Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In like Clint

With Opening Day less than 2 weeks away, we open our blog season with a look at this year’s Buccos, starting with first-year skipper, Clint Hurdle.

“I’m proud to be a Pirate, and we’re not going to back down from anybody”, Hurdle said after being hired last November. He knows what he is up against, what the organization is going through, and that he isn’t the first man to promise a turnaround for the club given the young talent he has to work with. He’s the sixth manager since 1993, but what makes Hurdle different is he is bringing a “do-whatever-it-takes” mentality that some of predecessors, including the most recent, may have been lacking. The 53 year old Hurdle brings an upbeat attitude and a certain enthusiasm that players can relate to as opposed to the laid back personality of John Russell who was reluctant to leave the dugout and defend his players on close calls or even for a spark of momentum. Manager of the Rockies from 2002-2009, Hurdle knows what it is like to work with young talent and turn it into a promising season, winning the NL Pennant in 2007 before being swept by the Boston Red Sox in the Fall Classic. Last season, he was the hitting coach for the Texas Rangers who had one of the most productive offenses in Major League Baseball and were also Pennant winners.

I think it’s fair to say that for Hurdle to do worse than John Russell is near impossible. After 3 seasons under JR the Pirates have lost 299 games, including 105 last season, (the worst season in 58 years). Granted that JR lost almost every one of his productive lineup- regualrs, and Hurdle is being brought in at a time where much of the young talent that the organization has invested in is beginning to blossom or take their first steps into blossoming into every day major league ballplayers. However, there is still a lot of work to be done. The top priority to turning around the fortune of the Pirates is to improve the near laughable pitching staff, that produced a major league worst 5.00 ERA last season.

Monday, July 13, 2009

All Star updates

There have been several injuries/replacements to the All Star rosters, so here they are...

Dustin Pedroia will miss the All Star Game due to family reasons. He will be replaced by Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena. Pena's addition means that the entire Rays infield is on the AL roster.

Dodger closer Jonathon Broxton injured his toe and will be replaced by Trevor Hoffman.

And our very own Zach Duke has been added to the NL roster to replace San Francisco pitcher Matt Cain, who took a line drive off his right arm on Saturday.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mid-Summer Classic

It's that time of the season. The annual contest between the best players of the National League vs. the American League to earn bragging rights and home field advantage in the World Series. This year's star studded event will be held at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The starting lineups for each league are as follows (arranged by defensive positions) :

National League
C: Yadier Molina
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Chase Utley
SS: Hanley Ramirez
3B: David Wright
OF: Jayson Werth (replacing injured Carlos Beltran)
OF: Ryan Braun
OF: Raul Ibanez

American League
C: Joe Mauer
1B: Mark Teixeira
2B: Dustin Pedroia
SS: Derek Jeter
3B: Evan Longoria
OF: Jason Bay
OF: Josh Hamilton
OF: Ichiro Suzuki

The American League has won 11 of the last 12 All-Star Games, thanks to a 7-7 tie in the 2002 Miller Park A.S.G. That is not as impressive as the National League's victory in 19 of 20 All-Star Games between the years of 1962 and 1981. The last three victories by the American League were all by 1 run.
The all time record of All-Star Games is: National League 41 wins, American League 36 wins, 2 ties.

The Home Run Derby, what most people look forward to about the All-Star break, will be Monday night at 8pm. The contestants are the following.
1. Prince Fielder
2. Adrian Gonzalez
3. Ryan Howard
4. Albert Pujols
5. Joe Mauer
6. Brandon Inge
7. Nelson Cruz

Lets take a look at the past 10 winners of the Longball Contest...

2008, Yankee Stadium - New York: Justin Morneau
2007, AT&T Park - San Francisco: Vladamir Guerrero
2006, PNC Park - Pittsburgh: Ryan Howard
2005, Comerica Park - Detroit: Bobby Abreu
2004, Minute Maid Park- Houston: Miguel Tejada
2003, U.S. Cellular Field - Chicago: Garret Anderson
2002, Miller Park - Milwaukee: Jason Giambi
2001, SAFECO Field - Seattle: Luis Gonzalez
2000, Turner Field - Atlanta: Sammy Sosa
1999, Fenway Park - Boston: Ken Griffey Jr.

