Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bumbling Bucs Back

OK, now that the trot to the finish is about over and the Pirates are not going to lose 100 games, it's back to normal.

The pitching, which had been so sharp, went astray. Zach Duke was all over the place, giving up five runs on six hits with five walks and two Ks. it took him five innings and 86 pitches to get there, and the Buc bullpen wasn't much sharper.

The Bucs pulled within a run at 5-4 in the top of the sixth on Delwyn Young's three-run dinger, but Chris Bootcheck gave back two of them in the Reds' half of the frame, and that pretty much set the stage for the fat lady.

The Pirates had six hits all night; Young had three of them.

Tomorrow is the last hurrah; Jeff Karstens and a cast of thousands will line up to pitch the finale. Then comes the hard part, separating the wheat from the chaff.

-- Ryan Doumit may be done for the year. He took a shot off the mask Friday night, and has shown some slight concussion-like symptoms. GW would like to see the Bucs take a little better care of him next year and limit his appearances to maybe 125-130 games behind the plate. Doumit is an accident waiting to happen.

-- Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune Review reports that Brandon Moss is at a crossroads in his career.
"It appears that Brandon Moss will head into next year as the incumbent right fielder. But during Moss’ exit meeting with manager John Russell and GM Neal Huntington, it was made clear that he still has a lot of work to do to establish job security.

'He realizes the opportunity he got this year, and also realizes he really didn’t take advantage of it,' manager John Russell said.

With Jose Tabata and Gorkys Hernandez on their ways up and Andrew McCutchen and Lastings Milledge playing well, there might not be room for Moss in the Pirates’ outfield. His future probably includes a pinch-hitter role."
-- The Pirates are supposedly still in discussions with Perry Hill. If they sweet talk him into returning, all they'll be looking for coaching-wise in the off season will be Joe Kerrigan's new Boy Robin.

-- Let's see. Jose Ascanio just had labrum surgery, making his future a coin-toss. Kevin Hart was 1-8 with a 6.92 ERA in the Steel City. Utility man Josh Harrison is in Class A.

John Grabow had a 3.24 ERA in 30 outings with the Cubs. Tom Gorzelanny was 4-2 with a 5.63 ERA as a Windy City starter.

We're not sure that we'd have pulled the trigger on that deal, although as always, we'll hedge our bet by saying we'll find out in 2011. But those early returns...


WilliamJPellas said...

I just don't know what to think about Brandon Moss. I still want to believe that he really could be a better than average major league starting corner outfielder, and while this season didn't really show it, his career to date---which is just slightly more than the equivalent of one full season---shows a guy who definitely has some sock in his bat. He's posted 50-plus extra base hits in about 650 at bats. That's not bad. In fact, it's pretty good.

Unfortunately, he doesn't draw a lot of walks, and he doesn't hit enough home runs to offset a mediocre batting average. He also strikes out far too much for a guy who is not a "plus" home run hitter. Or at least, he hasn't shown that kind of power to this point. I'd be ready to write him off as a fifth OF-pinch hitter were it not for that awesome season he had in Boston's farm system a few years back, and were it not for the likelihood that he played this season basically on one leg.

Ideally, I'd like to see him have a much better 2010 so that he keeps Jose Tabata in Indy until at least the All Star break. Then the two of them can trade off so we can break Tabata in gradually, with Jose taking over full time in 2011. By that point we will either have a very good fourth OF in Moss, or good trade bait, or both, provided he can have a better season next year.

Ron Ieraci said...

He's the toughest call, I think, Will. He was pretty streaky at the plate, and needs to find the fence for often.

Still, I don't think he'll be any worse off than a platoon guy in 2010. In fact, given Doumit's injury history, I wouldn't be surprised to see Moss split time with him (or maybe Delwyn Young) and have Jones go to first full time, depending on where Pedro eventually ends up and Tabata's call up.