I must admit that baseball will not be my top priority tonight. The Philadelphia Flyers travel to the Burgh for Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

Still, I’ll keep an eye on the game, and here are some quick notes for tonight:
– We got Delwyn Young for two players to be named later. Apparently, he’ll be in Pittsburgh later this week. Time will tell where he fits in, and who gets bumped to make room for him.
– Andy LaRoche is back in the starting lineup tonight. He WILL get a hit.
– It’s Jackie Robinson day. Pay tribute to #42.


10:23 Update – Well, not much to say about the baseball game (other than everybody wore #42… which made the game very confusing). The Pens, however, got off to a great start, defeating the Flyers 4-1.

The Astros got four runs in a hurry. Mike Hampton threw 6 shutout innings, and that was about enough. Adam LaRoche hit a solo shot in the 9th. Andy LaRoche didn’t get his hit. He was replaced in the top of the 6th.

The most ironic event of the evening for me was that I decided to post my Retrosheet Scorecard this evening, despite my knowledge that at least one game situation doesn’t work well (a pinch hitter is at bat when the third out of an inning is a caught stealing. Sure enough, it happened tonight.

Today’s home opener proved to be a great day at PNC Park. There were plenty of pregame festivities as Nate McLouth was presented with his Gold Glove Award and Steve Blass was recognized for being a part of the Pirates for 50 seasons, and the Pirates wore special caps to honor and remember the Pittsburgh police officers who were killed last week.

For his second straight start this season, Zach Duke was effective on the mound. Today, he threw a complete game shutout and the Pirates beat the Houston Astros 7-0. The Astros appear to be a very bad team. They’re 1-6, and they’ve scored just 16 runs. Even the 0-7 Nationals have put 34 on the scoreboard. This would be a nice time to record a three game sweep.

Every Pirate in the batting order recorded a hit today. Ramon Vazquez started at 3rd base again, in place of Andy LaRoche. I think this series against the Astros would be an appropriate time to get LaRoche back into the lineup and hopefully get into a solid rhythm. Freddy Sanchez had a great game today, going 3-5 with three doubles. Adam LaRoche and Ryan Doumit added homers.

The Bucs get the day off tomorrow before a 7:05 P.M. game on Wednesday. Mike Hampton @ Ross Ohlendorf.


I actually did get to watch a majority of this this afternoon’s game since my aunt and uncle have DirectTV, and they happen to be offering a free week of MLB Extra Innings (what luck!).

Offensively, there wasn’t too much to see, as Aaron Harang threw a 3-hitter to defeat the Pirates 2-0. To be 1-hit and 3-hit within the first week of the season worries me a bit.

Ian Snell had an improved outing. After giving up a 2-run homer to Brandon Phillips in the first inning, Snell calmed down to pitch six effective innings, striking out 7.

Defensively, there were two gems late in the game. With one out in the bottom of the 6th, Ramon Hernandez hit a hard line drive up the middle. Jack Wilson made a diving stop, flipped the ball to Freddy Sanchez and second, and Freddy jumped over a sliding Edwin Encarnacion to complete the double play. With runners on 1st and 2nd in the bottom of the eighth inning, Cincinnati had both runners going on the pitch. Edwin Encarnacion hit a bloop pop that was caught by Jack Wilson. Wilson threw to Sanchez then to LaRoche for the 6-4-3 triple play. That was the Pirates first triple play since 1993.

We’re finally heading home for series with the Astros, Braves, and Marlins. Hopefully PNC Park is friendlier to Andy LaRoche who is still looking for his first hit in 2009 (0-14).

I only got to see about an inning of today’s game on TV, as I opted to watch Purdue @ Penn State. There was no shortage of action, with the Nittany Lions winning 11-9 (31 total hits in the game).

Today was a nice win for the Pirates. Paul Maholm looked sharp for his second consecutive start. He allowed 3 hits and 1 run in 7 innings. He struck out 3, and after 2 starts, his season ERA is 1.32.

From the plate, Nyjer Morgan continued his hot start by going 3-4 with 2 runs and an RBI. Nate McLouth’s bat is coming alive, going 2-3 with 2 runs and 3 RBIs. With a 5-1 lead in the 9th inning, Ryan Doumit added a grand slam and Adam LaRoche followed up with a homer of his own.

We’re still waiting for Andy LaRoche to get started. Today was another tough game, going 0-5. He’s still hitless in 2009.

With today’s win, the Pirates can’t finish this opening road trip any worse than .500.

Snell @ Aaron Harang is at 1:10 tomorrow. I’ll be at an Easter lunch with my family, so I probably won’t see or hear much from this game.

Go Bucs! Happy Easter!

It’s raining in Cincinnati. This game is postponed until a later date.

