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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:44 pm 
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Even with getting swept, the Pirates are still 3.5 games back. St. Louis and Cincinnati both have lost 2 in a row.

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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:35 pm 
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nad69dan wrote:
Even with getting swept, the Pirates are still 3.5 games back. St. Louis and Cincinnati both have lost 2 in a row.


And they are playing each other this weekend.

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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:25 pm 
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I have to admit struggling a bit with my feelings about the Bucs after the Cubs series. There are some definite positives: Liriano and Burnett pitched very well. Alvarez had a good series at the plate. Walker flashed some serious leather. Cutch showed some signs of getting back on track at the plate. Melancon and Grilli only had to pitch an inning apiece. And, most importantly, the Bucs won the series over a not-very-good Cubs team on the road. Contenders win these types of series.

I should be in a better mood but I can't stop thinking of - notwithstanding Saturday's 6-run "outburst" - how lousy the hitting has performed for an extended period of time. Although Lincecum, Zito and Cain have not been having stellar years thus far, I'm more than a tad nervous with how the Bucco hitters have been consistently failing at the plate. Each of those pitchers could get back "on track" quickly against the Bucco lineup. The Bucs really need for Marte and Walker to re-discovery their comfort zone and start stinging balls again. Marte showed some life on Saturday - which was encouraging - but the league has adjusted to him and he needs to do the same. Tabata, who was contributing nicely before his injury, doesn't appear to be anywhere near ready to resume game activity.

This is a big series. Its a home series against a NL West contender and a Wild Card contender. Tuesday's match-up will feature Gerritt Cole's long-awaited, much-anticipated debut. It comes against Lincecum whose velocity is down in the 90 mph range but advanced metrics suggest that his 4.75 ERA is inflated by about a run. I'll be watching the Bucco hitters' approach to Zito's soft stuff with great curiosity on Wednesday night. Will they be taking big swings and looking to hit moon shots or will they be patient and look to drive the ball to the opposite field? Finally, will Matt Cain strike out less than 10 Pirates on Thursday?

The Bucs currently maintain a 3.5 game lead over the Giants in the Wild Card race. The Bucs need to win this home series. Badly. This one makes me nervouse. Real nervous.

Despite winning the Cubs series, they have to know full well that the Cubs are lesser competition. They were dominated soundly by the Reds and the Braves in the two previous series. Winning a series against a contender - the Giants - would help put the train back on the tracks. And, with Grienke and Kershaw potentially on tap this weekend, the offensive train needs to get going - and quickly.

My fearless predictions:
Cole will win his debut on Tuesday night. Throws a solid but not spectacular 5 innings and is pulled due to a high pitch count. The Shark Tank takes over from there. The left handed hitters lead a minor offensive surge. Alvarez takes Lincecum deep. Grilli gets another save.
Liriano continues to impress and mows through the Giants line-up on Wednesday night. Pirates score early on Zito, bats go dormant but they hold on to win. Grilli saves game #2.
Rodriguez will not be deemed ready to pitch. Morton takes the hill. Morton pitches OK (struggles a bit with command) but Cain strikes out 12 Pirates en route to a Giant victory.

Bucs will face the Dodgers with at 39-27 record.
They are currently 6-3-2 in home series and 6-3-1 in road series.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates
Series "on deck:" San Francisco Giants - Home - (33-29)
Pirates Current Record: 37-26
Number of series in 2013: 52
Series won: 12
Series swept: 3
Series lost: 6
Series in which they've been swept: 2
Series split: 3
Series played: 21
Home series played: 11
Home series won: 6
Home series lost: 3
Home series split: 2
Road series played: 10
Road series won: 6
Road series lost: 3
Road series split: 1
Overall series record: 12-6-3
Series remaining: 31

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:56 am 
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The Pirates just took two of three against a team that was (1) the defending World Series champs and (2) immediately behind them in the Wild Card standings. After getting swept in Atlanta, the Pirates have now taken 2/3 against the Cubs and 2/3 against the Giants. The excitement of Gerrit Cole's arrival still lingers . . . yet . . . an sense of overwhelming doom seems to be hanging over this team.

Tabata on the DL and tentatively scheduled to start a rehab stint on June 21st. Wandy on the DL with a sore elbow. Not eligible to come off the DL until June 21st at the earliest. AJ on the DL with calf soreness. Not eligible to come off the DL until June 25th at the earliest. Marte "dinged up" with sore ribs (makes it awfully tough to swing a bat). 4 key contributors . . .

I'd be somewhat encourage by the fact that the Bucs are facing a "28-37" team which should offer a break. Unfortunately, that team has "Los Angeles" embroidered on its grey jerseys. Pirate success against LA is rare. The fact that Greinke and Kershaw will be taking the bump for Los Angeles only adds to my concerns. The fact that the Bucs will be throwing AAA fodder against Kershaw further piles on my concerns. I take some solace in the fact that Ramirez and Kemp will not be in LA's lineup but . . . uuuuugh . . . I don't feel particularly positive heading into tonight's game.

Why exactly are the 27 games leading into the All Star Break so important? At risk of "scoreboard watching" WAY TOO EARLY, my neighbor texted me that the Cardinals have 18 games against the Cubs, Astros and Marlins heading into the break. I'm expecting them to win at least 12 of those games and it wouldn't shock me to see them win 13 or 14 of those games. If the Pirates want to remain in the NL Central race, they must figure out a way to weather the injury "storm" and stay afloat. It starts with this weekend . . . and its time for the offense to pick up the pitching and lead the way to a couple of victories. Winning this series is big. Real big.

