Saturday, August 07, 2004

Game 108: Kip Wells at David Wells

Let's win a one-run game tonight.

Bucco at-bat music: Bo Diddley night

Many thanks to Eddie Harkins for his hilarious reminiscience of former Bucco at-bat songs. I confess I never pay attention to the music when players are coming to bat - well, I'm sure I hear it, but it's a part of the game I don't think about much.

While we're on the subject, the craziest thing I've learned is that some of the players select their own music. What are they, strippers? (Link is safe for work.) If I ran the show, there's no way I'd let them pick their own sorry music.

I've been giving the matter some thought as I swill wine and prime the bedroom with some of this crazy stuff with its crazy fumes.

If I could do the music for the team, I'd go Bo Diddley. None of this everybody gets a different band shit, it's Bo Diddley or go home. Help me out here. Jason Kendall could lead off to "Who Do You Love?" Jack Wilson follows with "Don't Let It Go." With a man on, Jason Bay or Craig Wilson can bat to "Bring It to Jerome (chorus is "Bring it on Home"). New papas such as Rob Mackowiak: "Say Boss Man" ("got nineteen kids at home gotta eat / eighteen of 'em need shoes on their feet") Little Bobby Hill could appear to "You Can't Judge a Book by its Cover," Tike Redman to "Roadrunner." Young Jose Castillo: "I'm a Man" since he's almost grown up, and Randall Simon could pinch-hit to "Before You Accuse Me (Take a Look at Yourself)."

If we don't win on Bo Diddley night, maybe we could try B.B. King night. When Mac comes out with the lineup, we can play "Help the Poor." You get the idea. Every night would have its own consistency.

That said, I'm not sure I'd really notice the difference seeing as I was barely paying attention in the first place.

40% rookies and other numbers

Among other things, Steve Novotney notes the current roster includes ten rookies.

Joe Rutter notices that eight of the last thirteen losses have been by one run. I'd add that three of the last thirteen wins have been by one run, too, making the Bucs 3-8 in their last eleven one-run games. That's nothing to worry about all by itself.

Bob Dvorchak caught Mac bitching about the payroll. There's no doubt that it is easier to assemble a winning team right now when you spend $100 million, but a team that has several years to piece together a winner with $34 million can't use money as an excuse. Cash is great but it's no guarantee of victories. I don't want to hear the front office or the manager blaming the losing record on the small payroll. A .500 season is not that lofty an expectation and the payroll - given the time the team has taken to collect players like Jason Bay and Oliver Perez - is no longer an excuse.

If this team is a loser, blow it up in the offseason. DL saw a red-hot team in the weeks before the Benson trade and went out and got some pieces that fit with that team. Now they haven't won a game since. If this group plays .450 baseball throughout the second half, I'd blow it up. We could get a lot for some of the arbitration-eligible position players on the trade market. One thing that doesn't work - in my opinion - is waiting for a group of losers to get better. Once a group establishes an identity as a group of losers, the ceiling starts to come down for them. That's how I see it at least.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Game 107: Ryan Vogelsong at Jake Peavy

Vogelsong has an opportunity to be the stopper tonight.

Jake Peavy is a hotshot young righty. The Bucs haven't seen much of him, and they haven't seen much of San Diego's new stadium. They'll also get some time before the game to catch up with Brian Giles.

Bucco at-bat songs

Thanks to Tom Veil for this link. A lot of these songs I've never heard of. We could get into proposing alternatives for some of these guys. But now is probably not the best time ...

Bucs not hitting, rookies not executing

These things happen. As Joe Rutter reports, Mac went after Weaver's pretty obvious weakness against lefties. He's doing what he needs to do and things aren't going our way.

They aren't hitting for power. And last night, Sean Burnett left a bunch of pitches up, as Elliott Teaford summarizes it.

It's not yet time to give up on the season. Remember, it's always darkest before the dawn. The Bucs have been like this most of the year. Just when you think they'll never win another game, they turn it around. Like Craig Wilson, this team is streaky.

