Paul Maholm ran out of gas in the sixth, giving up two doubles, a triple, and a homer, and that three spot by the Rockies was enough to hold off the Bucs, 5-3.
Before tonight, Colorado's team had lost four in a row, had only 39 wins, was in a 25-inning scoreless streak and was missing 3 members of its regular lineup due to injury. Hidden vigorish or not, this was no way to start the second half of the season.
On the Pirate front: Player's pick Nate McLouth played 11 innings, while Chicago's Kosuke Fukudome, who was the people's choice starter, played just four.
And Nate the Great did just fine, gunning out what would have been the winning run at home, and going 1-4 at the dish, with one ball lofted to the warning track. Sweet All-Star debut, we'd say. Hopefully, he'll be back for more.
> The Pirate rotation coming out of the break looks like Paul Maholm, Ian Snell, Yoslan Herrera, Zach Duke and JVB. But that could change in a New York second, as the Pirates haven't officially announced any of their starters yet except for Maholm.
Phil Dumatrait is due back July 27th if all goes well. Gorzo? Who knows?
> RHP Marino Salas will rejoin the Pirates' bullpen today from Indy. He has an 11.17 ERA in 9 Bucco appearances, giving up 18 hits and 8 walks in 9 2/3 innings. Big improvement there.
> Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com gives her fearless prediction for the second half of the season:
Knowing that they will be playing at least until September without Capps, the Pirates need their bullpen to step up. The work of Damaso Marte, John Grabow and Tyler Yates will be especially critical to keep the team going until Capps' return.
Also, Snell needs to begin to show some sort of resemblance of his '07 form, and the Pirates are going to need someone -- anyone -- to capably fill in as the team's fifth starter.
Despite losing a handful of key players at the Trade Deadline, the Pirates will teeter around the .500 mark until the end of the season, only to fall just short. However, appearances by Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen in September will give the fan base a short taste of what's to come.
On the hot stove front: Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus writes:
Ian Snell is a name that hasn’t been discussed much, but could bring a huge return for the Pirates. He’s durable, solid, and seems the type that would relish being in a pennant chase. The Pirates would have to be overwhelmed, but it was suggested that Snell is the equal of Rich Harden in talent.
I didn’t buy it, but they have similar body types, two pitch repertoires with similar velocity and movement, and some questions about durability. The Pirates are more likely to trade Jason Bay or Xavier Nady, though probably not both.
Andrew McCutcheon is a downgrade, but could offer up some hope for fans while either of the vets could bring a solid return. The Rays, Dodgers, and Mets have all taken a look at one of the OFers.
Then again, moving Snell doesn't really solve Pittsburgh's pitching problems, does it? We guess it depends on the return.
On the minor league front: In the Class AAA All-Star Game in Louisville, Indy's CF Andrew McCutchen went 2 for 2 with a sacrifice fly and two RBIs. SS Brian Bixler went 1 for 4. Cutch, btw, didn't make the Olympic team.
> In the Class AA Eastern League All-Star Game at Manchester, N.H., 1B Jason Delaney went 1 for 3 with a walk. RHP Pat Bresnehan allowed three runs, two hits and a walk in one inning of relief. He was charged with a blown save and the loss. LHP Josh Shortslef pitched one scoreless inning.
> Brad Lincoln, Pittsburgh's top pitching prospect and 2006 first-round draft pick, is moving up a step to Lynchburg. He was 5-5 with a 4.65 ERA in 11 starts for Hickory.
> At Lynchburg, IF Jim Negrych hit his fourth home run, a grand slam, and went 1 for 4. He's batting .362. LHP Danny Moskos got clobbered, and his ERA is over 6 now.
> 3B Matt Hague (.373) went 3 for 4 with two doubles and an RBI for Hickory.
> The draftees were raking at State College. LF Cole White (.370) went 3 for 6, with a double, two RBI and three runs scored. 3B Jeremy Farrell (.300) had two hits and three RBI. 1B Calvin Anderson added a grand slam