Friday, April 25, 2008

Let's make this a long gameday post

I probably should've made this into a couple posts, but end of the semester stuff has me busy, plus I've started pulling double-duty at FanHouse by chipping in on the NHL side (in particular, Pens' fans would probably be interested in this and this, if you haven't been checking it out already), so we're just going to jam a link/opinion/gamethread together. Classes end next week and I'll do better, promise.

Anyways, this line jumped out at me from the PG recap of last night's fiasco:

"He threw a great game," Russell said. "If you command the inside part of the plate like he did, then work your breaking stuff to the outside, you're going to have success. He wasn't missing."

Certainly not with his first pitch: The Pirates took a called first strike 11 times.

This casts some doubt (in my mind) over the Pirates new found "plate discipline." I'm only saying this because Piniero's been very hittable this year and I can't think of any other reason we'd fall behind in so many counts, but taking pitches because a coach tells you to take a pitch until you get a strike isn't necessarily discipline; it's just doing as you're told. This is something to keep an eye on. If pitchers think the Bucs are just taking pitches because the coaches want them to, we're going to get pounded early in the counts and fall behind a lot.

Old news, but Walt Jocketty replaces Krivsky in Cincy. I'm mentioning it because I'm not sure Jocketty is the type of GM that Cincinnati needs to build on their young foundation (which is very, very good). He worked to build mostly an older core into a winner in St. Louis. We shall see, I suppose.

Mets fans: now tortured by Oliver Perez. I'm still caling a big breakout for him this year, though I'm less confident of it now than I was a month ago.

Let's move on to the Phillies. To be frank, this series scares the bejus out of me. I think it's because Ryan Howard has been incredibly cold this year, has never homered in PNC Park (see the sidebar in the top PG link), and will face Zach Duke tonight, Matt Morris tomorrow, and Paul Maholm on Sunday. I'll bet anyone that's coming to WHYGAVS Night a drink at the 222 that that streak ends this weekend (unless a lot of you show up ... I'm a poor grad student). Adam Eaton and Zach Duke is the kind of pitching matchup that you'd expect to produce an 11-9 game, except that one team involved got shut down by Joel Piniero last night. In that case, it's probably a matchup that will produce an 11-2 game.