Thursday, July 17, 2008

Second verse, same as the first...

Not much to dissect tonight. The Pirates had one hit after the third inning, and that was erased by a DP. The last four batters fanned.

Paul Maholm ran out of gas in the sixth, giving up two doubles, a triple, and a homer, and that three spot by the Rockies was enough to hold off the Bucs, 5-3.

Before tonight, Colorado's team had lost four in a row, had only 39 wins, was in a 25-inning scoreless streak and was missing 3 members of its regular lineup due to injury. Hidden vigorish or not, this was no way to start the second half of the season.

On the Pirate front: Player's pick Nate McLouth played 11 innings, while Chicago's Kosuke Fukudome, who was the people's choice starter, played just four.

And Nate the Great did just fine, gunning out what would have been the winning run at home, and going 1-4 at the dish, with one ball lofted to the warning track. Sweet All-Star debut, we'd say. Hopefully, he'll be back for more.

> The Pirate rotation coming out of the break looks like Paul Maholm, Ian Snell, Yoslan Herrera, Zach Duke and JVB. But that could change in a New York second, as the Pirates haven't officially announced any of their starters yet except for Maholm.

Phil Dumatrait is due back July 27th if all goes well. Gorzo? Who knows?

> RHP Marino Salas will rejoin the Pirates' bullpen today from Indy. He has an 11.17 ERA in 9 Bucco appearances, giving up 18 hits and 8 walks in 9 2/3 innings. Big improvement there.

> Jenifer Langosch of gives her fearless prediction for the second half of the season:
Knowing that they will be playing at least until September without Capps, the Pirates need their bullpen to step up. The work of Damaso Marte, John Grabow and Tyler Yates will be especially critical to keep the team going until Capps' return.

Also, Snell needs to begin to show some sort of resemblance of his '07 form, and the Pirates are going to need someone -- anyone -- to capably fill in as the team's fifth starter.

Despite losing a handful of key players at the Trade Deadline, the Pirates will teeter around the .500 mark until the end of the season, only to fall just short. However, appearances by Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen in September will give the fan base a short taste of what's to come.

On the hot stove front: Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus writes:
Ian Snell is a name that hasn’t been discussed much, but could bring a huge return for the Pirates. He’s durable, solid, and seems the type that would relish being in a pennant chase. The Pirates would have to be overwhelmed, but it was suggested that Snell is the equal of Rich Harden in talent.

I didn’t buy it, but they have similar body types, two pitch repertoires with similar velocity and movement, and some questions about durability. The Pirates are more likely to trade Jason Bay or Xavier Nady, though probably not both.

Andrew McCutcheon is a downgrade, but could offer up some hope for fans while either of the vets could bring a solid return. The Rays, Dodgers, and Mets have all taken a look at one of the OFers.

Then again, moving Snell doesn't really solve Pittsburgh's pitching problems, does it? We guess it depends on the return.

On the minor league front: In the Class AAA All-Star Game in Louisville, Indy's CF Andrew McCutchen went 2 for 2 with a sacrifice fly and two RBIs. SS Brian Bixler went 1 for 4. Cutch, btw, didn't make the Olympic team.

> In the Class AA Eastern League All-Star Game at Manchester, N.H., 1B Jason Delaney went 1 for 3 with a walk. RHP Pat Bresnehan allowed three runs, two hits and a walk in one inning of relief. He was charged with a blown save and the loss. LHP Josh Shortslef pitched one scoreless inning.

> Brad Lincoln, Pittsburgh's top pitching prospect and 2006 first-round draft pick, is moving up a step to Lynchburg. He was 5-5 with a 4.65 ERA in 11 starts for Hickory.

> At Lynchburg, IF Jim Negrych hit his fourth home run, a grand slam, and went 1 for 4. He's batting .362. LHP Danny Moskos got clobbered, and his ERA is over 6 now.

> 3B Matt Hague (.373) went 3 for 4 with two doubles and an RBI for Hickory.

> The draftees were raking at State College. LF Cole White (.370) went 3 for 6, with a double, two RBI and three runs scored. 3B Jeremy Farrell (.300) had two hits and three RBI. 1B Calvin Anderson added a grand slam


WilliamJPellas said...

JVB as the fifth starter? For the remainder of the season??? Yoi and double yoi!

What a shame that Phil Dumatrait's arm just couldn't hold up. He was right there with Maholm as far as our best starters of the season. I hadn't heard that he was likely to be out for the rest of the year, but Langosch apparently doesn't even mention Dumatrait. Does she know something we don't?

This pitching staff is looking uglier by the minute. If Snell keeps stinking and Gorzellany can't put it back together, we are looking at the worst staff in the entire National League. Seriously. It's not even close.

The speed with which this team's pitching has plunged to the bottom is breathtaking. I don't know if there are any realistic scenarios in which we can get significantly better just from what we have on hand in the organization. If not, we're going to have to rebuild through trades, which puts even more pressure on the front office than there was heading into the season. Most folks figured, hey, our pitching may not be Hall of Fame caliber, but it's serviceable and we can address other issues while our staff takes care of itself.



Now we gotta rebuild the pitching, too.

Ron said...

My bad, Will. Dumatrait is due back July 27th, so they'll have to suck up a start or two without him. And when Gorzo will return is anyone's guess; the Pirates have made it a mystery, especially by limiting him to 3 innings or 50 pitches at Indy during his last outing.
And you're right about the pitching. Outside of dealing, there's no quick cure. Everyone knows the price you have to pay to visit the free agent market place.
We believe if the pitching held up its end of the deal, the Pirates might be looking at just moving a piece or two. Now, who knows? The wheeling and dealing in the next couple of weeks will tell us a lot about the way this team is seen by management and the direction they're planning on taking it.

WilliamJPellas said...

Ya know, I'm personally really tired of the crap with Gorzellany. If he's not hurt---seriously hurt---then my name is Mickey Mouse. Or maybe Goofy.

If the man is injured, can we cut the baloney and just get him under the knife so we can start the rehab and move on already??? Why a 50 pitch limit in the middle of the season for a guy who is supposedly healthy?

Excuse me for just a moment....

Thanks, Ron. Now I feel better. A little.

Seriously, I haven't been this frustrated watching a pitcher since poor Jose DeLeon was dealing gas in the upper 90s and somehow losing 19 games.

Ron said...

LOL, Will, I thought DeLeon was gonna be something, too. Kovacevic reported Gorzo didn't take his job too seriously or professionally, although - and this isn't a knock on him, especially - he reports what the team sources feed him. I suppose that's better than just making it up (like me, hehe.)
I can't quite figure out why, if there are no physical issues, that they'd put him on a count. Mechanics? Or just a warning to get his stuff together? Who knows - but Pittsburgh sure could use the early version of him on the mound.