Saturday, May 27, 2006

Game 49: Astros at Pirates

Wandy Rodriguez vs. Paul Maholm at 7:05 PM EST. En fuego Jason Bay will attempt to homer in five consecutive games as the Pirates, only three games behind the plummeting Cubs, look for their 16th win. Meanwhile, Jim Tracy looks to extend his 48 game perfect managing streak.

Tracy's ass

To follow up on Bones's disgruntlement, below: Tracy's not alone with this sort of comment. McClendon used to say the same things about not being a player.

Bones is right that the context now, for Tracy and Littlefield and McClatchy, is the team's utter failure to be competitive, as reflected by the win-loss record. We don't want excuses. We don't want to hear about how close the games were. If the Pirates were "in" most every game, the record would be much closer to .500. If the win-loss record does not reflect a perception of being competitive, then the perception is a mirage. Until the team admits that, it's hard to be optimistic or even sympathetic.

We're more or less waiting for Tracy to take some of the blame, to be candid and honest about some of his mistakes. Until then there's no great love or patience for him.

He's not the only "leader" who thinks it is good "leadership" to never admit a mistake, but this does not excuse him from adopting this morally bankrupt and cowardly position. Tracy should not manage the team like he's running for office or heading a political party. That's beyond stupid.

We would like it if Tracy would come clean and admit a whole shitload of mistakes he's made. Surely he has made a whole shitload of them. The team is 15-33 for crissakes. We probably only see some of them. "I should not have made fun of Oliver Perez's dancing ability two hours before that one start," he might say. Or, "Damn, what crack was in the coffee that I drank right before I sent Jose Hernandez in to bunt with the game on the line?"

What are they going to do -- fire him? Bwa ha ha ha. He has more job security than most managers around the league.

The Pirates need to stop running the team like an amateur campaign for Congress. Until they start telling us the truth, they can't expect us to regard their comments as though they were credible.

Tracy shows ass again

In a loathsome, cowardly attempt to shirk accountability, Tracy blames the players:

"I can't catch it, I can't throw it and I can't hit it," Tracy said. "That's not my job. I'm not allowed to do that. My job is to get them in a position to where the stage is set and the opportunity is there for them to carry it out, finish the job and win."

"I know as a manager there are only so many things I can do. I try to go home and every night and look in the mirror and ask myself if I did everything I could to do to give us a chance to win."

The Pirates have the worst record in the NL. Through 48 games, the Pirates have scored only 40 fewer runs than the competition (adjusting Chuck Finder's numbers for the big win tonight). Yet they are 15-33. Players have not executed, yes. But Tracy (head firmly lodged in own colon) has made many terrible decisions (e.g. sending Jose H. to bunt for CW with the game on the line) that he should own up to. Sorry, Jim, but it's hard to wash your hands when you're full of and covered in shit.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Game 48: Astros at Pirates

Buchholz vs. Snell. Scheduled for 7:05 PM EST but could be delayed due to rain. Maybe one of our older veterans will slip on the wet grass and pull or break something. Furnitz is back, hitting sixth behind Craig.

Freddy Sanchez

Dejan Kovacevic makes the case. The Stats Geek had a good article on this a few weeks back.

There should not be any debate. Activate Joe Randa, use him as a utility player and pinch-hitter, trade him if someone comes calling. I'm glad to have Randa and Burnitz on the team, provided they are kept in their proper place--which is, right now, backing up better-performing, younger players.

...Since the All-Star Break last year, Sanchez has 397 at-bats, 126 hits, 26 doubles, 3 triples, and 8 home runs. He has struck out 31 times and walked 22 (and this year, 8 walks and 8 strikeouts). The numbers come out to something like .317 / .356 / .455 - an 815 OPS. That's more or less what most people expect from Sean Casey, and it's better than what we could reasonably expect from Joe Randa.

Now, we used to play games like this with Rob Mackowiak. He had 400 AB stretches in which he posted a 900 OPS. So I'm not thoroughly convinced Sanchez is the Real Deal. Not yet.

But flexibility and creativity should be in Jim Tracy's toolbox, and this is a painfully obvious case where they should be used. Start Sanchez, sub in Randa with pinch-hitter switcheroos. Let Randa push Sanchez. If Sanchez falters, start Randa. If Randa hits real well, keep starting him. Sub in Sanchez with pinch-hitter switcheroos. Let Sanchez force himself back in the lineup.

If Sanchez is the real deal, he will hold the job. If he's just another Rob Mackowiak, he won't hold the job.

The Pirates know that Randa is not the third baseman for 2007. There's a chance Sanchez is. To pursue that chance is folly.

And we should laugh down and ridicule any talk about "We want to win some games right now." We've tried that formula, with these players, in this season, already. And it's been a complete failure.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

What? No Aramis?

Some historical perspective. The Meares deal was surely worse than the Randolph trade.


The Bucs are 4-22 on the road this year. And 14-33 overall. They have a .298 winning percentage.

i'll allow that there's some bad luck in this. But bad luck does not render a .500 team .298 after forty-seven games. Odds are this is a .350 team, or a .400 team, having some bad luck. If it makes any sense to chalk any of this up to bad luck.

