Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pirates First Half Analysis

The Pirates have had a disappointing first half. They really faltered right before the All Star break, and their inability to beat in division opponents is not a good thing. They can still make the .500 mark, but it will take a much better second half.

With that said, the Pirates have had some really encouraging things happen this year. McCutchen appears to be as advertized. Some young bullpen guys have developed like Evan Meek and Jesse Chavez. Yet a slump prone offense has been their undoing along with Ian Snell, who was demoted to the minors far too late to help the team.

What the Pirates really need is a Carrier. By that I mean someone who can carry the team when it hits those inevitable slumps. The great teams have more than one, but the Pirates do not have any. They have some guys hitting really well this year like Freddy Sanchez (.316) and Dwelven Young (.311). McCutchen (.292) and Robinson Diaz (.295) have done well but only have appeared in just over 30 games a piece. Garret Jones is also hitting .310 in 11 games. These guys are doing great, but these guys are all singles hitters with the possible exception of Garrett Jones. But it is too early to anoint Jones as anything. A Carrier needs to be someone who hits for extra bases. He does not necessarily have to be a big time homerun hitter, but someone who can and who gets lots of doubles. A Carrier can come to the plate and hit a homerun to give a slumping offense instant runs, or hit a double to put someone in scoring position immediately, or even double in the guy who is standing on first because of a walk. A Carrier also needs to be good in the clutch, so that he gets the RBI no matter how he does it. The Pirates do not have such a guy. I believe the Pirates were hoping that Ryan Doumit would be that guy, but he got hurt. If the Pirates are going to make a run at .500 Doumit has to be a Carrier for the second half of the season. The Pirates would have liked Adam LaRoche to be a Carrier, but he has flopped for years now. He is having a great year by LaRoche standards this year, but look at his stats. Adam has over a third of his hits go for extra bases. He is second on the team in doubles and first in home runs. A good sign for someone to be a Carrier, yet he barely ever gets hits. His average is .250. He has 39 RBI's five more than Freddy Sanchez and his brother Andy LaRoche. Freddy hits second in the line up and Andy hits sixth (he has moved around some). Jack Wilson the 8th hitter is only 8 RBI's behind Adam. Adam hits in the clean up spot and he has to come up with more RBI's. I fully expect him to be traded.

All in all I am excited to see the new look Pirates continue their play. Charlie Morton pitching is something I am interested in. The impact of a soon returning Ryan Doumit should have a positive effect. I also am hopefull that when the September call ups come we will get to see Jose Tabata. These are things that should keep Pirate fans coming to see the team. If only baseball went all year long.


Larry said...

When I was a kid, there used to be this really great sport called baseball. My team had great players like Roberto Clemente and Willy Stargell. Now we're heading into our 17th straight losing season and I don't think I can take it any more. Sigh.