Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Tale of Two Teams

I haven't had a chance to post in a week, but I have some time now and what I watched the last two nights wasn't close to the same team. On Tuesday, we saw a young, energetic, aggressive team that was fun to watch. Patient at the plate, aggressive on the base paths, taking advantage of opportunities, timely hitting and good defense. Good pitching, (even the bullpen) and an overall team performance that was fun to watch. The Bucs broke their losing streak and even manged to win a game on the road. I was happy going to bed on Tuesday.

Last night, however; my mood changed totally after watching the miserable performance the Bucs displayed. Pretty much the same line up, but a totally different team. Granted, Ubaldo Jimenez was very good, but the Bucs made it easy on him. Let's start offensively, where was the approach from the night before? The same team that worked the count all game was gone. The same team that had a good opposite field approach was gone. The same team that utilizes both gaps was gone. Yes, a mere 24 hours later, we saw a free swinging, swing for the fences type of team that hasn't been winning lately. When the Bucs offense struggles, they are a very boring team to watch.

It's truly nothing to panic about though. They are a young team. They are going to be very inconsistent. Unfortunately, that tends to show on the offensive end of things. The don't have much power so to score runs, they rely on several guys having to hit well in the same day. The important thing is that these guys that are going to be around keep getting their at bats and get a whole season under their belt.


- I thought Hart threw well last night, at least through 5. He has good enough stuff and the pitches he got beat on were actually good pitches. He seems to have the mental make up of a top of the rotation guy, which is always a good thing. I would like to see him get strike one more often though,

-Meek lands on 15 day DL. Probably a good thing. I like Meek's arm a lot, but suddenly with Meek, Chavez, Hanrahan, Capps, etc., the Bucs suddenly have too many of the same style of pitcher in their pen. Power arm, live fastball, suspect breaking stuff.

-With the Pirates, Lastings Milledge is hitting around .280, which is fine. I need some power and speed though. That seems to be a problem with many of the younger acquisitions of late. The power just hasn't come out. I will break down Milledge tomorrow in a new post.

- Why can't Jones seem to hit with guys on base? He tears the cover off the ball with the bases empty. His 12 Hr is a nice number, but I would like to see more than the 20 RBI's. I believe he has driven in only 4 runs that haven't come by the long ball and 9 of his 12Hr's have been solo shots. I like Jones a ton, but if he is going to be a middle of the order type hitter, he has to perform like it. Middle of the order guys drive in runs.

- Is anyone else tired of watching Ryan No-Mitt catch. I am. I hate how he calls a game. He doesn't block balls well and he has a below average arm. How many more times do I have to watch him call 3 straight fastballs in the same location then seeing the third one blistered. If that's not bad enough, where has that bat been. I have never been convinced that Doumit is an everyday player, especially behind the dish. he is a middle of the order rally killer and I would hope they consider dealing him in the off season. he has shown me nothing in the last 4 seasons to warrant sticking around.

- Piraes Fans have to love Cedeno at short. The right side of the infield in still excellent defensively. Cedeno and Laroche are fabulous with the glove and Young is looking more comfortable at second. I also like Pearce's glove at first.......BUT

- Let's end the Steve Pearce experiment. Keep him as a bench player though. Either make Jones the everyday first baseman or let's get a look at Clement, who is hitting very well at Indy.

-McCutchen is a flat out stud. I like what I saw on Tuesday. The only thing I have wanted to see more out of him is for Cutch to be more aggressive on the base paths. he picked his spots and stole 3 bases easily. He is improving in every aspect of his game every day. It just means he is becoming a complete ball player, one day at a time.

- What this team lacks is a leader. No disrespect to Ramon Vasquez or even No-Mitt, but they need a leader, or several; especially when things are going bad.

-Check back tomorrow for a story on Milledge and this weekend I will have my minor league report. Let's Go Bucs

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