Reds Shutout Bucs to End 2009 Season

I was on hand to watch the 2009 season come to a close for my hometown club and my favorite club. Jeff Karstens vs. Homer Bailey at Great American on a mostly sunny mid-60s October afternoon. It was a great day for baseball.

But I was perturbed almost from the get-go. Luis Cruz and Jason Jaramillo were carrying on a conversation with one another during the National Anthem. That is not acceptable. Not at any time. If you don’t want to observe the singing/playing of the Star Spangled Banner, then stay in the clubhouse (like what Rudy Law used to do back in the 1980s). Don’t stand on the field and converse.

Brandon Phillips continued to bash Pirate pitching. He drove in the first three Cincinnati runs with a double off the wall, a grounder and another double off the wall. After Phillips third RBI, Scott Rolen tripled past a diving Andrew McCutchen to score two more runs.

Jeff Karstens got the loss by giving up two runs in 2-1/3 IP. But it was Donnie Veal who was hit the hardest – one inning, four hits and four runs allowed.

It was 2-0 after three and 6-0 after five innings. Homer Bailey as plugging away, leaving men on base in every inning but one of his six frames of toil. Especially troubling was the fifth. Steve Pearce tripled to lead off. Andrew McCutchen walked and stole second. Two one, none out, heart of the order coming up. But, Bailey whiffed Andy LaRoche, Garrett Jones and Lastings Milledge with no damage done.

The Good

Well, I hate to see the season end. But I guess I’m glad this one is over.

McCutchen had two hits, two walks and stole twice.

The weather.

The Bad

Veal’s outing put the game out of reach.

LaRoche left five men on base.

The Rest

The Reds honored the retiring Hal McCoy (Hall of Fame sportswriter from the Dayton Daily News) and George Grande, who does play by play for Fox Sports Ohio between innings. A great moment. Love Hal McCoy. George Grande has always been solid. Trivia buffs know that Grande was the first ever anchor of Sportscenter on ESPN.

Bailey won all four of his starts against the Pirates this year, accounting for half of his 8 wins.

Brandon Phillips drove in 21 runs against Pittsburgh in 2009.

Pirates were shut out for the 17th time in 2009. This was the first time they hit double digits in hits and failed to score.

 

 

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Padres Win Close One in Absence of Pirate Offense

The Pirates scraped together a mere five singles and three walks as they once again failed to support a strong outing from Ross Ohlendorf. The Pirates starter allowed just one run on five hits and one walk in seven innings. He struck out five. Clayton Richard was equally good for the visiting Friars. He gave up just one unearned run (in the first inning) on four hits in six innings.

It wasn’t decided until the 9th. An error by Brian Bixler and two walks set up a sac fly from Henry Blanco for the game winning run. That made a loser of Phil Dumatrait and a winner of Luke Gregerson, who tossed a scoreless 8th. Heath Bell earned the save with a scoreless 9th.

The Good

Ohlendorf, once again.

The Bad

The offense, once again.

The Rest

Despite an ERA approaching 3.00, Ohlendorf is winless in his last five starts.

Garrett Jones had started every Pirate game since July 1, but got the day off.

Steve Pearce was 0-3 with three Ks.

Kemp’s Homer Paces Dodgers in Sweep

Matt Kemp hit a two run dinger in the sixth as Kevin Hart’s solid effort was wasted. Jason Jaramillo drove in the Pirates lone run in the second with a single. It stayed that way until Kemp’s homer. Ronnie Belliard hit a solo tater off of Phil Dumatrait in the 8th for the last score.

Hiroki Kuroda was the winner. He K’d seven, walked none, gave up six hits and just one run in six innings. Hart gave up two runs on seven hits in six innings of toil. But it wasn’t enough.

The Good

The starters have done a swell job in LA.

The Bad

The bullpen – not so much of a good job. Ditto the offense.

The Rest

The Dodger bullpen tossed 12 innings without allowing an earned run.

The Pirates whiffed 11 times overall. Steve Pearce was 0-4 but was the only member of the starting 8 not to strike out.

This was the 26th time that Pirate hitters have whiffed in double digits. Pirate pitchers have hit double digits just 9 times.

As Matt Kemp approaches 100 RBI, let’s look for the last home grown Dodger to reach triple digits. It was Adrian Beltre in 2004. Eric Karros (five times) and Mike Piazza (three times) each did it a bunch. Last farm raised Bucco was Aramis Ramirez in 2001.

Bucs Blow Late Leads Twice, Lose in 13

Matt Capps blew a save in the 9th and sent the game into extra innings. Phil Dumatrait did the same in the 13th and lost the game.

