Throw It Like a Ballplayer

providing baseball commentary and ponderings since April 2010

Posts Tagged ‘Pirates’

Say it ain’t so, Doc

Posted by dannmckeegan on August 27, 2010

Stephen Strasburg of the Nats got the bad news from Dr. James Andrews. He’ll get a second opinion from Dr. Elliot Yokum, but that’s like asking two different choosy moms if they both choose Jif. Natstown Jesus will be going under the knife and missing, most likely, all of the 2011 season. It would hardly make sense to rush him back for a pointless September in 2011. The goal is probably for Strasburg to be ready to go on Day One in 2012. Top draft pick Bryce Harper might be ready by then; Ryan Zimmerman should still be driving the lineup; Jordan Zimmermann and Drew Storen should be integral cogs in the pitching staff. If all goes well, Strasburg will return a triumphant ace and bring Natstown deep into October, someday.

It’s funny. Mocking the Nats isn’t nearly as fun as mocking the other perennial non-contenders. I think it’s because Washington has a clear idea of what it takes to win and what they will have to do to accomplish it. Combine that with the potential for a strong fan base if they can bring home some success and star power, and they might actually have a bright future.

Maybe KC, Pittsburgh, et alii will also make an effort to compete. Pittsburgh has a lot of young players – Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, Alvarez, Daniel McCutchen to name a few – but who knows how long they’ll actually be kept. Cynicism deserves its say in Pittsburgh, until proven otherwise.

And cynicism also will have its say for Strasburg and Natstown. Why? Simply because the hype was always too great. It works nicely as a metaphor that the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow in which all of D.C.’s baseball hopes were invested, is no more. It tore. It could not stand the strain. To the surgeon’s table, and under the knife. Not for repair, but with replacement. The hopes won’t be discarded, however, like so much frayed and damaged tissue. The hopes will be rekindled out of the same cloth, the same dirty laundry, that all baseball fans cheer for. The home whites with the angular font and unreliable spelling. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. But someday, there’ll be a winner in D.C. For now, the wait is merely extended.


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Pirates 3, Cubs 2; Miles called up to Cards

Posted by dannmckeegan on June 1, 2010

To get it out of the way:  St. Louis called up washed-up grinder Aaron Miles from their minor leagues on Tuesday.  Why, the world may never know.  Perhaps he knows how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop.  I bet that’s nagged at Tony and Dunk a long time.

It was interesting to see Lou Piniella run out a lineup on Tuesday that was even more scrub-tastic than a “Sunday lineup.”  While Lou has shown hints of doing so earlier this season, Tuesday night was the first display of a full-on “Eff You” lineup directed at the media.  He sat his starting catcher, first baseman, third baseman, center fielder, and putative second baseman (who started the season as the shortstop).

You think Lee sucks?  Well here’s Xavier Nady (4-4, with a double and a 2-run homer).

You want more Tyler Colvin?  Guess what.  He’s the damn cleanup hitter (0-3, 2 K, 1 BB).

You want Ramirez out of there?  Enjoy Jeff Baker against a right-handed starter (0-3, 1 K, 1 BB).

Castro should move up in the order?  Done; he’s hitting second (0-4, 3 LOB).

Again, Lou probably left his starter in for too many pitches.  Lilly threw a fine ballgame, and a starter can never be blamed for losing a game in giving up 3 runs on 6 hits through 7.2 IP.  Simply put, the offense is to blame.  Against winning pitcher Joel Hanrahan in the 8th inning, Soriano (2), Fontenot (4), and Baker (1) saw a combined 7 pitches.  Seven.  In the 9th against Dotel, pinch hitter Lee (2-0), double-switched Byrd (1-0), and Fukudome (2-0) each had advantageous counts.  The result?  Strikeout.  Strikeout.  Foulout.

