What can you learn in a week?

The short answer, of course, is “nothing,” because a week isn’t long enough to make any sort judgments. The longer answer is that every trend starts somewhere and because we head into the season with some notions of what kind of team this is, it’s easy to start forming opinions. So what do we know more about now than we did before last Monday’s game? To the bullet points!

  • The bullpen has pitched well, but there’s a huge drop-off from Javier Lopez and DJ Carrasco to Hayden Penn and Jack Taschner. While the late-inning guys have held the leads they’ve been given, DJ Carrasco can’t pitch two innings every game and if the starters can’t get out of the fifth and sixth innings regularly, these bullpen meltdowns are going to keep happening so long as Penn and Taschner are on the roster.
  • The offense may not hit for much power in the long run (even though they’re currently third in the league with eight homers), but the team OBP through six games is .343, good for sixth in the league. There’s a different type of hitter throughout the lineup now, from Iwamura to LaRoche to McCutchen to even Jeff Clement that can work the count deep, make opposing pitchers throw some pitches, and take some walks. This is where the offense has the potential to be better than years past, I think.
  • Charlie Morton is going to alternate between brilliant and frustrating all year, I think. He inherits the mantle of Jason Schmidt, Kris Benson, Kip Wells, Oliver Perez, and Ian Snell.
  • This is not a 110 loss team, and though it’s early I feel pretty certain that it’s not a 100 loss team either.
  • But then, it’s also not an 82-win team.

Things to watch in the second week:

  • Does the patience at the plate continue even if the early power surge dries up?
  • Can the starters get deeper into the games more reliably, and how will that affect the bullpen?
  • Who is at shortstop and what has he done with Ronny Cedeno?
  • Buried in yesterday’s awful performance was a small breakout by both Lastings Milledge and Andrew McCutchen. Can that continue?
  • Is “LaRoche” synonymous with “invisible in April?”

Yesterday was brutal, but really, 3-3 through a week still isn’t so bad.

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.