Downfall of the Fam-A-Lee Redux

While we are pondering the horrible fate of the 2007 Pirates, I’d like to point out that I’ve finally linked all of the parts (12 so far) from the Downfall of the Fam-A-Lee series in the stats page on the web site. To get to it, click on the “stats” link next to the head of your favorite Lumber Co. author at the right of the web page or by following this link. I’m in the middle of an extremely long Part...

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Pirates Acquire Izturis; Wilson, Castillo Goners?

As Arizona Phil at The Cub Reporter noticed, The Chicago Tribune announced that the Pirates have acquired infielder Cesar Izturis for a player to be named later. Why? It would appear that either Jack Wilson or Jose Castillo is headed out the door, and Dave Littlefield needed someone—anyone—to fill in at the major-league level until Brian Bixler is ready to be promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis. Izturis will be more...

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Tough Loss in the Ninth for Indians

boxscore (photos by NancyZ)
Michael Tejera  -- photo by NancyZ
The Indianapolis Indians led from the bottom of the first until the top of the ninth, when the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees came from behind to score two runs and win the game by a score of 3-2 at Victory Field this afternoon. The Indians have now lost 9 of their last 10 games and are 6 games behind the first-place Toledo Mud Hens in the International League West Division.
Tribe starter Michael Tejera (photo) went 7.2 innings in his 11th start for the Indians. He threw 101 pitches, and gave up 8 hits and 2 walks for 1 run, with 2 strikeouts. The game opened with a spectacular play by Indians’ 1B Brad Eldred, who made a leaping stab of Yankee CF Brett Gardner’s line drive that looked like it was going into right field, probably for two bases. RF Justin Christian followed with a nearly identical line drive, that Eldred couldn’t catch — because he didn’t have a ladder in his back pocket. This one sailed about 10 feet higher, over Eldred’s head, for a double. Tejera was not bothered, though, and he ended the inning with a quick foul pop out and a grounder.
Brad Eldred and Luis Ordaz  -- photo by NancyZ
The single run off Tejera came in the second inning, when lead-off batter DH Erubiel Durazo walked and moved to second base on Tejera’s wild pitch. A single into right field by SS Angel Chavez moved Durazo to third base, and an RBI single up the middle by 2B Andy Cannizaro scored Durazo. The inning ended when C Omir Santos grounded into a double play, SS Brian Bixler to 2B Luis Ordaz to 1B Brad Eldred. (photo: Eldred and Ordaz)
Tejera then pitched five scoreless innings, three of which were perfect. The closest he allowed the Yankees to come was in the 5th inning, when 3B Chris Basak and Andy Cannizaro led off with back-to-back singles. Omir Santos flied out to just behind shortstop for the first out. A walk to Brett Gardner loaded the bases. But Justin Christian grounded into a double play, also Bixler to Ordaz to Eldred (6-4-3) to end the threat without a run scoring. Tejera got the first two outs in the 8th inning, and then Christian’s grounder back towards the mound bounced off Tejera’s glove and to the left of Tribe 2B Luis Ordaz, who had been moving to his right. Ordaz was able to change directions fast enough to keep the ball from going into the outfield, but not fast enough to make a play at first base. That was 101 pitches for Tejera, and his afternoon’s work was over.
?From a physical standpoint, I feel real strong,” said Tejera in an interview after the game. “I?ve been starting for over a month now, so there?s no problem in getting to 100 pitches. I?ve been a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher at different points in my career, and I?ve enjoyed both roles. I?ve had some tough luck with wins and losses this month, but I have to stay focused on the things I can control. I feel like I pitched pretty well today. I just tried to make good pitches, and the defense did a nice job behind me. I just try to give us a chance to win every time I pitch, and I feel like I did that today.?
Juan Perez entered the game in relief of Tejera, to face left-handed batter LF Kevin Reese. Reese ran the count full and then walked. That was all that manager Trent Jewett wanted from Perez, and Jonah Bayliss came in to face righty 1B Shelley Duncan. With runners on first and second, Duncan clearly smelled a big hit. But Bayliss had other ideas, and with the count 1-2, he threw strike three right past Duncan’s Casey-at-the-Bat-type huge swing.