This can’t keep going on.  Jeff Baker isn’t really doing much to keep his spot here any more than he previously did with Colorado.  Quick – name something good he’s done this year outside of his two home runs early on.  Koyie Hill actually got a hit in the game; bully for him!  But with Welington Castillo at Triple A (.244 BA, but 6 HR in 24 G; reputedly a defensive +) and Robinson Chirinos at Double A (.347/.406/.628 with 13 doubles, 7 HR, 25 RBI, and 13 BB/11K in just 34 games), at some point shouldn’t the team consider making a few more minor tweaks with the bottom of the roster?  The only Koyie concern is his handling of Silva.  I’d hate to lose that.  But still…


The home run/steroid/current era write-up is taking way longer than expected.  Hopefully I’ll have it by Friday.  As a note, I had to stop trying to read The Baseball Economists.  I respect arguments that disagree with my beliefs.  I respect arguments that oppose conventional wisdom.  But reasoning from false premises is not worth the hours of my life.

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NL Central Injury Report

Posted by dannmckeegan on May 27, 2010

A few injuries and ailments are currently becoming big issues in the National League Central.  St. Louis has two starting pitchers out; Chicago has a trio of impaired third basemen and a pitcher with a mystery ailment; Cincinnati is becoming beleaguered across the field; Milwaukee says, “I’ll show you beleaguered;”  the Pirates have their fair share; and the last-place Astros thankfully are sneaking by with decent health. Read the rest of this entry »

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The NL Central Quarterly, pt. 2

Posted by dannmckeegan on May 21, 2010

With the 2010 season now past the 40-game mark, a quarterly report is due. This is the second part of a two-part analysis. The first half of was published here yesterday. It covered the relationships between the records of the six teams in the NL Central and runs both scored and allowed. Today’s entry will deal with the two questions left unanswered yesterday:

1) What relationship exists between the 4-run barrier and the individual teams’ runs scored and runs allowed?
2) Does the cumulative view change much when we separate runs for and against each team into categories above and below the 4-run barrier?

If you missed the article yesterday, this 4-run barrier is simply a binary split of games in which a given team’s offense was or was not able to score 4 or more runs. My interest in this split began with the Chicago media’s harping on the Cubs’ 1-17 record when they score three or fewer runs. The next angle that interested me was that a team receiving a quality start would probably be in a position to win those games with a minimum of 4 runs of support. Read the rest of this entry »

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The NL Central Quarterly, pt. 1

Posted by dannmckeegan on May 20, 2010

A quick glance at the NL Central standings through the season’s first quarter isn’t all that surprising. The clear-cut favorite and the sexy long-shot are neck-and-neck atop the division. The veteran team with some clear holes is lingering. The perennial doormat is surprisingly competitive. The all-hit, no-pitch team looks to be in freefall. And the expected loser has struggled as much as was expected.

I began looking at the standings and scoreboards, but then I became curious about the breakdown of records. Specifically, the oft-mentioned Cubs record of 1-17 when they score 3 or fewer runs was of interest. Obviously, most teams will do poorly when they don’t score any runs. On the other hand, they may be expected to do well when they do put runs on the board. So as of Wednesday night, the other half of the Cubs’ split is an 18-5 record when they score 4 or more runs.

A few questions arise. First, is there anything we can learn from the straight runs scored/runs allowed difference? Second, how does the Cubs’ low/high offense split compare to that of the other teams in the NL Central? Third, what relationship exists between the 4-run barrier and the individual teams’ runs scored and runs allowed? Fourth, does the cumulative view change much when we separate runs for and against each team into categories above and below the 4-run barrier? Read the rest of this entry »

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Brian Burres, the bum

Posted by dannmckeegan on May 13, 2010

Brian Burres
Look at him. I told you he was a bum. Unshaven face, unruly hair, the glazed-over happy eyes of a wino, and a Pirates cap. All the tell-tale signs. Bum. (official player page photo)

Four down, a dozen or so to go. Eleven NL teams remain, and the American League visitors will prove tough finds.

I made it to the Cubs-Florida game on Wednesday, my fourth game of the year.  I’ve seen Randy Wells beat Milwaukee, Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly drop back-to-back games against Washington and Arizona, and now Carlos Silva take down the Marlins.  So the team is 2-2 in my appearances.  It seems only appropriate that I make sure the rubber match is a Tom Gorzelanny start.  Solid logic, right? Read the rest of this entry »

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