Friday, September 12, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

Well, the Bucs held up starting the game for over an hour, but it was worth the wait. Oh, the infield was slow as molasses and the outfield was a bit slick, but everything was perfect for Pittsburgh tonight.

Led by the arm of Paul Maholm and the bat of Nate McLouth, the Pirates shed the gray cloud of a six-game losing streak with a 10-2 romp over the Cards at PNC in front of an appreciative crowd of dozens (not counting Rennie Stennett bobbleheads).

Maholm took a shutout into the ninth, getting the St. Louis hitters to pound the ball into the infield all night. 22 of the 24 outs he recorded were on grounders or K's. McLouth reached base five times, doubled, tripled, and homered, and drove in five runs.

Maholm had two hits himself - both in the same inning - a run and 2 RBI. He was a one man wrecking crew. Luis Cruz added three more knocks, as the Bucs banged out 14 hits.

One guy we'd like to give a little love to is seldom used catcher Raul Chavez. He's the poor man's version of Dirt Dog Doug. Chavez chugged out a pair of infield hits on sheer hustle (he's not exactly Nyjer Morgan on the basepaths), and worked Romulo Sanchez in the ninth as hard as he did Maholm in the first.

Even if he's the loser next year to Robinzon Diaz or Ronny Paulino, he's the kind of guy an organization can never have too many of in its system. His workouts are legendary among the Pirates, and he's a high-energy guy that's always ready to go.

When Chavez's tank is empty and it's time for him to coach, Pittsburgh could do a lot worse than adding him to its staff.

> 24-year-old RHP Jimmy Barthmaier was activated today to take the rotation spot of Tom Gorzelanny, whose season ended because of a sprained ligament in his left middle finger. He's scheduled to pitch on Tuesday. Barthmaier's last outing came on August 30th, when he pitched 6-2/3 innings for Indianapolis.

> Daniel McCutchen joined the Pirates for their series against the Cardinals, though he wasn't activated. He said the move was made for him to "hang out and see what it's like in the big leagues." Pittsburgh plans to do the same with Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen during their 10-game homestand, each getting a three-day stay.

John Russell said. "We just thought it would be a nice thing to let these guys be around the staff, be around the players make sure that their offseason program is put together."

> The Pirates honored one player from each of their minor league teams as recipients of the organization's first Pirates Community Commitment Program awards.

Neil Walker (Indianapolis), Brad Corley (Altoona), Jared Keel (Lynchburg), Austin McClune (Hickory), Josue Peley (State College) and Jean Garavito (Bradenton) were the six players honored. They'll receive the award during a pregame ceremony on September 19th.

> Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors printed his Offseason Outlook: Pittsburgh Pirates today.

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