I’ll be here throughout the day, off and on, providing updates of the black and gold baseball. Feel free to leave a few comments with your insight and/or questions, and I’ll do my best to address everything in a timely fashion.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Atlanta Braves, 1:05 p.m. EST
Zach Duke (and Masumi Kuwata) vs. Chuck James. Gameday Audio webcast
and FM NewsTalk 104.7 feeds are available.Bucs trail 1-0 in the bottom of the second. Rush Limbaugh is on 104.7, so I guess there was an error on the station’s schedule. Maybe they’ll have the guys on tonight?
Duke gave up a homer to Willie Aybar for Atlanta’s run. There’s a live box on MLB.com again. Paulino catching, Eldred, Castillo, Wilson and Bautista around the infield, McCutchen in left, Matos in center and Nady in right. Draw all kinds of conclusions from that.
Former Pirate Craig Wilson is in the Braves’ lineup, and they just acquired Mark Redman, too, to fill the gap in the rotation left by Mike Hampton’s rib injury.
Big Country must be overworked from his foray into the outfield. He’s hitless in two at bats today.
Kuwata-san in for the Bucs. Duke went 4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 5 K. Good day, other than the shot to Aybar (which may or may not have been wind blown).
You can tell it’s the Braves’ booth on the Gameday Audio webcast. “The Pirates have a lot of history, but it’s been awhile.” Don’t forget the Sid Bream reference, guys.
Kuwata vs. Lillibridge. Guess who won? Brent lined one into right, his first hit of ST.
“This second inning is getting away from Masumi Kuwata.” He throws 85, for crying out loud. It’s not just the inning that’s getting away from him.
Brad Eldred leads off the bottom of the sixth with a base knock off a second-tier Braves pitcher. That puts him to 1 for 3 with a K today.
Ronny crushed a homer over the wall in right-center. Apparently Matt Harrison isn’t big-league ready; the Braves announcers are badmouthing him.
“I can picture McCutchen as a lead-off batter in that Pirates order.” Another hit, makes him 2 for 3 today I do believe.
Error on Brent Lillibridge. What a bum, good thing we traded him.
Headed to the seventh, it’s Braves 4, Bucs 2. Dan Kolb is scheduled to make an appearance in this one.
Capps in for the Bucs, just struck out Lillibridge. Gave up a homer to Ryan Langerhans, though. All of the scrawny Braves have gone deep, now, when you lump in Langerhans along with Kelly Johnson and Willie Aybar.
Jason Delaney got a cameo appearance today, making the walk over from minor-league camp.
Dan Kolb’s on the hill in the ninth inning trying to close out this mess so that we can get our last ups and head to Cleveland. Bucs down 8-2.
Chris Aguila has been playing some awful outfield defense today.
Brad Eldred with plate discipline? That’s the reason he has a shot this year. Should end the day at 1 for 3 with two walks.
Javier Guzman with another baserunning error. Stopped at third when he was being waved around. You’d have to imagine that he’s gone in the next wave of cuts. Probably only was kept around because we needed a middle infielder for the split squad action.
McCutchen doubles over the center fielder’s head, making him 3 for 5 on the day.
Ballgame. Pirates lose. I’ll throw up links to the recaps as they’re made available, and I’ll be back later tonight for the Indians game.
8-5. Final box here. Dejan’s recap here.
Tonight’s Pirates/Indians game after the jump.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cleveland Indians, 7:05 p.m. EST
Shawn Chacon vs. Paul Byrd. MLB.TV broadcast available. FM NewsTalk 104.7 has Lanny and the boys, too.
Still waiting on MLB.TV. Chris Duffy’s leading off for the Bucs.
Duffy flied out to center, McLouth singled through the right side.
The starting lineups:
Travis Hafner makes a rare appearance in the field.
McLouth stole second easily on the Indians’ third-string catcher. The live box is here. Jason Bay struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch. Did you know the Pirates set a franchise record for strikeouts last year (with 1200)?
LaRoche singles up the middle, scoring Nate. Pirates up 1-0 in the top of the first. I like this batting order.
