Bradenton here I come! Look for updates and pictures on twitter from this weekend’s games. Reach out if you’re going to be there too and want to say hi.
Quick thoughts from today…
Jeff Locke appeared to be nibbling a lot. Either that or he was just wild. It was kind of hard to tell from my seats. Speaking of which…
It was an absolutely gorgeous day today. jetBlue park is pretty nice.
Mark Melancon looked much stronger, striking out two.
Tony Watson showed no ill effects from his injury earlier in camp.
Vin Mazzaro was the big surprise of the day with five Ks in two innings.
On the offensive side, Garrett Jones hit a mammoth HR to center but everything else was quiet until the 8th. Somehow the Bucs scored four runs even though the only well-struck ball was a Pedro Alvarez homer that went over the bullpens and a grassy area in right field. A classic El Toro bomb.
It should also be noted that Russell Martin hit three hard line drives today but each one managed to find a glove.
Tomorrow it’s back to McKechnie to put the wraps on my trip. Look for a closing post on Monday or Tuesday.
Quick thoughts from today…
Jeanmar Gomez may actually be useful as the #9 starter.
Mike Zagursky pitched his way to the minors.
Jason Grilli looked as good as last year. He’ll be fine as closer.
Mark Melancon appeared to be guiding his pitches instead if just throwing and trusting his stuff.
The bench has a better batting eye than the starters. Three walks and only five Ks today vs two and nine yesterday.
I took a lot of pictures of McKechnie Field and all of the renovations but those will wait till next week when I have full use of the internet. But here are a few to whet your appetite:
Editor’s note: I can’t connect to the hotel wifi, so it looks like it will be phone posts all weekend. Please forgive the lack of links and poor formatting.
Jonathan Sanchez took the mound tonight looking to stake a claim to a spot in the rotation. 5 shutout innings with 4 Ks and only 3 baserunners should do it. Other than a two batters in the third, when he walked Lew Ford, then sent him to second on a wild pitch, Sanchez was in control the whole time. This wasn’t against minor leaguers either, as Baltimore had 7 regulars in the lineup.
Chris Leroux and Justin Wilson both solid in their relief stints.
The offense looked a lot like last year. Eight hits, but never more than one in an inning, and nine Ks. Starling Marte and Neil Walker both reached base twice. Travis Snider had two hits and two walks, plus made some tricky plays against the twilight sky.
On the bad side, Brad Hawpe had a hat trick and clearly disagreed with the umpire on both of his called strikeouts. Jose Tabata pinch hit for Hawpe in the ninth when the Pirates were trying to rally but missed a bunt sign and left pinch runner Alex Presley out to dry at second.
It would have been nice to win, but all-in-all there were a lot if positive things to take away from the game. I also got to meet Pat Lackey from Whygavs.com, who seemed to be having a good time. Which is really what it’s all about.
Jonathan Sanchez warms up.
Pedro Alvarez watches Andrew McCutchen at bat.
Swing and a miss.
A great night for baseball.
Thursday Orioles @ Sarasota
Friday Rays @ Bradenton
Saturday Red Sox @ Ft. Myers
Sunday Orioles @ Bradenton
Look for pictures and thoughts to be posted all weekend, assuming I can figure out why my wireless card isn’t working or the hotel has an ethernet connection available.
It will be a few weeks before I’ll be down there to see for myself, but the Pirates put together a promo video about the new renovations to McKechnie Field.
Not a big fan of the new beige exterior instead of what used to be a clean white finish, but that’s a minor detail. The big news is the new flip-down seats, which will be a godsend to anyone that spent any time in the old molded plastic ones. It will be great to walk around the entire park as well.
Ed. note: Travel delays and prior commitments kept me from getting this posted sooner.
PirateFest was going on today, but I went to Pirate City instead. Luckily I arrived in time to get this shot:
Going inside I headed to the batting cages to see if anyone was hitting. Along the way I ran into club President Frank Coonelly and was able to ask him about the renovations that are going to happen at McKechnie Field. Specifically I asked if they considered making the outfield dimensions match those in PNC Park. Mr. Coonelly’s answers:
- They are putting in a boardwalk similar to the one on Port Charlotte.
- If they were starting from scratch they would have considered matching PNC, but the angles and the notch make it difficult to do with what they currently have.
Excellent: James McDonald. James was wild on the first two pitches of the game, causing me worry that it was going to be a long day. He would immediately right the ship and pitch 5 1/3 innings before giving up his first hit. Final line: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, and 3 K. McDonald also showed a good glove and was able to coax a walk out of Astros pitcher Kyle Weiland.
Good: Neil Walker‘s 2-run single and Garrett Jones‘ 2-run bomb accounted for all of the scoring. Walker’s hit came after Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen both failed to get a runner home from third with less than two out. Jones’ shot landed more than 90 feet past the right field wall.
Very Bad: Ryota Igarashi showed very little control and is looking at a steep hill to climb if he wants to make the team. The five batters he faced went walk, walk, homerun, ground out, infield hit.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a wrap up and final thoughts.
Filed under: baseball, Pirates, Spring Training | Tagged: Andrew McCutchen, baseball, Bill Virdon, Casey McGehee, Charlie Morton, Frank Coonelly, Garrett Jones, gulls, James McDonald, Jose Tabata, Kyle Weiland, Matt Hague, McKechnie Field, Michael McKenry, Neil Walker, Pirate Parrot, Pirates, Ryota Igarashi, Spring Training | 1 Comment »