My fearless predictions:
(1) Stephen Fife takes the mound for LA against Locke. Locke will rebound and pound the strike zone. He will pitch 6+ innings and will hand the ball over to the pen with a 2 run lead. Wilson, Melancon and Grilli will close out a Pirate victory. Offense will produce 4-5 runs. I'm thinking either a 4-2 or a 5-3 win.
(2) Clayton Kershaw for LA. ????????? for the Pirates. Like Cain last night, Kershaw will dominate. Bucs' bats will be silent. ???????? doesn't throw well and Hurdle leaves him in the game into the 6th inning to give the bullpen some rest. Like last night, Zagurski and Reid come in to "eat innings" and the Bucs lose - getting shut out in the process. (Hint to Hurdle: Play McKenry on Saturday and rest Martin)
(3) The "marquee" match-up is Sunday. The Personality Disorder against the The Future. I'm thinking that the game will be won by a 2-1 or 3-2 score. My crystal ball tells me that a sold-out Father's Day crowd at PNC Park (excitement for Cole or simply a Dad's Day phenomenon?) will be the difference. Cole will continue to entice with flaming fastballs. Martin will steer him through the LA line-up. Bucs squeak out a win and will pack up the wounded and head to the Queen City at 41-28.

(Meanwhile, the Cards sweep the Marlins and the Reds take 2/3 from the Brewers).

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates
Series "on deck:" Los Angeles Dodgers - Home - (28-37)
Pirates Current Record: 39-27
Number of series in 2013: 52
Series won: 13
Series swept: 3
Series lost: 6
Series in which they've been swept: 2
Series split: 3
Series played: 22
Home series played: 12
Home series won: 7
Home series lost: 3
Home series split: 2
Road series played: 10
Road series won: 6
Road series lost: 3
Road series split: 1
Overall series record: 13-6-3
Series remaining: 30

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:01 pm 
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Zagurski came in lastnight so he was first to eat from the post game spread in the clubhouse.

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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:37 pm 
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Sayonara Los Angeles Dodgers. Bucs break a 3 year streak in which they haven't won a series against the Dodgers and do so in a fairly impressive fashion. In the two wins, Locke was outstanding, Cole pitched efficiently and the Bucs got some timely hitting in key spots. Even in the loss, the offense came to life late and - but for a late base running decision - nearly extracted victory from the jaws of defeat. Bucs finish the season with a losing record against the Dodger but take the series at PNC Park.

In the 9 games since being swept by the Braves in Atlanta, the Bucs have won three straight series and have gone 6-3. Nice rebound - particularly in light of injuries to Tabata, Rodriguez, Marte, Gomez and Burnett. The Bucs have had to put together a patchwork quilt and have returned to 13 games over .500 since the Braves series.

A three series, 9 game road stretch begins tonight in Cincinnati. Four straight games at the bandbox known as GABP. I continue to maintain that the Reds are the class of the NL Central. Extremely tough at home (24-12 record - .667 winning percentage). For the season, they've outscored opponents by 63 runs. They are 14 games over .500. Yet . . . they are 12 games over .500 against the Cubs and the Marlins and 2 games over .500 against their other opponents. (Good teams feast on lesser competition)

Taking a very practical approach to the next four games. I'll be satisfied if the Bucs can take 2 from the Reds. The Bucs will miss Cueto - which is not a bad thing. The pitching match-ups are: (1) Liriano v Leake; (2) Morton v. Latos; (3) Locke v. Arroyo and (4) Cumpton v. Bailey.

My fearless predictions:
(1) Liriano rebounds with a better performance. Bucco lefties end up hitting Leake well and we will see a couple of home runs from the Jones, Alvarez, Walker, Snider group. Bucs hold on to win a game; Melancon and Grilli seal the victory.
(2) Morton will not have an encouraging outing. He has struggled against lefties and he will struggle out of the gate in this game. Votto and Bruce pound him early. Phillips has a big game. Bucs will have to dive into the bullpen early and Reid will be asked to eat some innings. I think this one is going to be ugly and will cause many Bucco fans to question whether Morton's presence in the rotation is a long-term solution. The only positive to come out of this game will be that Grilli, Melancon and Wilson will all have a day of rest.
(3) Locke will continue to impress and will frustrate the Reds' hitters. Bucs struggle with Arroyo for the first 3 innings but respond in the second time through the line-up. Locke will get pitch at least 6 and will hand the ball off to Wilson, Melancon and Grilli and the Bucs win Game #3.
(4) The Reds are going to destroy Cumpton. This one is going to get out of hand early in the game. Cumpton will "take the bullet" and be asked to pitch through the 5th inning. After that, we'll see a combination of Reid, Mazzaro and Watson finish off the game.

At the end, the Bucs will be 43-30 as they board the long flight to the Big A. They will still be a mere half-game behind the Reds in the standings but will drop a game to the Cardinals after the Cardinals take 2/3 against the Cubs.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates
Series "on deck:" Cincinnati Reds - Away - (42-28)
Pirates Current Record: 41-28
Number of series in 2013: 52
Series won: 14
Series swept: 3
Series lost: 6
Series in which they've been swept: 2
Series split: 3
Series played: 23
Home series played: 13
Home series won: 8
Home series lost: 3
Home series split: 2
Road series played: 10
Road series won: 6
Road series lost: 3
Road series split: 1
Overall series record: 14-6-3
Series remaining: 29

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:53 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
Taking a very practical approach to the next four games. I'll be satisfied if the Bucs can take 2 from the Reds. The Bucs will miss Cueto - which is not a bad thing. The pitching match-ups are: (1) Liriano v Leake; (2) Morton v. Latos; (3) Locke v. Arroyo and (4) Cumpton v. Bailey.


