Big Lead Sports Bar



It's only April 27, and the 2010 Pittsburgh Pirates have already left me speechless.
What else can you say after a loss like last night's 17-3 defeat, the 22nd in a row for the Bucs in Milwaukee? They can't hit, they can't pitch, and they continue to trot out this ridiculous lineup with the pitcher batting 8th as if that's making a difference.

The Brewers have outscored the Pirates 53-4 in four games this season, and they will face them seven more times before the end of 2010. During their current seven-game losing streak, the Pirates have been outscored 72-12, with an ERA of 13.32. I'd say they were embarrassing the city at this point, but I think we crossed that bridge with this team a long time ago.

There are calls to fire John Russell and Neal Huntington, but really, what's the point? Hit the franchise reset button again? Embark on another new five-year plan? I think there's no GM and manager combination in baseball history that could help this team under this ownership regime.

Like I said, I'm at a total loss right now when discussing the Pirates. I tried to be fair and give this team a chance this season, but that's obviously blown up in my face. The rotation is a complete disaster, which leads into an overworked and therefore under-performing bullpen. The team ERA is 7.74, so unless the Pirates are putting up at least eight a game, they're probably going to lose. They're 27th in runs scored, 25th in team batting average, and 27th in slugging percentage, which would lead one to the conclusion that they're not scoring eight runs a game. The players they were counting on for a big season have for the most part been massive disappointments thus far. And they're 23rd in the majors in fielding percentage, so we can't even look to defense as a bailout for this squad.

People will say that it's still early, but the Pirates don't have the luxury of that excuse, for their 0.0 credibility with fans. This is not the Red Sox, who will eventually turn around  their season, and if not, just spend enough to turn it around. This is a team that's lost for 17 straight years and has their fan base prepping for the sky to fall. Oh, it's fallen, all right. And it can't get up.

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SantoGold said...

They're only 27th in runs scored? How the hell can there be 1 team, let alone 3 teams, with fewer runs than the Bucs??

Unknown said...

I don't think it would be too early to have a design contest for the paper bag I am going to wear to the next time the Pirates are playing here. Please, if you will, a paper bag design contest.

Christian said...

On the plus side, inconsequential, middle-reliever, extraordinaire, Evan Meek is pitching quite well!

Someone Somewhere said...

Wait, so batting the pitcher in the 8th spot wasn't the answer that was going to put the Pirates over the top?!?!?!?! I'm flabbergasted. Maybe this is the year the Nuttings actually lose money on this team. Even with their paltry payroll, it's tough to make any money when your average attendance is around 1500. I'm just curious who would voluntarily go and watch this nonsense? Aren't there Alf reruns on or something?

Unknown said...

where do you think this year's pirates will land on this list?

Adam said...

I'm going to reserve judgement on this lineup till they're not swinging down 8 runs in the fourth inning.

You can't hit in that situation. You just can't. Pitchers can throw like they have nothing to lose, and our hitters are getting into bad habits having to swing for the fences every time they're up.

The starting pitching has just been unbelieveably bad, and its absolutely killing the bullpen and the offense. I'm convinced the offense and the pen can be at least competitive, but when the starters are pitching them out of the game, what can they do?

Steve said...

Yup, embarrassment at this point is a feeling most Pirates fans can only hope to realize. Hopefully by mid-June, "polarized" or "violated" will be a more appropriate description.

At this pace, the Brewers will have outscored them 146-8 when it's all over. I just hope the Brewers don't back off for humanitarian reasons, as I'm sure FEMA, or the UN will step in soon.

I'd love to see them reach the point of crying like girls in the dugout. Whatever it takes to get a new owner, outside of a sniper shot, is fair game with me.

Steve said...

"I'm going to reserve judgement on this lineup till they're not swinging down 8 runs in the fourth inning."

Adam - Just don't hold your breath.

Unknown said...

yeah, someone will be on here before long talking about what great a job nutting is doing and how we just have to be patient while these players are being developed...

Chip said...

