Friday, June 12, 2009

Ah, For The Good Ol' Days

Ya know, the suits did everything in their power to straighten out a dysfunctional pitching staff. And they did a pretty good job; the arms have by and large kept the team competitive this year.

But geez, we kinda miss the good ol' days when an 8-7 score was the norm. Heck, we'll settle for a bloop and blast, circa 1960.

The Bucs squandered a decent enough outing by Ian Snell, who gave up two runs in seven innings, both driven in by mound opponent Rick Porcello, and both times with two outs. John Grabow gave up a homer to the first guy he faced, and that was all the fat lady needed as the Tigers won, 3-1.

The Bucs were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position, but that's only half the tale. A runner thrown out at home on the contact play, three double plays, seventeen ground outs...this team is crying out loud for a middle of the order presence.

Maybe they could start with giving Eric Hinske and Craig Monroe some right field love. An outfield with one knock among them is a huge part of the problem. But team-wide, the Bucs need some sticks that will drive a ball instead of rolling over on it.

Ah, well, Ryan Doumit will be back one of these months. And maybe Andy LaRoche will rediscover his minor league stroke. And his big bro is due to go on a summer spree. But until then, there's not much in the way of muscle in the Pirate lineup.

-- How's this for signability? The Pirates and catcher Tony Sanchez came to a contract agreement today; it's thought that he'll sign for the slot bonus, which is about $2.5 million. Not that we miss last year's drama.

Sanchez, 21, hit .346 with 14 homers, 51 RBI, and 63 runs this past season as a junior at Boston College. He finished his career with the Eagles with a .317 average, 24 homers and 124 RBIs in 161 games. And that's without being able to hit a curve! Sanchez is supposed to be a good glove guy that can control a game behind the plate.

He'll be assigned to Class A West Virginia after a week or so of some poking, prodding, and coaching at Pirate City.

-- The Pirates plan to honor the 100-year anniversary of their first World Series championship against the Tigers. The Bucs won that 1909 matchup in seven games, as Babe Adams won three while Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner were the drawing cards.

On Sunday, the Pirates will "Turn Back the Clock" by having both clubs wear their Series' uniforms. PNC Park will try to replicate the 1909 game experience fans had at the time with a retro scoreboard and no music or mascots. Yes, there was a time when there were no racing perogies or Parrots roaming the stands.

-- Donnie Veal has pitched twice at Indy while on rehab, and hasn't been scored on. In 4-2/3 innings, he's given up three hits, struck out four and walked just a pair.

-- Tyler Herron, a first-round sandwich pick in the 2005 draft (46th overall), has been released by the Cards, and the Bucs snapped him up and shipped him to Altoona.

The suits in St. Louis said he was cut because of performance issues, although a question of "coachability" was raised, and the Redbird chat boards are all wondering whassup. The 22 year-old is also Rule 5 eligible in December.

Herron was he was 2-4 with a 4.34 ERA at AA Springfield. In 45-2/3 innings, he walked 22 and struck out 37. He throws a sinking fastball 89-90 MPH, a curve and a changeup. Herron was a top 10 prospect in Baseball America’s 2008 Prospect Handbook, and he ranked 23rd in the current edition. Pretty rapid fall from grace, but still worth a look.

BTW, he attended Wellington HS in Florida. The Pirates 1999 and 2000 first round draft picks both were from Wellington High, too - Bobby Bradley and Sean Burnett.

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