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Paul Maholm Mows Down Astros, But Andrew McCutchen Hurt In 9-0 Blowout

First things first: Andrew McCutchen sustained some sort of injury while making a diving catch late in the game. It looked like he might have hurt his throwing shoulder from the way he rolled, but apparently it's a "sore neck." It didn't look serious at the time (McCutchen clearly knew something was wrong right away, but he didn't appear to be in much pain), so let's hope it stays that way. The last thing this team needs is for McCutchen to be out for an extended period.

UPDATE: Dejan Kovacevic has details on McCutchen's injury, which turns out to be a shoulder strain. It doesn't sound like it will be a problem, although McCutchen might be out a day or two.

Anyway, this was a great game. Paul Maholm didn't rack up a ton of strikeouts and benefited from a number of balls that landed near the line but foul, but he pitched very well, locating his breaking stuff nicely throughout the game and only allowing three hits in a complete-game shutout. And the offense stayed alive after last night's outburst. Garrett Jones finally broke the Bucs' month-plus skid of games without a multi-run homer with a two-run shot in the fifth. And the Pirates had 19 hits overall, with Ronny Cedeno going 4-for-4 and Jose Tabata and Ryan Doumit registering three hits apiece. The Bucs did most of the damage against the Astros' relatively weak middle relief corps after Roy Oswalt left after four with an injury, but nine runs are nine runs.

-P- In case you hadn't heard, Neal Huntington said some more stupid stuff.

"Short-term, really, the only thing that we feel we've missed on is wins and losses at the major-league level. We didn't expect this team to be staring at 90 or 100 losses again. I can also tell you we didn't expect to win 100 games. We set the playoffs as a goal, not as a prediction. Have we lost more games than we expected? Yeah, we have. How do we overcome that? We need to play good, sound, fundamental baseball... Wins and losses are an outcome. How we play the game is the process. And that's our focus, the process, and how we help these guys get better. If we take care of the process, the results will take care of themselves."

The quote about doing everything right except "wins and losses at the major league level" echoes former Rays GM / running joke Chuck LaMar, who said something almost identical right before being fired. I already wrote about that particular point at SB Nation Pittsburgh, so I won't belabor it here, but I will say this. Poker players talk a lot about "process" as the primary means of evaluating their play. In fact, there's a lot of poker literature that warns players against being results-oriented. There are a lot of parallels between poker and running a baseball team. Pocket aces will sometimes get cracked, just as top prospects will sometimes go bust, for example. GMing and poker both involve a balance of skill and chance, and when things don't go your way, you should try to be as objective as possible about why things turned out the way they did and not assume that you did things wrong (or right, for that matter). It generally makes sense for Huntington to think about what he does in terms of process.

The thing is, though, average fans do not care about (and might not even understand) the concept of "process." And when Huntington says things that seem to suggest that the results matter less to him than the process, that just makes people angry. Most people don't him the time or the inclination to confirm for themselves that the "process" is working anyway, and given the way the Pirates have been run for the past 17 years, they're not going to trust anyone from the Bucs' management to tell them. What they care about is wins and losses. So until the Pirates start showing results, Huntington should probably keep the talk about "process" to himself. 

-P- In case you haven't heard, the Bucs have suspended minor league reliever Diego Moreno for about a week for "unprofessional conduct."

-P- Altoona played a crazy game last night against Harrisburg, scoring ten runs in the ninth to come from behind to win 18-15. The game featured homers by Matt Hague, Hector Gimenez and Brandon Jones.