In the meantime, I'm eyeing that pile of Ray Charles records and stocking up on booze.

Looking in at the Curve

Altoona's Mike Connolly has been put on the DL with elbow soreness. Hopefully it's inflammation and nothing more.

While we're on the subject of Altoona, huzza Zach Duke. No walks, no homers, what more can a prospect do?

And Wednesday, Matt Peterson looked pretty good, too.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Rotation shuffle?

Mac is considering shuffling the rotation for this weekend. Any suggestions?

da Raiders' power running game

The NFL season opens with the new-look Raiders now led by Norv Turner. Here's a must-read paragraph:

Turner's offense is more traditional, more like the Raiders of the 1960s and '70s, with power running and more passes downfield, so there's more emphasis on fast receivers. He also plans to use more two-tight-end sets, with Teyo Johnson and Doug Jolley, because both are capable of catching passes downfield; Johnson, of course, played wide receiver in college.

Turner reasons that opposing teams won't be able to use defenses with extra defensive backs against a two-receiver, two-tight-end lineup, because defenses won't know before the snap whether Johnson or Jolley will be blocking for a run or be used as a receiver.

Two thoughts: one, it's OK with me if they don't force the Steelers to play a bunch of DBs. And two, I think Carolina has everyone around the league back on the power running game. Huzza for that.

Game 106: Sean Burnett at Jeff Weaver

It's a day game (3:10 EST) after a night game so expect a player or two to rest. Just a guess, but I'd expect something like Simon at first, Bay in left, and Mack in right with Craig Wilson sitting. Wilson has been flat-out not hitting since the All-Star break and he's looking pretty tired and clueless at the plate. We could say the same thing for Randall Simon, but ...

I'm also looking to see if Bobby Hill will start again at second. The knock on him in the Hill vs. Castillo competition has been his defense, but Castillo has not looked too sharp to me lately and Hill was fantastic last night. As Bob Dvorchak summarizes in his recap of last night's game:

The Dodgers could have tacked on a couple of more runs if not for Hill.

With Steve Finley aboard on a double in the first, Milton Bradley hit grounder to the right side that went for a single, but Hill kept it from going into right field and that held the runner at third.

In the third, Hill ranged to his left to knock down a grounder by Shawn Green and get an out at first. The Dodgers had a runner on third at the time.

Hill also made a stop on a ball hit by Brent Mayne to start an inning-ending double play in the fourth. He had to backhand the ball to Jack Wilson from his knee to get the out at second.

Hill's offense has been superior to Castillo's all season. With the offense struggling and Hill playing great defense lately, I don't know how McClendon would justify not starting him. Castillo needs a breather, I think, and Moses better take a look at the standings if he thinks there's no urgency to field the best possible team this afternoon. I don't admire but can understand the team's decision to go with Castillo most of the year since he's the younger and higher-upside player. At this point in the season, however, I think he needs to ride the pine while the hotter bat and hotter glove plays second. We needs some wins and we need them right now.

Jeff Weaver is a tall righty with a low 90s fastball, a hard slider, and a two-seamer. Throughout his career, he has shown some weakness against left-handers, so that's all the more reason to expect Mac to find matchups and start most of Noonie, Hill, Mackowiak, Redman, and Simon. Maybe Wigginton will get a game a first with Noonie at third, Hill at second, and Mackowiak in right. Why not?

...3:30pm Mac starts all five of the lefties and switch-hitters. Craiggers and Wigginton get a rest.

The Bucs delivered a run in the run in the first. But so much for Sean Burnett's ability to keep the ball in the park.

Las Vegas Explorers

I'm still pulling for Vegas to get the Expos so the Bucs can return to the East. Don't get the impression that I care all that much - I don't - but given the choice of Vegas or D.C., I'll take Vegas. I like the 7pm starts; games in the Central time zone start and run later. I also miss playing the Phillies often.

Baseball in Vegas still faces many questions, as that article suggests.

I can live with the Washington Grays.

