Friday links

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.  

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.

Friday links

Pirates claim Justin Thomas off of waivers. Here are his minor league stats. Six walks per nine innings! That’ll be exciting.

A little more on the Class-A affiliate swap from the PG. The official annoucnement is expected on November 11th, and as we suspected the move is being made to get an affiliate close to Pirate City in Bradenton.

If you use iTunes, Game 7 of the 1971 World Series is available for a $1.99 download.

Bud Selig said that 21 won’t be retired across baseball in honor of Roberto Clemente. As nice of a gesture as I think it would be to retire Clemente’s number, I think that it’s right that Robinson has such a unique tribute paid to him.

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.

Friday links

Working on Futilitywatch right now (will link when it goes live), then hanging out in Hermitage this afternoon before going to Meadville tonight for another rehearsal dinner, another wedding and (gulp) another tux tomorrow. Game threads are actually scheduled as promised this weekeend, and I will be around on Sunday should any historic events take place that day, so no worries. Until then, links!

WTM took some pictures of the Lynchburg Hillcats. They were actually in Winston-Salem last weekend, but given my hectic travel schedule of late I decided to sit that one out. Next year, with what will hopefully be a much less-busy summer, I’m going to do my best to see as many of the Pirates’ affiliates as possible.

Also at Bucs Dugout, Dan Szymborski posts the ZiPS projections for Garrett Jones’ next few seasons. And while we’re on the subject of Jones, Chuck Finder has a great piece about “the Legend” in the PG today. Though when people call him “the Legend” it makes me think of The Natural and by extension, this guy.

Lastings Milledge’s last 16 games: .398/.458/.596.

Now please refocus all of your energies into the helping the Pirates win four games against the Cardinals and Cubs in the coming week, so as to not set the worst record in sports against Tony Frickin’ La Russa or 10,000 Cubs fans at PNC Park.

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.

Friday links

I’d wanted to make a longer post today, but I think that’s going to wait until Monday. Luckily there’s enough links out there for me make some kind of post this morning.

Think it’s important to re-post this, in case it got lost in last night’s recap. Eighth round pick Colton Cain signed last night. He was one of the Bucs’ big targets. You can read WTM’s write-up on him here.

Also, a good story from SI about Gift Ngoepe. He’s currently got one of the craziest triple-slash lines I can recall seeing; he’s hitting .261/.375/.295 with Bradenton right now. That on-base percentage is pretty encouraging for a kid who I assume hasn’t played at a very high level of competition to this point in his life. Still, damn, I can’t recall ever recall seeing someone with a slugging percentage that’s eighty points below his OBP.

Both DK and John Perrotto note the pissy behavior of a few of the Pirates’ pitchers after their loss last night. I wonder if this had anything to do with Jackson’s demotion.

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.

Friday links

Both DK and Ed Price at FanHouse are reporting that nothing is imminent on the Freddy Sanchez front. That doesn’t mean the Pirates aren’t pushing hard; it’s seems reasonable that the announcement that Luis Cruz would be joining the Pirates from Indy was held until late last night just in case the Pirates had more roster holes to deal with.

Heading in the direction of the minor leagues, DK’s look at the international composition of the GCL Pirates is a must read. The part about Chris Aure’s tattoo had me laughing out loud last night.

Tim at B.U.C.C.O. Fans has a great look at last year’s State College debacle, what may have caused it, and how those pitchers are faring this year.

Speaking of State College, comp pick Victor Black made a very nice start for them last night and has looked good in two outings so far. I just got an e-mail from a reader telling me his fastball topped out at 96 last night.

Moving up a level, can anyone remember the last time a Pirate minor league affiliate had as many interesting and legitimate prospects as the West Virginia Power? They’ve got Rudy Owens (10-1, 1.79 ERA, hasn’t allowed a run since June 6th), Tony Sanchez (10 hits in his first 26 at-bats with three doubles, three walks, and two strikeouts), Starling Marte (one of Rene Gayo’s signings, 20 years old, 18-for-47 in his first 12 games), Quinton Miller (one of last year’s above-slot signings who’s held his own in two starts, especially considering he won’t be 20 until November), and Robbie Grossman (I’m still quite impressed with his .371 OBP and 40(!) walks in about 220 PAs, especially for a 19-year-old), plus guys like Calvin Anderson and Quincy Latimore (who are at least intersting, if not legitimate prospects at this point). It’s like they’re a real minor league affiliate of a well-run baseball team!

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.

Friday links

If this post seems abrupt, just know that I’m still adjusting to the lack of autosave feature or a “Warning! You’re about to click away from unsaved data!” dialog box in the engine that powers Bloguin.

TJ Beam is gone, plucked off waivers by the Blue Jays. He was kind of decent last year, but he’s almost 29 and that makes him at least three years older than any of the other candidates for removal from the 40-man. I think age probably had a lot to do with him being the one that went to make room for Hinske. This is hardly worth losing sleep over.

I was sad to see Baseball Toaster close up shop. When I started blogging 2005, they had some of the best baseball writers on the web there and a few links from them really encouraged me to keep going. Most of the blogs are going to new homes, but it feels weird to know that the Toaster is gone. If you’ve got time, Ken Arneson (writer of Catfish Stew and founder of Baseball Toaster) wrote an epic farewell post. Thanks for everything you did for the baseball blog world, Ken.

You should head to BP and check out Will Carroll’s latest post about the evolution of steroid usage by athletes while it’s still free. It’s both incredibly informative and Raymond Chandler-esque.

And finally, Eron provides some substance to the argument that ¡Romulo! is more deserving of a bobblehead than Honus Wagner.

You know what will happen with a Honus Wagner bobblehead? Every 9-15 year old kid at that ballpark will say “This isn’t (insert popular or current Pirates or other player name here). I’m breaking this thing apart!” I can guarantee there will be hundreds of Honus Wagner pieces laying around PNC Park by the time Matt Capps throws his final pitch against the Dodgers and picks up his 60th save of the year.

Vote for ¡Romulo! right here. Do the right thing. And if anyone makes “Vote for ¡Romulo!” campaign propaganda, I’ll be happy to post it.

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.

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