Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Game 51: Pirates at Reds

Snell and Cueto at seven tonight.

Pirates are 24-26, five and a half back of first.

The YTD stats are somewhat comical. Not in a good way. Bay is back with a 950 OPS. McLouth, a guy we called "Frodo" when he came up with Duffy ("Sam"), wants to be an All-Star with a 1025 OPS. He is proving something this season, but I'm pretty skeptical he'll keep that Vlad Guerrero-like pace all year long. Nady (900 OPS) and Doumit (950 OPS) have been solid. Cue the Benny Hill music for the rest of the numbers: Paulino (500), LaRoche (700), Sanchez (600), Bixler (440).

The only starting pitcher who has been league-average has been Dumatrait.

The bullpen has been great.

More than half that offense will be better, but that does not mean they will be good. Of the four sluggers, only Bay I think is likely to maintain that pace in something like everyday play. Doumit and Nady could too. Whatever happens, I don't expect the offense to dramatically improve.

The bullpen could stay the same. The starters should improve. The substitution of Dumatrait for Morris, alone, might be enough to pace the team to 26 wins in the next 50 games. Heck, if they can manage 24 of 50 with these numbers, I guess I expect -- assuming no major subtraction of players through trade or injury (big assumption) -- that this team will still be around .500 at the 100-game mark.

And this is falling in line with expectations I've had for a long time. When the Pirates finally finish a season at .500, we will be underwhelmed, on the whole, with both the record and the general range of individual performances. .500 is mediocre.

That said, we will enjoy all the victories. It is cool to watch, listen, or attend a game and see it end with a victory. I don't get tired of that.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Off day

The Pirates are not playing this Memorial Day, for some reason. Tomorrow they will start a stretch of twenty games in twenty days.