Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ground To Bits

Hey, after awhile you have to stop tipping your hat to over-the-hill pitchers and start looking in the mirror. Mike Hampton, who hasn't had a decent season since being injured after the 2005 campaign, embarrassed the Bucs and outdid Paul Maholm 2-1 this afternoon in front of 19,566 yawning fans.

After Nate McLouth led off with a homer, Hampton held the Pirates to just two more hits over seven innings. No matter what he threw, they beat it into the infield. Change-up? Ground out. Fastball? Ground out. Off speed? Ground out.

The Bucs didn't leave anyone in scoring position because, well, they didn't have anyone in scoring position. Inexplicably, pinch-runner Nyjer Morgan, who came in after Freddy Sanchez's two-out single, never moved off first base in the ninth.

His outfielders caught one ball in the air all day; he got 17 outs on the ground. Chris Sampson pitched the eighth; two ground outs and a K. LaTroy Hawkins came on for the save; he struck out Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young on balls in the dirt, his twist on the ground out.

He also gave up a ground ball single and'd you guess? A ground out.

It's tough enough to lose a game like that, but the way Pittsburgh lost is just as infuriating. A leadoff walk, tag to second on a deep ball to center, and a two-out ground ball single by the eight hitter brought home the first tally.

The game-winning run came on two excuse-me dinks into right, a passed ball, and a ground ball single.

Oh, that run was scored by Mike Hampton, who led off with a lob shot between Sanchez and Brandon Moss and came in later on a bloop just over Sanchez's outstretched mitt. Did we mention he was playing in because of the passed ball? And notice a trend here about not getting the eight-nine hitters?

Ah, well. Maybe tomorrow the ball will have eyes against the Mets. The pitching match-ups are here, from

-- The Pirates drew over 75,000 for the week-end set, so maybe the fan backing can be taken off life-support. Hopefully, the on-the-field product will match the efforts of the Bucs crackerjack marketing team.


WilliamJPellas said...

Ron, I'm getting the feeling you've had it with John Russell and his inexplicably odd moves and non-moves, and that you've had it with the Pirates' lack of hitting. Looks to me like you've also had it with the team's lack of aggressive baserunning---which, one would think, would be the first thing they'd do in order to try to compensate for the aforementioned lack of hitting.

Ron Ieraci said...

Nah, Will, not really. He does bring the infield in way too often, I think, but last night it was the right move. His game is kinda like his personality; kinda quiet. I'd like to see a little more aggressiveness - hit and runs, steals, less bunts and more swings, change up the order (I never knew how he worked out who hit after Adam LaRoche), that's all.

And I'm willing to see how he does with a real team; maybe he's dealing with limitations we don't know about (and yes, I mean from the suits).