Posted on: April 29, 2011 4:33 pm
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Giants @ Pirates -- Series Recap (4/26-4/28)

It was another series lost for the Bucs, as they dropped two of three to the defending champion San Fransisco Giants. Coming off of a strong 2-1 series win over the Nats, the Pirates just weren't able to get this one. They dropped to 11-14 after the series.

Game 1, Tuesday April 26th: Giants 3, Pirates 2

Bucs Player of the Game: RF Garret Jones - 1-3, HR, RBI, R

Hitting: C
Pitching: B+


The Bucs were only able to muster up a mere five hits in a 10th inning nail-bitter which led to a Giants 3-2 win. Garret Jones connected for his fourth homer on the season, and Matt Diaz also added a double. Lyle Overbay, Neil Walker, and Ryan Doumit were the only others to connect for a hit. Getting on base was hard to come by for both teams, and ultimately both sides just weren't seeing the ball well. The bats just weren't there, although the pitching came to play for the Pirates.

Charlie Morton made his fifth start of the season, pitching a solid six innings, only allowing one run, four hits, three walks, and struck out three. He brought his ERA down to 3.00 from 3.33 after a shaky outing against the Marlins. He looked very sharp on the mound and continues to show that he has no plans of going back to his last season struggles.

The bullpen also showed up, with Chris Resop an inning of scoreless ball with a strikeout. The one dark spot in the pen was Evan Meek, who didn't record an out and let up a run and two hits. Jose Veras and Joe Beimel took the next two innings, and were both very solid, not allowing any runs. Joel Hanrahan came out in the top of the 10th and let up an unearned run, but still looked sharp, just allowing one hit and the unearned run while striking one out.

Game 2, Wednesday April 27th: Giants 0, Pirates 2

Bucs Player of the Game: SP James McDonald - 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO

Hitting: C+
Pitching: A


Andrew McCutchen put up an 0-fer for the second game in a row, but only two runs was enough as the pitching bailed out the lackluster hitting. Steve Pearce recorded his first double of the season, who went 2-3 on the night. Neil Walker also had a nice night, going 2-4 with a run scored. Chris Snyder and Jose Tabata each went 1-4 with an RBI. The hitting improved a bit on the last game, but the pitching was the real star of the night.

After many shaky starts, James McDonald came out firing on all cylinders. He went six solid innings, not allowing a run and only letting up four hits. He also walked four and struck-out three. This was a pleasant surprise from McDonald after very many outings in which he was very hittable. After this gem, his ERA was still 7.66, which goes to show how hard he has been hit before this game so far this season.

The bullpen was just as stellar, as Crotta, Beimel, and Resop all combined for two innings of work without allowing a run. Joel Hanrahan came in for the save in which he only let up one hit and no runs to hold the 2-0 shutout win and notch save #7 on the year.

Game 3, Thursday April 28th: Giants 5, Pirates 2

Bucs Player of the Game: 2B Neil Walker - 3-4, 2B, R, RBI

Hitting: D+
Pitching: C+


Neil Walker had three-fourths of the Pirates hits and half of their runs in a 5-2 loss to the Giants. He was the only hitting that woke up and decided to play today as the Pirates were only able to muster together four hits and they somehow came away with two runs. The only other hit came from Garret Jones. Walker hit an RBI double and Ryan Doumit added a sac RBI. The pitching really didn't perform much better.

After a 2-0 start filling in for injured Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens hoped to continue it, but that didn't happen. Karstens really didn't pitch all that badly, only allowing two earned runs, but it was the errors that destroyed him. The Bucs committed four errors on the game, Karstens being one of those, trying to make a pick-off throw. It was an overall ugly situation, considering the Bucs practically gave three runs to the Giants.

Daniel McCutchen pitched the rest of the game, only allowing three hits and no runs. Although the hitting never really woke up for the Bucs, and it ended in a disappointing 5-2 loss. The Pirates are going to NEED to shape up on easy defensive plays if they want to get anywhere near .500 come the end of the season. As a young team, there is very little margin for error.

Overall Series Grade: C+
Overall Hitting: C
Overall Pitching: B+

It wasn't a terrible series from the pitching perspective, but when it came to getting on base, the Bucs just weren't able to do it. I was VERY pleased with the pitching, especially the bullpen and James McDonald. The fielding is going to need work after that terrible game earlier today. Overall, not a terrible series considering we lost it 2-1.

