Tigers and extended their win streak to a season long four games and are only one game below the .500 mark. I have a good bit to say, so let’s get into the recap.

I must preface this with saying that Fox and Major League Baseball can go suck the fat one for what they did for the sport tonight. Saturday day games are a rarity anymore but since Fox had the Cubs/Red Sox game every other game that was a 7:05 p.m. start was blacked out. That means that one game was on TV and five other games were blacked out. I guess I missed the memo where there were only two teams playing tonight. This is an utter and complete joke that all those games were blacked out everywhere. Maybe I am missing something but MLB is not the NFL, they can use all the eyes on the game they can. I blame this just as much on MLB as I do Fox for shutting people out.

Kevin Correia did a really nice job tonight of pitching he went 6.2 innings and really only had one very small stretch of problems which was in the fourth inning when he gave up three straight doubles to give the Tigers a two run lead. Correia threw 96 pitches and threw 64 of them for strikes, but the most telling stat from the night was that he gave up no walks on the night. Only bad things happen when you give guys free bases and he didn’t do that. After back to back losses he came back strong, which is good. He gave up six earned to the Brewers last Sunday and four earned to the Dodgers on Tuesday but he was rock solid today.

Correia obviously wasn't on his best game, but that is what you need to do as a starting pitcher. When you don't have your best stuff you have to find a way to win and give your team a chance to win. KC did that tonight and I have mad respect for him for doing that. Here is his PitchFX chart:

As you can see he was a little all over the place. Whatever.
This team is just too much fun to watch and as this season goes on you can see more and more that this is a true “Pittsburgh team.” What I mean by that is that when the team gets down it doesn’t roll over like it might have in previous seasons, it comes back strong and fights for every single out. We have seen this all year and it makes this team a lot of fun to watch. Tigers starter Max Scherzer came into the game without a loss and although he got the better of the Pirates early they were able to scratch and claw and take the lead in the sixth inning.

The sixth inning I was talking about was a true thing of beauty if you are a true baseball fan. The inning led off with Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata both singling and then GFJ took the first pitch he saw down the right field line for a ground rule double and to put the Bucs on the board. Now, second and third with no outs and you are down by one you really want to at least tie the game with good situational hitting. Neil Walker hits a sacrifice fly and Lyle Overbay hits one of his own to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead. Great job by the Pirates taking what the opposing pitchers were going to give them and cashing in with runners in scoring position. Love to see it.

I must say that the play of the game might not be what most people thing, however. With runner on second and third and the Pirates down one Neil Walker hit a sacrifice fly to score Jose Tabata. GFJ was on second base and tagged and got to third base. This was a HUGE play if you ask me. It is pretty ballsy because the fly ball was hit to left center field and Jones isn’t the fleetest of feet on the bases. However, Jones realized that the centerfielder had his back turned when he made the catch and was in a poor throwing position and took the liberty to get to third base with only one out. Granted Ryan Doumit scored after the Overbay sacrifice fly to score Jones, but you don’t know that is going to happen. Getting to third base, as the go ahead run, with less than two outs is huge and heads up base running.

What was very reassuring was that the Pirates didn’t sit on the lead. They would go on to score three more runs in the seventh inning and once again it was getting runners on base to start the inning. What was curious about this inning was that Jose Veras pitched in the sixth and with only a one run lead he led off the seventh inning. I was questioning it until Veras walked on four straight pitches, on his first ever at bat. I guess I can’t question that, right? McCutchen singled then Tabata absolutely hit a laser right back up the middle to load the bases with no outs. Matt Diaz then did an excellent job of inside out hitting and doubled to right center field to score two.

If what Jones did on the bases was the play of the game then what Diaz did was second best. With one out Overbay struck out on a ball in the dirt and Matt Diaz made a dead ball read and tried to take second base with Tabata on third. The catcher does a great job of keeping the ball in front and has Diaz out by a mile. Diaz stops and gets into a run down and makes the Tigers throw theball a good six or seven times before he is out and is enough time for Tabata to score from third. Now on the surface this looks bad because obviously Diaz is out on the play but it is very heads up by Matt. If he goes into second base and gets tagged out they don’t score the run, but instead he realizes that he is going to be out, stops and gets into a run down to score the run. That is great heads up baseball and with the way the game ended made that fourth run even more important.