(2) does look daunting.

Is (4) official? Although five-Inning Gomez might not be a 'sure thing', based on his season so far, he'd be an upgrade over the 'thrown to the fire' Cumpton. Any chance Jeanmar makes it back or are the Bucs locked into the Cumpton and bullpen show?

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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:19 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
My fearless predictions:
(1) Liriano rebounds with a better performance. Bucco lefties end up hitting Leake well and we will see a couple of home runs from the Jones, Alvarez, Walker, Snider group. Bucs hold on to win a game; Melancon and Grilli seal the victory.
(2) Morton will not have an encouraging outing. He has struggled against lefties and he will struggle out of the gate in this game. Votto and Bruce pound him early. Phillips has a big game. Bucs will have to dive into the bullpen early and Reid will be asked to eat some innings. I think this one is going to be ugly and will cause many Bucco fans to question whether Morton's presence in the rotation is a long-term solution. The only positive to come out of this game will be that Grilli, Melancon and Wilson will all have a day of rest.
(3) Locke will continue to impress and will frustrate the Reds' hitters. Bucs struggle with Arroyo for the first 3 innings but respond in the second time through the line-up. Locke will get pitch at least 6 and will hand the ball off to Wilson, Melancon and Grilli and the Bucs win Game #3.
(4) The Reds are going to destroy Cumpton. This one is going to get out of hand early in the game. Cumpton will "take the bullet" and be asked to pitch through the 5th inning. After that, we'll see a combination of Reid, Mazzaro and Watson finish off the game.

: 29



Wow Dude, remind to ask you what stocks and bonds YOU ARE NOT BUYING! :lol:

My favorite part was not seeing Morton suck and Cumpton getting destroyed! I think Cumpton has a little more in him than people have given him credit for.


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:55 pm 
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Yeah - whiffed hard on the last 4 games. But gee-whiz, I pegged the previous two series. ;)

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No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:28 pm 
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Splitting at Great American Bandbox was no small acheivement - particularly in light of Cumpton having to make a second spot start. No complaints about the starting pitching. Liriano, Locke and Morton were very good. Cumpton did more than hold his own.
Lots of complaints about the offense. But for Pedro's heroics, who knows how the series would have ended up. His single should have been a double but for Walker's poor base running) set up the first win and he put the team on his back and drove home the second win. However, Walker, McCutchen and Snider struggled. Marte showed some signs of waking up and Martin to show that he is not the second coming of Matt Morris.

What about the Angels? Don't know much other than the fact that Trout, Pujols and Trumbo swing serious bats. Hamilton continues to struggle. Hard to figure whether the Angels or the Dodgers are the bigger disappointment. Certainly not getting the anticipated bang out of their buck. Don't really know much about how Weaver, Vargas and Blanton are throwing this year but the Bucs have struggled against left handed pitchers. Enter Tony Sanchez . . .

California trips seem to always cause problems for the Pirates. Can't remember a particularly positive trip in recent memory. The Angels overall record is not strong but they are trending positively over the last 30 games and last 10 games. Almost identical to the Pirates.

Trends:
Angels' last 10: 6-4; last 20: 9-11; last 30: 17-13
Pirates' last 10: 6-4; last 20; 10-10; last 30: 18-12

My fearless predictions:
(1) The "feature" pitching match-up showcases Cole versus Weaver. I'm thinking that a steady diet of fastballs to a good hitting team may create some problems for Cole. I'm expecting to see more sliders or curveballs than he threw in his prior two outings but he will continue to try to stay efficient. I'm also thinking that the Bucco bats will struggle against Weaver. I'm putting this one in the Angels' column tonight. Cole gets his first loss.
(2) This is the game about which I have the biggest doubts. The Angels should know Liriano from last year. Unless Zito is written on the back of the jersey, the Pirates have struggled against lefties. However . . . I'm going to put this one in the Pirates' column. Sanchez gets his first start as a DH. Bucs win a tight one. Grilli earns his 26th save. Tipping point for me? No way that the Bucs lose in front of the West Coast Chapter of the UPPMB. "Ban the DH!"
(3) Building on his last effort, Morton will pitch decently against the tough righties for the Angels. Barmes will start as the Bucs go defense first at SS and, despite numerous base runners, the Bucs turn a few DPs. Bucs treat Blanton like they treated Zito and earn a comfortable victory. The WCC of the UPPMB go home happy . . . real happy.

Looking for the Pirates to take 2 of 3 and head to The Home of the Space Needle for a much deserved day off and a record of 45-31 and will pick up a game on the Cardinals who will lose 2 of 3 to the Rangers. Also . . . the Reds will lose 2 of 3 to the D'Backs and the Bucs will be in second place on Sunday evening.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates
Series "on deck:" Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Away - (33-40)
Pirates Current Record: 43-30
Number of series in 2013: 52
Series won: 14
Series swept: 3
Series lost: 6
Series in which they've been swept: 2
Series split: 4
Series played: 24
Home series played: 13
Home series won: 8
Home series lost: 3
Home series split: 2
Road series played: 11
Road series won: 6
Road series lost: 3
Road series split: 2
Overall series record: 14-6-4
Series remaining: 28

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


Last edited by No. 9 on Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:35 pm 
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Wow. First sweep of an American League opponent on the road since 2007 (was that in Cleveland?). On the West Coast. Stunning. Absolutely stunning.

