Friday, June 24, 2016

THE BLACK-N-GOLD NEWS

     Have you heard the news? It's all over town. Actually, it's all over Black-N-Gold Nation as Mrs. Black-N-Gold brings you the latest edition of that internet sensation: The Black-N-Gold News. Spanning the globe to bring you the up-to-the-minute info on our favorite Black-N-Gold Teams, the Pirates, Steelers and Pens.


                                             THE BLACK-N-GOLD NEWS

PIRATES

Raise the white flag, instead of the Jolly Roger! Our Pirates have had a rough week. Actually, it's been a rough month for our favorite Black-N-Gold Baseball Team. But since Mrs. Black-N-Gold does this about every week or so, she'll just give you the rundown on the past week's happenings. 

The week started with RH Gerrit Cole landing on the 15-day DL with a triceps injury. RH Jameson Taillon was re-called from Triple A Indy to start last Tuesday's game against the Mets in New York. Taillon did not disappoint. He blanked the Mets 4-0 to pick up his 1st MLB victory. Congrats to Jamo!

The next day, the Bucs inked their 1st round draft pick, 3B Will Craig from Wake Forest, to a deal. Things seemed to be going well for the Pirates. From there is all went down hill.

They were mauled by the Mets, 11-2. LF Starling Marte was injured in the game when he took a fly ball to the face. Marte missed the next few games due to swelling. To add insult to injury, the Buccos dropped the next game 6-4 to lose the series.

The Pirates went from dropping 2 of 3 to the defending NL Champs to visiting the NL Central leading Cubs for a 3-game series. Kind of like going from the frying pan, into the fryer, isn't it? The Bucs promptly dropped the opener in 6-0 fashion.

Some Pirates prospects received good news when they were promoted within the minor league systems. Congrats to OF Austin Meadows for his promotion from Double A Altoona to Triple A Indy. Congrats also so SS Kevin Newman who was promoted to Double A Altoona. Hope to see you both at PNC Park soon!

The Pirates also signed another draft pick, 2nd rounder RH Travis MacGregor. Too bad none of the aforementioned players aren't ready now. The Bucs sure could use them. There was much roster shuffling this week, as well.

RH Juan Nicasio was placed on the restricted list due to "family matters". LH Cory Luebke was designated for assignment. The contract of RH Jorge Rondon was purchased from Triple A Indy. INF Jason Rogers and RH Curtis Partch were called up from Indy. RH Rob Scahill was sent back down to Triple A.

None of the moves helped. The Pirates still lost Saturday's contest at Chicago 4-3. The Buccos tried some more roster changes prior to Sunday night's series finale. They called up C Jacob Stallings from Indy and sent Rogers back down. It didn't help. The Pirates were pounded by the Cubs 10-5 and swept out of Chicago.

The Buccos returned home on Monday to begin a 4-game series with the San Fran Giants who were riding an 8-game winning streak. Meanwhile, the Pirates tried to put the brakes on their 5-game skid. The planets aligned on Monday night when LH Jeff Locke outdueled LH Madison Bumgarner. Newly re-acquired C Erik Kratz proved to the difference-maker with his first home run since August of 2014. It barely cleared the wall but still showed on the scoreboard. The Bucs broke the streak with a 1-0 win.

To make it 2 in a row, the Bucs re-called RH Wilfredo Boscan from Indy to make his first MLB start. It did not go that way. Was Monday's win a fluke? Boscan took the loss in Tuesday's game, a 15-4 assault by the Giants. The game was so brutal for the Buccos that LF Starling Marte left with foot discomfort. Hopefully it's not a long-term injury.

To help with their already depleted pitching staff, the Pirates sent Boscan back to Indy and called up the well-traveled LH Kyle Lobstein prior to Wednesday night's game. Again these moves didn't help. The Pirates powered their way to a 6-1 lead only to see the bullpen blow another one. On "Legends of Wrestling Night", the Buccos were body-slammed by San Fran 7-6.

You may want to keep that Jolly Roger lowered. The sinking Pirates ship dropped another one yesterday 5-3. That is the 4th straight series that they've lost.

They now have an opportunity to right the ship with a 4-game series this weekend at PNC Park versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. There's no time like the present to start a WINNING streak. Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

STEELERS

Our Steelers haven't made much noise in the news lately. Typically, that's a good thing. They did complete their mini-camp this past week. No major injuries were reported.

