Game #67 vs. White Sox

PNC Park | 7:05 | Maholm vs. Jon Garland | Box
Jack Wilson played like a man possessed, Paul Maholm dominated a weak White Sox lineup and at the end of the night, the Pirates had won convincingly, 4-2.
Maholm settled down considerably after a rough first inning:

White Sox first: Iguchi struck out. A.Gonzalez walked. On Maholm’s wild pitch, A.Gonzalez to second. Konerko walked on a full count. Dye singled to left, A.Gonzalez to third, Konerko to second. Pierzynski hit a sacrifice fly to center fielder Duffy, A.Gonzalez scored. Terrero was hit by a pitch, Konerko to third, Dye to second. Uribe struck out.

It looked as if he’d caught a case of the yips—Maholm was missing the strike zone by miles, both inside and outside, and I’m sure Pirate fans figured they were in for another long evening.
The White Sox entered the game with a .214 batting average against left-handed pitching, no doubt a contributing factor in Paulie’s success.
Words of wisdom from Jim Colborn helped, too:

The lefty was aiming his pitches, trying to push them to where he wanted rather than rely on his aggressiveness to translate into pitch location.
“After the first few batters, I didn’t know how long I was going to be in there,” Maholm said. “The stuff wasn’t going where I wanted it to.”
That’s when Colborn walked to the mound after only three hitters had come to the plate, took 30 seconds with his starter and left Maholm out there to battle.

Battle he did. Maholm took care of business, lowering his ERA to an even 5.00 on the young season. He’s now gone seven innings or more in three of his last five starts.
As for Wilson, the Post-Gazette’s Paul Meyer said it best:

Jack Wilson played last night like a kid who’d been let out of the corner of a classroom where he’d been told to sit—for five days.
The shortstop had two hits, scored two runs, made one above-average defensive play and another that was way above average and helped Paul Maholm and the Pirates to a 4-2 victory against the run-challenged Chicago White Sox.

Freddy Sanchez was apparently out with the flu, giving Tracy a chance to start both Jose Castillo and Wilson in the infield. Castillo went 1 for 3 with a double and a strikeout. Every Pirate starter had at least one base knock—so it’s tough to guess who’ll sit tomorrow.
Matt Capps earned his fourth save with a Mike Gonzalez special: In 1 inning of work, he allowed 1 hit, 2 walks and 1 run while striking out 2.
Recaps
Pirates.com
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
SI.com

Pre-game Thoughts
Short game thread today. I mean, really, you already have a lot to read, don’t you?
Dave previewed this series.
He and I both took a look at different aspects of the Jack Wilson soap opera: Will Jack be traded (along with teams that might want him), and what do the experts think of his benching?
Randy chimes in with more Pirate history, taking a ride on the wayback machine to the Fam-A-Lee era.
There, no need to scroll—just click!
6:40 p.m.: Jack’s in the starting lineup—but so is Jose. Freddy’s sitting down, and Castillo’s at second. It’ll be interesting to see what happens tomorrow if Bautista has an ohfer tonight. Are we going to play musical infielders?

Author: Randy Linville

Randy is currently living and thriving in suburban Dayton, OH with his wife and two kids. He was raised in Cincinnati, OH and attended Anderson High School. He went to Miami University (Ohio) and received a degree in Paper Science Engineering from MU. He is a devout Christian and a pop culture buff. He coaches his son’s baseball and basketball teams and his daughters softball and basketball teams. Randy has been a Pirates fan since the late 1970s and has fond memories of the 1979 World Series team. He began blogging for Most Valuable Network in 5/2004 after stumbling across a help-wanted sign for a Pirates blogger. He wrote for Pittsburgh Lumber Co. until the site merged with Pirates Prospects in 2/2011.

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