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Pregame: 161 down, 1 to go


MILWAUKEE — Only 190 days until Opening Day 2012 at PNC Park.

»»» Alex Presley is not in the lineup tonight due to a sore lower back, which locked up on him in the first inning yesterday when he slid into second on a force play. “I could barely make it off the field,” Presley said. “I got some treatment on it, loosened it up, and was able to stay in the game. But it hurts again today.”

»»» The Pirates must win tonight to avoid 90 losses for the first time since 2004. They are 72-89, a 15-win improvement over last season. That’s their biggest single-year jump forward since they gained 21 victories from 1989 to 1990.

»»» The Brewers already have clinched the division, but still have plenty of incentive to do well tonight. They’re fighting for home-field edge in the first round of the playoffs. Also, Ryan Braun, who’s hitting .335, could win the NL batting title if he goes 3 for 4 in tonight’s game. He trails Jose Reyes, who singled in the first inning this afternoon to raise his average to .337, then asked to be taken out of the game.

Game 162: Pirates @ Brewers, 8:10 p.m. ET

Pirates (72-89) – 1. Xavier Paul lf, 2. Neil Walker 2b, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Derrek Lee 1b, 5. Garrett Jones rf, 6. Jason Jaramillo c, 7. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 8. Ronny Cedeno ss, 9. Jeff Locke lhp (0-2, 4.97)

Brewers (95-66) – 1. Corey Hart rf, 2. Jerry Hairston cf, 3. Ryan Braun lf, 4. Prince Fielder 1b, 5. Rickie Weeks 2b, 6. Yuniesky Betancourt ss, 7. Jonathan Lucroy c, 8. Carlos Gomez cf, 9. Zach Greinke rhp (15-6, 3.86)



  1. James Thompson says:

    The Bucs made a 15 game improvement this season, but, unfortunately, that’s about all they did. And now the question is: will the Pirates continue to improve, or will they regress, or will they remain about the same. And will enough fans stay with them to find out, or even care.

  2. Al Luplow says:

    Another crummy baseball season is in the books. Will it ever end?

  3. Angel Reyes says:

    Alvarez looks at a third strike to end the season. Six million bucks for nothing. Nice draft pick, Neal.

  4. Ken Mihalik says:

    James, that is 5 questions.

  5. John Brody says:

    I applaud the Brewers for a job very well done. Their management team made all the right moves last winter. Our management team made most of the wrong ones as usual. Zack Greinke would look very good in a Pirates uniform, don’t you think?

  6. Ron says:

    There was improvement this year and exciting to July. The team needs more power to keep improving. One player with 20+ homers does not cut it. Lets see what the front office does to fix this. I bet if Alvarez was in a lineup where he was not

  7. Ron says:

    Any long standing Bucs fan will never forget 1992, so watching the Braves crash and burn was pretty sweet. As well big bucks Boston. Now for the Yanks to go down and the Brewers. Sorry cannot pull for a team our inept Commish was a part of. As we all know as Bucs fans MLB is all about the big money teams and Bud blunder has done nothing to address it.

  8. James Thompson says:

    Well, anyhow, I saw the crummy Taylor Lautner thriller: “Abduction”, part of which was shot at PNC Park during a ball game, and at least this fan was able to forget, at least briefly, about this mercifully ended 2011 baseball season.

  9. James Thompson says:

    And I will now end my comments on this 2011 debacle by suggesting that they shoot this failed Pirates team to put it out of its misery and start over.

  10. Chuck H. says:

    The 2011 Pirate season wasn’t much different than the 18 preceding ones-all losers.
    It takes more than one or two good players to win more games than it loses. The Bucs,
    obviously needed more good, consistant, everyday players and two or three pitchers who could get people out, not ones just a little better than batting practice pitchers, aka
    the ones who allowed Prince Fielder to hit 3 homers off them. As we have been saying after the last 19 seasons, “Hope next season is better”

  11. Angel Reyes says:

    As long as we have a glorified farm director and a wannabe commissioner in charge, there’s no chance of a winner in Pittsburgh. We simply don’t have the leadership and know-how necessary to get it done.

  12. Sam Smith says:

    My best memory of the 2011 Pirates season was the Steve Miller Band concert.

  13. J. Bosk says:

    Anyone notice how lousy Allie pitched in the minors this season? Does Neal get a chunk of the signing bonus since he’s close so to the Allie family?

  14. James Thompson says:

    The Bucs obviously need an owner who’s more like Mark Attanasio of the Brewers. Only now, the question is: Will the Pirates ever get an owner like that?

  15. Angel Reyes says:

    The Brew Crew has a good owner, but he didn’t acquire Greinke, Marcum, Hairston, K-Rod, etc. That was Doug Melvin’s job. Their GM has the credibility and smarts to get it done, and that’s what we don’t have.

  16. Sam Smith says:

    My wish list for the 2012 Pirates season:
    * Huey Lewis and the News.
    * Steve Miller Band.
    * Neil Young.
    * Guess Who.
    * Three Dog Night (after an Astros-Bucs game, of course).

  17. Dan says:

    Boy, I sure do feel a lot better now that we have a new trainer. I predict that will be No-Deal Neal’s best move in the off-season.

  18. Pal Hal says:

    Nobody breaks down prep football like Lanny Frattare does — and there’s no doubt about it!

  19. Tom Boy says:

    Rob, are you as relieved as I am that we’ll have a new trainer next season? Fills a huge void for our team.

  20. Bucs Backer says:

    Our new trainer was with the Indians organization. I like the way we continue to raid from the rich. Go Bucs!

  21. joel says:

    The inmates still run the zoo. Morten to have surgery and won’t be ready for spring trainning. Why didn’t the Pirates shut him down in August and get the surgery out of the way. It wasn’t like the Pirates were going to overtake the Cardinals for a playoff spot. This is pure stupity.

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