Thursday, July 10, 2008

I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy...

Paul Maholm, Nate McLouth and Jack Splat combined to led the Pirates to a 4-2 victory over the Yankees in front of a standing room crowd of 39,081 at PNC.

Maholm went eight strong innings, scattering 7 hits. He threw 108 pitches on the night, 73 for strikes, and walked one. Maholm's only glitch was in the seventh, when with two outs he let the 8-9 guys single, plunked Jeter, and gave up a two run knock to Bobby Abreu.

McLouth answered quickly with a two run shot in the bottom half of the inning, his 18th. Wilson scored ahead of him. He had two hits and a walk, and scored twice for the Bucs.

Damaso Marte came on to net his fourth save, and the third of this homestand. He hit 97 and 96 on the gun, and his heater was consistently clocked at 93 MPH. All three Bombers were retired on off-speed stuff, though. No need to K everyone - just get their butts back in the dugout.

Marte's value skyrockets every outing. That $6M option might look like a deal to the Bucs in a couple of months. If not, the Yankees might think of sweetening their offer to meet the Pirate's demands. Nice situation to be in, hey?

As for Maholm, he continues to ride his hot streak. Seven of his past eight outings have been quality starts, and his overall record now sits at 6-5 with a 3.93 ERA. Maholm went 4-0 with a 2.66 ERA in those eight starts, and twice left games with the lead only to have the pen give them away.

On the Pirate front: The Pirates called up RHP Luis Munoz from Altoona to replace JVB last night, trading last night's starter for a long reliever for the weekend.

The Pirate rotation is set through the All-Star break. If needed, Van Benschoten can be recalled within 10 days of his demotion and take his next turn after the hiatus. So we'll see soon enough if he gets another chance.

Munoz, 26, was 3-3 with a 5.45 ERA for Class AAA Indianapolis before being demoted to Altoona, where he went 1-2 with a 5.09 ERA. The Bucs said he's here just in case a long arm is needed. Munoz is on the 40-man roster, so no move was necessary there, and is rested.

"If it gets to a situation we're we have to pitch him, then we will," manager John Russell said, in a rather understated vote of confidence.

> The Pirate's starting outfield of Nate McLouth, Jason Bay and Xavier Nady have better total offensive numbers across the board than the three starting NL All-Star outfielders. Imagine if they played in New York or Chicago.

On the hot stove front:
Jayson Stark of ESPN says that the Braves still haven't made the buy/sell decision. If they buy, Xavier Nady is the top target.

On the minor league front: The Cleveland Indians claimed RHP Bryan Bullington off waivers from the Pirates. That ended the Pirate career of the No. 1 overall pick of 2002, who compiled an 0-3 record and 5.89 ERA in six MLB appearances.

Bullington will report to the Indians' AAA Buffalo affiliate. He was 4-6 with a 5.52 ERA at Indy and was overdue for a change of scenery. "It's a great thing for Bryan," Russell said. "It's just another opportunity for him to pitch somewhere else." It sounds like not too many tears are being shed over BB's loss.

> The Pirates sent first baseman Craig Wilson to the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named later. Wilson hit .223 with 10 home runs for Indy.

> They acquired RHP Dan Reichert and IF/OF Ryan Mulhern from Cleveland, also for a player to be named later. Reichert, 32, was 1-3 with a 4.40 ERA for Buffalo. Mulhern, 27, was batting .250 with seven home runs for Buffalo. They went to Indianapolis.

> Franquelis Osoria has pitched 3 scoreless innings in two outings at Indy. Nyjer Morgan went 5 for 8 in the doubleheader with an RBI to extend his hitting streak to 12 games and jumping his average to .267.

> At Hickory, 3B Matt Hague hit his 4th home run and went 5 for 7 with a double and two RBIs. He's batting .400.


WilliamJPellas said...

So much for Nate's recent mini-slump. I'll tell you, he is really some kind of ballplayer. It's all the more gratifying to see a guy who came up through our own system do so well---which is another reason why the bonehead previous administration deserves to be drawn and quartered to a man. But I digress.

More to the point re: Nate The Great, if he can maintain this power production or anything close to it, we are really looking good going forward, because 1) it means McLouth can almost certainly hold down a corner spot in terms of his offense relative to other corner OFs, and 2) with that (more or less) settled, it means we can go ahead and deal Nady and a few other veterans without worrying about too much of a dropoff before the kids we get back in trade can become productive. In other words, it means that Nady is basically an asset that can be easily and productively liquidated without the team's entire future riding on the outcome.

I like it! Amazing what a little bit of depth will do for your organization, eh? ;-)

Ron said...

It does look like he'll fit in nicely as a corner OF'er, Will. He is the kinda hitter PNC was made for, a lefty with some pop. If he can hold up at .280-.285 for the rest of the year and keep his power and RBI numbers respectable - and it seems he should - I'll gladly eat crow for being a latecomer to the bandwagon.