10-3 to the Astros this time. Charlie Morton had his fourth straight disaster start, the Pirates had their ninth loss of six or more runs (!!!!) and... well, I can't lie--like Morton, I didn't last much past the third inning. This isn't good, folks. Brian Bass, who just joined the roster, pitched the fourth. The Pirates made space for him on the 40-man by designating Brandon Jones for assignment, which... whatever. Brian Burres--and yes, that's a different bad pitcher from Brian Bass--was also recalled. Daniel McCutchen heads back to Indianapolis, and Chris Jakubauskas (who turns out to be okay) heads to the DL. The Pirates badly need Ross Ohlendorf back. In the meantime, desperate times call for desperate measures. Here are my suggestions.
1) Have the entire defense (except Lastings Milledge, who will shade even closer to center field) stand together with their gloves over their crotches, soccer style, five feet from home plate, from foul line to foul line. Give them all catching gear so they don't get Jakubauskas'ed. Then lure Andy LaRoche's dad out of retirement and have him throw eephus pitches over the wall. Foolproof!
2) Just get more bad pitchers named Brian to play at Indianapolis! I think Brian Anderson, Brian Boehringer, Brian Falkenborg, Brian Lawrence and Brian Meadows should all be available. And I'm sure Brian Myrow could be converted to pitching if need be. True, this wouldn't help the Pirates much in terms of baseball talent, but it would be really confusing, and opponents would never be able to remember whether they're about to see an eighty-nine MPH fastball and an awful breaking ball, or an eighty-five MPH fastball and an awful breaking ball.
3) Call up Rudy Owens. I'm not completely serious about this one, but I do think Owens is better than about 2/3 of the pitchers the Pirates have used this year, and maybe he'd go all Zach-Duke-2005 on the league for ten starts before anyone figured out what was going on.
4) Set up some booths at Texas high schools hoping to find an aging science teacher who throws 95 MPH. Hey, it worked for the Devil Rays.
5) Bribe the umpires, not to cheat, but so that they won't blatantly blow calls when the Pirates' one good player steals a base.
That's all I've got.