Big Lead Sports Bar


Pirates Win, Keep Me Awake

Yes, I stayed up to watch the entire Pirates game last night, although I do admit switching to Man Vs. Wild between innings. Bear Grylls eating raw zebra (video) in the middle of an African jungle is a tad more interesting than another three-run output by the Pirates. And when Bear squeezes the elephant crap (video) to drink the water because he's so dehydrated...well that clearly distanced the two television events.
The Pirates have scored three runs or less a whopping 16 times in 31 games this season. Offensively, they're about as fun as taking final exams. There are no fireworks. Watching their middle of the lineup in the late innings, I wondered out loud if anyone on this team was capable of hitting a three-run homer. Of course, I later got my answer: "no".
A simple look at their stats illustrates my point: Xavier Nady and Jason Bay lead the team with four home runs each (on pace for a whopping 22). And even on a night when Bay & Nady combine for seven hits, they still can't knock in any runs because the law firm of Duffy, Wilson and Sanchez combined for a 2-for-17 evening.
The script was, for the most part, typical Pirates:
-Ian Snell gave up three runs over seven innings and left the game trailing by one.
-Don Kelly managed to get on base, but as you would expect, got thrown out at home.
-The Pirates left 17 men on base.
-With two on and none out in the 10th, the Pirates couldn't push the go-ahead run home. Not surprisingly, the first batter with two on, Adam LaRoche, struck out.
-In the 12th, Nady led off with a double and moved to third on an error. Man at third none out...and as you can expect, he becomes the Pirate version of Tom Hanks in Castaway, stranded on a desert base.
-In the 14th inning, Nady singles with one out. LaRoche promptly ends the inning by grounding into a double play. This is no longer Castaway. This is more like Groundhog Day.
But don't forget, we're in a weak division, so we can contend all year! I don't know about you, but I can't wait to watch Jack Wilson not hit in the playoffs.
The bottom line is that the Pirates clearly aren't ready to contend. It's the classic case of overlooking flaws because things haven't completely collapsed. You know, when you're winning despite a major weakness. Think the Bears and Rex Grossman. Sure, they made the Super Bowl, but was it because of Grossman or in spite of him? And before you answer that question, remember, he's up for a contract extension and the Bears are still trying to decide what they're going to do with him. Not exactly a vote of confidence for a "franchise" quarterback.
Tonight is Gorzelanny against Marquis...two pitchers with sub-three ERAs. You probably shouldn't count on a ton of offensive fireworks. Unfortunately, Man vs. Wild is not an option tonight.

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