Sunday, July 18, 2010

7-18-10: vs. The Astros

Look at all those zeros. Finally, the Pirates face the same Astros that basically every other team in the majors has been facing. Two blowout wins in a row.
I subscribe to Paul Maholm's twitter feed. That start where he only made it two innings? I was there when he apologized via twitter. The last start where he felt confident in his ability to beat Milwaukee? I read that one, too. It's been a roller coaster of a month for Maholm and via twitter I have experienced the vicarious emotional toll. Today, Maholm showed how good he can be. Only the second full-game shutout of his career. And it was a day game, so the photos are gloriously grain-free!
He didn't get a hit, but as it turns out he didn't need to.

Ronnie Cedeno continues to play like a new man. He went 4 for 4, a true blessing to have in the 8th spot of the batting order.
Here we see Cedeno give thanks to God upon hitting a double and perfectly encapsulate my feelings in doing so.

So many pictures of Pirates passing third base today. Anyone reading this, I ask you to say the following out loud: 'in their last two games, the Pirates have scored twenty-one runs'. Seriously, go ahead and say it. It feels good.
And we even got to see a successful rundown after the Jones and Cedeno gaffe from game one of this series.

Everyone who expressed wishes that Kratz would start again today (of which I am one) had to eat their words. Doumit had a great day, which is especially fortuitous considering how many scouts were in attendance to see Roy Oswalt pitch.
It is my prediction that both Neil Walker and Jose Tabata will raise their averages to .300 or above by the end of this home stand.

I also lucked out in getting this photo and am including it for posterity's sake.
Notice the ball rolling parallel to Tabata as he steals second. The steal was successful and Jeff Keppinger did a face plant.

So much base running. These last two games, I feel like some pioneer family from the wild west in the 1800s who, after having gone weeks without food, managed to shoot a family of unicorns.

Milledge gets tagged out at first base. No matter, he was still once again hugely effective in this game. The sports commentators are calling him Mr. RISP, and by Jove he deserves it. He's hitting something like .450 over the last two weeks, and if he keeps his RISP up, the Pirates are going to be hard-pressed not to have him batting cleanup.

One huge negative-Andrew McCutchen was taken out of the game after injuring his neck while making a diving catch. It makes you pause and reflect on how rarely McCutchen gets injured. It makes you pause and reflect on how thankful we are to have Andrew McCutchen. It was a heck of a catch, too.

Oswalt was taken out after the 4th inning despite the 2-0 score. With the state of the Astros bullpen, I can only assume that it was a precautionary measure after a grounder collided with his foot.
I'm such a nice guy that I actually felt really bad for Casey Daigle when the Pirates began to shell him in the bottom of the 8th. He was DFA'd after this game and despite the pleasure of seeing our bats destroy a pitcher instead of the other way around for once, I still don't like to see a young guy get his career sidetracked so thoroughly. Maybe he'll luck out and get traded to Japan along with Hayden Penn and Vinnie Chulk.

I have absolutely no idea what Neil Walker is doing here, but:
Perhaps he looked at the scoreboard.
At this point I'm pretty sure Maholm and Doumit have the longest tenure of any Pirates player aside from maybe Zack Duke. It was nice to see them have such a good game.

A perfect way to go into the Brewers series. Here's to hoping Karstens can keep up the good work. Russell's main message to the Buccos throughout the dismal month of July was that they are very close to being a good team, and are unaware of their true potential. A couple games like this go a long way towards proving him right, and I'd imagine there's a real good vibe in the clubhouse right now. My expectations for road games are pretty low, but I predict an improvement during the second half at home and in general.

No comments:

Post a Comment