Sunday, June 22, 2008

Off day thoughts

> The Bucs said that they're checking out Ian Snell's elbow irritation (although we think his head needs straightened out more) and that made us wonder.

If there's something wrong with him, and with Phil Dumatrait on the DL, do JVB and Bryan Bullington become two of our starters by default against the Rays? Or would Jimmy Barthmaier earn a spot start or two? Dumatrait comes back July 5th.

> The Buc bats have been smoking, especially considering the lineup they're putting in the field. Hitting coach Don Long deserves a medal.

> How odd is it that Pittsburgh plays the teams they won their last two World Series against in the town they won game seven at - and for the first time since those sweet wins? Only a computer could come up with that scheduling.

It was the Pirates first visit to Baltimore since Steve Blass won 2-1 in 1979, and will be the Yankee's first trip here since Maz sent them packing in 1960. Needless to say, the stadiums look a little different. Memorial Stadium and Forbes Field are just fond memories today.

> In his press conference after the game, John Russell defended his bunt call with runners on first and second and no one out. And that was the right call, too. But he didn't address the better question - why did he pinch hit for Ian Snell with Freddy Sanchez in the 4th inning if he was gonna bunt anyway?

He wasted Sanchez' bat early in the game and put one of his better bunters, Snell, on the pine. He could have pulled him after the bunt just as well as before it. Sanchez popped out and effectively killed the inning to add a little salt to the wound.

One thing we've learned is that Russell is as unpredictable as the Pittsburgh weather. He goes by no book that we're aware of. Whether that's part of his learning curve or just his approach to the game will be seen down the road. So far he's used an unique blend of National and American League strategies.

> Phil Dumatrait is on the 15-day disabled list because of rotator cuff tendinitis in his left shoulder and fortunately nothing structural. Rest is supposed to cure what ails it.

The domino effect of calling up TJ Beam is that Chris Duffy is now on the 60-day DL instead of the 15-day to make space on the 40 man roster. That won't affect when he can return because Duffy has already passed the 60-day mark.

> Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports says the A's suddenly could become a buyer. He cites the usual suspects: Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, C.C. Sabathia, and notes that the A's have the prospects to pull it off.

And boy, could Pittsburgh use some, especially if they pitch.

> Now the vigil begins to see when and if the Bucs can reel in the big four remaining draftees - Pedro Alvarez, Tanner Sheppers, and high schoolers Robbie Grossman and Drew Gagnon. It's a great draft if they get all four to sign on the dotted line, although it may break the bank.

Alavrez' deal is the big one. That'll determine how much of the pie is left for the other guys. The sooner, the better if Pittsburgh wants to get all its ducks in a row.


WilliamJPellas said...

I'd have to believe it would be Barthmeier who would get the next shot coming up from the minors. When Bullington was here last, Huntington seemed to indicate he thinks of Bullington as a reliever only. Nothing was done to keep Bullington "stretched out" as they say. Add in the fact that Luis Munoz (who would otherwise have been the next in line) has blown his chance and has been demoted back down to double-A, I'd think it would be Barthmeier getting the next callup from Indy.

Ron said...

Yah, Will, that's my guess. The PG says that Snell may not miss a start, but I think if for nothing more than mental health reasons, he should be skipped a turn.
But man, does this little episode of weary wings show how absolutely lacking Pittsburgh is in pitching depth. And from what I read, with the exception of Tanner, none of the arms that the Bucs drafted are anywhere near MLB ready for the near future.

WilliamJPellas said...

Well, it may not be quite that bleak, Ron. If Lincoln is fully recovered from his Tommy John surgery, he ought to be in black and gold no later than the end of next season. If Moskos continues to develop, he could join us late next year or sometime in 2010. There's also Yoslan Herrera---who at least has some international baseball experience even though his minor league numbers have not been exceptional to this point. And maybe Munoz will head back up to Triple-A and then on to the bigs and he'll never look back.

But yes, we are still definitely thin in terms of organizational pitching depth, that is for sure.