Brian Bixler and Michael Ryan  -- photo by NancyZ
The Indians started off faring better against Yankees’ starter Steven White. With one out in the bottom of the first, SS Brian Bixler slapped a single into center field, and LF Michael Ryan followed with a blast over the left-field wall, just to the center-field side of the scoreboard. White hit 1B Brad Eldred on the arm with a pitch, and then hit CF Luis Matos on the left side with another pitch, but he settled down and got two foul pop outs by RF Yurendell de Caster and C Humberto Cota to end the inning.
White pitched five more innings, giving up only three hits, singles to DH Chris Aguila and Brian Bixler, and a double to Michael Ryan. Ryan reached third base on a error when Yankees’ RF Justin Christian had trouble picking up the double, but he was left standing there at the end of the inning. In the 5th inning, the Tribe again got a base runner to third base, when Brian Bixler singled, stole second base, and moved to third on a ground out. But he too was stranded when a foul pop out ended the inning.
Luis Ordaz  -photo by NancyZ
Reliever Sean Henn came in to pitch the 7th and 8th innings. He gave up only a single to Luis Ordaz (photo), who advanced to second base on a wild pitch and tagged up and ran to third on a fly out to deep right field. Ordaz was the third baserunner the Indians left standing on third base, though, as a line out ended the inning without a run scoring.
The top of the 9th brought disappointment for the Tribe. DH Erubiel Durazo walked, and moved to second base on a short infield bounce by SS Angel Chavez. Yurendell de Caster, who had moved from RF to 1B for the 9th inning, bobbled the ball, and was still able to fire to first base to get Chavez, but he had been clearly thinking about a force out at second base. Jonah Baylis struck out Chris Basak for the second out. Andy Cannizaro lined a single into right field, scoring Durazo from second base, to tie the game at 2-2. Eric Duncan pinch hit for Omir Santos, and lifted a fly ball to deep right field that bounced off the top of the wall for a double, missing a home run by a few feet. That brought Cannizaro across the plate with the go-ahead run. Bayliss got Brett Gardner to line out, ending the inning.
Chris Aguila -- photo by NancyZ
Former Indian Jim Brower came on to pitch the bottom of the 9th inning for the Yankees. The Indians were determined to fight, and they led off the inning with back-to-back singles by Humberto Cota and Chris Aguila (photo). Luis Ordaz tried three times to put down a sacrifice bunt, and he was out when all three attempts went foul. RF Adam Boeve flied out to center field. Brian Bixler hit a high bouncer toward shortstop, and was able to reach first base safely before the bounce came down, for an infield hit. With the bases loaded and two out, Michael Ryan grounded toward second base, for a fielder’s choice, forcing Bixler out at second base to end the game.
Yankees’ reliever Sean Henn earned his first win of the season for the Yankees, while Jim Brower recorded his 18th save. Jonah Bayliss got the blown save and his second loss of the season for the Indians. Brian Bixler had three singles for the Tribe, and Michael Ryan had a double and a homer. Chirs Aguila had two singles.
Russ Johnson and Jose Hernandez  -- photo by NancyZ
(photo: Russ Johnson and Jose Hernandez in the dugout)
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Michael Ryan’s two-run homer in the first inning — the only scoring the Indians had in the game.
Indians’ defensive gems of the game: Three timely double plays by the infield. The most important one came in the 5th inning with the bases loaded and one out: Brian Bixler to Luis Ordaz to Brad Eldred. The double play in the second inning came with runners at first and second bases and was also Bixler to Ordaz to Eldred. The one in the 4th inning came with the lead-off hitter at first base and none out, and went Ordaz to Bixler to Eldred.
Brian Bixler’s stolen base was his 21st of the season, in 23 attempts. Brad Eldred also stole second base, which was his 4th stolen base in 6 attempts.
The Pirates have signed first-round draft pick Daniel Moskos, a pitcher from Clemson University. His signing bonus is reported to be $2.5 million. Moskos is expected to do some conditioning work in Bradenton, and probably make a couple of starts with Bradenton’s GCL Pirates. Then the 21-year old will probably be assigned to Hickory.
The bullpen’s socks-up program didn’t seem to help, and today most of the relievers were back to wearing their pants long, without their socks showing. Jonah Bayliss and Juan Perez always wear their socks up.
Go Tribe!

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Yankees Crush Indians

(photos by NancyZ)
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees took advantage of 5 errors by the Indianapolis Indians to beat the Indians by a score of 12-1 at Victory Field last night. Ten of the twelve runs were unearned, due to all the errors. The Indians could only manage 5 hits, while the Yankees put up 15 hits, spoiling starter Runelvys Hernandez’s Indians debut.
Hernandez, just acquired by the Pirates as a minor league free agent, started off well against his former Scranton teammates, putting the side down in order for the first two innings. His new Indians teammates jumped out to a good start, when 3B Russ Johnson (photo below) led off the bottom of the 1st with a double to right field. SS Brian Bixler followed with a liner that bounced off the glove of Yankees’ starter Chase Wright and into center field for a single, scoring Johnson. Bixler moved to second base on LF Michael Ryan’s ground out, and 2B Jose Hernandez walked. Bixler was caught stealing third base — only his second time caught stealing in 22 attempts this season.
Russ Johnson -- photo by NancyZ
The Indians threatened in the second inning against Yankees’ starter Chris Wright. RF Yurendell de Caster walked, C Carlos Maldonado singled, and 3B Russ Johnson walked, loaded the bases with two out. But a pop up by Brian Bixler ended the inning without a run scoring.
Three throwing errors helped the Yankees get on the board against Runelvys Hernandez in the 3rd inning. With one out, 2B Chris Basak singled, and C Raul Chavez reached second base safely due to a throwing error by Hernandez. Basak scored when CF Brett Gardner singled. Tribe LF Michael Ryan made the second throwing error when he threw to 3rd base, but no fielder was covering the bag, and the ball sailed to beyond home plate. Chavez scored, and Gardner reached third base on the error. RF Justin Christian hit a fly out to Tribe RF Yurendell de Caster. Gardner held at third base, but when de Caster’s throw went wide of C Carlos Maldonado and got away, then Garder raced for home. LF Kevin Reese homered over the right field wall for the 4th run of the inning, before 1B Shelly Duncan flied out to left field to end the inning.

