Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Brew Crew Broomed

For those of you that love crunching baseball numbers, here's a few that should warm even old school hearts: 2-4, 6-3, 5-4-3, 6-4-3. That's the line score for the DPs the Buccos turned behind Paul Maholm tonight in Pittsburgh's 3-1 win over Milwaukee.

Maholm channeled into his April stuff, and was masterful at PNC. He went 7-2/3 innings, giving up a run on eight hits. Of the seventeen balls his defense converted into outs, fourteen were grounders. Even half of his hits were rolled into the outfield.

More impressively, he went deep enough that the bullpen needed just four outs, and except for a tiny bit of drama caused by Joel Hanrahan's wild pitch, he and Matt Capps were perfect.

Good thing, too. The Buc offense sputtered, consisting of Ronny Cedeno's two-run jack and Delwyn Young's RBI double. They were done scoring after the third inning, and collected but five hits all night.

Andy LaRoche had a particularly brutal night at clean-up, wearing the collar and stranding five. Ya have to pity JR when he sits down before a game to make his lineup; there's not much to count on after Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones, and Young.

At least Ryan Doumit hit a couple of fly balls today, and even laid off a curve or two; maybe his eye is slowly coming back. Ronny Cedeno continues to surprise as a productive eight-hole hitter. His homer, number four as a Pirate, came with two outs and Maholm on deck.

Now to see if the Baby Bucs can keep the momentum going against the equally sad sack Reds, who roll into town Friday. Here's the probable matchups for the series from

But hey, three in a row for the Buccos, the first streak of that magnitude since late June. And coming into this series, there wasn't much action in Vegas for that happening.

-- RHP Jose Ascanio, out with right shoulder tendinitis, will be shut down from throwing for at least ten days. He's not on any pre-determined rehab schedule yet; he'll start throwing when his wing stops aching.

-- RHP Jeff Sues was moved up from Altoona to Indy. The 26 year-old has a 2-6-2 record with a 4.46 ERA. His problem has been control; he's walked 37 in 78-2/3 frames. Sues' other stats are in line; 66 hits, 74 strike-outs, and a 1.31 WHIP.

-- West Virginia C Tony Sanchez was picked as the Sally League Player of the Week after putting up these numbers: .625 average, 7-R, 4-2B, 2-HR, 10-RBI, 3-BB, and a 1.250 slugging percentage. He doesn't seem like that much of a reach in the draft so far; it'll be interesting to see where Sanchez is in three more years.

-- Larry LaRue of the News-Tribune reports that "Jack Wilson won’t be playing for the M's for awhile as he works through his strained left hamstring – and he might not play again until the team returns home next week. 'We don’t want to put him in a game, have him strain it and need to go on the disabled list,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “We’re going to be cautious.'”

Jack Splat's been out since August 12th. He's played 88 games so far this season after getting in just 87 in 2007. Looks like Wilson's days of 150+ games at short are long gone. He couldn't stay on the field for the new suits, and that, as much as his contract, helped trigger his move out of town.


WilliamJPellas said...

VERY satisfying to sweep the Brewers. Seems there's been no shortage of bad blood between them and us ever since they came back to the NL.

As for the Reds, you're right: they ARE sad sack. I honestly don't know what Cincinnati thinks it is doing as an organization. Honestly, they remind me of nothing as much as they remind me of the Littlefield-era Pirates, except that nobody is THAT bad. But Cincy's close.

WilliamJPellas said...

As you noted in your recap of tonight's game, it looks like the Pirates have developed 3 good young hitters in McCutchen, Young, and Jones. Unfortunately, Ryan Doumit is just lost this year. I am fearful that his wrist is permanently damaged. Unless we get an infusion of hitting this offseason, it is imperative the Doumit return to form in 2010 or we're going to be punchless again. I honestly can't see anyone else currently on the roster who could reasonably be expected to boost their production enough to make a difference. LaRoche? Moss? Pearce? Please. Of the three, only LaRoche looks anything like a big leaguer, and even he has a substandard bat for his position.

I suppose the front office is thinking that we'll improve from within with Tabata and Alvarez, and certainly we figure to be better by adding them at some point next season. But they'll still be rookies, and even with them I think we're still short on offense. Maybe Milledge will come through, but that's about it for the near future unless we make another trade . That doesn't make me optimistic.

Ron Ieraci said...

Yah, Will, keeping the Brewer shirts tucked in after a game is always a pleasure.

And you did hit on a big problem area. Wrist injuries are said to take a year to recover from fully.

Another point is that Doumit averaged a home run every 30 at-bats last season (15-465), and never hit more than a dozen for Indy. He's a six hitter on good teams, not the cleanup.

To boot, there's no power outside of Pedro and maybe Jeff Clement in the minors, either. No surprise there; no team is going to give up a top shelf arm or cleanup hitter.

The Pirates are snowing the fans when they say they have a flock of 20-25 homer guys; LaRoche was a 20 HR hitter on the farm; Moss and Young were 15 homer guys, and McCutch was a 10 homer hitter in the minors.

Steve Pearce hit 31 HRs in three seasons at Indy. Lastings Milledge hit a total of 8 HRs in AAA ball.

Garrett Jones was a 20-30 HR guy in the minors, and he's the only player that has a pedigree for going yard on the roster.

So they're at the point that they have gotten a few arms in the system; now they have to look for some big boppers.