Found August 22, 2012 on Raise the Jolly Roger!:
The Pirates got some seriously dramatic ninth-inning heroics from Garrett Jones and Andrew McCutchen to avoid another frustrating loss to the Padres. It turns out that they just delayed it, as the Padres walked off in the tenth thanks to a series of maddening decisions by the Bucs. Jones should have been the hero in this one. He hit two game-tying homers in the hardest stadium in baseball to homer in. The first one was great–a bomb in the sixth to even the score at 2. But with the Bucs down a run in the ninth and McCutchen at first with two outs, Jones got a fastball over the plate and somehow mashed it over the center field wall, where almost every fly ball goes to die. Garrett now has 21 bombs on the season, and none were bigger than the 21st. Enormous. Jason Grilli came on to pitch the bottom of the ninth to try and keep the game tied. He allowed two singles with two outs, then served up what looked like the game winning blast to Everth Cabrera. It was a mammoth shot to right center that would’ve easily been out of most ballparks…but not Petco. McCutchen, who was shaded in the other direction, covered an insane amount of ground to run the ball down and make a game saving catch before slamming into the fence. Absolutely remarkable play, especially considering the situation. But then the Pirates didn’t score in the enth and sent out Daniel McCutchen to pitch the bottom of the inning. You’ll recall that when McCutchen was recalled earlier in the day, I (and almost everyone else) thought the move made no sense and there were a bunch of better options. Well, McCutchen walked the leadoff man…and after a stolen base, he found himself behind San Diego’s best hitter Chase Headley 3-0. WHY NOT WALK HIM–A MEANINGLESS RUN–WITH THE BASE OPEN? Instead, McCutchen got two strikes and then served up a horrible hanging changeup that Headley hit about 900 feet for a walkoff homer. MADDENING. Joel Hanrahan was not used. I think Chris Resop and Jared Hughes were “unavailable”, but they would have been perfectly decent options. Chad Qualls, who the entire baseball world knows is completely awful, was used in the 8th with the Bucs down a run and allowed a crucial insurance run. How did manager Clint Hurdle explain using McCutchen and Qualls?
Hurdle: “Daniel went through one of those last year,” referring to 19-inning #Braves game — Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) August 22, 2012
Hurdle said not concerned about Qualls. ““We’re seeing thing we like to see and we’ve seen it that past when he’s been effective.” — Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) August 22, 2012

Unbelievable. Not only are the Pirates failing to put their best available pitchers on the roster, they are also failing to use the ones that ARE on the team when they need them most.   McCutchen hadn’t appeared in a big league game this season. Qualls has a 5.36 ERA, and an ERA over 8 since joining the Pirates. Hanrahan’s one of the best relievers in baseball. We saw Hurdle use him on Sunday before a save situation happened. Why not tonight? The reason the game was close enough to set up all the late inning shenanigans was A.J. Burnett‘s constant Houdini act. Burnett allowed 12 hits and 5 walks in 6.1 innings, but somehow managed to let just four of those 17 baserunners to score. He got two enormous double plays with the bases loaded and made some other big pitches as well. Still, this marks Burnett’s third bad outing in a row in terms of hits and runs allowed. Clint Barmes and Rod Barajas both produced relatively well for the Bucs, each posting two hits including a double. Jones had the two huge homers I mentioned earlier, and McCutchen looked better at the plate despite going 1-for-5. He hit a laser lineout with two on in the fifth, and his sharply-lined single up the middle in the ninth enabled Jones to tie the game. The Pirates have now dropped the season series (and this week’s series) to the Padres and trail the Reds by a season high 7.5 games. They still hold a half-game lead for the final wild card spot. Padres 7, Pirates 5 / Box / 2012 Record: 67-56 / Next: Wednesday, at Padres, 6:35 MVP: Jones (+.606) / LVP: Burnett (-.543) / Key play: Jones’ HR

Kevin Correia starting tonight (and other roster moves)

We knew the Pirates would have to make a flurry of roster moves in advance of tonight’s contest in San Diego…and here they are. Kevin Correia will start the game. He threw two innings yesterday, but volunteered to start tonight anyway (my guess is that he REALLY doesn’t like pitching out of the bullpen, but still, it’s a good teammate move by him to volunteer his arm). He’ll...