Until his next scheduled start, Jeff Karstens will move to the bullpen. Paul Maholm is scheduled to start tomorrow against Johnny Cueto.

I’ve discussed the amount of information that you can extract from Retrosheet event files. Using this information, you can perform an almost unlimited amount of analysis on just about any game, player, team, or season in baseball history.

Something that is more difficult is to perform the same type of analysis on information from the current season. Since Retrosheet releases all of their data at once, at the end of each season, there are no event files to process.

For a long time, I looked for a tool that would help to convert a scorecard into a Retrosheet-formatted event file. Several years back, Heritage Software had a piece of freeware called Official Scorer. This program did a pretty nice job, but it wasn’t capable of handling pitch data, and it had problems with the program crashing at random times. There is/was a program from Diamond Ware called DWENTRY. I believe that this is the program used by Retrosheet to create their files, but I can’t find a copy of it anywhere.

So, after struggling to find exactly what I was looking for, I decided that I should try to build something myself. I’ve done a good amount of programming, but most of it has been web-based and I’m not nearly fluent enough in Java or C to create a full featured program, so I decided that using VBScript macros within a Microsoft Excel workbook would be my best option.

This workbook has been a work in progress for almost 3 years now… not that I’ve been working on it for 3 years… I’ve just slowly pieced it together and improved it when I’ve had time.

It’s not perfect, and nowhere near it. Ideally, this program would have the capability of:

a) looking like a scorecard and being used to score a game
b) creating a Retrosheet-formatted event file
c) importing a Retrosheet-formatted event file and populating the scorecard based on game data

Currently, it’s decent at completing tasks A and B. I know of several game caveats that cause the program to fail. I plan to use my scorecards from the 2009 Pittsburgh Pirates to help identify (and fix, if possible) these shortcomings.

I will keep you posted on my progress, and eventually I will make the workbook available. Until then, you can click on “My Scoresheet” in the Files section on the right-hand side of this page to see a screenshot of the workbook. This printout is the scorecard that I use to score each and every Pirate game.

Pirates @ Cardinals – 1:35 P.M.
Ross Ohlendorf vs. Chris Carpenter

1:45 – Both LaRoches are out of the starting lineup today. Apparently, Adam has the flu. Andy is still benched after 2 poor games. Hopefully the Pirates remember that those were only two games. I wouldn’t mind seeing Andy getting back into the lineup.

3:00 – It’s never easy following baseball from work, but thankfully MLB.com’s GameDay makes it a little easier. The Pirates lead 1-0 in the fifth despite Carpenter throwing a no-hitter. A 2nd inning Pujols error helped Ramon Vazquez (who walked) get around the bases.

3:25 – With two outs in the 7th, Vazquez broke up Chris Carpenter’s no hitter. Still 1-0 Pirates.

3:57 – And now the lead is gone too. Four straight Cardinals’ singles made the score 2-1 Cards. Just like that… we’re 3 outs away from defeat. Maybe we’ll have some more Opening Day magic in store?

4:12 – That’s the end of a tough 2-1 loss. The Cards deserved this game though, with 8 hits, and only 1 for the Pirates. Still, I’m happy to split the opening series in St. Louis… on to Cincy!

8:15 – After a long day at work and a trip to the grocery store, I’ve put meatloaf in the oven, and I’m ready to listen to the Buccos! What the heck… I’ll try a live game log. I’m listening on XM Radio tonight, so I’ve got the Cardinals’ feed. Bring on John Rooney.

8:16 – Play ball! Duke @ Wellemeyer. Njyer Morgan to the plate. The lineup shows that Ramon Vazquez will be starting third base in place of Andy LaRoche. LaRoche had a nice spring, but he’s struggled in the opening two games, going 0 for 5 with 3 defensive errors.

8:25 – The Pirates tried to put a first inning rally together. They caught a bad break when Ryan Doumit hit a ground-rule double to deep center. If the ball hadn’t left the field of play, Freddy Sanchez would have easily scored from first. After 1/2 inning, Pirates 0 – Cardinals 0.

8:30 – I’m really hoping that Zach Duke turns a corner this season. He starts with a walk.

8:31 – Kahlil Greene grounded out, 5-4-3. Operation: Shut Down Pujols begins.

8:32 – Struck him out! Went down looking.

8:39 – The good guys got on the board first! Moss singled. Vazquez walked. Wilson singled to score Moss! Let’s keep the rally going!

8:41 – After Zach Duke struck out, Nyjer Morgan continues hit hot streak by hitting at RBI single!

8:43 – Freddy Sanchez hit a bloop single, and Jack Wilson read the hit perfectly to leave 2nd on contact a score a run! The Bucs have 3 on the scoreboard, and the Cards sent a pitching coach to the mound!