Andrew McCutchen is getting scary good at the plate. He was 3-for-4 tonight and has his average up to .259 after struggling for the first 30 games or so. Jose Tabata also is starting to turn it on at the plate with a 2-for-4 tonight and creeping his average to close to .250. No coincidence that the offense is starting to roll when those two start to get some hits and get on base.

This was a great win for the Pirates because they are beating a good team in the Tigers with a combination of hitting, defense and pitching but it was even sweeter because the place was full tonight. It was a standing room only sellout on Neil Walker bobble head night and the Pirates showed the city what they can do. This was a small glimpse of what the city can be like if/when the Pirates start contending over the next couple of years. This city will go wild for the Pirates and I think everyone is starting to get that taste that the Pirates are going to scrap and claw and play some hard baseball night in and night out.

The Pirate are going to be looking for the sweep tomorrow. The Pirates are back on the field in like six minutes. Get your mind right.

Pirates Game Day 45 Live Blog - vs. Detroit Tigers

Friday, May 20, 2011

AL Win: Pirates 10, Tigers 1

The Pirates scored double figure runs via a six run sixth inning and the Pirates cruised after that with great work from starter Jeff Karstens and a flawless pen.

It was a really nice win for the Pirates in front of a really good sized crowed in interleague play. The Pirates have been terrible in interleague play since it started but really played a nice ballgame tonight.

Here are my thoughts on a win that got the Pirates to 21-23 on the season and started a winning streak:

-Jeff Karstens was again very good tonight. He took a no hitter into the fifth inning and really didn't have much trouble all night. He did himself a lot of favors early in the game by throwing under 10 pitches in each of the second, third and fourth innings and only threw 41 pitches through four innings. He only threw 75 innings through six innings but he was starting to tire and get hit around a little bit so it was a good hook by Hurdle.

As you can see Karstens did a nice job of throwing strikes and even when he was out of the zone he was missing around the strike zone. He got some ground balls and made it easy on his defense and really did a nice job all game.

-One thing the Pirates have been doing an excellent job at over the past couple of game is two out hitting and tonight was no different. The game was close tonight and after the Tigers tied it up in the sixth inning the Pirates blew up in the bottom half of the sixth. They scored six runs in that inning and batted around the order. After Lyle Overbay finally hit one out of the park the Pirates to lead off the inning. The Pirates then scored five more runs, four with two outs, to give them some breathing room.

Matt Diaz hit into a fielders choice to score Brandon Wood, which gave the Tigers two outs and they were only down 3-1. Jose Tabata then worked a two out walk and GFJ and Neil Walker both doubled to the left center gap, both scoring two runs.

I have been uber impressed with the Pirates ability to hit with two outs and runners in scoring position the past week or so, especially late in games. The score was 3-1 and with the Tigers lineup that could easily turned into a loss for the Pirates but GFJ and Walker really "clutched up" and gave the Pirates the insurance runs they needed. Last year this stuff didn't happen and it is really refreshing that the Pirates can do this late into games. That may be the difference between the 57 win team last year and a 75 win team this year.

-The Pirates did a great job of working the count tonight. Brad Penny, who has been good all year, was having some control problems and the Pirates were able to take some walks and make Penny throw a lot of pitches. Even when the Pirates got into the Tigers pen they were able to work the count and Tabata drew a walk which led directly to the big inning from GFJ and Walker. The Pirates didn't take many walks last season and plate discipline is something they have had a problem with in the past so this is nice to see. Actually, this whole season they have done a pretty good job of taking the free pass. Refreshing to see.

Ryan Doumit continues to swing the bat well. He drove in the Pirates first run with two outs and runners on first and second (another two out RISP hit) to break the ice in the fourth inning. I know some people are talking about him being trade bait, but I really don't see it. I mean he can hit the baseball, but he doesn't have a defensive position and he is really only a left handed bat (who is a switch hitter). I must admit that he has become a great clubhouse guy who has really taken onto his role with the team, much like Karstens is with his role. Those are types of guys you like to have on the team and really makes things click, even if he doesn't bring anything to the table defensively.

-Jose Tabata had a really nice night. He has been in an extended slump and he was really good at the plate tonight. 2-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored. I will take that every day of the week. Hopefully this gets him kicked started after a nice past couple of games.

-Neil Walker is proving that last year was not a fluke. Two more hits and five RBI on the night and hit another home run. With two outs (hmm, where have I seen this talked about before?) he hammered a pitch to right field with two runners on via a walk (hmm, where have I seen this talked about before) and a hit. Both of his hits were with two outs, both were extra base and both drove in multiple runs. Great game for the hometown boy.

