Wellemeyer Dominant as Bucs Swoon Continues

Todd Wellemeyer allowed just four hits in seven innings to keep the Pirates offense at bay. On the other side of the ball, Ross Ohlendorf was done in by a four run fifth inning that included a solo homer from Jason LaRue leading off, a bunt single and two HBP. Prior to that outburst, it was a 1-1 contest.

Ohlendorf was charged with all five St. Louis runs in six innings. Wellemeyer gave up a run scoring double to Nate McLouth and Robinzon Diaz’ first career homer. That was the extent of the offense for Pittsburgh.

The Pirates have lost five straight and 9 of 10 to fall to four games under .500

The Good

Diaz’ first career homer is about it.

The Bad

Losing 9 of 10 is enough to make this weary fan lose all hope. Almost.

The Rest

Including 2009, LaRue’s BA over his last 536 at bats coming into this game (2006 – 2009) was a meager .190. This was his first homer of 2009 and his last since 8/20/08 also against Pittsburgh (Craig Hansen).

Wellemeyer has won his last four of his last five decisions against the Pirates. His loss came earlier in this season.

Advertisements

Pujols Powers Cards Past Pirates

Albert Pujols went 4-4 including a solo homer in the first and a single leading off the Cardinals three run fourth inning to push St. Louis past Zach Duke and the Bucs.

Duke didn’t have his best outing, but he was okay. He gave up four in 5-1/3. The big blow in the fourth was a two run triple from Chris Duncan.

Mitchell Boggs started for St. Louis and ran up a high pitch count before being pulled after Nate McLouth’s double pulled the Pirates to within 4-2 with one out in the fifth inning. The St. Louis bullpen threw 4-2/3 innings of one hit relief to seal it. Kyle McClellan got the win for his relief effort.

 

The Good

Duke certainly wasn’t terrible. He paid for his mistakes as the Cards offense was efficient. He only allowed eight base runners and half of them scored.

Nyjer Morgan had two hits, drove home one and scored another. He also stole his 7th base of the year.

The Bad

The offense remains stagnant.

Jason Jaramillo was tossed out at home in the second on Morgan’s run scoring hit..

The Rest

Last time a pitcher with the last name of Boggs appeared against Pittsburgh was 9/3/83 when Tommy Boggs relieved for Atlanta in a losing effort. The Pirates were six games over .500 after that win. The key play was a pinch hit grand slam from Mike Easler in the sixth inning off of Steve Bedrosian.

Pujols’ effort pushes his career BA against Pittsburgh to a ridiculous .371 (182 for 490). He has more career homers against the Pirates than against any other club.

Beer Men Walk to Victory

The Brewers dominance over the Pirates continued as Ian Snell was unable to get the ball over. He walked five and gave up three doubles in five innings to allow Milwaukee to score five runs. He was pulled after walking the first two hitters in the sixth inning. Jesse Chavez relieved and threw 15 of his 22 pitches out of the strike zone. He was charged with one run during the three run sixth that blew open a 3-2 game.

The Pirates were unable to do much against Jeff Suppan. He went 5-2/3 and allowed five hits and three runs. One of those hits was a dinger from Freddy Sanchez.

J.J. Hardy drove in four runs for Milwaukee.

The Good

Sanchez continues to swing the hot bat.

Andy LaRoche’s BA is now higher than his brother’s. Wait, maybe that isn’t so good.

The Bad

Snell’s wildness. The animated scoreboard at Riverfront stadium used to play a “Walks Will Haunt” message showing a ghost strolling to first base whenever a Red was walked.

Two games under .500

The Rest

This was the seventh time that Hardy has driven in four runs or more in a game. Last time was 7/6/08 when Milwaukee pounded Zach Duke.

This was Suppan’s sixth straight winning decision against Pittsburgh. He has not lost to them since 8/11/06 when he was with St. Louis. His career mark against the Buccos is 13-3 – his most victories against any single opponent. His career mark at PNC is now 10-5.

Sanchez’ third homer of the year gives him 15 XBH on the season. His fifteenth extra base hit in 2008 didn’t come until June 14th.

The Pirates surrendered ten walks in the game. Last time they gave up more than that was 9/18/08 when they yielded 11. The Pirates gave up nine walks to Milwaukee earlier this year on 4/28. Milwaukee got 8 walks from Pittsburgh on 4/27.

On the flip side, the seven walks that Pittsburgh drew is a season high.

 

Beer Men Walk to Victory

The Brewers dominance over the Pirates continued as Ian Snell was unable to get the ball over. He walked five and gave up three doubles in five innings to allow Milwaukee to score five runs. He was pulled after walking the first two hitters in the sixth inning. Jesse Chavez relieved and threw 15 of his 22 pitches out of the strike zone. He was charged with one run during the three run sixth that blew open a 3-2 game.

The Pirates were unable to do much against Jeff Suppan. He went 5-2/3 and allowed five hits and three runs. One of those hits was a dinger from Freddy Sanchez.

J.J. Hardy drove in four runs for Milwaukee.

The Good

Sanchez continues to swing the hot bat.

Andy LaRoche’s BA is now higher than his brother’s. Wait, maybe that isn’t so good.

The Bad

Snell’s wildness. The animated scoreboard at Riverfront stadium used to play a “Walks Will Haunt” message showing a ghost strolling to first base whenever a Red was walked.

Two games under .500

The Rest

This was the seventh time that Hardy has driven in four runs or more in a game. Last time was 7/6/08 when Milwaukee pounded Zach Duke.

