Saturday, August 11, 2007

Preseason football: Packers at Steelers

Steely McBeam to play quarterback in the second half.

Game 113: Pirates at Giants

Armas and Lincecum sometime later this afternoon.

Low-cost talent

Dejan Kovacevic notes the Pirates have signed Victor Zambrano and inserted him into the Indianapolis rotation.

Ronny Ballgame

Ronny did a good job catching the ball last night. From Dejan Kovacevic's Post-Gazette recap:

Ortmeier was between Bautista and Paulino at home plate, and the throw would have to go inside the runner.

"I was expecting it to come to the other side," Paulino said.

Because of that, Paulino had to dramatically change his glove position to backhand the ball and, as he did, Ortmeier was beginning a hook-slide to elude him.

But Paulino, as he had earlier in the game on a similar play at the plate, swept his tag and banged Ortmeier in the back of the helmet.

"All I tried to do was to find a way to get the ball to Ronny," Bautista said. "He made the better half of the play."

The view from the other dugout was half-and-half in that record.

"That was a heck of a play, and it ended up being the ballgame," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "Their third baseman did a heck of a job to get to the ball and make the throw, and the catcher made a really good tag."

. . .

For Paulino, that tag and the previous one- on Ryan Doumit's excellent throw from right field that gunned down Pedro Feliz in the second -- might have represented vindication for a catcher who has struggled all season with plays at the plate.

"Give credit to our catcher," Tracy said. "He had a terrific game."

Unlike Paulino, Matt Morris did not play well, except, in my opinion, for the part when his veteranosity induced a double play after beguiling the Giant hitters with seven consecutive balls. "That's not how I pitch," he said.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Game 112: Pirates at Giants

This does not start for about four hours, but I am already drinking beer and tailgating somewhat around the old radio.

Matt Morris and Russ Ortiz tonight.

Tonight it's part two in the ongoing series, "Is Matt Morris a better bet, going forward, than freely available low-cost pitching?"

Morris was tagged for four earned runs in his last start, so he's still looking for his first quality start as a Pirate.

Friday afternoon

Any outrage du jour on the menu, or is it just the usual fare?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Game 110: Pirates at Diamondbacks

Paul Maholm and Byung-Hyun Kim in fifteen minutes.

Kim has made 14 starts this year. He's averaged 5.64 innings per start. He's gotten 8.05 strikeouts per 9 innings to 6.39 walks, 7.69 hits, and 1.30 home runs. He's earning $2.5M this year as the option year after a one-year, $1.5M contract signed with the Rockies before the 2006 season.

For those of you who read the previous comment thread, Matt Morris has made 22 starts this year. He's averaging 6.5 innings per start. He's gotten 4.84 strikeouts per 9 innings for 2.52 walks, 10.76 hits, and 0.75 home runs. He's making $10M this year as part of a three-year, $27M contract signed with the Giants before the 2006 season.

Paul Maholm has made 22 starts for the Pirates this year. He's averaging 6.27 innings per start. He's gotten 5.28 strikeouts per nine innings to show for his nine-innings averages of 2.54 walks, 9.52 hits, and 1.11 home runs. He's making 403K in this, his third year of major-league ball.

Perrotto on the Morris signing

John Perrotto is still scratching his head over the Morris deal.

On one hand, I suppose there is a lot of head to scratch.

On the other hand, the rationale behind the trade looks clear enough to me. The same kind of bad things we might predict about Morris's future performance could also be said about the future of Jeff Suppan.

It is crazy that reliable starters command so much money. It is crazy, too, that pre-arb players make so little. But that is the way it is these days.

A starter was, I think, a need and not a want. And when you need something, you cannot complain persuasively about the price. This is especially true if you get what you need for less than the going rate. And I think that, in the Morris deal, the Pirates acquired a veteran starter for much less than they would have paid in the off-season free agent market. After all, they were able to acquire his expensive skills for only 1 1/2 or (if they pick up his option) 2 1/2 years. No starter like Matt Morris would settle for a one- or two-year deal.

Littlefield may negotiate like a fantasy-league jerk--as Dejan Kovacevic's report might suggest--but he has made some good trades.

P.S. I'm not suggesting that a number of good trades should be enough to save his job. We can give credit where it is due and still be disappointed in his performance as GM.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Game 109: Pirates at Diamondbacks

Gorzelanny and Owings, starting in twenty mintues.

Winners and losers

Early in the year the Arizona Diamondbacks (63-50, first place in the NL West) ranked as the youngest team in the NL. So I've considered them proof that age was not the problem with the 2007 Pirates (44-64, last place in the NL Central).

These days, the Pirates are a bit younger overall (27.8 to 27.9), but the Diamondbacks have an impressive list of players who are 24 or younger: Edgar Gonzalez, Micah Owings, Miguel Montero, Stephen Drew, Mark Reynolds, Carlos Quentin, Justin Upton, Chris B. Young.

The kids of Pittsburgh are Matt Capps and Zach Duke.

There must be a lesson in there somewhere.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

exhibition football: Saints and Steelers

NFL Network ball-hogs the exhibition opener. I make a point of ignoring exhibition football, but with the new coach and whatnot, I will follow the events of this game. And perhaps there will be some good reading about it tomorrow.

Game 109: Reds at Pirates

Gorzelanny vs. Arroyo, delayed by rain. Cesar starting at third and batting second.

UPDATE (4:30 PM): Game postponed until Aug. 28th.