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Pirates 11, Nats 6

Before Saturday evening, only nine players in the 123-year history of the Pittsburgh Pirates had hit three home runs in one game. Andrew McCutchen became the 10th. In this 11-6 Nats' loss at PNC Park, McCutchen was the difference. He went 4-for-5 with six RBI. He tagged three different Washington pitchers -- Craig Stammen, Tyler Clippard and Logan Kensing. One homer was a lucky flare, a 326-footer over a wall 325 feet from home. The others were blasts. And hey, the night in sum even upstaged the post-game concert of Jo Dee Messina. I think.

The Nats were the enablers for the McCutchen show, though, and that drew the ire of pitching coach Steve McCatty, who after this game ordered his troops into a small coaches' office and delivered an unfiltered critique of the performance.

"Get your head out of your butt and get it done," is how Stammen paraphrased the message.

On this night, Stammen went only three-plus innings, the shortest outing of his career. His final line included eight hits, six earned runs. But despite McCutchen, whose final homer, a three-run shot, gave the Buccos an 11-4 lead, Washington should not have been on the bottom of a blowout. The Nats failed again and again with runners in scoring position. They stranded 12 on base. The lowest moment for situational hitting, perhaps, came in the sixth, where Washington could have made the game close. Runners were on second and third, no outs, with the middle of the order coming up.

Then, Ryan Zimmerman flew to shallow right, Adam Dunn struck out, and Josh Willingham lined to second.

Inning over.

Bring on more McCutchen.

By Chico Harlan  |  August 1, 2009; 10:56 PM ET
 
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Comments

The Nats definitely should not feel bad about losing to the Pirates. The Pirates are a marginal MLB franchise. That is something the Nats aspire to, and someday may achieve.

Posted by: EdDC | August 1, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Why I love Steve McCatty:

Steve McCatty, who after this game ordered his troops into a small coaches' office and delivered an unfiltered critique of the performance.

"Get your head out of your butt and get it done," is how Stammen paraphrased the message.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 1, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Stammen is auditioning, as is Kensing, as is Clippard.
In the end to some extent AAA Syracuse and the Nats are just extensions of each other.

And McCutheon probably was pretty close to the #1 centerfield prospect starting off the year.

Posted by: periculum | August 1, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

The Pirates are now tied for not-last-place in their division. SO happy to have been of service.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 1, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

this carnage kinda reminds me of the scene in the movie "ragtime" when the metropolitan museum of art was taken over. the late, great jimmy cagney played the police commissioner who hoped to reach an agreement with the group led by howard e. rollins when the museum's curator told cagney "you have to get those people out of there. there are some very valuable works of art in there." cagney turned to the man and said "as long as those people are in there, you aren't the curator of ANYTHING." kinda like the situation with rizzo. as long as he hasn't gotten the keys to the castle, he's not the GM of anything. stay tuned for more mediocrity until the end of the season, folks.

Posted by: surly_w | August 2, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Mediocrity?? Mediocrity? I could just hope for mediocrity. Please.

-------------------------------------
stay tuned for more mediocrity until the end of the season, folks.
Posted by: surly_w | August 2, 2009 12:02 AM

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 2, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

I second Nats_Lady. I'd die for the good old days of 81-81 of 2005. What in the name of Jamey Carroll has gone down here?

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 2, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Don't die, JD - we need you! I turned to the Marlins game after the last McCutchen home run. It was nice to see Nick cross the plate to tie the Cubs on a Bonifacio triple. Nick wasn't the only one crying after the trade was announced. What a class act. Zimm's home run in game 1 in Pittsburgh would likely not have been a solo had Nick been batting in front of him. Nick's absence cost the Nats that game, and will likely cost a lot more. Without Beimel, the bullpen returned to its May form. Thank you, Lerners, for absolutely unwatchable baseball.

Posted by: flynnie2 | August 2, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

I was hoping to catch up to you guys in the loss column to get a better draft pick - unless Scott Bore-ass is his advisor...on second thought never mind.

Posted by: MannySanguine | August 2, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

@MannySanguine:

You're our Pittsburgh surly_w of great user names. I usually hate interlopers, yet if you truly are a Pirates fan, you have my admiration and sympathy. If you're old enough, however, you also have much more pleasant baseball memories than any Washington fan.

So don't expect too much love, especially for Thrillege.

Posted by: nats24 | August 2, 2009 1:39 AM | Report abuse

@nats24

Yes I'm a true pirates fan. Not too smart but very loyal. I don't really remember the '71 world series but I was on cloud nine for '79. The Expos were a terror that year and probably a better team but it was just the Bucs year with Stargell, etc. I have respect for the Nat's faithful - I would consider them my second team being close to DC but they need to really rebuild. Pirates have tried this "paste it together", "keep the core together" approach and I don't think it will work - it just keeps a few fans in the seats - ie Adam Dunn needs to be traded next year - in my experience Nat's fans have a stroke when I mention that but is it really better to lose 12-9 when you can lose 12-3 and have a chance to win in 2-3 years?

Still don't get the Blastings hating - was he swiping purses off old ladies outside the stadium? It's not like they had to hire a guy to keep him out of jail ala Duke, right? He's an immature kid who needs structure - as he himself said :"It was a little tough, I'll be honest," he said. "Just trying to get in the swing of how they do things here at Pitt. You can't drive to [rookie-league] games, you have to take the bus. ... I really had to get used to the Pirates' way, and it's pretty disciplined." They sent him down to rookie-league and then let him stew at aaa for a month. Nat's fans hate this guy. They HATE him. I don't care if he's an old-lady purse napper. I just care if he hits. Seriously. Nice guys got us nowhere.

