Karstens Topples Marlins

Tough to argue with the result as the Pirates moved two games over .500 on the year. Jeff Karstens was good over 6 plus. The Pirates put up a single tally in each of the first three innings and the pitching made it hold up.

Karstens scattered two singles, a double and two walks in six innings. He yielded just one run. Freddy Sanchez homered and doubled to drive the offense.

Cameron Maybin homered in the 8th to narrow the lead to 3-2 and Florida stranded two runners later in the inning.. Matt Capps tossed the 9th to get the save.

The Good

Two games over .500!

Karstens continues the string of nice starting pitching efforts. He was even interviewed on Baseball Tonight.

Three double plays from the defense, including one to end the game.

Jason Jaramillo doubled in a run (it was thisclose to a homer) and threw out Maybin trying to steal. Nice job. He’ll be seeing a lot of action with Ryan Doumit being out with a broken bone in his wrist.

The Bad

Blame the NHL and the poor weather for the attendance (less than 10,000 paid). While you can.

The Rest

Was anyone there tonight? Ronny Paulino played. Was he booed? Cheered? Ignored?

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Ohlendorf, McLouth Put Bucs over .500

Nate McLouth started the scoring with an RBI single in the fourth and capped it with a 3 run jack in the sixth. Ross Ohlendorf  allowed just two singles and a walk in seven innings to pick up his first win as a Pirate.

Florida’s best chance to score came in the first when Emilio Bonifacio led off with a single and John Baker reached on an error by Jack Wilson. Ohlendorf settled in to prevent any damage by retiring 18 of the next 19 hitters.

Tyler Yates and Jesse Chavez tossed an inning of perfect ball each to finish it off.

The Good

Ohlendorf’s first win came in his longest outing as a Big League starter.

This was the Pirates fourth shutout of the season. The Pirates had exactly two in all of 2008. Is this in fact an aberration or an early manifestation of Magic Joe Kerrigan?

Adam LaRoche has passed his April 2008 RBI total and equaled his April 2008 run scored total.

Every starting non-pitcher had at least one knock. Including Andy LaRoche. Jason Jaramillo had his first ever two hit game.

The Bucs left Florida with just their second loss on the year.

The Bad

Jack Wilson made his second error in as many games.

The game was delayed by rain and the stands (ESPN showed this game and the Reds/Astros since the regularly scheduled game was rained out) were nearly empty. Attendance was listed as 8,790.

The Rest

Former Pirate turned super utility guy Alfredo Amezega was hitless in two ABs. There was no sighting of former catcher Ronny Paulino who backs up in Florida and is off to a decent start.

Not a fan of Tim Brown’s post on steroids. Of course grown men should be responsible for their own actions. However, people in position of leadership are responsible for having the vision – both of what might go well and what might not go well – and doing their best to secure a bright future. That responsibility I lay squarely at the feet of Bud Selig and Don Fehr. They couldn’t have prevented every single player from using steroids. But they sure should’ve made a better effort. Brown’s case is a bit like letting our government and the heads of national banks off the hook for allowing such loose regulations on borrowing. Of course the people who borrowed too much are to blame. But, our leadership – both governmental and financial – should’ve seen this coming. That’s why they are leaders – they are supposed to have vision. Jumping down off my soap box. You can’t legislate morality into people’s lives (some guys will take PEDs and some guys will spend too much no matter what), but you should be able to legislate common sense so that fewer people are tempted to keep up with the Joneses. Getting down off my soap box now.

 

Braves Pounce on Pirates

Jeff Francouer delivered a two run single in the first and Casey Kotchman added another RBI knock later in the inning to put the Braves in front early against Zach Duke and the Pirates. Javier Vazquez and the Atlanta bullpen needed nothing else to hold the Pirates down.

Atlanta tagged on several more runs as Martin Prado hit a three run homer in the fourth and former Pirate David Ross added a three run blast in the 7th.

Atlanta almost made turned this series into a three straight shutouts. But, the Pirates put together a two out rally in the 9th to score a run. When Ramon Vazquez was HBP to force home a run. I’m assuming by then that most of the nearly 15,000 who turned out had departed to listen to talk about the upcoming NFL draft.

The Good

Freddy Sanchez and Nyjer Morgan both had two hits, with Sanchez smacking his NL leading 7th double of the year.

The Bad

After Joe Kerrigan was hired, the Bucco Blog did a nice study on whether or not 1st inning runs allowed is really a big deal or not. This is something that seemed to plague the Pirates last year with Duke (19), Snell (22) and Gorzelanny (24) giving up a bunch of runs in the first frame (compared to 10 by Maholm).

