Saturday, May 6, 2017

SLAP SHOTS

     Happy Pucks & Bucs Day! Hop in the Cordoba, baby, we're going bowling; it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins take their 3-1 series lead to DC tonight to finish off.....oops, make that faceoff against the Washington Capitals. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Pardon Mrs. Black-N-Gold for putting the cart before the horse but she's sick of the Capitals and they're whining. Wouldn't it be a cherry on top our Black-N-Gold Sundae to go down to DC and eliminate the crybaby Capitals in front of their own fans? Take the crowd and the Caps out of the game as quickly as possible. Score early, score often, score BIG Goals, Goals, Goals! 2)The Pens held the vaunted Capitals power play in check in Wednesday night's 3-2 win. The Caps were 0 for 4 with the man-advantage. Now, of course, this can't last forever. And the best way to keep the Caps from scoring on the power play is to stay the heck out of the penalty box. That's not likely to happen either. Kill 'em all! 3)Mrs. Black-N-Gold just loves how the Pens have battled their way through this series, especially considering all the adversity they've faced. What better way to reward themselves then to end this series tonight and get an extended break until the next series? You've got them on the ropes. Stay on their case and in their face. Keep on PUCKN! Let's Go Pens!!!!



THE BULLPEN

     Happy Bucs & Pucks Day! The crack of the bat, the thrill of the hit! Our Pittsburgh Pirates continue their series with the Milwuakee Brewers tonight at PNC Park. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Our Pittsburgh Pirates go for 2 in a row following last night's 4-0 blanking of the Brewers. The Bucs will start RH Gerrit Cole, 1-3, 3.50 ERA. He'll face Milwaukee RH Matt Garza, 1-0, 3.38 ERA. All aboard the Cole Train for a win! 2)In last night's win, 1B Josh Bell knocked his 5th home run of the season. That ties him with 3B Josh Harrison and CF Andrew McCutchen for the team lead. Chicks dig the long ball! 3)The Pirates continue to have one of the worst offenses in the NL. They're among the bottom-feeders in most offensive categories. Mrs. Black-N-Gold doesn't know about you but she finds the Bucs lack of offense quite offensive. Give us more Hit, Run, & Score! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Friday, May 5, 2017

THE BULLPEN

     Baseball fever, catch it! Our Pittsburgh Pirates return home to the friendly confines of PNC Park tonight to start a 3-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Lower the Jolly Roger again. The Pirates dropped the finale to the Cincy series yesterday, 4-2, losing 3 of 4 to the Reds. Not counting their 12-run outburst in the lone win during that series, the Bucs scored just 7 runs in 3 games. We need more, more, more Hit, Run, & Score! 2)The season is barely a month old and Mrs. Black-N-Gold is not happy with the Pittsburgh Baseball Club. They're 12-16 and 3.5 games out in the NL Central as they occupy the basement and they've managed to misplace the Jolly Roger. Right the ship and raise it! 3)Seriously, Mrs. Black-N-Gold said in her season preview that the front office didn't do enough to help this ball club and, unfortunately that is more and more apparent every game. Mrs. Black-N-Gold is not happy with the way Manager Clint Hurdle is managing the lineup, either, although he did make me look foolish the other night in the 12-3 win. I guess even a blind squirrel finds a nut occasionally. However, I must admit, Hurdle's job can't be easy what with the injuries and the horrible job GM Neal Huntington did amassing a roster. That's no excuse for the terrible play from the regulars. Hurdle needs to light a fire under these guys. Stop SUCKN and start BUCN! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Thursday, May 4, 2017

THE BULLPEN

     Got kind of tire of packing and unpacking! Our Pittsburgh Pirates close out their series this afternoon in Cincy versus the Reds. These are your keys for today's game. 1)The bipolar Bucs were at it again last night, losing to Cincy 7-2. This time is consistently inconsistent. They're up 1 day and down the next. Mrs. Black-N-Gold needs a prescription for Prozac to watch this team. They were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position, leaving 10 men on base. Need I say more? Hit, Run, & Score! 2)Mrs. Black-N-Gold doesn't like to single out players but LF Gregory Polanco's poor play can't be denied. Is he the only regular cleanup hitter in MLB that still doesn't have a home run after over a month of play? And he still only has 4 RBIs. What kind of cleanup hitter is that?! I know the Bucs don't have many options to bat 4th, considering the circumstances but clearly .229 average are not getting the job done. Get hot, El Coffee! 3)The NL Pitcher of the Month for April, RH Ivan Nova, 3-2, 1.50 ERA, will start for the Pirates. RH Tim Adelman, 0-1, 4.70 ERA starts for Cincy. Adelman has just the kind of stats that befuddle the Bucs. Nova deserves so much better than a 3-2 mark. He just isn't getting the run support that he should. Once again, we need to call on our prized free agent pickup from the offseason to pull the Pirates out of their funk. Be a super Nova! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

SLAP SHOTS

     Happy Pucks & Bucs Day! Buy Sam a drink and get his dog one, too; it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Our Pittsburgh Penguins faceoff against the Washington Capitals tonight at PPG Paints Arena with a 2 games to 1 lead in their 2nd round playoff series. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)By now Mrs. Black-N-Gold is sure that you've heard that Pens C Sidney Crosby is out for tonight's game with a concussion following the hit from Caps D Matt Niskanen in Monday's 3-2 overtime loss. We're also without F Conor Sheary who suffered a concussion, as well. They keep knocking us down but we keep getting back up. No way we stand for this. It's time to show these jagoffs what winners do when faced with adversity. We need to beat the crap out of the Caps. And win I say "beat" I mean win the damn game. Next man up! 2)Speaking of "next man up" it's time for C Evgeni Malkin to take control. Typically, Geno is content to sit back and do his thing while Sid is the Best Player in Hockey. But it's times like these that #71 proves why he wears the "A" on his sweater. Go, Go, Geno! 3)We don't want to go back to DC on Saturday with a 2-2 series tie. Wouldn't it be cool to go down there and take this series and rub it in their smug little faces? Fire up the Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!!


THE BULLPEN

    Happy Bucs & Pucks Day! I want a triple shot of Cincinnati juice! Our Pittsburgh Pirates carry on their series in Cincy tonight as they face the Reds. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The battlin' Bucs came back from a 3-0 deficit to route the Reds 12-3 last night. 3B Josh Harrison smacked his 3rd home run in 2 games in front of his family & friends in his hometown. Keep on BUCN! 2)The Pirates were an impressive 5 for 9 with runners in scoring position. There's always room for more Hit, Run, & Score! 3)Pirates RH Jameson Taillon, 2-0, 2.08 ERA will face Reds RH Rookie Davis, 0-1, 11.17 ERA. In the rookie's last start, a 9-4 loss to Milwaukee, Davis lasted just 2.2 innings, giving up 7 earned runs on 11 hits. Rock the rookie! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

THE BULLPEN

     Baby, if you've ever wondered, wondered whatever became of me! Our Pittsburgh Pirates continue their series in Cincinnati tonight versus the Reds. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Following last night's disappointing 4-3 loss in 10 innings, the Pirates have dropped 2 in a row. Right the ship and raise the Jolly Roger! 2)The latest loss was marred by errors. Again. Gotta to tighten up that D. The fact that the team only registered 3 hits all night didn't help, either True, they were all home runs and chicks do dig the long ball. However, what's that saying Mrs. Black-N-Gold is always fond of repeating? Hit, Run,  & Score! 3)Once again, the Pirates made Cincy CF Billy Hamilton look like the Hall of Famer he is......at least when he plays Pittsburgh. He's batting all of .222 and he goes 2 for 5 with 3 stolen bases last night. Maybe the Bucs can sign Matt Niskanen to take this kid out. Keep him off the basepaths! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Monday, May 1, 2017

SLAP SHOTS

     Happy Pucks & Bucs Day! Shave my legs with a rusty razor; it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Our Pittsburgh Penguins return home tonight to faceoff against the Washington Capitals at PPG Paints Arena with a 2-0 series lead. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)With Saturday night's 6-2 victory, the Pens have scored 9 goals in the 1st 2 games of this series. Crank up the Crue and the Goals, Goals, Goals! 2)Meanwhile, G Marc-Andre Fleury has been stellar, holding the President's Trophy winners to just 2 goals in each of the 1st 2 games. Flower Power! 3)Washington Coach Barry Trotz pulled Vezina Trophy-winning G Braden Holtby on Saturday night. The Pens are in the Caps heads. Now stay there. Get in his face & on his case! Let's Go Pens!!!!



