Surging Pirates Hit A Speed Bump in South Philly, Lose 4-3
"I’ve come to the conclusion that the two most important things in life are good friends and a good bullpen." - Hall of Fame Pitcher Bob Lemon
Another night, another one-run game the Bucs end up on the wrong side and you can’t help but feel like last night’s affair was another win (along with about 15 others throughout the season) that got away.  The good people over at Bucs Dugout have some great overviews of last night’s events at Citizens Bank Park. Check it out here & here.
Once again, the Pirates get owned by unlikely heroes, this time it took the form of Maikel Franco (3B), Freddy Galvis (SS) & David Buchanan (P). They came into the game hitting .133, .085 & .034 respectively, but went a combined 6 for 8 at the plate last night, with 2 doubles, a home run and 13 total bases between them. 
A number of key miscues turned into runs for the Phillies or halted potential rallies for the Pirates. In the bottom of the first inning Neil Walker lost a pop out in the lights. In the top of the second inning Russell Martin got thrown out at 2nd base trying to turn a single into a double. 
The Pirates had baserunners in the 5th, 7th and 9th innings and went an abysmal 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position. To add insult to injury, Starling Marte (who’s red hot by the way) had a home run call reversed into a ground rule double (didn’t clear wall but fan interfered preventing ricochet that may have resulted in a triple) in the 5th and was left stranded. Gregory Polanco made all the way the 3rd base in the top of the 9th but ended up being the 10th and final Pirate left on base for the game. Manager Clint Hurdle said post-game: “We had 3 different inning where a base hit would have played well for us. We didn’t get it.”
The best news of the night was that the Braves and Brewers lost as well keeping the Pirates 1.5 games up in the standings with 18 games to go. In other news, Charlie Morton’s hip is bothering him and his role down the stretch is unclear at this juncture and Edinson Volquez was quite miffed about being taken out after 6 innings of work. He was quoted as saying “Only 90 pitches…I was ready to go. I threw 82 in my last one. I threw 90 today. I was more than ready to go.” The Trib has also has a solid piece on the game and a frustrated Eddie V.
I know I lead this with a quote from Bob Lemon about bullpens, and they had their share in the loss with Justin Wilson giving up the winning run in the top in the 7th inning. While the frustration with the bullpen is clear and present, I wanted to unwrap other elements of the game that may have been overlooked due to the vitriol that exists for the bullpen right about now. Don’t get it twisted thought this bullpen have been increasing the heart rate of the Bucco faithful all season with no end in sight. Here’s to hoping something comes over this bullpen soon and gets them more consistent. In addition to that, let’s hope this was just a road bump on the way to the wildcard and the Braves and Brewers continue to fade. These last 18 games will be interesting…

Surging Pirates Hit A Speed Bump in South Philly, Lose 4-3

"I’ve come to the conclusion that the two most important things in life are good friends and a good bullpen." - Hall of Fame Pitcher Bob Lemon

Another night, another one-run game the Bucs end up on the wrong side and you can’t help but feel like last night’s affair was another win (along with about 15 others throughout the season) that got away.  The good people over at Bucs Dugout have some great overviews of last night’s events at Citizens Bank Park. Check it out here & here.

Once again, the Pirates get owned by unlikely heroes, this time it took the form of Maikel Franco (3B), Freddy Galvis (SS) & David Buchanan (P). They came into the game hitting .133, .085 & .034 respectively, but went a combined 6 for 8 at the plate last night, with 2 doubles, a home run and 13 total bases between them. 

A number of key miscues turned into runs for the Phillies or halted potential rallies for the Pirates. In the bottom of the first inning Neil Walker lost a pop out in the lights. In the top of the second inning Russell Martin got thrown out at 2nd base trying to turn a single into a double. 

The Pirates had baserunners in the 5th, 7th and 9th innings and went an abysmal 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position. To add insult to injury, Starling Marte (who’s red hot by the way) had a home run call reversed into a ground rule double (didn’t clear wall but fan interfered preventing ricochet that may have resulted in a triple) in the 5th and was left stranded. Gregory Polanco made all the way the 3rd base in the top of the 9th but ended up being the 10th and final Pirate left on base for the game. Manager Clint Hurdle said post-game: “We had 3 different inning where a base hit would have played well for us. We didn’t get it.”

The best news of the night was that the Braves and Brewers lost as well keeping the Pirates 1.5 games up in the standings with 18 games to go. In other news, Charlie Morton’s hip is bothering him and his role down the stretch is unclear at this juncture and Edinson Volquez was quite miffed about being taken out after 6 innings of work. He was quoted as saying “Only 90 pitches…I was ready to go. I threw 82 in my last one. I threw 90 today. I was more than ready to go.” The Trib has also has a solid piece on the game and a frustrated Eddie V.