There has been an unsubstantiated report that RB Le'Veon Bell is in violation of the league's substance abuse policy again. Either LB missed and/or failed a mandatory drug test(s). The Beast has denied these claims. If further information surfaces regarding the allegation, Mrs. Black-N-Gold will let you know.

Meanwhile, the countdown to training camp begins. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

PENGUINS

Well, the confetti has been swept away as the Stanley Cup begins making its way around the world with our World Champion Penguins. Now the undertaking of the offseason is at hand.

The Pens announced they won't tender an offer to restricted free agent D Justin Schultz. Schultzy now becomes an unrestricted free agent. The Pens may still try to bring him back, if the price is right. They did say they will tender an offer to their other restricted free agent, F Beau Bennett. That's a head-scratcher. Bennett has shown some potential but has never shown the ability to stay healthy. We'll see where that one goes.

Speaking of injury, it was announced that F Daniel Sprong underwent shoulder surgery. He is expected to be out 7-8 months. Get well soon, Sprongy! The Pens signed F Kevin Porter, himself coming off a mid-March ankle injury, to a 1-year, 2-way contract.

The NHL released the pre-season and regular season schedules. Our favorite Black-N-Gold Hockey Team defends their championship beginning Thursday, October 13 with a home date against the President's Trophy-winning Washington Capitals. You can keep your President's Trophy. We want to the Cup!

The Pens took home some more hardware when the NHL Awards were handed out in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. Congrats to GM Jim Rutherford, winner of the General Manager of the Year Award!

GMJR may have been the only one to win an award on Wednesday but some other Pens received accolades this week. C Sidney Crosby was voted an NHL 1st Team All-Star. D Kris Letang was named to the 2nd team. Congrats to Sid and Tanger!

There was an injury update on C Evgeni Malkin's balky elbow. Earlier in the month, it was speculated that Geno would require Tommy John surgery on the injured week that forced him to miss the final month of the season. It was announced that the Russian Bear will not need the surgery and is not expected to miss any time.

The NHL draft is this weekend coming on the heals of the announcement that Las Vegas will add a team for the 2017-2018 season. Looks like the Pens have some work to do to repeat a Stanley Cup championship. Let's Go Pens!!!!








Thursday, June 23, 2016

THE BULLPEN

     It's supposed to be hard, it's the hard that makes it great! Our Pittsburgh Pirates continue their homestand tonight when they begin a 4-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers at PNC Park. Another game, another loss for the Buccos. They dropped yesterday's finale to San Fran 4-3. That's the 4th straight series they've lost. When they lost on Wednesday night 7-6, it was the first time since June 4 that the Bucs scored 4 or more runs. This team is running itself straight into the ground. Mrs. Black-N-Gold can't stress enough that they can't depend on the pitching. Therefore, she's going to break down her keys for today's game nice and easy for ya. 1)Hit! 2)Run! 3)Score! See how easy that was? If it were easy, everyone would do it. Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


THE BULLPEN

     Hit the ball and touch 'em all! Our Pittsburgh Pirates close out their series with the San Fran Giants this afternoon at PNC Park. These are your keys for today's game. 1)The saying goes that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. That is the best way to sum up what is turning into a woeful Pirates season. Maybe Mrs. Black-N-Gold is the one that is crazy for thinking that this team may actually break out of this funk and find the win column. The Bucs keep lugging the same arms out of the bullpen and they get the same results. The latest victim was RH Jared Hughes who has not looked like his ground ball inducing-self at all this year. The Buccos powered their way to a 6-1 lead last night only to see starting LH Francisco Liriano start to give it away. Hughes came in with the Pirates up 6-4 only to depart with them down 7-6. It was a blow from which they still haven't recovered. The Bucs will try to salvage a split with San Fran in today's finale. The Pirates better get a fresh perspective and some fresh arms soon or this June swoon will continue into the rest of the summer. Right the ship real quick! 2)The poor offense, they finally get a lead just to see it slip away and ultimately handed over to San Fran. It's not like they didn't have more opportunities. They just failed to capitalize on them. With this club, they need to score every chance they get. More, more, more Hit, Run, & Score! 3)Say the planets do align like they did way back on Monday night. The pitching was good and there was just enough hitting for the win. Then Pirates fans have to hope that they don't get "Hurdled" into the loss column. Yes, win it rains, it pours, even on the manager. He doesn't have many options to push the right buttons these days but Clint has got to make the right moves to put this team in the win column. Use your head, that's the lump 3 feet above your ass! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

