Analysis of the Aki Iwamura acquisition


By John Perrotto Photo: David Hague – Inside Pittsburgh Sports. Pirates general manager Neal Huntington summed up the trade pretty well when he was asked why he dealt reliever Jesse Chavez to the Tampa Bay Rays for second baseman Aki Iwamura on Tuesday. “It’s a lot easier to replace 60 innings of relief than 600 plate appearances,” Huntington said.

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 »

Pirates complete sweep of Marlins, win 7-4


Pirates improve to 9-6 on the season Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Adam Laroche who has been among the major leagues worst hitters in the month of the April the past three seasons, is off to his best start in a Pirates uniform. Laroche went 4-for-5 while bother Andy Laroche drove in a pair of runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates (9-6) beat the Florida Marlins 7-4 Wednesday afternoon at PNC Park, to complete a three game sweep of the Marlins (11-4). The Pirates had 10 hits on the afternoon and got timely scoring as the Pirates scored runs in five different innings. Nyjer Morgan and Jack Wilson each added RBI singles. Laroche is hitting

Hampton stifles Pirates in 4-1 win


By John Perrotto Ross Ohlendorf and Mike Hampton both faced 23 batters Wednesday night at PNC Park in the Pirates‚Äô 4-1 loss to the Houston Astros. Ohlendorf, the Pirates‚Äô right-hander, threw the first pitch for strikes to 14 of those batters. Hampton, the Astros‚Äô left-hander, threw 17 first-pitch strikes. That might not seem like a big difference but Pirates manager John Russell felt it was the deciding factor in his team dropping back to .500 at 4-4 and the Astros snapping their five-game losing streak. ‚ÄúHampton got ahead of the hitters all night and put our guys on the defensive,‚Äù Russell said. ‚ÄúRoss was the opposite. He kept falling behind and running a lot of 3-2 counts and it‚Äôs tough to pitch effectively that way.‚Äù Ohlendorf used his two-seam fastball effectively in his first start of the season against the St. Louis Cardinals last Thursday as he allowed three runsRead More »

4/9 lineup: LaRoche brothers scratched


3B Andy LaRoche and 1B Adam LaRoche will be scratched today for the Pirates. Adam LaRoche will be replaced by Eric Hinske and Roman Vasquez will remain in the starting lineup at thirdbase. Pirates Lineup Nyjer Morgan LF Freddy Sanchez 2B Nate McLouth CF Ryan Doumit C Eric Hinske 1B Brandon Moss RF Ramon Vazquez 3B Jack Wilson SS Ross Ohlendorf P

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 »