Sign of the apocalypse: Cleveland gave away Grady Sizemore bobblehead dolls tonight. In Spring Training.
Don Kelly just impressed me in the field. Josh Barfield grounded a ball into the hole, Don went back and got it and threw him out by a step. His arm looked weak earlier this spring, but that was a solid play.
Shawn Chacon with a perfect first inning against major-league talent.
Byrd gets Ryan and Hernandez quickly. Walker’s up now. Byrd hammered him inside, and he took a few pitches. Count went to 2-2 before Neil struck out swinging on a curveball.
Our scrubby middle infielders are having a solid day. Hernandez just made a nice play going to his right on a grounder to second.
Chacon perfect through two. Ground/fly ball percentage is 50/50.
Don Kelly’s actually impressing me. He worked the count full on Byrd, fouled off a pitch or two and finally lined one up the middle for a hit. Could be a solid utility guy if we need one later in the year?
Duffy’s looking at an awful lot of pitches and getting buried in the count. Don’t do it to me, Duff. Play your style and have some success in 2007. Okay?
J-Bay had to do a little chugging around the bases. He went down and dug out a low breaking ball and punched it to the right-center gap. Jason Michaels laid out and tried to make the catch but couldn’t, so Jason tested the knee a bit and hustled into second. The double drove in Nate McLouth from second to make it 2-0 Pirates.
A bit of a trouble spot for Walker at third. He went to his left on a grounder but didn’t have the range to cut the ball off, and only ended up screening his brother-in-law, Don Kelly. The official scorer charged an error on the play, but if anyone goofed, it was Neil. I have a feeling that Kelly would’ve fielded the ball cleanly if he could’ve seen it.
Here’s an interesting situation: Shawn Chacon against Josh Barfield with one out and runners on first and second. Sean Burnett’s warming up for the Bucs, looks as if he’ll be the next pitcher into the game.
Chacon’s pounding the zone down and away against most of the righties. Walked Barfield on four pitches, though. They were close, but definitely balls. Colborn out to the mound. It’d be nice to see Shawn get out of the bases-loaded jam unscathed. Osoria’s throwing in the pen now, too.
Shawn got Michaels swinging; Pronk to the plate with the sacks juiced. He tied Don Mattingly’s MLB record by hitting six grand slams in 2006.
Got out of it. Unbelievable. Shawn Chacon did something well? Don Kelly ranged to the right side of second base to pick up a slowly hit grounder and made the easy throw to LaRoche at first.
Bobby Hernandez in for the Indians. He signed with Cleveland this off-season after spending time in 2006 with the Pirates and the Mets.
Doumit drew a walk on a full count. What’s with our guys’ newfound patience at the plate? Big Country walked twice earlier today.
I’ll stick around for another inning or so. Walker leads off the fifth; I’ll probably scoot after that. Best thing about MLB.TV is I can watch the archived broadcast at my leisure.
Burnett walks the lead-off batter, Choo, but his pitches look as if they have a little zip on them. Sean picked the baserunner off, but LaRoche couldn’t handle the ball. I haven’t been impressed with Adam yet. Hopefully he’s saving all of his big performances for the 162.
Wild pitch past Doumit now. Burnett tossed that one about 54 feet.
Neil Walker laid out to make a brilliant play, one Scott Rolen would be proud of. “A terrific stop by Walker, diving to his left,” says the Indians’ booth, “A very nice play.” The throw across the diamond was perfect, too. Runner scored from third, though, and it’s now 2-1 Bucs. After four, it’s 2-4-1 for Pittsburgh, 1-2-0 for Cleveland.
Aaron Fultz on for the Indians, so Walker will bat from the right side. First pitch is a ball outside, second gets fouled off hard down the first-base line, third (low and inside) gets chased. Fourth is a ball down and in, fifth gets fouled off into the Pirates dugout (on the third-base side). Sixth is another ball. Neil draws a walk with the count full, and it’s time for me to sign off for the night. I’ll throw in links to the recaps after the game when they’re made available.
Pirates.com recap is here. Bucs won 6-2.