I had things planned for today. And then I stayed up all night [insert gratuitiously graphic description of coughing]. And so we get a link dump.
You’ve all surely heard about the road rage incident involving Chris Snyder’s wife, a crazy man on a scooter, and a volunteer fire fighter. My favorite detail? The firefighter, who calls himself a huge Pittsburgh sports fan, had no idea who Chris Snyder was. Siiiiiiiiiiigh. Maybe next year.
Two Pirate-related pieces at SB Nation today, one simply asking if the Pirates are for real and one examining why they’re so much better. For the “defense v. pitching” debate, the money quote is this one:
Despite this, and with the same pitchers (excepting Correia) that they used last year, the Pirates have an ERA+ of 109; that puts them fifth in the NL. This is even more of a surprise now than it would have been in the pre-season, as the Pirates pitchers have been no better in 2011 than they were in 2010 by any measure except for ERA. In 2010, they struck out 16.3 percent of hitters, walked 8.5 percent of them, and allowed homers to 2.7 percent. So far in 2011, those numbers sit at 16.4, 8.2, and 2.2 percent — never mind a revolution in the rotation, there isn’t a hint of progress to be found within the pitchers themselves.
That’s an oversimplification, of course (it’s not really the same pitchers putting up the same numbers because Ohlendorf is hurt, McDonald and Karstens are full-time rotation members, and Morton’s peripheral stats are vastly different than last year’s), but the point remains that the defense has played fantastically this year and for some reason they’ve been way down on the list of things that people are crediting this turnaround to.
Of course, the more traditional media is giving credit to Clint Hurdle. Which, I mean, look; Clint Hurdle makes decisions that give me the willies. He drives me nuts. But his huge personality and experience probably makes him the right person to manage this team. That said, he’s way down on my list of people to be credited for the turnaround behind the players themselves, Ray Searage and Jim Benedict and whoever else works with the pitchers, Nick Leyva and whoever else coaches the infielders, and the front office for assembling most of this team. When the Pirates hired Hurdle I wrote that I hoped he’d be getting way too much credit for turning the club around in a few months and I’m happy to see people mentioning him because the club’s playing well, but I remain skeptical that he’s the main (or only) reason for this turnaround, as some people seem to be implying.
Finally, the State College Spikes season opens today, their home opener is on Sunday, and Stetson Allie is pitching on Monday.