Oliver Perez in California

So Oliver struggled and overthrew in Los Angeles and it's possible, as Robert Dvorchak and Joe Rutter report, that he was trying too hard to impress family and friends who ventured up from Mexico.

Oliver starts Sunday in San Diego where his inconsistency was enough to cause some to dismiss him as "mediocre" at best. Will he learn from Monday and pitch in San Diego the way he pitches in PNC?

The Grabow Contingent

Thirty strong in L.A. for the San Gabriel reliever. Joe Rutter brings the mini-biography.

Instant credibility

Kevin Greene's in camp to work with the current pass-rush crew.

Oh no!

Billick has computers!

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Game 105: Josh Fogg at Jose Lima

Uh oh, Lima time. Game starts in five minutes.

Paparazzi at the car crash

I'm predictably and perhaps inanely critical of national-media guys for appealing mainly to the largest fan bases. If I'm bitter, it's not because I'm jealous but because all the attention to the daily soap opera of just a few teams means fewer remarks and worse, fewer well-educated or thoughtful remarks, about our team. So as Pirate fans, we live with a sports media in which the popular and influential pundits know little about our team. When they do pay attention, it's often for some embarassing reason: this player got released or the team has lost that many games in a row. Preseason predictions are often insulting and stupid ("Mac won't start Craig Wilson," "Rick Reed will be the #2 starter," "McClendon will be fired by the All-Star break," etc.). And, reaching for some team or player to make the butt of a joke, writers often choose some losing team they know little about. It makes them feel better, I think, about their ignorance of that subject.

I tune into a lot of the national coverage and consistently, my response is thanks but no thanks, and why the hell do I pay attention to this stuff? After all, no one can know much about every team, so it's wrong to expect more from the big guys who got big by catering to audiences in New York, Boston, Chicago, or Los Angeles.

What I really don't understand, however, is why the national sports media spends so much energy on negative stories. I'm hardly a don't-worry, be-happy kind of guy, but writers should recognize that fans escape to sports. Just because the typical amateur sportswriter writes juvenalia for a period (or a decade) of needlessly cynical venting, that doesn't mean that the average fan wants to read that kind of material. What they will read, however, is what's available. When better stuff becomes available, fans will flock to it. It's only a matter of time, I hope, before the work of Batgirl is as popular and well-respected as work like this. (We'll always enjoy a bit of gloating, and it can be good fun too, but as Pirate fan I don't need so many opportunities to gloat about the poor fortune of some AL team we never play.)

Anyway, totally worthless and bullshit story of the month definitely goes to the inordinate attention to Boston's side of the Nomar trade. I often check Google Sports to get a sense of the biggest stories out there, and for several days they've been rubbing shit in the wounds of the Red Sox nation. And I thought the coverage of the Aramis Ramirez deal was nasty and bitter.

All this to say, sometimes it's good to be ignored. Ignorance makes the moving on easier. Perhaps that's why the Red Sox nation feel like they're living under a curse.

Prospect news

Some highlights from Scott Rex's most worthy prospect blog:

[At AA,] RF Nate McLouth went 2-for-4 with a steal and a run scored for the Currrve. The underrated McLouth has 4 straight 2-hit games. He now ranks 4th in the EL in batting (.319).

[At short-season A]SS Brian Bixler was 2-for-4 with a steal and 2 runs scored in Williamsport's (PIT) 6-2 home loss to Hudson Valley (TB) on Sunday. Bixler, the Pirates' 2nd round pick this year, is hitting .294 with 21 runs scored in 26 games.

That's yesterday's news. Scott is a fan so if you are interested in minor-league players, check him out and you won't be disappointed in the coverage of our guys.

We got them young pitchers

Stories today about Dave Williams by Joe Rutter, Oliver Perez by Bob Dvorchak, and Glenn Rabney has a special for MLB.com too.

And don't miss this fine picture of Ollie worthy of printing, framing, and hanging in your drinking room.

