Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Pirate Recap

The first week of baseball is over and I thought I would make a quick note on the Pirates. I do think they will win the NL Central, but a 3-4 start is hardly encouraging. So here is the run down of week one for the Pirates.

Bad Sign: Tom Gorzelanny has had two very bad starts. It appears he may be suffering from the Pirate Slump that has plagued their pitching prospects since Zack Duke in 05. Add him to the sure to be pathetic Matt Morris, and the Pirates may now have two large holes in their starting rotation.

Good Sign: Ian Snell looks good. He had a rough opening day, but it was not bad. His second start was fantastic. Zack Duke also looks good. Those two needed rebound years, and they are off to good starts.

Bad Sign: Injuries. They will not leave the Pirates alone, and they are not deep enough to sustain more than one or two at a time. Freddy Sanchez sat out the entire Marlins series, where they went 1-2, because of continued problems with his shoulder. Jack Wilson is on the DL because of a hard slide that took him out, and LaRoche has a bad thumb (maybe a cover for yet another slow start).

Good Sign: Ryan Doumit, Nate McCLouth and Xavier Nady are on fire. They are really hitting the ball well. This is a great sign. The Pirates are scoring runs. They put up 12 on opening day, 8 in the first game at Pittsburgh and look like an offense than can score runs as long as these guys hit.

Bad Sign: Close Games are going against them. The Pirates need to win close games if they are to make a real run. They won a close one in Atlanta, but have since been beaten in a walk off homerun by the Marlins, and just lost an extra inning game against the Cubs. They need to fix this problem.

Good sign: The coach seems competent. He is trying to put the best team on the field, and is willing to bench players to do it. I like that.

Too early to tell: The bullpen is struggling. But it is a bit early to make a call on them. Most bullpens struggle in the early part of the season because they do not get work in Spring Training against Major League hitters. They come in late in games when the AA guys are hitting. Evan Meek is the obvious weak link so far. If he does not turn it around soon, he should be dismissed from the team. He is the one player who did not earn a spot on the team, but was put there because if they remove him from the major league team they lose him. Plus, they need a right handed arm in their pen.

I hope to have better news in the future about the Pirates. However, I will watch them on TV Thursday, and that should put me in a better mood.