THE BULLPEN

     Happy Bucs & Pucks Day! Make baseball great again! Our Pittsburgh Pirates take their show on the road to Cincy tonight to open a 4-game series versus the Reds. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Pirates had an opportunity to sweep Miami in FLA yesterday, but thanks to a 10-3 thumping, that didn't materialize. Tonight, RH Gerrit Cole, 1-3, 3.60 ERA will face Cincy LH Amir Garrett, 2-2, 5.09 ERA. Cole typically does not do well against Cincy. Get the Cole Train and the Bucs on the winning track! 2)The Buccos bats did come alive for most of the Marlins series, good for 19 runs in the 3-game set. How about more Hit, Run, & Score! 3)For as bad as the Bucs have looked in the early going, they're only 2 games under .500 at 11-13 and 2.5 games out of 1st place after the 1st month of the season. It's important to start off the month of May on a good note, especially considering that Cincy swept us at home during the 1st week of the season. Raise the Jolly Roger!! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Saturday, April 29, 2017

THE BLACK-N-GOLD NEWS

     Pittsburgh Penguins. Pittsburgh Pirates. Pittsburgh Steelers. Has Mrs. Black-N-Gold got all the news for you. That's right, Black-N-Gold Nation, Mrs. Black-N-Gold has all the information because it's time for another edition of The Black-N-Gold News.


                                          THE BLACK- N-GOLD NEWS

PENGUINS

When last we saw our Penguins, they were still in the midst of their 1st round series against the Columbus Blue Jagoffs. Well, our Favorite Black-N-Gold Hockey Team made short order of the Blue Jagoffs, bouncing them from the playoffs with last weeks 5-2 win to take the series 4 games to 1. 

Once the Pens finished out Columbus, they sent Fs Tom Sestito & Josh Archibald and D Cameron Gaunce back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Meaanwhile, they were left wondering if they would face the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Washington Capitals in the 2nd round. 

The Pens found out Sunday night that they would take their show on the road to the Nation's Capitol to faceoff against the Washington Capitals in round 2. They took Game 1 in DC on Thursday night with a 3-2 victory. In that game, F Chris Kunitz returned to the lineup. Last night the Pens made it 2 games to 0 with a 6-2 whitewashing in Washington. In that contest, the Pens saw Fs Patric Hornqvist & Tom Kuhnhackl and D Ron Hainsey all leave the game. No word yet on their status. 

The Pen return to home ice on Monday night. That will be a 7:30pm faceoff on NBCSN. Let's Go Pens!!!!

PIRATES

It's been an up and down week for our Pirates. Last Friday night, the New York Yankees came to town for an interleague matchup. The Bucs took the opener 6-3. The Pirates blew game 2 with an 11-5 loss. However, our Favorite Black-N-Gold Baseball Team were able to take the series with Sunday's 2-1 victory. 

The Buccos were bitten by the injury bug more than once this week. It all began when they put UTIL Adam Frazier on the 10 day DL with a hamstring. They called up RH Dovydas Neverauskas from Triple A Indy. That move didn't really help the Bucs as they were crushed by the Cubs that night, 14-3 In that contest, Neverauskas became the 1st born & raised Lithuanian in MLB histroy. 

Another injury hit the Bucs when they placed LH Antonio Bastardo on the 10-day DL. They called up RH Johnny Barbato from Indy to take his place. Then the Pirates lost a 1-0 contest to the Cubs. 

The next day, Neverauskas was sent back to Triple A and INF Gift Ngoepe was called up. The move must have help because the Pirates clipped the Cubs that night to salvage a win, 6-5. It was another night of firsts as Ngoepe became the 1st African born player in MLB. 

The Pirates moved on to Miami on Friday to start a 3-game set. On Friday, the Bucs blasted the Marlins 12-2. Yesterday, they placed another player on the 10-day DL. This time it was INF David Freese and his balky hammy. They called up OF Danny Ortiz from Triple A. They then defeated the Marlins 4-0 thanks for RH Ivan Nova's Greg Maddux-like performance, a complete game shutout with under 100 pitches. Today the Buccos look to break out the brooms. Complete the sweep. Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

STEELERS

Our Steelers had a busy week, as well. The regular season schedule was released for our Favorite Black-N-Gold Football Team but that wasn't all. 

The Steelers exercised their 5th year option for LB Ryan Shazier. Shazy will make $8.718 million this season. 

The NFL announced that they conditionally reinstated suspended WR Martavis Bryant. Hopefully, Bryant can return to his play-making ways and stay off the commissioner's radar. 

The draft kicked off on Thursday night. The Steelers selected Wisconsin OLB TJ Watt with the 30th overall pick. In the 2nd round, the Steelers picked USC WR JuJu Smith-Schuster. They had 2 3rd round picks; CB Cameron Sutton from Tennessee and Pitt RB James Conner. The made Tennessee QB Josh Dobbs their 4th round pick. In the 5th round, they selected Utah CB Brian Allen. Their 6th round pick was Louisville LS Colin Holba. The Steelers closed out their draft by selecting Western Michigan LB Keion Adams in the 7th round. 

The rookes will get a chance to show their stuff this weekend when rookie minicamp gets under way. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!



THE BULLPEN

     You got a beat up glove, a homemade bat and a brand new pair of shoes! Our Pittsburgh Pirates close out their series in Miami this afternoon as they battle the Marlins. These are your keys for today's game. 1)The Pirates have won 3 straight on the strength of last night's 4-0 win. We want win #4 so Hit, Run, & Score! 2)The Pirates pitching has really played in this series, holding the Marlins to just 2 runs in the 1st 2 games. You got to know when to hold 'em! 3)The Bucs look to clean house in FLA today. The problem is, Manager Clint Hurdle typically trots out his Triple A lineup on Sundays, punting away the game. Complete the sweep. Bring your A game! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


SLAP SHOTS

    Happy Pucks & Bucs Day! Great balls of fire; it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins continue their 2nd round series vs the Washington Capitals tonight. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Pens got off to a hot start, scoring 1st in Game 1 and taking the lift-lidder in this series on Thursday with a 3-2 win. C Sidney Crosby slapped the Caps silly with the 1st 2 goals in rapid succession and C Nick Bonino closed it out with the game-winner. This was an important win for the Pens because they got off to slow starts in the Columbus series and have not played well on the road overall this season. Gimme a W! 2)G Marc-Andre Fleury played out of his mind on Thursday, looking very Matrix-like in the victory. MAF has also not been his best away from PPG Paints Arena. MAF is a bad MF! 3)The Pens need to keep the hot hand early and take the Caps crowd out of the game as quickly as possible. Rock the Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!!


THE BULLPEN

     Happy Bucs & Pucks Day! Party in the city where the heat is on! Our Pittsburgh Pirates continue their series in Miami tonight when they matchup against the Marlins. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)With last night's 12-2 dismantling of the Marlins, the Pirates have won 2 straight. If it's 3, it's for me! 2)Last night the Bucs brought the lumber in their victory, scoring a season-high 12 runs on a season-high 18 hits. We want more Hit, Run, & Score! 3)Tonight the Pirates start RH Ivan Nova, 2-2, 2.00 ERA. The Fish with go with RH Dan Straily, 1-1, 3.92 ERA. Be Super, Nova! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Friday, April 28, 2017

THE BULLPEN

     I believe in the Church of Baseball! Our Pittsburgh Pirates take their show on the road to Miami tonight as they begin a 3-game series with the Marlins. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Pirates found the win column to end their homestand, clipping the Cubs on Wednesday night, 6-5. They are currently 9-12 and would need to sweep the Marlins to finish the first month of the season at an even .500. Sink the Fish! 2)The Bucs bats came alive in Wednesday's win with 10 hits, 5 of them for extra bases including homers by Joshs Harrison & Bell. There's always room for more Hit, Run, & Score! 3)Pirates RH Jameson Taillon, 1-0, 2.13 ERA, will oppose Miami lefty Adam Conley, 1-1, 3.00 ERA. Don't look now but the Pirates pitching staff is ranked 5th in the NL with an ERA of 3.99. Miami is right behind them at #6 with a 4.03 ERA. You've got to know when to hold 'em! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!



