Tagged: Andy LaRoche

Defense wins chmapionships, but not a game against the Nats

 

 

 

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Three “Baseball Tonight” web gems, one of which was by the guy above Andy LaRoche, was not enough to keep the Pirates in the game. Ronny Cedeno’s backhanded grab and diving double play didn’t allow Pittsburgh to put runs on the board. They fell to Washington 8-4. It is tough to swallow a loss like this. One because it was the Nationals, two because it was the Nationals, and three BECAUSE IT WAS THE NATIONALS!

Sorry, but its true. Even though most normal fans would say, “Matt come on its the PIRATES.” But the Bucs had no business losing this game. The bullpen faltered and gave up 4 runs after following starter Charlie Morton. Morton pitched pretty well through 5 innings of work. He shut out the Nationals and struck out 2 batters. The straw that broke the Camel’s back came in the sixth when Adam Dunn belted a homerun. It was tough to swallow and the runs kept coming from hits and a triple by Christian Guzman. It made me very upset to see Charlie let picthes get away from him. After meeting him in Arizona I really have admired his attitude and I know he has it in him to go out and do a solid job night in and night out. I’ll still be rooting hard for him, I just hope the stuffs there longer in the game next time he goes out. The following inning the bullpen came in to give up 4 runs as well. A homerun by Ryan Zimmerman headlined the inning follwed by a bunch of small ball that gave the Nats a good sized lead.

The Bucs offense is not off the hook here either. What started out as a promising game turned ugly and filled with goose-eggs. Andrew McCutchen struck again leading off the first inning with a homerun. He now has 7 on the year and is 2nd on the team with homeruns. It’s great to see that his 3-homerun night was not a fluke and he does have some power built inside.

cutch-milledge.jpgIts a great seeing this sight. The 1-2 punch of McCutchen and Milledge is a match made in heaven. Kind of like and M&M, no pun intended. The charisma they have and established chemistry is great in the clubhouse and at the top of the lineup. Although Milledge did not see the basepaths this game and was 0-5 he still has what the Bucs need. This was the only game Lastings has played in for Pittsburgh without collecting a hit. His failure to reach base may have been a reason for the Bucs failure to put more runs on the board but the rest of the lineup is not off the hook.

3 runs were scored in the first inning and it looked like they were set up nicely to cruise for the W. Steve Pearce, Garrett Jones, Ryan Doumit, set up runs and Delwyn Young scarificed a run in. The rest of the game was dull as the Pirates couldn’t score a run until the bottom of the ninth when Doumit doubled in a run.

On top of Milledge’s o-fer, Ronny Cedeno and Delwyn Young were as well. Ryan Doumit really needed this game to turn his game around. He did not get a hit in the first 3 games of the series. Tonight he was 3-5 with a run and RBI. From the cleanup spot he needs production and he showed it tonight. If he can turn things around quickly and recover from his early season injury he will be a coveted player at the catching position.

The Pirates finished off this series splitting four games with Washington. They start right back up tomorrow hosting the Diamondbacks. I will be attending this game and am very excited to do so. Its kind of funny that of the last three MLB games I’ve been too, the D-Backs have been involved. (Arizona was in Colorado when I was there, at home in Chase Field when I was there, and now here in Pittsburgh.) It is safe to say they are quite familiar. I just hope this result is a little different. The Diamondbacks took 3 of 4 from the Pirates out in the Grand Canyon State.

Tonight, I leave with a great quote from a great player.

“I loved the city of Pittsburgh,” Sanchez said. “I loved going to the ballpark every day and playing for those fans. They’ll always have a special place in my heart for the support they showed after I won that batting title.

“That’s a baseball town in my eyes. I hope all the trades work out, because they deserve a winner there. I’m sure it’s hard for them right now, but I’ll always be watching to see how they’re doing.”

This quote was taken from an ESPN.com article by Jerry Crasnick. It’s greta to see Freddy speaking with such admiration and understanding. I still wish him the best even though he is 3,000 miles away. It does however pain me to see this….                                            freddy giants.jpg  

The Timeline of Frustration

7:05– Bucco game starts. Excitement runs through my veins as another Philies-Pirates game begins. I enjoy this cross state rivalry and look forward to the games each year.

