Shouse shines as lone lefty in 'pen
Reliever likely to establish career high in appearances
PITTSBURGH -- Manager Ned Yost expressed concern on Saturday when talking about the Pirates' batting order.
His issue wasn't with their run production or ability to hit with runners in scoring position. Rather, it had to do with the side of the plate most Pirates bat from.
"They got a lot of lefties," Yost said as he was looking up and down his lineup card.
The problem wouldn't be so big if Yost had more left-handed pitchers coming out of his bullpen. But the reality is that southpaw reliever Brian Shouse is Yost's lone option from that side of the mound.
"You definitely have to be ready to go," said Shouse, who has already been called upon twice this weekend.
He sat down lefties Adam LaRoche and Brandon Moss on Friday. And on Saturday, he got Pirates All-Star Nate McLouth to fly out with two runners on in the eighth.
"That's what you want," Shouse said. "Everybody wants to pitch and get into as many games as you can. I'm no different. I want to get out there as much as I can to help the team. There's going to be times that you fail and times that you succeed. Hopefully, there's more success than failure."
Shouse's weekend performance is nothing new. He held lefties to a meager .217 clip in 2007, and has improved upon that number this season, holding left-handed batters to a .183 batting average.
Shouse has already appeared in 62 games in 2008. And with the way Yost frequently calls his number, the left-hander will easily surpass the career high of 73 appearances he set in 2007.
"He's done a nice job," Yost said.
On Sunday, however, the Pirates' lineup was altered with Brewers starter CC Sabathia on the mound. The overpowering lefty has caused Bucs manager John Russell to load his order with seven right-handers.
That scenario suits Yost just fine. He will be able to use his six right-handed arms in the bullpen and maybe even give Shouse a breather.
Todd Krise is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.