Friday, June 15, 2007

Game 67: White Sox and Pirates

Hard to believe there's still almost 100 games left in this season.

Tonight it's Garland and Maholm at seven.

White Sox bring dirty feet to Pittsburgh

Rob Mackowiak recalls the learned helplessness in this Chicago Tribune report by Mark Gonzales. Gonzales describes the White Sox as at a crossroads. Desperately seeking "momentum," the team can expect to be disbanded at the trade deadline if they cannot compete with "perennial National League Central doormat Pittsburgh."

Breaking up the Sox's core for the distant future comes at a cost. Moving potential free agents could create a losing situation similar to the one Mackowiak coped with in Pittsburgh for five seasons.

"Sometimes there were no expectations, which is a little different than over here, where there are expectations to win," Mackowiak said. "Over there you played, had fun and expected to lose anyway. Over here, we're expected to win."

Is this fun? Or do the Pirates have their fun off the field?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Game 66: Rangers at Pirates

Loe and Gorzelanny in half an hour. Tweedledee and Tweedledum are not in the lineup tonight.

JVB to start

Chacon out, Van Benschoten in, the P-G reports. JVB will start on Saturday. (For those keeping track, Chacon's ERA+ is currently 99.)

What will come of Castillo and Wilson

Dejan Kovacevic's game recap focuses as much on Castillo as on Snell.

It's good to see that various Pirates have realized that Jack Wilson is not irreplaceable.

After Snell and Gorzelanny, actually, I'm not sure any of the Pirates are terribly essential. Even Jason Bay's left-field defense has been more and more Matt Lawton-like since that shoulder surgery. I could see the Pirates start giving him the Brian Giles treatment.

The team's still a mile below .500, the minor-league cupboard is bare, and the trading deadline will be upon us soon. The Pirates have hoarded money to re-sign a collection of guys who have been nothing but proven Losers, and we all know how they flinch when it's time to lay the hoarded money down.

On one hand the players might want out and wish for a trade. On the other hand, it's not like other teams want Losers much. And further, the guys the Pirates have traded at the deadline have not, for the most part, gone on to be so great for other teams. If players want regular playing time and plenty of patience from management, they can find no better job than the one they have in Pittsburgh.

Fire sale on the horizon? What do you think? I don't trust the Pirates to get good returns on their better players, so this is much more a prediction than a wish on my part.

All hail Ian Snell

He just pitched a pretty good game. And he laid down a nice bunt there too.

See if you can find some Dogfish Head to toast up Delaware Dante.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Game 65: Rangers at Pirates

Snell vs. Tejeda, currently delayed. Castillo starts again at SS in place of Wilson.

I swore that one day, I'd be El Presidente.
But down in Snell, it's really caliente.

Perrotto on draft

The BCT's John Perrotto thinks that Moskos might have to save DL's job too:

"Taking Moskos smacks as the short-sighted work of a GM who realizes his job security is tenuous, regardless of the votes of confidence he gets from Nutting and McClatchy...

While McClatchy has shown an incredible amount of blind faith in recent years in continually extending Littlefield's contract, you would hope Nutting is cognizant of the fact his GM hasn't appreciably improved the club in a half-dozen years."

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bryan Bullington pulled from start

Rotoworld reports that Bryan Bullington "was pulled out of his start for Triple-A Indianapolis after just one inning with shoulder discomfort."

I was looking forward to seeing his cheerful, Joe Randa-like mug on the mound at PNC this season.

(Bryan. Joe.)

Game 63: Pirates at Yankees

Chacon and Clippard at one. My hunch is the Pirates win this one.

But the Pirates are ten games under .500. The competitive season is over. They have bumbled themselves far away from contender status. There's very little chance they play so far above .500 that they make up those ten games. And there's no chance they go to the playoffs with a sub-.500 record.

So now the silliness begins. Actually, it appears to be well underway. I expect the team to alternate between truly horrific games - such as the one they played yesterday - and games in which they are more disciplined. They will surprise some teams. Any talk of the Pirates being "a good young team" who "always plays tough" will just be the polite thing to say. The news is out. The Pirates stink. They are a joke. Again.

They will win some series, and they may even play .503 ball the rest of the season. They could finish with 77 wins. None of this will mean they are a good team.

My advice to other Pirates fans: do not be afraid to turn off the game when they begin to play to the Benny Hill music. The more punishment you can spare yourself today, the more likely you will still be a fan next year.

Credit where due dept.

Dejan Kovacevic explains how well Jim Colborn has done his job.

He also notes that the Cleveland Indians want no part of their schedule dedicated to the Pittsburgh Pirates. After a little thought, I can see why. It's a lose-lose situation for them. If they beat the Pirates, no one will care. The Pirates are awful. The Pirates will not sell tickets in Cleveland. If they lose to the Pirates, then they must endure comparisons to the Cleveland Browns, who lose twice a year to the Steelers.