Now that the Bucs have finished their first road trip and will begin the home portion of their schedule against the Cubs at 1:35PM this afternoon, I thought that I would give some of my thoughts about this edition of the Pirates Baseball Club.
- Patience at the plate – Since I have been watching the games on MLB.tv (and thanks for all of the feedback about the program, so far I like it) it seems to me that the Pirates are being more selective at the plate. Sure there have been ABs where they haven’t done this, but it looks to me that as a whole they have been making the pitcher throw more pitches. A good example of this is yesterday’s game where they made Vanderhurk throw 71 pitches in his 2+ innings. I don’t think that no matter how bat Vandenhurk was pitching last year’s team would have done that.
- Staying competitive every night – Now I know that we have been out of two games but it looks to me that when the Bucs are in a close game, they are not thinking about how they will loose it, but rather they will try and find a way to pull it out and get the win. It’s a good thing to see.
- McLouth seems to be the real deal – He’s hit and played the field really well. I know that I have made fun of him in the past (although when you look at it I was just reacting to someone’s man crush on him and having some fun) but I have been really impressed with how he’s played so far. Heck, even Smizik has a positive article about his this morning.
- Nady’s hot start – Nice to see one of our big guys get off to a hot start. This doesn’t mean that I think he should be starting over Pierce (for the long term objectives of the team) but you have to give him credit for keeping us in some games and winning us at least one as well.
- Yates – Some people didn’t like the fact that we picked up Yates from the Braves in exchange for a minor league player, but he has pitched well so far and it’s good to see a power arm finally in the bullpen. If he can keep this up, I’m sure that everyone will be happy he’s joined the Pirate ohana (didn’t think that I’d let a Hawaiian reference slip by, did you?).
- Grabow – He’s pitched just as lights out. So far I would say that he and Yates are the best two in the pen so far.
- Defense – I had originally put this into the plus side of the equation, but then I became sober. There is a lot of work needed to be done here. I hope Russell does lots of extra drills to get this sorted out.
- Marte – He has not been good. Between his basicly blowing game one (against the Braves) and also throwing some gas on the fire in game two of the same series, I’m not very confeident about bringing him into the game. From what I have seen, he looks to be wild high and that is dangerous.
- Luis Rivas’ shoes – Seriously, what is up with those shoes? They are fugly.
- Bay, Batista & LaRoche struggling – LaRoche is off to another of his slow start, although he was doing everything this spring to try and avoid that. I think that we can all agree that Batista is not the solution at third (is Neil Walker? I’m just asking), but we still need his bat; and it’s just not there. As for Jason Bay, what is there to say. He has not looked like the 2006 version so far and John Russell even had a little heart to heart with him yesterday (my words, not theirs). I hope that he is able to rebound and become the productive player that we think he can be.
Did I miss something you think should be on this list? Let me know by leaving a comment.