Thursday, April 9, 2009

Carpenter Saws Off Bucs

-- Hey, if the Cards and Pirates would have brought their gloves, they might still be playing. But the Cards overcame a rare burst of bad fielding by Albert Pujols when a double-play ball skipped under the glove of a diving Freddy Sanchez six innings later, and the Red Birds salvaged a split with Pittsburgh, 2-1.

The Bucs drew first blood when Ramon Vazquez began the third inning with a walk and scooted to third with one out when Pujols threw the ball away trying to get him at second on Ross Ohlendorf's bunt.

Vazquez scored when Pujols fielded Nyjer Morgan's grounder and threw to the first-base side of home plate, allowing a sliding Vazquez to sneak in with the run.

It stayed 1-0 until the seventh. Ohlendorf, who finished the day with a line of 6 innings, 2 earned runs, and seven hits with a K and a walk, gave up a leadoff single to Ryan Ludwick. Khalil Greene dropped down a bunt base hit, and then Yadier Molina hopped one past Sanchez, who was looking for another bunt.

If Sanchez comes up with the admittedly tough but makeable play (it was ruled a hit), the slow-footed Molina was a likely DP candidate. Instead, a run scored, and there were runners at first and third.

Sean Burnett relieved Ohlendorf, and pinch hitter Brian Barden greeted him with a RBI single to center. And that was the game.

Carpenter looked like he was channeling the old days; he only gave up one hit, a ground ball single to Vazquez with two outs in the seventh that just barely made it up the middle past the mitt of 2B Skip Schumacher.

The Big O was almost as tough, giving up just four hits over the first six frames. The Pirate rotation put together 3 quality starts in four games, and if that keeps up, the Bucs have a fighting chance in 2009.

What Pittsburgh really needs right now is to get the middle of their order going. Nate McLouth is batting .071, Ryan Doumit .125, Adam LaRoche .143, and little LaRoche is still looking for a hit.

He's been benched the past pair of games in favor of Ramon Vazquez after booting three balls in the first two outings. The beat writers were told that he's not in the ready position, with his glove closed and turned towards his body instead of open and facing the batter.

Two games seems like a mighty short leash for LaRoche, but hey, they gave him two months last year. Pedro may get here sooner than we think.

Jeff Karstens will face Johhny Cueto at Cincy tomorrow night. The weekend match-ups will both be day games.

-- The Pirates announced that they will honor three of Pittsburgh's finest who were fatally shot while on duty on April 4. They'll have a moment of silence followed by taps in honor of Officers Eric G. Kelly, Paul J. Sciullo II and Stephen J. Mayhle before Monday's home opener against the Houston Astros.

The Bucs will wear Pittsburgh Bureau of Police (PBP) caps throughout the game, as well as a commemorative PBP patch on the left sleeve of their uniform. The Astros will wear PBP caps during pregame introductions.

The Pirates will auction off the signed caps from both teams and the game worn Pirates player jerseys on All proceeds will go to the Pittsburgh Police Fallen Heroes Fund to support the officer's families.

Volunteers from the Pittsburgh Police Department will collect funds at the PNC gates prior to the game.

The Pens will honor them too, and we understand that they will wear the "They Stood Together - They Fell Together" tees under their sweaters during their annual year-end "Shirts Off Our Backs" fan appreciation give-away tonight. They'll also have a collection for the Fallen Heroes Foundation.

GW watched the memorial service. What a stupid, senseless act. A drunk son wakes up his mom, she calls 911, and three officers die. The shooter is planning on writing a book. A coloring book, we assume.

Police may be aggravating with their tickets, but everyone in the City should appreciate them and the out-of-the-blue risks they face every day. There's not much distance between calm and chaos, just a thin blue line.


WilliamJPellas said...

I'm not so sure Andy LaRoche's short leash isn't justified. I'll grant you it is a quick hook to see Vasquez in there after just two games, but then the Pirates have been watching Andy all spring, and it was an extended, longer-than-usual spring training to boot.

I don't believe in the younger LaRoche, but I understand he has nothing left to prove in the minors and so I have no problem with the team wanting to take an extended look at him. That said, he's pushing 400 big league at bats, and if he is going to show anything, it better be quick. As in, by the end of May.

Ron Ieraci said...

From what I've seen, Will, he'll never be more than a so-so thrid baseman; he does a lot of little things wrong, which makes me wonder a bit about the vaunted Big
Blue organization.

At any rate, it seems like the Bucs think Pedro will be here sometime next season, and that, along with Vazquez as a competent back up, has given them reason enough to shorten up the tether on LaRo and see how he reacts to a little pressure.