7:15- Pirate right fielder Garret Jones launches a home run to right field. I was skeptical of Jones at first. He never did intrigue me. He has since proven me wrong. Since his time in the big leagues he has connected with the ball well and been an asset in the outfield. He showed tonight that he has the power that the Pirates need.

 


jones.jpg7:18- Delwyn Young homers to left field.
 I love Young. He seems like a good guy with a nice personality and a good fit in the clubhouse. He brings a fire and passion to the team and always seems to get on base. A home run from him is always welcome.

7:48- Andrew McCutchen continues the trend and blasts an HR to left field. I had actually called this homerun. With Adam LaRoche on first I was ready for him to score. I figured no time like the present. I said Cutch is due for a dinger and he delievered right on cue. With a   5-0 lead I figured the Pirates had this game in the bag.

 


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– The Phils got on the board with an RBI from Raul Ibanez. This came in the 6th inning where Philly would continue to surge scoring a total of 3 runs.

9:07- The Pirates got 2 more runs here in the 7th in thanks to a handful of miscues by the Philadelphia defense. Garret Jones drew a walk scoring Jack Wilson. Later in the inning Ryan Doumit knocked in McCutchen to earn his first RBI since returning to the big league club.

9:40- With the Pirates in the field and the Philies searching for any form of life at the plate Jack WIlson showcased his glove making a diving, over the shoulder catch in mid left field robbing Shane Victorino of a hit. Being the always aware, always attentive shortstop he is, Wilson flung the ball over to LaRoche at first doubling up Jimmy Rollins. It was an amazing play and sure to be a web gem and top 10 play on tomorrows ESPN broadcasts.

10:00- Matt Capps comes in with a 7-3 lead. I am always weary of these situations. I’m talking baout when a closer is brought in during a non-save situation. Capps had a little breathing room so I was sure he could seal the deal and give the bucs a win.

10:02- Just a few minutes after coming into the game Capps gave up a solo shot to Matt Stairs. I wasn’t worried yet. I like Matt Stairs, he too is a good guy and a fan favorite no matter where he plays. With the Pirates in 2003 he hit 20 homeruns. He leads all current MLBers with 18 pinch hit homeruns.

 


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Ryan Howard steps to the plate with 2 men on and one out. This was the first meeting between Howard and Capps. Howard took advantage of the Big Bull Rider and absolutely blasted a shot over the centerfield fence. With one swing of the bat the game was tied and another chapter was written in Howard’s legacy book.

10:22- Ten minutes later the ball game was over. The bases were loaded and Paul Bako singled to left field scoring Raul Ibanez, who would be the dreadful winning run.

 

raul.jpgWith the loss the Pirates slip to 11 games under .500. There is little hope for the rest of the season. There is also little hope for the future of Matt Capps. It is inexcuseable for a closer of his nature to blow a game like this. The Bucs recently brought in Joel Hanrahan from the Nationals. I do believe they have plans for him in the pen as a closer here in the near future.

Ryan Doumit performed well in just his second game back from the DL. He was 0-4 in his first game but turned it around tonight with 2 doubles.

Andy LaRoche turned on the jets when he laced a triple in the 8th inning. I did not realize it but it was his 4th triple of the year.

Andrew McCutchen had a heck of a game. He had 2 hits, one being the HR, a stolen base and scored. This is the kind of production we need from him in the leadoff spot.

Virgil Vazquez will square off against J.A. Happ tomorrow for game 3 of the series when Pittsburgh hopes to avoid the sweep.

 

  

 

 

 

Do you believe in miracles? THE PIRATES DO!

MIRACLES.jpgI kind of jumped the gun a little with last nights post. I had just seen Snell get yanked from the game and assumed that the Bucs were detined for another loss, their 29th of the year. However, by the glory of Andy LaRoche teh Pirates pulled together a 5-run 8th innings and propelled Pittsburgh to a 8-5 win over teh Mets. I love answered runs and the Pirates had 8 of them last night.

The Buccos put together a string of 13 hits in the game and were relentless at the plate. Nyjer Morgan went 2-4, Adam LaRoche went 3-5, Jack Wilson went 3-4, Jason Jaramillo went 2-4 and Andy went 3-4 with 3 RBI and a TRIP_TRIP_ TRIPLE.

The big hit was delievered by pinch hitter Delwyn Young. His single drove in the go-ahead run and gave the Bucs momenum to add their insurance in  the same inning. 

This was a special game for a handful of reasons.