Next Series: @ Rockies
Friday April 29th, 8:40 pm est. - Kevin Correia (PIT, 3-2) vs. Jhoulys Chacin (COL, 3-1)
Saturday April 30th, 8:10 pm est. - Paul Maholm (PIT, 1-3) vs. Jason Hammel (COL, 2-1)
Sunday May 1st, 3:10 pm est. - Charlie Morton (PIT, 2-1) vs. Esmil Rogers (COL, 3-1)
Posted on: January 8, 2011 3:58 pm
Edited on: January 8, 2011 4:31 pm
 

Wildcard Round 2011: Saints @ Seahawks

We are only about 45 minutes from kickoff, and the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks get a chance to prove they deserve to be here. Drew Brees and the defending Superbowl champion Saints look to take advantage of a weak Seahawks team that has only won three games since Halloween.

Saints keys to the game
  • Brees must take control and come out agressive with the injuries of Thomas and Ivory to keep the pressure off Bush
  • Don't get complacent with an early lead
  • Don't forget about defense, even against the Seahawks
Seahawks keys to the game
  • Disrupt Brees early and get hits on him
  • Tackle...it has been a problem, although it has improved this season
  • Forget about the 7-9 record, it is a new clean slate
It's going to be an interesting game, with the first 7-9 divisional leader team in the playoffs ever. Not to mention they are facing the defending champs. The Seahawks have to remember the "any given sunday" saying, and come out with emotion if they want to pull off the big upset.

My Prediction

I know this is a very lopsided matchup on paper, but this is the NFL playoffs..wildcard weekend. Anything can happen, and I think the Seahawks will be able to keep it close at home. Drew Brees is just too much for the Seahawks though, and the Saints pull it off with a fourth quarter pullaway.

Seahawks 14, Saints 24

It's going to be a good one, check it out at 4:30pm est. on NBC.

Category: NFL
Posted on: January 7, 2011 7:00 pm
 

NFL Playoff Predictions 2011

Here is how I see the NFL playoffs shaping up in 2011...

Wildcard Round

Jets v. Colts - Colts win
Ravens v. Chiefs - Ravens win

Saints v. Seahawks - Saints win
Packers v. Eagles - Eagles win

Divisional Round

Ravens v. Patriots - Patriots win
Colts v. Steelers - Steelers win

Saints v. Falcons - Falcons win
Eagles v. Bears - Eagles win

Conference Championships

Steelers v. Patriots - Steelers win

Eagles v. Falcons - Eagles win

SUPERBOWL XLV

Steelers v. Eagles - Steelers win 21-17
Category: NFL
Tags: nfl, nfl playoffs
 
Posted on: January 4, 2011 10:02 pm
 

Early MLB Predictions

I know we should be talking about the NFL playoffs or why the Lakers are struggling so much right now, but let's take a break from that and talk some baseball. In just under two months, spring training starts, so let's take a look at 2011.
National League

NL East
1. Phillies
2. Braves
3. Nationals
4. Mets
5. Marlins

NL Central
1. Cardinals
2. Reds
3. Cubs
4. Brewers
5. Pirates
6. Astros

NL West
1. Rockies
2. Giants
3. Dodgers
4. Padres
5. Diamondbacks

NL Wild Card
1. Reds
2. Giants
3. Braves

American League

AL East
1. Red Sox
2. Yankees
3. Rays
4. Blue Jays
5. Orioles

AL Central
1. Twins
2. White Sox
3. Tigers
4. Indians
5. Royals

AL West
1. Rangers
2. Angels
3. Athletics
4. Mariners

AL Wild Card
1. Yankees
2. White Sox
3. Rays
Category: MLB
Tags: mlb
 
Posted on: January 4, 2011 9:50 pm
 

Eighteen Seasons and Counting

The Pirates hit their 18th straight losing season in 2010. The 105 losses of the 2010 season are six more than 2009, which would lead most people to think they only got worse. That isn't exactly the case. Although they had one of their worst seasons in franchise history, they also showed off a few guys that could really make an impact down the road. Maybe these few guys could even get the Pirates back into the light of a winning season.

The 2011 season promises to bring a lot of questions, and a lot of potential as well. The pitching was a huge problem in 2011, and while there is some promising youth in the batting lineup, the pitching hasn't improved much. Let's take a look at some of the guys to watch in 2011 as potential up and coming stars.

 

#31 Jose Tabata, LF

2010 Stat line (102 games): .305 avg, 121 hits, 61 runs, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 19 steals 

Jose Tabata showed some amazing things in 2010 as a rookie for the Pirates in only 102 games. He definitely isn't a power hitter, but more of a get-on-base and steal kind of guy. Tabata reminds me a lot of Andrew McCutchen, he has speed and gets hits. He isn't McCutchen quite yet, but give him a few years and he may get there. He is only 22 years old, he has a ton of time to do it.

  Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Pirates just need to continue to work with him throughout the many spring trainings to come, and he will develop into something special. In five years or less, look for Tabata to be a big factor for the Pirates.