Baseball America on Peterson

BA's not too impressed with Peterson and they overlook Bautista.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Game 104: Oliver Perez at Brad Penny

Here's a thread if you want to discuss the game tonight. It starts at 10pm.

The Dodgers just acquired Brad Penny. We send our top starter and hope to reverse this slide back toward six games under.

...and Joey G reminds us that Kendall will break the team record for most games at catcher tonight. Good reason to tune in.

Jimmy Anderson returns

New life for my preseason prediction that Jimmy Anderson would start a bunch of games for the 2004 Cubs.

Eleven straight losing seasons

Sounds familiar:

Sabean called [Brewers GM] Melvin to ask about reliever Luis Vizcaino, but Melvin said no. Melvin was not a seller because of "our history. We've had 11 losing seasons in a row and we have a chance to finish .500 or above. I don't want to hurt our chances by trading someone and getting back somebody who's only going to help our (Double-A) club this year."

I'm pissed we dropped that series to them, but I'll pull for a .500 season for them going forward.

That's from this, which is now being discussed at Primal.

Ben Signs

Ben is a steeler. Hats off to Ben for recognizing a fair deal and to Mr. Rooney for offering one. Nice touch on the donations to firefighters and pee wee football, which some of us were never allowed to play because of hippie parents (not that we're bitter--making God's Eyes out of popsicle sticks and yarn at summer camp was sooooo much better...).

Now Ben all we would like is 250 career touchdown passes and three championships, please. Hope that's not too much to ask...

Bloggy goodness

I'm perpetually amazed by the sites that refer people to Honest Wagner. This morning I discovered BlogPulse, which searches about a million blogs and has a bunch of clever software programs that map the spread of ideas and the relationship between sites.

Curious, I put "Jason Kendall" into their "key people" search and discovered that, last month, Kendall was rumored to be a trade target with more than half of the clubs. Trade rumors have no shelf life so I can't be bothered to read them now. Far more interesting are the many descriptions from (what appear to be) young bloggers describing their experience at the ballpark and/or their feelings about the players. I could be wrong, but from my limited sampling of the search results, it appears that the boy bloggers write about trade rumors and stats while the girl bloggers focus more on the players.

Here's some of the good stuff. Holly writes:

Nothing really exciting lately. Saturday Kristi, Leslie and I went to the Pirate game. It was really fun. The Pirates won 4-2! Wooo! My new boyfriend on the Pirates is Jose Castillo!! He came over gave me a signed baseball. Cool stuff!!! After the game was fun waiting for the players to come out. I nearly made Jason Kendall go deaf. Good thing his windows were almost the whole way up.
Erin-go-blog writes this, in a list of 100 things about herself:
85. When I was in high school, I had a huge crush on Barry Bonds. This was before he got all puffy and freakish. My new(er) Pirates crush is Jason Kendall.

Very cool, Erin. LadyPredator writes this:

I think I'm developing my first crush on a baseball player ever. Gah - I don't even like baseball that much - it's good to watch on a Sunday afternoon in the summer but it's just not that exciting. BUT - Pirates Catcher Jason Kendall is delicious. *mauls him* Too bad they're probably going to trade Kris Benson - those two would make a great fic couple. Then again, trades have never stopped any fic writer before. Hmmm.

I'm going to don't ask, don't tell about the definition of "fic couple."

Finally, BabyDuckie offers this gem of autobiographical writing:

