The Bucs took two of three from the first-place Tigers. Was it pretty? No. Just effective. The pretty part was left to the 2009 Stanley Cup Champions when Captain Sidney Crosby carried Lord Stanley’s Cup onto the grass of PNC Park yesterday. He certainly got the big crowd out of its seats today, didn’t he? Jordan Staal, Max Talbot, Bill Guerin and the other Pens whipped the crowd into a frenzy. In fact, one could argue that the 5,500 walk up tickets sold were in part to the buzz surrounding the Pens being in attendance.
The Pens visit was captured by DK of the PG.
The other argument could be that this Pirates team is something to get excited about. I know it’s been a while since you have done this, but pull up the standings in your National League Central. Your Pittsburgh Pirates aren’t going away.
Unlike the Penguins across town, this Pirates team doesn’t have a current star or ‘face of the game’ like Crosby. The Pirates have the look of a Max Talbot. The Penguin who had twelve goals in the regular season and then put on a Superman cape while scoring eight in the postseason.
For the Pirates to move up the standings, the next two weeks are crucial. ‘The Old 29er’ said it after Talbot’s second goal, ‘special players do special things at special times.’
A special time for the Pirates is right now. They head into Minnesota tomorrow against the following scheduled pitchers: Perkins 1-3 (5.36 ERA,) Liriano 2-7 (5.99 ERA) and Blackburn 5-2 (3.31 ERA.)
The Pirates can gain ground in the Metrodome, but not if they play like they did yesterday in the 6-3 win (no extra base hits?) against a struggling Dontrelle Willis. (Did Jack Wilson really leave eight men on base?) We need more of Saturday’s performance when they belted 16 hits in belting the Tigers 9-3 that had former Bucs skipper Jim Leyland hanging his head [Free Press]
*Eric Hinske had a pile of walks yesterday. He was the one Pirate who did the most for his team, simply by refusing to swing at poor pitches.
* Brandon Moss needs to shake this slump. NH said he ‘just needs to work on a few things.’ And he said it doesn’t mean he isn’t the starting right fielder after a weekend off.
* Perhaps Nyjer Morgan could get a break Tuesday and take two days off to get his head right. He didn’t look sharp.
* Jack Wilson has five walks this season. Paul Maholm has three.
Players that need to play like Talbot the next few weeks:
Delwyn Young: there was never a doubt the kid can hit, but can he find a position? He is hitting over .300 with RISP and is on a 12 for 24 tear. JR needs to keep his bat in the lineup this week. If his bat is held from the lineup (won’t happen), he is hitting 7-for-18 with three RBI as a pinch hitter.
Nyjer Morgan: he has come up short against LHP. Don’t even look, it’s awful.
Paul Maholm, Ian Snell and Zach Duke: the scheduled starters against the Twins are calm and confident, now simply translate that onto the field. (again)
Charlie Morton will have his start moved back to Saturday from his normal spot in the rotation tomorrow. It was deemed more precautionary with the off day today.
1B LaRoche: keep it up, it won’t be long.
The Pirates and Tigers sported sweet uniforms for turn-back-the-clock yesterday. My all-time best throwbacks that I would love to have in my collection are below: