After dropping 10 of 11 and looking like the Pirates we have expected, the Bucs have rebounded to take two straight series from the Cardinals and Rockies, winning two out of three from both. The two games they dropped last week just showed what glaring weaknesses this team still have.
- What's wrong with Matt Capps? He can't be healthy. His fastball jumped back to the 93-95mph range Saturday vs the Rockies, but in the five outings before that, Capps has only been hitting 88mph on the gun. The more glaring problem for him is that Capps has no control over his pitches at the moment. Matt Capps has made a living with his command, without it he just isn't that good. He is a piece that Neil Hunnington could deal later on, so it would be nice to see Capps regain it, even if that means shutting him down for a bit.
- This is such a light hitting team. A collection of singles hitters. take note in the 5-1 loss vs. the Cardinals, the Bucs had 12 hits- 11 of them singles. They also drew four walks. So out of the 16 base runners, they scored 1 run. They can't play station to station baseball. Sometimes guys need to get big hits.
Now for some positives.
- Brandon Moss has heated up. Maybe since Adam Laroche had a decent April, Moss felt he could tank it, but in the last 7 games, Moss is hitting at a .589 clip, finally hitting his first dinger. Like I said when Andy Laroche was struggling, let him play everyday. I may be among the few that think Moss can be an everyday player, but there is only one way to see what he can do. Play him through his struggles.
-On that note, please quit telling me that Monroe and Hinske should play more in right field. they are bench players and should stay that way. The Bucs actually have a good bench, which is great, but these guys shouldn't get regular playing time over Moss.
- Nyjer Morgan continues to play well, even though he tweaked his hammy. We always say that the lead off hitter needs to get on base. Well he's been doing it. The guys behind him need to start driving him in.
-Looks like May is the new April for Adam Laroche.
- Andy Laroche is starting to look like a decent big leaguer. I would like to see a little more power out of both him and Moss, but Andy is starting to drive in a few runs.
- Delwyn Young has continued to surprise. He has done nothing but hit and it was good to see him get a few starts. I would like to see him in the lineup a little more.
- J.R. has started batting Robinson Diaz 5th in the order. Good move, Diaz can swing the bat a little. Both he and Jaramillo had pretty good weeks with the bat, but did you see Diaz's base running blunder vs. St. Louis. A big play that had an impact on the game.
-The last 6 games, the pitching has been pretty good. The starters have all thrown pretty well, especially Maholm's last outing and the bullpen, other than Capps has bounced back after struggling for 2 weeks. I really like the progress Evan meek and Jessie Chavez have made, especially Meek. I also like that Russell has shown confidence in the two youngsters, using them in more meaningful situations.
-I've also heard a lot of bitching about Russell taking Maholm out. He managed the game right, by today's standards. He got the ball to his closer with a lead. Plus, Maholm isn't overpowering, it's no guarntee that he would have had sucess the fourth time through the order. Get off J.R.'s back, he's doing and ok job with what he has.
-Talk about a team needing a few breaks, the Bucs got them in their 10 run seventh inning against the Rocks on Sunday. What's even more surprising is that they took advantage of them. Hopefully that can get the bats going. it will be very disappointing if they don't beat up on the Nationals puss pitching staff this week.
-Tom Gorzallany was recalled when they put Tyler Yates on the 15 day DL. Don't get excited, a source of mine said he will likely only be up for a few days and is only up because he had a fresh arm and the pen was taxed after Saturday. The same source said Gorzo has no future here because J.R. just doesn't like him or the way he pitches. The only way to get into J.R.'s good graces is to start throwing strikes, something he is still struggling with at Indianapolis.
-Finally MLB Traderumors reported the Bucs and Mariners are talking a Jack Wilson for Yuniesky Betancourt swap. Wilson has a little over 6mil owed to him while Betancourt has about 10mil coming. Wilson is a much better defensive shortstop, but Betancourt can be an exciting player. Both guys probably would do good with a change of scenery. I say if it's true then do it.
Until next week let's go Bucs