Thursday, April 27, 2017

SLAP SHOTS

     Eddie spaghetti, it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins advanced to the 2nd round of the Stanley Cup playoffs where they'll faceoff against the Washington Capitals tonight in Game 1. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Caps won the President's Trophy as the team with the best regular season record. However, the Pens were the highest scoring team. It's all about the Goals, Goals, Goals, baby! 2)The Pens did not get off to great starts in their games against Columbus in the 1st round. Take the Caps and the crowd out of it early. Score early, score often, score BIG! 3)Caps G Braden Holtby is a Vezina Trophy finalist. Pens F Phil Kessel is a Stanley Cup Champion. Get on Holtby's case and in his face! Let's Go Pens!!!!



Wednesday, April 26, 2017

THE BULLPEN

     I'm ready to play today! Our Pittsburgh Pirates close out their homestand tonight with the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The good news; The Pirates weren't embarrassed in their latest loss, 1-0 to the Cubs last night. The bad news: it still goes in the loss column. The good news: The Bucs only committed 1 error last night. The bad news: That 1 error led to that lone run. Even when the Pirates do better, they do bad. They try to salvage a win tonight to end this homestand. Right the ship. Find the win column. Raise the Jolly Roger! 2)The Bucs have scored just 5 runs in their last 3 games. You gotta find a way to get the runners home. Hit, Run, & Score! 3)The Pirates face Cubs lefty Jon Lester, 0-0, 2.66 ERA. RH Tyler Glasnow, 0-1, 7.94 ERA, will go for the Buccos. Glasnow has shown improvement as his ERA has gone down from 27.00 but he still has that dear-in-the-headlights look. Lester is notorious for refusing to throw to 1st base when a runner is on. If, and with this team that's a big IF, we can get on base, we better run, run away. Stop SUCKN and start BUCN! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

THE BULLPEN

     Put me in coach! Our Pittsburgh Pirates continue their series with the Chicago Cubs tonight at PNC Park. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)What a shame it is when you spend all day looking forward to watching your team play later that night only to see that team not show up. That was the case last night when the Cubs crushed the Pirates 14-3. I don't know about you, but Mrs. Black-N-Gold is not the least bit impressed with the Bucs jack of all trades/master of none bench. To have 1 super-utility man is 1 thing (think 2014 JHay or last season's SRod) but to have an entire bench full of them? That's just ridiculous. This continues to become more and more apparent. Especially now that UTIL Adam Frazier is on the 10 day DL with a hammy. What does the Pittsburgh Baseball Club do? They call up RH Dovydas Neverauskas from Indy. Too bad the Bucs gave away 3 outfielders within the last year: Wily Garcia-waived in the offseason, off to a scorching start at Triple A & played in the White Sox All-Garcia outfield last week, Keon Broxton-expected to be a breakout star for the Brewers this year after coming over for perpetual Triple A player Jason Rogers a few years ago, Harold Ramirez-part of the Liriano salary dump. True, all of these players were let go because we had The Outfield of Dreams. Well that dream is now officially a nightmare. The face that the FO didn't prepare for this is what's most frustrating. Sure, you can't prepare for a suspension but it's not like Marte and Polanco haven't been injury riddled during their careers. Speaking of Polanco, please put his picture on the side of a milk carton because this kid has disappeared. In other words, ya need to do more Hit, Run, & Score! 2)The clock struck midnight on the Pirates last night as the starting pitching, their one saving grace, turned into a pumpkin. We'll see if RH Gerrit Cole, 1-2, 4.70 ERA. can get this team back on the winning track. All aboard the Cole Train for a win! 3)On the bright side of last night's fiasco (you mean there's a bright side?), the Bucs only recorded 2 errors in the game. That's impressive that this team's run total exceeded their errors. But still, the miscues continue. Gimme a D! Gimme a Fense! What's that spell? D-Fense! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Monday, April 24, 2017

THE BULLPEN

     Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks! Our Pittsburgh Pirates open a 3-game set tonight vs the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Pirates took 2 outta 3 from the Yanks thanks to yesterday's 2-1 victory. It's the 1st time this season the Bucs have scored less than 4 and walked away with a win. Give us some more Hit, Run, & Score! 2)Remember last weekend, when the Pirates went to Wrigley and swept the World Champs? Yeah, I do, too. Repeat the sweep! 3)Cubs LH Brett Anderson, 1-0, 4.40 ERA, will face Pirates RH Chad Kuhl, 1-1, 2.60 ERA. The Bucs starting pitching has been tremendous, of late. Their defense has  been suspect, at best. Don't waste this great pitching by leaving outs on the field. Tighten up the D! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Saturday, April 22, 2017

THE BULLPEN

     There is no joy in Mudville! Our Pittsburgh Pirates wrap up their series vs the New York Yankees this afternoon at PNC Park. These are your keys for today's game. 1)It looked like the Pirates may finally be breaking out of their early season malaise with Friday night's 6-3 win over the Baby Bombers but it was not meant to be. This is especially true after yesterday's latest loss, an 11-5 embarrassment. The Bucs built an early 3-0 lead only to find themselves down 5-3. They clawed their way back to tie it just to let it slip throw their fingers, both figuratively and literally. This team couldn't even catch a cold right now thanks to their Bad News Bears-like defense. And that bullpen? It's more bullsh*t than anything. You've got to know when to hold 'em! 2)This was the 1st time this season the Pirates scored 4 or more runs in a game and came away with a loss. We need more Hit, Run, & Score! 3)This finale will mark the 1st time this season the Pirates will not sweep or be swept. Have you ever heard of Yankee pot roast? Well, the Buccos need to make some Yankee meatloaf. 2 outta 3 ain't bad! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!




Friday, April 21, 2017

THE BULLPEN

    One, two, three strikes, you're out! Our Pittsburgh Pirates continue their series today against the NY Yankees at PNC Park. These are your keys for today's game. 1)The Pirates got back in the win column last night with a 6-3 win in the series opener. The victory was fueled by homers from SS Jordy Mercer and 1B Josh Bell. Chicks dig the long ball! 2)The Bucs brought their bats but continue to struggle with the glove. They committed 3 errors last night to give them 14 miscues in 16 games. Only Oakland and Arizona have more errors. De-Fense! 3)RH Michael Pineda, 2-1, 3.44 ERA, goes for the Yanks. The Buccos counter with RH Jameson Taillon, 1-0, 0.90 ERA. Taillon has been phenomenal so far this season. He's not always been backed by the Bucs bats. Give the kid a cushion. Give him more Hit, Run & Score! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


THE BULLPEN

    Take me out to the ballgame! Our Pittsburgh Pirates return home to PNC Park tonight to begin a 3-game series with the New York Yankees. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Following their 3rd straight 2-1 defeat in St Louie, it's become clear that the wind was blowing out of the Windy City last weekend when the Bucs swept the Cubs, 'cause the offense is gone with the wind. Wake up the bats. There's always room for more Hit, Run & Score! 2)Speaking of scoring, the Bucs are undefeated when scoring 4 or more runs in a game. Meanwhile, they're winless when they score less then 4 runs in a game. Score early, score often, score BIG! 3)Yankees lefty CC Sabathia, 2-0, 1.47 ERA gets the start tonight. He'll face Pirates RH Tyler Glasnow, 0-1, 12.15 ERA. Glasnow has his ERA down from 27.00 after his 1st start to 12.75 following his 2nd game. Has that what the Pittsburgh Baseball Club has become? We're encouraged when a guy is toting an ERA north of 12 into a game? I realize Glasnow is young and he's got electric stuff but enough already. What's all this lying around stuff? Yes, Marte is lost for half a season. But it's not over until we decide it is. Stop SUCKN and start BUCN! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Thursday, April 20, 2017

THE BLACK-N-GOLD NEWS

     Have you heard the news? It's all over town. That's right, Black-N-Gold Nation. Mrs. Black-N-Gold is back to bring you all the information. She's got the latest from our Pittsburgh Penguins, Pirates & Steelers. Without further adieu, here is The Black-N-Gold News.


