Solid Win Against Padres

The Pirates were Vegas favorites to win game 1 of this series and they provided the odds makers with the expected win.

The reason: David Wells came in with an 8.84 road ERA (.449 OBPA) this year and Brian Giles was sitting on the pine injured. Wells hadn’t allowed less than three earned runs per game this year on the road but held the Pirates to just 2 over 5 innings of work.

Tom Gorzelanny took the mound and was far from sharp as he couldn’t command his breaking pitch half the game and was pitching up in the zone too often. But the anemic Padres hitters (.211 BA last 10 games vs southpaws) couldn’t take advantage of it and Gorzy walked away with his 6th win despite walking three and giving up seven hits.

The lone Padres run came in the 6th when Kouzmanoff doubled off the right field wall, Bard hit a grounder to Wilson who attempted a new wave backhand catch instead of getting in front of the ball (thus no E called, as Wilson knew would happen), and the ball went off his glove into left field allowing Kouzmanoff to get to third. Sledge then hit a sac fly to score the run.

The Pirates continued to string together a few clutch hits when needed. In the first with men at 1st and 2cd and two outs, Nady hit a clutch single to score Bautista; in the third Bautista doubled and then Sanchez singled him home, albeit Sanchez was out trying to take the extra base; Bay homered in the 6th; and LaRoche hit a clutch two-out line drive single to center to score Bay after he doubled in the 8th.

It was a good win against a semi-solid team who put their weakest link on the mound to start the game. We’ll see if it continues.

I questioned the Padres game plan after they had Gorzy on the ropes throwing 34 pitches in the first inning. Over the next four innings he only had to throw 48 pitches which resulted in Tracy allowing him to eventually go out in the 7th with 99 in his belt which bypassed the Pirates weakest link – our middle relievers.

It’s amazing how teams continue to pitch to Bay as white hot as he is – four of his last five games have been multi-hit games where he’s gone 11-20, yet they continue to throw the ball around the plate with him in the box and he keeps beating them. Even with Nady and LaRoche swinging the bat better, neither of them are winning games for us like Bay is. The Pads advance scouting missed the boat on that call.

Sanchez was replaced by Castillo in the 9th on defense. I’m not sure what that was about so we’ll have to wait for the newspaper report. He did take an ugly swing in his last at bat so perhaps he pulled a rib cage muscle. But that’s just a guess.

(Update: The media is reporting Sanchez felt a pinch in one of his shoulders.)

Sanchez and Paulino both were removed from the base paths by poor base running decisions in this game.

Gorzy has thrown no less than 90 pitches every start this year and he has now tossed an average of 116 pitches in his last three starts. That is a huge, huge red flag after the young man was shut down with elbow problems just 8 months ago.

Don’t forget now, Gorzy threw 161 innings in 2006 which was +26 innings over 2005 and historically any pitcher who throws more than 20 over typically has a melt down the next year starting around mid-season as they run out of gas.

However, I’m more concerned about the pitch count workload the Pirates are forcing Gorzy to endure because it is very easy for a pitcher to injure himself when he is fatigued. Tuesday night Gorzy had a hard time keeping his legs underneath and yet was still asked to take the mound in the 7th.

That’s pushing good talent way too hard – unnecessarily hard – and starting to border on incompetence, imo.

The Pirates outhit the Padres twelve to eight which rings up the 14th win against 1 loss this year when they do. I estimated this winter that 1 hit per inning average might get the Pirates 95 wins. We are 3-36 when we are outhit.

Pirates are now 8-6 when a southpaw starts against us and 17-12 when our starter goes 7+ innings.

Chris Young takes the ball for the Padres Wednesday and the Pirates problem against him in the past has been swinging in pitcher’s counts instead of hitter’s counts. We have to sit back in the box and let him throw more pitches, especially early. If we go up there hacking at the first or second pitch, it’s going to be a long night. We need to get him to throw about 14 pitches per inning or more.

Young hasn’t been pitching very well on the road this year but he comes in with a lot of confidence against the Pirates. On the other side of the coin, the Pirates have been wailing right-hand pitching and scoring a lot of runs as we are seeing the ball very well right now. I doubt this will be another no-hitter type game by Young unless we aren’t patient.

Again, the Padres don’t have the bats to hit southpaws well so this is a **** shoot with Maholm on the mound. The entire game could hinge on Joe West’s zone. If he calls it tight, Maholm should have the advantage. If it’s loose like he typically is, Young will see the advantage. Just pray Doumit doesn’t catch, although I’m fairly sure he will.

(Update: The media is reporting Doumit may not be ready to play Wednesday. Oh shucks.)

BTW, the Pads are the Vegas favorites Wednesday and Thursday.

A lot of folks are asking me about CB Bucknor’s strike zone Tuesday night and I didn’t see anything unusual about his game calling. If you have seen him before you know he is all over the place so this was nothing new.

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