Sunday, April 30, 2006

April in review

There's a lot that's happened since the last day of March when I wrote my outlook for 2006. The basic jist of it was that if the pitching staff, lead by Oliver Perez, came around and if things broke in the correct manner to get Burnitz and Randa out of the lineup, that we might be better than people thought. To this point, the only thing that has broken in any manner for this team is Sean Casey's back. Things started out ugly, as in losing our first six and going 1-6 in the first week ugly. The bats came alive towards the end of the first week and that continued into week 2 when we managed a 3-4 week against the Dodgers and Cubbies. Things have been downhilll from there as we've been 3-11 in the last two weeks of this month (1-5 and 2-4). The pitching has begun to right itself, but the bats have completely disappeared. So what have we learned this April? Is there any reason to be hopeful for May and beyond? Some observations/thoughts:

  • Until I see something that tells me otherwise, I'm not waiting for the old Oliver Perez to come back. He isn't bad in the Kip Wells mold, as in "I can see the talent there and he's not throwing poorly, he's just missing his spots and trying to strike everyone out," he's bad in the "He can't fool anyone, he's got nothing at all in the tank." Honestly, I hope for his sake that he's hurt, because if it's something other than an injury, I don't know if he can be fixed.
  • As for the rest of the staff, Duke is slowly coming around, Snell has shown flashes of brilliance, and Maholm capped off the month with a start reminiscent of the way he ended last year. Not that we'd bail on Duke, but I see no reason not to stick with any of these three for the forseeable future. Victor Santos has been, well, Victor Santos. If we can't do something about Perez though, he may hold his rotation spot longer than any of us would've liked to see. Still, I think he was the correct choice over Duckworth.
  • Jack Wilson is looking more and more every day like he was worth the money. Nothing make me happier than to be proven like this, so I hope Jack keeps it up.
  • Speaking of Wilson #1, the only reasons to come to PNC Park besides hoping that a young pitcher will show signs of promise are Jack Wilson, Craig Wilson, and Jason Bay. The rest of the regular 8 is painful to watch, though Duffy and McLouth will get a bye for being young (this month only, one of the two better pick things up).
  • In honor of my little brother taking his SATs recently... Lloyd McClendon:Craig Wilson::Jim Tracy:Freddy Sanchez
  • This is something we knew before April, but it's been confirmed, Burnitz and Randa were bad signings. Very bad signings.
  • Ryan Doumit is a very poor defensive catcher. Ronny Paulino seems to be a rather good defensive catcher. Both hit better than Humberto Cota. It's time to find Ryan Doumit a new position, and first base/right field is a good place to do it, especially if it means getting Burnitz out of the lineup.
  • I may have overreacted to the Matt Capps situation at first. The kid brings the heat (96 today) and is getting lots of people out now that he's settled in. Glad to see it.
  • Kind of like a postman, Ryan Vogelsong will alway be there for us and so long as our expectations are low enough, he'll never disappoint.
  • The rest of our division is much better than we are. Some of them may come back to earth, but 3-16 in the division in a month is just unacceptable.
  • If the first two years are any indication, Jason Bay will heat up in May. Especially if Tracy wises up and moves Thor to cleanup in a fulltime manner. By the end of May, I have a feeling the Ian Snell, Zach Duke, and Paul Maholm we see will not resemble the guys from the early part of this month. I'm afraid that the Oliver Perez we see will. Still, May has to be better, doesn't it?