Here's something that sticks out to me. In this stretch of 29 games which some surmised could lead to a "market correction," the Bucs finished 17-12. They've gone from 11 games over .500 to 16 games over .500 in that stretch. They ended up going 8-9 against "contenders" (Giants, Tigers, Reds and Braves) and 9-3 against struggling teams (Brewers, Cubs, Dodgers, Angels). I've always thought that, if a team can take care of opponents that it "should" beat while staying even with tougher competition, it would be a successful season. While the Bucs went slightly below .500 against the tougher competition, they played .750 ball against lesser competition.

Thus, in this 29 game stretch against some very good competition, the "market correction" involved going from playing .617 baseball (record was 29-18) to playing .586 baseball (17-12). If that's the "market correction," I'll take it. .586 ball for the remainder of the season translates to 50 wins in the final 86 games and a total of 96 wins for the rest of the year. Not expecting it . . . just pointing out how amazing this start has been.

Our well-fed Bucs get another two game stint with the Mariners and, as luck should have it, they draw King Felix again. Will it be the dominant King Felix or the King Felix who just blew a 7 run lead against the Angels? Fingers crossed that it is the latter . . . .

Other than Alvarez, I'm not sure that I'd characterize the bats as having woken up just quite yet but I was encouraged to see more life out of needed contributors Marte, Walker and Snider. Cole was very good; Liriano was decent but should be buying his defense a really nice dinner and Morton should be asking "Hey . . . save a little of that for me."

Feeling like the Bucs are in a good place right now to take on the Mariners. I love the Locke match-up tonight. Not so fond of the Gomez/Felix match-up.

Trends:
Mariners' last 10: 5-5; last 20: 10-10; last 30: 14-16
Pirates' last 10: 7-3; last 20: 12-8; last 30: 18-12

My fearless predictions:
(1) I think that Locke will perform well against the Mariners' lineup and will hold them in check. I'm also thinking that the Bucs will do some damage to Joe Saunders. I envision them treating Saunders like they did Barry Zito. I'm thinking that the Bucs will win their 5th in a row tonight.
(2) First game back for Gomez. Facing King Felix. Afternoon match-up. Get away day for both teams - and the umpires. I'm thinking that we will see an expanded strike zone for the King and that the Bucs' hitters will struggle. I'm putting this in the Mariners' win column.

Bucs head home at 47-31. Incredibly successful road trip. Another well-deserved day off.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates
Series "on deck:" Seattle Mariners - Away - (34-43)
Pirates Current Record: 46-30
Number of series in 2013: 52
Series won: 15
Series swept: 4
Series lost: 6
Series in which they've been swept: 2
Series split: 4
Series played: 25
Home series played: 13
Home series won: 8
Home series lost: 3
Home series split: 2
Road series played: 12
Road series won: 7
Road series lost: 3
Road series split: 2
Overall series record: 15-6-4
Series remaining: 27

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


Last edited by No. 9 on Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:43 pm 
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I'm hoping that both Cutch and Gaby have big nights tonight against Saunders. The Pirates have to hit better against lefties, and now would be a good time.


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:21 pm 
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52 series in 2013. 26 played. 16-6-4 record. Halfway home. Nice way to cap off the first half with back-to-back sweeps on the Left Coast of the Angels and Mariners.

13 series played at PNC. Record? 8-3-2. 13 series played on the road. Record? 8-3-2. Perfectly symmetrical. Well-balanced. Love it.

Pitching continues to impress. Hitters starting to warm up. Bullpen well-rested. Nice little homestand as Independence Day approaches.

The hated Brewers are in town. But . . . its time to view the Brewers for who they currently are. This is the not the Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, Ryan Braun slugging machine. Fielder and Hart are gone. Braun is on the DL and won't play in this series. They are 32-45. They have the second worst record in the NL. Bucs are 15 and one-half games up on the Brewers in the standings. Time to put a hurt on these guys. A little come uppance. Now. RIGHT FREAKING NOW.

Johnny Hellweg v. Gerrit Cole on Friday.
Donovan Hand v. Francisco Liriano on Saturday.
Kyle Lohse v. Charlie Morton on Sunday.

I know zilch about Hellweg and Hand. However, given the current Brewers' offensive lineup, I like all three match-ups. A lot. Hellweg's major league debut will be in front of what should be a raucous Cole-driven crowd. Hand went less than 5 innings in his last outing. Ground Chuck should get a lot of ground balls on Sunday against that line-up (memo to Hurdle: Monday is a day off . . . let Martin play on Sunday against the running Brewers). I have a strange feeling that we are going to see a lot of Bucco offense on Friday and Saturday night and a Pedro shot on Sunday.

