Notes from Game 1

April 1, 2008

Exciting game last night. A few things worth noting:

– Doumit did not look very sharp behind the plate. The bat more than made up for it, but there was a ball in the 2nd i believe that he did a poor job blocking and let a guy get to 2nd, and another in the 9th that he inexplicably tried to backhand. Also, a couple of the close-ups showed he wasn’t doing a very good job framing the ball. I actually saw the glove go the wrong way on one pitch.

– Capps and Marte control..non-existant. Hopefully not a sign of things to come.

– Yates has a nasty looking fastball. Topped at 97 with some good looking sink. Control was an issue, as was expected, but when he hits spots, I’d have to believe he can be pretty dominant.

– Jason Bay..this could be a long year.

– McLouth swung the bat well. Couldn’t tell for sure, but his jumps on a couple of balls, namely the sliding catch in the ninth and a ball he had to go back on early in the game, looked a little slow. He gets a pass for not catching the ball that Bay missed in the 9th, because let’s be honest, everybody besides Bay just assumed he’d caught the ball. It looked like Bay even thought he was going to catch it until it hit the ground.

– The Pirates looked like a very sound fundamental club, minus a few small details (such as pop-ups to left field, but I’m ready to call that a fluke). I was happy with how Russell managed the game. After thinking about it, I like the sac-bunt that McLouth laid down with no outs and Morgan on 2nd (6th or 7th inning I think, can’t remember off the top of my head). Getting Morgan on third with Steady Freddy at the plate is a good move, as Freddy’s a high-contact-rate guy, and all he needs is a ball in play to drive him in. Unfortunately, Sanchez lined the ball right into the drawn in infield, but it was a wise call on Russell’s part none-the-less. Sanchez gets the RBI more often than not in those situations.

– The infield defense was very, very good. You’ve all seen the Jack Wilson web-gem double play I’m sure, but the play that saved the game might have been made by Jose Bautista. With SS Yunel Escobar at first and one out in the 5th inning, Chipper Jones hit a smash down the line. Bautista had to range way, way to his right to get to the ball, preventing a sure double, possible triple. He didn’t get an out from the stop, but plays like that are major damage controllers. Next play, Mark Teixeira grounds into a double-play, and the score stays 4-2 Braves, rather than at least 5-2 and possible worse. Those are the kind of plays that separate average teams from good teams, and good teams from championships contenders.

– Finally, Xavier Nady. Two home runs, both of righties. That man knows how to become a trade target. Now give us what we want Omar.


Gorzo Shut Down

February 28, 2008

Looks like Tom Verducci might have been right in pegging Tom Gorzelanny as a major injury risk in ’08. 

From Verducci’s article, which lists the seven pitchers most at risk for injuries in ’08:

4. Tom Gorzelanny, Pirates, 25 (+40 1/3 innings pitched)I cringe when I see pitchers with non-contenders show up on this list. The Royals were guilty for years of pushing young pitchers without the excuse of a pennant race (Chris GeorgeJose RosadoRunelvys Hernandez, etc.). Gorzelanny was 1-3 with a 5.77 ERA in September while throwing 639 pitches, his second-highest monthly total (by only five pitches) of the season. While Gorzelanny was passing his career high in innings, the Pirates let him throw 105, 118, 107, 107 and 117 pitches in meaningless consecutive September starts. Why? 

The lefty has already been shut-down with shoulder soreness before even taking the mound in an actual game. 

The article says Gorzo is expected to make a start on Sunday, as the team hopes that a couple of days off will help his shoulder heal up. This could be a little bit of nothing, as pitchers do periodically get minor soreness that really means nothing, or this could be a major red flag of a disastrous ’08 to come. Verducci hit the nail on the head


2008 NLCD Preview

February 24, 2008

2008 NLCD PreviewI’ll probably post the rest of the divisions on here as I get to them. 


Off-Season Review

February 18, 2008

Report Card for Neal Huntington and Co. over at the Bucco Blog


Pirates Sign Mientkiewicz

February 11, 2008

Full story at Bucco Blog.


What if the Bucs Overperform?

January 28, 2008

What if the Pirates play beyond expectations in 2008?

..not a whole lot..


Bucco Blog Update

January 22, 2008

New post at Bucco Blog. Leave some comments and let me know what you think.


Bucco Blog

January 21, 2008

New post up at Bucco Blog. Feel encouraged to leave some comments to let me know what you think.


Bucco Chatter: Bay, Snell to Seattle Rumors Addressed

January 8, 2008

Saturday’s Steeler meltdown has this Yinzer a little down on his luck. What better remedy for a broken heart than Pirates baseball chatter?

