I’ve been to three Pirate games thus far, this season. The young season has not treated me well, personally, as I am 0-3 when seeing live games.
The select few of you readers who have stuck it out during my extended leave of absence know I have five passions in life. Three of them were on display last week at the Winter Meetings.
The Cubbies have not won the World Series since 1908.
They also haven’t won a a game against the Pirates since September 29, 2009.
The Offense of the Pirates has been ignited all season when they are matched up with Chicago.
The Pirates put up 10 runs on Friday and have collected 26 runs thus far against the Northsiders.
Why the surge?
Look no further than the faces of the organization.
Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones made history Friday afternoon becoming the first teammates since 1999 to record five hits each while hitting a homerun.
Cutch went 5-for-5 with homer, Jones 5-for-6 with a three run blast.
It really has been a tale of two seasons for these two young men. Just establishing themselves last season in their rookie years the tandem had big, pressure filled roles placed upon their shoulders entering this season.
Andrew has lived up to the expectations. Garrett has not. At least until Friday.
McCutchen has been the unquestioned leader of his team. Batting a team leading .336 with a .522 slugging percentage.
Jones has been slow, but is finally turning his underperforming season around. The power he showed last year (21 homeruns in just a half a season of play) and at the start of this season (two home runs in his first two at bats of the season). Jones and McCutchen are tied for the team lead with five dingers. He has brought his Mendoza line BA up to a respectable .264.
He may never live up to the legend he built himself up to be last season, but Jones can prove he is a legitimate threat in this otherwise depleted lineup.
Currently Jones has struck out with the bases loaded in an attempt to add to the Pirates 3-2 lead over the Cubs. They scattered their only three runs in the first inning but have continued to get on base. This is a big series for not only the Bucs as they try to keep their win streak alive over a division opponent. It is also big for myself and other Pittsburgh fans.
For every run the Pirates score one dollar comes off the price of a Left field or Right field ticket for next week’s series against the Braves. Currently those tickets will be just $11 dollars. They are great seats regularly priced at $24 dollars. 11 more runs and yep, they are free! I’m hoping for a few more insurance runs and bigger discount. I’d love to be at the ballpark for cheap next weekend!
phot credits: postgazette.com
And what have you done?
Took two out of three
It sure was a lot of fun.
Thank you John and Yoko, a great song for a great series.
The Pirates defeated the Brewers ending a 22 game losing streak in Milwaukee on Tuesday with a 7-3 victory.
The man of the hour looked to be Trevor Hoffman.
“Hells Bells” resounded and chants of “It’s Trevor Time” could be heard around Miller Park. After all, the MLB saves leader deserves an ovation like that.
A few batters later, with the bases loaded Doumit jacked a grand slam deep into the second deck over the right field wall. That sealed the deal and ended the torment.
It never seemed like it would come.
The series began right where it left off in Pittsburgh following that 20-0 history making contest.
Pittsburgh fell 17-3. It was just an ugly game, something Pirates fans have been used to this past week.
The rubber match on Thursday was big. A win by the Pirates would actually tie the Brewers for fourth place in the Central. Now it is quite an accomplishment considering the beat down the Brewers have laid on the Bucs.
The marathon game went to the 14th inning. It should have been over way before that.
Hoffman came in again. Blew it again. Without saying, Pirates closer Octavio Dotel forfeited his own save a few innings later.
After going hitless the entire game Garrett Jones drove in the winning run to cap off the win and take the series. A great series. There is nothing better than raising the Jolly Roger in Miller Park. After all it was 22 game since it last happened.
photo credits: AP/postgazette.com
Guys, it is getting ugly. A 10-3 loss to the Astros on Sunday gave the Bucs a six game losing streak. After starting the year at 7-5, I was pumped. Optimism was abound amongst my 21 year old self. The city of Pittsburgh took notice and there was a bandwagon. Even Regis Philbin jumped on board.
The good wishes of Regis must have been the kiss of death.
Since then the Pirates have not won a game.
I thought that 20-0 debacle would have knocked some sense into the Pirates. Maybe a heralded speech by manager John Russell, a stern talking to by owner Bob Nutting or even some inspirational tactic used by Bill Mazeroski, would set this team ablaze and maybe pick up a few wins in Houston.
It was the complete opposite.
Friday-4-3 loss, Saturday- 5-2 loss, Sunday-10-3 tanking.
This team is depleted. There simply is no talent. Garrett Jones, pictured left, has fallen off the face of the earth.
He is now batting a miniscule .214. He struck out three times this weekend, but did score a meaningless run on Sunday.
There is no power souce on this lineup. Lastings Milledge is just a single machine. A major league rightfielder needs to drive the ball deep and over the fence, occasionally. Milledge doesn’t seem to have the wearwithall to do what is needed to be a big hitter in this lineup.
With the lack of power comes the lack of pitching.
Charlie Morton took the hill Sunday. There was speculation that he was going to come out firing. Hes said to have the best “stuff” on the staff. But “stuff” does not go far. It didn’t on Sunday either.
Looking to depress his 16.55 ERA Morton gave up five earned runs over just three innings. He struck out two batter and actually did bring down his ERA to 16.20.
Little triumphs need to be celebrated.
One forthcoming celebration was the recovery of Chris Jakubauskas.