Trends:
Brewers' last 10: 4-6; last 20: 10-10; last 30: 13-17
Pirates' last 10: 8-2; last 20: 13-7; last 30: 19-11

My fearless predictions:
(1) Cole is going to have a real strong 7 innings and dominate the Brewers. Hellweg will struggle with command and be an early exit. Bucs' bats batter the Brewers' bullpen. (How's that for alliteration?) Bucs won't need Melancon or Grilli. Easy victory.
(2) Liriano continues to pitch well. Will hold down the Brewers' offense. Bucco bats go off early against Hand. Pedro, McCutchen and Snider all go deep. Another easy victory and another day off for the key bullpen pitchers. Bucs clinch a series win.
(3) Here's the tough call in my book. Lohse, when on, is a great pitcher. Even though we see a Pedro shot on Sunday, I think that the bats won't perform well overall. Going to need a strong outing out of Morton. I say that he gets through 5, is pulled in the 6th and a very well-rested bullpen takes over from there. It goes against my nature to predict a sweep but I don't see the Pirates losing while wearing the '71 garb in front of a massive crowd. Brewers are ripe for the picking. Bucs' bullpen > Brewers' bullpen. Bucs eek out a close one on Sunday. Winning streak extends to nine.

Bucs head to the off day at 51-30 to prepare for the Phillies. Another well-deserved day off.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates
Series "on deck:" Milwaukee Brewers - (32-45)
Pirates Current Record: 48-30
Number of series in 2013: 52
Series won: 16
Series swept: 5
Series lost: 6
Series in which they've been swept: 2
Series split: 4
Series played: 26
Home series played: 13
Home series won: 8
Home series lost: 3
Home series split: 2
Road series played: 13
Road series won: 8
Road series lost: 3
Road series split: 2
Overall series record: 16-6-4
Series remaining: 26

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:57 pm 
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Don't dare stop this thread buddy. I know you believe in signs, so do I. Since this is new for the season, I more then willing to give you credit for this 'pinch me' season. Don't blow it by stopping the difference maker :!:
Again thanks for the work, it is truly interesting in looking at the big picture of the season.

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2011 Will Be Our Year -- well make that 2012 (just saying) So it looks like 2013 now - how long must this go on!
THIS IS IT-- NO MORE STREAK!!! *** Finally*** Time to win it in 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:34 pm 
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Location: 120 miles west of Iowa City
Two numbers of current relevance and of significance in Pirates' history:
#9 - current winning streak - Maz' retired uniform number
#21 - games above .500 - Clemente's retired uniform number

Contending teams take care of games against non-contending teams. This last series was a great example of what must be done against the non-contenders. I'm not saying that sweeps are necessary; winning series is likely good enough to get the Bucs back into the playoffs. But, sweeping series against teams like the Brewers not only provides some cushion for the inevitable series losses but ratchets up the pressure on other teams to keep winning in order to keep the Pirates' lead from getting out of hand.

I'll repeat my theme from Opening Day. Just win series. Slow and steady. One series at a time. The Bucs have 25 series left. Win 14 of those series, avoid sweeps and we will see a 90+ win team. Take care of business against the lesser achieving teams and hold your own against the contenders. That's all the Bucs need to do. Just. Take. Care. Of. Business.

Next opponent? The Phillies. Another team that is a mere shell of where it was a couple of years ago. Its July 1st and the Philly press isn't writing about trade acquisitions, the Philly press is advocating that Amaro begin the process of selling off the Phillies' roster to rebuild. The Phillies are currently sitting at 5 games under .500; their low mark for the season. They are six games under .500 on the road and barely playing .500 at home. The roster is aging quickly and the Phillies, like the Brewers, have regressed over the past couple of years.

The Bucs draw Petitbone tonight (revenge time), Lannan on Wednesday and Hamels on Independence Day. In a stark contrast from their recent run of "draws," the Bucs will avoid seeing Cliff Lee.

This is another team against whom the Pirates need to win a series. Especially at PNC Park. To keep the momentum heading in the right direction. To prove to themselves that they can handle the fame that is being thrust upon them from all baseball circles right now. The Bucs are the Flavor of the Month right now. No time to lose focus. No time to take their eyes off of the ball. Just. Take. Care. Of. Business.

Trends:
Phillies' last 10: 4-6; last 20: 8-12; last 30: 14-16
Pirates' last 10: 9-1; last 20: 15-5; last 30: 20-10
Head-to-head: Bucs lead 3 games to 1.

My fearless predictions:
(1) MLB.com still lists Locke as the starting pitcher. Last I read, Hurdle scratched him due to the number of warm ups he threw on Sunday. Crumpton's scheduled start was apparently stricken so I'm assuming that Crumpton will take the bump tonight. This is a tough call for me. I'm thinking that the bats will hit Petitbone hard this time around but I'm also thinking that the Phillies will have some success against Crumpton. I don't like the Phils' lefty bats against Crumpton. So . . . I'm leaning towards the Bucs jumping out fast, the Phils having a tough "first time around" against Crumpton and that the bullpen will hold an initial lead. Bucs get their 10th in a row in a relatively high scoring game. I'm thinking that 6 runs will be needed to win.
(2) The streak ends here. Bucs' offense will continue its poor performance against lefties this year. Lannan will - to our collective frustration - prove to be problematic and Gomez has a tough start. I'm envisioning Reid getting some mop up duty.
(3) The Rookie versus the Decorated Veteran. Again. Cole won't disappoint. Phillies' bats blown away by Cole. Hamels will be pedestrian. Bucs' offense doesn't destroy Hamels but scores enough to make it a comfortable win. Cole pitches efficiently through 6 + and a combination of Wilson, Watson, Melancon and Grilli give the Bucs a 2-1 series win.

