Saturday, April 15, 2006

Cubs 11 Pirates 6

I do think the pitching will get better, honest, I do. Still, it's hard to wait for it to happen while we give up a million runs a night. The thing about tonight was, I honestly didn't feel like the pitchers were that bad. Santos gave up some tweeners, and when that's coupled with bad defense suddenly you find yourself down 8-2. The main culprits on the bad defense side tonight were mostly Burnitz and Randa. They didn't do anything blatantly bad (except Randa's throw in the 9th on a should've been double play that put the game out of reach for good), they just didn't do things you'd expect people that have been in the league forever to do. In the first, Randa stayed on the base to wait for Jack's throw to get Todd Walker at third. It would've been a close play either way, but by waiting for the throw he ended up putting a high tag on Walker and he was pretty clearly safe. He essentially played that throw like he was a first baseman. Then in the fifth, Jack ranged all the way deep into the hole to get a sharp grounder. He made an off balance throw to third and Randa went off the bag to get the throw when he needed to play it like a first baseman. I'm fairly certain he would've got the out on that play, which may have stemmed the tide before the levee broke (I believe it would've placed runners at first and second with two outs instead of bases loaded and one). As for Burnitz, he's played two full seasons in the NL Central as a right fielder since 2001, meaning he's seen PNC Park and the Clemente Wall before. Despite this, it remains an absolute mystery to him. He seriously looks like Matt Lawton out there trying to figure out what the ball is going to do off that thing. Last year when we went to Boston the annoucers raved about Jason Bay spending an extra half hour or something playing balls off the monster learning the bounces. Why can no one do this with Burnitz? It's seriously painful to watch him play right field right now.

Anyways, I have a couple other observations from tonight. First off, as bad as Doumit's been behind the plate, Cota has almost been as bad. He simply hasn't made up for the giant chasm between the two at the plate. Tonight he tripled clutched after a pitch-out on a Pierre steal and failed to block a strike three on Aramis in the dirt, which started the 9th inning rally for the Cubs. I just can't find anyway to justify him playing at this point, sort of like how there's no justification at all for Craig Wilson to be out of the lineup, especially when a lefty's on the mound. Also, I'm done defending Vogelsong. He and Capps need to be off this team right now, Capps more so because he needs another pitch to be effective. As much as we're using the bullpen right now, we need more reliable arms in there. Hernandez, Torres (since the first couple games) and to a lesser extent, Marte have all been fairly effective, but none of them are exactly spring chickens and there's no way they hold up under the kind of usage they've seen in these first 12 games. Right now in my mind I see this horrible snowball scenario where the starting pitching comes around, then suddenly no one can get an out in the pen. And seriously guys, this hitting isn't going to last forever. This is the best I can ever remember the Pirates hitting, and it's killing me to watch us waste it.