I really thought today was going to be the day. Coming into the game, we had lost 7 in a row and 11 of the last 12. I thought we had a favorable pitching matchup (Ian Snell @ Livan Hernandez). We were swinging pink bats on Mother’s Day. We even got a 2-0 after 3 innings.

In the first inning, Nyjer Morgan singled and stole 2nd. A Delwyn Young single and a Nate McLouth sac fly brought him in. In the second inning, McLouth doubled and a Robinzon Diaz single brought him in.

Not surprisingly, it fell apart.

The Mets put some hits together in the bottom of the 4th to score 3 runs. Ian Snell left the game after 6 innings with the Pirates trailing 3-2. Sean Burnett came in and a Brian Bixler error at shortstop allowed the 7th inning to go longer than it should have and the Mets added another. John Grabow came in for the 8th inning and gave up 3 more runs.

Nate McLouth added an after-the-fact 2 run homer in the 9th.

Final Score: Mets 8, Pirates 4

We know we won’t lose tomorrow. Thankfully, the Bucs have the day off.

Jack Wilson played a AAA game on Saturday. He went 1 for 3 with an RBI double, and he started a double play for the Indianapolis Indians. He should be back in the starting lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Cardinals. It’s a good thing because we need him in the lineup badly. This season, Brian Bixler has had 25 at bats and 18 strikeouts. He’s committed 2 errors in 8 games.

Brian Bixler - The Indianapolis Indians should get their SS back tomorrow.

Brian Bixler - The Indianapolis Indians should get their SS back tomorrow.

I had a nice visit to Pittsburgh this weekend. I went to the game on Saturday night, which turned out to be the best game of the weekend (and the only game where a Pirate crossed home plate). It was also marathon weekend in Pittsburgh, so I enjoyed watching some friends run all over the city on Sunday.

Game 22 – Zach Duke pitched well (7 innings, 1 ER), but he got absolutely no help from the hitters. Bronson Arroyo shut down and shut out the Pirates, allowing 4 hits in 8 innings. This loss marked the 2nd game in a row where the Bucs were shutout, and it put the Pirates back to .500.

Game 23 – The Pirates got started early, putting 4 singles, a walk, and a HBP together to score 4 runs in the top of the 1st. Later, the Bucs got some help from a Brandon Phillips error that allowed 2 runs to score. In the top of the 9th, with an 8-4 lead, Matt Capps nearly imploded, but he survived with an 8-6 finish. Once again, the Pirates were a game above .500.

Game 24 – The thrill of victory was short-lived, as Johnny Cueto and Jeff Karstens took to the mound at 1:35 on Sunday afternoon. Karstens looked bad, as he gave up 5 runs in 5 innings. Again, the Bucs never got the bats moving, and they were shutout for the 3rd time in 4 games. No Pirate batter reached 2nd base in this game. Back to .500, and the Brewers are coming to PNC for a 2-game series.

Quick Thoughts
– We really need Ryan Doumit and Jack Wilson back in this lineup. Jen Langosch reported that Jack Wilson took some batting practice swings on Sunday. Ryan Doumit will rejoin the team on Friday.
– Who’s hot? – Delwyn Young looks good in the PH role. He’s 3-7 with 2 doubles. Other than giving up the 3 run homer to Lance Berkman on 4/16, Sean Burnett has pitched clean in relief.
– Who’s not? – Brian Bixler 3-15 and 10K, Brandon Moss 13-66 and OBP .243


It’s not like the Pirates deserved a 5-1 lead midway through last night’s game, and so it wasn’t entirely surprising when it disappeared. Two runs scored after a Brewer error helped to keep the 3rd inning alive. Two runs came in the 5th on a Jason Jaramillo double immediately after Eric Hinske and Andy LaRoche were hit by pitches.

Paul Maholm didn’t have the same command that he had in his 3 wins this season. He walked 5 batters and gave up 7 hits over his 5.1 innings of work.

Walks have been a problem in the last two games against the Brewers. Pirate pitchers have given up 17 walks in 16 innings (1.06 BB/Inn). Prior to this series, Pirate pitchers had given up 65 walks in 158 innings (0.41 BB/Inn). The Brewers walked just one batter last night.

Another subplot for this series has been the beaned batters. Things started to get ugly in the series opening game on Monday when Jeff Karstens seemingly intentionally hit Ryan Braun (who homered in his first at-bat of the game) to start the 3rd inning. Braun was quite upset by the pitch, and John Hirschbeck warned both benches. Later in the game, Jason Kendall was hit by Jesse Chavez in the 6th and by Evan Meek in the 8th, but no ejections were made. After the game, Ryan Braun had this to say:

Asked if Karstens drilled him intentionally, Braun said, “Probably, yeah. It’s rare for major-league pitchers to miss by that much with a fastball.”

Then, issuing a not-so-wise warning to the commissioner’s office, Braun added, “We play them about 17 more times (actually 13). Tell Mr. Selig, we’ll see what happens. It’s going to be interesting.”

Last night, Brewers’ starter Dave Bush hit three Pirate batters (Freddy Sanchez in the 1st and Eric Hinske and Andy LaRoche in the 5th).

