BUC NIGHT: Pirates Tabata On A Hot Streak As Ohlendorf, Pirates, Take On Rockies


PNC Park turns into a Dollar General store tonight for Buck Night.  Or is it Buc Night?  Hell, who cares, give me twenty hot dogs damn it.  Cool stuff.

As you know, the Rockies looked like world beaters yesterday.  But last year the Bucs had some success, if that is even possible in a 100 loss season, against them.

The Bucs won a series in Denver and split in Pittsburgh.  It was the night of the Pedro Alvarez walk off homer.  Yeh, you remember now.

Jorge De La Rosa will be back on the mound tonight as he was in that epic matchup.   De La Rosa mesmerized the Pirates for five innings, before the young Bucs got to him in the sixth by scoring three runs.  The Pirates lead 5-2 in the ninth with Joel Hanrahan on the mound looking to close it out.

Ian Stewart (who wasn’t in the Rockies lineup yesterday) had other ideas and tied the game at five with a bomb of Hanrahan.  Not to be outdone, Todd Helton hit a two-run blast in the 10th inning off Sean Gallagher (who gets the start tonight for AAA Indianapolis)

But Pedro provided the electricity when he hit his memorable walk-off that gave Steve Blass a concussion in the booth.

LAST OUTING:   De La Rosa pitched well (3H, 5K) against the Diambondbacks before he was forced to end his outing after just 5.1 innings.  The blister is on the middle finger of his left hand. 

DE LA ROSA IS A WINNER:  The Rockies have won 31 of his past 44 starts.

WHITE HOT:  Jose Tabata has the longest hitting streak in MLB.  The Pirates left fielder has hit safely in each of the first seven games this season.    Tabata has four walks, two stolen bases, and has scored eight runs.

PGH KID:  Neil Walker, fresh off winning the Bob Prince Award with Bill Mazeroski last night as we told you in this mornings post, has hit safely in six of the first seven games. 

SUCCESS:  Ross Ohlendorf allowed less than one run in six innings against the Rox last August.  He also made another start, but you probably remember he left that outing after pitching .2 innings when he was line drived by Troy Tulowitzki

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We love Buck Night.  It’s a great idea. Here is a post from last season with our thoughts on the topic that will surely come up in blogs and reports tonight.


It Wasn’t the Bucs Night, Perhaps a Buck Night Would Have Helped? 

Bronson Arroyo was able to keep the Pirates bats quiet all night long by shoving sinker, after sinker, after sinker at the Pirates hitters. Arroyo threw 103 pitches and 72 were strikes. Mind boggling stuff was not what Arroyo had tonight. Still, it was enough which to me, is amazing considering he was nothing but average (6+ERA) coming into the game. The Bucs could earn just five hits off the talented Reds righthander on this brisk PNC Park night.

Meanwhile, the Reds earned four walks off Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf. Yeh, the Reds, a team that has walked just 113 times all year, got four tonight off Ohlendorf. We never saw this one coming.

One thing we did see coming? The Pirates have scored four or less runs in 17 of last 20 games. The Pirates have scored 114 runs this season. That’s less than four runs a game. The outs came in bunches last night too, most from the fly out. Arroyo got 13 Buccos to fly out. Many of the Pirates outs just missing gaps which could have changed the course of this game.

The Reds didn’t appear especially interested, and still won the game. Perhaps Arroyo was putting his defense to sleep? Some of the Pirates flyouts were bee bees hit right at Reds outfielders. It simply wasn’t the Bucs night, but perhaps it would have been a good idea to have an actual Buck Night as PNC was noticeably devoid of fans.

It sometimes baffles me that the Pirates don’t seem to realize how well this young team plays in front of their hometown fans. If it takes selling a few seats for a dollar, is there an associated downside? I am still searching for a no answer to that question. It would certainly stop blogs talking shit like this post by Red Reporterand I don’t care about the Penguins game on television. Sorry, fill up the stadium, enough with the excuses. The Penguins will be playing in the month of May for a long freaking time. Plan accordingly please.

Playing for 5,000 fans sucks, especially when Aki Iwamura and Jeff Clement keep getting penciled in on the lineup card while better matchups are ignored, but the hell with it. June will come soon enough.

The Pirates didn’t have a hit against Arroyo until the fourth inning. The Reds gave Arroyo a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth when Jay Bruce singled and then later scored on a double into the left field corner by Laynce Nix.

There would be little action through the middle innings, but the excitement kicked into high gear in the eighth inning, too bad only 2,500 fans or so were left to see it.

The Pirates can’t afford to give away outs while scoring so few runs. It. Can’t. Happen. Sound fundamental baseball is a must, but it’s not like the Pirates aren’t trying. We heard the Pirates took full infield practice around 3pm or so yesterday afternoon. It doesn’t appear to be helping however. Andy LaRoche has four errors in the last four games.

His failure to get a putout on a ho-hum freaking groundball off the bat of Joey Votto gave the Reds a crucial insurance run in the eighth. Big Scott Rolen followed the LaRoche error with an RBI double into right center field which staked the Reds to a 2-0 lead. It was all they would need.

Proof of run prevention was reenforced when Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno jacked up Arroyo’s shutout plans with a no out solo blast just under the left-field rotundo in the bottom of the inning. Arroyo tossed up a cement mixer, not the lights out five-point wrestling move, this was a hanging breaking ball that had Arroyo adjusting his cup as Cedeno trotted around the bases while the Reds were clutching something else. A 2-1 lead.

In the top of the ninth, nice throws earned another outfield assist by the league leading Pirates. Lastings Milledge relayed to Cedeno who then gunned Johnny Gomes at the home thanks to a nice block of the plate by catcher Ryan Doumit.

In the bottom of the ninth, Reds closer Francisco Cordero had some trouble. For a fleeting moment, it appeared Cordero was going to repeat his blow up from April 17. Of course, it wasn’t to be. Not that many in Pittsburgh could even see it anyway. The team across town was busy ensuring a game seven at the Igloo. The Curse of Maz anyone?

The Bucs had runners on first and third with one out. Those runners got on base via the walk. So when Jeff Clement swung on the very ugly first pitch we were hot. Especially after Clement watched his two teammates in front of him do the exact thing the Pirates needed in the situation. Get runners on base.

Please, teach. Please, preach. Anything. We are begging you John Russell. Fix this kid. Time is running out. Cordero would get Ronny Cedeno to ground out to end the game for Cordero’s 11th save. Reds win 2-1.

Ohlendorf allowed seven base runners. He threw 87 pitches, 47 were strikes. He had some rust. He fired first pitch strikes to 11 of the 19 batters he faced. There were brutal moments, but when he needed to get out of a jam, he did so. In spite of going to three ball counts six times, I took a look at a lot of his numbers tonight and predict that Ross will be fine, if his back cooperates that is.

Pour a Rum for Lastings Milledge. He reached base twice and had that excellent relay to Cedeno to keep it a one run game heading into last bats for the Bucs.

If the Reds keep getting this pitching, then they get Volquez back, and others get healthy, they could easily be buying at the deadline.

I am still shaking my head about Arroyo.

A tweet from BuccoFans. Bryan Morris tonight: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 29 innings.

A tweet from Kipper at Pgh Sports Tavern. Super Bowl 45 odds.

A tweet from me. Neil Walker past ten games: Four doubles, two triples, two HR, 7RBI, 2SB, .949OPS

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