Hey! Well tonight was absolutely GREAT! Dad picked me up around 4:30, and we got there around 5:30. We walked the riverwalk to see the big fountain, haha. Then we went to the Pirate Store, and he bought me the Jason Kendall On Deck Magazine :). And i showed him the charm i want for my birthday and the Kevin Young broken game used bat, lol. Then we went to our seats. Great seats. We were in the Grandstand, front row, 1st base line. When they were announcing the line-ups they said Jack and i screamed real loud. Jack turned around and looked!!! hehe. Oh yeah and when we were going to our seats Dad told me to ignore the usher so we didn't have to pay him. So i went to our seats and the guy went hey how are you guys doing and my Dad goes no and keeps walking! LMAO, it was hilarious, he's so mean. Then in the 3rd inning, they had the hot dog toss where they shot hot dogs from these guns. And they shot one to us!!! It was sooo awesome, i never thought i'd catch a hot dog!! Haha, me and Dad tried to open it but it was all taped up. So we decided to take it home and give it to Craig cause we knew he'd be mad that he missed it! Haha. Then Ashley came to sit with us cause she had her free tickets, too! And we started to cheer loud for everyone! It was soo fun. Then in the 7th inning, Rob Mackowiak got a grand slam off of errors. It was absolutely amazing! But then Randall Simon got out on a hit to the gap, he is so slow! I was screaming @ him. Kendall hit a homer, too! We won, 8-4 :), we're gonna be in 5th place now! YES! Anyways, me and Dad hadda walk back to the garage that we parked in downtown, and he brought me home. Now i'm gonna go watch the highlights and make sure Milwaukee loses!! Haha, so ttyl<3

The good people in marketing better get on this thing. Here is your huge and candid and free focus group. I've just grazed and I have two recommendations: (a) Don't trade Jason Kendall, and (b) Jason Kendall swimsuit calendar promotion.

P.S. All hail these ladies! Should they ever read this page, I hope they'll forgive me.

Operation Welcome Kris

Batgirl looks at what might have been.

Huzza Jack Wilson

Jack Wilson talks to Steve Novotney about getting better and getting asked, every day, when he's going to start sucking again. That ain't right.

Give 'em hell, California boy.

Huzza Dave Williams

Welcome back to the big leagues, Dave Williams.

He'll slide into long relief. He has come back from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left (throwing) shoulder. Some time ago the Bucs said they'd recall him when his fastball got up into the 88-91 mph range, which was curious because I'm not sure he ever hit 91 before the shoulder injury. Anyway, velocity or no, he's been a rock at Nashville and looks ready to help.

Stats Geek likes trade

Brian O'Neill reviews the deal and likes it.

Bay NL Rookie of the Month

Two months in a row.

Hair care by Wigginton

Pretty funny. Read for yourself. Third item. Obviously, Bobby Hill is looking for an excuse to fly his own freak flag. Why not?

Bryan Bullington

John Perrotto reports that he isn't impressing the scouts at Altoona. Any Altoona readers care to comment?

A little franchise history

There's no end to this stuff once you start digging through it. I'm sure Kendall is being honest when he says he's impressed.

Smizik: No playoffs for Steelers

He's wrong. I hope.

Ms. Anna Benson

The Beaver County Times's John Mehno speculates on her future in New York.

Littlefield admits mistake

It's refreshing to have a GM who is willing to admit he made one. Too many "leaders" today are unwilling to admit they ever made a mistake.

Still, it was a boneheaded mistake. At the end of the season we'll play a game, "Protect Me on the 40-Man," a month or so before the Rule V draft. We'll hope it doesn't happen again.

Monday, August 02, 2004

We don't make this stuff up

Tight End Robert Blizzard was forced to leave Saturday's practice due to heat exhaustion.

We thought maybe it was from the same heavy downpour of irony that forced Chris Hope to leave early due to depression and Ainsley Battles to leave from combat-related stress syndrome.

Honest Wags enlightens Peter King

Peter King on the Cowher extension: "Coming off a 6-10 season, with Cowher having two years left on his existing contract, is no time to give a man an extension for two more years at $9 million. I don't get it either."

Don't get it, eh?...well, let Honest Wags try to enlighten you concerning the decision making of Mr. Rooney. First, when exactly would be the right time to give "a man" an extension? After he makes the playoffs for the next two years, after which it will take 13 mil to sign him? Rooney believes in Cowher, and unlike the rest of the owners in the league, he puts his money where his mouth is. He also has a history of having the sack to buy low. Sometimes it works (e.g., Maddox) and sometime it doesn't (e.g., kordell, though this supposed debacle is fodder for close examination--my hunch is that overall it wasn't the disaster it is presumed to be).