I know I lead this with a quote from Bob Lemon about bullpens, and they had their share in the loss with Justin Wilson giving up the winning run in the top in the 7th inning. While the frustration with the bullpen is clear and present, I wanted to unwrap other elements of the game that may have been overlooked due to the vitriol that exists for the bullpen right about now. Don’t get it twisted thought this bullpen have been increasing the heart rate of the Bucco faithful all season with no end in sight. Here’s to hoping something comes over this bullpen soon and gets them more consistent. In addition to that, let’s hope this was just a road bump on the way to the wildcard and the Braves and Brewers continue to fade. These last 18 games will be interesting…

The Dock Abides…
Today is a day that will live long in my memory of great days in  Pirates’ history. The Bucs won a 1.3 header and I finally got to see the long awaited and highly anticipated film: “No No: A dockumentary" on the life and times of famed Pirate pitcher Dock Ellis. 
In my humble opinion the film is something even those who have no interest in baseball can get into. The film offers a unique lens to peer back to the 1970s and the world according to  one of baseball’s most unique and memorable players of all-time.
While the film deals with the infamous “LSD No Hitter”, it does so in the context of the larger story of Dock Ellis, much more interesting than the “novelty” of the infamous baseball feat he accomplished on June 12, 1970. The film is quite moving and inspirational, I will not spoil it for you so go see it. “No No” runs until Sept 18th at the Harris Theater.

Now back to baseball. Josh Baseball came to rescue once again to close out the suspended game. A few interesting things happened recently in no particular order:
Watson pitched the 7th & 8th, Melancon the 9th & 10th. I can’t remember anytime I’ve ever seen them eat up 4 inning between them. 
"Big John Stud" aka John Holdzkom got the save in the bottom of the 11th striking out 2 more. 5 of the 6 batters he’s face since being called up have been stuck out. The 6’ 9” 240 pounder from New Zealand has quite the story to tell.
Josh Harrison. First & Foremost let’s hope his ankle is OK. As of today here is where he ranks among the NL: 1st in the league in batting average (.315), 5th in slugging (.513), 7th in doubles (33), 7th in triples (7), 8th in OPS (.860)
I missed a good portion of the 2nd game, but here’s a good synopsis on Bucs Doughout, 
Tomorrow shall be interesting 1:00pm kickoff for Steelers and 2:20pm first pitch for the Pirates. I’ll be watching the Pirates.

The Dock Abides…

Today is a day that will live long in my memory of great days in  Pirates’ history. The Bucs won a 1.3 header and I finally got to see the long awaited and highly anticipated film: “No No: A dockumentary" on the life and times of famed Pirate pitcher Dock Ellis. 

In my humble opinion the film is something even those who have no interest in baseball can get into. The film offers a unique lens to peer back to the 1970s and the world according to  one of baseball’s most unique and memorable players of all-time.

While the film deals with the infamous “LSD No Hitter”, it does so in the context of the larger story of Dock Ellis, much more interesting than the “novelty” of the infamous baseball feat he accomplished on June 12, 1970. The film is quite moving and inspirational, I will not spoil it for you so go see it. “No No” runs until Sept 18th at the Harris Theater.

Now back to baseball. Josh Baseball came to rescue once again to close out the suspended game. A few interesting things happened recently in no particular order:

  1. Watson pitched the 7th & 8th, Melancon the 9th & 10th. I can’t remember anytime I’ve ever seen them eat up 4 inning between them.
  2. "Big John Stud" aka John Holdzkom got the save in the bottom of the 11th striking out 2 more. 5 of the 6 batters he’s face since being called up have been stuck out. The 6’ 9” 240 pounder from New Zealand has quite the story to tell.
  3. Josh Harrison. First & Foremost let’s hope his ankle is OK. As of today here is where he ranks among the NL: 1st in the league in batting average (.315), 5th in slugging (.513), 7th in doubles (33), 7th in triples (7), 8th in OPS (.860)

I missed a good portion of the 2nd game, but here’s a good synopsis on Bucs Doughout

Tomorrow shall be interesting 1:00pm kickoff for Steelers and 2:20pm first pitch for the Pirates. I’ll be watching the Pirates.

A Different Kind of a Double Header: Today, the Bucs will take on a rejuvenated Cubs team loaded with young hungry talent. First pitch is 2:20pm. The Bucs have been given charity CPR by the Braves and Brewers and still have a fighting chance for the 2nd wildcard spot. If they can go 5-2 in Chicago and Philadelphia they will have helped their cause tremendously. 6-1 or better would be a game changer.

Tonight, the long-awaited and highly anticipated documentary “No No” opens nationally. I have not seen the film yet, but there are reviews in the SF ChronicleLA Times  & Entertainment Weekly. The film is running here in Pittsburgh at the Harris Theater (starting tonight at 7:30pm) through Sept 18th, see showtime info here.

I hope that off-day helped get the “Sweep in St. Louie” out of your system. It sure did the trick for me. In the meantime let’s go Bucs and make your way to the Harris Theater to see “No No” before it leaves town. 

Baseball is a funny game like that. 2 weeks ago, Pirate fans were ready to surrender the season after an ill-timed 7 games losing streak. A week ago, happy days were hear again as the Bucs climbed back within striking distance of the NL Central division lead. But today, Pirates fans woke up on a ship in real rough waters with a 2nd straight post-season appearance now very much in doubt. Today’s off day could not have come at a better time for a Bucs team that is averaging 2.8 runs over it’s last 10 games. Without a 15-8 or 16-7 run in these last 23 games, it is becoming harder and harder to see how the Bucs make the playoffs. 