8:47 – After a Nate McLouth Walk, Ryan Doumit hit an RBI single to right. Unfortunately, he was picked off first base (9-4-3). Tough way to spoil a second inning rally. Adam LaRoche fouled out to third to end the top half of the 2nd inning. 4-0 Pirates. Let’s go Zach!

8:57 – The Cards scored in the bottom of the 2nd, but it could’ve been much worse. Ryan Ludwick got on thanks to a Doumit catcher’s interference. A stolen base and a Rick Ankiel single drove in Ludwick. The key play was a David Freese flyout to Nyjer Morgan. Thanks to a wise defensive shift, the play was an easy out. With a standard defensive alignment, the play would’ve resulted in a hit in the gap and quite possibly an extended Cards rally. 4-1 Bucs.

9:04 – The Pirates got the run back in the top of the 3rd. Moss doubled. Vazquez grounded out, sending Moss to 3rd. A Wilson single drove him in. That’s Wilson’s 2nd RBI of the night. 5-1 Bucs.

9:11 – 3 up. 3 down. One thing that makes this Pirate lead even better is the fact that my meatloaf is ready. Yum.

9:28 – Not much news from the fourth. Pujols made an A+ defensive play to retire Adam LaRoche. Duke retired Pujols again in the bottom half of the inning. Still 5-1.

9:37 – Through 5 innings, Sanchez, Moss, and Wilson are all 3-3. Doumit is 2-3. Not bad.

9:40 – Duke struck out Ankiel, but a Doumit passed ball allowed Ankiel to reach first base. I was worried about this, since we went K-2-3 three times yesterday.

9:46 – The Cardinals scored one in the bottom of the fifth. Great play by Freddy Sanchez to pick up a ball deflected off Adam LaRoche’s glove and throw to the pitcher to get Rasmus out at first. 5-2 Bucs.

9:53 – Put 2 more on the board! Freddy Sanchez “doubled” (sounded more like a single and an error) and Nate McLouth got in first hit of 2009 in a homer to right field. Mmmm… 7-2 Pirates!

10:05 – The Pirates gave up a run in the 6th, but Duke is still pitching strong. 7-3

10:30 – Grabow replaced Duke, and we’re through 7. Still 7-3.

10:41 – Albert Pujols records his 700th career walk. Congratulations?

10:57 – Jack Wilson singled in the 9th to end his night at 4-5. 3 outs away from the W!

11:07 – Nothing’s easy. Tyler Yakes looked bad. Thankfully JoeThurston made a boneheaded baserunning mistake.

11:08 – Enter Mad Capper.

11:11 – Capps gets hit (very) hard, but McLouth robs a homer at the wall! 2 down.

11:13 – Raise the Jolly Roger! No doubt about it. 7-4 Pirates. We’re 2-1!

… until tomorrow.

I was in St. Louis just a few weeks ago. It’s a nice town, and Busch Stadium is beautiful. I wouldn’t mind being out there tonight.

The NL Central leading Pittsburgh Pirates looked for their first winning streak of the season this afternoon.  I got to enjoy most of this game on MLB.com’s Gameday Audio.  The nice advantage of Gameday Audio over XM Radio is that you get to choose the home OR away feed.  XM Radio typically gives you only the home feed.  I quickly got annoyed with the Cardinals play-by-play announcer, so it was nice to switch to the hometown feed.

The Bucs started off nicely, with Nyjer Morgan and Freddy Sanchez leading off with hits to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the 1st.  Unfortunately, Ian Snell didn’t have much to offer, and this game was “over” in a hurry.  Snell gave up 8 runs (6 earned) in 4 innings of work.  Andy LaRoche has struggled at 3rd base, with 3 errors in 2 games.

Albert Pujols has destroyed the Pirates in these first two games:

Game 1: Double, Single, Fly Out, Intentional Walk, Single

Game 2: Walk, Home Run, Reached on Error, Walk, Single

Oh well.  You can’t win ’em all.  Game 3 of the 4 game series is tomorrow at 8:15 P.M.


I enjoyed opening day from the beautiful Oriole Park at Camden Yards.  The Yankees were in town for Opening Day, which made the day even more exciting.  The Birds took advantage of C.C. Sabathia’s struggles and won 10-5.

I kept myself posted on the Buccos thanks to the out-of-town scoreboard on the right-field wall.  Although my hopes were down when the Cardinals were leading 4-2 in the 9th, I was thrilled to see the scoreboard change to 6-4 Pirates.  Nothing like starting the season with a win!  80 to go.

I later learned that the Pirates got a nice effort from Paul Maholm, Nyjer Morgan played well in the leadoff spot, and Adam LaRoche, Andy LaRoche, and Jack Wilson all came up huge with 9th inning, 2-out hits.