Sunday, July 18, 2010

7-17: vs. the Astros

Did Ohlendorf struggle? Yes. But so did this guy. Bud Norris allowed three runs in the first and although I was tempted to think, "there are our three runs for the game", I try to be optimistic when it comes to the Buccos. And lo and behold, it paid off!
He pulled Berkman off the bag to make way for Tabata.

Milledge had another big game. I thought he and Andy Laroche would have break-out seasons; maybe the coming months will make me half right.

Milledge celebrates....

Past meets the future: Doumit returns to the dugout after catching a few of Carrasco's warm-up pitches as recent promotion from AAA Eric Kratz heads to the batter's box.
Rarely is a Pirates game good enough that blunders such as McCutchen's are forgotten what with all the hitting (!) and runs (!).
The beauty of this game is how awful it was at first. Here we see Ohlendorf fail to field a weak in-field hit by Norris. Walker's face tells it the best.
It rather seems like even Norris was surprised to safely reach first base.

Kratz confers with Ohlendorf, who by this point was struggling mightily.
Despite looking horrible both offensively and defensively last night, Cedeno made several great plays tonight, including a quick side toss to get the runner out at second.
Ohlendorf's candid reaction to being pulled in the second. Until tonight, his last three starts had been solid; however, the lengthy shoulder fatigue injury and the poor starts immediately following it make Ohlendorf somewhat inscrutable in my eyes. Whatever plagues our starting pitching definitely took hold of him tonight, and an Ohlendorf start by no means gives me confidence like a Maholm or Karstens start.
Ronnie Cedeno thanks God after getting a double. Despite recording no home runs tonight, Buccos bats drove the ball to the edge of the warning track on multiple occasions.
This isn't a goofy photo unfairly pulled out of context. McCutchen really was sticking his tongue out at someone in the dugout.

Carrasco was the real hero of this game. Hitting is contagious and predicated on wedging your foot in the door early; those three runs in the first and the resulting momentum could have very easily been eradicated by Ohlendorf's disastrous second inning. However, Carrasco shut that door and gave our bats the confidence that the game was by no means out of reach.
Tabata gets a hit.
Berkman swings at a Carrasco pitch.

Milledge celebrates a run.

Meek and Kratz on the way back to the dugout.
Hanrahan also put in a great appearance. Despite getting thoroughly and atypically roughed up in recent games, the bullpen was back to its lights-out best tonight.

McCutchen makes a break for second.

Kratz grins after earning his first career RBI.
What a beautiful sight. The Pirates lead 12-6 in the bottom of the eighth, to the utter incredulity of these two fans and many others like them.
Kratz performed above and beyond expectations tonight, and I feel he deserves a second consecutive start tomorrow. Having a solid defensive catcher improves a team in ways that cannot adequately be expressed in statistics, and although it would be presumptuous to draw too strong a correlation between the Buccos playing really solid baseball tonight and Kratz's first start, it stands to reason that consistent performances like the one he recorded tonight could very much kick start this team.
Dotel closed despite the 12-6 score due to his having gone over a week without an appearance. Dotel doesn't thrive in these situations, but he nevertheless did great tonight.
Dotel and Kratz exchange pleasantries following the final out.

A pattern has established itself in regards to the Pittsburgh media's coverage of the Buccos by now; we accumulate a lengthy losing streak and journalists bemoan the on-the-whole awful season up to this point. We get a few wins close together, however, and everyone writes about the Pirates' supposed turning of a corner. I am hesitant to get my hopes up after yet another 7-game losing streak, but even if it's the Astros, tonight showed what this team is capable of.

1 comment:

  1. Great post and amazing photos. You have one of the best blogs out there.