                                    THE BLACK-N-GOLD NEWS

PENGUINS

Our Penguins received good news on Saturday with the lead up to Game 3 of their 1st round matchup vs the Blue Jagoffs. Columbus F Matt Calvert was suspended for 1 game following his cheap shot on Pens F Tom Kuhnhackl in the Pens Friday night victory. Luckily, Kuhni was uninjured.

How did our favorite Black-N-Gold Hockey Team do in Game 3? They won 5-4 in OT on the strength of a hat trick from rookie F Jake Guentzel, who netted the game-winner. The win put the Pens up in the series 3 games to none.

Unfortunately, the Pens couldn't close it out when the traveled to Columbus on Tuesday. They lost that contest 5-4. They return to home ice tonight looking to send the Blue Jagoffs packing. Faceoff is set for 7:08pm. Let's Go Pens!!!!

PIRATES

Our Pirates had a big weekend in at Wrigley last weekend. After winning the 1st game of the series vs the Cubs on Friday, the Bucs came back to best the Cubbies again on Saturday, 8-7. Prior to the game, LF Gregory Polanco was scratched from the lineup with a groin issue.

On Easter Sunday, our Favorite Black-N-Gold Baseball Team completed the sweep of the World Champs with a 6-1 win. Things were looking up for the Bucs as they traveled to St Louie for another series against an NL Central rival.

On Monday afternoon, the Pirates announced that they acquired RH Johnny Barbato from the Yankees for a player to be named later or cash consideration. Barbato was immediately optioned to Triple A Indy.

Too bad the Buccos didn't obtain a bat. They could have used all the help they could get in St Louie. They wasted a complete game gem from RH Ivan Nova in the opener, getting clipped by the Cards 2-1. RH Chad Kuhl didn't go the distance but he also held the Cards to 2 run in Tuesday's game. The problem is, the Pirates only managed 1 run again. The Bucs completed the hat trick yesterday, getting swept in St Louie by losing the finale again 2-1.

There was an announcement made that 3B Jung Ho Kang would appeal his sentencing for his 3rd DUI that was handed down in December in his native South Korea. The hearing for that appeal is scheduled for 5/25.

The Pirates and all of Black-N-Gold Nation were hit with a bombshell on Tuesday afternoon. MLB announced that, effective immediately, Pirates CF Starling Marte, a Gold Glove-winning All-Star for the Bucs, would be suspended for 80 games (plus the postseason, if they make it) for using PEDs. Of course, Marte's camp issued some nonsensical apology/explanation for the suspension, saying is was all a mistake. No, Marte, it wasn't. If you drop a fly ball. THAT'S a mistake. If knowing let some inject you with a drug that is supposed to falsely improve your performance, that's NOT a mistake. You F'd up. Own up to it. You let your family, the organization and all of Black-N-Gold Nation down. No Marte partays for you for quite some time.

Following the suspension announcement, the Pirates said that Andrew McCutchen would move back to the CF position, Gregory Polanco would remain in LF and a cast of 1000's would man RF. Also, 1B/OF Jose Osuna was called up from Indy to take Marte's roster spot.

Now the Pirates will limp home from a 3-4 road trip, riding a 3-game losing streak. They'll try to find the win column tomorrow night when the begin a 3-game series against the NY Yankees at PNC Park, PED-free (presumably). Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

STEELERS

Reports surfaced that suspended Steelers WR Martavis Bryant recently met with NFL officials regarding reinstatement. No word on if/when the reinstatement will happen. 

Our Steelers began Phase 1 of their offseason workouts at their South Side facility. Our Favorite Black-N-Gold also continued to host potential draft picks at their offices:

Toledo DT Treyvon Hester
Utah LB Pita Taumoepenu
Georgia Tech DE Francis Kallon
Georgia Tech DE Patrick Gamble

And CB Ross Cockrell signed his restricted free agent tender. 

On Tuesday, Black-N-Gold Nation had heavy hearts as Steelers Chaiman Dan Rooney was laid to rest. Steelers past and present and dignitaries from around the world paid their respects to the late Mr. Rooney. Pittsburgh has truly lost a legend. 

Here's hoping the Steelers can carry on in honor of Mr. Rooney and work their way towards another Super Bowl for him this season. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!



SLAP SHOTS

     Call Arnold Slick from Turtle Crick; it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Our Pittsburgh Penguins return home to the friendly confines of PPG Paints Arena tonight to faceoff against the Columbus Blue Jagoffs in their 1st round playoff series. The Pens are up 3-1 and can close out Columbus tonight. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)After allowing just 2 goals in the 1st 2 games, and following Tuesday night's 5-4 loss, the Pens are given up 9 goals to the Blue Jagoffs in the last 2 games. Gotta tighten up, boys. De-Fense! 2)Nothing wrong with the offense, though. They've scored 9 goals in the last 2 games. Crank up the Crue and the Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)What a joy it would be to end the Blue Jagoffs season tonight and get ready for round 2. The Pens have allowed Columbus to take early control of the games and have had to claw their way back into it. Go for the quick kill tonight. The Pens had the best home record in the NHL so Mrs. Black-N-Gold wants to hear that crowd be loud. Show no mercy to the Jagoffs. Get in Bob's face and on his case. Score early, score often, score BIG! Let's Go Pens!!!!


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

THE BULLPEN

    Rounding 3rd and heading for home! Our Pittsburgh Pirates close out their road trip this afternoon when they collide with the Cardinals in St Louie. These are your keys for today's game. 1)Day #2 of life without Marte (for 80 games + postseason-if they make it). For those of you not in the know, Pirates CF Starling Marte was suspended 80 games yesterday for PEDs by MLB, effective immediately. Teams and their fans have moved on with players that have been marked by the scarlet letter of PEDs, notably Milwaukee (Ryan Braun) and Miami (Dee Gordon). How will Black-N-Gold Nation respond when Marte returns to the party? Only time will tell. In the meantime, The Bucs were clipped by the Cards again last night in another pitcher's duel, 2-1. That's 2 losses and just 2 runs scored. We need more Hit, Run, & Score! 2)With Marte's departure, Andrew McCutchen moves back to CF. Cutch seemed to play with an extra edge last night, making some impressive plays in the field and going 2 for 4 to extend his hitting streak to 9 games. Cutch happens! 3)It's a shame that the Bucs bats, or lack thereof, have wasted some good starting pitching the past few days. They'll try to continue that trend on the mound today with RH Gerrit Cole, 1-1, 5.29 ERA. St Louie starts RH Michael Wacha, 1-1, 3.00 ERA. Hop on the Cole Train for a Pirates win! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!




Tuesday, April 18, 2017

THE BULLPEN

     Happy Bucs & Pucks Day! The crack of the bat, the thrill of the hit! Our Pittsburgh Pirates continue their series in St Louie tonight when they clash with the Cardinals. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Pirates came crashing back to earth with last night's 2-1 loss to end their 3-game winning streak. After scoring 18 runs in their weekend sweep of the Cubs, they only managed 1 against a St Louie team that is off to their worst start since 1969. 1 run won't get it done. We need more, more, more Hit, Run, & Score! 2)RH Chad Kuhl, 1-0, 2.38 ERA will try to continue the trend of good starting pitching for the Pirates. He'll face St Louie RH Mike Leake, 1-1, 0.60 ERA. Leake is nothing special but he's always had the Bucs number. We need Chad to take command. Be calm, Kuhl and collected! 3)It's always important to get out to an early lead when playing in St Louie. Score early, score often, score BIG! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


SLAP SHOTS

     Happy Pucks & Bucs Day! Scratch my back with a hacksaw; it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins are on the road again to faceoff with the Columbus Blue Jagoffs in their 1st round playoff series. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)This is an elimination game as the Pens are up 3 games to none. Stick a fork in them! 2)If the Pens can pull out the win and send Columbus packing, they'll afford themselves some well-needed rest before round 2, where they're likely to faceoff against the Washington Capitals. Keep on PUCKN! 3)In this series, the Pens have scored a total of 12 goals, for an average of 4 per game. Rock the Goals, Goals, Goals, baby! Let's Go Pens!!!!


