What a strange game today. We pulled off the 7-5 win, not against Jason Schmidt, but on a day that he pitched anyways, which is still a small victory in and of itself. Now, this wasn’t a great game by any means – we worked Schmidt well, made him throw 110 pitches in only six innings, but we also had bases loaded and either 1 or 0 out three times and didn’t really capitalize until the third try against Worrell (who pretty much had nothing today). BUT, a win is a win, Jose Bautista smacked the snot out of the ball twice, kept it fair once, and Paulie Walnuts was rough but good enough.
1st star: Jose Bautista. Almost gave it to Walnuts, but I had to give it to He of the Game Winning Salami. He cranked one off Schmidt that just drifted foul, then made sure the second time and planted it in left-center. This is the timely hitting that has been adrift at sea for so long. Final line – 2-5, 2B, HR, 4RBI
2nd star: Paul (ie Walnuts) Maholm. I probably should give Paulie the #1 star, since he went up against Jason Freaking Schmidt and held his own, and his line would have been more impressive without Freddy’s error. I dost believe the boy has arrived. Not at the same bus stop as Snell, but close. Final line – 6IP 8H 4R 3ER 4BB 7K
3rd star: Mike Gonzalez. Alright Cory, he earned the BOOM tonight. Three saves in a row, and second in a row under 10 pitches tonight. Final line – 1 IP, 0H 0R 0ER 0BB 1 K, SV (11)
Back home we come to play an equally mortal looking St. Louis Cardinals team that won tonight for the third time in their last 9 games.
Dead Men’s Tales (the new name for my notes)
- We gave Brandon Duckworth to Kansas City for cash. Strange on many fronts. One: so yeah, we gave away a good pitcher that we didnt need but someone actually wanted, and got NOTHING in return. (unless that cash is at least 8 figures, it’s meaningless). Two: Kansas City immediately called up Duckworth this afternoon and sent down a rookie who they had just called up last Monday. Three: This means we might actually face a decent pitcher when we go to KC next week (though not likely).
- The next 10 games are veeeeeeeeeery winnable for the Pirates. Assuming there are no major shifts in any opposing pitching rotations, here is what we’re looking at…
- Chris Carpenter – Will be making his second start (umbilical hernia) since coming off the DL – hasn’t really looked like Chris Carpenter lately. 1-2, 4.20 ERA, 1.57 WHIP in 5 starts since May 1st. He is also only one of two starters on this list averaging more than 4.5 K/9.
- Sidney Ponson – Best pitcher in STL’s rotation at this present moment…which is kind of sad. He is three starts removed from the DL. He isnt striking anyone out (23K’s and 18 BB’s in 48 1/2 IP), and with a 1.66 WHIP since May 1st and a 1.94 WHIP his last 3 starts, he’s probably more lucky than good.
- Mark Mulder – Normally, this would be "Mark Mulder. You know, THE Mark Mulder." However, this is now a guy who is 3-4 with a 6.56 ERA since May 1st, and has given up 22 runs in 14 innings in his last 3 starts.
- Carlos Silva – Silva was removed from the rotation in mid-May because he was pitching so horribly. Since returning to the rotation June 1st, he has been less awful, but has still given up 9 runs on 19 hits in 11 innings. He too, can’t strike anyone out, with 22 K’s in 64 IP.
- Boof Bonser – A rookie, I don’t know a ton about him except that Bob Walk finds his name awfully funny. Bonser is a reasonable comparison to both Noah Lowry and Matt Cain, and is probably closer to Cain than Lowry right now, if that tells you anything. Oh, and he doesnt strike anyone out, either. unfortunate edit: Bonser is being skipped, Liriano moved up to this spot, and followed by Johan Santana. Not even going to dusciss that one.
- Francisco Liriano – Probably the second* best pitcher we’ll face in this stretch, he just one-hit the Orioles over 7 innings tonight, upgrading him from just another rookie to asterisk on the schedule in my book. This is the best strikeout guy we’ll face, by far, unless Carpenter returns to form quick fast in a hurry. Yeah, it isn’t like he one-hit the White Sox, but this wasn’t KC either.
- Claudio Vargas – Held us to two runs on five hits through six innings last time we faced him, so I won’t just gloss over him in this rundown. However, he is pitching for an Arizona team that is on a 7 game losing streak, has been outscored 58-16 in those 7 games, and ahs committed at least one error in 6 of those 7 games. So we’ll check in on Vargas a little closer to the game.
- Mark Redman – Started the season hurt, and also spent a week on the bereavement list. When he has started, he has made 9 appearances, and his most recent outing (8IP, 9H, 2R vs TB) was only the third where he pitched 6+ innings and gave up less than 5 runs. 23 K’s, 20 BB’s, and 59H in 49 innings.
- Scott Elarton – Gave up 8 runs in 20 innings in his first three starts of the season. He has either given up 5+ runs or not made it out of the 5th inning 8 times in 10 starts since then. His line in that period? 60 2/3 66H 41R 39ER 27BB 24K.
- Mike Wood – Just recently moved into the rotation solidly, though that may change with the acquisition of Duckworth. He has made three starts totalling 14 1/3 innings, and 3 relief appearances of 4+ innings. He’s a homeless man’s Ryan Vogelsong. Yech. 19 K’s, 16 BB’s, and 54H in 41 2/3 innings.
Like I said, extremely winnable games. I predicted that, starting with the 4th game against Milwaukee, the Bucs would go 15-6 through June 21st. So far they are 6-5, and I think they have a reasonable shot at 13-8 over that stretch. I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing that Mulder, Liriano, and Redman are the only lefties in that group.