The pgdigs Bob Smizik summed up the collective consciousness of the Bucco faithful: “The Pirates, as expected, have been good enough to hang around playoff contention all season. They do not appear to be good enough, though, to do more than hang around. But the opportunity is there. It’s just that the chances are not good.” Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/smizik-on-sports/2014/09/04/Bob-Smizik-15/stories/201409040299#ixzz3CM6mBVzg

In other news… Cutch was thrown at again yesterday, this time by Shelby Miller after Eddie V hit Matt Adams and Matt Holliday. Clint Hurdle called it “an ambush, a cheap shot.” The St. Louis Dispatch has full coverage of the kerfuffle. http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/hurdle-calls-miller-s-pitch-cheap-shot/article_9aa50ad2-b07e-54ff-9681-2e488c9960e8.html

Looking ahead the Bucs have a huge series coming up at Wrigley Field vs. Cubs. The pgdigs Brian O’Niell has a very well prepared argument on why you should fear the Cubs. http://sportsblogs.post-gazette.com/sports/pirates-pirates-blog

In the meantime, enjoy this nice day and do anything you can to take your mind off of it. That could also include watching tonight’s NFL kickoff. Anything. But. Baseball. For. 24. Hours. 



Worst. Case. Scenario. 2 weeks after staring down a premature demise to a sometimes promising, sometimes not so much 2014 season, the Pirates stand at the crossroads once again. After losing 4 straight games by a grand total of 5 runs ( 3 one run games and 1 two run game), the Pirates are at the precipice of another all-to-familiar late season collapse.
With 23 games to go (14 on the road), the Bucs have their work cut out for them. By all accounts, they will have to win at least 15 games the rest of the way to even have a shot at a wildcard, as the division crown appears unattainable at this juncture. 
On a positive note, Josh Baseball won the NL Player of the Month Award for August. He led the National League with 71 total bases, extra-base hits with 19, hits with 41 and slugging percentage at .602. Read more here: http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2014/09/03/josh-harrison-named-national-league-player-of-the-month-for-august/
Interesting stat: Over the last 10 games, the Pirates have only scored 5 runs once and are averaging a paltry 2.8 runs per game. Over that stretch, 5 of the Buc’s 6 losses have been by one run. Not how you want to start your stretch drive. 
Now the Bucs will head to Chi-town for 3 then Philly for 4, looks like a 5-2 (better yet 6-1) end to the road trip is the bare minimum to keep any hope alive. It is well known, anything can happen in baseball, but the odds are not working in the Buccos favor right about now.

Worst. Case. Scenario. 2 weeks after staring down a premature demise to a sometimes promising, sometimes not so much 2014 season, the Pirates stand at the crossroads once again. After losing 4 straight games by a grand total of 5 runs ( 3 one run games and 1 two run game), the Pirates are at the precipice of another all-to-familiar late season collapse.

With 23 games to go (14 on the road), the Bucs have their work cut out for them. By all accounts, they will have to win at least 15 games the rest of the way to even have a shot at a wildcard, as the division crown appears unattainable at this juncture. 

On a positive note, Josh Baseball won the NL Player of the Month Award for August. He led the National League with 71 total bases, extra-base hits with 19, hits with 41 and slugging percentage at .602. Read more here: http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2014/09/03/josh-harrison-named-national-league-player-of-the-month-for-august/

Interesting stat: Over the last 10 games, the Pirates have only scored 5 runs once and are averaging a paltry 2.8 runs per game. Over that stretch, 5 of the Buc’s 6 losses have been by one run. Not how you want to start your stretch drive. 

Now the Bucs will head to Chi-town for 3 then Philly for 4, looks like a 5-2 (better yet 6-1) end to the road trip is the bare minimum to keep any hope alive. It is well known, anything can happen in baseball, but the odds are not working in the Buccos favor right about now.

It is “Do or Die” time for the Pirates. Over the past 2 weeks they have lost at least 5 games that were winnable (2 in Washington, 1 in Milwaukee, 1 this weekend vs. Cincinnati and these last two games in St. Louis. With roughly 2 dozen games left they can not afford to lose any more winnable game. They can’t expect the Brewers and Braves to keep losing. Who’d thunk the Bucs would hit 3 bombs off of Wainwright but still lose by 2 runs. These are the losses that bug you in October when you are cleaning out your locker. 

It is “Do or Die” time for the Pirates. Over the past 2 weeks they have lost at least 5 games that were winnable (2 in Washington, 1 in Milwaukee, 1 this weekend vs. Cincinnati and these last two games in St. Louis. With roughly 2 dozen games left they can not afford to lose any more winnable game. They can’t expect the Brewers and Braves to keep losing. Who’d thunk the Bucs would hit 3 bombs off of Wainwright but still lose by 2 runs. These are the losses that bug you in October when you are cleaning out your locker.