Monday, April 17, 2017

THE BULLPEN

     You're killing me, Smalls! Our Pittsburgh Pirates continue their road show tonight in St Louie when they clash with the Cardinals. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Thanks to yesterday's 6-1 clubbing of the Cubs, the Pirates swept the World Champs for a 3-game winning streak. We want win #4; Hit, Run, & Score! 2)The Pirates plated 18 runs during their trip to Wrigley. They're 6-0 when scoring 4 runs or more and 0-6 when scoring less than 4 runs. Keep on BUCN! 3)The Bucs start RH Ivan Nova, 1-0, 2.25 ERA. The Cards counter with RH Lance Lynn, 0-1, 5.23 ERA. Be super, Nova! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Saturday, April 15, 2017

SLAP SHOTS

     Hoppy Easter and Happy Pucks & Bucs Day! Hop in the Cordoba, baby, we're going bowling; it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins clash with the Columbus Blue Jagoffs tonight when they take their show on the road for Game #3 of their 1st round playoff series. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Pens come into Columbus up 2-0 in this series. If it's 3, it's for me! 2)G Marc Andre Fleury has been phenomenal, allowing just 2 goals in 2 games. The puck stops here! 3)Throughout Friday night's game, the Jagoffs lived up to their name, displaying chippy behavior and cheap shots. We let our game do the talking. Hit 'em with Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!!


THE BULLPEN

     Hoppy Easter and Happy Bucs & Pucks Day! Our Pittsburgh Pirates wrap up their series at Wrigley this afternoon when they clash with the Chicago Cubs. These are your keys for today's game. 1)With yesterday's come-from-behind 8-7 win, the Pirates have won 2 straight. Mrs. Black-N-Gold doesn't want to jinx things in any way, but the Bucs go for the sweep today. Break out the broom! 2)In the yesterday's victory, the Pirates hit 4 home runs, 1 each from C Francisco Cervelli, CF Starling Marte, LF Josh Harrison, and the go-ahead from RF Andrew McCutchen. Chicks dig the long ball! 3)RH Jameson Taillon, 0-0, 1.38 ERA faces Cubs LH Jon Lester, 1-0, 1.64 ERA. Lester has a habit of letting men run. Run, run & run some more we can always use Hit, Run, & Score! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


THE BLACK-N-GOLD NEWS

     Have you heard the news? Maybe not in these parts, lately. It's been a while but Mrs. Black-N-Gold is here for you with the latest edition of The Black-N-Gold News, bringing you all things Black-N-Gold: Penguins, Pirates and Steelers.


                                     THE BLACK-N-GOLD NEWS

PENGUINS

As the season wound down, our Pens edged the Rangers in a 4-3 shootout. That game saw the return of D Ron Hainsey and F Jake Guentzel from their respective injuries. No sooner were they returning to the lineup then it was announced that F Chris Kunitz would be out for an undetermined amount of time due to a lower-body injury. F Josh Archibald was re-called from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to take his place. Get well soon, Kuni!

The Pens clipped the Hurricanes 3-2 in a 3-2 victory. They followed that up with a 4-1 win over Columbus. That game saw the departures of Fs Matt Cullen & Bryan Rust due to the dreaded injury bug.

Our Favorite Black-N-Gold Hockey Team announced that D Kris Letang would not re-join the team for the playoffs. Letang underwent surgery for a herniated disc in his neck. He is expected out for 4-6 months. Get well soon, Tanger. They also designated Rusty as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
Another move from the Baby Pens. F Dominik Simon was called up to the big leagues.

The Pens clinched home ice advantage for the 1st round of the playoffs with their 7-4 win over the Devils. They'll face the Blue Jagoffs in the 1st round series.

As the regular season came to a close, more call ups were in order. G Tristan Jarry and F Kevin Porter made the trip from WB/S. Then along came Fs Oskar Sundqvist & Jean-Sebastien Dea & D Derrick Pouliot.

The Pens dropped their penultimate game, losing to Toronto 5-3. They ended the regular season in the loss column. They were edged by the Rangers 3-2.

And now the real season begins. As stated above, the Pens carry home ice advantage into the 1st round for their clash with the Columbus Blue Jagoffs. Below is the broadcast schedule. Mark it down.


Congrats to C Sidney Crosby! The Captain won the Rocket Richard Trophy for most goals in the NHL. Sid slapped us silly with 44 goals this season. Keep them coming in the playoffs, Sid!

Dea, Simon, Porter, Sundqvist and Pouliot were all sent back down to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as the Pens get their playoff lineup ready.

Mrs. Black-N-Gold had the honor of attending Game 1, a Pens win, 3-1. Apparently G Matt Murray suffered a lower-body injury during warm-ups. He was replaced by some guy named Marc-Andre Fleury, who pitched a shutout for most of the game. It was announced on Thursday that Flower would get the start in Game 2 on Friday, too. Murray isn't even dressing. Tristan Jarry will be the backup.  The Pens won game 2 last night, 4-1. They now take their show on the road to Columbus with a 2-0 series lead. They'll face off Sunday evening at 6:00pm. We've got 'em on the ropes. Let's Go Pens!!!!

PIRATES

Our Pirates culled their lineup as the season approached. RH AJ Schugel was option to Triple A Indy. Our Favorite Black-N-Gold Baseball Team anointed RH Tyler Glasnow the role as the #5 starter and put RH Trevor Williams and LH Wade LeBlanc in the bullpen. They LH Tyler Webb, their Rule 5 draft pick, to the Yankees. UTIL Phil Gosselin and Alen Hanson made the team. OF/1B Jose Osuna was optioned to Indy. Cs Jacob Stallings and Jackson Williams and OF Danny Ortiz were assigned to the minors.

The Bucs opened the season with a 5-3 loss in Boston. They didn't fare much better in game 2, dropping a 3-0 decision in 12 innings. The series finale was postponed due to inclement weather. The makeup was Thursday afternoon. The Buccs completed the sweep in Boston a week later, losing in the makeup game by a score of 4-3. 

The home opener brought better results. The Bucs edged Atlanta 5-4. They also beat the Braves on Saturday 6-4. They completed the sweep in walk-off fashion on Sunday with a 10-inning 6-5 win.

The Buccos weren't able to find the win column in their series-opener vs Cincy, losing 7-1. The Pirates fell the next game to Cincy, as well, 6-2. Cincy completed the sweep with a 9-2 win. Ugh! Maybe Mrs. Black-N-Gold was being too generous with a projection of 73 wins.

At least the Pirates got back in the win column. Yesterday, they raised the Jolly Roger at Wrigley, clipping the Cubs 4-2. That is their 1st road win of the season and matches their win total in Chcago from last season. Today they go for 2 in a row. Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

STEELERS

Our Steelers have been diligently doing their homework as they prepare for the draft at the end of this month. Our Favorite Black-N-Gold Football Team has been busy hosting potential draft picks. They are as follows:

Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes
Tennessee QB Josh Dobbs
Northern Illinois WR Kenny Golladay
Texas A&M WR Joshua Reynolds
UCLA LB Takk McKinley
Youngstown State LB Derek Rivers
Michigan CB Jourdan Lewis
Michigan State S Monte Nicholson
Pitt RB James Conner
Penn State WR Chris Godwin
Florida LB Jarrad Davis
Washington S Budda Baker
NC State S Josh Jones
Vanderbilt LB Zach Cunningham
Illinois LB Carroll Phillips
Pitt QB Nate Peterman
Eastern Washington LB Sam Ebukam
Alabama LB Tim Williams
Villanova DE Tanoh Kpassagno
WVU CB Rasul Douglas
Minnesota CB Jalen Myrick
LB Keion Adams
Tennessee TE Jason Croom
WVU WR Shelton Gibson
North Carolina WR Mackenzie Hollins
Pitt CB Ryan Lewis
Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey
UConn S Obi Melifonwu

The Steelers also took care of business in-house. OL Chris Hubbard signed his restricted-free agent tender.

