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Pittsburgh vs. Florida, 26 June 2007


Paul Maholm (3-10, 5.01) vs. Dontrelle Willis (7-6, 4.90).

UPDATE: Here's the box. If I knew Josh Phelps would be used to keep Ryan Doumit out of games, I would have been pretty mad about the Pirates grabbing him. Phelps is at first, Ronny Paulino catches and Xavier Nady plays right. Doumit and Adam LaRoche ride the pine. Doumit is 0-for-5 with a walk in his career against Willis. Nady and Paulino hit lefties well, and Phelps has been pretty good against them historically, but he's really stunk it up against them the past two years.

* * *

It's that time of year again - that time when the hopelessness of the Pirates' season becomes absolutely clear. At least it's better than last year - on June 26, 2006, the Bucs were 26-51. In 2005, they were 34-40 after dropping ten of fourteen. In 2004, they were 28-43.

Now the Bucs are 31-44 and in the midst of a five-game losing streak. You can see the frustration - sometimes in transition to outright disinterest - in Pirate writers all over the web. Dejan Kovacevic reads like he's slowly going nuts. Rowdy hasn't blogged anything in five days (Bones has been holding things down at Honest Wagner.) Pat in one of his usually well thought-out game recaps:

Pirates lose in soul-sucking fashion. Didn't see the game and don't care to learn more beyond "Angels 4 Pirates 3 F(10)."

Irate Fans is buzzing. And there's even a column in the Trib blaming the fans for the Pirates' troubles. (This argument crops up a lot, and there's some merit to it, but it's pretty hard to take from a mainstream media outlet.) There's a protest scheduled for Saturday, and a column in the BCT about why it will do no good. And, in a sign that the Pirates' situation is driving the team itself a little bit crazy, John Wasdin is rejoining the team. Bucs Dugout user Bucdaddy calls this move a concession, which is close but not quite right - to me it's more like an admission that the team has no idea how to fix its problems.

To top all that off, now the team has to go to Miami, which not only is geographically positioned at the edge of the MLB universe, but that features a team that plays in a fishbowl stadium with millions of orange seats that no one sits in. Have fun, Pirates!

I'll be in the comments for this one. While you wait for the game to start, you can check out this interview with Daniel Moskos who, it turns out, was pretty shocked to be picked by the Pirates, who didn't call him to let him know he'd be picked. As Moskos notes, that's weird - the Pirates had the fourth pick, so not much could have happened before their pick that they wouldn't have had a contingency plan for, and yet it seems possible that they themselves were surprised that they had to pick Moskos. Maybe they assumed Josh Vitters was going to fall to them?