Off to Wrigley with a 53-31 record to face those Cubbies again.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates
Series "on deck:" Philadelphia Phillies - home - (39-44)
Pirates Current Record: 51-30
Number of series in 2013: 52
Series won: 17
Series swept: 6
Series lost: 6
Series in which they've been swept: 2
Series split: 4
Series played: 27
Home series played: 14
Home series won: 9
Home series lost: 3
Home series split: 2
Road series played: 13
Road series won: 8
Road series lost: 3
Road series split: 2
Overall series record: 17-6-4
Series remaining: 25

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:19 am 
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Well . . . the Bucs didn't fare so well in what I considered to be the "first test" of fame. Yeah, they'd been getting some attention for awhile but it truly seemed as though the "Best Record In Baseball," "These Guys Are For Real," and "Playoffs Are All But A Cinch" articles have been coming in rapid fire succession. I must admit that losing Friday's nights game was the biggest disappointment of the weekend for me. The offense continues to baffle me. Just when it looks as though it is ready to go on a little run . . . they lay an egg against Petitbone. At home. Frustrating. Eminently frustrating.

That being written, baseball is a funny game. And even a magical season will have its share of frustrations. Losing a series against an inferior opponent is no fun but, on the positive side, they were not swept and the current run of success was not going to be sustained. Cards also lost two of three to an Angels team that the Bucs just swept, so the lead remains at 2 (with last night's Cardinals loss coming in a truly agonizing fashion for them - which is always good to see). And . . . the team that seems to be lurking on the horizon to be a playoff contender - the Nats - split a series at home against the Brewers and only picked up .5 on the Pirates. Could've been worse.

What does this team need beyond more consistent offense? What might salve the wound of a home series loss? How about the Chicago Cubs? Sounds like a plan . . .

Bucs draw (1) The Scrabble Player's Dream this afternoon; (2) Edwin Jackson on Saturday and (3) Carlos Villanueva on Sunday. Three straight afternoon games. (Hear that Daydro?) Bucs will counter with Liriano, Morton and PTBNL.

Trends:
Cubs' last 10: 6-4; last 20: 11-9; last 30: 13-17
Pirates' last 10: 8-2; last 20: 14-6; last 30: 18-12
Head-to-head: Bucs lead 6 games to 3

Its awfully difficult to deem a road series to be one which "should" be won by the Pirates, but this is one of them. The Pirates boast a better line-up than the Cubs. The starting pitching match-ups don't favor the Cubs in any of the three games and the Pirates' bullpen is vastly better than the Cubs' bullpen. All of that should add up to a series win for the team wearing a "P" on their hat. However, as noted above, baseball is a funny game.

This is, IMO, a key series. How do they bounce back from a disappointing home series loss to the Phillies? Against a team that they have gone 6-3 and a team that they "should" beat two games out of three? With a very good team out of Oakland looming to start the next week. The Bucs need to focus on the series at hand, get back to playing solid fundamental baseball, pitching well, focused at-bat strategies and putting the ball in play. Against the Phillies, no less than 1/3 of the Pirate outs were via the strike out in each of the games. That's giving the other team way too many easy outs. Three all-around solid performances should build some momentum heading into a six game stretch for the All Star Break. Sitting at 20 games above .500 with a "long weekend" ahead after 9 games is not a time to sit back and coast to the break . . . its time to bear down, put the pedal to the metal, don't take your foot off their throat (insert favorite cliche here) and create some separation.

And it starts against the Cubs . . . I sure hope that IA will be able to take in a few of the games. He's got good juju!

My fearless predictions:
(1) Mr. Scrabble has nearly always presented issues for the Pirates - except for the last time out. I like Liriano against the Cubs' line-up. A lot. I think that the Cubs will struggle against him today. I'm going to go out on a limb and - as I wrote before the last series - Jones likes hitting in front of his home town folks, Walker has done well at Wrigley, Cutch likes Wrigley and . . . its a day game for Pedro. Bucs bounce back today with a nice win. Low scoring . . . but a Buc victory.
(2) This is the game that the Bucs' bats break out. Big time. I'm thinking that we will see north of 7 runs in this one. (Now watch . . . the wind will be blowing in off of Lake Michigan at 25 mph) Morton won't need to be spectacular to earn a victory. He does what he needs to do and the Bucs will have the chance to sweep the Cubs on Sunday.
(3) Would love to predict a sweep heading into the A's series but . . . oh, the hell with it . . . Villaneuva hasn't started for a month and a half. He'll be on a limited pitch count. Bucs will be patient and Villaneuva will be rusty. He won't make the 5th and the Cubs' pen blows goats for spending money. Cumpton will be efficient again through 5 and, because the Bucs' pen wasn't needed much on Saturday, Hurdle learns his lesson, pulls Cumpton after 5 and hands the game to a combination of Morris, Watson, Wilson, Melancon and Grilli.

Bucs sweep. On the road. Again. It will be a happy flight.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates
Series "on deck:" Chicago Cubs - away - (36-47)
Pirates Current Record: 52-32
Number of series in 2013: 52
Series won: 17
Series swept: 6
Series lost: 7
Series in which they've been swept: 2
Series split: 4
Series played: 28
Home series played: 15
Home series won: 9
Home series lost: 4
Home series split: 2
Road series played: 13
Road series won: 8
Road series lost: 3
Road series split: 2
Overall series record: 17-7-4
Series remaining: 24

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:54 pm 
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My reaction to the Cubs' series: Blah. Yuck. Blah. Yuck. The Bucs hadn't lost back-to-back series since the first two series of the year. Double Ugh.

