-- The Bucco pitching has taken a hit, particularly the bullpen, but it was due to fall back towards the league norm eventually. The ERA is still better than the NL average (Pitt 4.20, NL 4.58), and the walks are about at league average, too (Pitt 120, NL 116).
Two numbers stick out. The Pirate defensive efficiency (balls put in play that are turned into outs) over the streak has dropped from 75% to 72% (the NL average is 70%), partially because some dinks were due to drop and partially because Jack Splat has been on the DL, although Brian Bixler has statistically shown the best range at short.
The other area of concern is the K rate. The Pirate staff has struck out 159 batters; the league norm is 211. That means that every game, the Pirate fielders have to turn two more balls put in play into outs than the average NL defense.
-- But the Buc bats are most to blame for the team's funk. Without going into all the stats, they've dropped from just above the middle of the pack to near the bottom in most categories. Two obvious ones - their 19 homers are next to last in the NL (team average - 29), and their OPS, a good indicator of run production, is twelfth at .706; the league average is .745.
-- Doug Drabek's boy, Kyle, as you may recall, was a hot-shot prospect when he came out of Woodlands High of Victoria, Texas, in 2006 and was drafted in the first round (18th overall) by the Phillies. He had a heater that hit 97 MPH and a nice slider.
But he ended up with TJ surgery the following season, and his career was put on hold. Well, he looks like he's back on track, as Baseball America has him in their Hot List this week.
The 21 year-old has a 2.38 ERA with 15 K in 11-1/3 innings for High A Clearwater.
-- Some blowback from the Manny suspension: the silver lining for the Dodgers was the freeing up of nearly $7M in salary that Ramirez would lose over his 50-game ban that they could conceivably use to buy another pitcher, like Pedro or Paul Byrd. Not so fast, says Maury Brown of The Biz of Baseball:
Ramirez's $25 million salary for 2009 is being paid in four installments — $10 million this season, then $5 million without interest in each of the following three years.Every silver lining still has a cloud wrapped around it.
He will be docked in each installment. The Dodgers' savings will amount to about $2.73 million this season and about $1.37 million in each of the following three years.