Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Fat Lady Works Overtime

GW was part of a jailbreak from work at lunch with buds Tom DiNuno, Frank Garnett and Chaz Durham, escaping to catch a slacker's special on a beautiful September afternoon. And while we were treated to a competitive game, there wasn't much beautiful about the play.

The Dodgers won in twelve, 4-3. John Russell stuck to who brung him when he made up the getaway day lineup, running Jason Michaels, Chris Gomez and Raul Chavez out along with the fall wonders, Nyjer Morgan and Luis Cruz.

That tells us all we need to know about Steve Pearce, Luis Rivas, Brian Bixler, Ronny Paulino and Robinzon Diaz's places on the Pirate totem pole.

As for the game...well, start with eight Pittsburgh pitchers giving up eleven walks, four of the intentional variety.

Paul Maholm was uncharacteristically wild, giving up a half dozen free passes. Craig Hansen, predictably, faced four batters and walked three in earning a well-deserved loss. Three of the four Dodger runs were scored by a runner who walked.

Throw in a dribbler or three that could have been outs, Nyjer Morgan being easily tossed out trying to score from third with the second baseman holding the ball (we suppose Lance Berkman's lesson hasn't quite sunk in yet), and the Pirates left plays - and the game - all over the field.

EDIT - Paul Meyer said in the PBC Blog that Tony Beasley took the hit for Morgan's doomed gallop home. Doesn't anyone watch the ball?

Still, they made a run at it in the twelfth inning, putting runners on second and third with two away. They don't quit, and the fat lady didn't get to sing until Michaels popped out to second.

What the heck, nice day for a ballgame. Too bad the Bucs didn't join in the fun.

> A sight to behold: Apparently, the Blue Crew initiate their September call-ups with a bit of hazing silliness. When the Dodger relievers walked out to the bullpen in the middle of the first inning, the newcomers didn't carry their stuff in gym bags.

They had pink and blue "Hello Kitty" backpacks instead, much like you'd see on opening day - of first grade! Every now and then, you need reminded that beyond being a big business, baseball is still, and hopefully will forever remain, a little kid's game at heart.

> The Pirates announced that the club has extended its working affiliation agreement with Class A Lynchburg through 2010.


WilliamJPellas said...

What in the world is going on with Russell's starting lineup these days? Bixler I understand, Rivas I understand, and Paulino I understand, but why Robinzon Diaz and Steve Pearce aren't starting is beyond me. I don't like Pearce and don't think he has a future here, but surely we ought to find that out with 100% certainty rather than playing a glorified fifth outfielder like Nyjer Morgan. Jason Michaels has done a great professional job for us this season, but at this point there's no way he should be starting more than a game a week. Period. Diaz absolutely needs to be in there if the organization has decided to get rid of Paulino (as it should); I love Ryan Doumit---who doesn't---but if we're not trying to prepare for next season, what are we doing? And if we're just trying to get as many wins as we can for cosmetic purposes, does Nyjer Morgan give us a better chance to win ballgames? Jason Michaels is of course an experienced professional hitter, but is it more important at this point to play him or to see what, if anything, Pearce brings to the table?

What in the world is going on???

Ron Ieraci said...

Apparently, Will, it's part of Russell fielding his "best" lineup against teams still in the race. And he is loyal to his veteran players, maybe to a fault.
But Pearce and Diaz deserve a look, unless the suits have their 2009 roster, pending off season wheeling and dealing, set (which I suspect they do.)
Get ready to see Morgan as your Pittsburgh Pirate starting LF in 2009, until they decide it's time to start Cutch's clock.

WilliamJPellas said...

Morgan is barely adequate offensively as a starting center fielder. As a corner outfielder, he's not even on the radar screen. But then, I suppose he's there as the placeholder until McCutchen gets called up, presumably after June 1st (seems to me that date has something to do with the annual "arbitration clock" if I remember correctly). Look, he's a good kid and a nice story and if we're going to stink anyway, sure, he'll do for a hundred at bats or so. But, geez....obviously this means Steven Pearce has no future in Pittsburgh.

Ron Ieraci said...

That's about right on, Will. Add in that he covers a lot of ground, although clueless once he catches up to the ball, and he has fourth OFer written all over him.
I think that speed will keep a roster spot warm for him for the immediate time being. Pearce's problem, besides not showing any pop in his bat, is that he can't play left at PNC and Morgan can, to a degree.