For the second time in three nights, the Pirates blow a 3-0 lead and end up losing 5-4. In fact, this makes 3 times in the last 4 one run losses that the Pirates led by at least 3 runs at some point in the game.
The defense was atrocious. Paulino proved he isnt getting any better at blocking the ball. Jack Wilson let Sanchez attempt a kamikaze dive on a pop-up that he had an obviously easier play on. Ditto Burnitz with Castillo. These are veterans who should know better (though an unfortunate extenuation for Burnitz, since he probably genuinely couldnt get to the **** ball).
If I told you I was putting together a team that had:
- one All-Star caliber outfielder who was in the top 10 of every significant offensive category
- a third baseman who was leading the NL in batting average
- a catcher who was leading all rookies in batting average
- 5 everyday starters hitting at least .300
- 3 regular starters and a bench player with at least 8 HR’s in the first 1/3 of the season
- a starting rotation that was young, and wasn’t lights out, but managed to keep each game competitive
what would YOU think this team’s record would be? Sounds a lot like a .500 team, not a 22-39 stink-bomb.
1st star: Sean Casey. He had a great night, SF seems like a good park for him. Maybe the Giants would like to trade for him? Final line – 4-5, 2B, RBI
2nd star: Zach Duke. He wasn’t amazing tonight, but he put up another quality start, and managed to wiggle out of consecutive 2nd/3rd no out jams. plus he got a hit, which is more than Burnitz did. Final line – 6+ IP 6H 3R 3ER 3BB 3K (full house)
3rd star: Lance Niekro. I was going to give this to Jack Wilson until he shot his own team in the head in the 9th, rendering his 2-4 night worthless. I’d give it to Bay but I’d rather give it to Niekro, the only guy to manage multiple hits before the bullpen showed up. Final line – 3-5, 2 2B 2R
Think about this one for a minute. Jack Wilson + Sean Casey + Jason Bay = 7-10, 2 2B, 4 BB, 4R.
Let me say that again. Our 2/3/4 hitters reached base 11 times in 14 plate appearances and scored four runs.
Here’s something new to think about: Jeromy Burnitz is many bad things, but he is single-handedly depleting Jason Bay’s value.
Jason Bay is our lone All-Star caliber player, and therefore (rightfully so) should be given every opportunity to improve his team’s chances of winning every night. In Jason’s case, this includes stealing bases, since he is a legitimate 20-20 guy and, considering his hitting this year, maybe borderline 30-30.
Where is Jason hitting all season? Directly in front of Jeromy Burnitz, he of the 48 K’s in 199 AB’s. Yup, a strikeout every 4 at-bats. I can’t even begin to count the number of times, i.e. tonight in the ninth, where Bay was in a situation where normally, you would send the runner, but Bay CAN’T run because Burnitz is such a huge candidate for a strikeout-throwout DP. If Burnitz maintains his current pace, he will have 3 consecutive months of decreased AB’s and increased K’s (93/20 in April, 82/21 in May, currently on pace for 75/22 this month). It is a travesty that a player who stole 20 bases in 20 attempts last year is 5 for 6 through 61 games and 2 for 2 in the last 40 games.
some random numbers…
Burnitz is hitting .381 with 5 HR and 17 RBI when he puts the first or second pitch in play, .207/4/13 otherwise.
Craig Wilson is hitting .395 leading off the inning, and .462/5/13 when he puts the first or second pitch in play, including a ******** .583 with a 1.083 SLG (2 2B, 2 3B, 2HR) when he puts the first pitch in play.
(OK, now I’m reaching for obscurity)
Paulino is hitting .387 leading off an inning, and is overall a .392 hitter with no runners on (odd sidenote: according to his ESPN splits, Paulino has somehow had two at-bats where there was noone on and noone out, but he wasn’t leading off an inning.) He is hitting .400 when he puts a first pitch in play, .390 when he makes contact in any one-strike count, and .451 on everything BUT 0-2, 1-0, 1-1, and 1-2 pitches (.196)