Bucs Make Nary a Whimper in Record Setting 82nd Loss

Outlined against a blue-gray September sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as Famine, Pestilence, Destruction, and Death. These are only aliases. Their real names are Poor Player Development, Weak Amateur Scouting, Lopsided Trades and Ill-Advised Free Agent Signings.

Apologies to Grantland Rice…

If it wasn’t already officially football season in Pittsburgh, it is now. I think football season begins in the Steel City as soon as the Steelers start training camp.

It was an ugly gray day in Pittsburgh. I kept hoping that the skies would open up and the 82nd loss would come not as the result of a 27th out, but rather by the hands of the umpiring crew deeming the field to be unplayable. But not even that indignity could be spared. Let the record show that the final out was a routine fly ball off the bat of Lastings Milledge that found itself easily captured by Kosuke Fukudome. Is it irony that when the Pirates losing season streak started, only one player of Japanese decent had ever appeared in the Show, yet the player who recorded the last putout came from that island nation?

Ted Lilly and three Cub relievers combined on a 2 hitter as the Pirates were beaten for the 82nd time this season. Derrek Lee drove in three runs with a pair of homers. Both Pirate hits went for extra bases (solo homer from Andy LaRoche and an RBI double from Brandon Moss). Daniel McCutchen was serviceable – giving up nine hits and four runs in seven innings.

The Good

LaRoche homered.

The Bad

82 losses. Officially.

Getting two-hit.

The Rest

By the numbers – LaRoche and Moss have 15 homers and 83 RBI in 762 ABs. Jason Bay has 31/98 in 452 at bats.

Ted Lilly is now 4-1 against the Pirates all-time.

In just seven games in 2009, Lee has 12 RBI against the Pirates.

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Cards Clobber Hart, Bucs Bullpen in a Laugher

The losing streak has reached 8 games. Kevin Hart was torched as the Pirates fell behind 5-0 early on. The offense put up a six spot in the fifth frame off of Adam Wainwright. The final three runs scored on a two run bloop triple from Brandon Moss that turned into a little league homer as an error from Skip Schumaker allowed Moss to score.

The lead didn’t last. Hart was pulled with two gone in the sixth and Denny Bautista allowed a three run homer to Albert Pujols. St. Louis tacked on six more runs over the next two innings to pull away easily.

Ryan Ludwick had a career night. He was 5-5 with two homers, two doubles and five runs driven in. Matt Holliday, whose BA is approaching .400 with the Cards, also homered.

Wainwright allowed six earned runs in five innings. Hart gave up five earned runs and seven overall in 5-2/3.

The Good

Well, there was some offense. Lastings Milledge batted clean up and continuest to rake – he had two more hits. Ryan Doumit had three singles.

The Bad

The pitching. Only Chris Bootcheck looked decent. Phil Dumatrait gave up four runs in 1/3 of an IP.

Eight straight losses with two more games against the Cardinals this weekend.

The Rest

Bautista came into the game unscored upon in 2009 over six innings and four outings.

This was just the second time this year that Wainwright allowed six runs or more. He held on enough and got enough support to get the win tonight.

Millege was hitting .396 over his last sixteen games before tonight.

The five RBI tied Ludwick’s career high, as did the two homers. Five hits and 13 total bases established single game marks for his career.

Hart’s ERA with the Wriglies was 2.60. With Pittsburgh it is on the ugly side of 6.00.

This was the 9th time in 2009 that opponents had reached double digits in runs against the Pirates. It was the 10th time that opponents had tallied 15 or more knocks. Those stats for 2008? 23 times giving up 10 or more runs and 20 times giving up 15 or more hits.

 

Reds Sweep Pirates

Any way you look at it, this is getting uglier. The Reds swept the Pirates yesterday behind Homer Bailey and Brandon Phillips.

The Pirates, with help from long balls from Garret Jones and Brandon Moss, held a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the sixth. Drew Stubbs homered off of Zach Duke to tie it. Rookie and recent call up Neil Walker committed a throwing error, opening the flood gates. After Joey Votto doubled, Phillips drove in a run – his third of the game – with a ground out. Darnell McDonald singled with two outs for the final tally of the inning and the game.

After that, the Cincy bullpen shut the Pirates down, striking out six of the final eight hitters. Bailey struck out eight in 6-1/3. He allowed three runs on seven hits. Overall, the Pirates were struck out 14 times. Duke gave up 9 hits and three earned runs in six innings.

The Good

Jones continues to rake.

Duke had two hits and Ryan Doumit had a pair of doubles.

The Bad

Good grief. 25 games out. A seven game losing streak.

The Rest

Two of Homer Bailey’s five wins in 2009 have come against the Pirates, both after the fire sale.

Phillips is hitting over .400 and has 13 RBI against Pittsburgh this year.

Jones now has 18 HR and 34 RBI. The record for the fewest RBI in a season with at least 20 dingers is Chris Hoiles who drove in 40 runs with 20 taters in 1992. Kevin Maas hit 21 homers in 1990 and knocked in only 41.

This was Duke’s fifth career two hit game.

