Big Lead Sports Bar


Pirates' Big Night Ends With 6 Errors, 5 Hits In 7-2 Loss

Once, just once, it would be really enjoyable to have anything related to the Pirates work out the way it's supposed to. It happened for the lousy Washington Nationals last week with the debut of Stephen Strasburg, which saw the rookie strike out 14 in front of a rocking full house, so it's not completely impossible. But after nights like tonight, you've got to wonder if it is, in fact, impossible.

What happened on Wednesday night for the Pirates was roughly two years in the making, a day Bucco fans have dreamed of for a long time. It was the debut of Pedro Alvarez, "future of the franchise" and "best prospect since Barry Bonds" rolled into one. Was it a storybook night, just like the Nats experienced with Strasburg? Come doesn't author storybooks in Pittsburgh anymore. 

In typical Pirate fashion, they botched his call-up, announcing it late on Tuesday night and killing any momentum they could've generated had they announced it further in advance. As a result, the attendance was 15,218, just 39.7% of capacity. Of course, the attendance number could also be blamed on the fact that the team is in the midst of Consecutive Losing Season XVIII and a nine-game losing streak. But that all plays into the atmosphere that seems to permeate around anything that comes in contact with this franchise.

By night's end, the Pirates had more errors (6) than hits (5), Zach Duke gave up five runs in 5 2/3 innings, with defense behind him that would make the Cleveland Browns blush, and Bobby Crosby, their latest end-of-the-line free agent import, contributed two errors, which goes along nicely with his .224 average. Even Alvarez got into the act in the ninth inning on a rare double error by the Pirates, which is pretty much the definition of baseball embarrassment.

All that adds up to a 7-2 loss, which is 10 Ls in a row for Team Nutting, and their third double-digit losing streak in 42 years (the 2006 team had a 13-game streak under Jim Tracy and the 2008 team lost 10 straight under John Russell). Even scarier, Pirate starters have won one time in their past 26 games - and the last pitcher they beat was Roy Halladay, as if that makes any sense.

I know, I's just one night, Alvarez had some good at-bats, and Jose Tabata did hit a home run to represent the newbies. I haven't lost track of the big picture. But like I said, it would be nice to have a reminder every once in a while of how much fun a night at the ballpark really can be, not just a pipe dream of what it might be someday.

I said last week that the interleague portion of the schedule usually coincides with a Pirate nosedive, and this year is no different, as they lug an 0-5 interlegue record into their final game with the Sox on Thursday night. The 23-42 Buccos will throw winless Ross Ohlendorf at the wall and hope he sticks against Jake Peavy, whose 2010 ERA is more than two points higher than his career ERA. Let's hope this one turns out better than the 10 that preceeded it.

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Nate said...

Hey, I know exactly how you feel. I'm fully confident that Alvarez will be a star and that he, McCutchen, Walker and Tabata form a nice core, but that game sucked to watch.

BURGH08 said...

I can't believe it took this long for Tabata to pass Lastings for Home Runs.

Nate said...

Hey, Milledge is one of the few players to have a good game today. He went 2-for-3 with a double, and didn't have one of the six (SIX!) errors the team committed. He's been disappointing, but he was probably the second best player on the team today.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

Pedro had two balls get by him up the line for doubles too. He didn't get called up for his defense though! & his at bats got progressively better.

Lastings did have a good game! Maybe Tabata stealing his gig will light a fire under him & he'll show up in RF? One can only hope.

Even on terrible nights (like last night), i enjoy watching the young guns & dreaming of 2011 or 2012.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

Ok, so Milledge was solid for a game. He also got double off second in another one his tremendous displays of baseball "what not to do". If I had a son in Little League,I would show him a documentary of Lastings Milledge's MLB 'career' and the instruct him to do everything the complete opposite.

Alvarez is going to be a big deal. Danks pitched him well and didn't give him much to offer at. When he connected with that flyout, it was a great stroke and refreshing to see a Pirate hitting an outside pitch to the opposite field......

After this season, Russell and Huntington have to go and make room for more a GM and field manager who can turn the corner. There are some solid core players now, but the pitching is far from sewed up.

This team is a disaster of epic proportion and if there final W-L total doesn't reflect that, I would be utterly shocked.

BurressWithButterflywings said...


Chris said...

Milledge is bad at being a mentally prepared baseball player, that's pretty evident. That double off at second last night, though, I don't count. He had his head down and was running as the pitch happened...looked like a hit and run to me, though I suppose I could be making that one up in my head.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

I guess if it was another player who didn't have a history of idiocy I would have given him the benefit of the doubt.

