Pittsburgh Pirates BDR: Back in Black (and Yellow)


Sep 2, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder

Andrew McCutchen

(22) can

"“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” -Mark Twain"

The back deck is a ghost now.

Funny how places that you acquire and personalize, that take up so much residence in your life, eventually become handed to the next highest bidder who simply recycles a redundant sequence of ownership. Those places then slowly erode in your memory, like memories of a confidence once maintained in Charlie Morton.

Onward and upward.

I moved the contents of the old brick colonial to the new brick colonial several blocks away in Bigelow Heights, one miserable SUV-load at a time. My back aches just writing about it. Of course, hanging the Jolly Roger from the bars outside the new first floor window was paramount. (Yes, we (had) bars in the window, just like that creepy house in Nightmare on Elm Street). With each SUV-load, I crammed our earthly possessions into every nook throughout the home to avoid neglecting stacks of boxes in the garage for 28 years. Most importantly, I situated radios in the basement and dining room. Between them, and the car radio, I could haul and reorganize my shi…stuff without missing any cannonballs.

An extremely crummy (like Charlie Morton, lately) cell phone pic of the view from the new backyard.

The extra-innings ending coinciding with my first late night in the new homestead was diary-worthy. Although my memories of the first several innings has faded (like my confidence in Charlie Morton), the Bucs and Dodgers went into extras. The new backyard permits an expansive panoramic view of downtown and Oakland, and the surrounding areas. Two of the PNC Park light banks are visible between the skyscrapers. With the radio casting out the dining room window, I sat on the previous owner’s bench overlooking town. (I bet the bench was his “back deck.”) In the bottom of the whatever-th inning, Pedro Alvarez lined a sharp single into right, plating the winning run. Coinciding with Greg Brown’s jubilation baring over the scene, two red streaks split the light bank and exploded into a hail of sparks. The LED lights tipping the Gulf Tower burst into gold, and blazed around and around the pinnacle.

Raise the jolly roger, on another Pirates victory and a new life chapter.

Game 1

Pirates: 4 Brewers: 7

Here we are. Playoff chase. Must-win game. Ace on the mound. Crummy team in the schedule…KERPLUNK!

I get the distinct feeling that the Bucs just punched their wild card. Coinciding with the loss in Milwaukee, the Cardinals scored 5 late-inning runs to surpass the Nats, and earn a 6 game division lead. The Bucs and first place in the NL Central are like two repellant magnets.

Gerrit Cole‘s command was lousy. His four-run first inning led to the shortest outing of his career. Heck, before the second inning began I had abandoned the game to paint the kitchen. Somehow, marking-off the countertop and ceiling with masking tape was more peaceful than watching Cole watch balls fall into green spaces.

“I just got beat up real quick,” Cole said after the game. Remember those Captain Obvious commercials for Hotels.com.

The Cole Train’s ERA since August 1 is 3.91.

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Not that the defense helped. The ineptitude was epitomized when Jean Segura bounced a grounder to Jung-Ho Kang’s left. An off-balance throw couldn’t be picked by Pedro Alvarez. But it should have been. Since my temporary leave from the Back Deck Report, one occurrence several weeks back made me ache run to my desk and whip-up a BDR. Pedro had mishandled a throw from second, botching a sure-fire double play. A defeated Paul Wehner, announcing on the TV side, took a prolonged pause before he muttered “If we had a first basemen we’d be out of this inning.” Ouch! For me, that statement was telling. Actually, the pause before the statement was even more telling because Wehner clearly had the thought, then asked himself “shit, should I say it or shouldn’t I say it?” and then f’n said it.

Speaking of the Big Bull, his late-inning solo homer, and Kang’s late-inning solo homer, and Rameriz’s late-inning solo homer added…well…zero drama. 19 of Pedro’s 22 dingers in 2015 have been solo shots.

Hey, at least the Triple-AAA cavalry had arrived. In other words, a bunch of players either not good enough or not developed enough to be in The Show upgraded their seating tickets from Indianapolis to a big league dugout.

Game 2

Pirates: 4 Brewers 9

The Pirates lose to Zach Davies, a first-ever-start rookie who looks like the 15-year-old dweeb the senior jocks stuff in a locker before Algebra class. No really, Davies’ ball cap rested like a space helmet on his teeny noggin. His face nearly swallowed by the brim. But it was the Brewers who swallowed the hapless Bucs, again.

The Black and Mold are 7-20 on the road versus the NL Central. Jeff Locke‘s road ERA is 6.00, and his season ERA is 4.66. Not division championship material.

Space cadet Davies on the other hand didn’t even allow a hit until Starling Marte‘s lead-off double in the fourth. I was attempting to fix a *faulty dryer when Tim Nevertt’s Aramis Ramirez home run call temporarily shattered the doldrums of the unfolding inaction at Miller Park. “THAT outta’ kick them Buccos back into gear,” I thought.

“I get the distinct feeling that the Bucs just punched their wild card.”

*Be aware. The Lowe’s installation crews are boneheads. They vented the dryer to the outside, but neglected to remove the wad of foam that was previously stuffed in the outside flap.

No dice. Locke retired the first two batters of the bottom of the inning before man-child Davies singled for his first big league hit. A Jonathon Lucroy single later in the inning essentially sealed the victory.

“You have to make pitches when you have to make pitches,” Locke said in a post-game interview.

Remember, again, those Captain Obvious commercials?

You gotta’ win when you gotta win. And the Pirates aren’t winning.

Game 3

Who Cares

Let’s be frank with one another. I don’t want to write about this game, and you don’t want to read about this game.

Thank God I’m not the recap guy. He HAS to write about this game.

Since I spend a good part of tonight repointing decayed mortar joints around my windows, and am now burning the 11pm oil without the aid of notes or Travis Sawchik’s rundown, I’ll simply note some moments of the game.

-ROOT Sports made sport of the reversed Elian Herrera home run call.  After the alleged dinger, Bernie Brewer slid down the big dumb yellow slide, as he does.  But after the call was overturned, ROOT televised a rewind of Bernie sliding back to the top.

Radhames Liz‘s dominant bottom of the seventh, followed his impotent bottom of the eighth, including a home run surrendered to Domingo Santana.

Jordy Mercer had two doubles.

-Second sweep in a row at the hands of the Brewers in Miller Park. As improved as these Pirates are over teams of the past two decades, Miller Park remains a slaughter-house.

-The overuse of calling Miller Park a “house of horrors.” I prefer slaughter-house.

Pirates whimper to the charter plane Spiritless to St Louis to tussle with the class of the league, the Cardinals. The series may lack NL Central championship intrigue after this latest washout.


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