-With all of the praising I did of the hitters so far there has been something increasingly frustrating that I have been watching (and no, I am not talking about bunting). The Pirates have been terrible the past couple of weeks when they get runners in scoring position and less than two outs. Twice tonight they got runners on first and second with less than two outs and the next batter struck out. Sure the offensive explosions have been really nice but they need to start at least moving runners over with good at bats and not striking out. I talked about it the past couple of nights but the offense needs to be much more consistent.

-The Pirates really have some good confidence going right now. You could really tell at the beginning of this game that they felt good after the two game sweep of the Reds. During the losing streak the Pirates looked beat but tonight was very different, especially with the fifth starter on the mound. This is just another reason I think this team is different, and why I think they have come a long way from last year. If this was 2010 I think we might still be on that losing streak.

Pirates Game Day 44 Live Blog- vs. Detroit Tigers

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Game 43 Recap: Pirates 5, Reds 3

I guess we can honestly say that we do know what it feels like to seemingly own a team for some period of time. For whatever reason the Reds can not beat the Pirates. The Bucs did it again today with some good baseball and "swept" (I guess you call winning a two games series a sweep, no idea why we played back-to-back two game series' anyways)the Reds by a 5-3 margin. The Bucs have won five of their first six match ups with the Reds, all at GABP. Not bad.

James McDonald pitched a pretty nice game, after a rough start, and went almost seven full innings and threw just over 100 pitches. To be honest if you just watched the first and second innings you would have been shocked if JMac went four innings. He was all over the place and threw 27 pitches in the first inning and you just didn't have a good feeling about it.

What seemed to turn the tide for JMac was actually a home run that he gave up to Jay Bruce (he always kills the Pirates) with one out in the second inning. To be honest you wouldn't have known that it happened had you not seen it. The next two batters were quick outs and he was in the dugout. That was all that JMac would give up. He scattered seven hits and struck out four. What is most surprising is that he only threw 13 first pitch strikes out of 25 batters.

Here is the plot from pitchfx of JMac's pitches

As you can see here there were a lot of those pitches that were well up in the zone. Most of those occurred early in the game. In the first inning JMac only threw 59% of his pitches strikes and in the third it was down to 58%. After that he was stellar.

It was encouraging to see that JMac was getting stronger as the game went on, but as we saw in the plot above he wasn't really missing "around the zone" when he was missing. It could have been worse but hopefully this is another step in him being dominant like he was when he got here last season.

The offense did a pretty decent job today. The most encouraging came when they scored their first runs. Ronny Cendeno and JMac both struck out to start the fifth inning but the Pirates would go on to score three runs that inning. Andrew McCutchen laced a baseball into the right center field gap and that was followed by a single by Xavier Paul, a walk to Garrett Jones and a double on a 3-2 pitch by Neil Walker.

Hits like the ones from McCutchen and Walker are huge. One gets an inning started after two straight strikeouts and the other drives in two huge runs to kind of break a game open. The best part about the hits is that they are coming from the young guys. Love to see it.

Ryan Doumit made his presence felt (in a good way) with a home run in the sixth inning and then McCutchen doubled home a pair in the eighth to put the game pretty much away.

Although Pedro Alvarez was 0-2 on the day I thought he had a nice day at the plate. He wasn't striking out and he took two walks, one of which he scored on. He seems to be gettin more comfortable in the plate and is really starting to lay off some close pitches that he normally would swing at. He is working the count more and if he can start to draw some walks that is going to go a long way in helping him see some good pitches.

The Pirates will start interleague play against the Tigers tomorrow at PNC Park. The Pirates are horrible in interleague play since it started up so hopefully they can buck the trend and play some winning baseball both at home and against the American League.

Pirates Game Day 43 Live Blog - @ Cincinnati Reds

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

#ElectricStuff Pirates 5, Reds 0

Every time that Chuck Morton goes onto the mound you kind of get excited. You know that this year is different than last year and he looks totally different. Tonight was no different. Chuck was about as good as it gets tonight going the distance for his second complete game of the season and his first shutout of the year.

Morton threw 106 pitches, 69 for strikes and got 15 ground outs as opposed to only seven fly outs. I will take that every day of the week. Morton was wildly effective and had the Reds hitters baffled and pounding the ball into the ground almost at will.

