LaRoche: Pirate Fans Must Love Bay Every Day

In this morning’s Pirates Notebook, Dejan writes that Adam LaRoche is standing up for his slumping teammate: “I can understand booing me. I was the new guy here, there were some expectations, and I sucked. But, I mean … you’re talking about Jason Bay, one of the most consistent hitters in the big leagues. That’s pretty weak to boo him. If you’re loving that player when he’s going well,...

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Downfall of the Fam-A-Lee – Part 14

Continuing with a look at post-1979 trades. Last time out I examined the trades that happened after the 1979 post-season and up through the end of the 1980 season. This time, let’s look at trades that happened after 1980 and up through the end of the 1981 season. Gary Alexander, Victor Cruz, Bob Owchinko and Rafael Vasquez On December 9, 1980 the Pirates traded Bert Blyleven and Manny Sanguillen to the Tribe for Alexander, Cruz,...

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Indians: Fireworks at Victory Field

boxscore (photos by NancyZ)
Luis Munoz  -- photo by NancyZ
The Indianapolis Indians and the Louisville Bats got the holiday fireworks off to an early start tonight in front of a sell-out crowd at Victory Field. Each team hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning, to get the game off to an exciting start. The Indians hung on to win, by a score of 4-3, just as the rain started to fall, delaying the more traditional Fourth of July fireworks that were scheduled to follow the game.
Indians’ starter Luis Munoz (photo) was called up from Altoona in order to make this start. He had a 8-4 record in 16 appearances (14 starts) with the Curve, with a 3.36 ERA. In 85.2 innings, Munoz had given up 7 homers and 19 walks, and had struck out the opposition 60 times. Tonight Munoz started the game by getting Bats’ LF Jeff Keppinger, the league’s leading hitter with a .373 batting average, to fly out to right field. SS Pedro Lopez bounced a single into left field, but he was quickly erased when Munoz picked him off first base. Then the first round of fireworks started. 1B Joey Votto lifted a long fly ball just over the left field wall for a solo home run. 3B Aaron Herr was up next, and he also homered, just over the 405′ mark in right-center field. Munoz ended the inning by striking out 2B Mark Bellhorn.
Brad Eldred  -- photo by NancyZ
The Indians wanted their share of fireworks, though. RF Don Kelly led off the bottom of the first against Louisville starter Richie Gardner with a walk. LF Michael Ryan singled into right field, moving Kelly to third base. C Humberto Cota dropped a little ground ball to the area between the pitcher’s mound and third base. By the time Bats’ 3B Aaron Herr could get to it, he had no time to get either Kelly heading for home, or Ryan heading for second base. Cota was thrown out at first, but he got the RBI as Kelly scored. 1B Brad Eldred (photo) then blasted a two-run homer over the left field wall. 3B Russ Johnson (photo below) followed with his own homer over the left field wall. That put the Indians up 4-2.
The Bats came right back in the 2nd inning. Munoz first struck out CF Dewayne Wise, then hit C Ryan Hanigan with a pitch, and walked RF Chris Dickerson, advancing Hanigan to second base. Pitcher Richie Gardner put down what he’d hoped would be a sacrifice bunt, but Munoz quickly scooped up the ball and fired to Russ Johnson at third base, forcing out Hanigan. With Dickerson on second and Gardner on first, Jeff Keppinger singled into right field, bringing Dickerson around to score, cutting the Indians’ lead to one run. The inning ended when Pedro Lopez flied out to short center field.
Russ Johnson  -- photo by NancyZ
That was all the fireworks that Munoz intended to put up with, though. Over the next four innings, he allowed three hits and no walks, while striking out 5 Louisville batters. Two of the base runners were left stranded. The third, Chris Dickerson, who had singled and moved to second base on a wild pitch, was picked off second base by Munoz. Munoz threw a total of 89 pitches (59 strikes) over 6 innings, giving up 7 hits and 3 runs, with one walk and 7 strikeouts.
Josh Sharpless pitched a perfect 7th inning for the Tribe, including two strikeouts. Franquelis Osoria pitched the last two scoreless innings, allowing only one hit, a double to Joey Votto (his third hit of the night), while striking out three.
Louisville starter Richie Gardner pitched 5 innings. He gave up only one hit, a single to Brad Eldred, over the second, third, and fourth innings. The Tribe threatened in the 5th inning. RF Don Kelly singled up the right field line and SS Brian Bixler singled into left field, moving Kelly to second base. LF Michael Ryan hit a screaming line drive that looked like it was about to go deep into right field — until 1B Joey Votto made a leaping catch. With the play right in front of him, Bixler was able to see what had happened and get back to first base quickly. Kelly was running away from the play, though, and wasn’t able to get back to second base before Votto’s throw, and he was out on the double play. Humberto Cota struck out to end that inning.


