Archive for July 25th, 2006

25
Jul
06

Pirates’ bats provide fireworks in the 8th to back Snell

Ian Snell demonstrated again tonight why he’s got the lowest ERA of the Pirates’ rotation. He pitched 7 innings, allowing only 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 9 while walking only 1. Though dominant, his dominance was matched by the Brewers’ Ben Sheets, who made his first appearance after a nearly 3-month stint on the DL with shoulder tendonitis. Sheets’ performance was better than the Brewers could have hoped for, as he allowed only one run on 6 hits and struck out 5 without issuing a single walk. Both starters pitched seven solid innings, each allowing just a solo home run.

Sheets’ exit from the game marked the beginning of the end for the Brewers. Dave Bush, who is normally a starter, came in and surrendered a lead-off single to Nate McLouth. Things started to get ugly for the Brewers when Bush’s throw on Jack Wilson’s attempted sacrifice bunt sailed past the first baseman, enabling Wilson to reach second and McLouth to reach 3rd. Bush followed up his throwing error by giving up a single to Freddy Sanchez, scoring both McLouth and Wilson. Bush managed to strike out Jason Bay before giving up another single to Sean Casey. Then, with two aboard, Jeromy Burnitz lofted Bush’s offering over the fence in center to put the score at 6-1. Having already surrendered 5 runs, Bush fortunately secured the last two outs of the inning and put an end to what was a truly ugly performance.

In the bottom of the 8th, the Pirates sent in Salomon Torres, who allowed a single hit but prevented any runs from scoring. The top of the 9th saw Derrick Turnbow pitching for the Brewers. Turnbow, who recently lost his closer role with the Brewers after blowing 4 consecutive saves, made a good case tonight for his reinstatement. He delivered fastballs as fast as 98 MPH and made good use of his breaking pitches. He struck out one and induced a pop-up foul out and a fly out, preventing any baserunners. Not being a save situation for the Pirates, Matt Capps came on in the bottom of the 9th instead of the Pirates’ closer, Mike Gonzalez. Capps made short work of the Brewers, retiring them in order.

The Pirates’ win tonight brings their record to 6-6 after the All-Star Break. It was refreshing to see the Pirates in top form, providing dominant pitching, excellent fielding, and timely hitting. The biggest offensive producer of the night was Jeromy Burnitz, who helped the Pirates’ cause by going 2 for 4 with two home runs and 4 RBIs.

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25
Jul
06

New Pedro the Lion/David Bazan

This demonstrates how out of the loop I am: I hadn’t even known that David Bazan had officially retired the “Pedro the Lion” name until I read a blurb about his new album on eMusic. His new EP, titled “Fewer Moving Parts” is basically 5 songs done in two different versions, once electric with a full band and once acoustic. I haven’t listened to it yet but I might in the future. I used to be a big Pedro the Lion fan, but after awhile, I realized that listening to his music was a depressing experience. So, I more or less stopped listening to it – especially the most recent stuff. This is the same reason I stopped listening to The Magnetic Fields. I appreciate that he is willing to grapple with the tough issues in life, as opposed to most Christian musicians, but I don’t want to be left bereft of hope.

Anyway, the blurb on eMusic contains a quote from what is probably a very interesting book on Christian rock: Body Piercing Saved My Life by Andrew Beaujon. In the book the author describes David Bazan thusly:

“Sort of the house cynic — the guy at work who’s like, “This place sucks” and never gets fired.”

That seems about right. I should check this book out sometime – not that I’m a big fan of Christian rock, per se, but I am interested in how Christian culture interfaces with secular culture and music is one of the most visible interfaces.

Final note: if you are looking for Christian music that is willing to admit that life is not all smiles and sunshine but does not insist on wallowing in the pits of despair, check out Andrew Peterson. I saw him open for Caedmon’s Call in 1997 at Grove City College and I’ve kept track of him ever since. From my perspective, his best albums are Love and Thunder, Behold the Lamb of God (which is a Christmas album with mostly original songs) and The Far Country (his three most recent albums, not including his recent B-sides collection). He is a talented musician and songwriter and his songs will help to connect you to the love that God has for you in the midst of your imperfection and weakness.

25
Jul
06

Pirates lose 4th straight

After a promising start to the second half of the season, the Pirates have dropped their last four games to bring their second half record to 5-6. Tonight’s loss followed an all-too-familiar pattern:

  1. Give up lots of runs in first few innings
  2. Score lots of runs, but not enough to overcome deficit

This game further accentuates what I have been complaining about all season: we need some decent starting pitching. You can’t expect to have success without a couple of solid starters and we have no solid starters. Ian Snell, with a 4.84 ERA, has the lowest ERA of any of the Pittsburgh starters. Every other starter has an ERA above 5. Here’s an interesting tidbit I gleaned from ESPN.com tonight: Pirates starting pitching has an ERA of 5.46 over 555 innings pitched, which is good for 27th place out of 30. This is why the Pirates are not winning games. In contrast, the Pirates bullpen has a 3.93 ERA over 325 innings, which is good for 9th place in the Majors. The Pirates’ offense is fine, their defense is fine, and even their bullpen is fine. However, if they can’t get some decent starters, we will be forced to endure the recurring nightmare of games lost almost before they have begun, due to our starting pitching.




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