…oh man, if you could only feel the sarcasm of that intro ‘graph…

John Sickles, often considered the source for MLB prospect info, has posted his annual list of the top Pirates prospects. Pretty thin, if you ask me. Time to unload and re-build?

Apparently not if your Neal Huntington. Take a look at the offers he’s supposedly getting from Seattle for Ian Snell and Jason Bay. Somebody tell Neal to pull the trigger already.

The link above reports that Huntington passed on a Snell for Adam Jones, Brandon Morrow, and George Sherrill deal earlier this off-season.

By throwing Bay into the deal, it’s more than likely that the Bucs could entice the M’s add Carlos Triunfel to the deal, if not more. My suggestion is to try substituting either Ryan Feierabend or Tony Butler for Morrow. That adds up to:

Bay
Snell

for

Jones
Triunfel
Feierabend/Butler
Sherrill

More specifically that’s:

Snell

for

Jones (B+ to A- prospect, depending on who you ask)
Feierabend/Butler (both B to B+, with Butler probably being the better prospect)

and

Bay

for

Triunfel (B+ to A-)
Sherrill (poor man’s Damaso Marte)

That leaves the 2010 Bucs with:

  • A border-line all-star outfielder in Jones, who will only be 24 years old
  • A solid, affordable lefty 1-2 punch in Gorzelanny paired with either Feierabend or Butler.
  • A shortstop of the future who should make some impact from day one (see below)
  • A solid lefty set-up guy

Considering Bay will already be years into the decline of his career by this point, and Snell will have maxed out as a number 3 starting pitcher, I’d consider that a successful deal if made.

(This is the see below part)

Triunfel is the guy that screams to me as a must have in these discussions. The kid is a stud, and is already ascending through the minors at age 18. He’s drawing some comparisons to both Alex Rodriguez and Hanley Ramirez, mostly because of his early success, and while asking him to live up to either of those two might be a stretch, expectations for Triunfel aren’t far off.

The Pirates are looking for Jack Wilson’s replacement, and let’s face it, Brian Bixler is not the answer. The smart move: get rid of Wilson to give Bixler some time at shortstop. When the experiment is deemed a defensive failure about halfway through 2009, slide Bixler over to second, where scouts say he could actually be a solid everyday player, and plug in Triunfel.

Geeze this GM stuff is easy, somebody get me on the phone with Bob Nutting, I’m ready to take Neal’s job.


Random Ramblings Pt. 2

December 18, 2007

So I don’t have anything in particular to mention in today’s post, so I’ll just give you some interesting links and a few tidbits of knowledge that I’ve got crammed into my slightly undersized head…

  • A must read from Rob Neyer of ESPN.com. Rob came across an interesting article regarding HGH use. Turns out it might not be so helpful after all, at least if you want to believe the college professor/scientist he quotes.
  • Brian Roberts has told the Associated Press that he did in fact try steroids in 2003, but said it was just a one-time deal, and that his moral values (morals in sports????) stopped him from trying the juice again. Question for my faithful readers…Since Roberts was the one name that everyone used to question the integrity of the Mitchell Report (this means you Peter Gammons), has the report gained a little credibility now?
  • A-Rod and agent Scott Boras are no longer talking. It’s been a pretty lousy off-season for Boras, despite A-Rod getting his big contract. Teams have been sick of his negotiating habits for a while now, and looks like players may be catching up.
  • Huntington seems dead-set on finding somebody to compete with Paulino for time behind the plate.
  • I remember seeing numbers somewhere that showed Paulino was a good game caller. I can’t remember where I saw those, but I did manage to find some revealing stats about Paulino’s work with John Van Benschoten this past summer.
  • Some criticism directed at the Pirates front office about the hiring of Troy Buckley as the organizations rover pitching instructor. Some interesting stats and what not at the bottom of that article as well.
  • Another good ‘roid article from Rob Neyer that I figured I’d put in here. Raises some questions about how Hall of Fame voters should view the last 15-20 years in baseball history.
  • For all my Penn State buddies from back home, sounds like you guys might be seeing more than Nittany Lion football at Beaver Stadium in the next couple of years. Definitely something I’d like to see.
  • And finally, some much-deserved props for some Penguins rookies who have been all but carrying the team for the past couple weeks. Without Tyler Kennedy’s offensive production and Kris Letang’s clutch shoot-out abilities, the Pens would be in some serious trouble at this point.

That should give you plenty to chew on for a few hours. Depending on flight schedules and potential blizzards in Boston, I could be stuck in the dorm for a good 3-4 days straight, so there is potential for some serious post-age in the near future.

I leave you with some disheartening news from Mr. College Basketball himself. Looks as though Dicky V might have “awesome baby’d” one too many times. All the best to you Dicky V. We’ll all be eagerly awaiting your courtside return.