The Steelers have had exactly two head coaches in 35 years because Mr. Rooney values consistency at the very top. Such consistency is undervalued for the positives it brings (such as communcations with front office and in Cowher's ability to relate the Steeler Way to newly arrived players and assistants) and so gives the team a small but real advantage over the rest of the league. It's like running the 3-4 defense when nobody else is (or was, until recently), all of which puts them in the playoffs or at least in the final weeks' playoff mix nearly every year. Mr. Rooney knows that in 2003 the o-line sucked due to injury and illness, porter got shot in the ass, dewayne washington forgot how to tackle, riemersma was injured, etc., etc. In many ways Cowher had very little to do with the resultant 6-10 record (in fact, PK, if we're going to judge Cowher's performance strictly by that of his team, I would suggest the team's 2002 9-6-1 record was worse). Nothing is guaranteed, steeler fans, but Mr. Rooney's decision making is sound, maybe even innovative in its staunch, banker-like conservatism. Rest assured--if Peter King doesn't get it, Mr. Rooney does.

Pirate pitching since the All-Star break

Here's a few things to introduce the numbers. The pitchers are ranked by raw pitching performance which I measured as IP divided by (OBA*SLG). The more innings a pitcher throws and the more he dominates, the higher the number. If this seems like funny way to rank pitchers, consider that for this period, the top three pitchers with four starts, by this measure, are Johan Santana (3-0, 1.24 ERA), Rich Harden (2-0, 1.95 ERA), and Jaret Wright (3-0, 1.04 ERA). The top closers for this period (defined as four or more saves) have been John Smoltz (9 saves, 0.00 ERA), Eric Gagne (7 saves, 2 wins, 0.00 ERA), and Automatic Joe Nathan (7 saves, 0.00 ERA). The measure is quick and dirty and it works so we like it.

So as not to compare apples and oranges, I ranked the starters and relievers separately.

Benson's not on the starter list because he's gone and we're looking back to guess what to expect looking forward.

OK, here are the numbers:

BUCCO W L ERA. G GS .IP. BA... OBA.. SLG..
Perez 1 1 2.11 3 3 21.33 0.164 0.247 0.384
Wells 0 0 3.46 4 4 26.00 0.276 0.327 0.367
Vogel 1 0 2.00 3 1 09.00 0.133 0.257 0.267
Brnet 2 1 6.14 3 3 14.67 0.333 0.415 0.456
JFogg 0 0 3.55 3 3 12.67 0.314 0.417 0.471


Gonzz 1 0 1.42 7 0 06.33 0.174 0.174 0.304
JMesa 0 1 1.86 10 0 9.67 0.216 0.293 0.297
Medws 0 1 1.23 8 0 07.33 0.300 0.344 0.400
Trres 2 1 2.00 9 0 09.00 0.314 0.375 0.457
Grbow 1 1 6.48 9 0 08.33 0.344 0.400 0.438
Robts 0 0 0.00 4 0 04.67 0.294 0.429 0.294

Oliver Perez, to no one's surprise, has been the best of the group. The only thing not to like in those numbers is the slugging percentage which is high for a guy who limited batters to a .164 average and a .247 on-base percentage. When they hit Perez, they hit him pretty hard: of the twelve hits he allowed in those 21 innings, seven were for extra bases (one double, three triples, three home runs). The home run was something we worried about with him in March. Hopefully he's not regressing to his jacktastic ways.

Kip Wells has been solid too. He's been the opposite of Oliver: many hits (a .276 BA) but few for extra bases (six of 27; four doubles, one triple, one home run).

With a little bit of relief work tacked onto his one start, Vogelsong's work looks pretty good. If he can maintain that level, we're in business.

Burnett has been pretty mediocre but his ability to limit the opposition to singles has paid off with two wins. Opponents are hitting .333 off him, but only three of the nineteen hits he has allowed have been for extra bases.

