No Joke: Bucs Beat LA

I’ll take a win, no matter how unorthodox. Jeff Karstens, coming off the DL and having not thrown more than 60 pitches in a game since his last start in June, started and was on a quick hook. He pitched three mostly effective innings (one run and three hits), but was pulled after 48 pitches. In his place came Donnie Veal at the best of times. The Bucs were up and the starter hadn’t gone five. Thanks to two scoreless innings from Veal and shutout efforts from three others – including a perfect 9th from Matt Capps – Veal picked up his first career W.

The Pirates scored three unearned runs off Jon Garland. Blake DeWitt’s error in the first led to a sac fly from Garrett Jones. James Loney’s miscue in the third set up a two run, two out single from Brandon Moss.

Garland went six, gave up three unearned runs and whiffes six. He allowed six hits – five singles and a double.

The Good

A win.

Good pitching. Pirate starters walked none!

The Bad

Continued offensive woes.

The Rest

Last time the Pirates won a game in which the starter didn’t pitch five innings was 7-22-09 when Paul Maholm left after 4-2/3 in an 8-7 win over Milwaukee.

There are only four players in the Majors right now under the age of 30 with more than 100 career wins. Jon Garland is one of them. The others are Josh Beckett, C.C. Sabathia and Carlos Zambrano.

Moss has had three different two RBI games in September – his most of any month this year.

Last time the Pirates walked zero hitters in a game was August 22nd against Cincinnati.

Rajai Davis was in Sports Illustrated this week. Got me thinking – I hadn’t looked up his numbers in a while. So, how is the Rajai Davis Phenomenon doing? Let’s just say he is clearly having a better season than Moss is. Not really even close.

10 games left. Pirates need to go 6-4 to avoid 100 losses.

 

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Morton Pitches Pittsburgh Past Padres

Charlie Morton allowed a first inning run and then no more over seven strong innings. He gave up six hits (four in the first two innings) and just one free pass, while striking out four.

The Pirates battled back early off of a wild Tim Stauffer. With the aid of four walks and a pair of triples, the Pirates scored three times in the first and never looked back. Brandon Moss’ two run triple was the big hit.

After that it was Morton. Stauffer was pulled after three, allowing the three runs on four hits and four walks. Jesse Chavez and Matt Capps each tossed a scoreless inning to end it.

The Good

Getting a win.

Morton’s outing

The Bad

Wow. Nothing.

The Rest

This was Morton’s first win since August 21 against Pittsburgh. In his next start, he was clobbered for 10 runs against the Cubs. This was his best start since he threw seven shutout innings against San Francisco in July.

Brandon Moss is statistically at least, having an awful year for a corner outfielder. Looking back at Pirate players that had 350 or more plate appearances and failed to drive in 40 runs, you have a collection of lead off hitters and middle infielders. Other than Andy Van Slyke’s disastrous final season in Pittsburgh, the list is populated with names like Jose Castillo, Abraham Nunez, Lou Collier, Mike Benjamin, Jacob Brumfield.

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).

 

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.

Bucs Comeback and Take Series from Milwaukee

Paul Maholm didn’t have it today. Good news is that Jeff Suppan didn’t either. Neither started pitched five innings. Suppan went 3-1/3 and gave up five runs on four homers and three singles. Maholm went 4-2/3 and gave up seven runs, leaving the game with the Pirates behind.

It was an exciting fifth inning. Milwaukee trailed 5-2. But Ryan Braun hit a bases loaded double, scoring all three and then scored on a homer by Casey McGehee. After Bill Hall singled, Maholm was pulled for Joel Hanarahan who got the final out of the inning. The Pirates pulled even in their half off of Seth McClung. Delwyn Young walked and consecutive two out doubles from Andy LaRoche and Ramon Vazquez plated two runs.

It stayed that way until the 9th when Brandon Moss hit a walk off tater off Mitch Stetter with one gone. That made a winner out of Matt Capps, who pitched a scoreless ninth despite putting two runners on.

The Good

A win.

Winning a series.

Scoring 9 runs.

Garrett Jones hit a homer and had two doubles.

Ryan Doumit homered twice and drove in three.

The Bad

Maholm getting hammered.

The Rest

As Matt noted Andy LaRoche was traded. No surprise. Let’s see what Steve Pearce can do.

In the previous 31 games, the Pirates scored 9 runs or more just once (back on 6/24 vs. Cleveland). 13 hits was the most since that same game back on 6/24.

Last time the Bucs hit five round trippers in one game was 7/12/08. Damage was done then by Jason Michaels, Nate McLouth, Adam LaRoche and Jason Bay (2). None of them is still a Bucco. Last time anyone on the current roster was involved in a five or more homer game was 8/22/07 when both Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson went deep against Colorado.

This was the fourth time in 2009 that Maholm allowed six or more earned runs. He did that just three times in all of 2008.

This was Jones’ third career three hit game and his second in July.

Doumit homered twice in a game for the first time since 6/10/08 when he connected twice off of Tim Redding of the Nationals. Doumit came into the game hitting just .216 in his career against Milwaukee. He hadn’t homered against the Brewers since doing it in consecutive games on 7/4/07 and 7/5/07.

Braun has more career RBI against Pittsburgh than against any other club.

 

 

Morton Sharp as Offense Picks Up

Charlie Morton tossed six shutout innings to earn his first win as a Pirate, allowing one single and four walks.

The Pirates offense gave him seven runs of support, which was nearly eventually needed as Florida scored four times late off the Pittsburgh bullpen. Brandon Moss and Ramon Vazquez both homered and knocked in two runs. Jack Wilson’s two run double keyed a three run seventh inning at the expense of Chris Leroux. The Pirates got to Chris Volstad early as he gave up four runs in three innings on three hits. He didn’t come back to the mound after a 45 minute rain delayed play.

Florida touched Joel Hanrahan and Jeff Karstens for two runs a piece, but it wasn’t enough. Karstens gave up a two run tater to John Baker before closing out the game in the 9th.

The Good

Happy to see some offense.

Vazquez is filling in for a day-to-day Sanchez who has back issues.

The Bad

Joel Hanrahan continues to struggle. His ERA creeped toward eight.

The Rest

First time since June 14-15 that the offense totaled 15 runs or more in consecutive games.

Four players have picked up their first win as a Pirate this season – Morton, Ross Ohlendorf, Steven Jackson and Virgil Vazquez.

Andrew McCutchen has doubled in three straight contests.