Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Short Night In Chicago

Ian Snell has the best stuff of anyone on the staff - and the worst production. He's 1-6 with a 5.43 ERA after losing a 5-inning, rain shortened game tonight, 6-1. Jeff Karstens, who is the number five guy and holding on to that spot by a gnat's eyelash, is 1-2 with a 5.19 ERA. Go figure.

GW gives up; he has no idea whassup with Snell. Apparently, neither does Joe Kerrigan. And the suits thought Gorzo needed a boot in the pants? Snell refuses to build on his few and far between good outings, reverting to too many pitches, too many balls, too many two-out lapses, too many bottom-of-the-order runs, and too many losses.

We don't know if the Pirates' patience is wearing thin with him, but it's about time for a change, if not in performance, then teams. Or does Indy only take ex-Yankee pitchers?

-- X-rays taken of the right elbow of Pirates reliever Matt Capps, who was struck by a Geovany Soto line drive yesterday, were negative.

That's the good news; the bad news is that he was struck very close to the bruised bone that caused him to miss a week earlier in the season. So there's still an outside chance he could end up on the 15-day DL. Capps hopes to return over the weekend, according to the Associated Press, but "it's kind of out of my hands," he said

That puts John Grabow or perhaps Jesse Chavez in line to close for the Pirates; maybe Tyler Yates if Capps is gone beyond a week.

-- RHP Tyler Yates is scheduled to throw off a mound today for the first time since going on the DL May 17 with elbow inflammation. He's eligible to come back Sunday, though he may pitch a couple of rehab games first.

-- RHP Craig Hansen had more tests in Pittsburgh yesterday to see if the docs can figure out what's causing his neck and back spasms. Results are due today.

-- Who knows whassup with LHP Phil Dumatrait? Last we heard, he's still in Pirate City, rehabbing from impingement surgery.

-- C Ryan Doumit, who broke his right wrist on April 20, is scheduled for a CAT scan on Thursday. If the results of that are OK, he could quit cheerleading and start participating in baseball drills within days.

Jason Jaramillo (.288) and Robinzon Diaz (.321) have done unexpectedly fine jobs during his absence; it'll be interesting to see who goes down when Doumit comes back, and what the future plans are for the duo. We're sure rumors of a possible position switch for the fragile Doumit will fly again, at least among the fans.

-- Only one Bucco ever had a better day at the plate than Freddy Sanchez yesterday. That was 2B Rennie Stennett, who went 7-for-7 when Pittsburgh routed the Cubs, 22-0 on September 16, 1975, also at Wrigley Field. Sanchez credits his rejuvenated eye to shortening his swing and staying back on the ball.

Freddy joins a select group of seven Pirates who have gone 6-for-6 or better; Stennett, OF Hazen "Kiki" Cuyler (08/09/1924), OF Paul "Big Poison" Waner (08/26/1926), OF/1B Johnny "Hippity" Hopp (05/14/1950), SS Dick Groat (05/13/1960), and 2B Wally Backman (04/27/1990).

Six hits is a pretty big deal. The Biz of Baseball's Maury Brown lists everyone that's done it in MLB history. There ain't that many.

-- Don't be in a rush to see Wilson or Adam LaRoche leave town, says Fox Sport's writer Ken Rosenthal:
Clubs that expect the Pirates to dump contracts out of financial desperation will be disappointed. The team is in strong enough position to maintain its payroll through the end of the season and still be aggressive in the draft and Latin America, according to one source with knowledge of the club's thinking.

The industry-wide shortage at shortstop has led to multiple inquiries on Jack Wilson, who is earning $7.25 million in the final year of his contract. The rap on Wilson is his low on-base percentage — .295 this season, .311 for his career. But he remains a quality defender.

Here's the problem: The Pirates are philosophically opposed to the idea of a low-revenue team sending money to a high-revenue team to secure better prospects in a trade, the way the Indians did last season when they moved third baseman Casey Blake to the Dodgers.

Most teams do not want Wilson at even the pro-rated portion of his current salary. Ditto for first baseman Adam LaRoche, who is earning $7.05 million.
-- The minor-league injury update: Altoona OF Jose Tabata (strained right hamstring) will report to Bradenton today to begin his rehab assignment. Lynchburg RHP Bryan Morris (right shoulder) is already in Pirate City, where he has made two starts in extended spring training. Morris has two more starts scheduled in Florida.

-- How about a little national politics to throw into the mix? President Barack Obama nominated judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. Does the name sound familiar? It should; on March 30, 1995, she issued a preliminary injunction against the owners preventing them from unilaterally implementing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and using replacement players. For all intents and purposes, that ended the strike, and the 1995 season was played.

Sotomayor was born in the Bronx, and is supposed to be a big Yankee fan. Well, no one's perfect.


WilliamJPellas said...

Karstens is what he is, so I don't think we can be terribly disappointed in what he's done to this point---though I admit I thought he was mildly better than what he's shown to this point. In any case, we all know that Phil Dumatrait would be the fifth starter if he was healthy, that Tom Gorzellany would be the fifth starter if his head was screwed on straight, and that Daniel McCutchen would be the fifth starter if he was dominating at Triple-A Indianapolis (where he's been good but definitely not great).

Meanwhile, I've about had it with Snell, too. I think it's time to either trade him or move him to the 'pen to see if he might make a good closer (less to think about, he can rear back and throw his fastball, etc).

Ron Ieraci said...

Yah, nothing to argue about there, Will. The point was how a guy with such modest stuff can be performing at the same level as a guy with top-of-order pitches. You hate to waste starter potential in the bullpen, but something has to be done to get Snell's attention, that's for sure.

What I'm disliking is the rest of the staff doesn't blame anyone but themselves for a poor outing; but Snell went after the umps and the catcher (hey, you'd think a guy that's been a MLB pitcher since 2004 could shake off a guy that's been catching in the show since mid-April if he didn't like the pitch selection); in other words, nothing is his fault, everything's OK. My man is in denial.