Tuesday, August 5, 2008

One Pitch Away

Well, you can't blame the pitching for this one. Zach Duke went seven innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits, walking one and striking out six. He still lost.

With two outs in the third, he gave up a double that just kissed the chalk, and then on a 1-2 pitch, Chris Young went yard. That one pitch was the difference. And it was a good pitch, a curve that was down and in that Young hit almost one-handed. But he got enough to golf it over the 330' mark.

For eight innings, Brandan Webb was a ground ball machine. The Pirates had 6 hits, and three of the runners were erased on DP's. They made it interesting in the ninth again, scoring a run and putting runners on second and third with one out, just a single away from tying the game.

But no call to the pen to rescue Webb. He finished, striking out Brandon Moss and Jason Michaels to take home his 16th win.

And that's the difference between being in first place and being in the cellar.

On the Pirate front: Andy LaRoche screwed up his right thumb, the same one that landed him on the DL earlier in the year, Monday night. It's not broken, and the docs didn't find any structural damage. He'll be out until at least Saturday with what's being called a bruise, with a MRI on deck if he's not healing by then.

His brother Adam had a slight setback in his recovery, and won't be allowed to swing until at least Friday.

> The Curly Shuffle continues with the Pirate pitchers. Yoslan Herrera is going back to AA Altoona, The Chief, Romulo Sanchez, is coming up from Indy to take a bullpen spot, and Jason Davis joins the rotation. Around and around we go...

They can use a fresh arm. Pittsburgh's pen has now accumulated a NL high 403-1/3 frames this season.

> Geez, Prince Fielder sure seemed upset because of Manny Parra's meltdown. If Fielder was in Pittsburgh, they'd have to give the Buc hurlers pepper spray. The Brew Crew Hulkster would be after one pitcher or another every day.

On the minor league front:
Indy won, 5-2. Jimmy Barthmaier pitched a shutout inning and was yanked. It was his first start since injuring his wrist July 25th, and cut short after an hour rain delay between innings.

The bullpen came through, with four pitchers giving up two runs over the final eight innings.

C Michel Hernandez (.266) provided the offense, swatting a second inning grand salami, his 3rd long ball of the year. CF Andrew McCutchen (.280) added a pair of hits.

> Altoona won, 4-3, behind six strong innings by RHP Jared Hughes (1-1 4.91 ERA), who gave up a run on 6 hits, 3 walks and 6 K's. It was his second start since being called up from Lynchburg. 2B Shelby Ford (.276) had three hits, including a double and triple, and drove in a pair while scoring twice.

> Lynchburg snapped an 11 game losing streak in style, cruising 10-2 behind LHP Brian Holliday (5-9, 5.45 ERA), who went 6 innings of two-hit ball with a walk and 2 K's. Holliday continued his strong stretch of outings, improving to 4-1 with a 1.86 ERA over his last five starts.

DH Kent Sakamoto (.256 ) had three hits, one being his 8th homer, 3 RBI and a run scored. LF Jared Keel (.220) had three hits, including his 14th home run and a double, drove in a run and scored three times. 3B Danny Bomback (.435), who's been tearing it up since his recent promotion from Hickory, added three knocks with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI. SS Brian Friday (.294) had a pair of singles, 2 RBI and a run scored.

> Hickory was pasted, 9-1. Starting RHP Bryan Morris, in his first Pirate system start, went 5 scoreless innings. He yielded 2 hits, 3 walks, and rang up 4 strike outs before the bullpen imploded behind him. The Crawdads only mustered 4 hits.

> State College was off today.

> Bradenton took a 5-1 victory keyed by a pair of RF Jose Tabata (.444) HR's. He drove in all 5 runs and scored twice. LF Victor Sanchez (.318) had a pair of hits and scored. Ronny Paulino (.292) caught his first game since injuring his ankle (he DH'ed for a spell), and went 1-4.

19-year old LHP Nelson Pereira (3-2, 1.41 ERA) got the win, going four hitless innings, striking out 7 and walking 1. Matt Capps got an inning in, too, K'ing one.

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