Test #2 of "How will the Pirates respond to the newly found fame and attention" fared just as poorly as the first test against the Phillies. After Friday's impressive win, the bats went silent. Key defensive plays were not made. Base running errors were made. Hanging pitches were murdered and proved costly. Saturday and Sunday's games simply left a bad taste in my mouth. Its one thing to play solid baseball and lose. Its another thing to play sloppy baseball and lose. The latter is far less tolerable.

That being written, every season is marked with highs and lows. Hell, the Cards recently lost 2/3 in Miami to a lousy Marlins team. They then went to Anaheim and lost two of three against a team that the Bucs swept. Crap happens. You close that door and move on. Can't change the past; you have to focus on the present.

Unfortunately, the present involves a hot and very good Oakland A's squad. Colon v. Locke; Straily v. Cole and Milone v. Liriano.

Here's an interesting statistic:
Pirates v. teams above .500 = 18-14
A's v. teams above .500 = 16-22

The A's have feasted on teams with sub .500 records (36-15) and have not fared as well against the better competition. That being written, the A's recently took 2 of 2 from the Reds and 2 of 3 from the Cardinals. All five of those games were in Oakland, though.

Trends:
A's last 10: 7-3; last 20: 11-9; last 30: 17-13
Pirates' last 10: 6-4; last 20: 13-7; last 30: 18-12

I continue to believe that the Pirates cannot afford to stumble to the All Star Break. They remain in an excellent position within the National League. They have 6 home games and have played very well at home all year. The stretch immediately following the All Star Break is particularly brutal and has the potential to be season defining. Taking two of three from one of the elite American League teams would be an excellent way of starting off the home stand. I will admit to being as excited for this series as I have been for any series this year. And, to be honest, I'm really nervous of the potential results. I've got a fair amount of confidence in how the Bucs' pitchers match-up against the A's; I have very little confidence in any offensive player not named McCutchen, Alvarez or Martin right now. Marte is showing some signs lately and I'm hopeful he can stay on track. Hopefully, the combination of Tabata, Jones and Sanchez have a big series. It is much needed.

My fearless predictions:
(1) Colon is a wily veteran who is on fire. Locke is the fresh rookie who is a newly minted All Star. My guess is that Locke will be overly amped up and we will see some early wildness out of him. I'm hoping that the A's don't take advantage of his wildness and turn a couple of mistakes into big hits. I'm envisioning a somewhat early departure for Locke and Mazzaro doesn't hold down the A's. Offensive troubles continue for the Bucs and the A's take this game going away. The UPPMB experiences a minor meltdown among certain members.
(2) Cole will give Pirates fan a taste of his stopper potential. We will see a big game out of him and the Bucco bats have a decent day against the right-hander Straily. Bucs won't blow the A's away but the second game of the series will go to the black-and-gold.
(3) National TV and the curse that comes along with it. The "Flavor of the Month" Pirates shown on ESPN to a national audience. Perhaps their hottest pitcher, Liriano, takes the bump against a fellow lefty. As much as it pains me to write this, I have a very bad feeling about this game. Very bad. I think that the offense will be pressing to have a big night and you will see alot of Bucco strikeouts and guys taking big swings for the fences. Liriano will not throw a bad game but the Bucco offense won't generate enough to take the series.

Bucs win one of three and will have a day off to prepare for the Mets series. Not a disaster but not what I'm hoping for.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates
Series "on deck:" Oakland A's - home - (52-37)
Pirates Current Record: 53-34
Number of series in 2013: 52
Series won: 17
Series swept: 6
Series lost: 8
Series in which they've been swept: 2
Series split: 4
Series played: 29
Home series played: 15
Home series won: 9
Home series lost: 4
Home series split: 2
Road series played: 14
Road series won: 8
Road series lost: 4
Road series split: 2
Overall series record: 17-8-4
Series remaining: 23

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


Last edited by No. 9 on Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:50 pm 
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Location: 120 miles west of Iowa City
30 series in the books. 22 to go. One more before a much deserved break for most of the team.

The good news? Three games at home. Against a team with a losing record and little to no chance of making the playoffs this year. No Zach Wheeler. No Matt Harvey.

The bad news? The Mets are playing good ball in their last 10 games. They just swept the Giants. Sound familiar? Phillies were playing decent ball. Cubs were playing decent ball. A's were playing decent ball. This is not a team - like the Padres - that has been going in the tank over the past two weeks.

The Bucs are in the midst of their first 3 series losing streak this year. It will be interesting to see how they will respond. A fair number of the national bandwagoners have jumped off after only a brief ride. I think that its fair to say that the Bucs aren't the "Flavor of the Week" right now.

This is a series that the Pirates should win. Walker's absence will hurt but defense up the middle will be strong. The offense needs to show up early in all 3 games to take some pressure off of the starters and the bullpen. And to put doubt immediately into the Mets' minds.

To change things up . . . no "fearless predictions" for this series. Need to change the karma.

