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 Post subject: Game Report: Bucs vs. Dodgers, 4/7/10
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:32 am 
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In a lot of ways, to me, this game was full of surprises. Since Monday I have been asking myself if the team I saw on Monday was capable of showing up again against a tough Dodgers team. I was curious to see if our hitters would continue to be patient and if Jones would stay hot and bring the power we need to the lineup.

Here are some thoughts from tonight's game:

Once again, in his first at bat, Jones went yard. I've got to admit that I am just enjoying the way he's swinging the bat with power right now. I like to think of myself as a realist and Jones is a guy who I have tempered expectations for because I want to see a larger sample from him than his 300 or so at bats last season. I want to see him make the adjustments he needs to in order to keep hitting well at the MLB level. So far this season he has delivered. Although he was only 1-5 tonight he did drive in 75% of our runs today and I think anybody would be happy with his 3 HR in 2 games. Still, I will be asking myself the same question about him for a while starting again tomorrow when the Pirates take the field at about 12:30.

I thought Milledge made some really nice plays on defense tonight. At one point early in the game he made an excellent play on a ball hit near the notch. I'm not sure if McCutchen could have gotten to the ball there but since Milledge made the catch it didn't matter. Milledge really had to show some hustle to get all the way over to make the play and I was really impressed that it didn't fall. Later, he made a nice diving catch. On offense, he came through as well with a base hit and then a really alert move on the basepaths when Jones made it to 3rd and drew a throw from the Dodgers OF by moving up to 2nd base and putting himself in scoring position. Nothing came of this but it was a really nice setup to do some damage on the scoreboard. I was pleasantly surprised with Milledge tonight (and it was his defense and heads up play that really surprised me).

Kershaw was really wild tonight. As evidence of this, he walked Ohlendorf twice. Iwarmura also walked twice but that's not really uncommon for him as he is a patient hitter with a decent career OBP. Walking the opposing pitcher, though, is bad news. The good news for him became the frustration with the Pirates...they simply couldn't take advantage of the walks. When the opposing pitcher is going to walk batters you need to make him pay. Tonight we didn't do enough of that. I'm not sure there is a surprise to be found here except that Ohlendorf walked twice.

I really didn't like Clement at the plate tonight. He didn't look comfortable to me and I don't think he was seeing the ball very well. He looked pretty good to me on Monday. I thought he was having good at bats by being patient and seeing the ball a little. He looked like he just wanted to go up there and hack today. It could be that Kershaw is tough (although he wasn't particularly sharp tonight) or that he's left handed. If Clement is going to play this poorly against left handed pitching in the future, though, it's going to be trouble. I'm not too worried as of right now but I really hope that Clement can show some of that promise at the plate. I was surprised to see him look so bad at the plate today as compared to the patient approach I felt he took on Monday.

I was about to rag on Cedeno when I was thinking about it at the ballpark but then he wound up coming through with the walk off single to win the game. I'll just say that this surprised me and leave it at that. No ragging necessary.

I think the big surprise of the night was just the fact that we pulled the game out. I was sitting there thinking after the Dodgers tied it up: 'here we go again.' I was really starting to get nervous when we had inning after inning tied at 3-3. Sooner or later, I thought, the Dodgers WOULD put runs on the board if the Pirates weren't going to take advantage of situations. I was wrong.

I was partly wrong because of the bullpen. I was really pleased with the way the bullpen took care of business tonight despite being in tough situations. When we really needed an out we got one. This was especially true of Dotel's outing. I liked the idea of putting him in there in the 9th hoping he could close the door on the Dodgers and bring it back to the bottom half where we could just get one run and win it. Although it wasn't necessarily easy or pretty, he was successful and I think we pulled the game out because he stopped the Dodgers in the top of the 9th.

A couple of other things about tonight:

There was a much larger crowd on hand than I had expected tonight. I know it was Buc night with dollar hot dogs, popcorn, select tickets, and soda but I don't remember that drawing this kind of a crowd on Friday nights last season. I wonder if part of this was due to the team having such a nice showing on Monday during the opener. I'm sure a lot of it also has to do with people getting spring fever and just being sick of sitting in the house. The weather was really nice yet again. I guess it was really the perfect storm for this to happen but I just didn't see it coming.

I am predicting a really skimpy crowd tomorrow. The game is at 12:30 and it's supposed to rain. I can't imagine there will be many people out at the ballpark despite spring fever in the air.

I didn't like the fact that we wore the black jerseys tonight. I like these but I just think it was early to wear them on a non Friday game. I'm also a big fan of the standard white jerseys.

In honor of it being the first night game of the season, I took this picture:

Image

It kind of reminds me of how beautiful PNC is on the outside as well as the inside. It's really a first class facility. Every time I leave I think about how I want to go back as soon as possible. Maybe even tomorrow :D .


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Dodgers, 4/7/10
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:39 am 
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Great report. Very good info about Milledge's hustle.