I enjoy clicking on some of those Pirates fan blogs Mondesi has linked over on the right. I always wondered how Jim Jones or David Koresh managed to inspire people to follow them and reading their insipid ramblings gives me a little insight.

Yes, Bob Nutting = Jim Jones.

I will still never understand how anybody can defend this management group. All their trades and maneuvering have netted no talent at the MLB level and no talent at the AAA level (beyond Alvarez, who was a no-brainer and Lincoln, who is Littlefield's guy).

Yet all they write is "Yes, things look bad now! But we have a 38th round draft pick down in A ball that is going to be an ACE!" Keep drinking that Kool-Aid...

Steve said...

I like how Huntington is doing everything he can to make his McLouth trade (givaway) look like anything but a complete disaster by leaving Morton in to effectively lose games before the fans (dummies) are even in their seats and destroy any confidence the team might have been building a couple weeks into the season. And there's Russell spewing the BS that's "he's fine and just hasn't found his groove..."

From now on Charlie Morton should be referred to as Stella, except I don't think he's ever getting his groove back.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Correct me if I'm wrong.

But, haven't we won almost every time we got a quality start this year out of one of our pitchers?

Granted, that hasn't been too often, but still it's interesting to think about and kind of ties in to what Adam was saying.

(Now, realizing that I have kind of agreed with Adam, I am off to find the nearest bottle of cyanide so that I can ingest it.)

Steve said...

Yup, it's also true when you score more that the other team you usually win. Weird how it works that way.

Adam said...

@ Lipps

I don't by any stretch think this lineup is pennant winning material, nor might it even be .500 material, but I think it looks a lot worse than it really is because of the situations it's been put in.

You simply cannot hit well against major league pitchers down 8 runs no matter who you are.

I also think the pen has just been worked to death, and it's no wonder it's breaking down, too.

So with that said, I'm not casting myself off the bridge yet. If we can get Boss back soon, and Chuck can start pitching even at a 5.00 ERA clip, we'll be back on a 70 win pace, which I think would be progress enough for me this year.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

If this team manages to lose less than 100 games, that is an achievement.

Hitting can be tough when down 8 runs or so, yes. But the situational hitting and batting with RISP has been abysmal as a whole. The team does not manufacture runs and has no power to make up for it.

Milledge had been batting 3rd for the majority of this young season and still doesnt have a home run. He has something like 4 in his last 500 ABs. He is supposed to be a 5 tool player, but he has no power, is slower than Garrett freaking Jones, and has limited arm and range.

BURGH08 said...

"I'm going to reserve judgement on this lineup till they're not swinging down 8 runs in the fourth inning."

Well, by using that theory, you could have judged them the first three innings before they were down by seven.

Or the first three innings Sunday in Houston. Or the nine innings Saturday where they lost by only three, or the Saturday before that where they scored three runs in a one run loss.

Adam-Please stick to your day job of being a dumb ass in college football. Just enjoy the view and bobblehead when they come back to town.

Steve said...

Adam, I agree, all we have to do is get that team off the field that keeps putting them in that "situation" and they'll be good to go. P.S. You'd make a great defense attorney.

Also, I disagree about the can't hit when you're down 8-0 logic. If anything opposing pitchers are going to be more apt to give up the long ball and generally lose focus when not being pressured by a tight game. It's why you rarely see blowout no hitters, although the Pirates might be the exception soon.

If you're suggesting that batters are more pressured, maybe gripping the bat tighter and swinging at junk because of the hole they're in, then that's a reflection on the player and their abilities to handle pressure and compete and shouldn't be a general rule as it applies to the score. What I see is players giving up when they're down by half a dozen or more and that's just a bad as not being any good to begin with.

Mr. Pinsky said...

Ladies and gentlemen - your Pittsburgh Pirates. The best argument going for MLB contraction!

Unknown said...

nice "logic" guys! isn't it possible that this is just a bad baseball team with an equally bad manager?

Steve said...

