Tuesday, April 28, 2015

THE BULLPEN

     Hit the ball and touch 'em all! Your Pittsburgh Pirates continue their series in the Windy City tonight as they battle the Chicago Scrubs. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)It's a battle of lefties as the Pirates pit Jeff Locke, 2-0, 3.32 ERA against Chicago's Travis Wood, 1-1, 3.24 ERA. Locke and load and get good Wood! 2)In last night's opener, the Bucs were blanked 4-0, scratching out just 4 hits. We need more Hit, Run & Score! 3)Chicago has won 3 in row. Shut the front door on win #4! Lets Go Bucs!!!!!


Monday, April 27, 2015

SLAP SHOTS

     Mrs. Black-N-Gold has calmed down since our Pittsburgh Penguins suffered elimination at the hands of the New York Strangers following Friday night's 2-1 OT defeat. The Pens have conducted their exit interviews and cleared out their lockers, heading for the golf course. For some, their futures are uncertain.

      Over the weekend the Pens front office did make clear the futures for GM Jim Rutherford and Coach Mike Johnston. It was announced that both would return next season. What about the rest of the coaching staff? And how about the entire team, for that matter?

     It was speculated repeatedly during the regular season that the team would be blown up and re-built from the ground up if the Pens exited the postseason early. Well, here we are with a round one flameout. Where do the Pens go from here? Early reports are that ownership flat our refuses to trade the core of the team, Cs Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, G Marc-Andre Fleury and D Kris Letang. Over the weekend it was reported that both Sid and Geno have expressed a desire to remain in Pittsburgh. Although both finished among the league points leaders, both also underperformed badly during the playoffs. Flower is coming off a career year and was the one bright spot in an otherwise dismal postseason. Tanger had another injury-riddled season and finished the year on the IR.

     Yes, injuries did play a major role in the Penguins season, yet again. This fact was made abundantly clear when Rutherford failed to consider the salary cap whilst he was dealing with the injuries to his roster. Thus leaving the Pens shorthanded at the end of the regular season. Hopefully this will be a shortcoming on the GM's part that he corrects during his tenure in Pittsburgh.

     And as the Pens were falling apart down the stretch, their coach was doing his best John Russell impersonation behind the bench. For those that don't know, Russell was the stoic, lifeless coach of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the end of their playoff-free years. When the Penguins needed a fire lit under them to keep them moving, Johnston just stood their, without so much as a match.

     For sure the Pens will have to say goodbye to some of their greybeards who have outlived their usefulness and their contracts. We may have seen the last of Chris Kunitz, Rob Scuderi and Craig Adams in Black-N-Gold. Here's hoping that this regime becomes a little more open to integrating the youngsters into the lineup. They didn't exhibit that trait this season and neither did the previous regime. How do you expect the next generation to get their feet wet if they're not allowed in the pool? Besides, Mrs. Black-N-Gold heard too many times during the NY series how fast the Strangers are. Some young, fresh legs may inject some life into a stagnant Penguins locker room.

     The Pens need to get young and to get Sid and Geno the supporting cast that they so desperately need and deserve. They've wasted too many years with too little talent beside them. And if Rutherford and Johnston ultimately prove that they're not up to the challenge, don't be slow to show them the door. There's only so many times that fans can say "Wait until next year". Let's Go Pens!!!

THE BULLPEN

     Hey batter, batter, batter, batter! Your Pittsburgh Pirates continue their road trip as they open up a 3-game set tonight at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field against the Chicago Scrubs. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Pirates send RH Vance Worley to the bump. Vanimal's record on the young season is 2-1 with a 4.00 ERA. He'll face Chicago RH Jason Hammel, 1-1, 5.19 ERA. The two squared off last week at PNC Park with Worley getting the 4-3 victory. That win started the Bucs on their current 5-game winning streak. Unleash the Vanimal! 2)The Pirates starting rotation has a 1.88 ERA in their last 13 games. Sink the Scrubs! 3)The Pirates have won 8 of their last 10 and are victorious in their last 5 games at Wrigley. Give 'em more, Hit, Run & Score! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

THE BULLPEN

     Look at me, I can be in centerfield! Your Pittsburgh Pirates close out their series against the Arizona D-Bags this afternoon. These are your keys for today's game. 1)Last night's 2-1 win gave the Buccos 4 straight. #5 would be great! 2)The starting rotation has an ERA of 2.79. They'll look to lower that today as they send LH Francisco Liriano to the hill. Frankie has a 3.00 ERA but at 0-1 he's still looking for his first W. Frankie will face RH Jeremy Hellickson, 1-2, 4.58 ERA. The Pirates are also looking for their first sweep ever in the desert. Break out the brooms and Raise the Jolly Roger! 3)The Bucs have only managed 4 runs in Frankie's 3 starts. Give him more Hit, Run & Score! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Saturday, April 25, 2015

THE BLACK-N-GOLD NEWS

     Stop the presses, stop the presses! It's time for Mrs. Black-N-Gold to fill you in on the latest from your favorite Black-N-Gold teams, the Penguins, the Pirates and the Steelers. Yes, boys and girls, it's time for another edition of The Black-N-Gold News.