What might be most impressive about the win is that this is the second time that Morton has faced the Reds this season. This just wasn't some "first time around" thing. This was the Reds hitters seeing him one time and still not being able to adjust the second time. In two starts against the Reds he has pitched 18 innings and gave up only one run and striking out eight.

Last season any time there was a way something could go wrong it went wrong. Horribly wrong. Every ball that could have found a hole did. Every ball in the gap was just out of the reach of an outfielder. Every pitch was left up just a few inches. Every time there were base runners on base he would literally crumble and give up huge innings. Not this year. This year he thrives when runners get on base and forces double play balls. He is pitching with confidence and knows that he is better than the hitters he is facing. Confidence is a scary good thing for a pitcher and right now Chuck has it.

While Chuck was just straight dealing the offense just did enough to get the Pirates the win. The Pirates only scored in two innings but they were pretty unreal hits that put them up.

Pedro Alvarez finally got another home run on the board with a 414 foot line drive to the right field seats. This ball was just hammered. Bronson Arroyo left a change up right in the middle of the plate and Alvarez made him pay. What was encouraging about this home run was that he might have broke a few seams when he hit it, but that he adjusted from the previous at bat when he swung through a change up. The second at bat he saw the pitch and killed it. Pedro now has four hits in his last 10 at bats and has looked a lot better at the plate. This doesn't mean he is out of his season long slump, but it is a step in the right direction.

Andrew McCutchen seems to be getting into a nice groove. Although he was only 1-for-5 on the night but he got a charge into a few balls with the highlight being the one hit he did have, a two run shot to the left field seats. Cutch now has eight home runs and a team-high 23 RBI. He seems to be coming into his own and when he really starts going it is going to be fun to watch.

That being said the Pirates relied on the home run to win the ball game. Over the past couple of recaps I have talked about the Pirates needing to be more consistent offensively. Sure they can string together an inning here and there but they are not a consistent threat to score runs. While that worked out alright tonight that is not going to be the case every night. They had eight hits and went hit less in five innings. While they sprinkled in a hit here and there it could be a lot better. I think the offense had been getting better over the last week and hopefully that will build.

Ronny Cedeno stays hot. No idea who this guy is, but I like it. He had two hits tonight for his third straight game with multiple hits and defensively he has gone 27 games without an error. I really don't expect Ronny to be a gold glove from the short stop position or hit .300 but doing what he has done over the past two weeks would be nice. If at the end of the season he was hitting .270 and cut out the lapses in defense he could really help the Pirates. A lot of people will say that he does this every year, go on a streak for about a month and then cool off. It will be interesting to see how Cedeno responds the rest of the month and into next month. Word is that he tweaked his swing with a leg kick and that is being talked about having a big impact in his results lately. To be honest even the outs he is hitting into are being hit hard.

The Bucs finish up the two game series with the Reds tomorrow. Remember everyone, it is a day game so plan your lunch break accordingly.

Pirates Game Day 42 Live Blog - @ Cincinnati Reds

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Game 41 Recap: Nationals 4, Pirates 2

Well that sucked. I was out of my apartment for the 8th and 9th inning so I can't attest to what happened, but from what I gathered from following the game on twitter it's that when you come in and give up a bomb on your first pitch that is going to suck.

Jose Ascanio (who just came on to the roster) came in relief of Paul Maholm with a runner on first in the bottom of the seventh. Danny Espinosa went deep. 4-2. Game over.

Some quick thoughts:

-Paul threw a pretty good game. Early he gave up some long flyouts but as we have seen so far this season he really settled down after the first couple of innings. He absolutely cruised through the middle innings and one point retired 13 straight batters. He went 6.1 innings and gave up only four hits and three runs (one of the runs charged was on the Espinosa home runs) and he struck out seven. He, once again, got no run support so taht didn't change.

-Although the Pirates only scored two runs it was not becuase the offense was bad. I thought the offense was much better against a pretty John Lannan. The Pirates got 10 hits, but unlike how it has usually been, they were putting the ball in play and getting hits through the entire game and not just one inning where they look amazing and then looking inept the other eight innings of the game. The position players struck out only five times and they had opportunities to score runs. I will take it.

-Just becuase you have opportunities to score runs doesn't mean you are going to score runs. Take, for instance, the fourth inning. Walk, single, double and no runs scored. Unreal. Brandon Wood walked to lead off the inning. Tries to go to third on a Chris Snyder single and get hosed. He got in under the tag it was a pretty bad base running decision. Cedeno (!) doubled to put runners on second and third with one out and Maholm coming up. Ok, infield was back, just put it in play and you might score a run.