Good news from QB Ben Roethlisberger. #7 announced that he would return for his 14th season with the Steelers, ending any speculation that he may retire based on his end-of-season comments.

Some Steelers received bad news this week from the league office. Due to their participation in a non-NFL event, an arm-wrestling competition in Las Vegas, LBs James Harrison and Arthur Moats and C Maurkice Pouncey may receive fines from the NFL. It's ok for the Raiders to move to Vegas but players cannot take part in a charitable affair? Sounds like commissioner Roger Goddell is doing more Goddell-like things.

Something that is condoned by the NFL is preseason football. The Steelers announced that their opponents for the exhibition schedule. They'll travel to New York to face the Giants on 8/11 at 7:00pm. Then they're at home at Heinz Field for their next 2. They kickoff against Atlanta on 8/20 at 4:00pm and face Indy on 8/26 at 7:30pm. They closeout the preseason in Carolina on 8/31 at 7:30pm. As more news develops during the Steelers offseason, Mrs. Black-N-Gold will keep you up-to-date. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

All of Black-N-Gold nation is in morning following the death of Steelers Hall of Fame chairman Dan Rooney, who passed away on Thursday. Mr. Rooney was 84 years old. Condolences to the Rooney family and Steelers organization. I had the good fortune of meeting Mr. Rooney once. He was a Hall of Famer through and through.







THE BULLPEN

     Baseball fever, catch it! Our Pittsburgh Pirates continue their series against the World Champion Cubs today at Wrigley Field in Chicago. These are your keys for today's game. 1)Break up the Bucs! They raised they Jolly Roger at Wrigley yesterday, in a 4-2 win. That is their 1st W on the road this season and matches their win total in Chicago from all of last season. Today, try and double that. Raise the Jolly Roger X 2! 2)When playing the Cubs, it's best to get on the board in a hurry. Score early, score often, score BIG with more Hit, Run, & Score! 3)The Pirates will start RH Tyler Glasnow, he of the 0-1 mark and the 27.00 ERA. The Cubs counter with RH Jake Arietta, 2-0, 2.08 ERA. We all remember Glasnow's trainwreck of a 1st start vs Cincy. Mrs. Black-N-Gold is sure he remembers it, too. That won't do. Shake it off and take control. The time is now, Glasnow! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Friday, April 14, 2017

SLAP SHOTS

     Happy Pucks & Bucs Day! Our Pittsburgh Penguins faceoff against the Columbus Blue Jagoffs tonight at PPG Paints Arena in Game 2 of the 1st round playoff series. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)G Marc-Andre Fleury is going to get the start between the pipes again tonight since Matt Murray is still injured. MAF was pitching a shootout until there was about 8 minutes to go in the 3rd period of Wednesday's 3-1 win. Flower Power! 2)Columbus netminder Sergie Bobrovsky may be a Vezina Trophy winner (and possibly on his way to another) but his play in the postseason is suspect at best with a 2-7 mark, a 3.46 GAA and an .890 save percentage. Fire up the Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)Columbus stumbled to the finish line and Wednesday's lose should have them in desperation mode. They'll want to escape Pittsburgh with at least one win. Look out for the same type of crap that Columbus always likes to throw at us. Keep your head on a swivel and the puck on the net! Let's Go Pens!!!!


THE BULLPEN

     Happy Bucs & Pucks Day! Let's play two! Our Pittsburgh Pirates open a 3-game set this afternoon in Chicago as they clash with the World Champion-Cubs. These are your keys for today's game. 1)The Pirates week of ineptitude continued with yesterday's latest loss, 4-3 in Boston. That's 4 consecutive losses. So far, the 2017 Bucs are reminding Mrs. Black-N-Gold of the woeful teams of the dreaded 20 straight losing seasons, finding new and innovative ways to lose. That just won't do. Instead of raising the white flag, it's time to raise the Jolly Roger! 2)You name an aspect of the game, the Pirates will find a way to falter: Hitting, baserunning, fielding, pitching. It's enough to make Mrs. Black-N-Gold think that she was being a little too generous when she predicated 73 wins for this team. She'd love nothing more than to see them prove her wrong. Clean it up, Bucs! 3)Pirates RH Gerrit Cole, 0-1, 6.55 ERA will face Cubs RH Kyle Hendricks, 1-0, 6.00 ERA. Get on the winning track, Cole Train! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!



Thursday, April 13, 2017

THE BULLPEN

     More than a feeling! Our Pittsburgh Pirates return to Boston this afternoon to finish out last week's series vs the Red Sox. These are your keys for today's game. 1)Cincy swept the Pirates with last night's 9-2 win. Yoi! The Buccos have dropped 3 in a row. I say no more. Hit, Run, & Score! 2)Pirates pitching gave up 22 runs in the 3-game series. Mrs. Black-N-Gold is no math whiz but doesn't that break down to about 7 runs per game? Hold 'em Bucs! 3)Meanwhile, the Pirates scored a total of 5 runs during this series. You can't win ballgames if you don't score runs. It's still early but the Pirates are sinking fast. Right the ship and raise the Jolly Roger! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

SLAP SHOTS

     Happy Pucks & Bucs Day! Lord Stanley, Lord Stanley, it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Our Pittsburgh Penguins open their 1st round series against the Columbus Blue Jagoffs tonight at PPG Paints Arena. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The 1st key is obvious. We don't like them. They don't like us. The Blue Jagoffs will look to take us off our game by trying to knock our blocks off. They can't hit what they can't catch. Speed kills! 2)It's important to set the pace and win the race, for sure. It's also important to draw 1st blood. Score early, score often, score BIG Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)Mrs. Black-N-Gold is especially happy because tonight's game should see the return of a certain Russian bear who will be raring and ready to go. Make me a milkshake, Malkin! Let's Go Pens!!!!



THE BULLPEN

     Happy Bucs & Pucks Day! There's no crying in baseball! Our Pittsburgh Pirates close out their homestand tonight when they clash with the Cincy Reds at PNC Park. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Woe is the Pirates. They dropped another last night 6-2. They were  0 for 10 with runners in scoring position, leaving a total of 11 runners on base. This just won't do. You got to, got to, got to have more Hit, Run, & Score! 2)So, the Pirates try to salvage a win to close out this homestand. It won't get any easier, either. They head back to Boston to make up last week's game tomorrow then it's on to Chicago. Find the win column and raise the Jolly Roger! 3)Cincy starts LH Amir Garrett, 1-0, 0.00 ERA. The Pirates counter with RH Ivan Nova, 1-0, 0.00 ERA. No doubt about it, we need Nova to be super! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

THE BULLPEN

     You got a beat-up glove, a homemade bat and a brand new pair of shoes! Our Pittsburgh Pirates continue their series with the Cincy Reds tonight at PNC Park. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Mama said there'd be days like this.....The Pirates dropped the series opener last night in disgusting fashion, getting pummeled 7-1. Going 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position will do that to you, especially when you have the bases covered in Black-N-Gold, twice, and only score 1 run. 1 run won't get it done. More, more, more, Hit, Run & Score! 2)The pitching certainly didn't help, either. 3 Pirates pitchers were in the game, and they all saw their ERAs rise. Pity poor Tyler Glasnow, who was tagged for 5 in 1.2 innings. Hopefully he dusts himself off and moves on. In the meantime, you've got to know when to hold 'em! 3)Shame on Mrs. Black-N-Gold for 6 weeks for failing to state the obvious in yesterday's keys to the game. Cincy CF Billy Hamilton has put together a Hall of Fame career, only when he faces the Pirates. This kid probably doesn't bat my weight against the rest of MLB. A single with this guy can turn into a triple in the blink of an eye. Keep that pain in the a** off the basepaths! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Monday, April 10, 2017

