Big Lead Sports Bar

7/26/2010

Pirates Quietly Swept by Padres

It doesn't happen often. In fact, it hasn't happened since 1998. But the 12-year drought is over, as San Diego finished off a three-game sweep in Pittsburgh for the first time in over a decade.

Irrelevant stats aside, the big story coming out of the weekend was the demotion of pitcher Brad Lincoln, who surrendered six runs on Sunday and raised his ERA to 6.57 in the Bucs' 6-3 loss to the Padres. It was a disappointing outcome at a time when the Pirates' young core finally started to look like it was coming together, at least on some level.

In addition to the Lincoln move, the Buccos also designated reliever Brendan Donnelly for assignment, a move that didn't sound like it went over well in the clubhouse:

"It amazed me," said Octavio Dotel, 36, signed in the offseason with Donnelly as back-end pitchers and private tutors.

"He was the only leader ... that would step up and say stuff and not care [about teammates' feelings]," Evan Meek added. "Any time you make a trade or get rid of a leader in your clubhouse, it's not going to be popular. There's a business side to the game, obviously."

Not surprisingly, economics were being blamed for the move. As Dejan Kovacevic notes in the PG, Donnelly signed a $1.35 million contract as a free agent in January, but incentives for games played nearly double the amount. The performances of Meek and Joel Hanrahan thus far seemed to have minimized the presence of Donnelly in the eyes of management. As the trade deadline nears, it could be the first of several moves Neal Huntington could make to alter the team's makeup heading into August.

Sunday's game was the continuation of a Pirate downward trend, one of a lack of offense. After last week's breakout performances against Houston and Milwaukee, the Bucs have scored 2, 3, 2, and 3 runs in their last four games, all losses. Not even a Saturday night postgame concert from Steve Miller, which drew a crowd of nearly 37,000, could inspire the Pirates, who fell to 13-4 in their last 17 games when home attendance is more than 30,000.

After completing a 4-6 homestand, the young Buccos will take to the road, with a three-game set in Colorado beginning tomorrow night. Zach Duke (4-9, 5.22) faces off against Jorge De La Rosa (5.65, 3-2) at Coors Field, and here's hoping the Denver altitude does some good for the once-again struggling Pirate bats.

11 comments:

Chip said...

Economics weren't the reason Donnelly was released. His horrific 5.58 ERA, 1.663 WHIP, and 7.3 BB/9 were the reasons for being released.

Dejan just threw that salary line into his article in a shameless attempt to pander to the ignorant whiners who don't watch the games and just like to bitch about Nutting. It's a shame, really. I used to think he was a pretty good writer but lately he's turned into a lazy crap-stirrer.

No wonder the P-G is hemorrhaging readers. Not only do they have fossils like Cook and Smizik writing clueless columns every day, they can't even find a baseball writer who pays attention to the games. Either find somebody who is intelligent enough to see how Huntington's plan is proceeding fantastically well or stop covering baseball completely.

JW said...

Are you serious or being sarcastic? I hope the latter.

Jonny Van Mundegaarde said...

I was at the game on friday, and I can honestly say I've never seen a worse performance by a relief pitcher. I could be wrong, but 12 of the thirteen pitches Donnelly threw were balls. It was painful to watch, and the sarcastic clapping that came when he did throw the lone strike was the cherry on the sundae of suck.

Thanks for the memories, and happy trails to you good sir

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

Donnelly's performance this season has been more than enough reason to DFA him. The fact that he didn't hit incentives is just a perk and nothing more. The fact that they 'got rid of a clubhouse leader' is irrelevant. If anything it shows that performance is all that matters. & that's the way it should be.

However, the demotion of Brad Lincoln is much more suprising/troubling. Sure there were gonna be bumps in the road. I thought that's why they brought him up? He was dominating AAA & i don't expect him to learn much down there.

BurressWithButterflyWings said...

I was also at the game Friday and I wanted to walk down to the dugout and tell Donnelly to donate his game check to charity because that was absolutely AWFUL!

I just read where Gallagher has been fined for hitting a precious Brewer. I don't understand how Prince Fielder goes unpunished for trying to decapitate Kratz, though.

Also, minor point, Tabata was so unbelievably safe friday night at home and the ump called him out. That run could have honestly changed the complexion of the game, but I didn't see an apology afterwards or people torching the MLB offices over a blatant blown call.

I am of the opinion that the MLB is going to screw the Pirates because they feel they don't spend the money and/or care about winning, so they're gonna get it stuck to them.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

Yeah, that was an awesome slide by Tabata!! I expect no one to care about the pirates, so i didn't even notice that there was no apology from MLB on an obvious missed call! If that call is right, it's 1-0 pirates with one out and runners on 1st & 2nd for Pedro. With the kind of 1-2 run games we played against SD, an early lead could make a big big difference.

where's the outrage from fans? more importantly, where's the outrage from the pirates players & coaches?

Gallagher getting fined kind of proves your point. In the eyes of the MLB: Pirates are replacable, but Brewers are precious?

okel dokel said...

Donnelly needed to go; he was awful and Meek and Hanrahan have been doing well in the set up role.

Dejan is pretty fair with his reporting. Let's face it the guy sucked and keeping him around to collect incentives was a shrewd economic move by the Pirate F.O.

Who give a rat's butt if Dotel was surprised by the move or some saw him as a club house leader. One of the young guys needs to step up and take that role.

Nate said...

Donnelly was beyond awful. I'm sure the incentives played into the decision, but I wouldn't pay him over a million dollars to suck either.

DJ Carrasco also has incentives on his contract and has almost reached all of them, but you'll notice he wasn't DFA'd. Probably has to do with the fact that he's pitched well.

The Lincoln move definitely surprised me. I didn't think he was ready when he got the call, but the team obviously did. I don't see how 44 (admittedly horrible) innings is enough to change their mind.

Scott said...

Chip,

Maybe you are the clueless one. Smizik has been gone from the PG for going on two years. Dejan is the best baseball guy in town. Which young buck would you rather have talking baseball - 45 year old Mark Madden?

BurressWithButterflyWings said...

DK wasn't taking a jab, he was stating a fact.

Let's not forgot the relationship between the Commish and the Brew Crew. Just b/c he gave up ownership, doesn't mean there is no affinity for them.

Just trying to be honest, there is no way a Pirate gets away with the double forearm to the chin of the Brewers catcher. But if a tree falls in the woods and there is noone there to hear it.......... does it make a sound?

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

He sucked, AND he was being paid too much.


If they saved money by dropping his sorry ass, I say it's a win-win.


I remember Walker not looking too hot in his first big league stint also, maybe Lincoln needs more seasoning. He'd had a few starts, no use in killing the kid's confidence by having him get killed.

Wow, I sounded like a bigger Pirates homer than Chip right there, but I'm just calling them like I see them.