Sunday, June 22, 2008

Game 76: Blue Jays 8 Pirates 5

I can't think of a stronger indictment against a player than what I am about to say. With the Pirates and Blue Jays tied at four today, a runner on second, and one out in the sixth inning, John Russell decided to replace TJ Beam with Franquellis Osoria. As soon as Osoria trotted out of the bullpen, I changed the channel. I'm not exaggerating or kidding in the least bit. I switched the channel over to the Spain/Italy game, flipped back ten minutes later and saw the score was 8-4, and kept things on Gamecast the rest of the way out. Osoria is hopeless in terms of getting quality outs, and yet Russell has him out there in key situations twice a week. Let's put it this way, as a one inning type reliever, he's given up a run or more in eight of his last ten outings. In five of those eight, he's given up two or three runs. How is this the guy that JR is turning to with a runner on second and one out in a tie game? He hasn't fooled anyone in about a month.

Of course, Osoria is secondary to whatever's been going on with Ian Snell lately. He might as well be pitching with his eyes closed at this point. Things are so bad with him right now that Russell pinch hit for him in the bottom of the fourth with Freddy Sanchez, who was then asked to lay a bunt down. Russell is clearly fed up with Snell. On the broadcast, Lanny suggested that Snell needed to pitch with some more fire. Lanny is clearly fed up with Snell. I don't know what's wrong with Snell (beyond the obvious) and won't pretend to, but I'm personally sick of watching Pirate pitchers fail to live up to their talent in Pittsburgh. Snell joins the great tradition of Jason Schmidt, Kip Wells, Oliver Perez, and Tom Gorzelanny ... guys that I watch pitch and say, "Geeez, I feel bad saying this, but I really hope he's hurt." Ugh.

The other note from this one is that before the game started Phil Dumatrait went on the disabled list with a shoulder problem (with tomorrow off, everyone is simply getting pushed up a day in the rotation and a replacement will be picked on Saturday) and TJ Beam replaced him on the roster (with Chris Duffy moving to the 60-day to make room). Of all of the relievers that Huntington picked up this winter, Beam was the one that I had the highest hopes for given his pedigree and he pitched very well in Indianapolis today. He was alright out of the pen this afternoon, but he wasn't good enough to keep Russell from putting Osoria in, which means he wasn't good enough. Even with no word on who's going to replace Dumatrait, I'd be betting on someone other than Van Benschoten or Bullington, just because they're terrible and it seems like everyone knows it. Instead I'd be looking for Jimmy Barthmaier, Ty Taubenheim, or unnamed third option who isn't already in the organization to be taking that rotation spot.