But it's like the little kid who always seems to be around when bad things happen.... he is always going to be blamed.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

Yeah, that doubling off was definitely not on him. It was just a lucky stab by the pitcher, then catching a runner who did all the right things (being aggressive from 2nd at the crack of the bat with 1 out).

That being said... it's not like i'm purging lastings from all the awful mistakes he's made this year, just hopeful that him losing his job in LF may finally make him prepare for games like he should have been doing all season.

okel dokel said...

This may be Neil's ticket out of the door.

"Adding Iwamura's remaining money to the $2 million being paid to infielder Ramon Vazquez, released in spring training, the Pirates will have spent $4.93 million on nothing in 2010. That represents about 13 percent of their already-low $36 million major-league payroll."

Read more

I like the young guys coming up, but have little faith in any management team selected by the Pirates. Perhaps they could pay the Cardinals to select the next manager and general manager.

Nate said...

Wait, you like the young guys coming up, but not the management team? You realize that the biggest piece of the young guys coming up was drafted by the management team, right?

Anyway, I'm not saying Milledge is good at baseball. I am saying he's better at baseball than Ryan Church, who John Russell seems to have some weird man-crush on, and that given the two, I'd rather see 24 year old Lastings Milledge who still has some sort of distant, remote hope of developing into a good baseball player get regular starts than 32 year old Ryan Church, who, even in his prime, was nothing more than a good bench player. It doesn't help that Church has been hitting below the Aki line for most of the year.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

Well Nate, when I look at these young guys on the squad right now, Lincoln, McCutchen and Walker were already in the organization when Opie took over. Alvarez was an absolute no brainer.

So I don't think it is that far fetched not to link the current FO team to most of developing guys on the "MLB" roster.

okel dokel said...

Nate - I have no confidence in the Pirates to select a competent management team. Yes, I like the young guys and am hopeful they do not ruin them.

I like some of the things "Coon-Hunt" have done - like reinvigorating the team's commitment to Latin American talent and getting bodies for a bereft minor league system. Hell, Altoona is lights out.

However, they are a little too much from the "moneyball" school for my tastes and they act as if they have done something.

I will be happy to "eat my words" if they build a winner, but right now I am skeptical...especially in their ability to judge pitching talent. Do not even get me started about catching, but that is more Littlefield's issue.

Unknown said...

Rosenthal is reporting that Huntington has been extended.

Unknown said...

I don't think the public understands just how special this team is. This season should be cherished. This could be a record breaking season. They might be capable of 110 losses.

Any ordinary team can stink up the joint. But nobody stinks up the joint as badly or as thoroughly as the 2010 Pittsburgh Pirates. Where else will you see two errors occurring on one play? Certainly not in Yankee stadium. Where else will you see a team commit more errors than hits?
Certainly not in Busch stadium.

I say we cheer when they screw up. It is entertainment you won't find anywhere else. Win or lose badly. The Pirates have chosen the ladder option.

Nate said...

okel dokel - I can respect that you're willing to admit that you might be wrong. I might be as well. I feel like the current management team has done a pretty good job of rebuilding the minor leagues and injecting actual prospects into the system.

Two things I always like to point out are this: in Littlefield's seven years as GM of the Pirates, not one player he drafted after the first round has or had a successful Major League career. Most of his first rounders didn't, either. We can talk about Alvarez being a no-brainer, but many thought the same of Wieters and Littlefield passed on him. (In all fairness, Wieters has been a horrible bust thus far, but so has Moskos.)

Secondly, you can be disappointed in the return of the trades, but you always have to consider who we were trading. Let's take a look:

Nate McLouth: .176 average in 2010

Xavier Nady: .263 average, .339 OBP as a platoon player on the Cubs

Jason Bay: .283 average, .367 OBP, .433 slugging.

So of the "best outfield in baseball," Bay is the only player that's still productive, and we probably had no realistic chance of keeping him in Pittsburgh.

Jack Wilson: .253 average, .275 OBP, only 26 games played in 2010 as he's been benched for Josh Wilson. Frequently injured and contemplating retirement after this season.

Ian Snell: Just designated for assignment by the Mariners.

Adam LaRoche: Hitting like he always does early in the season, even after a hot April. Will probably pick it up like he always does in the second half.

Freddy Sanchez: Like Wilson, frequently injured with only 26 games played in 2010. Has hit well in the games he's played, but Walker is probably a better bet now.

Finally, the combined WAR (wins above replacement) value for Bay, McLouth, Nady, Morgan, Grabow, Torres, Bautista, Wilson and Sanchez is 2.1 wins. Andy LaRoche alone was worth 2.5 last year, and he sucks!

As bad as the current team is, if you can imagine it, they would be even worse minus the trades, and they wouldn't have anybody coming up through the minors either.