THE BULLPEN

     One, two, three strikes, you're out! Our Pittsburgh Pirates begin a 3-game series tonight vs the Cincy Reds at PNC Park. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Following yesterday's thrilling, come-from-behind, 10-inning walk-off 6-5 win, the Pirates have won 3 straight. We want more with win #4! 2)The Bucs swept the Braves, their 1st sweep of the season. On their way to that sweep, the Pirates plated 17 runs. However, in yesterday's victory, the Buccos were just 4 for 12 with runners in scoring position. You got to bring 'em on home. There's always room for more Hit, Run & Score! 3)Cincy starts lefty Brandon Finnegan, 1-0, 0.00 ERA. The Pirates will go with highly-touted RH Tyler Glasnow in his season debut. Show 'em what you got! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Saturday, April 8, 2017

SLAP SHOTS

     Happy Pucks & Bucs Day! How much fried chicken can you eat; it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins close out the regular season tonight at MSG when they faceoff against the New York Rangers. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Pens dropped last night's game at Toronto 5-3. Wouldn't it be nice to go into the playoffs on a winning note? Gimme a W! 2)New York has lost 2 straight. Give 'em L! 3)The Pens played a lot of Baby Pens yesterday to give the varsity a chance to rest before the playoffs. That may be the case again tonight, since their playoff fate is already set. Still it would be nice to go to NYC and come home with the win. Take a bite out of the Big Apple. Rock the Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!!


THE BULLPEN

   Happy Bucs & Pucks Day! I don't care if I ever get back! Our Pittsburgh Pirates close out their series this afternoon against the Atlanta Braves at PNC Park. These are your keys for today's game. 1)Thanks to last night's 6-4 win, the Pirates look to clean house today. Break out the brooms! 2)In the 1st 2 games of this series, the Bucs have scored 11 runs. We want more Hit, Run & Score! 3)Atlanta will start RH Julio Teheran. The Pirates counter with RH Gerrit Cole. Cole started opening day in Boston. He suffered the loss. Cole didn't make it out of the 5th inning at Fenway, surrendering 5 runs on 7 hits with 2 strikeouts and a walk. Mrs. Black-N-Gold proposes that the Pirates put C Chris Stewart behind the plate for Cole's starts. Stew was Cole's primary catcher in 2015 when Cole was a 19-game-winning All-Star who finished 4th in Cy Young voting.  Stewart seems to keep a level head and helps calm down the hot-headed Cole. What have you got to lose with Stew? Get the Cole Train on the winning track! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!



Friday, April 7, 2017

SLAP SHOTS

     Happy Pucks & Bucs Day! Get in the fastlane, Grandma, the bingo game is ready to roll; it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins take their show on the road to Toronto tonight for the penultimate regular season game in their matchup with the Maple Leafs. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Following Thursday night's 7-4 win over New Jersey, the Pens have won 4 straight. Keep the drive alive with win #5! 2)During that streak, the Pens have scored 18 goals. It's all about the Goals, Goals, Goals, baby! 3)The Pens were 2 for 3 on the power play on Thursday. They're ranked #5 overall on the season at 22.9%. Take advantage of the man-advantage. Man-up! Let's Go Pens!!!!


THE BULLPEN

     Happy Bucs & Pucks Day! Hit the ball and touch 'em all! Our Pittsburgh Pirates continue their series tonight with the Atlanta Braves at PNC Park. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Break up the Bucs. Victory, victory, victory. The Pirates won their 1st game of the season yesterday, edging Atlanta 5-4. What else can you do? We want win #2! 2)After scoring just 3 runs in 21 innings against the BoSox, the Pirates plated 5 runs yesterday. However, the Buccos were just 3 for 14 with runners in scoring position. Don't leave Bucs on the pond! 3)Tonight, Atlanta starts knuckleballing RH RA Dickey. He'll face Pirates RH Chad Kuhl, making his season debut. Be Kuhl, calm and collected! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


THE BULLPEN

     Take me out to the ballgame; Happy Opening Day II! Our Pittsburgh Pirates open their home schedule today when they battle the Atlanta Braves at PNC Park. These are your keys for today's game. 1)During the Pirates abbreviated season-opening series in Boston, the Bucs managed to plate just 3 runs. We need more Hit, Run, & Score! 2)The Buccos play 2 of last season's bottom feeders for the next 2 series with Atlanta & Cincy, in front of the home crowd. The Pirates have had problems when it comes to the NL's cellar dwellers. You've got to beat good teams and beat up the bad teams! 3)RH Mike Foltynewicz starts for Atlanta. He'll face Pirates RH Ivan Nova. Be Super, Nova! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Thursday, April 6, 2017

SLAP SHOTS

     Happy Pucks & Bucs Day! Great balls of fire; it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins close out the regular season with a 3-game road show starting tonight in New Jersey when they faceoff against the Devils. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Following Tuesday's 4-1 win over Columbus, the Pens have won 3 straight. #4 would be great! 2)The injury bug hit the Pens again. Hard. First off, F Bryan Rust is day-to-day with a lower-body injury sustained in Tuesday's game. Secondly, it was announced that D Kris Letang will not return this season as he underwent surgery for a herniated disc in his neck. He's expected to miss 4-6 months. Get well soon, Rusty & Tanger. Next man up! 3)The Pens are still #1 in the league in goals per game at 3.4. New Jersey is ranked 23rd in goals against, allowing 2.9 per game. We need to light the lamp and stay in the win column to fend off Columbus for home ice advantage in our 1st round matchup. Fire up the Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!!



THE BULLPEN

    Happy Bucs & Pucks Day! Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks! Our Pittsburgh Pirates close out their series with the Sox this afternoon in Boston. these are your keys for today's game. 1)The Bucs try to salvage a win in today's finale following last night's 12-inning, heart-breaking 3-0 loss. In the early going, the Buccos bats are having a hard time getting going. See the ball. Hit the ball. And Hit, Run, & Score! 2)Pirates RH Chad Kuhl faces Red Sox southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez. Be cool and win the ballgame! 3)Last night was a pitcher's duel. RH Jameson Taillon deserved a win but credit the bullpen for keeping one of the most potent offenses in MLB in check, too. That is...until the 12th inning, when LH Antonio Bastardo gave up the game-winning, walkoff 3 run homer. You got to know when to hold 'em! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

THE BULLPEN

    Put me in coach! Our Pittsburgh Pirates continue their season-opening series tonight in Boston as they battle the Red Sox. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Well, we knew the PBC wouldn't go 162-0 and thanks to Monday's 5-3 loss, they proved that true. Although it's a long season, you don't want to dig yourselves into an early hole. It's time to find the win column. Raise the Jolly Roger! 2)RH Jameson Taillon draws a tough assignment tonight, facing Boston's vaunted off-season acquisition, LH Chris Sale. Jamo's game is all about the ground ball. Keep them away from the Green Monster and Pesky's Pole. Hit the ground running! 3)The Buccos were behind the 8-ball on Monday when they gave up 5 runs in the 5th. Score early, score often, score BIG. Ya gotta have more Hit, Run, & Score! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

SLAP SHOTS

     Call Arnold Slick from Turtle Crick; it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Our Pittsburgh Penguins close out the regular season on home ice tonight when they clash with the Columbus Blue Jagoffs at PPG Paints Arena. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Pens are likely to face the Blue Jagoffs in the 1st round of the playoffs. Columbus would love nothing more than to add to the Pens growing list of injuries with dirty hits and cheap shots. Don't let them dictate the pace of play. Keep your heads on a swivel and play fast. They can't hit what they can't catch. Speed kills! 2)Come out guns a'blazin'. Take them out of it early. Score early, score often, score BIG Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)The Pens lead Columbus in the division by 1 point. A win would go a big way towards giving them home ice for the 1st round. There's no place like home! Let's Go Pens!!!!