Let me preface this with telling you that in his first at bat Paul failed miserably at getting a bunt down and never came close to getting any of the three balls in fair territory that he tried to get down.

So what do the Pirates do with Snder (real slow) on third and Maholm up at bat (looked really bad at bunting)? They try the squeeze. Maholm completely misses the ball and Snyder is dead to right in a short run down. Terrible decision all the way around. Stupid shit like this is going to cost the team games. This inning probably costs the Pirates the win. Without a doubt in my mind.

-Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata each had two hits. I have been wondering if it would have been a good idea to let Tabata lead off again since he was stroking from that spot to start the year, but maybe both fo these fuys are getting into a groove. I hope so.

-I don't know if bringing Brandon Wood into the fold help give Ronny Cedeno a kick in the ass, but it seems to have done that. Cedeno hasn't made an error in some time and he has been crushing the baseball. He now has a five game hitting streak and hits in eight of his last nine games. Cedeno is 10-30 (.333) in his last ten games and even has five walks to boot with that. I don't think Cedeno is the long term answer but you can't knock the production.

-Pirates really need the win tonight. Chuck Morton is on the mound and he has been pretty good this year. Hopefully this doesn't get too out of control.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pirates Game Day 41 Live Blog - @ Washington Nationals

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Game 40 Recap: Brewers 9, Pirates 6

Today I got to see the Pirates for the first time in person and there was some good, some bad and some terrible. The thought of two of those being bad just makes me sick to my stomach, but whatever.

Before I get into the actual game I must tell this story. I went to the game early to catch BP and I was lucky enough that the Pirates took longer than usual BP so I can see some of the guys hit more. I was standing right beside the Pirates dugout and a little kid who was six years old in an Andrew McCutchen shersy come up and is watching BP with his parents. The family was obvious Brewer fans except for the little kid. I gave him a high five and told him that he was repping the right team. His parents then go on to tell me that this kid just loves Pirates so his favorite sports teams are the Tampa Bay Bucs and the Pittsburgh Pirates. He went on to tell me that he wanted to be the starting pitcher for the Pirates when he got older and this kid have maybe every Pirates baseball card in hopes of getting autographs on them.

This kid just stared out at the field and watched everything. His parents told me that the Pirates were far and away his favorite team and that he knows every player on the team. I mean this kid is six and lives in Wisconsin and he loves the Pirates. I know that the kid likes them because of something totally unrelated that he likes, but it is still cool to see the kid take so much excitement in coming to see the Pirates play. The kid also brought his collection of Pirate cards and he must have had 100 of them. When he saw McCutchen out there he went through all his cards and picked up every single McCutchen card so that he could hopefully get them signed. McCutchen didn't sign any autographs but that didn't stop this kid from watching him the whole time. Matt Diaz came around and singed stuff and this kid was pretty excited and Diaz couldn't have been a nicer guy. He signed three cards for the kid and talked to him for a few minutes before moving on. It was really nice to see and I am sure it made the kids day. Just really something cool to see kids that love the game at such a young age like I did when I was little.

Well, after that the game came. If you watched the first three innings of the game you literally would have though the Pirates got no-hit and the Brewers tacked on 25 runs. Luckily it didn't happen like that but it was really bad really early for the Pirates.

That being said Kevin Correia didn't have much of anything. He only went four innings and gave up six runs, all earned. He just never really seemed to have it. Correia has been pretty good all year so a game like this was bound to happen at some point, but against the Brewers made it a lot harder to deal with. Everything seemed flat and in the zone and when you have hitters like Weeks, Braun and Fielder they are going to make you pay.

If you put Correia's performance in his four innings of work was a 1 on a sscale of 1-10 (one being the worst) then the Pirates offense was a -50. Every hitter that went up there against Zach Greinke was lost. They had no idea what was going on and outside of Andrew McCutchen's leadoff at bat (which almost went out) there was nothing of note to report on.

Just when I was seriously thinking that the Pirates were going to get no hit they just broke out the lumer. It all started with a great at bat by Neil Walker with one out. Walker battled for what seemed like 20 pitches and ended the at bat with a home run to right center. It was nice to have hte hit and run, but as a fan you wanted at least one or two more to make it a game. The Pirates did better.

