August 28 vs. Chicago Cubs

It wasn’t pretty–the game that appeared to be over after five innings of play with the Bucs ahead 9-1 somehow turned into an 11-6 final score–but if our Pirates are going to run the table in order to finish at .500, all the W’s can’t be masterpieces.  Ian Snell earned his 12th win of the year, Freddy Sanchez upped his league-leading batting average to .349, Jason Bay blasted his 29th four-bagger, and Ronny Paulino went 3-4 with two runs batted in to improve his numbers in those categories to .318 and 43, respectively.  Our young nucleus had a terrific night, despite the fact that earlier in the day Mike Gonzalez and Tom Gorzelanny were both placed on the 15-day disabled list, possibly ending their seasons.

Recalled from Indianapolis to fill out the roster were Jonah Bayliss (our AAA closer who had a stint with the big club earlier this year), Brian Rogers (acquired from Detroit in the Sean Casey deal), and Marty McLeary (at age 31, a non-prospect who’s having a solid year in the bullpen).  Britt Reames was sent down, hopefully ending his tenure with the Pirates for good after several mediocre performances.  It will be interesting to see if the Bucs use Matt Capps as their closer, or if they use a committee approach in Gonzo’s absence.  The future plans for the bullpen could be revealed sooner rather than later.

In a few days, September call-ups will be made.  I don’t want to rush anything, but if Detroit is recalling Andrew Miller, their first round pick from this year’s draft, I don’t see a problem with the Pirates teasing their fans with a preview of what Andrew McCutcheon can do in a lineup next to Jason Bay.  Granted, pitching prospects differ in many ways from those players who earn their keep in the field, but McCutcheon has been performing at a high level since his promotion to AA Altoona.  Could a few games at PNC Park hurt?

Hopefully the rain holds off long enough tonight to see Carlos Zambrano and Paul Maholm duel at 7:05 in front of a captive audience of men, women, children, and puppy dogs.  I’ll be in attendance–for the baseball, not the stupid pet tricks or other gimmicks–as the Bucs try to beat the senior circuit’s best pitcher again.

It’s A New Pirates Generation, everybody shout "Let’s Go Bucs!"

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