Saturday, May 26, 2007

Game 48: Pirates at Reds

Arroyo vs. Chacon in ten.

Pirates calm

In this game report, Dejan Kovacevic quotes Bay, Wilson, and others on the subject of listlessness.

The team appears to understand, but somewhat resent, our perception of the team as not highly motivated. The hits will fall, they say. They appear to be thinking, from these few quotes, that it's mainly a matter of luck.

A consistent approach must be a good thing to have. And it's probably true that they are never as good as they look on the best days, and never as bad as they look on the worst days.

But there is a generosity in the theory that they are not sufficiently motivated. Perhaps they understand this, perhaps they do not. If motivation is not a problem, then fans can only say one thing. These are not good ballplayers. This is a bad team.

Look at the scoreboard. They are seven games under .500. Good teams made up of good ballplayers do not slip to seven games under .500 by accident or luck.

Either these guys are not working very hard out there. Or they are working hard and they are not very talented. It's hard to know the difference. I think it's the former case, but they probably know better.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Game 46: Pirates at Cardinals

Looper vs. Gorzelanny, starting now. Duffy hitting second again.

Nutting promises D.R. improvement

Back from visiting the Dominican Republic, Bob Nutting has pledged to "build a new baseball academy there or upgrade its existing one," reports Dejan Kovacevic.

"There is a strong feeling within the organization that a new, state-of-the-art facility will be the choice."
Is this a P.R. stunt? Or a reason to be genuinely encouraged that Bob Nutting wants to win (by 2015)?

Thor vs. Cota and Kelly

Today's Q+A quizzes Dejan Kovacevic on Duke's delivery, bringing back Craig Wilson, and Chacon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Game 45: Pirates at Cardinals

Kip vs. Ian. "Snell is oneself, Snell is alone, the other figures in it merely projections. There is nothing to escape from and nothing to escape to."

Six games under

And eight games out of first.

Don't rule out the D.R.

Pirates ready to spend, reports the AP from the Dominican Republic, where Nutting, McClatchy, and DL wrapped up their four day visit.

The Pirates are considering building a new full-time academy as well, said assistant general manager Louie Eljaua.

"That is something that is in our plans. Maybe not immediately, but it is something that you cannot rule out," he said.

No word yet on whether they found any takers for Wasdin.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Game 44: Pirates at Cardinals

Wainwright vs. Duke, starting now. Jack Wilson returns and bats 8th. Bautista leads off, Bay bats third. Nady's in CF, so no Duffy tonight.

Beer thread

Negra Modelo for me. What's in your hand?

Ballgame comes on in the central time zone tonight.

Firemen and closers

Brian O'Neill has a good point.

Another somewhat dubious move in that now-infamous Saturday game: leaving Gorzelanny in there to finish the fifth. This is more debatable than calling on the guy with the biggest rash of recent troubles to face Tony Clark. But at the time, I was annoyed. You have to win these games, and it looked to me like Gorzelanny was being left in there so he could get the win. He got the final out, and he came back out there and did the sixth. But he was laboring, the team had a big lead, and a sure win appeared to be within reach. I thought at the time that Tracy was taking a risk by leaving him in there; I wondered if Gorzelanny was not getting the chance to continue only so he could get the win.

It would be a dumb thing to risk a team win so that one particular player has a greater chance of getting a personal win. There is the notion that players "have to grow" and that a manager might turn a kid into a proven veteran by showing how he can overcome adversity in a situation like that. This I consider worthless psychobabble. The best thing a manager can do is teach the player an unconditional respect for the team winning the game. There can be no compromise of this. There may be more to life than winning games, but if that is true, the big-league manager should be the last person in the world to believe it. So if a kid starter walks the bases loaded and has fallen apart after his team just batted around and he got a cute trophy for his fireplace and ran the bases etc., why not take the ball from his hand. Why not say look man, nothing personal, but you look distracted to me. So get out of here.

I could be all wrong, but I ramble on this way to compare that move to neglect of the firemen O'Neill describes. Tracy's narrow-minded view of the need for clear roles strikes me as something that might be too deferential to the save stat. It betrays a concern for something other than winning. On a losing team, no player deserves any kind of job security. I don't know. I could go on but I'll stop.

Rogers recalled

Chacon moves into the rotation. Makes sense to me. Dejan Kovacevic reports.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Off day

Take it easy.

When play resumes, the Pirates will have a chance to separate themselves from the lower third of the NL Central. First, they travel to St. Louis for three games. This is the worst year in all Tony La Russa's 12-year tenure, but it is hard to get excited to face the Cardinals. After St. Louis, the Pirates go to Cincinnati for four games. The Reds have not won a series all month.

19 and 24

After the disappointing 4-6 homestand, the Pirates hit the road five games under .500.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Game 43: D'backs at Pirates

The Pirates dodged a bullet when they won the game that Armas started earlier in the week. But they fried out the long reliever winning that game. So it was Marty McLeary to face Tony Clark with the lead. Dejan Kovacevic explains.

The team was stubborn with Armas. When you make shitty personnel decisions, they have a ripple effect. If the team wants to win games, they have to win games now. Not later. No amount of losing today will increase the winning later. If they want to win games now, they have to play the most competent players. This means scrapping the "plan" when necessary. Armas, a $3M part of the offseason plan, was failing us well before this week. He had no business getting that last start.

On the other hand, by the same reasoning, I have to give Tracy credit for benching Chris Duffy.

I'd like to see Armas and McLeary starting at AAA. Bring up two of the better AAA starters and work them in long relief. If they can't pitch effectively in long relief, then they are primadonnas. You can't hide bad pitchers on a winning ballclub.

Randy Johnson and Paul Maholm at 1:30.