1) My good friend Chris Kiernan was able to witness the game. If you remeber a few weeks back when “A Deeper Look Inside Chris Kiernan” was written, he is from New Jersey. Being in teh New York metropolitan area he was able to catch the game on Chris was fresh off a visit to a minor league game where the Trenton Thunder played against teh Pittsburgh AA farm club, the Altoona Curve. Prior to the game he went down to the baseline and scored me some autographs of future Pirates players. He was very generous and so were the players. He offered them words of encouragement in hopes of seeing them at PNC Park in the near future.

2) Capps got a save. I’ve been very nervous as of late when I see him warming up. However, it seems that the dust has settled and the Capper has found his groove once again.

3) Attendance= 11,812. While the Mets were probably shocked at that number the Pirates probably weren’t. For a weekday game that is actually decent in Pittsburgh. We’re so used to crowds below 10,000 dipping into the 8,000s. With summer quickly approaching and the Pirates looking above average get used to Western Pennsylvania residents flocking the North Shore to see some Bucco baseball

4) Its a win and you know what that means…

RAISE THE JOLLY ROGER…23-28

 

 

Photo Credit: AP photo/gene puskar

 

 

La-La-La LaRoche

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RAISE THE JOLLY ROGER…18-21

 

 

A fun game in the nation’s capital. 

This game had it all. Happiness, sadness, despair, but in the end, glory.

It took ten innings but the Pirates prevailed 8-5. The Bucs jumped out to an early 5-0 lead thanks in part to an Andy LaRoche homerun.

andy.jpg LaRoche connected on a pitch and belted it deep into the left field seats. He went just 1-3 but the homer gave the Bucs are nice lead cushion and the best chance to win the game. He now has a 5 game hitting streak and an average of .254. The sky is the  limit for this kid if he can come through liek he did today.

Today’s game was also headlined by the other LaRoche. Adam followed in his bro’s footsteps, not with a homerun but with a pair of RBI.

Adam was hitless on the today and was on the brink of going 0-4. He had other plans and drilled a sharp line drive into right field. 2 runs scored and the jubilation would begin as another run would be added thanks to an RBI by Ramon Vazquez. To put this game away liek the Pirates did was fantastic. Everything came together on the offensive side and that translated to the W.

The Pittsburgh ballclub had their scare. In the sixth inning the Nats threatened and scored 4 runs over the course of the next few innings. The biggest irk came in the ninth with a Nick Johnson triple. Johnson would come in to score after a Sean Burnett wild pitch. Burnett would be replaced by Tom Gorzelanny. Gorzo closed the game out and picked up the win.

Seeing Gorzo warm up was both encouraging and threatening. Watching teh game with my father, we discussed how Tom would fit back into the mix for the Bucs. I believe he will work best in the pen. Thanks to short term work he will be well rested and can easily come in and get the job done, much like he did tonight. My father, his passion is the main reason I am a Pirate fan belives different. He feels Gorzo had his chance and blew it. He was scarry on the mound as a starter and just seeing him up with the club gives my pops the shivers.

Well, Tom did get the job done, but this night belonged to the Brothers LaRoche. There are two more games to be played in Washington against the Nats. A good sign for the Bucs to creep closer and closer to that .500 mark.

 

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PHOTO CREDITS:http://www.mitsyavilaovalles.com/uploaded_images/526234219_17e17f947a-724802.jpg

mvn.com

 

 

17 Hits one day…1 the next

It’s no question Chris Carpenter is back. Earning his first win since late 2006 Carpenter came out and dismissed the Pirates like they were a little league team.

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Carpenter went 7 innings only allowing one hit which also came in the seventh inning. The former CY Young winner struck out seven Bucco batters.

Freddy Sanchez, who has been the hottest Pirates at the plate and leads the team with a .444 BA said plain and simply that Carpenter was “filthy”

Crapenter’s superb outing overshadowed Pirate starter Ross Ohlendorf’s solid outing. Ohlendorf went six innings allowing two earne druns on six hits. He was surely effective, but just fell apart in the 6th inning due to shaky defense from Sanchez at 2nd.

If Pirate starters can continue to remain effective like Ohlendorf was today, there should be no problem wiining ball games. Holding a team, especially the Cardinals, to two runs is no easy feat and the Pirates should not feel too bad about this loss. I’m not one to hang my head for moral victories and the Pirates should feel the same. As a major league ball club runs should be put on the board and one hit is something that should never happen again. The offense is surely not what it was last year with Bay and Nady, but with the seasoned vets we have in the lineup, everybody should be a threat.

