The final day in Bradenton: Words only update

I still have lots of pictures and other things to share from my time in Florida but today (meaning yesterday, as in Wednesday) was pretty hectic. I’m back in North Carolina now and I won’t have time to start putting stuff together until later tomorrow (meaning today, as in Thursday) night after I get home from work. Until then, I wanted to jot down some quick thoughts about Wednesday’s game against the Astros. Let’s use some bullet points: 

  • Brian Burres should not be starting for a Major League team. He was mince meat out on the mound today. The home run Hunter Pence hit off of him was probably the longest I’ve seen in person since I saw Jose Castillo crush one off of the third level of the rotunda at PNC. The wind was blowing out at McKechnie today, but Pence’s homer did not need it. Back to the point; pitching is obviously the Pirates’ huge weakness in 2011. Hopefully having James McDonald and a hopefull re-invigorated Charlie Morton and some actual depth both in the Majors in the form of Kevin Correia and in Triple-A in the form of Owens, Morris, and eventually Locke and Wilson will make this year’s pitching staff much better than last year’s. Brian Burres isn’t going to do that, though. 
  • Michael Crotta looked pretty good in his inning today. It almost left me wondering if the Pirates should be considering him for the fifth rotation spot instead of Burres or Karstens if McDonald isn’t good to go right out of the gate. 
  • Andrew McCutchen was probably the most consistent of the Pirates’ regulars during the three games I saw in Florida. His homer was definitely wind-aided, though. 
  • Actually, Lyle Overbay has been stroking the ball pretty well, too, but mostly for singles. 
  • Matt Diaz plays right field like he’s 110 years old. 
  • Pedro Alvarez’s homer was not. It was a line drive rocket-shot to almost dead center. After striking out two more times, he finally sat back and took a few pitches and got ahead in the count and good things happen. Honestly, I’d be fine with his struggles this spring if it means he’s rounding into form as the season begins. 
  • Ryan Doumit … oh my goodness. He got picked off of both second and first by Humberto Quintero. I don’t know if his own struggles had him convinced that catchers aren’t allowed to throw base runners out or what, but he was just brutal on the basepaths today. He wasn’t great behind the plate either; both times someone tried to steal on him he double-clutched and dropped the ball. In Evan Meek’s inning, he failed to throw out Brian Bogusevic as he tried to steal second. That put Bogusevic in position to move to third on a flyout, which allowed him to score on Doumit’s passed ball. So don’t blame Meek for that run; Bogusevic probably shouldn’t have even reached base in the first place (Neil Walker made a nice play up the middle but hurried his throw and pulled Overbay off the bag). 
  • Ronny Cedeno had two hits down the right field line. I’m not kidding. One was a great inside-out swing for a double into the corner.
  • Tyler Yates is a mess. 
  • I came to Florida thinking that his remaining option made Steve Pearce a long shot to make the team. He’s absolutely killing the ball, though, and from what I’ve seen he’s doing pretty much everything management has asked in not making a fool of himself at third or left. It’d be a shame to see him sent down again just because of his option. 
I think that’s everything. I’ll have some pics from this game up tomorrow night. But now I need some sleep. 
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.