Friday, September 29, 2006

Game 160: Reds at Pirates

Harang and Duke at seven.

500 people watch Sanchez go 0-for-4

Dejan Kovacevic recaps loss number seven in a row.

Tracy continues to start Sanchez against the toughest right-handers. Since the Pirates have no better option at third, I applaud the effort to play like it matters and start the best guys.

If the batting title was the primary thing right now, Tracy could be sitting him against tougher right-handed starters.

Willie Reid

They have to play Willie Reid. If the wideouts were better as a group, maybe then they don't have to dress five, as Ed Bouchette describes the problem.

Doctor said nothing's wrong with my brain

The quarterback gets far too much credit or blame for the numbers he produces on the field. Ben could play better, yes, but so could the whole team around him. Had his wideouts not dropped so many passes, for example, then no one is asking him if there is something wrong with his brain this week.

Steelers anthem updated

What a relief. I was losing a lot of sleep over that.

Definitely growing

Dejan details the Bucs' second-half anemia. Tracy points out that the glass usually has a few drops in it:

"We are definitely growing," Tracy said. "On most days, when you look up there, you'll see hits on the board. And baserunners."
Other days, when you look up there, you'll see the basement again.

Brain [cramps]

Ben answers question from Ed Bouchette about whether head trauma was affecting his play:

"It's hard to say. The doctor said nothing's wrong with my brain, and it seems like I'm having brain [cramps] out there. It's just one of those things, you make mistakes and you learn from it and, hopefully, I will learn quickly from those mistakes."
I was confused until I learned that Ben just dropped the f-word and the PG censored him. First link also reports that Cowher told Ben to stop [cramping] around in the pocket and run every now and then.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Game 158: Astros at Pirates

Hirsch and Chacon at seven. The Pirates have another chance to play spoiler here. The Astros have won seven straight, the Cardinals have lost seven straight, and suddenly the NL Central title appears to possibly be in play. The Cards still have about a four-in-five chance of taking the title, but what were they odds the Astros would make up seven games in seven games? A win tonight could really hurt the Astros' still-feeble hopes.

Bench Roethlisberger

Ed Bouchette deals with that question.

A few more games at this level, and Ben starts hearing questions about his sexuality.

Hello Spikes, goodbye Crosscutters

The Pirates appear to have partnered with the State College low A minor-league team, the Altoona Mirror reports. Williamsport has become a Phillies affiliate.

Castillo, McClatchy may be going places

Tracy's "big, powerful-looking big man" may be moving off second base, and nobody knows where McClatchy will be at the end of the season, Paul Meyer reports.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Game 157: Astros at Pirates

Pettitte vs. Snell at 7 EDT. Only 6 games left, but many more questions remain. Will Ian win 15? Will Freddy win the batting title? Will the Bucs win 2 more games to clinch their first post-ASB winning record since 1992? Will the Bucs win 3 games to best last year's limp total of 67 wins? Will the Astros catch the Cards? Will the Bucs sink below the Cubs? Would Bob Nutting kick a puppy for a nickel?

Dejan chat

Turns out the Nuttings might not even exist. This and more in today's chat between Dejan and the many different aliases of Graham Koonce.

The real problem

Pat at WHYGAVS has a nice piece reminding us of the real problem: the black-hearted moneygrubbing Nuttings. I'm with Pat here. The losing starts at the top. Shit flows downhill.

Pat advances an interesting theory here that I hadn't considered: shrewd DL intentionally hired the moronic Tracy to make himself look smart.

WTM's Player Profiles

Wilbur has updated and reorganized his Pirate Player Profiles, which summarize the farm system depth, or lack thereof, chart. Link via Bucs Dugout. Raise your glass for the time spent putting this invaluable resource together and the elevated pain tolerance this must have required: All hail Wilbur!

All hail Psyco's Dirt!

For going 11-3 in week 3 and now leading the HW free NFL pick 'em pool with a .630 ATS. Get in the pool.

Monday, September 25, 2006

NFL Week 3 grades

Gerry Dulac hands out grades for the Cincy game. Cowher and the special teams both get F's. I'd upgrade the OL and DL grades to A's and downgrade Ben and his 30.7 passer rating to a D. Who's to blame more, Cowher for the personnel decisions and play-calling or the players for repeated failure to execute?

Cox invited back

Third base coach Jeff Cox has been invited back by DL, Dejan reports. Cox has more than earned the extension, as he's been nearly perfect this year. In related news, DL invited back all the other coaches. All hail our 2007 third base coach!


Ed Eagle catches up with Cota before he's non-tendered. In 99 ABs this year, Cota has 15 hits, including 1 double. Cota went .192/.250/.202 and his .452 OPS is worst for 2006 position player Pirates having more than 2 ABs and not named Mike Edwards. Good luck Humberto.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Game 156: Pirates at Padres

McCleary vs. Hensley just underway. Two on in the top of the first. The Rake is resting today.

NFL Week 3: Bengals at Steelers

Here we go. Ben and the OL look not so feverish on the opening drive. Big 36-yard Cedrick Wilson gainer sets up Fast Willie up the gut for the score! Steelers 7, Bengals 0.

...Carson recovers from the fumble, fumble, INT sequence to drive 97 yds and hit Henry. Steelers 7, Bengals 7.

...Halftime. First half stats for Henry: 2 TDs, 0 arrests. Bengals 14, Steelers 7.

...Reed FG. Ryan Clark introduces Henry to HUGH! then Willie TD and excessive celebration. Steelers 17, Bengals 14.

...Ugh. Sloppy finish. Ben underthrown INT, Colclough and Haynes fumbles, another Ben INT. Steelers didn't deserve to win this one but in many ways looked better than they did on Monday. Bengals 28, Steelers 20.


Huge game today. I expect it to be a physical, hard-fought game as the Bengals attempt to avenge the Lee Harvey von Oelhoffen loss. The PG's Gerry Dulac breaks down today's game and profiles the Ike vs. CJ matchup. In three previous games, Ike has contained CJ. Last week, CJ had his clock cleaned but might have regained his senses by now ... HUGH! (link of post-head-trauma-CJ clip via Deadspin). In addition to CJ and TJ, the Steelers have to worry about four-time loser Chris Henry and Kelley Washington. Most importantly, must stop Rudi.

McClatchy, Top Goat

Congratulations to Kevin McClatchy for winning a spot on the Top 10 Goats of the 2006 MLB season list. Kevin is even listed before God, who hates the Cubs. Larry Dobrow bestows the honor:

Kevin McClatchy, Pittsburgh Pirates: Given some of the team's recent moves, the question is no longer whether Dave Littlefield is a noxiously turbo-awful general manager or merely a bad one; it's whether he suffers from some kind of cognitive/neurological impairment that prompts moves like Craig Wilson-for-Shawn Chacon. And yet he received a contract extension this year from McClatchy, whose tenure as Pirates owner includes few highlights beyond hosting an All-Star Game that featured no salmonella outbreaks. Question: The buck stops where? Answer: Here, at McClatchy's nattily loafered feet.