Saturday, August 22, 2009

JR And The Sunshine Band

"That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh, I like it..." The 32,570 Pirate fans began singing that song way before KC and the Sunshine Band hit the stage, as the Pirates showed off in front of the 1979 championship alumni with a 12-2 victory.

Outside of a couple of baserunning errors - Andy LaRoche and Garrett Jones both took off for second on singles; LaRoche scampered back to first , but Jones was easily tagged out at second - the Bucs were clicking on all cylinders.

They banged out 13 hits - every starter but pitcher Zach Duke had a knock - and went 6-for-13 with runners in scoring position, stranding just six. The Pirate hitters didn't go down 1-2-3 until the eighth inning. They handed Duke a 3-0 lead after one inning.

And welcome back, Ryan Doumit. After pounding the ball last night with nothing to show for it, he homered into right, doubled, and singled. He had three RBI.

So did Garrett Jones, who's at long last discovered his swing with runners aboard. Jones now has 28 RBI in 44 games, and all three tonight were with two away.

Duke finally won his tenth game, going seven innings. The bullpen regulars got a blow, too, as Phil Dumatrait and Denny Bautista mopped up without allowing a runner.

Hey, we know it's just the Reds, who look like a walking MASH unit right now. Still, the win was the fifth in a row, and lifted Pittsburgh out of the cellar. And who woulda thunk that a week ago?

-- Ronny Cedeno has a hairline fracture of his right pinkie; he's expected back Tuesday, pending further testing.

-- Ya know, September might be interesting as a preview to upcoming position battles.

So far, Steve Pearce's struggles with soft stuff seem to be shutting the window of opportunity the suits have extended him. But before you pencil in Garrett Jones, expect to see a lot of Jeff Clement at first in September. And Pedro Alvarez still is a good shot to anchor the infield in a couple of years.

To make the saga more compelling, it's been reported that the Bucs have been working Lastings Milledge out at first base. To make the waters a bit muddier, will Jose Tabata be ready next season? Then what happens to Jones and/or Milledge?

As we said, now it's starting to get interesting.


WilliamJPellas said...

They're working MILLEDGE at first base?! When they've got a natural first baseman in Jones? Yoi and double yoi! That says two things: one, that Jones has worked himself into at least a passable outfielder. Two, that Milledge is NOT a passable outfielder.

Milledge was supposed to be a "five tool player". Those guys aren't normally first basemen. They're outfielders or maybe third basemen or shortstops. I know Milledge is rusty because he was injured and/or demoted most of this season, but he's still a very young guy, and if they're looking at trying him at first, I don't know what that says about either his supposed athleticism or about his conditioning. My guess is it doesn't say anything good.

Pearce has had it. I think his days in Pittsburgh are numbered.

But otherwise, yes. We're in for an entertaining audition, if nothing else. Good to get out of the cellar, though. Now let's put some distance between us and the Reds.

Ron Ieraci said...

All I can say, Will, is that there's a whole lotta shakin' going on, and it won't end soon.