With two outs Chris Snyder, Ronny Cedeno and Steve Pearce (pinch hit for Correia) all doubled followed by and Andrew McCutchen triple and a Jose Tabata single. Five runs in the fifth, four scored with two outs, and it was a game. We have really been waiting for the offense to do something as they have been pretty bad lately. To clutch up with a string of extra base hits like that with two outs made me feel good.

As good as it was for the Pirates to get that five spot I still have some concerns. Besides the fifth and ninth innigns the Pirates only had one hit. I would like to see them be more consistent over a majority of the game. They look completely lost in other innings and like they couldn't be contained in other innings.

I am as big of a Jose Tabata fan as anyone but something is really wrong with him. He looks really off balance and one of the most lost (does that make sense?) hitter. Doesn't look like he is reading pitches well and seems like he is thinking way too much. Granted we are talking about 35 games and I think he will even out as the season goes on, but it will be interesting to see how long he stays in this slump and how he reacts to it.

The Pirates are terrible in Milwaukee. Nothing more needs to be said. They have three wins there since 2007 (I think). You almost have to try to be that bad at a place. Maybe next time they come here. Meh.

The Pirates have no dropped five straight and they head to D.C. to play against a team they are better than. If they can win both games down there they might be able to bring some good mojo home with them, which would be nice.

Pirates Game Day 40 Live Blog @ Milwaukee Brewers

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Same Old Story. Brewers 5, Pirates 2

Tonight I got to do something pretty rare for me when I am out of town for work. I got to watch a Pirates game. The bar right beside the hotel I was staying at had Extra Innings so it gave me a chance to unwind and watch the Pirates play. Needless to say there was a lot more that I didn't like than I did like while I watched the game over a few adult beverages.

Overall I guess you can chalk this one up to another game in Milwaukee. For some reason Miller Park is a house of horrors for the Pirates. When they go to Milwaukee you just know that something terrible is going to happen and the Pirates just aren't going to come out on the right side of it. I am not saying something terrible happened tonight, becuase it didn't, but you know what I mean.

James McDonald got the start tonight and for the first two innings he was just straight dealing. Looked really good and had a lot of the Brewers hitters baffled and trying to figure out what was going on. As the fourth inning came around he was leaving the ball up in the zone and not really getting much going, leading to the runs we see that the Brewers scored. Although this wasn't a good start for JMac I think we saw some good things and after he made a good start last time out I think he might be coming around. He is going to need to clean up some things, such as hangin pitches when he is ahead in the count and working from behind a bit, but his stuff looks better. He is getting into the mid-90's with his fastball and his breaking ball has some bite. I think he is starting to get it, he just hasn't put it all together yet. I target this to not having any time to get prepared in spring training but to be honest he should have that stuff worked out by now.

The offense was not good, again. Only five hits tonight and only one guy, Lyle Overbay, in the lineup had more than a single hit. That isn't going to cut it. At the beginning of the year I was really up on this lineup and when you look at it 1-5 or 1-6 you might think they should throw up their fair share of runs, but they haven't. No idea why but things just aren't clicking. Most of the guys are young but they need to get better. They will get better, but it just sucks watching stuff like this now.

What would a Pirates/Brewers game be without someone getting mad on the Brewers side for no good reason? Well, this is no different. This time it is Rickie Weeks. Let me set the tone. Weeks is on second, ground ball to Pedro, Weeks, being a terrible base runner, start to go to third before Pedro even lets go of the ball. Pedro sees Weeks being an idiot and someone from the Pirates dugout yells "PICKLE!" (ok, maybe they didn't yell that, but it would be real funny if they did). The rundown goes on a little too long for my liking but ends when Ronny Cedeno tags out Weeks. Well Weeks get mad. While in the rundown he tries to fake out Ronny and stops quickly as Ronny is running towards him and since he didn't throw the ball he tags out Weeks and "runs into him." Honestly it was nothing. I actually put my head down and checked my phone and when I look up the benches are cleared.

The replay comes up and it seems as if Cedeno and Weeks have some choice words and Weeks starts crying because I guess Ronny told him that he had a good time with his sister last night. I have no idea but that seems like it would happen. Well Weeks basically cries and the benches cleared for no good reason. This is why the Brewers are a joke. You are sitting in fifth place in the NL Central and you think you're good. Get over yourself. Sure Ronny probably talked shit but if you learned how to run the bases when you're in third grade you wouldn't have to deal with this.

