Before I express my feelings of relief, just got to ask one thing. Whats up with this celebration? I love seeing it. I love the look on the players faces when they are in mid air rejoicing after a win. I just don’t like that every team does it. I feel so proud as a Pirates fan knowing the Jolly Roger has just been raised and my boys are up like this, but every team in the MLB does it. It really rubs me the wrong way. I hope some team, I would love it be the Pirates, to come up with their own victory celebration. I would honestly like some touchdown celebrations of sorts. Nothing too drastic just an after the game dance or diddy out in the outfield. It would be a great marketing tool and players and fans alike can partake in their own jigs.
Now enough about that let me just say that a win is a win. They don’t come often but I surely enjoyed this 7-3 win over the respectable Rockies.
The Pirates owned this game from start to finish. Nearly every player contributed to the win in their own special way.
Starting pitcher Ross Ohlendorf was outstanding on the mound. He picked up his tenth win and now stands at 10-8. He went 6 innings giving up 6 runs and surrendering 3 earned runs. He was a little shaky as he gave up 2 home runs but still managed to work his way out of jams. He showed that he has the poise to avoid disastorous situations and get the key outs.
Ryan Doumit maneuvered his way out of a deeper funk. He notched a double as he went 2-4 with a walk and run scored. Doumit has been iffy all season. He started out hot, but went down with an injury that kept him out for a few months. On his rehab stints he stunk up the joint in the minor leagues. He failed to get hits and looked like a scrub. He has been equally scrubby since his return to the 25 man roster. He’s had his moments with 2 hit games, such as this one, but he has gone hitless in too many games. A good showing at the plate and a win may boost his confidence.
Lastings Milledge is not off the hook either. I love his potential and upside but he still has not proven he is the answer in left field. I still do miss Nyjer Morgan but I honestly believe Milledge will live up to the hype and be a star. You can see he puts in time in the weight room and stretches out those meaty legs. He flashed his hops during the game robbing a homerun and elevating above the outfield wall. It was a sensational grab and earned the number one spot on Baseball Tonight “Web Gems” The hosts ,emtyioned that the Pirates hold the lead for team appearances on the web gem segment. A cool honor and rightfully so as it seems night in and night out there is also a Buc on the spotlight.
Andrew McCutchen had another hat trick tonight. Remember 2 weeks ago when he hit 3 homeruns. Well as an encore a few days later he went hog wild again. Cutch stole 3 bases. An amazing feat and something only those special players can perform. He has some outstanding speed in those legs. To get him off and running is a great sign, and a warning sign for opposing teams. Getting him on base and on the move will definately score some run. (3 for him tonite)
One of my favorite faces of the Pirates organization is 3rd base coach Tony Beasley. Not only does his last name rhyme with mine he is a charasmatic fellow, like myself. I sometimes question his decsions about sending and holding runners, but 9 times out of ten he knows how to handle it. Last week his father and aunt dies, just a few days apart from each other. He was on leave to be with his family in these tough times. I love his courage and wish the best to his family. Its great to have him back guiding the Bucs. Here Beasley is with Delwyn Young. DY just laced a triple scoring two runs. He finsihed the game 2-5.
Maybe this game will right the ship and direct the Bucs to more wins. I know its late in the season but I hope they can finish respectably. Like I’ve preached before I want to see hope for the future. Tonight I surely did. My goal for the Bucs is to always finish above the Indians when the season is all said and done. We are a few games back now but if the push continues, watch out Tribe.
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.
Its 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….
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.
7:18- 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.
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.
10:11- 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.
With 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.
2008: BA=.318 HR=15 RBI=69
2009: BA- .285 HR= 22 RBI=95
2008: BA=.270 HR=25 RBI=85
2009: BA=.280 HR=27 RBI= 90
2008: BA= .271 HR= 9 RBI= 52
2009: BA= .268 HR=13 RBI=60
2008: BA= .152 HR= 3 RBI= 12
2009: BA= .270 HR= 17 RBI= 70
2008: BA= .272 HR= 1 RBI= 22
2009: BA= .248 HR= 8 RBI= 45
2008: BA= .294 HR= 0 RBI= 7
2009: BA= .250 HR= 4 RBI= 38
2008: BA= .276 HR= 26 RBI= 94
2009: BA= .270 HR= 18 RBI= 80
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?
Mr. Doumit has really broken onto the scene in the off-season. With the starting job in hand Doumit has had a solid spring and has even acted as a mentor to the younger backstops in the organiztion. A lot of weight is on this guys shoulders. He is expected to produce and be a solid core for the future of this team. His contract and bobble head night prove what the front office expects and I’m sure the Moses Lake, Washington native will not dissapoint.
While Ryan is recieving a lot of honor and respect from the Pittsburgh are he is alos catching fire nationwide. Many baseball publications list him in the top five of fantasy catchers. A solid pick as he definately has th enumbers to back up his praises. Last season, Doumit batted a solid .318 in his first semi full season. In 116 games he had a batting average of .318, leading all National League catchers and drove in 69 RBI. His 15 home runs also provided ample power out of the catching position.
With as many accolades as this guy has recieved, he also holds down his share of drawbacks.
Plain and simple he is a liability. He is injury prone and kind of soft behind the plate. He suffered a broken thumb last season missing some crucial games for the Pirates. He would have contended for the batting title had he been healthy through the course of the whole season.
Ryan has also earned himself a catchy nickname. “No Mit-Doumit” is a name that has floated around PNC Park since Doumit was first toutued as a top prospect in the organization. He does need to work on his defense behind the plate, but what catcher doesn’t. It is the hardest position to play in baseball and even the greats like Johnny Bench and Mike Piazza were never known for their defensive brilliance.
Ryan can also improve on the way he handles the pitchers. While he is a persoanble guy and known to be the clubhouse clown his game management skills can use a minor fine tuning. When Ronny Paulino was here it seemed that he could connect to the pitchers and call a good game behind the plate. Doumit needs to follow in Paulino’s footsteps and settle down our pitchers because by God they will need all the confidence they can get.
Doumit is no longer a prospect as he is enetring into his prime. As a 28 year old Doumit has a lot of weight placed atop his shoulders. He needs to prove he can stay healthy and put in a great offensive and defensive performance night in and night out (or a lot of fantasy managers will claim he is the biggest bust in history). I have confidence in the guy, just as I have confidence in this whole team.
Doumit also has to be able to handle the role of being a fan favorite. Jack Wilson knows how to handle it as he has been here for his entire career and has been used to the limelight. Upon signing his new contract Doumit is going to have to be the funny, personable guy throughout the course of his career.
Doumit is even garnering fans from outside the Pittsburgh community. One of my roommates Jared, is a die hard Indians fan but is the biggest Doumit supporter I know. Since his “Inside Pirates Baseball” appearance as a mere rookie Jared identified with Ryan’s free spirit and carefree attitude.
My other friend Andrew drafted Doumit in our fantasy laegaue. Andrew is an Orioles fan but chose Doumit as the first catcher picked. He is ready for Doumit to “tear it up.”
As the Pirate fan I am also ready for Ryan to tear it up. As a top 10 prospect a few years ago I have been waiting for Ryan to give a full season in the ‘Burgh. I’m confident he will blossom into the full player we have all hoped he could be. 2009 is his year to prove the Ryan Time begins now.
1. face photo-pirates.mlb.com
2. catching photo- pirates.mlb.com
3. batting photo-buccowire.blogspot.com