Big Lead Sports Bar


Blind Squirrels Find Acorn: A Weekend Roundup

The Blind Squirrels disguised as Pittsburgh's Major League Baseball team found their occasional acorn on Saturday night versus the league's best, the Detroit Tigers, by a count of 9-2. Believe it or not, it was their first win by more than two runs since June 5 at Colorado, a 5-2 win. That spans 23 games, in which the Pirates had a 6-17 mark.

Never ones to bask too long in their own glory, the Squirrels were back to their old ways on Sunday afternoon, dropping a 9-8 decision. EBay actually came through with a 9th-inning double, albeit with no runners on base. This time, we can thank Jose Castillo and Humberto Cota for their lack of intestinal fortitude, stranding Bay and sending 28,000 faithful home to count down the days until Steelers Training Camp starts. I've never seen a team so afraid to win like these Pirates.

On the positive side, Freddy Sanchez did get named to the All Star Game as a reserve, joining EBay in representing the Squirrels. Of all the Pirates I riff on, I really like Sanchez. It's a shame that it took him hitting nearly .400 for Jim the Genius to keep him as a regular in the lineup. Consider this example #1,239 of the Pirates not knowing how to properly evaluate talent. Sanchez has proven himself time and time again as a legitimate hitter this year, and his intentional walk courtesy of Jim Leyland on Sunday is verficiation of that. Give me one Pirate to pick for a clutch at-bat, and I'll take Sanchez over Bay every time.

All you trivia buffs out there, has there ever been a team with a .337 winning percentage that's able to boast TWO All Stars, one of them starting, AND a manager named to be an assistant coach? Email Raul if you know, and you will be credited!

Next up, four games at the New York Mets, the same New York Mets that just got voted as half of the starting lineup for the NL All Star Team, in addition to Pedro Martinez and Tom Glavine. There were so many Mets voted in, I think even Keith Hernandez made it. The Pirates got a lucky break when it was announced that Pedro would miss his scheduled start, but they still have to face Glavine, who's been surprisingly tough this year.

In other news, Mark "Token" Redman was selected as the All Star representative from the Kansas City Royals. Raise your hands if you ever thought Mark Redman would ever be chosen for any All Star team in your lifetime. His ERA is 5.59, his record is 5-4, and he plays for the Royals. That is what makes no sense about this game: the league can't decide if it wants the game to be an exhibition or something of meaning. If it is a meaningful game, do away with the one player per team rule. Players like Mark Redman do not pitch in meaningful games. For the record, I thought the same thing when Mike Williams and his 6+ ERA was chosen a few years ago for the Pirates.

All in all, there were a surprising four former Buccos picked for this year's squad: Redman, Reds P Bronson Arroyo, Rangers OF Gary Matthews Jr (yes, the guy who had that ridiculous catch on Saturday), and Giants P Jason Schmidt. If you would've asked me to guess four former Pirates to be chosen for the All Star Game before the season, I would have given you Bonds, Ramirez, maybe Giles or Kendall, and Schmidt. It's the perfect cherry on top of a ridiculous first half of the season for our Buccos:

  • A season virtually over after a 7-19 April
  • Oliver Perez and Chris Duffy off the roster
  • Freddy Sanchez leading the NL in hitting, despite Jim Tracy's attempts to get him out of the lineup
  • 2 Pirates voted to the All Star Game while the team languishes in the NL basement
  • Another disastrous year of free agent signings
  • Jason Bay's lack of clutch hitting
  • The disaster known as Kip Wells
  • A record losing streak, including a sweep at the hands of Kansas City

    I hope we've seen the worst. Although the Pirates certainly give everyone plenty of material (even Jay Leno these days), the influx of blogs and sports radio discussions only illustrate the fact that people still care about the team. Everyone is dying for a winner. If the Clippers and Bengals can reach the playoffs, I know it's at least possible. On to New York, where the Mets are losers of five of their last six. Maybe the Bucs have a little run in them so we don't have to endure a few days of All Star coverage consisting solely of "What a beautiful ballpark! Too bad the Pirates have been so bad...."

    Sean said...

    I actually don't blame Cota at all for the Pirates loss yesterday. It was an unlucky bounce to end the game and he got on base a few times in the last few innings. The blame goes to Castillo who was up with the bases loaded and one out TWICE and couldn't drive in a run. Jack Wilson also went 0 for 3 leaving five runners on base. Grabow & Bayliss didn't have a good 7th inning either.

    Archi said...

    It's a shame that it took him hitting nearly .400 for Jim the Genius to keep him as a regular in the lineup.

    I hear all kinds of people blame Tracy, Littlefield etc. for not "realizing" Sanchez's talent. I like the guy, but you'd have to have been a lunatic to start him at 3B after last season. And hasn't Sanchez pretty much been in the lineup every day since Randa struggled and then got hurt? Since he's played well, he's been in the lineup. What more could we ask?

    As an aside: If Sanchez' average drops to, say, .something less gaudy by season's end, he's pretty much Dave Magadan. That's not anything to sneeze at, but it's also not what you really want at the hot corner.

    Like the site, btw.