Trends:
Mets' last 10: 7-3; last 20: 13-7; last 30: 17-13
Pirates' last 10: 4-6; last 20: 13-7; last 30: 19-11

Bucs are rested. Mets are coming off of a long trip. This series is going the Pirates' way. They'll head into the break with at least 56 wins. They'll be in no worse than second place in the NL Central. They'll be leading the wild card race. Stay focused. One at a time. And it starts tonight. Its time for Charlie Morton to silence some of his doubters.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates
Series "on deck:" New York Mets - home - (40-48)
Pirates Current Record: 54-46
Number of series in 2013: 52
Series won: 17
Series swept: 6
Series lost: 9
Series in which they've been swept: 2
Series split: 4
Series played: 30
Home series played: 16
Home series won: 9
Home series lost: 5
Home series split: 2
Road series played: 14
Road series won: 8
Road series lost: 4
Road series split: 2
Overall series record: 17-9-4
Series remaining: 22

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


Last edited by No. 9 on Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:58 am 
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I enjoy this thread, 9. Thanks.

No. 9 wrote:
To change things up . . . no "fearless predictions" for this series. Need to change the karma.

Good. Weakest part of your posts. They are less fearless predictions than what you hope will happen....

No. 9 wrote:
Bucs are rested. Mets are coming off of a long trip. This series is going the Pirates' way. They'll head into the break with at least 56 wins. They'll be in no worse than second place in the NL Central. They'll be leading the wild card race. Stay focused. One at a time. And it starts tonight. Its time for Charlie Morton to silence some of his doubters.

Mission accomplished.


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown 2013 version
PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:44 pm 
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Location: 120 miles west of Iowa City
The inaptly named "second half" begins . . . with a tough series on the road against the team that I continue to believe to have the best overall talent in the division. Both teams are likely looking for a quick start out of the blocks after the All Star Break. The Reds have seen their playoff cushion reduced to 5 games over the on again/off again Nationals and 5.5 over the surging Dodgers and the never-say-die Phillies. I'm quite certain that Dusty is telling his troops that the next 3 games can set the tone for the "second half."

The Bucs are likely employing similar thoughts. They rebounded from a tough series loss against an excellent A's team to take two of three from the Mets. The series win was nice as it stopped a three series losing streak and was a "positive" heading into the four day break.

Once again, however, the Bucs will face the Reds with less than a full deck. While Mercer's glove is not a significant downgrade from Walker's glove, Mercer's bat has markedly cooled off and the Bucs could really use Walker's left handed bat against Leake, Latos and Bailey. I'm betting that Tabata will get at least two of the starts in RF but I'm curious to see if Hurdle will give Snider one start to see if the break may have allowed for Snider to shake off some of the bad "juju." The Bucs are going to need strong performances from Jones, Alvarez, McCutchen and Marte if they are going to win any games in this series. They are also going to need their starting pitching to pick up from where they left off. I really like that Hurdle "tinkered" with the rotation to allow Liriano and Locke to pitch against the Reds. Hopefully, those 2 lefties will help neutralize the hitting effects of the Great American Bandbox. Maybe a steady diet of left handed hurlers will keep Bruce, Votto and Choo in check. Keeping those guys off base and from hitting long fly balls into the stands will be key in stealing some wins on the road.

Trends:
Reds' last 10: 4-6; last 20: 9-11; last 30: 14-16
Pirates' last 10: 4-6; last 20: 13-7; last 30: 19-11

Series to date: Pirates lead 6-4. Nine games remain. 6 in Cincinnati; 3 in Pittsburgh.

This is going to be an interesting series. It should have a playoff feel to it. For me, the key for the rest of the Pirates' season is to keep minimizing the lows and having a couple of highs. I'm hoping to see two wins this weekend. If that happens, I'll be giddy. However, taking one game will not be disappointing. Sure, that would cede a game to the Reds in the standings but it will not be a "devastating" or even a "disheartening" start. I'm taking a "playoff" view of the series. If the Bucs were playing the Reds in a 7 game series with a 2-3-2 format with the middle games in Cincinnati, the Bucs would be looking to take one of the three middle games (assuming they hadn't blown both at home). Same deal here. The Reds are great at home and have a distinct advantage. Get at least one and move on to D.C.

As a sidenote, 4 of the top 5 teams in the NL wildcard hunt will be playing each other right out of the break. The Nats will face both Greinke and Kershaw over the weekend. The Greinke/Gonzalez and Kershaw/Zimmerman matchups should lead to awesome baseball in the nation's capital. I don't really care who wins what in those games as long as neither team sweeps.

Good to have baseball back. Really looking forward to tonight and the weekend's series. Let's hope that it is beanball-free. Something tells me that Latos will be throwing inside consistently on Saturday. If that happens, there's no doubt in my mind that A.J. won't put up with that crap and he always seems to pitch better when he is on edge.

2013 Pittsburgh Pirates
Series "on deck:" Cincinnati Reds - away - (53-42)
Pirates Current Record: 56-47
Number of series in 2013: 52
Series won: 18
Series swept: 6
Series lost: 9
Series in which they've been swept: 2
Series split: 4
Series played: 31
Home series played: 17
Home series won: 10
Home series lost: 5
Home series split: 2
Road series played: 14
Road series won: 8
Road series lost: 4
Road series split: 2
Overall series record: 18-9-4
Series remaining: 21

_________________
Reflexively, obsessively and tastelessly submitted,
No. 9
Obsessive proponent of situational bunting and 2 strike hitting approaches, reflexively pro-catchers calling good games and tasteless proponent of the value of a RBI.


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