It's been awhile, but first...
Pirates drop a 6-3 decision to the Brewers at PNC Park tonight. Tom Gorzelanny is actually beginning to impress me, having been strong in his last few starts. He gave up a home run to Cory Hart with 2 outs in the 2nd inning after giving up 5 consecutive flyball outs (those, in my opinion, being the warning for the VERY deep center blast that was coming). I am still at a loss as to why Greg Brown said "five consecutive flyball outs" without the caveat: "Gorzo's gotta get the ball down a bit more." [heavy sigh] I guess refer to my previous post. Anyway, please comment and leave your vote for "Goat of the Game"
My three candidates in alphabetical order:
1) Jeromy Burnitz - After Jose Bautista patiently draws a four-pitch base on balls, Burnie takes two hacks with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth. The first is a clean whiff. The second results in a game-ending double play right to the shortstop. Bucs had some momentum. His approach at the plate continues to anger me more than a little, but we're just looking at one game. Does entering the game cold in a high-pressure situation get him off the hook with the fan base at large, or does his veteran-ness exclude him from that type of "big-pressure" situation?
2) Jose Castillo - Two errors after a pretty defensively-sound game last night, a caught stealing, and a GIDP in the 7th with none out and two on. Not that Jose Bautista would have ended up homering had Castillo reached, or at least moved both runners into scoring position, but I'm sure some would argue that Castillo tried very hard to lose this game by himself.
3) Damaso Marte - He was the first reliever for Tom Gorzelanny, who had just qualified for the win, courtesy of the Bautista go-ahead homer less than 5 minutes before. He faced two batters, and left the game with runners at the corners and no outs. And both runs ended up scoring. At least neither of them were the result of walks...
4) Feel free to write in your own choice.
Personally, I pin the blame on Marte, though I'm receptive to any intelligent arguments for either of the other two candidates.
Some bloggers might blame Tracy's lineup, but with Wilson and Bay ailing, I'm not quite sure what they're expecting. Randa can play first; he can't play right field. Duffy has been hot lately, so batting him leadoff isn't a stretch; Jose Hernandez represented himself well; Randa or Nady at cleanup is a cointoss; and Paulino should absolutely be batting 6th. It's a sin to have a player batting well over .300 in the 8th slot. I understand Paulino's speed is an issue, but he should be the guy cleaning up the heart of the order. All of the starters ended up with at least one hit (except for Gorzo). They just weren't all strung together. Of course, they also didn't draw a walk until one out in the ninth.
Other Pirates stuff...
- Despite the loss, they still have a winning record at home (32-29). Some folks out this way are mystified how the Pirates are drawing as well as they are this late in the season. Two reasons: great weather and they have a 50/50 chance of seeing a hometown win. And if I didn't have to work most evenings, I would head out to PNC sometime this season. I'd rather have a team that sucks perennially (as is the case) than no team at all (which some would inexplicably welcome).
- Still a 4-2 homestand isn't awful. As it is, they can go to Cincinnati after a 5-1 appearance at home. Yes, their day game record is not so good, but they beat Milwaukee in their last day game that ended a series...both in Milwaukee and Pittsburgh.
- I guess Ryan Doumit is dead. Either that or Humberto Cota sneaks into wherever Doumit is and silently reinjures him in his sleep.
- The race is on. Only 17 wins needed in the next month and a half to elude the feared 100-loss season, but 26 losses would get them there. Only 8 losses needed to OFFICIALLY give them their 14th consecutive losing season, though even the Detroit Tigers or New York Mets will lose at least 10 games between now and then. Maybe we should have one of those contests where everyone takes a guess at which game will represent loss #82. Can't think of the names of those..
- Kudos to Evgeni Malkin for getting the hell out
of a bad situation. Until Pens season has been underway with Malkin in uniform for some time, I don't want to jump to any major conclusions, but should that come to pass, I'd like to take a glimpse into a parallel universe wherein Malkin did not have cajones
and stayed in Russia...go a year down the road, and see if the Russian team would try to strongarm the young man into staying yet another year.
- And I'd like to see what the Crosby/Malkin duo is capable of for the one remaining year the Pens are in Pittsburgh. Even if it's just winning the season series against my least-favorite player of all time
and the Philadelphia Flyers.
- I can't believe the first preseason game is already come and gone, but I'm happy for it. Of course, I'm not happy that the Steelers lost, but at least Ben's nose didn't fall off
when he was contacted by defenders in red.
- What I REALLY can't believe is that The Sporting News is projecting the Baltimore Ratbirds to win the AFC North
. I'm in the initial stages of putting together my NFL Preview for BurghSportsGuys.com, but I can tell you that Balmer, Hon
will be either 3rd or dead last once I determine how badly Charlie Frye's protection is in Cleveland.
- I need to see a bit more of the starters before I start making any real assertions of how the Men of Steel are shaping up.
Comment away, my friends.