Corey, that would be too simple an answer. We have to disect this over and over...There just has to be a better, scientific reason why a team full of mediocre AA-AAA talent and unwanted prospects with no future can't be 18-0 right now.

tcnpsu said...

@ Steve

Dont think anyone is looking for 18-0. But I have not seen any team loose like they have over the last week and a half. It has been unreal. My slow pitch softball team rarely gets more than 15 runs a game.

Anonymous said...

That bastard Regis Philbin jinxed the pirates.

Cool Hand Nuke said...

Nutting is doing a great job! We just have to remain patient while these players are being developed!

Seriously though, I'm not sure where I should focus my anger; the Nut-bags for not spending money or MLB for creating such unequal footing. I'm leaning towards the Nuttings, because they would find a way screw things up no matter the situation.

Please, just stick to running ski resorts.

Anonymous said...

I don't really understand why I care about the Pirates games anymore. Guess I have too much pride as a born and raised Pittsburgh/Western Pennsylvania native who has rooted for them, the Penguins and Steelers my whole life.

I really want to believe the organization is finally on the right track. However, one more game with the Brewers taking BP as they score double-digit runs instead of getting their unis dirty from diving out of the way some chin music...

Adam said...


First off, only one bobblehead this year.

Second, the Bucs are 7-2 when the staff gives up 5 runs or less. Put that number against the last two years (The Bay/Nady/OMG THESE GUYS ROCK era).

It's not a matter of not getting it done with the bats. It's a matter of digging holes that it's completely unreasonable to expect the bats to dig out of. Maybe it doesn't speak well that they're letting themselves get into bad habits in these situations, but if their only problem is mental, they're a lot better than some of the other a-holes we've trotted out there in the past.

I will say that the lineup is incomplete without the power of Alvarez and the true speed of a guy like Tabata. Ideally, the lineup looks like this when those guys get here.

1. Tabata LF
2. Milledge RF
3. McCutchen CF
4. Jones 1B
5. Alvarez 3B
6. Doumit C
7. LaRoche/Iwamura 2B
8. Pitcher
9. Cedeno

Anyone who thinks that group can't at the very least go between 65-70 wins is nuts.

Louis Lipps no longer accepts my phone calls... said...

It is a bad baseball team.

And most of the players in the lineup are, in fact, shitty.

However, they seem to compete well when the starting pitchers don't give up a shit ton of runs.

That's not too often, but it's the truth.

Most games where the starting pitching has mildly resembled major league pitching, we've won.

I'm not talking about no-hitters or even shutouts, I'm just talking about not giving up 13 runs in an inning or two.

The problem (and it is one of many) starts with the awful pitching.

Novos51 said...

I am not a baseball expert. Just a fan.

I have Pens season tickets, Pitt football season tickets, and have been waiting for almost 18 years for Steelers.

I go to 6 or so Buccos games every year. Love the park and being in it on sunny nice days.

This will probably be the first year that I just don't go to a game. Not for fireworks or buck nights or any other promotion. I'm not making a statement, I'm not screaming at the ownership, and I'm not calling talk radio.

I am apathetic as are many of my friends. That's what will finally push things around. When the apathy gets to the point that no one cares enough to go to games or even complain.

There are plenty of other things to keep me busy:
The Crosby Show
The Wannastache
Ben's travails

I just have quit caring.

The Mad Bubbler said...

I've had enough of Pirate fans, I really have. I feel bad for them, if the Pens (my favorite team in sports by far) were run the way the Succos were I don't know what I'd do. I'd be heartbroken, depressed, suicidal, but one thing I don't think I would be is delusional.
I wouldn't constantly defend the ownership. If Mario Lemieux was handed an $80 million check from NHL for revenue sharing, then his payroll was only $30 million, then he claimed he only made $2.5 million, I wouldn't believe him. If he passed up Malkin or Crosby in the draft, I'd be furious (think Matt Wieters). Eventually I would realize the guy was a jerk and he was just out to make money, and I'd cancel my season tickets (which I do have).
Now on the other hand, if I was Bob Nutting and my team lost 20-0, would I be furious? Probably not, because the paid attendance that day was 13,634. THIRTEEN THOUSAND people drinking $7 beers and eating $5 hotdogs. I understand Pittsburgh isn't exactly a hotbed for entertainment and things to do, but my God, getting a hooker would be more morally correct than funding the ponzi scheme known as the Succos.
They're just out to make money. If you can't see that you're a moron. It's one thing to be bad at your job. Look at the Browns, at least they TRY to win, they trade up in drafts and make free agent signings. It's another thing to not even try at your job, like Nutting does.