Pittsburgh Pirates- Holy Unbelievable Stat!

Like any baseball geek, I enjoy perusing the stats.  Today I came across something that nearly shocked the pants right off me.  The Pittsburgh Pirates catchers have only thrown out 9% of would be base thieves  Holy crap that's bad!  There has been 97 successful stolen base attempts against the Buccos.  Out of the 107 attempts, the catchers have only nabbed 10 of them. ...

Prospect Watch: Cole Has Trouble in Trenton

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Pirates Notebook: First Inning Runs off Bucs Unfortunate Trend

  Photo by Mark Olson The Pittsburgh Pirates first inning woes continued on Wednesday after James McDonald allowed San Diego to plate three runs in the opening frame. The first inning struggle has been somewhat of a trend for the Bucs as of late. In each of the opening frames against the Padres over the three game set, the starters have allowed at least two runs to touch home...

Minor League Schedule: 8/22/12

Top prospect Gerrit Cole gets the start for Altoona today. His 24th start this season. Bradenton is 2 games back in their division, with 12 games left. West Virginia is a 1.5 games out in their division, with 12 games left on the season. Indianapolis has a ten game lead in their division with 13 games left to their schedule.  The GCL Pirates and both DSL affiliates have four games...

Game 124 Live Chat: Pirates at Padres

Pittsburgh Pirates Live Game Chat

Minor League Schedule: 8/21/12

Jameson Taillon will make his AA debut tonight, on the road in Trenton. Bradenton was off yesterday. They are 1.5 games back in their division, with 13 games left. West Virginia is a 1/2 game out in their division, with 13 games left on the season. Indianapolis has a ten game lead in their division with 14 games left to their schedule.  The GCL Pirates and both DSL affiliates have...

Zack Von Rosenberg Still Dealing With Fastball Inconsistency

Von Rosenberg has struggled as of late, after a strong July. Instead of heading to the minors after spring training ended, the Pirates organization decided to keep Zack Von Rosenberg in extended Spring Training to focus on two things: keeping the ball down and repeating his delivery. The right-hander worked hard and joined Low-A West Virginia on June 4th. “Just being consistent...

Shut down in San Diego

If you saw Kevin Correia give up a few runs in the first inning and then saw the Pirates flailing away at the plate early on and decided to go to bed, you made the right decision. Things didn’t get much better for the Bucs, as they fell 3-1 to the Padres in the series opener. Correia essentially confirmed our suspicions that starting him would be a bad idea, allowing two runs right...

So where do we go from here?

After yesterday's marathon game in St. Louis, it seemed logical that there were some roster moves coming today. With tonight's 10:05 first pitch approaching, we know what most of them are now, though everything's not perfectly clear. Via the team's Twitter account, we know that Kyle McPherson and Justin Wilson are in San Diego tonight and on the 25-man roster. They...

The Pirates are playing at 6:35 and that's weird

The Pirates and Padres will blessedly wrap up this accursed series this afternoon at 6:35 at Petco Park, which seems like a very strange time to play a getaway game for an East Coast team in San Diego, but then the Pirates actually have an off-day tomorrow so maybe it doesn't matter. The Padres are starting a young gentleman by the name of Andrew Werner tonight; he actually...

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. San Diego Padres – Game 123

Recap. Still think it was very dumb to start Correia last night.  Regardless I can’t imagine this team wasn’t exhausted so they get a pass.  For one game. First Pitch:  10:05 PM EST Where to Watch:  Root Sports, MLB.TV, FSSD   Jason Marquis, RHP (34) This guy again. Remember last time? He almost threw the [...]

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. San Diego Padres – Game 124

 Recap. If there is one thing Clint Hurdle is really good at it’s losing a game because he didn’t use his best pitcher.  Way to go Clint.   First Pitch:  6:35 PM EST Where To Watch:  Root Sports, MLB.TV, FSSD   Andrew Werner, LHP (25) Holy ****! A team is going to start a rookie. [...]

Some appreciation for Garrett Jones

When/if the Pirates win their 82nd game/clinch a playoff spot, people are going to point to yesterday's game as a key turning point in the season; a game in which the Pirates fought back the tide and valiantly battled through 19 innings to win a key game against a team that they're fighting for a playoff spot. Yesterday's game was a great win, of course, but remembering...
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