There’s something to keep an eye on in the next 13 Brewers/Pirates matchups.

The Pirates managed 7 hits last night, and they came from an unlikely crew: the RBI double by Jaramillo, Brian Bixler avenged his 4K night by going 2-4, Ramon Vazquez singled in his only at-bat, Eric Hinske had a 2 RBI double, and Brandon Moss and Freddy Sanchez added hits.

If you’re keeping track at home, you can make that 17 consecutive losses at Miller Park for the Buccos. They try to reverse the trend at 1:05 today.

Ryan Braun threatens the Pirates

Ryan Braun threatens the Pirates

This game was not pretty and not a fun one to listen to, but despite it all, the Pirates still found themselves with a chance to win late in the game.

The Bucs scored 2 runs in the top half of the first inning thanks to four consecutive singles from the top of our order, followed by a J.J. Hardy error. Jeff Karstens looked bad in his 5 innings of work, and he served up the Brewer hitters early and often. He gave up 5 runs on 3 homers in the first three innings.

Jesse Chavez and Evan Meek each pitched a scoreless inning, and the Pirate bats fought for 2 runs in the top of the eighth to tie the score at 5-5.

Then, the bullpen collapsed.

Coming into tonight, John Grabow was 1-0, pitching 10 innings for 8H, 0R, 0ER, 3 BB, and 10K. Tonight, he pitched 1/3 of an inning for 2H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 0K.

Tyler Yates’ struggles continued last night. He pitched 1/3 of an inning for 0H, 3R, 3ER, 1BB, and 0K. His ERA for the season is up to 9.95.

Sean Burnett entered to get the final out of the 8th, but it was too little, too late. The damage was done.

Brian Bixler played shortstop in place of the injured Jack Wilson. He went 0-4 with 4K.

Positives from tonight: Adam LaRoche, Nyjer Morgan, and Freddy Sanchez continue their hot hitting. Andy LaRoche has an 11 game hit streak.

The Pirates have now lost 16 consecutive games at Miller Park! That’s just ridiculous, and it needs to end tonight.

Paul Maholm @ Dave Bush – 8:05

Miller Park: Not a Friendly Place

Miller Park: Not a Friendly Place

I didn’t get to see or hear much Pirate baseball this weekend because I was in State College, PA for the Blue/White game, Penn State Football’s annual spring scrimmage. The weekend is really more about tailgating and enjoying the outdoors, but a reminder that college football season is on its way isn’t a bad thing either.

The Pirates were in San Diego for a 3 game series this weekend. Despite a mess of injuries, the Bucs found a way to win 2 out of 3 games and claim their third consecutive series win. Nate McLouth didn’t play at all this weekend due to an injured right oblique. It doesn’t sound like this injury will require a trip to the DL, but the team decided to keep McLouth out for precautionary reasons. Jack Wilson was sent to the DL because of the injured left middle finger that has been bothering him over the past week. Brian Bixler was called up to replace Wilson, and Bixler will likely split time at shortstop with Ramon Vazquez. Finally, Craig Hansen was sent to the DL because of neck spasms. Evan Meek was called up to replace Hansen.

Game 16 – The series opened with a tough loss for the Bucs. Pittsburgh used every pitcher that they had available before losing 4-3 in 11 innings. Ian Snell only lasted 5 and 1/2 innings. The relievers pitched 5 scoreless innings until Matt Capps walked 2 in the 11th and former Pirate, Brian Giles hit a game winning double.

Game 17 – Zach Duke looked strong once again to claim his 3rd win of the season. The Bucs dominated the Padres from start to finish in this game and took home the 10-1 victory. Duke pitched 8 and 1/3 inning, giving up 6 hits and 1 ER. He got plenty of support from his own batters with Freddy Sanchez going 3-5, Craig Monroe going 3-5, Eric Hinske going 2-3, Andy LaRoche going 2-4, and Jason Jaramillo going 2-4.

Game 18 – Ross Ohlendorf out-pitched Jake Peavy, and Adam LaRoche hit 2 home runs to lead the Bucs to an 8-3 win over the Padres. Ohlendorf pitched 7 innings, giving up 5 hits and 3 ER. John Grabow finished up the final two innings. Andy LaRoche went 2-5 to extend his consecutive game hitting streak to 10. So much for that slow start!

The Pirates are now 11-7, and they have already seen strong pitching performances from all of their starters. It sure looks like Pitching Coach, Joe Kerrigan is doing a lot of the right things.

With this series win, the Pirates are now 4 games over .500. That hasn’t happened since 2002. Also, the Pirates are now assured of a winning record in the month of April. That’s happened just twice in the last 15 years.

One final note from the weekend. Dave Davidson was claimed off waivers by the Florida Marlins. Only time will tell if this means anything.


A 3 game series with the Milwaukee Brewers is next. Let’s hope that our injury depleted Pittsburgh Pirates can find a way to keep the wins coming.

Monday – Jeff Karstens @ Braden Looper – 8:05 P.M.
Tuesday – Paul Maholm @ Dave Bush – 8:05 P.M.
Wednesday – Ian Snell @ – Yovani Gallardo 1:05 P.M.