I had another positive observation about his hustle in a different thread. Milledge hit a freaking laser that turned into the double play ... that is the second time in two games he has hit a ROCKET the other way.

Nice. Very nice.


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Dodgers, 4/7/10
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:43 am 
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I'm glad to see you appreciate being able to go to games. More than anything about Pittsburgh, I miss going to Pirates games. The kids had fun, the wife had fun and needless to say I was happier than a pig in $@)# at the games. I was going through some stuff in my office area earlier this week (spring cleaning) and found my season ticket book from 2001. I only had a 20 game plan (and sadly missed three games...including the famous Brian Giles walk off Grand Slam), but it was amazing. I get over to Safeco once or twice a year, and while it is a beautiful stadium...it just isn't the same. Relish your time there NDL and anyone else who gets to go regularly....


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Dodgers, 4/7/10
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:59 am 
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Great review and nice shot of the stadium.

And I hope you got your fill of $1 hot dogs and popcorn.

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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Dodgers, 4/7/10
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:57 am 
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Onions onions onions!

My God can these people eat hot dogs. The lines were 20 deep at every concession selling the $1 hot dogs, and the lines were still there in the 9th inning. Even the concessions that didn't have the $1 food had lines all night long.

My date and I ate at the Trib Total Media Hall of Fame, behind left field, where there were no lines, a table to sit at with a view of the field, reasonably priced food, and a pretty waitress to bring it to you.

That's where we saw Jones' homer, before the Bucs made their first out. They would not score again until the 10th inning.

Very slow moving game. It took 3 and a half hours to play nine. Then I left, and the 10th was played at an even slower pace. It was neat though because as I was driving by the ballpark listening on the radio, I heard the roar of the crowsd on Cedeno's hit several seconds before it happened on radio.

Nice to see a big crowd and great to get another win.


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Dodgers, 4/7/10
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:15 am 
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I was trying to get some friends to go to lastnights game, but everyone had plans or work today and couldnt make it. So, I ended up going to my brother's high school game and watched the game at a bar where a friend of mine was playing...

I mentioned about going sometime this summer and trying out the all you can eat seats and someone asked me if that included beer, and I said no, as I asked earlier. He said that was great news, because a night of him drinking at the ballpark would have had to force Nutting in trading Doumit to keep from losing money on his all you can eat ticket.

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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Dodgers, 4/7/10
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:58 am 
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The all-you-can-eat booth was virtually the only concession that did not have a long line last night. I think those people were too stuffed to move by the 4th inning, as opposed to the $1 hotdog crowd, who had to wait 45 minutes to get their hot dogs and still only missed 1 inning.


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Dodgers, 4/7/10
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:05 am 
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While sitting on our deck in Mt Lebanon at about 6:50, my youngest son and I made a spontaneous decision to head down to the game. Needless to say, we missed Jones' homer. Traffic around the stadium was bad and it was the bottom of the third before we finally got to our seats. Here is what I will add to the excellent reports that have already been given:

    A guy outside the stadium gave us two tickets. He was a native Pittsburgher now living down south, in town for business. He went online to buy a ticket, found out it was Buc night, bought 10 instead and called all his old buddies to see how many people he could get to go to the game. He gave us his last two, section 105, row Q. He also came back from the concession stand with a bunch of dollar dogs and gave us each one. It was the feel good story of the night.

    Clement made all the plays over at first but didn't look all that comfortable to me. Ohlendorf's pickoff attempts made everyone very nervous. Also, I agree with NDL that Clement looked really bad at the plate last night.

    Garrett Jones looks pretty comfortable in right field. Last year I thought he was a bit of a liability out there. I didn't get that impression last night.

    Milledge's line out was, far and away, the hardest hit ball all night. It was an absolute rocket. Great play by the LA first baseman. In fact, the Dodger corner infielders made several outstanding defensive plays.

    My son had a "Swedish Fish" flavored Rita's Italian Ice. It was outstanding.

    The fifth inning lasted forever.

    When the Dodgers tied it up in the fifth, hardly anyone noticed. They were too busy doing the wave. I hate the wave.

    So much for using the hit and run to stay out of a double play. Cedeno was attempting to steal second and Aki still hit into a double play. If he had served it up on a platter, it could not have been a better double play ball.

    My new favorite Pirate is Carrasco just because he works fast.

    I still can't believe that Dotel got out of that jam in the ninth.

    I know it works sometimes, but I have a strong distaste for pinch hitters who swing at the first pitch. Delwyn Young, your ears should be burning.

    Give credit to Cedeno. I thought when he went down 0-2 that he had no shot, but he fought back, fouled off an number of pitches until he got one that he could get some wood on.

    I don't know Sandy Koufax; Sandy Koufax is not a friend of mine; but I can say with confidence: Clayton Kershaw you are no Sandy Koufax.


