View Full Version : Pirates shaken by latest loss

06-24-2007, 10:30 AM

Pirates shaken by latest loss
By Rob Biertempfel
Sunday, June 24, 2007

ANAHEIM, Calif. - The tension in the Pirates' clubhouse was ramped up Saturday night by a 10-1 loss against the Los Angeles Angels.

After being taken out of the game, right-hander Ian Snell fled the dugout to think through his frustrations.

"I didn't want to be anywhere near the team," Snell said. "I think we're better than what we're playing. We're just not showing it.

"Somebody needs to step up. We have veteran guys who need to say something, do something. It's getting out of hand."

Shortstop Jack Wilson has called for a players-only meeting before today's game.

"Everybody here wants to win," Wilson said. "What are we not doing? It comes down to consistency, making plays and having good at-bats. It's almost like we're overwhelmed by playing better teams.

"It shouldn't be that way because everybody in here knows we are 10 times better than we're (playing) right now. It's really tough to take."

The Angels began the second inning by banging out four straight hits and two runs on just five pitches from Snell. Howie Kendrick was on third and Kendry Morales on first, with Shea Hillenbrand at the plate.

Hillenbrand hit a soft, low pop-up. The umpire did not call the infield fly rule, so Wilson let the ball fall in front of him, then flipped it to second base to force Morales for the first out.

Seeing Kendrick break for home, second baseman Freddy Sanchez fired a dead-on strike to Ronny Paulino, who was blocking the plate.

There was just one problem: the Pirates' catcher once again failed to live up to his job description. The ball ticked off Paulino's glove and rolled away, as Kendrick scored.

It was the latest gaffe by Paulino, who often has displayed a curious and costly inability to snare throws when runners are bearing down on him.

The next three batters also reached base against Snell -- a walk, two singles and a throwing error by left fielder Jason Bay -- boosting the Angels to a comfortable 5-0 lead.

In that single inning, Snell (6-5) allowed more runs than he had in any previous game this year -- and two more earned runs than he'd yielded in the previous three games combined.

Snell settled down after that. He went six innings, allowed a season-high 10 hits, walked two and struck out five.

Not that it mattered. The Pirates were unable to make much noise against right-hander Kelvim Escobar (9-3).

Escobar gave up just two singles through the first seven innings, then lost his shutout bid on back-to-back hits in the eighth. Xavier Nady doubled and scored on Paulino's broken-bat single to center.

The Pirates loaded the bases with one out, drawing groans from the sellout crowd. But Escobar blindly speared Chris Duffy's hard liner and turned an inning-ending double play.

Escobar has won five of his past six starts and is making a hard push for a spot on the All-Star Game roster.

The Angels added five runs in two innings against reliever Tony Armas. Amid the flurry was Vladimir Guerrero's 14th homer, a two-run shot in the eighth.

"It's stupid. If you set high expectations, go after them. Don't sell yourself short. I don't want that, but so far everybody is showing that. If they get mad at me, oh well.

06-24-2007, 10:33 AM

Pirates steaming after latest laugher
Snell calls team's situation 'stupid' after Angels romp, 10-1

Sunday, June 24, 2007
By Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Pirates' clubhouse is not quite at the boiling point, but it surely is simmering.

Ian Snell, visibly frustrated after the 10-1 annihilation by the Los Angeles Angels last night at Angel Stadium, made that crystal clear.

"I [expletive] hate this," he said at his stall, his voice rising. "And you can put that in the paper. I [expletive] hate losing. I hate when the team doesn't bring out its full potential. And if they fine me, fine me. I don't care. Because this is getting stupid. We're better than what we're showing."

He was asked if the problem is a lack of effort.

"No, I don't think it's that," Snell continued. "That team that beat us is good. I think they're the best in baseball. But the point is we let the first game of this series get away from us, we let another one get away in Seattle, another one at home ... and it's stupid."

Snell was not alone in that sentiment, apparently.

"There are things that are getting talked about in here that wouldn't be getting talked about if we were winning," first baseman Adam LaRoche said. "When you lose, everything gets magnified and you start questioning yourself, questioning each other, wondering why this play was or wasn't made, whether we should have bunted here or there. It's stuff that never should come up."

And what, LaRoche was asked, can be done to stop it?


"This is a very good ball club, but 10-1 ... are they that much better?" left fielder Jason Bay said of the Angels. "We do need to show up a little more, in all aspects."

The Pirates, without question, did not show up in any aspect for their fourth loss in five games on this trip ...

There were more flawed fundamentals, including yet another episode of catcher Ronny Paulino failing to catch a throw to home plate.

The offense did ... well, what the offense does. It mustered a total of five hits and one meaningless run, as Los Angeles' Kelvim Escobar coasted through eight innings.