Friday, June 26, 2009

McCutchen's Month

Andrew McCutchen has been playing with the Pirates for a little under a month and his impact has been felt since day 1. In 23 games in a Pirate uniform, McCutchen has already racked up 30 hits, 10 of which are extra base hits, including 5 triples, tallied 18 RBIs, and stole 4 bases..Before going 0-10 through 3 games against the Royals, McCutchen was on a 13 game hit streak.

McCutchen has been the leadoff hitter who gets on base in consistent fashion that every teams loves having. When he gets on, his speed is always a threat in any way imagineable. It's nice to have McCutchen jump right into the waters that are Major League Baseball when he arrives to the team instead of being a guy who dips his toes in and takes awhile to adjust to the different pace of the game. He has done nothing but exceed the expectations that everyone had for him since the day he was drafted by the Pirates. Hopefully he'll be around for awhile and will turn into the type of player that can contribute to turning around a franchise.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Comeback that wasn't

Snell Sucks
Adam LaRoche killed his home run... would have been nice to have 2 in the same inning though
Rough Times right now.
Snell is still terrible.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sweeps Week

Getting Swept is a terrible feeling.. Especially in games where you should have won 2 of 3.

The one good thing is the Alvarez express is making his way to Altoona.

No more use for this then

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Morton Gets 2nd Start

Charlie Morton will start his 2nd game in a Pirates uniform tonight, Jason Hammel (4-3)

The Game yesterday was one of the most frusturating of the year.. and I think you can really tell that the inconsistency of the offense, and the Pirates in general has really started to get to Nevrett and Walk. They just sound disgusted in the booth.

Yes the Rockies are probably the hottest team in the majors right now, but when your offense consistently tries to pull an outside fastball on the paint, you are not going to win many games.
Marquis was hitting his spots, and the Pirates could not do anything about it.

Hopefully the spark of the new guy tonight will get something going in our squad because right now it is starting to look bleek.

Craig Monroe got designated for assignment. Pearce is coming up. People think he will be platooning in right field with Moss and D.Y.
He should be the everyday 1st baseman.
Trade LaRoche for a bucket of balls.

Gotta get 2 of 3.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Twins Series Recap

Our offense showed up for 1 Game.
The middle game of the 3 game series.
Nowhere to be found in the opener or closer of the series.

Pitching was decent despite other than Maholm who got absolutely pounded in the opener. Ian Snell pitched well even after blaming every person in North America for his troubles other than looking himself in the mirror. Zach Duke got a lost in the rubber match that he didnt deserve.

Russell gave Sanchez a day off in the closer, which is fine, except for the fact that Delwyn Young, who has been completely killing the ball did not enter the game. Ramon Vasquez was 0-2 again.
Brandon Moss went 2-3 which means D.Y. will be benched for the next 14 games because of Moss' 2 singles. Bank on it.

Joe Mauer is better than your mom.. and so is the Twins ridiculous Interleague record. Imagine if they could feast on the N.L. for more than a few series a year.

Anyone that looks at this series and tries to compare the Pirates to the Twins is an idiot.
The Twins have all-star potential in and out of their lineup and rotation on a yearly basis. Just because they are a small market team that bunts, they are nothing like the Pirates. We have never traded anyone, maybe ever of the cailber of Johan Santana. We have never in our history had a pitcher of his caliber, and since Bonds we have not had a hitter as dominant as him.
We do not have a power hitter-- see Morneau, Kubel. We have noone in our entire system as good as Joe Mauer. Michael Cuddyer has better numbers than anyone on our roster, and barely anyone even knows him.
Of course we could try and ''model ourselves after the Twins'',... who wouldnt want to model themselves after the Twins? Imagine if their owners could spend money to get a free agent, or retain a Johan Santana. Their stars are all homegrown talent. Morneau, Mauer, Cuddyer, Kubel, Liriano if he could get back to pre surgery Liriano. Joe Nathan is the only star that is not homegrown, and when he was with the Giants he was awful. But the best management in the league scooped him up and now he is arguably the best closer in the majors. Of course you would want to be the Twins... who wouldnt?