Thursday, April 12, 2007

So what is it that's been so disappointing?

After reading the comments on my last post below, I kind of got the thought that I hadn't been exactly clear on what it was that I found so ugly about the way the Pirates have been losing and that could leave it up to misinterpretation.

It's not Salomon Torres that has me pissed off. In order for the loss to be a closer's fault, you've got to assume the team did everything they could to win up to the point the closer came into the game and that the runs given up are in fact the closer's fault. Has Torres sucked the past two days? Sure he has. Am I incredibly worried or pissed about that fact? No, no I'm not.

So what am I pissed about? I could do a giant rant of things in no particular order, but I'll be more organized than that. To begin with: 4 runs in 3 games against the pitchers the Cardinals trotted out against us is a shame. It is brutal. It is unacceptable. Both Braden Looper and Randy Keisler struggled with the strike zone in their starts; they only walked four batters between them in their 13 innings. Our plate patience has sucked in the past, but if I have to watch someone swing at the first pitch with two outs and runners in scoring position again, I will scream.

It kills me when Don Kelly comes up as a pinch hitter in a key situation while Ryan Doumit is down at AAA.

It drives me nuts to see Jim Tracy trying to bunt Jack Wilson with a Brad Eldred on second as the go ahead run with no outs. You can read your copy of BP 2007 and it'll tell you that Tracy was one of the better sabermetric managers in the league last year and maybe that's true, but I would take Nate McLouth pinch running for Eldred and three shots at singling him home from second every single time if I had to choose between that and bunting Jack Wilson to try and move Eldred to third.

But mostly, it just makes me sad to see a major league team that has worse fundamentals than a high school team. I don't care if you want to blame Jason Bay or Jack Wilson for the ill-fated Pujols sac fly on Tuesday night (I think both deserve some blame), but the fact remains that it shouldn't happen to a major league team. Ever. Who lets Wilson line up down the third base line for the cut off? That's on every single person in the infield that watched it happen and didn't scream at the top of their lungs to fix it. How did any person on that field think that Eckstein was the most important runner? Why do I feel like every single spring the Pittsburgh Pirates have to re-learn basic baseball? Why can Ronny Paulino, the CATCHER (chosen for his superior defensive abilities, no less), not physically catch an outside slider or a throw from the outfield with his glove? Why can no one in the infield catch a pop-up? Why does no one from the outfield call them off? Why do I get the feeling that Adam LaRoche has never seen an off-speed pitch before? How is it possible that the coaching staff failed to notice any of these problems in the spring?

This is what pisses me off about the Pirates. Not that the players are bad, just that they don't seem to learn.