-- Step back, please, give the paramedics room. The train wreck known as the Pittsburgh Pirates were dropped again, 10-1, by the Mets. The pitchers are trying to be perfect, the batters are squeezing the lumber, and they all need to take a deep breath and relax a little.
Just a couple of suggestions. Play someone at shortstop that has just a little range, please. Don't bat a .176 hitter with 3 RBI fifth in the order. And never bring the infield in for the second batter of the game.
Personally, GW would bat the guys like this: Morgan, Sanchez, McLouth, LaRoche the elder, LaRoche the younger, Jaramillo/Diaz, Moss, Bixler, and the pitcher.
Yah, we give up three outs at the bottom of the order, but we don't kill any chance for a big inning by sprinkling them throughout the lineup.
Hey, we know it's a little league strategy, but going back to basics isn't such a bad thing. And we think that someone to protect Adam LaRoche's back a bit will ease the pressure that we're sure he's feeling right now at cleanup.
It's not like a trade for Bix's glove will hurt in the overall plan; Vazquez is hitting a lusty .167, and a seven hole hitter that draws walks and covers as much ground as a Maytag dryer doesn't really help the cause much. Besides, it's about evaluating the future, right?
-- The Bucs have lost six in a row; the Mets have won five in a row. Isn't it about time for the Gunner's "hidden vigorish" to kick in? (EDIT - Nope, not yet.)
-- Same old Bucs? The Pirates have the same record now after 29 games (12-17) that they had to start last season. The recent free-fall has seen Pittsburgh drop from second in the division to a last-place tie this morning with the Astros.
-- Matt Capps could come back today if push comes to shove; but it would probably make more sense medically to let him sit until Tuesday, after the Met series and a scheduled day off. But with the way the bullpen's going...
-- Jack Splat began his rehab stint with Indy last night; he remains on track for a Tuesday return to the roster.
-- Tests showed that Craig Hansen has no structural damage to his neck and back, but he's still not scheduled to throw off of a mound; there's no timetable for his return.
Could it be that the suits are OK with Evan Meek's job to date and so in no hurry to play with the roster quite yet? Or is Hansen another guy that's hurt more than the team is willing to let on?
-- Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports revisits the deadline dealing that sent Jay Bay to Boston instead of Tampa Bay and some of the early-season blowback.
-- Cubby third baseman Aramis Ramirez dislocated his shoulder yesterday. It was an injury similar to one A-Ram suffered in late August of 2000 with the Pirates. The guesstimate for his return is four to six weeks, pending the results of his MRI.
-- Indy RHP Jimmy Barthmaier will have reconstructive Tommy John elbow surgery on Tuesday. So much for the initial diagnosis of tendinitis. He'll be done for the rest of the 2009 season.
-- LHP Kyle Bloom, who's been in Bradenton since being returned to the Bucs as a Rule 5 pick by Detroit, has been assigned to AA Altoona and will make his first start today.
-- San Diego State RHP Steve Strasburg did nothing to hurt his status as the run-away top pick in the upcoming player draft. He threw a 17-K no hitter against Air Force, facing just 28 batters.
-- Just read Michael Lewis' "Moneyball" again. Gotta love the clash of baseball cultures between the five-tool scouts, who believe their eyes, and the Sabermetric (named, BTW, after the Society for American Baseball Research) suits, who believe their spreadsheets.
Hey, both can fool ya. As Shakespeare warns, "All that glisters is not gold." On the other hand, Disraeli grumbles about "Lies, damned lies, and statistics..." Who to believe?
Still, tough to argue the geeks' underlying theme - the best measure of a hitter is his OPS (Onbase Plus Slugging) rating to determine his potential run production.
Of course, an argument can be made for the Undisputed Truth's words in "Smiling Faces" - "The truth is in the eyes 'cause the eyes don't lie.." Debates like this are why baseball is so endlessly fascinating throughout the generations. We wouldn't have it any other way.