Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Collapse....Almost

John Bazemore/Associated Press


As Xavier Nady hit an 8th inning homerun right around the same time as the Penguins fell in overtime, I thought this would be one of the few nights that the Pirates might actually pick me up after a Penguins' loss.

McLouth followed in the same inning with a 3-run shot, that should have put it away, and Doumit and Bautista teamed up for an insurance run in the 9th.

In the bottom of the 9th, Marte, one of really only 3 or 4 sure guys in the 'pen, comes in and promptly walks two men. In comes Matt Capps, a guy who had 6 walks all of last year, and he walks two men to drive in a run for the Braves. Then Chipper comes to the plate and hits a two run single. 9-7. At this point I wasn't sure whether to hate Capps, Jeff Andrews for staring into the wall instead of going to calm down an obviously unsettled Capps, or the admittedly loyal fans of the Braves who seemed to be channeling the spirit of '92.

When McLouth made a routine play look a bit difficult to put away Texiera, the feeling of impending doom was palpable. When McCann put the fly ball into shallow left-center you could hear the fear in Greg Brown's shrieking voice. And sure enough, Bay and McLouth stand there and just watch it drop. If Jim Tracy was still the manager, fundamental mistakes like lack of communication would be non-existant, if you ask me.

I immediately got a text from Wannstache: "Same old fucking Buccos." And honestly, I felt the same thing. The same old jokes started to come into my mind, and the thought of those sentiments being echoed throughout the internets made me queasy. No doubt they would deserve the bashing they got, and there was probably not a worse way to start off the new regime than allowing 5 runs in one inning off of one hit.

Then, while waiting for the inevitable, the Pirates changed their traditional script. Xavier Nady unleashed a three run bomb in the same place he deposited one four innings before. Of course, Osoria had to make it interesting by allowing a solo shot and a double, but somehow the Pirates pulled it out after an epic collapse. In a lot of ways, its an improvement.

Notes:

-I agree with keeping Capps in. He's your man and you have to show that confidence in him. But the guy doesn't play around, if he's missing the plate then its unintentional. Why you wouldn't send Jeff Andrews to say something after the 2nd walk is beyond me.

-I dind't agree with keeping Osoria, a righty, in to face two lefties in the bottom of the 12th after giving up the solo shot to Francoeur. Especially, I thought, with the left handed Dumatrait in the bullpen. Then, I checked out Dumatrait's splits and saw hes not really any more effective against lefties, and has been starting for most of his career. I get the fact that Dumatrait could not be as easily optioned to the minors, but any other excuse to why Burnett was sent down (relief experience comes to mind in this instance) is bull. Doesn't mean I don't agree with it, but honesty would be appreciated.

-Great start for McLouth, LaRoche, and Nady. Rough start for Jason Bay, who's only redeeming part of the night was drawing a walk that allowed Nady to hit the homerun in the 12th.

-Yates was solid. While an unheralded move, Yates could conceivably get us an extra 2-4 wins this year.

-Bob Smizik actually had a rather decent article about Doumit starting in place of Paulino.

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