Saturday, July 12, 2008

One for the Rally Monkey...

Man, if this team could pitch just half as well as they hit, its ticket to the playoffs would already be punched.

In as improbable a comeback ever staged at PNC, the Pirates overcame a four run deficit in the ninth and a tenth inning home run to outslug Saint Louis 12-11 tonight.

It took extra innings and 20 Buc players (7 pitchers alone), but hey, it was worth the wait, even if most of the 29,000+ fans imitated empty seats during the rally.

Down 10-4 in the eighth inning, Pittsburgh score 8 times in the final three innings to stun the Cards, launching five home runs off the Redbird staff.

Jay Bay hit a two-run shot in the eighth, Nate McLouth connected with a three-run blast in the ninth, and Jason Michaels walked off after a two-run drive in the tenth. Bay and Adam LaRouche went yard earlier in the night.

It'll be sad to see when this team is broken up. But as dramatic as the win was, it just underlines the Pirate's need for pitching, and a lot of it.

On the hot stove front: SI's Jon Heyman reports fresh Jay Bay rumors: the D'Backs and Cardinals are in hot pursuit. The Mets and Rays have kicked his tires as well.

He believes the Pirates want Emilio Bonifacio from the D'Backs, and maybe Colby Rasmus from the Cards. At any rate, the price will be steep with Bay signed for '09.

Bonifacio is the best pure lead off hitter in the Diamondbacks organization. He's a 23-year old, right handed utility guy that can play the OF or middle IF. Bonifacio hit .302 for the AAA Tucson Sidewinders with 17 SB's.

Still, we think Pittsburgh could do better - much better - than Bonifacio. We'd like to see young pitchers Max Sherer or Jarrod Parker on the table.

Rasmus is considered a five tool player and maybe the Card's top prospect. He's at AAA Memphis, where he's hitting .249 (.350 OBP) with 45 walks, 11 HR's and 35 RBI's. The 21-year old LH plays CF and is allegedly an awesome gloveman. He's the real deal.

Looks like the Bucs are sniffing around at a leadoff-type hitter. Guess they like their pitching.

> Yahoo Sports reports that SS Jack Wilson is not likely to be traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Pirates and Dodgers have had talks about Wilson during the past week but LA's offer reportedly wasn’t close to what Pittsburgh wanted.

On the minor league front: LF Nyjer Morgan went 2 for 2 with a triple and two steals to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. He's batting .276 at Indy.

> Gorzo will start for Indy tonight. He'll be limited to a max of three innings or 50 pitches.

> RHP Jason Davis, part of Indy's rotation, was sent to Class AA Altoona yesterday. He spent 6 years with Cleveland and had a cup of coffee with Seattle, compiling a 20-22 record with a 4.78 ERA.

His wheels fell off in 2007, and he was 4-9 with a 4.66 ERA this year for the AAA Indians.

> Brian Bixler was added to the AAA International League All-Star roster today. He sports a .273 batting average, .474 slugging percentage, .343 on-base percentage, with 23 runs scored, 6 homers, 23 RBI and 9 stolen bases in 42 games with Indy.

> CF Chris Duffy missed a third consecutive game for Altoona because of the flu.

> 3B/SS Jarek Cunningham continued his good work at Bradenton, going 2 for 4 with two RBIs. He's hitting an even .400. The 19-year old Cunningham was the 18th round draft pick this year, from Mead HS in Spokane, and unexpectedly turned down a scholarship to Arizona State to sign with the Bucs.

> The Pirates have added to their Latin American booty bag, signing three 16-year-old players for the 2009 season. OF Exicardo Cayones is from Venezuela, and SS Jodaneli Carvajak and LHP Yoldi Sierra are from the Dominican Republic. We wonder if they enjoyed their junior prom?

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