McLouth helps O’s to ALDS

Which Oriole went 1 for 4 with two runs batted in, one run scored, and one stolen base?
None other than former Pirate Nate McLouth.

McLouth, who hit just .140 in his return to Pittsburgh this year, is wreaking havoc for the scrappy O’s. He started Friday’s AL Wild Card game by reaching on an error; he then stole second base, and scored on a single by J.J. Hardy. Nate tacked on an RBI single and sacrifice fly later in the ballgame. Baltimore went on to beat Texas, 5-1, to advance to the American League Division Series.

The Orioles will face the New York Yankees, beginning on Sunday evening at Camden Yards. Good luck to Nate McLouth and the O’s as they continue their improbable run.

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Checking in on some former Buccos

Here’s a look at how some ex-Pirates are faring this season:

- Nate McLouth was recently called up by the Baltimore Orioles. He tore it up for their Triple-A club, the Norfolk Tides, and earned a spot on their big league roster. Nate has hit .250 with four doubles and a triple in 14 games for the O’s

- Brad Lincoln has an ERA of 6.55 in eight games for the Toronto Blue Jays. He’s been tagged for eight runs in his last four outings.

- Adam LaRoche has enjoyed a solid season for the first place Washington Nationals. In 114 games, he has 23 HR and 77 RBI while hitting .260.

- Sean Burnett is also contributing big time in the nation’s capital. The lefty reliever has a 1.94 ERA in 55 appearances for the Nats.

- In 54 games for the Mets, Ronny Cedeno is hitting .287 with 3 homers and 21 runs batted in. He missed time due to injury in April (left intercostal strain) and May (strained left calf).

- In his first season with the Minnesota Twins, Ryan Doumit has hit a solid .292 with 14 long balls. The injury-prone catcher has played in 101 of Minnesota’s 120 games, and has only been bothered by a right calf strain this season. He inked a two-year extension with the Twins in June.

- Steve Pearce has landed in Houston after playing 28 games for the Orioles. He’s hit .283 in 16 games for the Astros.

- Chris Snyder is also with the lowly Astros. Snyder is hitting an abysmal .181 this season.

- Xavier Paul has been clutch for the enemy Cincinnati Reds as of late. He sparked a walk-off win on Sunday by hitting a leadoff pinch-hit triple. Paul has managed a .342 batting average in 38 at-bats for the Redlegs.

Curse of… McLouth?

We’ll admit it: we were pumped when the Pirates signed Nate McLouth to a one-year deal in the offseason. The former fan-favorite was returning to the ‘Burgh despite a few rough years with the Braves. The deal seemed to make sense, as the Bucs were in need of a fourth outfielder with the departure of Xavier Paul. Although he faltered in Atlanta, McLouth seemed to fit the role and was considered to be an upgrade over Paul.

Nate was solid in spring training, hitting .362 with two home runs and four doubles in 23 games. But as we all know, spring stats don’t translate well into the regular season.

McLouth looked absolutely clueless at the plate once the season began. In 34 games, he hit just .140 (8 for 57), including 18 strike outs. The Pirates designated him for assignment on May 25th.

Since the 25th of May, the Bucs have been on fire. While Nate was on the team, they had a record of 20-24; without him, they have gone 28-14. Here’s a look at the team’s offensive numbers, both with and without him:

Games AVG HR RBI OBP OPS
April 5th – May 23rd 44 .217 35 120 .266 .612
May 25th – July 13th 42 .275 57 216 .334 .799

Realistically, McLouth’s departure has nothing to do with the Pirates’ recent success. We’re just poking some fun at it, but it’s odd how they’ve really turned it on since May 25th. We wish he could’ve returned to his old self and stick around for a while, but it wasn’t meant to be.

The Orioles signed him to a minor-league contract on June 5th. He’s currently with the Norfolk Tides, Baltimore’s Triple-A team. In 30 games for Norfolk, McLouth is hitting .241 with 7 HR and 23 RBI.

Casey at the Bat

Casey McGehee came to Pittsburgh via trade in December, when the Pirates sent reliever Jose Veras to Milwaukee in exchange for the 29-year old infielder. McGehee struggled in 2011 after a promising season in 2010 in which he hit .285 with 23 HR and 104 RBI. Looking for a fresh start, McGehee entered the year as a contingency plan for third baseman Pedro Alvarez, and also took reps at first base for a potential platoon with Garrett Jones. He has adapted to first base well, and hasn’t seen much playing time at the hot corner since Pedro has been the everyday third baseman. After hitting respectably at the beginning of the season, McGehee has really struggled as of late. Here’s a look at his early season statistics.

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Caption This: Nate McLouth

Today on Twitter, we asked that you tweet us a caption for the following picture:ESPN.com Photo Gallery Caption: Pittsburgh Pirates’ Nate McLouth (2) talks with home plate umpire Jim Wolf after he was called out on strikes with the bases loaded to end the first inning of the baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday, May 6, 2012, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

The best captions we received:
Thanks everyone for your captions. Be sure to follow these good people on Twitter.

If you didn’t get a chance to send us a tweet, feel free to leave a caption in the comments section.

Nate McLouth has been terrible recently, and had another 0 for 4 day on Sunday. His average is now just .143 for the season. The Pirates might be getting rid of McLouth sooner rather than later.