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Dodgers, 4/7/10
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:14 am 
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My girlfriend went down to get some hot dogs right before the top of the 3rd inning. She didn't make it back until the 5th was over.

Someone near me said that part of the problem had something to do with the credits on people's tickets not working. I don't know anything about that since my ticket didn't have credit on it or anything. They also let my girlfriend come back with 8 hot dogs. That was good for me because I got to eat too but last year they had a 4 hot dog limit on dollar dog night. Maybe not having the limit (or not enforcing it) added to the issues.

I love going to PNC Park to see the Pirates. I have actually never been to another MLB stadium. My father is not into sports at all so he never took my brother and I out to see any games and we never inherited our "teams" from him. We lived 2 hours from Philadelphia and 2 hours from New York so it wasn't as easy to get to a game as it has been since I moved to Pittsburgh, either. Part of this disappoints me. I hope when and if I have kids I can take them out to the games, etc. I love that PNC is a family friendly place and I kind of think baseball in general is a lot more family friendly than football (and a way better value).

One of the first things I did when I came to Pittsburgh (when I was scouting apartments actually) was see the Pirates. I've been hooked ever since then.


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Dodgers, 4/7/10
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:17 am 
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Thanks to everyone for their Game Reports. This is what makes this board special.

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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Dodgers, 4/7/10
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:21 am 
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bucco boy wrote:
Thanks to everyone for their Game Reports. This is what makes this board special.


I had a chance to go to the Curve Opener tonight but I'm going to be a pansy and stay home...Thunder storms, high wind and turning to snow later in the evening...I'll wait a few weeks...

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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Dodgers, 4/7/10
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:24 am 
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Here is a screen capture courtesy of northsidenotch's twitter feed. Hell is getting colder.

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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Dodgers, 4/7/10
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:24 am 
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burghermeister wrote:
    I know it works sometimes, but I have a strong distaste for pinch hitters who swing at the first pitch. Delwyn Young, your ears should be burning.

When I was young ... youngER, I mean, "baseball people" used to say that a pinch hitter should swing at the first fast ball he likes, since he has not had a chance to guage the break on the breaking ball. Okay. Not a foolproof idea, but maybe for some pinch hitting appearances, particularly where the idea is just to get the ball out of the infield.

However, Young was hitting with two outs, bases loaded. The first pitch from Weaver was a breaking ball - probably a slider - at or a little below the knees, on the outer egde of the plate. It was the type of pitch you fight off with two strikes.

Not a pitch to be hacking at under those circumstances.

burghermeister wrote:
    Give credit to Cedeno. I thought when he went down 0-2 that he had no shot, but he fought back, fouled off an number of pitches until he got one that he could get some wood on.

No doubt. Very dubious of a good result when he fell behind 0-2, but he layed off two breaking pitches in the dirt, worked the count to 2-2, fouled off a couple, and then basically worked the pitcher into throwing a fastball. Base hit, game over.

Very cool experience getting the free tickets and the free eats. Karma reward for deciding to go to the game, perhaps?


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Dodgers, 4/7/10
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:29 am 
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nad69dan wrote:
I had a chance to go to the Curve Opener tonight but I'm going to be a pansy and stay home...Thunder storms, high wind and turning to snow later in the evening...I'll wait a few weeks...

Dan ... breaking the wrestler code: "We do not feel pain; we inflict it." Man up and go to the game. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Dodgers, 4/7/10
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:49 am 
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Great game report, NDL.

I share your concerns about Clement. Maybe the Pirates can bring up Pearce to platoon with him against lefties, though that promotion may result in losing Raynor.

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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Dodgers, 4/7/10
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:51 am 
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burghermeister wrote:
    I know it works sometimes, but I have a strong distaste for pinch hitters who swing at the first pitch. Delwyn Young, your ears should be burning.


Especially when the bases are loaded! :x


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Dodgers, 4/7/10
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:54 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
nad69dan wrote:
I had a chance to go to the Curve Opener tonight but I'm going to be a pansy and stay home...Thunder storms, high wind and turning to snow later in the evening...I'll wait a few weeks...

Dan ... breaking the wrestler code: "We do not feel pain; we inflict it." Man up and go to the game. :D


Hahaha...Normally I would have, but I cant afford to get sick, I dont sing well to begin with and a sore throat from sitting in the rain would just cause me headaches this weekend...

Now if House of Poe were still there, I'd have sneaked my way into the booth to stay warm and dry...

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I say keep the $50 and ban him anyway...

For those jumping ship, we'll keep the bandwagon warm for you...


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: Bucs vs. Dodgers, 4/7/10
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:56 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
Very cool experience getting the free tickets and the free eats. Karma reward for deciding to go to the game, perhaps?


Karma is your next day's starting pitcher. Or, something like that...

Seriously, it was a cool experience. It's always nice when one encounters "kindness from strangers". The experience definitely made an impression on my 10 year old as well.


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