Yet Another Gut-Wrenching Loss

Shawn Chacon threw one of the best games of the year for the Pirates with a three-hit shutout while striking out 10 over 7 innings. It was a performance he deserved to win as he left the game to his bullpen with a 2-0 lead.

Matt Capps pitched a perfect 8th and then Salomon Torres took the mound who walked the leadoff batter Giles and then got slow man Sledge to hit a routine double play groundball to Sanchez who refused to pivot. Instead, took his leisurely time to throw out the batter at first. That runner left at second became one of two runs the Padres needed to tie the game in the 9th.

All from a sure out.

Here’s the play when Sanchez as he gloved the ball:

Sanchezref2pivot2_1As we know, Sanchez has had pivoting problems at second base all year and the last soul-draining loss we had was because Sanchez refused to pivot as well.

These aren’t the only two games we have lost now because Sanchez can’t make routine plays — it started just three days after he came off his rehab play in Indy on April 11th and it has continued all year.

Now I’m here to tell you that this play probably won’t even be mentioned in the media tomorrow because Sanchez is protected in Pittsburgh like he is God. Instead, I bet we hear how Torres blew the game. But all things being equal, and even with the Torres back-to-back doubles he allowed in the 9th, the Pirates should have won this game 2-1.

Poor decision making – either allowing Sanchez to continue to play a position he isn’t healthy enough to play, or Sanchez just making a bonehead decision.

Instead, we end up with another gut-wrenching loss of the variety that typically sends a team spiraling downhill over an extended period of time.

Sure, Sharpless came on and gave up back-to-back home runs, albeit one of them was called back. But the fact the ball was hit some 400′ doesn’t really matter to me if they called it back or not. And sure, Bayliss allowed yet another inherited runner to score.. ho-hum. Both of these guys proved once again why they shouldn’t be in Pittsburgh.

As I’ve been saying all along.

Fans should be questioning Jim Tracy’s lineup for this game. I mean, why have Jack Wilson and his 12 for 35 vs Maddux bat sitting in the 8 hole, especially since he’s been hitting better lately?

Very poor managing.

Another reason this game was lost was because Cox is again holding runners at third like they are gold bricks. Bottom of the second with one out, Doumit at 3rd and Wilson at 2cd, and Bautista hit a fly ball to McAnulty in medium RF.

Now this was only McAnulty’s second game playing right in his career, he doesn’t have one assist playing anywhere in his bigs career, and his scouting report grades his arm at a 4, but Cox held Doumit.

McAnulty made his throw home and he not only missed the cut off man, but missed the plate up the first base line by 10 feet or more. Doumit should have scored easily and Wilson should have been at third.

Very poor coaching, especially for a team struggling to score runs that should be putting runners in motion.

And yet another reason this game was lost was because McLouth hit a bullet to right field leading off the 7th that was misplayed and bobbled by – that’s right, McAnulty – and McLouth didn’t even bother to pick up Cox while making his turn at 2B. Instead, he was standing on the bag as McAnulty finally picked the ball up.

Had he been at third, which he could have made standing up if he used his noodle, Bautista wouldn’t have had to lay down a sac bunt wasting an out to get McLouth to third and we would have had the top three batters to try and score that one runner from third.

Poor baserunning.

Why do we always seem to lose when Doumit catches? That’s quite a coincidence, to be sure.

The Dodgers come in Friday with Randy Wolf and his 2.00 ERA last three taking the mound against Zach Duke and his .421 batting average allowed and 5.40 ERA last three. As I mentioned the other day, unless the Dodgers do a "it’s nice to see you again Jim Tracy" fall down like last September, this will not be a pretty series.

It’s time to let John Van Benschoten come up and start getting innings in the pen. He might get rocked, but at least I would feel like the organization is trying to develop a guy who has a ceiling instead of Sharpless who is years away. By putting him in the pen he could start getting a handle on traveling with the team, he can extend his season, and he’ll start learning the league’s batters.

There’s just no reason to keep him in Indy starting even though it would take him a bit to get on track relieving. If he handles it well, send him to Puerto Rico in January and let him get a few innings in after his arm rests.

As for Bayliss, I think he needs time in Indy to get his confidence back. He’s shown some positive stuff but he needs a breather. I truly wonder if his shoulder isn’t giving him fits. The problem is, who to replace him with? I see Kolb is back throwing, so maybe now’s the time to let him take a beating while Bayliss rests some.

Depending on what happens with the storm heading Florida’s way, which I expect to be mostly a rain event, I may not be around Friday night because I’m on alert with the hurricane relief team.

I have some scouting videos of the players we might have in our first round pool and I hope to get them up in the next few hours so you can play with those as well.




    The heart of the problem is Tracy. Essentially, I don’t think he’s too bright. The man has a conforming brain, incapable of thinking beyond the conventional. Combine Tracy with a GM who has demonstrated incompetence in his role for too many years, and we just may have 20 straight losing seasons, Only 6 more to go.
    Sanchez should not be playing second base. Sharpless should not have been brought into the game with the score tied after 9. Capps should be the closer, as Torres plays with fire (walks) every close game. Cox should not be coaching third base.

    By the way, Trevor Hoffman demonstrated tonight how a real closer goes about his job.


    Agree with you concerning JvB. It’s time. He can’t be any worse than the BP pitchers being tossed into situations they can’t handle.
    Chacon threw a gem last night. I wondered what negative spin you’d throw Doumit’s way, but he called a very good game. When was the last time a Pirate hit double digits in K’s.

    If Chacon can come anywhere close to being the pitcher he showed last night, it solidifies the rotation. As you say, JvB would be able to learn the ropes a little. My thinking when I saw Kuwata was heading to Indy as a reliever was that he would be the next callup for the pen. This would be a PR move that would deflect from the Pirates slipping out of view because they won’t add competent, above minimum wage players.

    This was a crushing loss on the heels of an old fashioned whipping. The Dodgers and their staff should muzzle the Bucs pretty well.

    Good luck with the storm. It’s something no one needs.



    Chacon at his best doesn’t solidify this rotation. Duke and Maholm are still struggling. Besides, if all 5 starters pitch into the 7th, does it really matter at this point? We need to solidify our relief and the VanB idea is a good one. Hopefully, Kolb could help as well.
    As for Sanchez, I called for his trade after last season. Maybe we could have got LaRoche for Sanchez instead of giving up solid relief pitching.


    Chacon might be only good for another 110 more innings unless the Pirates brass doesn’t worry about his arm and pitches him so his arm falls completely off to save their young guys.

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