Ian Snell vs. Noah Lowry at 4:05 PM EST. Craig in RF batting fifth vs. the LHP. Average age of today's offenses: Pirates 27, Giants 36. Today's game is huge, as the Bucs are only two games out of fifth place.
In progress. Jason Bay just homered to put the Pirates up 3-2 in the top of the fourth. Santos gave back his first lead of the game; here's to him and others holding this second lead until Mike "I don't read the standings" Gonzalez can come in to slam the door.
Jason Bay currently leads all NL OF with his 1.056 OPS. Despite this statistical domination, as of the last voting results, Bay is 9th in NL OF All-Star voting. Freddy leads the NL with his .351 batting average, but is 7th in NL 3B OPS. I still wrote in Freddy, and voted for the supremely deserving Jason Bay, 25 times earlier today. It doesn't take long to vote 25 times with the online ballot, which can be found at the Pirates official web page. If you have ten minutes and haven't already, do the right thing and at least vote for Bay (25 times).
Steelers wrapped up minicamp today, with players off until July 28th for training camp. Joey Porter should be ready to participate fully in drills during training camp.
Cowher also spit out that the Steelers need to remain focused on the season ahead. "I don't like losing," Cowher said. "You develop a distaste for failure and I think that drives you more than wanting to be recognized for your success."
I wonder if Cowher is a Pirates fan, and if so, how he'd describe the taste the Bucs leave behind.
Duke and Cain, ten o'clock. The Pirates have lost their last two series. Like the Padres, the Giants choose this series to rest their best player. Bonds, who had been playing through pain, will sit and let the JV handle his usual duties. Hopefully the Bucs can make them pay for that.
Bones note (10:10 PM): The game thread and comments at McCovey Chronicles are interesting. They're not talking at all about the Bucs, but instead are talking about drinking. And haikus. My favorite is:
Pirouette Barry Like a dancer with the stars Shake it, shake that ass
Can someone explain the end of this comment by Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus:
Given a second chance at a Craig Wilson type with Ryan Doumit, they pushed him to switch positions and ended up with a recurring hamstring problem for the promising youngster. The team continues to push for Kip Wells’ return after vascular surgery this spring despite a wealth of pitching. Sure, some of the pitching is problematic and inconsistent, but the addition of Wells isn’t going to change much besides adding numbers. With this and the Jody Gerut and Chris Duffy situations, the Pirates aren’t going to get a lot of long-term love from the players they’ll need to turn things around in the future.
I'm all about the long-term love, so I want to know.
Maholm and Francis (sporting a surprising low ERA for a Rockie) at nine.
...aw shit, Stats Geek predicts what? Only if they read the standings every day.
...saw this coming. I admit, my man-love for Sean Casey clouds my judgment of this proposed extension.
Jim Callis of BA reports:
A source familiar with the negotiations says the teams and the players that will be picks at Nos. 2-3-4 have agreed to financial parameters. The Rockies will give Stanford righthander Greg Reynolds $3.25 million; the Devil Rays will pay Long Beach State third baseman Evan Longoria $3 million; and the Pirates will dole out $2.75 million to Houston righthander Brad Lincoln.Keep your fingers crossed.
UPDATE (2:00 PM): It's official. Welcome aboard, Brad. The Phils took Kyle Drabek with the 18th pick.
Bucs pick fourth overall. Who will we take? The consensus opinion as of a few days ago was that Andrew Miller, Evan Longoria, and Brad Lincoln will go 1-2-3, leaving the Bucs with a college pitcher like Greg Reynolds. However, that sequence is far from set as the Royals have been rumored to be considering RHP Luke Hochevar and possibly even OF Drew Stubbs.
Perhaps it's along these lines that Paul Meyer is predicting that the Pirates "almost certainly" will take RHP Brad Lincoln from the University of Houston. I hope Meyer's right.
Draft starts at 1 PM EST.
Admittedly, it's tempting to succumb to the learned helplessness that the past 14 years has reinforced and hope the Pirates don't draft anyone good. Then we'd be spared future pain (e.g. losing the good players in the Rule V draft while the 40-man roster lists only 37 men, trading the good players away for a Matt-Herges-type who will inexplicably be released later, etc). But with all the winning of late, I dare to dream. By 2010, perhaps DL will: be terminated by a new owner that values winning, graciously resign, or have his severed head (on stick) jubilantly hoisted above a lawless mob that has overtaken PNC. Anyway, there's a chance that by 2010 the Bucs could be contenders, and that a new ownership group and GM could coach this year's draft to a championship. Never surrender your dreams. All hail hope!
Former Pirate prospect Chris Young faces Victor Santos in today's rubber match.
The Pirates are 21-35 with a .375 winning percentage.
... expect the trade rumors to be going more as we move through June. Also, check out the numbers for Alex Rios. The Jays offered him for Paul Maholm this offseason. The year before, the Jays declined to send Rios to Pittsburgh for Craig Wilson.