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Well now that one series is in the books let’s look back at the GOOD the BAD and the UGLY from the first 4 games.

 

THE GOOD: NYJER MORGAN

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There’s nothing better than silencing your critics. Morgan has had his share of haters throughout his entire career and rightfully so, he had big shoes to fill. It’s never easy to step into the starting role of a major league left fielder. More so, it’s hard to replace a perenial All-Star. After the departure of Jason Bay the Pirates needed someone to step in and act as a Bay. While Morgna lacks the pop of Bay he provides a spark at the top of the lineup and speed in the field. After a Sportscenter top 10 play from Thursday’s game and a .316 batting avergae for the first four games Morgan is proving his worth and shushing the critics. HE BELONGS HERE.

THE BAD: IAN SNELL

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Out to prove last season’s dismal performances were a fluke, Snell got off to a horrendous start. After Maholm’s 6 inning one earned run outing on opening day Snell came out the next day and fell flat. Snell only made it through 4 innings after being thrown to the showers. Number 45 gave up six earned runs and Cardinal batters abused him for 9 hits. Not only did Snell’s era skyrocketed to 13 after just one start he also had trouble finsing the strike zone. He only walked 3 batters but gave the hitters favorable counts to work with. Now the Cardinals have a history of toying with Snell . Pujols took him deep as well Chris Duncan. He was rocked to all parts of the field and had no command at all. Snell pitched in the World baseball classic and did somehwhat fine. He didn’t pick up any wins and only allowed a few runs in the big games he pitched. A shortened spring training could be a valuable excuse for Snell. However, with the rest of the rotation doing well Snell will have to step up for his own sake.

THE UGLY: DEFENSE

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Ugly is a very generous term for the play of the Pirate denefense. Apalling, Grotesque, Hideous and Putrid also come to mind. Missed pop flys, bases over thrown, bassed balls. O MY. 3 erros in 2 game for Andy LaRoche,  overthrows by Sanchez and John Grabow and inexcusable passed balls and a freaking catcher’s interference call by catch Ryan Doumit. Even Nyjer Morgan, who has been very crisp in teh field has over run some balls and misjusdged teh flight path of fly balls. It’s very dementing for a fan to see the sloppy play by these guys. I can only imagine how manager John Russell and even the pitcher’s feel when routine plays are bothced. It’s very shameful.

Heading down the Ohio River, Pittsburgh will take on the Cincinatti Reds for a three game series over the weekend.

 

PHOTO CREDITS:

1. redhotmomma.com

2. mlb.com

3. marinerds.com

4. espn.com (ap photo)

 

Projected stats for Pirates starters

Catcher

Ryan Doumit

2008: BA=.318 HR=15 RBI=69

2009: BA- .285 HR= 22 RBI=95

1st Base

Adam LaRoche

2008: BA=.270 HR=25 RBI=85

2009: BA=.280 HR=27 RBI= 90

2nd Base

Freddy Sanchez

2008: BA= .271 HR= 9 RBI= 52

2009: BA= .268 HR=13 RBI=60

3rd Base

Andy LaRoche

2008: BA= .152 HR= 3 RBI= 12

2009: BA= .270 HR= 17 RBI= 70

Shortstop

Jack Wilson

2008: BA= .272 HR= 1 RBI= 22

2009: BA= .248 HR= 8 RBI= 45

Left Field

Nyjer Morgan

2008: BA= .294 HR= 0 RBI= 7

2009: BA= .250 HR= 4 RBI= 38

Centerfield

Nate McClouth

2008: BA= .276 HR= 26 RBI= 94

2009: BA= .270 HR= 18 RBI= 80

Rightfield

Brandon Moss

2008: BA=.222 HR= 6 RBI= 23

2009: BA=.240 HR= 17 RBI= 45

The one thing missing in this lineup is definitely the power. It will also be interesting to see how many of these penciled in starters will still have their jobs in tact come September. Morgan, Moss and An. LaRoche are the biggest liabilities at their respective positions. With top notch prospects and a solid bench knocking down the door, competition will be prevalent throughout the season. “Only the strong survive” Who will be the strong for the Buccos this season?