(Photo: Indians’ hitting coach Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens — photo by NancyZ)
Gardner finished his outing after 5 innings, giving up 4 runs on 7 hits and one walk, with 5 strikeouts. Lefty reliever Billy Bray, on a rehab assignment from the Cincinnati Reds, took over for Gardner. Bray gave up a walk in the 6th inning, while striking out three other Tribe batters. Kirk Saarloos pitched a perfect 7th inning for the Bats, and Jason Kershner came in to finish it off, giving up one lone hit to Brad Eldred in the 8th.
Luis Munoz celebrated his first AAA-level appearance with his first AAA win. Franquelis Osoria recorded his 9th save. Gardner took the loss for the Bats. The Tribe’s victory keeps them still 2 games behind first-place Toledo, who also won tonight. It also pushes the Bats down 1.5 games behind the Indians, in third place.
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Brad Eldred and Russ Johnson with back-to-back home runs in the first inning. Eldred went 3 for 4 for the Tribe, including his 7th homer of the season for the Tribe, plus 2 RBI. Johnson went 1 for 4, with his 5th homer of the season.
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: Luis Munoz’s, in his very good first outing with the Tribe, picked off two base runners: Pedro Lopez off first base in the first inning, and Chris Dickerson off second base in the 4th inning.
NOTES:
Corey Hart  -- photo by NancyZ
Roster Move:
Luis Munoz was brought up from Altoona (obviously).
Streaks:
Brian Bixler extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his single in the 5th innings.
Former Indianapolis Indian (2004) Corey Hart (photo), now playing outfield with the Milwaukee Brewers, currently has a 20-game hitting streak.
Michael Ryan has now put up 12 hits in his last 15 games.
Happy Independence Day:
The 7th inning stretch rendition of “Take Me Out To the Ballgame” was sung by members of the 176th Finance Division from the Indiana Guard, taped and sent from Iraq.
Go Tribe!

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Scrimping Pirates Lead the League in Grievances

I don’t often read the Beaver County Times, and I’m not sure why that’s so. John Perrotto—while a bit overzealous when considering trade rumors—is a knowledgeable writer, evidenced by his service with Baseball America. Today, though, a link to a column Perrotto wrote came through the Pirates listserv.  It’s well worth your time. The defining quote: While this case might normally be written off as...

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Like Duke, Burnett Wants Second Opinion on Elbow

From this morning’s P-G: Citing continuing pain in his surgically repaired left elbow, the Pirates’ first-round draft pick in 2000, [Sean Burnett], pulled himself out of Class AAA Indianapolis’ game last night in Louisville, Ky., after pitching one inning. He gave up three runs and three hits and three walks, throwing only 16 of 33 pitches for strikes. … Now, agent Jim Munsey said late last night, Burnett plans...

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Game #84 vs. Milwaukee; Happy Fourth of July!

PNC Park | 4:05 | Snell vs. Claudio Vargas | Box Accept my apologies for cutting the post-game recap short.  It was a holiday, after all. The Pirates won, 5-3, as Ian Snell threw eight strong innings and Adam LaRoche and Ryan Doumit went yard. Recaps Pirates.com Pittsburgh Post-Gazette SI.com Pre-game Thoughts Big & Rich are playing the Fourth of July post-game show. I hit you with the intro from their 2005 album,...

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