                                              THE BLACK-N-GOLD NEWS


The Penguins-The Boys of Winter made short work of their spring. Unfortunately, our Pens were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs with last night's 2-1 OT loss to the New York Strangers. New York won the series 4 games to 1. G Marc-Andre Fleury played out of his mind the entire season, recording 10 shutouts to lead the league and set a new team record. The Flower also was named an All-Star for the first time in his career and was team MVP. However, illness and injury dogged the Pens all season and salary cap restrictions made it difficult for GM Jim Rutherford to maneuver the roster. This team has many questions to answer in the offseason. Chief among them is the status of the GM and Coach Mike Johnston. What will the Pens do to the team, as well? Do they continue to ride with the core of Cs Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, D Kris Letang and the Flower? Mrs. Black-N-Gold will keep you in the loop for all things Penguins during the offseason as our team gears up for a run to Lord Stanley's Cup next year. Let's Go Pens!!!

The Pirates-The Buccos completed their sweep of Milwaukee on Sunday, 5-2. On Monday they welcomed the Chicago Scrubs to town for a 4-game series, losing the opener 5-2. They made it 2 straight loses to the Scrubs with Tuesday night's 9-8 loss. In both games, the Bucs bullpen, considered a strength going into the season surrendered multiple leads and appeared to be a weakness for the NL Central-contenders. The Pirates got back in the win column with Wednesday's 4-3 win and followed that up Thursday afternoon with a 5-4 victory. The Pirates packed up the Jolly Roger and waved it in the Arizona desert last night, winning 4-1. The Pirates continue their series vs. the D-Bags tonight as they go for 4 wins in a row and try to get RH AJ Burnett his first win since returning to the 'Burgh. Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

The Steelers-The Steelers continue to make roster moves and visit with potential draft picks as they ready for the first round of the draft this Thursday, April 30 in Chicago. RFA FB Will Johnson signed his tender. The Steelers claimed LS Brandon Hartson off waivers to add some depth during the offseason. Some more players visited the South Side this week. They included: CBs Steven Nelson from Oregon State, Marshall's Darryl Roberts, Bryce Callahan of Rice, Utah's Eric Row and Doran Grant of Ohio State. They also visited with North Dakota State DT Kyle Emmanuel. Looks like they're loading up for a run on defense in the draft this year. The Steelers also began their voluntary workouts at their facility this week. WR Antonio Brown made news as it was rumored he would pass (pun intended) up the voluntary OTAs as well as the mandatory practices and, perhaps, training camp if his contract isn't re-worked. AB's current deal runs through 2017. Brown refuted these statements when he was quoted as saying he is missing workouts this week due to the birth of his newborn daughter. Again, these are considered VOLUNTARY workouts and he wouldn't be the first Steeler to miss them. All of Black-N-Gold Nation will continue to hold their breath over this situation and see what happens when the workouts are mandatory. Maybe the Steelers have AB's replacement pegged in this week's draft. We'll continue to cover this story (non-story?) as it develops. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!


THE BULLPEN

     Let's go, let's go, he can't hit, he can't hit! Your Pittsburgh Pirates continue their series in the desert today as they battle the D-Bags of Arizona. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Pirates RH AJ Burnett starts tonight. At 0-1 with a 2.00 ERA, AJ is still looking for his first win since returning to the Buccos. He'll face D-Bags RH Rubby De La Rosa, 2-1, 6.00 ERA. Snakebite the D-Bags! 2)The Pirates have only managed 3 total runs in AJ's 3 starts. Got to give AJ the support he needs. Be an athletic supporter. Hit, Run & Score! 3)The Pirates have won 3 straight. #4 would be great! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

Friday, April 24, 2015

THE BULLPEN

     We want a pitcher, not a belly-itcher! Happy Bucs & Pucks Day! Your Pittsburgh Pirates take their show on the road as they open a 3-game series tonight in the desert against the Arizona D-Bags. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Pirates took the final 2 in their 4-game set with the Scrubs, winning yesterday 5-4. Tonight they go for 3 straight. If it's 3, it's for me! 2)These 2 teams don't like each other. Remember, we took out their best player, 1B Paul Goldschmidt last year. The following day they retaliated by plunking CF Andrew McCutchen. They no longer have jagoff manager Kirk Gibson so we'll see whether they want to play beanbrawl again. Hit 'em early, hit 'em often, hit 'em HARD, Hit, Run & Score! 3)The Pirates start RH Gerrit Cole, 2-0, 2.65 ERA. The D-Bags answer with RH Josh Collmenter, 1-2, 3.38 ERA. All aboard the Cole Train for another victory! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!