Sean Casey

Casey could be back within a week, Dejan Kovacevic reports. I've made no secret of my man-love for Sean Casey. When he's healthy, he's pretty good. He's still slow, but he's a good hitter.

The problem is, he's often not healthy. Now that he's returning somewhat early from what sounded like a serious injury, I wonder if he's not up to his old playing-hurt tricks.

In other words, I have my bases covered. If he comes back and resumes the 900 OPS, I can say, told you so. If he doesn't, I'll say he's hurt.

Either way, he's not a guy that should be "hitting his way" out of slumps. If comes back hitting for good average with no power and (of course) no speed, then he should not be starting over Craig Wilson.

Drafting young pitchers

Jason Grey writes for that a lot of young pitchers, on which the Pirates lavished high draft picks, have gotten hurt.

This is par for the course. Anyone who follows the progress of players from the draft to the major leagues should know that a lot of young pitchers get hurt.

It's bad faith or wishful thinking to act like it's bad luck. You swim with the sharks, you will get bit.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Irate fans

They make t-shirts.

Game 47: Pirates at Diamondbacks

Zach Duke vs. Miguel Batista at 6:40 PM EST. It's 101 degrees in Phoenix right now. Maybe one of the veterans will get dehydrated and cramp up or pull something.

Craig Wilson


Doumit was playing first base for the second time in his professional career. Actually, in his life.
I'd rather see this than Jose H. start at 1B, but just what exactly is the plan for Craig Wilson? And what the hell did he do to deserve such lowly treatment? Despite his $3.5 million contract, he's been relegated to bench duties since Furnitz was brought in to stink up the joint. The Bucs either trade Craig to a contender who wants him this year, or flush the 3.5 million down the john. Pinch-hitting Jose H. for Craig isn't exactly showcasing Craig's talent. Neither is benching him for a guy with a sore hammy who's played one game at first in his life.

Porter to have knee surgery today

Crazy Joey Porter will have one of his knees operated on today.

In other Steelers news, fourth-round pick OT Willie Colon became the second rookie in the draft to sign. Colon (pronounced "cologne") signed a three year deal for 1.3 million and will likely back up Starks at RT. All hail Willie Colon!

DK chat

If you've run out of sharp utensils to jab into your head, DK's depressing chat is for you. DK thinks we should bank on Craig and Freddy returning to the bench when Casey and Randa return, has heard no hint that the Bucs might be for sale, and thinks that the Bucs will draft another pitcher in the first round of the upcoming draft.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Game 46: Pirates at Diamondbacks

Victor Santos vs. Claudio Vargas at 9:40 PM EST. Santos looks to bring down his career 12.79 ERA, 3.16 WHIP, and .455 BAA (!) vs. Arizona. Ryan Doumit is playing first as Craig gets the night off.

Losing poll

The 14-31 Pirates have lost so many games this year because:

A. An evil conspiracy. The owners want to minimize Net Local Revenue by maximizing losing, ensuring a nice fat Central Fund Component handout under the current basic agreement. Tracy, Jose Hernandez, and Burnitz are all in on the scam.

B. Jim Tracy has a man-crush on Jose Hernandez.

C. Jim Tracy is a fucking idiot (see sixth post).

D. Egregiously bad general management (See Billy's synopsis on the Smizik and Starkey anti-DL pieces).

E. Poor play by mostly bad players.

F. All of the above.


DK has the scoop on the AWOL Chris Duffy: Duffy's decision to not report to Indy has been motivated by "a general unhappiness with playing the game much more than dissatisfaction with the team."

The stress from faltering in the early part of the season had taken a sharp toll on Duffy, the sources said, to the point that he had become tightly wound on and off the field and had questioned his desire to continue his career.

In stark contrast, one of the sources said, Duffy was describing relief bordering on joy shortly after deciding not to report to Class AAA Indianapolis when the Pirates optioned him there May 14.

I don't know what to make of this. Is Duffy mental? If so, would the Pirates deny his medical condition, only to admit months later that they were wrong? Anyway, good luck with everything, Chris.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Game 45: Pirates at Diamondbacks

Ollie and El Duque pit their matching 6.98 ERAs against each other at 9:40 EST tonight. The white-hot Burnitz is batting fifth in front of Craig Wilson. Jose Hernandez will start the game on the bench, but he'll be ready to come in and bunt with the game on the line, should Tracy feel so inclined. Jody Gerut, finally put on the DL, and Chris Duffy, back home in Phoenix, might watch the game on TV.

Bill Cowher Spittle Night

Jack Wilson atones for his recent out-of-line Respectfest with the humility that Dr. Rowdy prescribed. From ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski upon asking Jack Wilson who he'd choose to represent the Pirates at the All-Star Game on July 11:

"Right now, I wouldn't send anybody," he says. "None of us are doing that great of a job. None of us really deserve it. I don't think any of us deserve it."
(Thanks to Lonely Cousin for the Gene link, which is well worth the read for any Pirates and/or Steelers fan.)