Cubs Make It Sting, Pirates Fall 5-3


Pittsburgh Pirates starter Paul Maholm pitched six plus shutout innings.  He escaped before the mental lapses began.

Maholm thrives on pitching to contact.  The Cubs got some.  But depending on how you look at the game, Maholm had some rockets launched off him in Wrigley Field, or Maholm did what he does best.  When the rockets were hit, the Pirates defenders were in the right place.

The Bucs gloves always seemed to come through for the left hander.  A one hop smash…Neil Walker would be right there to glove it.  Line drive….here comes Andrew McCutchen.  Big drive…held up by the stiff breeze.  Call it effective, call it being a friend of Mother Nature, lucky, hell call it whatever you like, but Maholm got it done.

When the Cubs weren’t making contact, Maholm did put up three strikeouts on the board.  He worked quickly and the Cubs were agressive at the plate helping Maholm get through innings quicker than the Chicago Saturday crowd could keep pace.  A beer an inning is standard for diehards on the rooftops at Wrigley.  For a while, the Pirates starter made that difficult.   Well, for  a while anyway.

Having a starting pitcher that goes six and two thirds without giving up a run is something rare for the black and gold.  Pirates fans will take it.

We like it.  We love it.  We want more of it.

The bullpen on the other hand Pirates fans won’t take easily.

The defense stayed putrid and that is always hard to take.  The routes the outfielders took to balls, especially late in the game were a bit frustrating.  The infield got into the act as well when the normally sure fielding Lyle Overbay waited on a hop and got a bad on.  It was a costly misplay that still leaves a sting hours later.

But the bunting, first by Neil Walker in the third inning and then trumped by Jose Tabata is really hard to take.  Please tell us this isn’t the new standard.  Please save us Dan Fox.

But despite all of these things, the Pirates really had a chance to get a victory against the Cubs.  It just didn’t happen.

The fact that the fanbase is disappointed is refreshing to me.  People are upset, they expected a win.  It’s starting to feel like baseball season and it feels like Pittsburgh has a Major League team.  And if that team makes just a few less errors today, both in the field and in their minds, the Bucs have a victory.

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Did it look to you like Evan Meek shook off a couple pitches with a 1-2 count on Alfonso “I love chasing balls away” Soriano to throw a fat seedless one down the pipe?

Ronny Cedeno had another walk.  And nearly another in the ninth, but a Marmol heater caught the bottom of the zone.  [Thanks Bob]

Ryan Doumit played well in the opener, not so much today.  Here is the leftover from his hot pop yesterday to nail Barney.