Pirates starter Zach Duke was on. He went 7-1/3 and allowed only four hits and two runs. He whiffed seven. He was in line for the win until Matt Kemp drove in Andre Ethier with two out in the 9th off of Capps.

The Pirates pushed one across in the 13th thanks to an error from Casey Blake and an RBI single from Ryan Doumit. But Phil Dumatrait, called on after gone and Rafael Furcal on first, gave up a two run homer to Ethier to end the game.

The Pirates scored three runs early as Steve Pearce homered and Duke had an RBI single in the second. Dodgers starter Randy Wolf allowed all three runs in seven innings on five hits.

Ethier’s dinger made a winner of former Pirate farmhand Ronald Belisario, who had given up the unearned tally in the 13th.

The Good

Pearce’s homer. We need to see what he can do over the final couple of weeks.

Duke’s effort was stellar.

The Bad

Blowing two leads.

Not getting any offense after the second

The Rest

That was Duke’s second 7 K performance in 2009. He has not struck out more than that since he was a rookie in 2005. Duke came into the game with an ERA over 7.00 against LA for his career.

Wolf is 7-1 in his career against Pittsburgh and had won his last four starts against the Pirates.

Ethier has 98 RBI and Kemp now has 92. The Dodgers haven’t had teammates with 100 RBI since 2001 when Gary Sheffield and Shawn Green did it.

Belisario has not allowed an earned run in his last 10 appearances, covering 9-2/3 IP. His ERA is below 2.00 on the season, his first in the majors.

 

 

Bucs Struggles in Milwaukee Continue

It is hard to win when you don’t do anything particularly well. Kevin Hart started and took the loss after allowing five runs in six innings. Phil Dumatrait and Steven Jackson each allowed a run in their inning of relief.

The offense scored three runs, all of which came in the 5th inning. The Pirates briefly held a lead that the pitching staff and the defense couldn’t hold onto. Delwyn Young committed an error to start the bottom of the fifth and that lead off hitter – Felipe Lopez – eventually scored on a double play ground ball. A goofed double play helped Milwaukee score a pair in the third. With one out and runners on the corners, Steve Pearce fielded a ground ball and tossed to Brian Bixler covering second. Bixler fell coming across the bag and was unable to complete the twin killing. That allowed one run to score and three batters later, Hart walked Prince Fielder with the bases loaded to force in another run.

Andy LaRoche hit a two run homer for the highlight of the Pirates offense.

Yovani Gallardo started but was ineffective. He gave up three runs in five innings. He struck out seven. Claudio Vargas was the winner in relief.

The Good

Lastings Milledge had two hits.

The Bad

Offense. Defense. Pitching. Attitude? see below

Bixler struck out three times.

The Rest

Ryan Doumit did not play after being pulled from yesterday’s game for undisclosed reasons. Skipper John Russell declined to give details, but confirmed that Doumit is not injured. Attitude issues?

This was LaRoche’s third homer of the month – tops in 2009 for him.

Gallardo had split two decisions against Pittsburgh in 2009. This was his fourth start against the Pirates this year.

Hart beat the Beer Makers earlier in the month in Pittsburgh.

 

 

Bucs Can’t Overcome Duke’s Off Night

There haven’t been too many games like this for Zach Duke in 2009. Thank goodness. Duke gave up seven runs in three innings and Milwaukee held on for the win.

The Beer Maker scored five times in the first. Prince Fielder crushed a three run homer to start things off. Rookie Jason Bourgeois hit a solo homer in the second and Ryan Braun added a solo jack in the fourth off of Chris Bootcheck. Braun’s homer would be Milwaukee’s final hit of the night.

The Pirates comeback came up short. It was mostly the work of super-rook Andrew McCutchen. He hit a two run double in the second and a two run homer in the sixth. In between. Steve Pearce drove in two with a double. But that was all the Pirates could do.

The Bucs brought the tying run to the plate in the 8th and the 9th, but couldn’t manage a clutch hit.

Duke was the loser, allowing 11 hits and seven runs in three innings. Brewers starter Manny Parra was slightly better. He held on to work five innings and get the win. He gave up 10 hits and six runs. Trevor Hoffman struck out the side in the 9th for the save.

The Good

McCutchen – as always.

Lastings Milledge had two hits.

The bullpen looked good. That’s a nice change.

The Bad

Tough to get on Duke as he has been pretty solid all year, but this outing was awful.

The Rest

Milledge has two hits in five of his last 10 games and has brought his average up 40 points.

This was the second time that Cutch has knocked in four runs or more. Last time was August 1 when he hit three homers off of Washington.

Parra had allowed just three earned runs over 11-2/3 IP in his two previous starts against the Pirates.

Duke falls to 3-5 career against Milwaukee.

Fielder has double digit career HRs against every NL Central team.

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