Lack of run support has negated improvements in other areas


By Paul Ladewski CHICAGO – Leave it to home plate umpire Mark Carlson to do what the Pirates haven’t done often enough this season. Actually knock an opponent pitcher out of the box. But not even the ejection of Chicago Cubs hot head Carlos Zambrano was enough to shake the Pirates out of their latest funk in a 5-2 setback at Wrigley Field on Wednesday afternoon. Throw out a rare 10-run outburst in the series opener two nights earlier, and the Pirates scored 13 runs in their last seven games. “We’ve been there the last few years,” said firstbaseman Adam LaRoche, who had one of the eight singles that his team totaled for the day. “It’s just one of those stretches where nothing goes right.” Outfielder Reed Johnson broke a 2-2 deadlock with a solo home run against reliever Jesse Chavez in the eighth inning. The Cubs added a pairRead More »

Sanchez goes 6-for-6; Pirates beat Cubs 10-8


By Paul Ladewski CHICAGO – Their kind of town, Chicago isn’t. But if ever there was a time for the Pirates for warm up to the Windy City, then the series opener against the Cubs on Monday night appeared to be it. The Cubs returned from a winless road trip in which they scored a total of five runs in six games. And they were without first baseman Derrek Lee (flu), pitcher Carlos Marmol (maternity leave), third baseman Aramis Ramirez (dislocated shoulder) and infielder Bobby Scales (flu) because of various health reasons. So even though the Pirates didn’t display their A game in a wacky 10-8 victory at Wrigley Field, they weren’t about to throw it back into Lake Michigan, either. It was only their fifth win against the Cubs in their last 22 games. Freddy Sanchez led an 18-hit assault with four singles, one double and one home runRead More »

Pirates to consider using McCutchen in RF?


The Latest Pirates Buzz The Pirates struggles in Milwaukee continue as the Brewers beat the Pirates 10-5 Monday night. The Pirates rallied to tie the game at 5-5 in the top of the 8th inning but the Pirates bullpen imploded, surrendering 5 runs. The Pirates are 11-8 through 19 games. Moss batting .216 on the season. With Nyjer Morgan among the Pirates top hitters this season, there is some talk that the Pirates have had internal discussions about using Andrew McCutchen in right field and going with an outfield of Morgan ‚Äì McLouth ‚Äì McCutchen, when the Pirates decide to call up McCutchen. The Pirates will stick with right fielder Brandon Moss for the time being as the Pirates have to find out what they have in Moss. It will be a PR nightmare if Moss doesn‚Äôt pan out as it will look like the Pirates basically traded Jason BayRead More »

Surging Pirates beat Marlins 3-2


Pirates improve to 8-6 and confidence is building in the clubhouse 5th starter Jeff Karstens pitched 6 strong innings, allowing one run and three hits as the surging Pittsburgh Pirates (8-6) beat the Florida Marlins 3-2 Tuesday night at PNC Park. Karstens, the Pirates pitching staff are owners of the top ERA (3.00) in the majors after finishing with an NL-worst 5.10 ERA in 2008. “A lot of people doubted us, but we all believe in ourselves and we all believe in each other,” Karstens said. ‚ÄúEnough can’t be said for Joe Kerrigan, we’re more prepared than any team in the league.” Freddy Sanchez led the Pirates offensively with three hits on the night including a solo homerun in the third inning. The Pirates managed 7 hits Matt Capps recorded his 4th save of the season while Karstens improved his career record to 1-5 at PNC Park John Perrotto writesRead More »

Duke throws CG, 4-hit shutout in 7-0 win


In front of a sell out crowd, Zach Duke threw a four hit, complete game shutout leading the Pittsburgh Pirates (4-3) to a 7-0 victory over the Houston Astros (1-6), Monday afternoon at PNC Park. Duke (2-0) is off to a strong start after a 5-14 season in 2008 and credits pitching coach Joe Kerrigan for the turnaround. Duke‚Äôs complete game shutout was the first by a Pirates pitcher in a home opener since 1978 While Duke dominated on the pitchers mound, Freddy Sanchez had three doubles, starting a five run third inning for the Pirates. Adam LaRoche who is notoriously a slow starter in April had three hits including a two run homer in the third inning to give the Pirates a 4-0 lead. Nyjer Morgan capped off the Pirates 5-run third inning, with a two-run single, scoring Ramon Vazquez and Jack Wilson. Ryan Doumit added a solo homerunRead More »

Sanchez, Duke lead Pirates to 7-4 win


Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson combined for 8 hits and pitcher Zach Duke went 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates (2-1) beat the St. Louis Cardinals (1-2) 7-4 Wednesday night at Bush Stadium. Duke, (5-14) last season, showed strong command throughout the evening to record his first career win at Bush Stadium and his first victory over the Cardinals since a complete game on Aug. 11, 2006, at home. Duke struck out four, walked two and scattered five hits on the night. Freddy Sanchez led the Pirates hit parade going 4-for-5 for his third straight multi-hit game on the season. Sanchez is batting .571 on the season and is at 100% health for the first time in two seasons. Jack Wilson continued his strong performance at the plate, adding four hits and two RBI‚Äôs. A four run second inning sparked a 17 hit night for theRead More »

Pirates rally in the 9th inning; beat Cards 6-4


Jack Wilson’s three run double with two outs in the ninth inning capped off a four run inning as the Pirates rallied to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4 Monday evening. The Pirates got a strong pitching performance from starter Paul Maholm who pitched 6 2/3 innings allowing two runs and striking out one. Tied at 2-2 in the eighth inning, Ryan Ludwick hit a leadoff homer in the eighth inning off Tyler Yates, and David Freese added a sacrifice fly off John Grabow to give the Cardinals a 4-2 lead going into the top of the ninth. The Cardinals sent rookie closer Jason Motte to the mound in the ninth inning and new year, same problem for the Cardinals who led the majors with 31 blown saves in 2008. 2B Freddy Sanchez started the Pirates rally in the¬†ninth with a leadoff double off Motte, while Adam Laroche (single) andRead More »

The Latest Pirates Buzz


Pirates targeting Niemann, inquire about Hammel The Pirates continue to “kick the tires” on Rays pitcher Jeff Niemann. They are currently waiting for the asking price to drop. The Rays are asking for an infield prospect along with prospect Robbie Grossman. The Pirates have no interest in moving Grossman. The Rays are looking at Pirates prospects from the Double-A level down. The Pirates have had significant interest in Niemann since last summer’s trade deadline when the Rays offered Niemann and a lower tier prospect for Jason Bay. The 6-foot-9 Niemann went 2-2 with a 5.06 ERA in five games, two starts last season. Niemann, 26, was the Rays‚Äô first-round pick in the 2004, the fourth overall selection, and he is currently out of options. The Pirates had a scout in attendance for Niemann’s minor league start on Monday. Niemann tossed six scoreless innings. The Pirates have also inquired about RaysRead More »

MLB Insider: Hermida & Young on Pirates radar?


The market for Jack Wilson is strong and six teams have expressed interest but that number will get smaller once free agency begins. The top two shortstops on the market will be Orlando Cabrera and Rafael Furcal. Once those two are off the board, it will become apparent where Wilson could end up. Check the MLB Chart for the list of teams. Cleveland is among four teams to express interest in Freddy Sanchez The New York Mets are a potential landing spot for John Grabow