Citizens Bank Park | 1:35 | Snell vs. Kyle Kendrick | Box
The good news is that Ian Snell threw a quality start, allowing 3 runs in 6 innings while striking out 7 Phillies.
The bad news is that Kyle Kendrick did too: The rookie right-hander tossed seven innings of one-hit ball, an up-and-down Philadelphia bullpen held Pittsburgh scoreless over the final two frames, and the Phillies finished off a sweep of their Keystone State rivals, 5-1.
The Pirates have won just two of the 15 games they’ve played since the All-Star break.
Damaso Marte was stretched out a bit in his final audition before Tuesday’s trade deadline. Marte went an inning and a third, allowing one hit and one strikeout. His 1.38 ERA makes contenders drool.
Michael Bourn started each game of the series for the Phils, and is being shopped, supposedly, in an attempt to strengthen the pitching staff. After going 5 for 9 with a walk and three runs scored on Friday and Saturday, Bourn was held hitless on Sunday in five at-bats. He plays all three outfield positions, runs like a deer and has sneaky power for a little guy. Bourn’s name was mentioned in connection with the Pirates last week.
We head home now for three games against both the Cardinals and Reds. St. Louis is six behind Milwaukee in the NL Central standings, good for third place. Cincinnati, at 45-61, is three wins better than the Pirates.
With an off day Monday, there’s not much to do but sit and wait. We may have a few new faces to root for come Tuesday.
The Pirates’ rotation desperately needs Ian Snell to show up this afternoon.
John Van Benschoten was optioned back to Indianapolis yesterday, it was announced that Tom Gorzelanny won’t make his next scheduled start, and Shane Youman just threw four innings of nightmarish baseball.
Shawn Chacon, Salomon Torres and Damaso Marte, three of the Pirates’ most dependable relievers, may be traded before Tuesday’s non-waiver deadline.
It isn’t a matter of winning any longer; it’s finding someone, anyone, who can finish out this year’s schedule. Tony Armas will re-enter the starting rotation Wednesday. Jim Tracy wouldn’t announce who was taking Van Benschoten’s roster spot—likely because he himself isn’t sure.
For a team that was so optimistic about its pitching staff heading into this season, things sure have taken a turn for the worst.
I wrote yesterday at Sandlot Swashbucklers about the candidates for a promotion at Indianapolis. Jesse Chavez and Franquelis Osoria have statistics that merit consideration, but only marginally so—and neither is on the 40-man roster.
It’s not unreasonable to believe that the likes of Marty McLeary, John Wasdin and Michael Tejera—three minor-league journeymen—will be getting a chance to pitch the Pirates into the top spot of next June’s first-year player draft.
This afternoon, we need the dominant Ian Snell to show up more than ever. He’s having a terrible July, allowing 7.04 earned runs per nine innings. He’s being hit harder than usual, evidenced by his .373 batting average on balls in play (up dramatically from .247 in April). Another cause for concern is his extreme home/away split. At PNC Park this season, Ian has a 2.84 ERA. On the road, that number rises to 4.50.
Ian needs to buck those trends and pitch late into the ballgame today, if only so that we don’t call up the Hanshin Tigers and ask them to return Ryan Vogelsong to his rightful owner.