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Pregame: Rough stretch


A week ago, I said during a radio interview that if the Pirates fell out of contention in the NL Central, I didn’t expect it to be a sudden, stock market crash-type event. I figured it probably would be a gradual fade over a span of weeks.

My bad. The past 10 games have been a nightmare — a 1-9 record, a 4.78 ERA and a .230 team batting average — that have seen the Pirates go from first to third (barely) in the division.

»»» Jose Tabata (strained quad) is on his way to the airport and tomorrow will resume his rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis.

»»» Derrek Lee (hand) is not in the lineup again tonight. He’ll test his hand during batting practice to determine whether he’ll be available as a pinch-hitter tonight.

»»» The Pirates’ Venezuelan Summer League team clinched a playoff berth for the sixth straight year. The defending VSL champs will begin the first round of the postseason on Monday.

»»» Double-A Altoona outfielder Starling Marte is riding a 12-game hitting streak. His .312 batting average is sixth-best in the Eastern League. … Outfielder John Bowker was named Indianapolis’ player of the month. He hit .316 with seven homers and 20 RBI in July. Indy has gone 50-23 since Bowker joined the team on May 8. “He creates that presence in the middle of the lineup,” Indy manager Dean Treanor said. “It changes the whole complexion of our lineup.”

Lineups for today’s game:

Padres (48-64) – 1. Cameron Maybin cf, 2. Jason Bartlett ss, 3. Chase Headley 3b, 4. Jesus Guzman 1b, 5. Orlando Hudson 2b, 6. Will Venable rf, 7. Kyle Blanks lf, 8. Luis Martinez c, 9. Aaron Harang rhp (9-3, 3.76)

Pirates (54-55) – 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Garrett Jones 1b, 3. Neil Walker 2b, 4. Ryan Ludwick lf, 5. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 6. Ryan Doumit c, 7. Xavier Paul rf, 8. Ronny Cedeno ss, 9. Jeff Karstens rhp (8-5, 2.49)



  1. Jeff Jones says:

    No mention of Alex Presley. Will he be joining the team soon? Will he need to go on a rehab assignment first?

  2. Tom Last says:

    Why don’t the Pirates send Steve Pearce down and bring up John Bowker. Bowker has definitely shown that he should be promoted. Steve Pearce has shown that he is a good triple A player, but not a major league caliber player.

  3. hinkleyhick says:

    The Pirates had a good run against poorer teams early on. They played an inordinate amount of games agains the Astros (right now a double A team) and he always struggling Cubs. Now the schedule is starting to catch up with them, although the Padres should have been easier.

  4. Chuck H. says:

    Do you suppose the Pirates need a whole new team? I have never in my 83 years on earth, seen a more drastic turnaround for a team as was this one. Was it because of a stupid and obviously blind umpire? Everyone in the world is commenting about that call.
    Is that umpire still allowed to work in the Majors? Now I can’t imagine the Yankees or the Red Sox ever losing eight or even four in a row. How we allowed the lowly Cubbies to broom us in our own ball park is another wonder. The 2011 season is over for us, but maybe Management will spend some money to get some major league players for next year

  5. Beanman says:

    Frustrated, during the winning ways the pitching was tough, we had kids Presley, Chase, Harrison, Paul stretching singles into doubles, stealing bases. Getting wood on the ball. We had no catcher, then came the Fort. Alverez wasn’t here! What happened?The speed is gone, no timely hitting, pitching stinks! Why is Pearce, Diaz on the team? Wood has a glove but no bat. Cedeno is on a cloud! Cutch is up and down. We don’t have a 300 hitter. How can you win a division?We played with the big boys for a while. To stay on top, everyone has to be sharp. This team lost it.

  6. joel says:

    The starting pitching is springing more leaks than the Titanic. Outside of Hot Rod Lincoln there is little help at Indy. The other pitchers at Indy did not seem to be in demand from any other teams at the trading deadline.

    The Pirate problems started when Presley was injured, then everything went in the crapper. Cutch has been hindered by the batter behind him. When Walker bats in front of Cutch he has to see good pitching but not so with Cutch as there is no threat behind him.

  7. WW says:

    I agree about Presley. Few people mention it, but I feel the loss of him has been huge. He brought a speed and energy to to the team that it doesn’t have without him. He was a real spark. They need him back, even more than Tabata (though they need him back also).

  8. WW says:

    Oh, and I remember being perplexed at the happiness expressed when Steve Pearce returned from the DL, as if some key player was now back. Pearce is a guy who, even at his best, does nothing more than adequately. His value is being able to play various positions when needed, in those times when you just need someone out on the field who won’t be a disaster. That should be his role and nothing more.

  9. JD says:

    This team has completely and utterly given up! I attended last night’s embarrassment vs. The Padres and it was some of the most boring baseball I have ever seen in my life. This team is lifeless right now and no matter how many player meetings you call the season officially ended in Philly!

  10. Chuck H. says:

    The Pirates have lost all chances to win the Central, but if they end this disgusting string of losses (10 at this writing), they could end up in third place, no higher. First of all, they have to move some of their automatic outs (Alverez, Pearce, Diaz to name a few) to the Minors, and bring up Bowker and get Presley playing again, because he was their sparkplug before he got his mystery injury. As for the pitching, I don’t know what happened to it, but my theory is that with no run support, the pitchers had to be too perfect-one bad pitch meant the ballgame. I am very disappointed in the team, and can’t believe what has happened.

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