Josh Fogg also continues to defy the laws of gravity with a pretty crazy set of numbers. All batters hit .314 / .417 / .471 off him. This is like Fogg facing a lineup of nine Jason Kendalls. (Playing APBA on the computer in the 1980s, Bones had a team, the Joel Youngbloods, that had thirteen copies of Joel Youngblood to play the eight positions and pinch-hit.) Despite this propensity to put lots of runners on with walks, singles, and doubles, Fogg escaped with a 3.55 ERA and didn't lose a game. Don't ask me how he does it but I've come to recognize this as typical Fogg pitching. Opponents will continue to underestimate him looking at such figures. He and Sean Burnett must get along pretty well in the clubhouse.

During this period, 136 different pitchers made three or more starts. Ranking them by (IP/(OBP*SLG), we find Perez in the 77th percentile, Wells in the 76th, Burnett in the 14th and Fogg in the 10th. NL Central pitchers in the same neighborhood as Perez and Wells include Zambrano (74th), Clement (71st), and Paul Wilson (76th). Mark Prior's been awful, FWIW, and ranks in the 7th percentile for that period. Something's not right with that guy.

In the bullpen, fans will not be surprised to see that Mike Gonzalez, Jose Mesa, and Brian Meadows were lights-out. Torres pitched like Josh Fogg in that he put them on but wiggled out (or was bailed out). Grabow disappointed these last three weeks and Roberts has seen little action.

On the whole, the pitching was pretty great. The Bucs lose the guy who was their best starter, but Oliver and Kip have been really good without looking like they've been at the top of their game. Burnett and Fogg can also get better. The bullpen has done about we expect them to do. If Vogelsong can maintain a league-average starting ability, there's no reason to think the Pirates, as a whole, can't continue to pitch about as well as they pitched these last three weeks.

...Reader Dan asks for Benson's numbers. Here they are. This is *with* the first-start disaster:

MET.. W L ERA. G GS .IP. BA... OBA.. SLG..
Bensn 2 2 4.94 4 4 27.33 0.262 0.307 0.350

84th percentile, with the seven-earnie start. He's been good.

Pirate hitting since the All-Star Break

Here are the numbers for the hitters since the break. Wigginton's and Bautista's numbers were mainly collected with their previous teams.


BATTR GM PA BA... OBA.. SLG.. RP R RBI
Kendl 17 72 0.333 0.425 0.492 24 16 08
Redmn 17 65 0.375 0.388 0.516 16 07 09
Mackw 17 63 0.322 0.358 0.542 22 08 14
JaBay 17 66 0.306 0.368 0.435 14 08 06
Wiggy 16 64 0.293 0.369 0.362 11 08 03
JackW 17 69 0.269 0.290 0.403 13 06 07
Craig 16 62 0.267 0.308 0.400 14 04 10
BHill 15 31 0.286 0.355 0.393 09 05 04
Nooni 11 21 0.316 0.381 0.316 03 02 01
Cstlo 15 42 0.200 0.238 0.250 05 05 00
Simon 10 36 0.200 0.222 0.286 08 04 04
Bauta 09 13 0.308 0.308 0.385 01 01 00
Alvrz 05 08 0.286 0.400 0.286 04 02 02
Styns 10 14 0.214 0.214 0.286 01 01 00
House 03 05 0.200 0.200 0.400 01 01 00

The players are ranked by how much raw hitting they did. (If you are statistically minded, they are ranked by OBA*SLG*PA.)

During this period, Kendall led off, played every day, and got on base like crazy. Of his 21 hits, eight were for extra bases (seven doubles, one HR). Redman delivered a very high average with not so much power. Of his 24 hits, five were for extra bases (three doubles, two HRs). Mackowiak produced 19 hits with eight for extra bases. Kendall led the team in runs (16) and Mackowiak led the team in RBIs (14).

Jason Bay was solid but lacking some of the power we might expect from him.