This was Suppan’s sixth straight winning decision against Pittsburgh. He has not lost to them since 8/11/06 when he was with St. Louis. His career mark against the Buccos is 13-3 – his most victories against any single opponent. His career mark at PNC is now 10-5.

Sanchez’ third homer of the year gives him 15 XBH on the season. His fifteenth extra base hit in 2008 didn’t come until June 14th.

The Pirates surrendered ten walks in the game. Last time they gave up more than that was 9/18/08 when they yielded 11. The Pirates gave up nine walks to Milwaukee earlier this year on 4/28. Milwaukee got 8 walks from Pittsburgh on 4/27.

On the flip side, the seven walks that Pittsburgh drew is a season high.

 

Weeks Homer in the 9th Puts Brewers on Top

The Pirates bullpen faltered in the worst possible way. The bullpen blew a lead of two runs in the 8th only to watch the offense put one on the board in the bottom half. But that skinny margin heading into the 9th wasn’t enough as Matt Capps allowed a three run homer to Rickie Weeks that broke a 4-4 tie.

Paul Maholm had allowed just one run through seven. After giving up a one out walk in the 8th he was pulled. One out later, the Brewers rallied against John Grabow with a two run double from Ryan Braun tying the game.

The Pirates came up with a clutch hit of their own with Jason Jaramillo doubling in Ramon Vazquez in the home half of the 8th.

But that wasn’t enough for Capps. He loaded the bases with a single and a couple of walks before allowing the tying run to score on a sac fly from Notre Dame’s Craig Counsell. Weeks followed with his game winning tater.

The Good

Maholm was sharp again. He struck out seven and walked one while giving up five singles and a double.

Speaking of doubles, Freddy Sanchez added two more to his season’s total – 12.

Andy LaRoche hit his first homer of the year.

Nate McLouth had three hits.

The pitching staff reached a season high with 10 whiffs.

The Pirates scored off of Yovani Gallardo.

The Bad

The Pirates to longest standing bullpen stalwarts both failed.

The Rest

This was the first time that Capps allowed four earned runs in one appearance. The only time he allowed four runs was 9/6/06 when the Cubs notched four runs (but just three earned) off of him.

Capps’ last blown save at PNC was 6/10/08 when Lastings Milledge hit a two run, two out homer to win it for Washington.

Cueto Sharp as Reds Beat Bucs

The Pirates fell back to the .500 mark in losing a series to the Reds at home. Johnny Cueto was very solid, tossing eight shutout innings and striking out nine Pirates. The Buccos managed just four singles and a walk.

Jeff Karstens was scuffling from the start. He was pitching from the stretch most of the day and needed 95 pitches to complete five innings. Cueto needed just 14 more tosses than that to pitch eight innings.

The damage was started by a deep homer from Jay Bruce in the second. One inning later, Ramon Hernandez delivered a three run double.

The Good

Brandon Moss had a pair of assists.

Evan Meek tossed three scoreless innings in relief of Karstens.

The Bad

Karstens didn’t have it today.

The Rest

This was the 7th time in 24 games that the Pirates have allowed five more runs. Through the first 24 games in 2008, the Pirates allowed five or more tallies an astounding 14 times. That number was 10 in 2007. The team ERA is a full two runs lower in 2009 than it was this time last year.

On the flip side, this was the 12th time in 24 games the Pirates have scored three or less times. In 2008 through the first 24 games, the Pirates were held to three runs or less 10 times. Overall, the offense has scored three more runs in 2009 than in 2008.

Through 24 games, the 2008 version of the team was 9-15.

Offense Rebounds, Bucs Over .500 Again

Faced with the prospect of falling below .500, the Pirates offense responded with 12 singles and a double. Four of those singles were accompanied by an HBP and a BB to bring home four runs in the first inning against Micah Owings. That outbust would stake the Pirates to a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Ross Ohlendorf did a nice job of pitching out of trouble. He retired the Reds in order just once in his six innings. Yet the Reds only scored in one of those innings – in the fourth when Alex Gonzalez belted a three run jack.

The Pirates bullpen finished up the last three innings and were knicked for three runs. Matt Capps had to strike out Gonazalez with the bases loaded to end it.

The Good

Ohlendorf rolls on. I’ll take it.

Nate McLouth had three hits. Welcome back.

Sean Burnett has been scored up on just once in 12 appearances this year.

Pirate batters whiffed just once tonight. Believe it or not, you have to go back to 6/26/05 for the last time the Pirates struck out one time or fewer in a game. The victim in that game was Humberto Cota. He fell at the hands of Jason Isringhausen. In 2008 Cota was suspended for 50 games for violating baseball’s performance enhancing drug ban. He was invited to Spring Training by the Reds this year and was released in March.

The Bad

Matt Capps was battered in the 9th.

The Rest

Brandon Moss drove in a run in the third inning. Heading into the game he had just one RBI in 59 ABs. Fear not, the record in the division era for most at bats without an RBI by a non-pitcher is 86 by Mike Fischlin in 1978 for Houston (thank you baseball-reference.com). Fischlin, if I recall correctly, employed an odd batting stance in which the bat was held straight back, parallel to the ground. It was reminiscent of the stance that Rod Carew used toward the end of his career. Though, Carew had a great deal more success. Here’s a great bar bet for you you: Mike Fischlin was the first ever client of Scott Boras. Boras was a failed minor leaguer (drafted in the third round in 1975 by KC). After quitting baseball and getting a degree in law, Boras was contacted by Fischlin (who knew him from his high school days – can’t recall if they were on the same team or just knew each other since they were both from Sacramento) about helping him negotiate a contract. The rest is history.