Anonymous said...

Our Buccos are the disgrace of major league sports. Nutting brings nutting to the table and luaghs his butt all the way to the bank - what a joker, has zero pride. Does he not realize that the sports world looks at our team of nobody's as a joke?! I was watching Detroit last night and am amazed at the names/players they have on their lineup - real big leaguers. And to top it off, Leyland, McClendon, and Geno Lamont are their coaches - along with Rafeal Belliard.

And our Manager Russty - emotionless puppet. "blah blah blah" droning. I remember last year he had an ump yell at him to stay in the dugout regarding a bad call at third - and he listened to him like a three year old that spilled his milk. Bob Walk was dumfounded on the commentary.

No leadership - always the origin of poor quality in any organization.

BURGH08 said...

"The Bucs are 7-2 when the staff gives up 5 runs or less. Put that number against the last two years"

Not sure what you are trying to explain here. A sample size of nine games. Why not just say the Pirates are undefeated when they shut out the other team.

The pitching is awful, but your offensive input ("how they are swinging") has virtually nothing to do with how many runs you are behind. If anything, pitchers are less likely to nibble and let the batters put the ball in play with a bigger lead. They still are not hitting.

"I will say that the lineup is incomplete without the power of Alvarez and the true speed of a guy like Tabata"

To that, I will say that is no guarantee. Take a look at the numbers Chad Hermansen had during the years in Nashville. Alvarez should be better, but he is hitting .250 in Indy. It's even less of a guarantee that Tabata will translate his game to stardom in the majors.

"Anyone who thinks that group can't at the very least go between 65-70 wins is nuts."

I highly doubt anyone is arguing this in masses. You are setting the bar at a team LOSING 90_+ games.

Adam said...


When you're facing pitchers under 0 pressure, you're going to get their better stuff. Should the Bucs be getting more cheap runs than they have? Yeah, probably, but I don't think the fact that they haven't is a signal of ineptitude as much as poor approaches brought on by the gigantic deficits.

I guess what I'm saying is, I'm not embarassed by this lineup right now. I'm embarassed by the pitching. I could be wrong, but I feel the bats would come around if they were a factor in more games.

As far as Alvarez/Tabata go, I'm not fool enough to think either is going to become a super star based on what we've seen in the minors, but I think it's reasonable to expect Alvarez to be a 15-20 home run hitter relatively quickly, and Tabata to fill a Nyjer Morgan role on this team. That's pretty conservative, but IF that was what they offered, it'd still be a huge boost to the lineup.

And I think 70 wins this year would be a huge step forward. Next year and 2012? Maybe not. But for right now, 70 wins is a good bar to set.

BURGH08 said...

How do you fathom you get a pitchers 'better stuff with 0 pressure'? There is a lot more pressure facing a pitcher down by 2runs rather than down by ten. There likely is much less of a pitch selection to swing at.

If you want Tabata to fill the 'Morgan' role, why do you deal him for a two (and third pending) team failure like Milledge?

Alvarez even if you give him top projections won't have enough support in this lineup. See Jason Bay, Brian Giles, and Kevin Young before him. Hitting those kind of Home Runs doesn't translate.

Even if all of those things work out, you still have the pitching, which deserve the bashing. One year in the late 90's they actually had 4 players that had 20 or more Home Runs (I think it was Martin, Giles, Young, and Ed Sprague). They still were under 500

They need a powerball chance of all of these guys working out.

Won't happen.