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Message #23 of 41  *NEW*
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RJ Warner  
Subject:  A funny thing happened on the way to a loss
Date:  5/13/06, 2:55am
For the 21st time this season, the Pirates came out of the first inning facing a deficit. Victor Santos did the honors this time, spotting the Florida Marlins a five run lead in the opening stanza. This time, the Pirates realized they were playing the Marlins, the only team below them in the National League staandings.

The Pirates rallied for a 12-9 win before a Zach Duke bobblehead induced crowd of almost 24,990. Jason Bay, dropped to sixth in the order, knocked in four runs. Nate Mclouth scored four runs and Matt Capps came out of the bullpen for his first major league win.

Hopefully for Bay -and his fantasy owners- this could finally signal the breaking of a prolonged and baffling slump. He was showing a little more patience at the plate and was able to work ahead in the count, which has been rare this season.

Oliver Perez's turn in the rotation was skipped due to yesterday's rainout. He is scheduled to start Wednesday against the Reds and will throw two or three bullpen sessions -to work on mechanical issues - in his extended layoff.

I've been pretty hard on Ollie (as have many others in Bucsland) this season. He seems to be scuffling the most out of an inconsistent starting rotation, which was hoped to be a strength this year. There have been whispers that he could be on his way to Indianapolis if he doesn't turn it around. Or at least the bullpen. There a few starters in Indy (Tom Gorzelanny, Brandon Duckworth) that are pitching well and raring for a call up to the big club. Let's hope Ollie can pull it together. I hate to see a promising career derailed so soon.

Despite their struggles, the Pirates have dipped into the farm system only once this year, calling up third baseman Jose Bautista to replace the hobbled Joe Randa. Bautista has played well, hitting .333 with a .474 On Base Percentage. Wouldn't get too excited about him fantasy-wise, as he has little power and doesn't steal bases, despite batting at the top of the order.

Check out for more.

Go hit some fungoes,

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