Big Lead Sports Bar

4/27/2007

If Only We Could Play Houston 162 Times

The Pirates, despite another shaky 9th inning by Salomon Torres, swept the Houston Astros with a 5-3 win on Thursday afternoon. Torres did his best to erase a 5-1 ninth inning Bucco lead but John Grabow was summoned from the bullpen for the final out and the save. The Pirates now sit at 10-10, in sole possession of 2nd place in the NL Central with just four days left in the month of April. Unfortunately, six of the 10 wins have come against the Astros, and much as I hate to break the news, the Pirates must play a variety of other teams around the league this year.
Believe it or not, there are some reasons to be optimistic about the Pirates. Consider that they're in second place and at .500 with a severe lack of offensive output. Also consider that in the past three days, they've been gifted with these starting pitching performances:
--Tuesday: Paul Maholm, with an ERA of 6.19, throws a three-hit shutout.
--Wednesday: Zach Duke, with an ERA of 9.00, allowed one run over six innings.
--Thursday: ArmasPalooza, with an ERA of 18.90 (or 1,890?) allows one run over five innings.
They appear to have at least two horses in the rotation (Snell and Gorzelanny, at least for now) with ERAs of 2, so you can safely say that starting pitching has been a bright spot...of late. If Snell and Gorzo can hold down the fort and they can get half of what they got this week from ArMaholmDuke, that should be good enough to contend in this division. Remember, the NL Central has lost a number of top arms, be it through injury (Prior, Carpenter, Wood) or defection (Pettitte, Clemens). If the Pirates' young arms can finally live up to potential, we may really have something here.
The Pirates need the bats to awaken from their lengthy hibernation in May if they really want to be taken seriously. Here are a few alarming offensive stats from April:
--The team has scored 74 runs in 20 games.
--The Pirates had only 6 stolen bases, and 5 were from Chris Duffy. Unacceptable.
--The team has a .237 team batting average...their opponents were at .269.
--Their leading slugger has 3 home runs.
--Jason Bay leads the team with a paltry 14 RBI.
--Adam LaRoche is sitting at .114, leaving 5 more on base on Thursday.
--What's been lost in all of the LaRoche bashing? The unproductive months of Ronny Paulino (.188) and Big Country Eldred (.115).
Looking at the offensive and pitching totals so far, and considering the opposition, 10-10 is probably right where the Pirates should be right now. Luckily, the Buccos play in what looks to be the worst division in the majors. Could this be a case of 1997 all over again? Can anyone say FREAK SHOW?
Next up, the Bucs host the 10-12 Reds for three weekend games (Snell vs. Milton, Gorzo vs. Belisle, Maholm vs. Harang). But the on-field product is secondary on this weekend. The real point of interest for many will be the fireworks on Friday and bobbleheads on Saturday.

9 comments:

Sean said...

Now that Doumit is back, the Pirates are unstoppable!

Brad said...

Has anyone started printing the "Why Not Us?" t-shirts yet?

AJ said...

Perhaps we could add that line to the leftover playoff beard shirts?

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Eldred's kind of understandable. I mean, this is the guy's first full season in the majors (assuming he stays up).

One thing about the offense I do like is that Chris Duffy is finally starting to act like a REAL leadoff hitter lately.

But we've been getting the pitching, if we actually started to hit we could go on a tear.

I say, replace Torres with Capps at closer and call up Sean Burnett. Then we win the World Series for sure haha.

Proinsias Cassidy said...

When was the last time the Bucs were .500 this late in the season? If the bats wake up, this could be pretty interesting.

I'll be at Safeco for the 3-game homestand the Mariners have with the Pirates June 19-21. Hopefully the idiots there will still be whining about SB XL.

Steeltown Mike said...

The Bucs hit .500 on June 11 of 2005, and could have gone a game over had they not blown a chance in extra innings to sweep Tampa Bay.

And, Cassidy, they'll be complaining about XL until someone explains the game of football to them.

boredinpittsburgh said...

I was at that June 11th game in 2005. PNC Park was electric, seriously.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

I live in Tampa and watched that Tampa Bay series on TV.

All Castillo had to do was get a fly ball into the outfield and we would've been over .500 in mid-June. And, forgive me if I'm wrong, didn't he ground into a double-play?

And the Seattle fans just reminded me of a bunch of football novices who thought that John Madden was this great football expert. So when Madden didn't agree with a call, they thought it was a good reason to think that they were robbed and should've been Super Bowl champions.

Proinsias Cassidy said...

Sorry for the late get-back.

I was moving a bunch of gear (on a ship) from Kuwait at that time; missed nearly the entire season, so it stands to reason that's why I don't remember (as well as most of the McClendon era). Thanks for the info.

And about XL... I didn't get a chance to watch it due to working on that stupid ship. My dad did email me a picture of the Hines Ward's touchdown, but from behind him and you can see the people in the stands in the background. What struck me was that 90% of the people wearing Seahawks tops had the number 55 on them. I knew Seattle sport fans were stupid, but wearing Brian Bosworth's number (even by a small sample size) puts those people beyond scorn. Too bad I live in Alaska and have deal with this shit daily.

Sorry if I rambled. I stopped in the middle trying to find a link to that photo but was unable to.