-- The Pirate infield has no range; it's not just Zach Duke and Paul Maholm that suffer, but the entire staff. If they don't make a switch or two, it will be a roadblock to any sustained success in 2011. We get tired of typing "groundball single" in the game recaps.
We still advocate putting Pedro at first, Walker at third, Jones in right and finding a second baseman. And one more outfielder that can play left/center when McCutch or JT are out.
You can't get a pitcher to throw to contact if he doesn't have the confidence most of those balls will become outs. The Pirates conversion rate of balls in play into outs is .671, worst in MLB. That's a .333 opponent average minus whiffs.
-- We have blamed JR for many things, but the bullpen fiasco is no fault of his; that falls on the FO. They pick up guys and it's up to Russell to get them into games and see what they have. Except for Chris Resop and Chan Ho Park, the answer is very little. There's a reason the players were on the waiver list, after all.
Hey, we have no beef with turning rental players into possible pieces of the puzzle, flipping Octavio Dotel, Javier Lopez and DJ Carrasco into J-Mac, Andrew Lambo, John Bowker and Pedro Ciriaco. But don't tell the faithful that you're doing everything you can to win now when it's obvious you're still collecting prospects for the future at the cost of victories in 2010.
That sort of disingenuous pap is what helps cause the disconnect between the FO and the fans.
-- Quit blaming underperforming players; you evaluated and signed them, and Aki Iwamura isn't the reason the team has lost 100 games and counting. Geez, with Dewey, Neil Walker and Jeff Clement, the Pirates sometimes had three catchers playing the right side of the field. Start building a team position-by-position instead of collecting LH corner players.
The Pirates only play half their games at lefty-friendly PNC Park. Maybe that's why there's such a gap between home and away performance.