Monday, June 16, 2008

Game 70: Pirates 5 Orioles 4

I held this recap back a bit because I wanted the giant photo essay from Saturday's game (which is still right below, if you missed it) to stay on top for a bit.

Anyways, I'm worried about Matt Capps. How hard can he be to figure out as a closer? He throws a 92 mph fastball ~75% of the time. He's got laser precision on that ball and he only works an inning at a time, but he's been pretty dominant the last two years and I just can't completely wrap my mind around that. It's not like he's mixing a deadly slider in with that fastball. I mean, he has a slider but it's certainly not his out pitch. The last two days, it seemed to me like the Orioles were just sitting on that fastball and whacking it over the fence. Everyone has cold streaks and I don't think it's really time to worry about Capps yet, but the last two days are a bit disconcerting. After we took the lead back in the tenth last night, he nailed the door shut in the bottom of the inning with two strikeouts, so maybe he's just in a mini-slump.

The big hit, for the second game in a row, came from Adam LaRoche in the tenth inning. I know he's maddening to watch when he's down and sometimes he really does look like the worst hitter in the world when he's in his slumps, but the Pirates have nothing to gain by benching LaRoche. Doug Mientkiewicz is only hitting a little better than LaRoche is right now, and it's only a matter of time before LaRoche's bat starts to come alive. Last year after our game on June 15th, LaRoche was hitting .214/.309/.376. Right now he's at .221/.303/.368. It sucks to wait until June for a guy to start hitting and it's clear that LaRoche is not the long-term answer at first base that Littlefield thought he was, but he's the best option we've got right now. Even if we're looking to trade him, we can't do that with him lugging a .220 average around on the bench. He's got to play and he's going to hit eventually.