Hey, it was a pretty good game if Pittsburgh could claim a mulligan on the first inning. Matty Mo got the first two Phils out, and then came a team meltdown.
A single, a Ryan Howard homer on a 1-2 pitch (after he had been benched for a coupla days because he couldn't hit a beach ball), another single, a Xavier Nady error, a hit batter, a Brian Bixler error (he booted two tonight; so much for looking comfortable), and presto: 5-0 before the Bucs came to bat.
He got two more outs at the cost of another run before he got the hook. 1-2/3 innings, 6 hits, a walk, a beaned batter, 71 pitches to 15 batters...
Here's a suggestion, free of charge: eat Morris' $10M contract (why oh why, Dave Littlefield, did you do this?), start Phil Dumatrait, and call up Sean Burnett.
The Pirates have now lost 9 of the past 11 games. We wonder just how patient the new bosses are going to be if the Bucs continue to play like the 1950s Rickey-Dink teams.
On the bright side, the Pirates drew OK again, with 24,791 on hand to collect their Tom Gorzelanny bobble heads.
On the Pirate front: Buster Olney of ESPN wrote that the Mets and Indians are both a good fit for Xavier Nady. He thinks the Bucs will hold on to him for the time being both to stay somewhat competitive and to try to leverage a better deal for him towards the trade deadline.
Nady extended his hitting streak to 14 games against the Phils tonight.
Jack Wilson could rejoin the Pirates in time for the start of a home series against San Francisco on May 6, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, if there are no further setbacks to his calf.
The Bucs are a hit in the community, if not the field. Nate McLouth will launch his year long community initiative dubbed "Nate's Lucky 13" (his uni# is 13.) McLouth will host a different group of 13 children during each homestand throughout the 2008 season.
Nyjer Morgan will visit a group of RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) kids at the Pirates Charities Community Baseball Center located in the East Liberty/Shadyside Boys & Girls Club.
Ian Snell will continue his Big Brothers Big Sisters program, which he started last season, by hosting two kids from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh and their respective "Bigs" to a day at PNC Park.
On the former Buc front: Ty Wiggington, who broke his thumb on April 5th, is starting his rehab next week as he tries to get ready to rejoin the 'Stros.
Brett Lillibridge, 25-year old SS traded to the Braves last year as part of the Adam LaRoche deal, earned raves in the spring and today got his call-up. Yunel Ecsobar bruised a finger and will be out for the short term, and Lillibridge will get his first start.
He played the field flawlessly against the Mets, but disappeared at bat, going 0-4 with 3 Ks. He wasn't alone in his futility; the Mets pitching gave up just 6 hits and mowed down 11 Brave batters in the 4-3 win.
The Met's Moise Alou is also getting ready to return from rehab. He was one of the stars of the Pirate farm system back in the day, but in 1990 became part of the Zane Smith deal that helped the Bucs hold off the Mets and win the division.
Contrary to urban legend, he wasn't dealt because of a waiver screw up (that happened a couple of weeks later when Wes Chamberlin was lost to the Phils), but the problem arose when his named was blabbed as the "player to be named later." That slip almost hit the fan as a major, deal-breaking blunder.
Buc GM Larry Doughty wasn't supposed to identify Alou because he hadn't cleared waivers and thus couldn't be traded yet, but he did. The Pirates did waive him, and the Expos, not wanting to take a chance on losing him to another team, claimed Alou, and that's how the story started.
In his 16 seasons, Alou has hit .303 with 332 HRs and 1,278 RBIs.