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.

 

 

Doumit Powers Pirates to Sweep

The Pirates are on a bit of a mini-roll. Three of four from the Dodgers and now two of three from the Cubs with the final game of the series tomorrow.

Ryan Doumit collected four hits and drove in four runs to back Jeff Karstens and a host of relievers. Doumit hit a two run double that broke a 1-1 tie in the third inning. He later added an RBI single and a solo homer, missing by a triple of the cycle.

Karstens needed 61 pitches to go five innings. He allowed two runs on five hits. He struck out one and whiffed none. He benefited from a couple of double plays behind him. Four relievers combined on four shutout innings of two hit ball to close out the game.

Carlos Zambrano was left with the loss. He was looking for his 10th win, but didn’t find it in the early Fall Chicago evening. He struck out six but gave up six hits and four walks in six innings.

The Good

A sweep and the Bucs have taken five of six for the first time in over a month.

Doumit’s big game.

The Bad

Donnie Veal was wild, getting just one out and walking two. He was rescued when Steven Jackson got a double ply on a line drive from Jake Fox.

The Rest

This was Doumit’s third four RBI game and his first since April of 2009. This was his fifth career four hit game and his first in over a year.

Karstens picked up a win for the first time since 6/10/09.

This was the fourth time in September that Brandon Moss drove in two runs in one game. He had just four games with two RBI heading into September.

This was the 7th time in the last 11 games that Andrew McCutchen collected two or more hits.

Pirates need to go 2-2 to avoid 100 losses.

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.

 

Bucs End Losing Streak Against Milwaukee

The Pirates climbed all over Mike Burns early on as Delwyn Young hit a three run first inning homer. After two innings, the Pirates led 6-1 and then cruised until the 9th when Jesse Chavez gave up three runs.

Ross Ohlendorf was good enough, giving up a pair of sac flies in five innings. He allowed seven hits and two walks. He gave way to Jeff Karstens who threw three scoreless innings. There were some fireworks as Karstens was plunked in his lone AB, clearing both benches. There was bad blood going back to 4/27 when Karstens nailed Ryan Braun one at bat after Braun had homered.

Braun was at it again as his two run homer capped the scoring off Chavez.

Burns was the loser, lasting three and giving up six runs (four earned).

The Good

Ohlendorf kept the team in the game.

Andrew McCutchen had three hits and scored twice.

Garrett Jones homered again.

The Bad

Bucs hit into three double plays.

The Rest

Felipe Lopez, recently acquired by Milwaukee, had four hits in his Brewer debut.This was his 8th career 4 hit contest.

Jones now has 8 homers in 60 ABs.

Pittsburgh had lost 17 straight to Milwaukee.

Bucs End Losing Streak Against Milwaukee

The Pirates climbed all over Mike Burns early on as Delwyn Young hit a three run first inning homer. After two innings, the Pirates led 6-1 and then cruised until the 9th when Jesse Chavez gave up three runs.

Ross Ohlendorf was good enough, giving up a pair of sac flies in five innings. He allowed seven hits and two walks. He gave way to Jeff Karstens who threw three scoreless innings. There were some fireworks as Karstens was plunked in his lone AB, clearing both benches. There was bad blood going back to 4/27 when Karstens nailed Ryan Braun one at bat after Braun had homered.

Braun was at it again as his two run homer capped the scoring off Chavez.

Burns was the loser, lasting three and giving up six runs (four earned).

The Good

Ohlendorf kept the team in the game.

Andrew McCutchen had three hits and scored twice.

Garrett Jones homered again.

The Bad

Bucs hit into three double plays.

The Rest

Felipe Lopez, recently acquired by Milwaukee, had four hits in his Brewer debut.This was his 8th career 4 hit contest.

Jones now has 8 homers in 60 ABs.

Pittsburgh had lost 17 straight to Milwaukee.

Happ, Feliz Help Phils Complete Sweep

The Pirates limped into the All-Star break having been swept by their cross-state rivals. Pedro Feliz poked a first inning grand slam and J.A. Happ limited the Pirates to one run on four hits and two walks in seven innings.

Virgil Vasquez didn’t live to see the third inning. After giving up five runs in the first inning, Vasquez put two on with one out in the second and was pulled for Jeff Karstens. The Pirates bullpen was stingy, allowing just two hits and one walk the final 7-2/3 innings of the game. Karstens tossed 3-2/3 of no hit baseball.

The Pirates offense consisted of an RBI double from Freddy Sanchez (who had two hits), knocking in Andrew McCutchen (who also had two hits) and a solo homer in the 9th from Garrett Jones.

The Good

Bucs can’t lose tomorrow.

Karstens was effective, whiffing four. Have to believe he will get another shot as a starter in the 2nd half.

The Bad

Offense.

Bucs hit into three double plays – one traditional, one unassisted DP at the hands of Chase Utley and one fake out job that got McCutchen doubled off first on a fly ball from Sanchez.

Vasquez got knocked around. I don’t think he’ll have too many more chances.

The Rest

Jones has homered in three straight games.

Karstens lowered his ERA as a reliever to 2.70 with his effort today.

This was Happ’s first appearance against the Pirates. He is unbeaten in six decisions in 2009.

Bucs are 38-50 after 88 games. At the same point last year, the club was 41-47. Bucs need to go 44-30 the rest of the way to avoid a sub .500 season.

Karstens is the Hero in Relief

Jeff Karstens was yanked from the rotation favor of newly acquired Charlie Morton. Hamstring issues forced Morton from the game after just one inning. In stepped Karstens and he allowed just one run in 4-2/3 to earn the win.

Pirate offense was once again scarce. Adam LaRoche drove in a run with a grounder in the third and another with an infield single in the seventh.

Atlanta’s tallies came on same-inning doubles from Yunel Escobar and Brian McCann in the sixth and a solo homer in the 9th by Garret Anderson off of Matt Capps.

Jair Jurrjens allowed two runs in six innings but took the loss. He allowed four singles and whiffed seven. Capps got the save.

The Good

Nice to see Karstens come through.

Freddy Sanchez had two hits, including another double.

The Bad

Not too much offense. Yet again. But at least it was enough

The Rest

The last Pirate starter to last an inning or less was Tom Gorzelanny  on 5-28-09. Of course, his outing was shortened due to ineffectiveness and not an injury.

The last Pirate reliever to toss 4-2/3 or more was Shawn Chacon who went five on 5-17-07 in relief of Tony Armas, Jr.

Despite allowing just 8 earned runs in 23 innings pitched, Jurrjens career mark against Pittsburgh fell to 1-3.