Walker has started his career 0-5

Howard’s 10th Inning Bomb Foils Bucco Comeback

Paul Maholm and Cole Hamels were each effective over a long stretch. Maholm yielded a solo homer to Chase Utley in the first inning and was otherwise unscored upon in seven innings. He struck out four and gave up five hits. Hamels whiffed seven and allowed seven hits in eight shut out innings.

But the bullpen woes continued for the visitors. Ryan Madson gave up a pinch hit game tying solo dinger to Brandon Moss in the bottom of the 9th.

However, the Pirates bullpen faltered immediately. Steven Jackson started the 10th, but was pulled after allowing the first two runners to reach. Phil Dumatrait relieved and gave up a three run homer to Ryan Howard. Madson held the Pirates at Bay in the 10th and picked up the blown save, win.

The Good

A comeback

Maholm was good.

The Bad

The offense.

Allowing Hamels maybe to find his mojo.

The Rest

Hamels only win against the Pirates in three tries came back in 2006.

Maholm has allowed just two earned runs in his last 23 IP (dating back to 2008) against Philly.

Howard came into the game with just one homer in 55 career ABs at PNC.

Moss homered four times in July, but had not homered in over a month (July 22).

 

Cutch Bails Out Capps in Walk Off Win

The evening was full of drama. I’m in Chicago and took in my first game ever at Wrigley. I was on hand to watch Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs get pounded by Washington (shout out to Dave and Ross who are rooming with each other temporarily). Elijah Dukes hit a grand slam to blow the game open.Got to see Tom Gorzelanny come in from the bullpen and pitch. Plus, Aramis Ramirez. Big night for ex-Buccos.

Also did quite a bit of scoreboard watching as the game I witnessed live was quickly getting out of hand.

Jimmy Rollins provided early fireworks with a pair of solo homers off of Ross Ohlendorf. The Pirates countered with their own long ball as homers from Ryan Doumit and Steve Pearce put the home town nine up 3-2. Ohlendorf went 6-1/3 and allowed just the two runs on five hits. The Pirates trotted out three relievers to be able to hand the ball to Matt Capps in the 9th. After a pair of doubles tied the scored, Shane Victorino tripled over the head of Andrew McCutchen who misplayed the ball, allowing the go ahead run to score.

Cutch got it back in the 9th. Brad Lidge was on and didn’t retire a batter. A single, a wild pitch and a single from Brandon Moss tied the score. McCutchen then delivered a walk off dinger. Ball game. Bucs win.

That was Lidge’s 9th blown save of the year. Capps has blown four times, but picked up the win in this case. Phils starter Joe Blanton allowed three runs in six innings and struck out seven.

The Good

Coming back and winning.

Cutch in the clutch

The Bad

Blowing a win for Ohlendorf.

Garrett Jones was 0-3 with a walk and three whiffs.

The Rest

Doumit had his first two walk game since 9/3/08.

Blanton had allowed just one earned run in 14-1/3 IP in two previous outings against the Pirates.

Capps blew five saves in 2008. His ERA last year was a full 3.50 runs lower than where it stands now.

This was McCutchen’s first walk off homer and the first time he homered after the sixth inning.

The Rest

Jimenez, Rockies Shutout Pirates

Ubaldo Jimenez allowed just three singles over eight innings to blank the Pirates. He struck out six and walked four on his way to his 10th win of the year. Franklin Morales mopped up in the 9th.

Kevin Hart was touched early. Carlos Gonzalez bashed a two run homer in the first inning. Hart was pulled with one out in the sixth after allowing three of the four hitters to reach bases via an XBH. He allowed five runs in 5-1/3. Chris Bootcheck relieved him and whiffed the next two guys to prevent any more damage.

The Good

Brandon Moss had two hits and a walk.

The Bad

Jeff Karstens allowed three runs in the 8th to make the final score 8-0.

The offense.

The Rest

This was the 14th time the Pirates have been shutout in 2009 and the 29th time they have scored one run or fewer.

Jimenez has allowed just one run in 14 innings of pitching against the Pirates in 2009.

Moss has just three multi-hit games since July 1. He is hitting .176 in that stretch (13-74).

Todd Helton’s 16 game hitting streak was snapped.

Jimenez, Rockies Shutout Pirates

Ubaldo Jimenez allowed just three singles over eight innings to blank the Pirates. He struck out six and walked four on his way to his 10th win of the year. Franklin Morales mopped up in the 9th.

Kevin Hart was touched early. Carlos Gonzalez bashed a two run homer in the first inning. Hart was pulled with one out in the sixth after allowing three of the four hitters to reach bases via an XBH. He allowed five runs in 5-1/3. Chris Bootcheck relieved him and whiffed the next two guys to prevent any more damage.

The Good

Brandon Moss had two hits and a walk.

The Bad

Jeff Karstens allowed three runs in the 8th to make the final score 8-0.

The offense.

The Rest

This was the 14th time the Pirates have been shutout in 2009 and the 29th time they have scored one run or fewer.

Jimenez has allowed just one run in 14 innings of pitching against the Pirates in 2009.

Moss has just three multi-hit games since July 1. He is hitting .176 in that stretch (13-74).

Todd Helton’s 16 game hitting streak was snapped.