Post-Monday, pre-Tuesday thoughts

Whew, long night. It was worth it in the end though. As Pat Lackey said, the Pirates won a very 2011 Pirates game with pitching, defense and taking advantage of their opponents mistakes.

The rain made the air low and heavy which really kept a lot of balls in play. McCutchen and a few Braves crushed some pitches that would have gone out on other nights.

McDonald‘s ERA is now under 4 at 3.95. After a terrible April (5 starts, 7.66 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, 15 K in 24.2 IP) he’s been really good (15 starts, 2.87 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 79 K in 84.2 IP). If he could go deeper into games he’d be really amazing.

Michael McKenry is fun to watch. Not in a “he’s so talented” way but in a “I don’t know how he keeps doing this but I’m happy and amazed” way.

Karstens better be on his A game tonight because I think Tommy Hanson will give the Pirates hitters fits. I see a 2-1 win or a 7-1 loss.

Look me up if you’ll be at tonight’s game. I’ll be sitting around here:

 

Quick Notes

Thanks to everyone who voted for me in the haiku contest over at The Platoon Advantage. I ended up winning the contest. Unfortunately my local Dick’s doesn’t carry any Pirate gear so I’ll probably get some new shoes.

Pedro Alvarez has been called up. Hopefully he keeps hitting like he did in Indy and is the lift this offense needs.

The Bucs start a four game set in Atlanta tonight. By no coincidence at all, I’ll be in attendance for all four games. The pitching matchups are brutal, so escaping with a split would be just fine.

Game 1: McDonald vs Hudson
Game 2: Karstens vs Hanson
Game 3: Maholm vs Jurrjens
Game 4: Correia vs Lowe

Rain is in the forecast tonight, so let’s hope this one gets in without too much delay. Follow my twitter feed for pics and thoughts as they come.

Jason Bay’s ex-mates

Listening to the Pirates game last night I head the announcer say that this was Jason Bay‘s first appearance versus his old teammates. Certainly it was his first time facing the Pirates since the July 31, 2008 trade, but how many current Pirates were on that team that he left behind?

Just three*: Paul Maholm, Evan Meek and Ryan Doumit.

Meek pitched the 7th inning last night but didn’t face Bay. Doumit is on the DL and out for a month. Maholm is scheduled to pitch Thursday’s day game. Unless there’s a Meek/Bay matchup tonight, that will be Jason’s first appearance against an “ex-mate.”

*Jeff Karstens was acquired five days earlier but didn’t make his Pirates debut until August 1. Karstens won’t pitch in this series.

Hansen Released, Jason Bay Trade Chart

Today the Pirates released Craig Hansen, who has pitched 22 innings in the past two years due to a nerve injury in his shoulder. This has brought about some haranguing about the Jason Bay trade since the Pirates currently have no major league players to show for the deal. Here is the trade mentioned, with the current status (as related to the Pirates) for each player.

Basic view of the Jason Bay trade.

But that’s not the whole story. Bay didn’t just appear out of thin air; he was acquired in a trade for Brian Giles, who was acquired in a trade for Ricardo Rincon. If you step back far enough things get pretty interesting. Here is the entire chart of players traded or signed that went into the acquisition of Jason Bay, or were spoils of a related trade. It is a large graphic, so please click on the image to see the whole thing.

For Ricardo Rincon, Rob Mackowiak and Roberto Hernandez the Pirates now have three major leaguers, one depth pitcher and one good prospect. They also had five seasons of Brian Giles, five of Jason Bay, three of Oliver Perez, two of Xavier Nady and two and a half of Damaso Marte. Not a bad haul for two relief pitchers and a 53rd round draft pick.

UPDATE 5/17: Updated the chart to match the formatting of later charts.

OK, Wake ‘Em Up Already

Getting swept by the Astros was not exactly what I had in mind after my last post. Same story as the rest of the season, just not enough offense to win, even when the pitching is decent to good. Now they go back to Milwaukee for the final series before the break.

Scheduled Pitchers: Maholm, Karstens and Lincoln vs Doug Davis, Dave Bush and Randy Wolf. There’s no reason the Pirates shouldn’t be able to hit these guys but also no reason to expect them too. Very blah matchups. But I’m busy all weekend so I don’t expect to be able to watch the games anyway.

What you should watch on Sunday is Netherlands vs Spain in the World Cup final. No, the US isn’t playing. Yes, the MLS is a substandard league and pretty boring. So take advantage of the chance to see world class players actually giving their damnedest to win a game. That’s what sports is all about.

One last All-Star Rosters note: Nice to see Joey Votto get voted in. He never should have been left off in the first place. Now if only one of the OFers would get “injured” and Cutch named to the squad I’d be very happy.

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