Monday, April 3, 2017

THE BULLPEN

     Happy Opening Day! Play ball! That cry will ring out from Fenway Park today as our Pittsburgh Pirates begin their 131st season in Boston to battle the Red Sox. It's a re-match of the 1903 World Series. That may be as close as our Buccos get to the World Series this season. These are your keys for today's game. 1)The talk all spring has been the Bucs new outfield alignment: LF Gregory Polanco, CF Starling Marte, and RF Andrew McCutchen. The New Outfield of Dreams! 2)RH Gerrit Cole faces reigning AL Cy Young Award-winner, RH Rick Porcello. It's time to be the Ace and set the pace. All aboard the Cole Train for a win! 3)The Pirates will get to see the Red Sox raise their AL East banner during the pre-game festivities. If the Pirates hope to "Raise It" this season Mrs. Black-N-Gold will tell you what they need to do. Hit, Run, & Score! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!


Saturday, April 1, 2017

THE BULLPEN

    The crack of the bat, the thrill of the hit! Mrs. Black-N-Gold has returned from spring training and she's ready to play ball. Today she looks at our Pittsburgh Pirates as they step up to the plate for their 2017 season. She brings to you her 2017 Pirates Preview.

     INFIELD
     1B-Josh Bell is expected to get the majority of the reps at 1st this season, following last year's audition. The rookie had offseason surgery on his left knee that delayed his spring training. Ever since Bell has been trying to play catch up. He finished the exhibition season with a .114 batting average. Mrs. Black-N-Gold thinks Bell was hitting the ball hard and that he's coming around just in time for the start of the season. His defense may be another issue as he's still learning the position. Expect to see both John Jaso and David Freese as backups. Jaso really caught on at 1B his first year and Freese also exhibited defensive acumen at the position.

    2B-Will Josh Harrison return to 2B this season? The idea of 2B Adam Frazier at 2nd has also been floated. JHay needs to get the mojo back that he had in 2014, before he signed a multi-year deal with the Bucs and the injury hit him. If the Buccos put Frazier at 2nd, it will be to give themselves the leadoff hitter that they've lacked for several years. Expect Harrison to bat further down in the order this year to clear the way for Frazier. Either way, the Pirates need to tighten up the D this season, as well.

    SS-Speaking of defense, SS Jordy Mercer will never be confused for a Gold Glove defender, no matter how hard the Pirates try to convince us otherwise. But, typically, Mercer can be counted on as a steadying force in the infield. Still, it would be nice if Mercer could reach the 12-15 homer neighborhood to help the offense with a power shortage.

     3B-With Jung Ho Kang's visa/legal issues still unresolved, David Freese is expected to get the bulk of the playing time at the hot corner. However, playing Freeze everyday exposes him for the part-time player that he's become. There's talk of Harrison and or Frazier getting time at 3rd, too. No matter how you slice it, none of them will be mistaken for Kang, power-wise. Maybe the combination of the 3 can help with the adjustment.

     C-Francisco Cervelli needs to prove that the multi-year contract he signed was money well spent. That will mean staying on the field and being productive at the plate. He's one of the better pitch-framers in the game. It would be good to see him improve on throwing at would-be-base stealers. C Chris Stewart is supposed to back up but has been hampered by a groin injury.

    OUTFIELD
    LF-New Year, new outfield alignment, starting with Gregory Polanco in left. El Coffee has to get used to PNC Park's expansive left field, especially the North Side Notch.  Polanco took a big step forward last year, overall but struggled in the 2nd half of the season. If he can put it all together for an entire year, including staying healthy all season long, he could have a Gold Glove, MVP-caliber season. It will be fun watching Polanco gun down runners at the plate from his spot in left.

    CF-With Polanco in left, Staring Marte slides over to CF. The consensus has always been that Marte is the better centerfielder for the Pirates, now is his chance to prove it. Also, Marte has always expressed a comfort level in center. Maybe, this move can help his power numbers which fell from 19 in 2015 to just 9 last year. He is another player that needs to stay healthy and advance to another level in order for the Bucs to be competitive.

   RF-Of course, the talk of the spring has been Andrew McCutchen's move to RF. When the Buccos failed to move Cutch in a trade this offseason, management had no other choice than to move him to right, to help offset his unsightly defense. But Cutch didn't just decline on D last season, he was mired in a mostly all-season-long slump that produced career lows for the perennial MVP candidate. Did Cutch just have an off-year or is father time catching up to the 30-year-old? Mrs. Black-N-Gold is worried it's the latter. He only stole 6 bases last season and seems hesitate to use his wheels on the basepaths. His swing also seems slow to catch up to pitches. He spent the better part of last season complaining about the strike zone. Cutch, everyone has to put up with umpires ever-changing-strike zone. Get over it and play ball! The Bucs truly need a bounce-back from their former #1 pick. If not, the Austin Meadows era could begin in Pittsburgh sooner, rather than later.

    STARTING PITCHERS
    The Pirates got their man when the re-signed RH Ivan Nova. But can Nova duplicate the late-season success he had when he was traded to the Pirates last year, for an entire season? Or is there a reason that 29 other teams weren't willing to bite on his original 5 year, $75 million asking price and he stayed in Pittsburgh for 3 years, $26 million (a steal in today's market)? Can RH Gerrit Cole finally, FINALLY, live up to his potential and be the ace that the Buccos need him to be? Will RH Jameson stay healthy and continue to show why he was a 2nd overall pick? They'll need to carry the load to help RH's Chad Kuhl and Tyler Glasnow continue to develop. Of course, health is also always a factor.

    BULLPEN
    In a semi-surprising move, the Bucs waived RH Jared Hughes at the end of spring training. The new-look bullpen goes something like this; RH Trevor Williams, LH Jared LeBlanc, RH Juan Nicasio, LH Antonio Bastardo, LH Felipe Rivero, RH Daniel Hudson and LH Tony Watson. The Pirates intent is to have multiple relievers that can go multiple innings, if need be. Rivero, Hudson and Watson will work the back-end. Expect Rivero and/or Hudson to step in if Watson should falter as the closer and/or be traded.

    BENCH
    When this went to press, the final cuts hadn't been made for the bench. Freese and Jaso are expected to make the roster along with Stewart (if he's not on the DL). UTIL Phil Gosselin, UTIL Alen Hanson and 1B/OF Jose Osuna continued to battle for roster spots.

    The bottom line is Mrs. Black-N-Gold doesn't think the Bucs did enough this year, while several other teams that will also contend for the NL Wild Card did. If a miracle occurred and the Pirates win the NL Central, someone, please call The Pope. Meanwhile, the Cubs are still the Cubs and they'll have Kyle Schwarber for an entire season (health permitting) and they brought in closer Wade Davis. St Louie signed CF Dexter Fowler and LH Brett Cecil. The Mets brought back OF Yoenis Cespedes and 2B Neil Walker (still miss ya, Homeboy!) and return a healthy starting rotation. The Nats added CF Adam Eaton and will move Trea Turner to SS for the entire year. San Fran upgraded an abysmal bullpen by signing former Pirates closer Mark Melancon. The Dodgers brought back 3B Justin Turner, closer Kenley Jansen and RH Rich Hill and traded for 2B Logan Forsythe. Bringing back Nova and signing Hudson, bringing along the youngsters while losing SRod and Joyce, doesn't seem like it's going to be enough to cut it.

   There is also the fact that they'll face St Louie and the Cubs for 9 games in the 1st month of the season. And they open on the road against the AL East-winning BoSox. As Mrs. Black-N-Gold likes to say, you've got to win in April to get to Buctober. Remember, how hot the Cubs were to start the season en route to the World Series last year? And in so doing, they left everyone else in the NL Central in the dust.

    There are just too many "ifs" and question marks for this club. That's why Mrs. Black-N-Gold sees another losing season for the 131st edition of the Pittsburgh Baseball Club with 73 wins.

     That being said, she still bleeds Black-N-Gold. You know that whole Pittsburgh-Cleveland rivalry? Well, it's going to be a baseball thing now. Mrs. Black-N-Gold World Series prediction is Pirates over Indians in 7 games. Start planning the parade. Let's Go Bucs!!!!!