With the Mets, Wigginton suffered through a more dramatic power outage, managing only four doubles in seventeen hits. On the other hand, he did walk six times in 58 at-bats. That suggests he wasn't seeing much to hit.

Both the Wilsons were in a funk. They produced remarkably similar numbers. Both hit in the upper .260s with laughable on-base percentages and little power. Craig's run production was heavier on RBIs, as you'd expect from a clean-up hitter.

Bobby Hill outhit Castillo by a wide margin yet collected only three-quarters of the plate appearances. Since Hill is the team's best pinch-hitter, Mac may be saving him, but still this is a case of production not determining who gets the starting nod. Hill didn't set the world on fire at the plate, but the .353 OBP is excellent and Castillo's run of 0.200 / 0.238 / 0.250 has been pretty wretched.

Noonie has been Noonie, Simon has been Simon, and the other guys have seen very limited action.

Overall, the team didn't hit as well as they're capable. Only Redman hit at a rate that we can't regard as sustainable for a full season. Mackowiak may have been hitting a little over his head too, but I don't think those numbers are that far above what he's capable of doing. We've seen long stretches like this before.

The rest of the team takes some hidden vigorish to Los Angeles.

Pirates since the All-Star game

The Bucs are 10-7 playing every day since the All-Star break.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Congratulations, Lauren Bay

Looks like Jason's sister is a killer closer.

The gall

From Ken Rosenthal:

The Pirates passed on Twins Class AAA outfielder Michael Restovich, a slugger who attracts mixed reviews from scouts, several of whom question whether he can hit quality pitching. They also passed on Braves Class AA righthander Jose Capellan, who has one of the most electric arms in the sport. Get this: The Time Warner Braves wanted the cash-poor Pirates to include money in the deal.

Glad they passed on Resto, who a lot of people compare to J.J. Davis. If those were the other offers, the Bucs took the best offer. No doubt about it.

Not to gape at car wrecks, but Rosenthal also reports the Twins only got one Single A pitcher for Dougie.

The Twins were supposed to receive another player in the four-team Garciaparra blockbuster, according to a rival major-league executive, but in the rush to complete the trade, that player was left out of the deal.

Losing a player because no one double-checked the paperwork to make sure he was included? Ouch.

Now searchable

We've added a Google search bar down by the Archives (right hand column, bottom) so you can search the silliness profundities of Honest Wagner.

Game 103: Kip Wells at Ben Sheets

It's Kip Wells at Ben Sheets at 2pm.

The Bucs have Monday off and play all next week in California.

More trade analysis

Ed Eagle has a thoughtful piece interpreting how the Benson trade reflects on the Pirates' short-term future. This is a good group of players and it looks like Littlefield plans to keep them together. As Ed writes:

As the Pirates look towards the 2005 season, the core of their current roster should remain pretty much intact. Craig Wilson, Mackowiak, shortstop Jack Wilson, left fielder Jason Bay, second baseman Jose Castillo, pitchers Perez, Burnett, Torres, Meadows, Kip Wells, Josh Fogg, and others should all be under contract with the Pirates through at least the 2006 season. This bodes well for a club whose young players have shown the ability to compete at the Major League level.

It will be interesting to see how the team goes about re-signing all these guys.

Jason Bay biography

Joe Starkey called Jason Bay's grumpy old Canadian baseball coach for today's interview. Bay was a 22nd round pick by les Expos.

Tim Foli

He went 4 for 5 with some RBIS this time 25 years ago. The Bucs were 58-45.

Kendall to L.A.

We'll probably hear more about the possibility of a Kendall-to-LA deal now that the Dodgers miss Paul Lo Duca. I'd rather keep him here and build around him.

Cooking and barbecuing

Bob Barrickman of the Beaver County Times catches up with Jim Rooker. Sounds like he's doing well.

Adios Chris Stynes

Sent down for Mark Corey. Story here (by Ed Eagle), here (Bob Dvorchak), and here (Joe Rutter).

Israeli pitchers

The Bucs are scouting the Israel's national baseball team.