In the first inning a Lance Berkman line drive blasted off his head. He was down for nearly ten minutes, legs wiggling. I ccould only imagine his pain. It hurt to see the highlights. He was able to stand up and left the field on a stretcher. After spending the night in the hospital he was placed on the DL. Sad thing is, he was just called up from the minors to get the start.
So what team is up next for the Pirates?
phot credits- AP/postgazette.com, milwaukeescoop.com
Saturday and Sunday were two games that could make any baseball fan happy. The Pirates came from behind for a walkoff win on Saturday. On Sunday the Bucs got out on top early and sustained the lead until the end.
Raise your hand if your team is .500!
That little girl must be a Pirate fan because we are 7-5. Yes, its April and yes there are 150 games to be played but I will jump at any chance to get excited and the Pirates are giving me that chance right now.
The Buccos were destined for a loss on Saturday. Being down 43 in the bottom of the ninth with Francisco Cordero called upon for the save.
I thought we were done for.
Cordero is 4-for-4 in saves opportunities this year and is listed 27th on the all-time closers list.
Can’t you see why I thought we were done for?
But Cordero was erratic. Ryan Church laced a single to left, Ronny Cedeno walked and Lastings Milledge Walked. Garrett Jones stepped to the plate, battling a slump. Jones has been dissapointing fantasy owners everywhere with his lack of power which was expected after his monstrous opening day. He did come through with a hit off the wall to win the ballgame.
I was not able to watch the Pirate game on Sunday as I was covering the West Virginia baseball game. The 12th ranked Louisville Cardinals brought their own brooms to Morgantown and beat the Mountaineers up and down.
Louisville has one of the best pitching staffs in the country. On Sunday I had the pleasure of watching Gabriel Shaw mow down the Mountaineers. In seven innings he struck out six batters allowing just five hits.
Jedd Gyorko, pictured left, drove in the only run for West Virginia. Gyorko is a Morgantown native and high on many experts draft lists. He is a shortstop who will be picked up in the June draft, more than likely in the first few rounds.
Even though I was not watching the Pirates game, 13,860 at PNC Park did. The Buccos jumped out early and produced hits throughout the ballgame. Paul Maholm had a no hitter through four innings and looked the best he has all season. Octavio Dotel picked up the save even after surrendering a homerun to Jay Bruce, who hit two.
Backup catcher Jason Jaramillo brought in three runs with a double in the fifth inning. Jones struggled again, not reaching base in the game.
The Pirates remain at home to face the Brewers this week. Standing just a half game out of first place in the NL Central. This is a big series if the Pirates hope to keep their heads over water in the division and to sustain .500.
photo credit: freeclipartnow.com, nordinho.net, postgazette.com, msnsportsnet.com
Ten of my closest friends at WVU make a pact that every nice day we have to attempt to get a game of softball in. Sunday was one of those days where we all were on the same page, we found an open field and it worked.
Part of what made the day so great is that I was not even able to watch the Pirate game today. The Extra Innings package blocks the games out regardless because I am in the Pittsburgh market and Fox Sports Pittsburgh was showing the Penguins game today.
I was however game tracking it on my buddy’s iphone. I was happy and please. Up until the 4th inning. The Pirates were up with a nice 4-2 lead. Andrew McCutchen teed off for his first homerun of the year and pitcher Daniel McCutchen was progressing smoothly. I will say it again-up until the 4th inning.
The Diamondbacks put up a whooping 13 runs in one inning alone to win the ballgame 15-6.
Theres not much to be happy about a 15 run performance but take away that one inning and the Bucs win the game easily.
Daniel McCutchen will be sent down tomorrow because relief pitcher Joel Hanrahan is ready to begin the season after an injury. If I was in charge I would send current relief pitcher Hayden Penn with him. Penn currently has an inflated ERA of 30.80 and has been shelled in both of his appearances this season and does not look like a major league caliber pitcher.
There were some bright spots in Arizona this weekend, most coming on Saturday.
Duke looked awesoem, maybe the best since his Opening Day start of 2009, pictured above. He went eight innings and only walked two batters. Duke gave up just a 2-run homer to Mark Reynolds and managed to work out of a handful of tough jams. He stands at 2-0 on the year which not only helps his confidence early on, it also elevates his staff ace status.
Leadoff man Aki Iwamura belted his first homrun of the year and went 2-for-4. Iwamura has been a gem the past few games after beginning the year 0-for-8. He has been working counts and waiting on his pitches. Hopefully he continues to find his stride and become confortable.
The guy touching Aki on the head has not quite been the guy he was the first two games.
Garrett Jones was 0-for-4 on Sunday striking out and grounding into a double play. His breakout game and opening day seems so long ago as Jones is batting just .208 right now. It can’t really be said that he will breakout of this slump because he never has had the opportunity before. We know the power is there, but the question remians, can he deliever consistently?
I for one am happy to just be leaving Chase Field. It has not been very welcoming to Pittsburgh in recent years. Thej Pirates have lost 11 of their last 18 in Pheonix and have won just two out of their last six.
I love Chase Field. I was there for the Pirates series last year and enjoyed the atmosphere, affordability and fans at the stadium. However I cannot say the curse the team or ballpark bestows upon the Pirates is good in anyone, simply because it is not.
It is a nice place to watch a game, and I am not a big fan of retractable roofs at all!
Anywho, it will be a late night for me tomorrow as I have a paper to write and get to watch the Bucs at ten pm. Its Pirates-Giants in San Francisco. 3-3 right now and I would love to take 2-of-3.
photo credits: Associated Press