The Rest

David Ross came into the game hitting less than .200 in 86 PAs at PNC. He doubled in addition to his homer.

Braves reliever Jeff Bennett is best remembered (at least by me) as one of the Pittsburgh Five when five Buccos were lost in the 2003 Rule V draft in the first six picks. In addition to Bennett, the Pirates lost Chris Shelton, Rich Thompson, Frank Brooks and Jose Bautista). Check out Baseball America’s synopsis of the draft. Have to love Brian Graham’s quote: “What this shows is we have a lot of depth in our system.” Really, Brian? Where?

Snell Efficient and Monroe Supplies the Boom

Craig Monroe got the start in right today and drove in six runs. He did that by clouting a pair of three run homers. The first came off of Braves starter Jo-Jo Reyes and blew open a 2-0 game. The second came two innings later off of Buddy Carlyle.

Monroe’s outburst came in support of Ian Snell who didn’t need much. He went seven innings and allowed three walks, three singles and a double while preventing any Atlanta runs from scoring.

Ryan Doumit had three doubles and scored three times. Andy LaRoche had three hits – including two doubles – as the Pirates piled up nine extra base hits.

The Good

Monroe’s effort was the first six RBI effort by a Pirate hitter since Jose Castillo on 5/30/06.

LaRoche’s three hit effort was the third of his career.

Snell gets in the win column. He won twice in April in 2008 and then just once more before the All-Star break.

Thanks to three double plays, the Pirates only faced four over the minimum in a very quick (2:22) game.

The Bad

Nothing too bad. Nyjer Morgan is now hitless in his last two games.

The Rest

The Bucs have shut out the Braves two straight games, matching what Atlanta did to the Pirates in Game 6 and Game 7 of the 1991 NLCS. I won’t count that as being a payback in full.

Chipper Jones was out with a thumb injury.

This was Jo-Jo Reyes’ debut against Pittsburgh and his first appearance of 2009.

Game #125: Mets Bullpen Woes Continue

PNC Park | 12:35 | Maholm vs. John Maine | Box
The Pirates staged a comeback late against the Mets battered bullpen. Steve Pearce played the hero with a RBI single that broke a 2-2 in the 8th inning. Jack Wilson stroked a two run double later to push the Pirates lead to three runs. In the sixth Adam LaRoche hit a two run homer to tie the score at two.
Mets starter John Maine tossed five scoreless innings. But he needed almost 100 pitches to do it. So, he was lifted in the sixth in favor of Brian Stokes who allowed LaRoche’s dinger. The 8th inning damage was allowed by Pedro Feliciano and Duaner Sanchez.
Paul Maholm tossed a solid seven innings. He gave up both Met runs on five hits and three walks. Sean Burnett needed three pitches to get the final out of the 8th inning and get the win. John Grabow picked up the save.
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Posted in 2008 Pittsburgh Pirates, Adam LaRoche, August, Game Threads, Home, Jack Wilson, John Grabow, Nate McLouth, NL East, Paul Maholm, Sean Burnett, Steve Pearce. Comments Off on Game #125: Mets Bullpen Woes Continue

Game #124: Santana Shuts Out Buccos

PNC Park | 1:35 | Karstens vs. Johan Santana | Box
Did I mention in the pre-game notes that Santana hasn’t been as dominating as in years past? Well, today he fired a three hit shutout against a Pirates offense that is devoid of punch.
Jeff Karstens allowed homers to Brian Schneider and Carlos Beltran and Santana took care of the rest. The Pirates sent just 31 hitters to the plate and four reached base – three singles and an error. The Pirates didn’t advance a runner past second base all game.
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Game #122: Davis Deserves Better; Woe is the O

PNC Park | 7:05 | Davis vs. Mike Pelfrey | Box
Jason Davis gave up two runs in the first and then fired six straight scoreless innings. The Pirates managed no runs off of Mike Pelfrey over the same space of time. Jack Wilson homered in the 8th. But, no one was on in front of him and that was all the offense could do to support another strong outing from Davis.
He allowed just three hits after the first inning and struck out three. Pelfrey walked none and gave up seven hits.
Clutch hits have been elusive like Bigfoot. Oh, wait. They found Bigfoot and he’s apparently dead.
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Posted in 2008 Pittsburgh Pirates, August, Game Threads, Home, Jack Wilson, Jason Davis, NL East. Comments Off on Game #122: Davis Deserves Better; Woe is the O