Thursday, June 11, 2009

Now That Was A Duel

Hey, Paul Maholm and Javier Vazquez showed how it's done. Maholm went seven innings, giving up one unearned run on four hits with eight Ks.

Meanwhile, Vazquez started out striking out the side in the first, and kept rolling, punching out a dozen in his eight innings of two-hit work.

The Braves scores first with two outs in the fourth, on a Jack Splat boot, stolen base, and single. Delwyn Young tied it the next set of at-bats when he hit his first dinger of the year. And so it remained until the ninth.

Andrew McCutchen led off with a single, reached second on Nyjer Morgan's bunt, and took third on Freddy Sanchez's grounder. Adam LaRoche was intentionally walked and took second without a throw (no, not another stolen sack for the suddenly git-up-and-go LaRoche; it was ruled defensive indifference. The Atlanta scorer gives him no love).

Lil' bro Andy fought Rafael Soriano to a full count, then lunged at the eighth pitch of his at-bat and singled up the middle past shortstop Yunel Escobar to plate the pair. Unless we're mistaken, Soriano has pitched every game this series. Bobby Cox must have a lot of confidence in him, but the hidden vigorish caught up to him today.

Steve Jackson pitched a one-hit eighth to get the win, and Matt Capps put the Braves away 1-2-3 in the ninth, striking out the last hitter. It was kinda fitting in a game pitched as well as this one that the first and last batter of the game were whiffed.

The Pirates are headed home to take on Jimmy Leland's Tigers. has the pitching match-ups here.

-- Young's HR was the first for Pittsburgh in 323 plate appearances, dating back to Jason Jaramillo's blast against the Mets nine days ago.

-- RHP Charlie Morton, who lasted only one inning yesterday, still felt minor discomfort with his hammy today. He hopes to make his scheduled start Tuesday at Minnesota.

-- A little late, but Jayson Stark of wrote this in his "Rumblings and Grumblings" column about the Nate the Great deal:
We've heard mixed reviews around baseball on the package the Pirates got back for Nate McLouth. But one scout who has seen a lot of all three players thinks all three could be stars.

"I really like [left-hander Jeff] Locke," he said. "To me, he has a chance to be Jon Lester. And if [right-hander Charlie] Morton just throws strike one, he'll win 15-16 games a year, if not more. And one thing no one can dispute is that [outfielder] Gorkys Hernandez has five tools. Those tools still need a lot of work. But he can be a top-of-the-order guy who can give you power and produce runs. And he can run and throw and play some kind of center field. So to me, that was a deal where both teams got what they wanted and needed."
-- Keith Law of said this about the Buc's second day draft haul:
The idea of adding young arms who fell due to signability reasons is a sound one, and they added four good ones, two from my top 100 in Jordan Cooper and Zach Von Rosenburg and two who would have ranked in the next 50 or so players in Colton Cain and Trent Stevenson. Stevenson and Cooper both looked like top-two-round picks last summer, but neither had a good spring, with Stephenson losing a little velocity and Cooper pitching very inconsistently until late in the season. If the Pirates sign three of those four kids, it's a great draft, and if they sign two, it's still a good one.
-- Man, the Pirates went young this year. In all, 21 out of the 51 players selected are either from high school or a prep school. Fourteen out of those 21 are pitchers. They'll have to add Clearasil to the trainer's bag.

1 comment:

WilliamJPellas said...

To say this team now has an extreme power deficit is to say there was a minor little problem on the SS Titanic. With McLouth and Doumit to go along with Adam LaRoche, we had just enough sock to make things semi-interesting. With McLouth gone and Doumit no sure thing coming back from his severe wrist injury, get used to Punch And Judy.

Which wouldn't be an altogether bad thing---particularly in the National League, as opposed to the beer league softall American League---except that we really don't have a legitimate basestealer anywhere on this team. And no, Nyjer Morgan doesn't count, not when he gets thrown out 1 out of every 3 attempts. Ditto for Andrew McCutchen.

Cue the broken record: once again, just because you're fast doesn't mean you can read pitchers and otherwise know HOW to steal bases.

So, while our pitching is definitely better than it was last year (it could hardly have been worse), we have zero power and little speed, and also no one other than Freddy Sanchez who might hit for a superior average.

Uuuggghhhh, it's gonna be a loooonnngg summer. And poor Paul Maholm, who has now supplanted Bert Blyleven as The King Of All No-Decisions.