October 4: Pirates (62-98) @ Reds (77-84); Season finale

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

It’s hard to believe that it’s been close to eight months since the team descended on Bradenton, Fla., to begin the 2009 season. Now it’s about to end here in Cincinnati in a few hours.

Instead of spending time looking back on the season here (you’ll see end of the season stories coming out on the main pirates.com site throughout the week for that), I wanted to use this forum to let you all know what to expect from me this offseason.

I am actually headed to Los Angeles tomorrow to assist with coverage of the Cardinals-Dodgers NL Division Series. Later in the month, I’ll be helping cover the World Series for MLB.com as well, wherever that might end up being. That said, you can expect to see NLDS and WS related Twitter updates from my account, and I’ll do some blog postings about it as well — likely photos and interesting anecdotes from the postseason. Obviously none of it will be Pirates related, but I hope that as baseball fans, there will be something there for you to appreciate.

My playoff duties, though, won’t stop the Pirates coverage from coming (I just won’t sleep, that’s all). Here’s some of what you can expect this offseason:

  • Through October, you should likely find at least three new Pirates stories on the site every week. That count will likely rise to at least four or five a week after the postseason comes to an end.
  • Obviously, news will always be on there, but I’ve also got some features and series that prepared to for the site. There will soon be a seven-part series that highlights the highs and lows of each Minor League affiliate this season. Also, as everyone starts to look ahead to 2010, I have a number of stories ready to give you regarding position battles, position changes, the free agent market and the overall outlook. Arizona Fall League and winter ball updates will also come out weekly once those leagues get into full swing.
  • I’d like to give you all an Inbox edition every week, assuming I get enough questions to stay afloat. I know your minds wander as the free agent market develops, so this will be a good means for interaction between you all and me. Inbox questions can be sent to me at Jenifer.Langosch@MLB.com. Don’t forget to include your first name, last initial and hometown. Also, it would be a big help if you put “Inbox” in the subject line.
  • This blog will continue to be updated regularly and I’ll use my Twitter account all offseason, too, especially for breaking news. If you are not already a follower, the account name is @LangoschMLB.

I think that hits the most important points for the time being. Thanks to all of you who have stuck around as faithful blog followers through a trying season. Hope this blog was able to supplement the coverage to your liking, and if you have any suggestions on how I continue using it moving forward, I’m always willing to listen.

Enjoy game No. 161.

As for today’s news, notes and randomness…

  • Catcher Ryan Doumit is out of the lineup on Sunday because of that minor concussion he sustained on Friday. Doumit had his mask knocked off on a foul tip, stayed in the game, but was a little woozy afterward. He did not play on Saturday either. Assuming he won’t get in Sunday as a pinch hitter, Doumit finishes the season with a .250 average, 10 homers and 38 RBIs.
  • There has still been no decision made about whether first base coach Perry Hill will return for another season with the team. Expect that decision to be made in the next few days.
  • GM Neal Huntington said that Jose Ascanio, at best, would be able to begin his rehab program from right shoulder surgery in four months. He is not expected to be ready at the start of the season. June 1, Huntington said, would be a more realistic, though still optimistic, date. 
  • The Pirates’ errorless game on Saturday was their 100th such game this season. That sets a franchise record. The previous high was 99 games in 2007. The Pirates also have made the fewest amount of errors (73) in the Majors. That, too, is a franchise low.
  • The Pirates enter this game 62-98, while the Orioles are 63-98. Why is this important? The two are battling it out for Draft picks No. 2 and 3. If the Pirates lose OR the Orioles win, the Pirates will pick second next summer. The only way the Orioles would get that No. 2 pick is if the Pirates win AND the Orioles lose.
  • With Anthony Claggett’s appearance on Saturday (1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER), the Pirates finish the 2009 season with 49 different players used. That ties a club record. The team used 26 pitchers, also tying a club record.
  • The Pirates will hold two conditioning camps (one in November, one in December) this offseason, as well as their January mini-camp. Also, players will have the opportunity to go travel to see Joe Kerrigan, Don Long and Hill (if he returns) this offseason for specialized work.
  • 182: That’s the number of days until the Pirates’ April 5 season opener against the Dodgers at PNC Park. Get your winter coats and ski caps ready, folks.
  • And here are some dates to get you through the next few months: MLB General Manager’s Meetings (Nov. 9-11), MLB Winter Meetings (Dec. 7-10), Pirates Mini Camp (Jan. 12-16), Pirates Caravan and PirateFest (Jan. 24-31).

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Garrett Jones (1B)
  4. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  5. Brandon Moss (RF)
  6. Delwyn Young (2B)
  7. Robinzon Diaz (C)
  8. Luis Cruz (SS)
  9. Jeff Karstens (RHP)

Reds lineup:

  1. Drew Stubbs (CF)
  2. Paul Janish (SS)
  3. Joey Votto (1B)
  4. Brandon Phillips (2B)
  5. Scott Rolen (3B)
  6. Jay Bruce (RF)
  7. Laynce Nix (LF)
  8. Corky Miller (C)
  9. Homer Bailey (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB     

1 Comment

Hey Jen, Thanks for your great coverage all season. I appreciate it, and look forward to next year — with guarded optimism.

-Crystal, a native Pittsburgher and lifetime Bucco fan displaced to the west coast…

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