 

#18 Neil Walker, 2B

2010 Stat line (110 games): .296 avg, 126 hits, 57 runs, 12 HR, 66 RBI 

Walker is a lot like Tabata, coming on the scene at about the same time, and they both have tons of potential. Walker is a big older than Tabata at 25 years old, but he still has plenty of room to grow. I don't think he will reach the same height as Tabata, but he will have enough to make an impact on the dying Pirates.

I see Walker as being another get-on-base kind of player, although I think he will develop more power as his career moves along. Those 12 homers in 110 games look somewhat promising. I say by the age of 27 (the so called "power age") is when Walker will break out. With McCutchen already growing into a veteran, Walker brings a nice balance of youth to the Pirates. He shouldn't disappoint in 2011.

 

#17 Pedro Alvarez, 3B

2010 Stat line (95 games): .256 avg, 89 hits, 42 runs, 16 HR, 64 RBI

Pedro Alvarez, like Walker and Tabata, came up to the MLB with about 100 games left in the season. Alvarez, as you can see, has some pop, but also has some trouble getting contact with that .256 average. I expect him to bring that average up a good bit, and at the same time bring the home run total up. He only has room to grow, being only 23 years old. I expect at least 20 home runs and at least a .260-.270 average next year.

This season will be his first full season of his career in the MLB, along with Tabata and Walker, so look for them to work out the kinks and improve greatly off of this season.

 

#53 James McDonald, SP

2010 Stat line (with Pirates) (11 games started): 4-5, 3.52 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 61 K's, 24 walks, 64 innings pitched, 8.6 K/9

The Pirates pitching in 2010 was absolutely horrific. McDonald may be able to change that in 2011. He ended the season with six straight starts in which he did not let up more than three runs. He is more of a strikeout pitcher than any of the other Pirates on this staff. He will most likely be the Pirates ace for 2011, and look for him to make an impact.

At just 26 years old, McDonald has a couple more years to grow. He will have to work on limiting the hits, as he had a fairly high 1.30 WHIP. He seems to be able to limit the walks, but the 59 hits he gave up with the Pirates is a bit high. I can see McDonald being a very valuable pitcher in a pitching system that is completely depleted. 

These four guys are all guys I could see making a big impact on the 2011 season. Spring training will be a crucial time for them, as will the next couple of seasons. If these guys stay with the team and improve and grow on yearly basis, the Pirates could very well put together a winning season in two to three years.

So, can the Pirates break the terrible streak before it hits 20? I guess we will have to wait and see.


Category: MLB
Posted on: July 20, 2010 9:36 pm
 

Penn State Football Predictions 2010-11

With the college football season about a month and a half away, it's time to look at some matchups and see how the Nittany Lions 2010-11 season will pan out. Let's take a look:

Week 1 (9/4/10):  vs. Youngstown State 12pm est. - W 45-7

I don't think much explanation is needed here. Youngstown State just doesn't have what it takes to get even close to the Nittany Lions. Look for some younger guys to get in the game.

Week 2 (9/11/10): at Alabama 7pm est. - L 24-17

The Crimson Tide are a bit too much for the fairly young Nittany Lions. Royster will give them enough to at least get close, but with a sophomore quarterback in Kevin Newsome taking the snaps, I don't see a win coming from this. Although I think the Lions will put up a very nice showing.

Week 3 (9/18/10): vs. Kent State 12pm est. - W 38-7

The Nittany Lions will return to some more easy non-conference play, and they should bounce back nicely going up against lowly Kent State. Look for Newsome to break into his role some more during this third game of the season.

Week 4 (9/25/10): vs. Temple (time TBA) - W 37-10

Once again, an easy non-conference opponent for the Nittany Lions to prepare for conference play. No surprises here as I can see Royster having a solid 100 yard day and two touchdowns. The hope is that by this time, the Lions have broken in and are ready for some tough opposition.

Week 5 (10/2/10): at Iowa 8pm est. - L 23-20

With a packed Kinnick Stadium, the Hawkeyes once again come away victorious for the third straight season. After ruining their '08 season, the Lions are going to want revenge, but aren't going to get it. I have a feeling young QB Kevin Newsome may have trouble with the loud crowd, and may get shaken a bit. It will be close, but not enough.

Week 6 (10/9/10): vs. Illinois 12pm est. - W 28-14

After another tough loss for the Nittany Lions, they should bounce back against a fairly weak Illini team. Look for another 100 yard game from Royster and a fairly nice passing day for Newsome. I also can see the defense getting back on track.

Week 7: BYE

Week 8 (10/23/10): at Minnesota (time TBA) - W 24-10

The Golden Gophers have had some issues the past couple seasons, so the Lions should be ok as long as they stick to their game. Newsome should have a good day passing against a weak secondary. No surprises here.

