Saturday, June 02, 2007

Game 55: Dodgers at Pirates

Jim Tracy gave a rousing pre-game speech tonight. A little bird found his notes and delivered them with a cold bottle of pale ale. Here are his prepared remarks.

My sentence is for open war. Of wiles,
More unexpert, I boast not: them let those
Contrive who need, or when they need; not now.
For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest--
Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait
The signal to ascend--sit lingering here,
Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place
Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame,
The prison of his tyranny who reigns
By our delay? No! let us rather choose,
Armed with Snell-flames and fury, all at once
O'er Heaven's high towers to force resistless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms
Against the Torturer; when, to meet the noise
Of his almighty engine, he shall hear
Infernal thunder, and, for lightning, see
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
Among his Angels, and his throne itself
Mixed with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire,
His own invented torments.

Kuo and Snell-flames in half an hour.

Zach Duke

Dejan Kovacevic's game report describes Zach Duke as focussed on the study of game tape from his rookie season.

It could be Kovacevic's story-telling, but Duke sounds like Captain Ahab on a narrow-minded quest to regain his lost delivery. Why study the past so much? Perhaps he should spend more time studying the future.

He can already know, I guess, who's going to be his next opponent. Odds are, the difference between then and now has little to do with how he shakes his hips as he tosses his changeup. More likely, the league has made adjustments to him.

Time for him to make adjustments to the league. How is he going to get those mofos out? The difference between a bad start and a quality start may only be the ability to neutralize one or two specific guys.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Game 54: Dodgers at Pirates

Last night I heard that the Pirates have the best record in the NL Central since last year's All-Star Break. Bones and I debated if this "best" was a .450 record or a .475 record.

The season crosses the one-third mark tonight. The Pirates are 23-30 (.434) and in second place. It's Randy Wolf and Zach Duke.

One of those guys will rack up a bunch of Ks.

An ultra-deflating 4-2 loss

Dejan Kovacevic recaps last night's game.

Any time a team scores only two runs, they are probably going to lose. That's not much of a lead to protect, so I would not compare this loss to the Saturday against Arizona.

One play that I'd emphasize when studying the loss: Jose Bautista's no-out bunt to move the runner from scoring position to scoring position. Why play for one run? It was not the bottom of the ninth in a tie game. With the way Bautista has been hitting, I expected the Pirates to let him swing away and play for a multi-run rally.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Game 53: Padres at Pirates

Maddux and Chacon at seven.

Jason Bay and other Pirates have had good success against Maddux in the past. So I'm thinking eight, ten, twelve or fifteen runs tonight.

Heads up

Shawn Chacon Night coming on fast. Not many hours remaining to refresh the beer supply.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Game 52: Padres at Pirates

Young and Maholm at 7:05. A win tonight puts the Pirates on pace to win 75. A loss brings their winning percentage down to the 72-win level.

It's easier to win today than it is to win two tomorrow. A team with the Pirates' record confronts that choice if the goal is so many wins above .500 at the end of the season. The Pirates are not likely to turn into a .650 winning percentage team in the second half. If baseball in striking distance of .500 and baseball in striking distance of first place is the only kind of baseball for you, then this homestand is more or less the whole season. If they win enough, they live to play another meaningful road trip. If they get swept out, it's exhibition time and those so inclined can sit around amusing themselves with hypothetical deadline deals.

It's a good day for light, delicious, ice-cold adult beverages. If you are on empty, you have about an hour to make a beer run before the first pitch tonight.

Win now

What he said. I am no fan of "five-year plans" or, more recently, talk of "2008" or "2009." The plan which involves sacrificing the present opportunity to better seize a mythical, coming, better one--this plan always fails. This kind of thinking has a big part in how this team managed 14 consecutive losing seasons.

First, winning and losing each have their own inertia. If the team wants to win in 2009, they better win in 2008; if they want to win in 2008, they better win in 2007. The team cannot build a winning tradition soon enough.

Second, good ticket sales are the team's best guarantee of long-term success. And fans will not buy many tickets to see a team with a losing tradition.

Third, Ian Snell, Tom Gorzelanny, Jason Bay, and Freddy Sanchez, to name a few, are playing as well as they may ever play. The 2009 team will be lucky to have four players as good as these guys are right now. Anyone is wrong if he thinks that, in 2009, it is likely that all four of these guys will (a) still be on the team and (b) still be performing at this high level. It's now or never for this team.

As the old sayings go:

Have you somewhat to do to-morrow; do it to-day.

One To-day is worth two To-morrows.

An Egg to day is better than a Hen to-morrow.

The Use of Money is all the Advantage there is in having Money.


He that lives upon Hope, dies farting.

Second place

For real. The Bucs have the collective collapse of the rest of the division to thank more than their own sub-.500 play, but we'll take it.

Bucs are now only 5.5 games behind Milwaukee. Against a tough schedule, the Brewers have lost 12 of their last 16, and conceivably could outlose the 2007 NL Central Champion Pirates. The Brewers: one of us?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Game 50: Pirates at Reds

Snell and Lohse at 1:15.

"We find it easy to tread on and crush a worm that we see crawling on the earth; so it is easy for us to cut or singe a slender thread that any thing hangs by: thus easy is it for God, when he pleases, to cast his enemies down to Snell."