-- Hey, the pitching has held the Bucs together so far in the early season; it was due to drop a bomb sooner or later. And boy, did they bomb tonight. Of course, that's not unusual in Miller Park, where the Pirates have lost sixteen straight dating back to 2007.
Jeff Karstens gave up homers in the first, second, and third innings, and left the Bucs behind 5-3 after five frames. Jesse Chavez and Evan Meek put up zeroes, but Tyler Yates found the strike zone to be an elusive target.
He walked Bill Hall, beaned Jason Kendall, who was just trying to bunt, gave up a sac bunt, and then, with the infield in, gave up a rocket to Ricky Weeks. Freddy Sanchez knocked it down, but couldn't get Hall, and that was all she wrote.
If Yates keeps this up, he and his 9.95 ERA will make it an interesting coin flip when the Pirates have to decide who to cut when Craig Hansen returns.
John Grabow came in, and the runs kept piling up. Cory hart blooped a double into right that Brandon Moss may have run down, but Eric Hinske couldn't. Prince Fielder hit what looked like a DP hopper to the right of Sanchez, but he couldn't catch up to it and it gently rolled into center field. When the smoke cleared, it was 10-5, the eventual final tally. Ouch.
The Bucs banged out 11 hits and drew 4 walks, but 11 K's kept them from causing more damage as they stranded ten. Sanchez, Nyjer Morgan, and Adam LaRoche had a pair of knocks apiece.
A couple of guys had particularly rough games, and may bear watching. After singling home a run and driving one to the warning track, Craig Monroe didn't see another fastball anywhere near the plate and struck out his next three at-bats. That off-speed book will get around the league like wildfire.
And Brian Bixler had the deer-in-the-headlights look again, and was a perfect 4-for-4 at the dish, fanning every at bat. It could be a case of jet lag after going from Columbus to San Diego to Milwaukee in 24 hours, or...
Paul Maholm (3-0, 2.03) will try to get the Pirates back on track tomorrow against Pittsburgh-born Dave Bush (1-0, 3.86).
-- Whassup with Nate McLouth? Tough to tell. He told everyone within earshot that he was ready to go today, but the suits seem content to keep him down until they return to PNC on Friday to face the Mets. So hey, we'll call it day-to-day.
-- Phil Dumatrait was shut down again, but the team says it doesn't have anything to do with his rehab. They think he's just hit a "dead-arm" period in his recovery program.
-- Tim Dierkes, writing for Roto Authority, thinks the Pirate pitching staff is due for a fall, based largely on weak strike-out rates.
-- A couple of ex-Bucs led the Bosox to a 3-1 win over Cleveland. Tim Wakefield threw 7 shutout innings, and Jay Bay broke a 0-0 tie in the ninth with a three run shot off Kerry Wood.
-- Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post thinks Ollie Perez may be headed to the pen, or maybe AAA Buffalo. Perez is 1-2 with a 9.31 ERA. The headline of his article is "Putrid Perez." That's one tough crowd in the Big Apple.