THE BULLPEN

     Root, root, root for the home team! Our Pittsburgh Pirates continue their series tonight against the San Fran Giants at PNC Park. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Did Mrs. Black-N-Gold say "root for the home team"? Our favorite Black-N-Gold Baseball Team makes it very difficult to root for them when they continuously take one step forward, two steps back. Last night was not exception, a 15-4 drubbing at the hands of San Fran. How bad was it? C Erik Kratz was pressed into mop-up duty in the 9th. Don't laugh. He held the Giants scoreless for the first time since the 3rd inning. With the pitching in the sorry state that it's in, maybe the Bucs want to consider moving Kratz to the bullpen. Can anyone on this team pitch consistently well? Take out an ad: Wanted pitchers, apply PNC Park. Mrs. Black-N-Gold thinks that GM Neal Huntington's comments made in the offseason, something to the effect that pitchers should pay the Pirates to come here, is coming back to bite the GM in the behind. This team is 23rd in MLB with a 4.53 ERA. You can take your metrics and try to crunch the numbers in the Bucs favor all you want but the bottom line is this pitching staff, both starters and relievers, is BAD. You got to know when to hold 'em! 2)It's tough for a team when they almost always have to play catch-up but that's what the offense has to do. Unfortunately, this team goes as CF Andrew McCutchen goes. He's ready for a break out, you say? It's hard to do that when you don't make contact. 0 for 3 with 3 strikeouts does not a break out make. If they continue to wait for Cutch to get in gear, they may be stuck in neutral for a long time. Last night they scored 4 runs. That's not good enough. We need more Hit, Run, & Score! 3)Losing 6 of 7 and 11 of 13 is a good way to sink this ship. Gimme a W! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

THE BULLPEN

     I have seen enough to know I have seen too much! Our Pittsburgh Pirates continue their series tonight against the San Fran Giants at PNC Park. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Mrs. Black-N-Gold had to do some searching last night. She had to find the long-dormant Jolly Roger and raise it with the Pirates 1-0 shutout in the series opener. One run may have got the job done last night. But there's always room for more Hit, Run & Score! 2)Last night's victory was a perfect way to start the homestand after an arduous road trip. There's no place like home! 3)The Buccos have now won 5 games in the month of June. Get your kicks with win #6! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Monday, June 20, 2016

THE BULLPEN

     There's no crying in baseball! Our Pittsburgh Pirates return home tonight to the friendly confines of PNC Park to open a 4-game series against the San Fran Giants. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)There's good news from last night's latest L! After scoring just 3 runs in the first 2 games of the series with the Cubs, the Bucs put 5 on the board. The bad news is they allowed the Cubs to plate 10 runs. Pitching continues to be a problem with this club. Surrendering 5 home runs and allowing your opponent to go 4 for 9 with runner in scoring position is not going to win you ballgames. Tonight they look to LH Jeff Locke, 5-5, 5.92 ERA, to stop the bleeding. Locke up a win! 2)Meanwhile, our Buccos were 4 for 15 with runners in scoring position last evening. You can't leave Bucs on the pond. Bring 'em on home! 3)San Fran starts LH Madison Bumgarner, 8-2, 1.91 ERA. You may remember MadBum. He's a 3-time World Champion, a 3-time All-Star, and another pitcher who ended the Pirates playoff hopes in a Wild Card game. Hit him early, hit him often, hit him HARD with some Hit, Run, & Score! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Sunday, June 19, 2016

THE BULLPEN

     Rounding 3rd and heading for home! Our Pittsburgh Pirates, thankfully, close out their road trip with another one under the lights tonight against the Chicago Cubs. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)And the losses just keep on coming following last night's latest, 4-3. What the L? Gimme a W! 2)With last night's defeat, the Bucs are 4-13 this month. If you continue with the June swoon, Milwaukee will catch you soon! 3)At least the Buccos are consistent....consistently bad, that is. This game is fairly simple but Mrs. Black-N-Gold will try to dumb it down for you. Hit, Run, & Score! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!