We had a similar situation with Ian Snell. He basically demoted himself to AAA - unheard of. He just felt the major league team was a "negative" environment. wtf? - he was much happier in Indianapolis. Everyone hated him for that. They had to trade him just to get rid of the salary.

Anywho I do look forward to the day of a Bucs-Nats NL Championship series. You guys gotta rebuild though. Keep Ryan and the arms - blow the rest up. Trade Nyjer tomorrow - he's at peak value.

Posted by: MannySanguine | August 2, 2009 2:34 AM | Report abuse

He seems like a guy who was handed too much success too soon and didn't deal with it very well.

Posted by: MannySanguine

**************
No, no, no. That's not it either. Drafted in 2003, MLB debut in 2006. He's had plenty of time.

Milledge seems to blame everyone else for his mistakes, errors, etc, preens in front of cameras ON THE FIELD, says things to the media like "i don't need to listen to the coaches, I do things MY way" and, "I don't need to show up early to the ballpark, my workout schedule is good enough." He also seems to believe that making it to the majors means he doesn't have to work anymore.

He may very well learn that a little humility and a little responsibility are a good idea, but I'm pretty sure that the Nats were already tired of waiting for it. Good luck with that one. I hope he gets it.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 2, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

@Manny,
Love the moniker. Thanks for joining us. I've followed the Pirates a bit longer, used to go to their games as a kid - Clemente, Mazeroski, Elroy Face, Dr. Strangeglove Dick Groat, and inexplicably one of my favorite players, Smokey Burgess. Love PNC Park.

The Milledge hate boils down to the fact that he's a guy who hasn't shown that he was worth what he was traded for, but he acts like he's an entitled star. He's said things like "I gotta be me, I'm not going to be somebody else's idea of a leadoff hitter."

Not enough power for a corner OF, really poor instincts and arm in the outfield so he can't be a CF. I forget who first called his routes to fly balls "pass patterns," but it's devastatingly accurate.

I hope the guy grows up and becomes a better teammate and ballplayer, but at his best he's a 4th outfielder on a good team.

Hope Hanrahan gets it together, he's had a rough time finding a role in which he can succeed. From starter to closer to setup man, enough stuf to tease but hasn't gotten it together.

Geezer

Posted by: utec | August 2, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

@mannysanguine, utec just reminded me. I had the best baseball weekend EVER in Pittsburgh and at PNC park 2 years ago. Nice digs ya'll got there!

Posted by: NatsNut | August 2, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Geezer says: "The Milledge hate boils down to the fact that he's a guy who hasn't shown that he was worth what he was traded for, but he acts like he's an entitled star."

The Nats don't acquire enough players of value, either through trades where the Nats take on significant salary or through free agent signings of guys who make decent salary. Therefore, the Nats do not have value to trade, and can't expect a whole lot of value back. Church and Schneider were basically salary dumps for the Nats. They might be big names as far as the Nats are concerned, but not by MLB standards. The Nats' "bad" trades can be understood best by looking at the budget restrictions placed on the Nats' GMs. I feel sorry for Bowden and the criticism he has taken, for working under such restrictions.

Milledge probably still is worth trading Church and Schneider for. Plus, he helped get Morgan. Who knows, he could still break through.

Posted by: EdDC | August 2, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Move over Albert Pujols, Andrew McCutchen is gnawing at your heals to challenge you for the MLB HR Crown.

OUCH!!!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | August 2, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Something for the Lerners and Kasten to think about while they tell themselves that being patient and sticking to The Plan is the way to go.

For the second time in two weeks, I was in a bar/restaurant in Northern Virginia at game time. Both places had about six TV's. 4-5 of them were tuned to the Orioles game, one or two to the Nats and those sets were not in prominent locations.

It's hard to see how this franchise is truly taking hold here, given the performance we're getting on a daily and annual basis. I still think they're overestimating the current connection between the franchise and the fan base here. I don't usually believe in spending big money on players but if they don't do something to make this team competitive and fast, they're going to be doomed to second class citizenship here for a long time to come.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 2, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Well, if nothing else hopefully this team will get to the bottom of this mystery, what mystery? the pitching staff, why the situational hitting is the worst in baseball, and let us not forget the bullpen. I for one was not impressed with the two trades okay i didn't care about the Biemel trade but "Nick the Quick" bothered me, yeah i know he was a FA at the end of the season but i liked his bat and his glove. Where do we go from here? they've gone from four wins to four loses just like that again i'm for Tim Foli taking over in 2010 and cleaning house bringing in his own staff with the exception of McCatty and maybe Eckstein.Jim Riggleman's a retread and he's been there and.... well you know, time for a different approach and i think Tim Foli is just what this team needs.

Posted by: dargregmag | August 2, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

"For the second time in two weeks, I was in a bar/restaurant in Northern Virginia at game time. Both places had about six TV's. 4-5 of them were tuned to the Orioles game, one or two to the Nats and those sets were not in prominent locations."

You have a typo in this paragraph. 4-5 of those TV sets were tuned to the RED SOX game.

Posted by: nunof1 | August 2, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

@Geez,
"I've followed the Pirates a bit longer, used to go to their games as a kid - Clemente, Mazeroski, Elroy Face, Dr. Strangeglove Dick Groat, and inexplicably one of my favorite players, Smokey Burgess."

Must be some nice memories there - would love to have seen Roberto.

Posted by: MannySanguine | August 2, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I used to hate the Pirates as a kid (rooted for the Phils back then) but two years ago I went to PNC Park. What a great stadium! Makes me wish the Nats had chosen a better locale for their park...but Nats Park is more than adequate.

Posted by: thegraneys | August 2, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

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