So what do you think the best thing that could have happened from there? You might say that he comes up and hits a huge double or goes deep. What does Ronny do? Oh yea, he goes deep. Not only deep but a two run shot to tie the game at two. The only thing that would have made this sweeter was if he blew a kiss to Weeks as he passed him rounding the bases. It was one of the best single moments of the season.

But really, other than that it was a pretty typical game. I hate the Brewers and it just was the same old Pirates in Milwaukee. Hopefully they can come back strong tomorrow. Hopefully.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Pirates Game Day 38 Live Blog - @ Milwaukee Brewers

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Back Under. Dodgers 2, Pirates 0

Well ladies and gents, I know you missed me. After the Penguins were dumped I was pretty much out for the count for some time. I was here to do some Steelers draft stuff but other than throwing up the live blogs (which you should be going to for every Pirates game) I have been pretty much a waste of space on the blog roll.

Work has been busy, and it still will be for the next couple of weeks, but I need to get back into the action and get some of thoughts out there, just in case any of you were missing it.

Since I have been away the Pirates have been playing some inspiring a baseball, even going over .500 a few nights ago before dropping a pair to the Dodgers.

Last night was about as mud as my blogging as been. A bad loss to get the team back to .500 and tonight it was another loss, maybe just as bad even though the score might not indicate that.

The Bucs got dominated by Hiroki Kuroda who only gave up three Pirates hits in seven innings of scoreless work. The Pirates bats were out to lunch with Xavier Paul, Ronny Cedeno, Pedro Alvarez and Brandon Wood getting the only Pirates hits. The Bucs only had one real chance to tack on some runs when they had runners on second and thidr with two outs but Chris Snyder struck out to end the threat.

The offense hasn't been all that great so far this season, but it has been especially bad when Paul Maholm has been on the mound. Paul has made eight starts this year and the Pirates have only scored 11 runs in those eight starts. I mean I know there are times when an offense might go cold for a week or 10 days but when you can't scratch even a run and a half for your starters then you have some problems. I know that the Pirates don't go out there thinking that Paul in on the bump and decide not to score runs, but it still is kind of perplexing.

Overall Paul had a really nice game. Went six innings, gave up two runs on five hits and had five walks. The five walks might seem like a lot but two of those were intentional, so nothing really to talk about there. Paul had good control tonight and just had an unfortunate inning where he gave up a pair. Can't expect to win though when your team can't even get a run in.

Just a frustrating game all around for the Pirates. The defense wasn't really that bad but then again the Dodgers really didn't have many base runners on the day.

With a team construced as it is streaks of wins and losses are going to happen. That is the nature of baseball. It sucks, but that's how it works sometimes. The Pirates have not been very consistent at home this season, but they still have a chance to split the series with the Dodgers with their best pitcher on the mound tomorrow.

I know a lot of people have been getting up in arms about the Pirates being around the .500 mark. I have not really been one of those people. First off, it is May. Sure it is really cool that the Pirates are playing around .500 baseball, but I am more focused on HOW they are play not what their reocord is. To be honest this team should have a few more wins. The staff has been throwing lights out but the offense has been lacking. With Tabata, Alvarez and McCutching playing well below their ability it is kind of shocking how well they are playing, record wise.

Now, I am not saying this isn't fun. This is sure as hell a lot better than the Bucs being 10 games under already. This team is clearly head and shoulders better than last year. Clint Hurdle seems to have lit a little bit of a fire under the guys and they seem to be taking to it. While Hurdle hasn't always made the best decisions it is still a fun team to watch. They will get better during the season and it is going to be even more fun to watch.

The great thing about baseball is that there is always another game tomorrow. Another chance to get back to .500.

Pirates Game Day 37 Live Blog - vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pirates Game Day 36 Live Blog - vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of a concession worker that has passed. Most of you probably already know that Ken Geidel, the cotton candy/coke/lemonade guy that we all came to know and love. He died yesterday when he collapsed while working during the Pirates game.

He is a Pittsburgher and we will all miss him a great deal. He was a signature at the game and it will be different without him there. Rest in Peace Ken.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pirates Game Day 35 Live Blog - vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pirates Game Day 34 Live Blog - vs. Houston Astros

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pirates Game Day 31 Live Blog - @ San Diego Padres

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pirates Game Day 30 Live Blog - @ San Diego Padres

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pirates Game Day 29 Live Blog - @ San Diego Padres