Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Chatter

> Ross Ohlendorf is the third Princeton ballplayer to make an appearance in the Pittsburgh-San Diego series. The Padre's Chris Young and Will Venable suited up for the Tigers, too. Ohlendorf was teammates with both. The Orange and Black must be doing a pretty good job of recruiting these days.

> Ryan Doumit's 15 home runs are the most by a Pirate catcher in a season since Mark Parent hit 15 in 1995. The club record is 17, set in 1965 by Jim Pagliaroni. It's hard to believe that in 122 years of play, no Bucco backstop has ever hit 20 homers.

> GW was pretty hard on Doumit's ability to handle the chores behind the plate, but we're glad to be eating some crow. He, with a few stretches of regression, has improved noticeably during the season at setting a target, framing a pitch, and blocking balls. He's still a work in progress, but he is progressing.

Overall, the 2008 catching line isn't much different than 2007. Pirate catchers threw out 30.6% of the wanna-be base snatchers (46-150), compared to 31.8% (35-110) last season. Doumit nailed 26.8%, Paulino 25.8%, and understudy Raul Chavez gunned out 48% of the runners. Robinzon Diaz was 1 for 1 in his lone appearance.

And we don't read much into the fact that opposing teams ran 40 more times on Pittsburgh this year, other than there were more baserunners to send between the increase in hits and particularly walks in 2008, plus some to-be-expected early season testing of Doumit's arm.

Errors and passed balls were virtually identical between the two seasons. As bad as the pitching was, the ERA went up just a tad from 4.93 in 2007 to 5.12 this season. It was terrible in 2007, and almost unbelievably, even worse in 2008.

The only major upticks were in wild pitches, leaping from 45 to 64 (to us, a combo of poor pitching and catching), and of course, those pesky walks, skyrocketing from 518 to 652 in a year. And you can't blame the receivers for that.

Doumit seems well on track to losing his old moniker of Ryan No-Mitt. More importantly, his legs held up, and he's a lock to man the dish next year.

> Dejan says that the Bucs are gonna try to hold on to Dirt Dog Doug and Jay Michaels. Mientkiewicz we can see, if a contender doesn't pry him away. But Michaels? He gave us some dramatic moments, but a .226 corner OF'er doesn't warrant an invite back to us. We will say that 42 RBI in 226 AB's, though, is clutch, and that's why they're looking hard at keeping him.

The silver lining we see from the offer is that it gives us a glimmer of hope that the Bucs were just puffing up and showcasing Nyjer Morgan, the latest Rajai Davis/Tike Redmond clone, to the baseball world. Just building value, as the suits like to say.

But with Cutch almost sure to start 2009 in Indy and Brandon Moss being sliced, it looks less and less like that's the scenario.

> BTW, the untouchable Yankee arms that Pittsburgh couldn't tear loose at the trade deadline, Phil Hughes (0-4, 7.96 in seven starts) and Ian Kennedy (0-4, 8.35 in nine starts) didn't fare as well as the pitchers the Bucs did get, Jeff Karstens (2-6, 4.03 in nine starts) and Ross Ohlendorf (0-3, 7.50 in four starts, with one more coming today). Just sayin'...

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