Week 9 (10/30/10): vs. Michigan 8pm est. - W 23-13

The Wolverines just haven't been themselves the last couple years after they lost so many of their starters, and it will be no different for them this year. I can see them improving some, but the Nittany Lions should have no problem with them once again for the third year in a row.

Week 10 (11/6/10): vs. Northwestern (time TBA) - W 27-14

The Lions should have no problems facing the weak Wildcats, who have been Big Ten bottom dwellers for a good amount of years now. No change this year, look for a great running day from Royster.

Week 11 (11/13/10): at Ohio State (time TBA) - W 16-14

Easily the biggest game for Penn State (besides Alabama), and as surprising as it may seem, I think they can go into the Horseshoe with emotion a squeak out a win, 16-14. Since it will be deep in the season by the time this game is played, I think the Lions will have all the kinks worked out and will be able to get it done behind a strong game from Evan Royster and solid passing day from Kevin Newsome.

Week 12 (11/20/10): vs. Indiana (Nuetral site, time TBA) - W 35-20

After the big win against OSU, the Lions come out strong again against a fairly weak Indiana team and get their sixth win in a row. Once again, no surprises here.

Week 13 (11/27/10): vs. Michigan State (time TBA) - W 31-28

I can see Michigan State giving PSU a run for the Land Grant Trophy, but the Nittany Lions will hold on to win a close fought battle.

REGULAR SEASON RECORD: 10-2

Bold? Maybe. But I can easily see the Lions going 10-2, whether the loss is to Iowa or Ohio State, I still think they will pull off a win against one of those two. We will have to let it play out, but as long as Newsome can break into the system, I can see this happening.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: July 16, 2010 10:55 am
Edited on: July 16, 2010 10:56 am
 

Mid-Season MLB predictions

National League

NL East

1. Braves
2. Phillies
3. Mets
4. Marlins
5. Nationals

NL Central
1. Cardinals
2. Reds
3. Cubs
4. Brewers
5. Pirates
6. Astros

NL West
1. Dodgers
2. Rockies
3. Padres
4. Giants
5. Diamondbacks

Wild Card
1. Phillies
2. Rockies
3. Reds

American League

AL East
1. Yankees
2. Rays
3. Red Sox
4. Blue Jays
5. Orioles

AL Central
1. Tigers
2. White Sox
3. Twins
4. Royals
5. Indians

AL West
1. Rangers
2. Angels
3. Athletics
4. Mariners

Wild Card
1. Rays
2. White Sox
3. Red Sox

Playoffs

NLDS
Cardinals vs. Phillies - Cardinals win in 4
Braves vs. Dodgers - Braves win in 5

ALDS
Yankees vs. Rays - Yankees win in 5
Tigers vs. Rangers - Rangers win in 4

NLCS
Cardinals vs. Braves - Cardinals win in 5

ALCS
Yankees vs. Rangers - Yankees win in 7

World Series

Yankees vs. Cardinals - Yankees win in 7
Category: MLB
Tags: mlb, playoffs
 
Posted on: July 12, 2010 6:40 pm
 

Pirates headed for #18

Yep, 18 losing seasons and counting. The Pirates have a division worst 30-58 record. For the 18th straight season, the Pirates will have a losing season. If ownership isn't changed, I don't see a change in this trend.

Here are the two biggest reasons I don't see any changes coming...

1. Ownership

You can only rebuild for so long, and we've been doing it for 17 seasons (soon to be 18). Trading away homegrown talent is not the way to go by any means. You have to learn to pay players eventually, especially those homegrown talents from the minors. Let's take a look at the kind of team we could have if we hadn't traded since about 2001

C- Jason Kendall
1B- Adam LaRoche
2B- Freddy Sanchez
3B- Aramis Ramirez
SS- Jack Wilson
CF- Nate McLouth
LF- Jason Bay
RF- Xavier Nady

That's not a World Series team, but it is still easily a winning season team or at least close to it. There certainly wouldn't be the 100 loss seasons. This just goes to show that there could be players that may turn out great some day (Pedro Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen).

2. Pitching

The starting pitching and bullpen alike have been terrible all year for the most part. There would be good games here and there, but the real problem is the pitching, not the hitting. Charlie Morton started off and horrific 1-9 and seemed to get completely lit up every time he was on the mound.

Also, prospect Daniel McCutchen never turned out to be anything special. Brad Lincoln hasn't been bad, and he may be the little bit of hope left in the staff.

These two aspects are very crucial to a winning season, and with both failing, it looks like it's going to be a rough second half. If ownership can prove that it won't trade players away at the deadline, I will have hope that maybe they're serious about winning, but until then, I can't see any winning seasons in the near future.
Category: MLB
Tags: pirates
 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com