Game #81 vs. Nationals

PNC Park | 1:35 | Maholm vs. Mike Bacsik | Box

Paul Maholm might be the first to 20. Losses, that is. Randy’s studied 20-loss seasons. According to him, Murry Dickson was the only player to lose 20 games while playing for the Pirates—he did so in 1952. Join the club, Paulie?
Sad thing is, Maholm’s been pitching well. He’s developing into a solid, back of the rotation starter. Littlefield wasn’t expecting David Price when he took Paul in the first round of the 2003 draft. He wanted a low-risk innings eater, and that’s what he’s gotten.
Maholm (4-11) has thrown seven innings or more in six of his last eight starts. His ERA in June was 3.74.
On Sunday, Paul allowed 9 hits and 1 walk in 7 innings, striking out 5 and yielding 3 runs. That’s a pretty solid line from him, but it won’t get the Bucs anywhere if they can’t bring out the bats against mediocre pitching. Maholm’s mound opponent, Mike Bacsik, tossed six innings of two-run ball. Luis Ayala, Jon Rauch and Chad Cordero shut the door: Only one Pirate reached base over the final three frames. The Nationals won, 3-2.
Milwaukee and Chicago visit PNC Park for seven straight before the All-Star break.
Recaps
Pirates.com
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
SI.com
Pre-game Thoughts
After this one, we’ll be halfway home. It’s been a long three months, but at the same time, it almost feels like the time has flown by. Does that make any sense at all?
The rollercoaster has had its downs, but it’s had its ups, too—and most importantly, we’ve made it to July in one piece. We’re in fourth place, but we’re just as close to second as we are to last. The season is not yet over. That couldn’t be said at this point last year.
Before this homestand started, I talked about winning the ones you’re supposed to win. By taking the first two games of this series, the Bucs have done just that. Today, Paul Maholm gets a chance to build on his recent success as the Pirates bring out the brooms. Here’s hoping that the boys are focused on the task at hand, rather than looking ahead to the Brewers and Cubs.
If you’re still looking for protest coverage, it’s available here.

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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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