Brian Bixler -- photo by NancyZ
Hernandez got back on track for the 4th inning, when he again set the side down in order. He gave up two singles to Brett Gardner and Justin Christian in the 5th, but got out of the inning without any runs scoring.
The Indians were not having any more luck against Chase Wright in the middle innings. The Tribe again threatened in the 5th, when they loaded the bases with two out. Brian Bixler (photo) was hit by a pitch, and LF Michael Ryan and 2B Jose Hernandez both walked. But a pop up by 1B Brad Eldred ended the inning, and the score remained 4-1 in favor of the Yankees.
The Yankees added two insurance runs in the 6th inning. Shelley Duncan singled and SS Angel Chavez doubled. Chris Basak grounded a ball between third and short, and Tribe 3B Russ Johnson cut in front of SS Brian Bixler to make the play, but the ball bounced off his glove for another error. Both Duncan and Chavez scored on the play. Runelvys Hernandez exited at that point, having pitched 5.2 innings, and given up 8 hits and 6 runs, with all 6 runs unearned due to all the errors. Reliever Jesse Chavez came in to relieve Hernandez. He gave up a single to Raul Chavez, and a passed ball allowed Basak to advance to third base and Raul Chavez to reach second base. Finally, Brett Gardner grounded out to end the inning, with the score 6-1.
Jesse Chavez  -- photo by NancyZ
Disaster struck the Tribe in the 7th inning. It started with singles to Justin Christian and Kevin Reese, and Christian moved to third base on a fly out by Shelly Duncan. Two more singles by DH Erubiel Durazo and Angel Chavez scored Christian and Reese, though Chavez was out at second base when he tried to move up one base on the throw in from LF Michael Ryan. 2B Andy Cannizaro (who came in for Eric Duncan) walked, and then Chris Basak reached base safely when Tribe 3B Russ Johnson’s throw of Basak’s grounder bounced into the dirt in front of 1B Brad Eldred, and Eldred couldn’t dig it out. Durazo scored on the play. Another single, by Raul Chavez, scored Cannizaro and was the end of the night for the Tribe’s Jesse Chavez (photo). Brian Rogers came into the game, and immediately gave up a triple to Brett Gardner, clearing the bases and bringing in two more runs. Justin Christian, who started off the inning, also ended the inning with a line out, leaving the score 12 -1.
Brian Rogers -- photo by NancyZ
Scranton’s reliever T.J. Beam held the Indians to only one hit, a single by Luis Matos, over the 7th and 8th innings. Charlie Manning came in to handle the 9th inning, and he also kept the Indians off the basepaths.
Brian Rogers (photo) came back to pitch the 8th inning for the Tribe, giving up only a walk. Franquelis Osoria pitched the 9th inning and hit Chris Basak with a pitch, but set the other three batters down in order.
Starter Runelvys Hernandez suffered the loss for the Indians, though he did not give up any earned runs. Yankees’ starter Chase Wright took the win.
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Russ Johnson’s lead-off double and Brian Bixler’s RBI single, which scored Johnson.
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: Hmm. Maybe we’ll just skip this today.
Roster moves, some of which are obvious.
The Pirates signed pitcher Runelvys Hernandez to a minor league contract. Hernandez pitched for Kansas City and their AAA Omaha team in 2006. In 2007, he has pitched for the Pawtucket Red Sox, and then for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.
Pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez was placed on the temporary inactive list, creating a roster spot for Hernandez.
OF Adam Boeve was promoted from Altoona, to take the roster spot of Don Kelly, who was called up to Pittsburgh.
The 5 errors in this game is a season-high for the Indians, and in fact a league-high also.
Go Tribe!

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"Without an Explosion, Will Pirates Get Better?"

I was reading through Pat’s game thread when I came to a comment from a reader known as DC. I’m telling you the only way out is [to] blow it up. … You have to trade value to get value. Trade Bay for some legit blue chip prospects. It’s the way the other teams do it and frankly we need to get to the doing. I ask without an explosion how will this team be better next year? As much as I like some of these guys we...

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The Ramirez Trade is Worse than We Thought

Everybody knows this, but when the Pirates traded Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton to the Cubs prior to the trading deadline for Jose Hernandez, Bobby Hill and minor league pitcher Matt Bruback, it clearly signaled that the team was unwilling to pay the young talent it had developed. It was an ugly deal for the Pirates and it helped the Cubs immensely. I just found out it is much worse than I thought. My buddy Alan is a devotee of all...

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