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Embarrassing end to 10th loss

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What could have been a feel-good story — something the Pirates sorely need right now — turned ugly in the final three innings tonight.

The Pirates lost 7-2 against the White Sox, stretching their losing skid to 10 games. What made it all the more brutal were six errors in the final three innings, including a four-blunder ninth, which led to two unearned runs.

“Embarrassing,” manager John Russell said. “We kicked the ball around and threw it around. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

The “crowd” of 15,218 — which certainly was a bit below expectations, considering it was Pedropalooza — gave Alvarez a standing ovation just for walking to the plate in the second inning. But after the final out in the ninth, many of the folks left in the joint stood and booed.

• One ominous sign: After the game, more than one player confided that some finger-pointing has begun in the clubhouse.

• One upside: Jose Tabata smacked his first homer, a solo shot to left field in the eighth inning. Tabata nodded when I asked if he got the ball as a keepsake. What about the critics who say Tabata won’t ever flash much power? “We’ll see,” Tabata said, grinning.

• Alvarez went 0 for 2, with a walk and one run scored. He was charged with an error in the ninth when he failed to snag the low throw from catcher Ryan Doumit as Andruw Jones stole third base. Jones scored on the error.

“His at-bats were OK. He tracked the ball well,” manager John Russell said. “Third base, it’s going to take a little bit of an adjustment to this level. He had some tough balls hit to him and the tough throw he had to try to block. Overall, he looked pretty confident.”

• Seriously, six errors? That’s what happens when one-third of your lineup was in the minors just weeks ago. “There are going to be some (rough) games,” Russell said. “They’re young, they’re going to make a few mistakes. You have to move on. There’s going to be some development still at this stage. There’s going to be some anxiety in the field, and they have to fight through that. There’s going to be some times when it doesn’t look too good, but there will be plenty of times when it looks real good because they’re very talented athletes.”

• Zach Duke gave up three runs in the fourth inning and two in the sixth. Middle-inning struggles have been a problem him past few starts. “His pitches aren’t as sharp,” Russell said. “He’s not getting the ball down like he does in the first few innings. The big innings continue to get him because he’s not effectively getting the ball down where he needs to.”

• The White Sox will start lhp Mark Buehrle (4-6, 4.93) on Thursday instead of RHP Jake Peavy.

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Comments

  1. Ron says:

    At some point our cheap skate owner has to aquire some good veteran talent (not cast offs no one else wants) or things will not get better.

  2. Rich Nathanson says:

    Ron:

    Is there any doubt as to why the Pirates are in such a state? Huntington was right to trade the whole team, they weren’t winning. But the returns on the trades (except the Nady trade for Ohlendorf and Tabata that is hardly a winner yet) have been incredibly, unbelievably, historically bad. Sanchez for Alderson, who the Giants felt was on the way down as a prospect (correctly so), Wilson and Snell for Clement, who failed twice with Seattle? McLouth for nothing? Gorzy and Grabow for nothing? Bautista (he of the 18 HRs this year, wouldn’t that be nice?) for nothing. And the worst, Bay for nothing.

    There is no possible reason for not firing Huntington. Russell didn’t have a chance with the team he has. After all, when you are 29th in runs given up and 30th in runs scored and 29th in defense, no manager can make any difference. As a Pirates fan for 52 years this is truly depressing.

    Rich Nathanson
    Baltimore

  3. BFD says:

    Embarrassing? Nothing ebarrasses the Front Office and ownership baffoonary………

  4. Mark says:

    What about players who are considered leaders like Ryan Doumit? He has to be held accountable and his lack of hustle is ridiculous. He never runs anything out. Watch him jog to first base. Russell and the coaches need to look in the mirror, too. The lack of fundamentals have been terrible even before our “calvary” were recently called up. They are the ones to enforce and teach those things. And what about using Doumit at first base over the weekend when he could have been better used as the DH? I was a long time defender of JR, but no longer. This guy has no control and has no grip on this team.

  5. Kris says:

    Doumit is terrible. There is literally nothing he does well. I always wonder why Pirates pitchers even bother worrying about runners on first, because there’s not a chance in hell that Doumit will throw them out when they try to steal.

    I realize that this team has a lot of good young talent, but right now the pitching sucks, the offense sucks, and the defense sucks… did I leave anything out? New faces, same old story.

  6. Mike says:

    The entire organization needs replaced. The owner is cheap. The GM is a poor judge of talent (see the trades and the $5mill mistake Aki). The manager has to be at least partly responsible for the poor fundamentals.

 
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