Snell had a rare hiccup in an otherwise terrific year, giving up six hits in the Angels' five-run second.

And Tony Armas, the team's $3.5 million mopup man, was charged with the other five runs.

Oh, this, too: The Pirates are 31-43, dropping a dozen games below .500 for the first time and, as if by depressing symmetry, dropping a dozen games behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers for the first time.

"It's getting tough," shortstop Jack Wilson said. "I think everybody's trying so hard to get up there and do something. Look at the Angels. They're a perfect example. Every player has a job to do, and he does it just right. A lot of times, when you're in a rut like this, everybody tries to do maybe more than they should."

He shook his head.

"It's frustrating. Everybody wants to play better. Everybody wants to win. ... It's getting tough. For me, this is my seventh year and, in some ways, it's the same thing. Or maybe worse. Because I really think this team is better than this."

Los Angeles pounded out 18 hits in the 5-4 victory Friday and had 17 more last night, but the Angels' greatest damage was wrapped within the second inning.

Vladimir Guerrero's grounder caromed off the mound and away from second baseman Freddy Sanchez for a single. And Gary Matthews Jr.'s double put men at second and third.

Howie Kendrick dropped Snell's next pitch into shallow center for a 2-0 lead.

"They didn't hit the ball that hard, but they run the bases so well," Snell said. "I mean, that team does every little thing just perfectly."

Kendry Morales singled Kendrick to third, setting the stage for the Pirates' defense, which does not do every little thing just perfectly.

Shea Hillenbrand lined softly toward Wilson, who willfully let it hit the dirt to put the double play in effect. Wilson kept an eye on Kendrick before flipping to Sanchez for the forceout at second. Sanchez saw Kendrick take off and fired a low but accurate throw home. Paulino, who has had trouble with throws from the outfield all season, could not handle this one from 127 feet, and it was 3-0.

Asked about Paulino's continuing woes on plays at the plate, manager Jim Tracy replied, "I know what you're suggesting and alluding to. It's a ball that you have to catch."

There would be more.

Mike Napoli walked to put men at first and second, and Reggie Willits lined a single to left. The Angels waved home Hillenbrand, and Bay's errant throw went about 10-15 feet to the left of Paulino for another run.

Compounding that, Paulino never budged to try to stop the throw, even though it originated about 250 feet away, and Napoli took third because of it.

Chone Figgins brought him home with a single, and it was 5-0.

Tracy explained Paulino's failure to move toward that ball by saying he had an injury to the arch of his foot. Paulino was seen getting treatment in the dugout from the athletic trainers, but that came after Paulino was erased on a force play the following inning. It was not clear how long Paulino, who remained in the game and later ran the bases again, has had the injury.

Paulino was not immediately available for comment.

Snell settled after that and put up four zeroes, achieving six full innings for the 13th time in his 15 starts. He was charged with those five runs and 10 hits, raising his ERA to 2.92.

"Give Ian credit," Tracy said. "He stayed with it."

The Pirates narrowly avoided their third shutout on this trip when, after one out in the eighth, Xavier Nady doubled and scored on Paulino's single to make it 6-1.

Armas relieved Snell in the seventh and gave up five runs on seven hits over his two innings, including Guerrero's two-run home run in the eighth.

06-24-2007, 10:33 AM
I'm glad to see that some people are figuring things out.

06-24-2007, 08:18 PM
That 10-1 loss was just pathetic, Matt, but they played a lot better today, coming from behind to tie the game in the 9th but they fell short in the bottom of the 10th losing 4-3. Gorzy didn't pitch all that bad and some of the Pirates' bats rose from the dead. They were in 2 of the 3 games they played against the Angels but couldn't get 'r done.

06-24-2007, 09:02 PM
That 10-1 loss was just pathetic, Matt, but they played a lot better today, coming from behind to tie the game in the 9th but they fell short in the bottom of the 10th losing 4-3. Gorzy didn't pitch all that bad and some of the Pirates' bats rose from the dead. They were in 2 of the 3 games they played against the Angels but couldn't get 'r done.

I more then 100% AGREE with you. Not to mention the loss against the Pitcher with the Era near 11. No matter how good your team is, there is no excuse for it. You deserve to LOSE if you can't take advantage of the worst pitchers.

06-25-2007, 02:16 PM
Man, I'm really glad that Capps was back from his suspension and able to help out last night.


06-25-2007, 02:21 PM
Man, I'm really glad that Capps was back from his suspension and able to help out last night.


unfortunately not enough was done. Hopefully he's good help against the Fish.

The Duke
06-25-2007, 03:43 PM
I really hope the pirates start getting better.