Back to lighter fare:
There are two reasons worth mentioning the Pirates’ 17-2 loss to Chicago last night ( “Cubs Massacre Pirates,” said the Trib-Review), a loss which dropped the Buccos to 46-69 on the season:
1) We are throwing a bone to our devoted Cubs readership. Some stats worth noting: Chicago scored ten runs in the second inning, the first time in over five years it had scored at least ten in one inning. The Cubs also put up four in the first, so it was 14-0 by the top of the third. (We’ll relegate this stat to the parentheses: It was the third time in franchise history — and first in over a century — that the Cubbies scored at least fourteen runs in the first two innings.)
What else? Oh, yes — Derrek Lee! He tied a career high with 7 RBIs. Kosuke Fukudome hit a three run homer in the first and pitcher Randy Wells walked, singled, drove in a run and scored twice — all in the second inning. (He later doubled.)
The win snapped a five-game losing streak and kept Chicago within four and a half games of St. Louis in the Central. Chicago can look forward to the rest of the weekend: The Cubs lead the season series against Pittsburgh six to two.
2) As for the Pirates, the loss was their eleventh in twelve games. They’ve lost the last three games by a combined score of thirty-five to three.
Pittsburgh’s annual late July fire sale was, even by Pirates standards, epic. Adam LaRoche went back to Atlanta (via Boston). Freddy Sanchez went to the Giants. Jack Wilson moved to Seattle. (So did Ian Snell.) John Grabow was offloaded to the Cubs. All this came after trading Nate McLouth earlier in the season. When the smoke cleared, only one starter from Pittsburgh’s 2008 Opening Day roster — Ryan Doumit — was left.
Who did Pittsburgh get in return? Does it matter? If those players turn out to be good, they’ll be offloaded in three to five years for future prospects. The message from management to fans is clear: Don’t get attached. Also: If you have a heart, we will rip it out and eat it, Temple of Doom-style.
All the wheeling and dealing left pitcher Paul Maholm’s $2.5 million salary as tops on the team. To put that in perspective, it’s the same amount the Yankees pay Alex Rodriguez every time he takes a dump.
Also, Maholm is 6-7 with a 4.93 ERA this year.
Seventeen straight losing seasons — here we come!
UPDATE: The Cubs beat the Pirates this afternoon, 3-1. Former Bucco Tom Gorzelanny struck out eight in five innings for the win. He also singled in a run.
In other news, Lou Piniella petitioned MLB to change its schedule so Chicago can play Pittsburgh for the rest of the season.