Tony Sanchez Sizzles, Kevin Harts Big Day, and Jayson Werth's Beard

Kevin Hart is going to get a lot of attention today.  He said he repeated a new delivery religiously this offseason in front of his full length mirror, so will it pay off today?  Hart had a forgettable 2009.  It was bad.  Plus, we hate the fact that he works soooo sllloooowww.

The guy has great stuff.  He has a great personality.  He works relentlessly.  He was fun to speak with during the offseason at Piratefest, Caravan, etc.   But the guy needs to pitch better.  Bottom line.  Everyone who has watched him can tell within a few minutes he has the ability.  Joe Kerrigan thinks so, and that’s the bottom line.

So what was it?

He told us that he was able to get increased velocity, but it was flat.  Flat is great for a Kyle Stark haircut, but if your a major league pitcher, flat is not great.   He issued a staggering 22 walks during the 28 innings that was his seven game losing streak with the Bucs last season. 

Let’s pray for movement on Hart’s pitches today against Philthadelphia.

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D.J. Carrasco, Donnie Veal and Jean Machi will be the pitchers we focus on against the Phillies.  Brendan Donnelly will get his first action of the spring along with Jack Taschner and Steven Jackson

The lineup is Cutch in center, Crosby at short, Clement at 1B, Church in RF, Milledge in LF, Tabata DH, LaRoche at 3B, JHammer C, and Vazquez at 2B.

 Mayor of Bradenton will throw out the first pitch.  Andrew McCutchen’s  mom, Petrina will sing the national anthem.

Jayson Werth from the  700 Level prior to his becoming a street person impersonator.

Werth1

From ThatBallsOuttaHere, Jimmy Rollins talks about Werth:   “He looks like the dude when you’re driving down the street, hanging on the corner with a sign trying to get some change.  You’re just like, ‘For real?’ “

jayson-werth-ap2Photo from JoeSportsFan

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Watch out for Dominic Brown.    Baseball America called him the Phillies top prospect.  He has drawn Darryl Strawberry comparisions and he is playing hot this spring.    With the upcoming question marks surrounding Werth, Brown might be stepping into the Phillies outfield very soon.  The kid has tools, let’s trust we get to see him today. 

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Heh, I was in the military for ten plus years, but after reading this, please tell me Pirate minor league players aren’t dying to get to PNC Park.  The guys must dream about growing a beard, letting the mail pile up in the locker, mixing in a few wire hangers, and leaving the cap off the toothpaste.  Sure, I like discipline.  But seriously, Kyle Stark high socks?  

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Last nights Pirates Orioles Recap post didn’t show up due to some difficulties we are experiencing as the site is being updated. 

Friday Night Lights:  The Tony Sanchez Show!  Neil Walker and DY Come Up Big.

The Pirates youth movement was on full display under the lights in Sarasota Friday night.   Numerous young players from the Pirates put together just enough offense to overcome 12 strikeouts at the plate to scratch out a victory over the Baltimore Orioles.  Thank you Pirates for making my bold prediction in the Baltimore Sun come true.  

The  something we had been praying about came to fruition last night.  The Bucs showed some patience at the plate.  Sure, 12 strikeouts isn’t prettty, but the team showed some fight and dare we say, mental toughness playing on another chilly night.   The climatization won’t be difficult for the Pirates if nothing warms up in Florida.  Pittsburgh may seem balmy by the time April rolls around.

Ronny Cedeno got a gift when a sure out was turned into a windblown single by the circus without a tent first baseman Garrett Atkins.  Then a player everyone at RumBunter is watching intently showed us something is clicking.   Neil Walker worked former Bucco Mike Gonzalez to a full count before earning a free pass. Cedeno stole third.

Rule 5 pick John Raynor struckout, but Aki Iwamura followed with an RBI single to plate Cedeno.  With one away, the Pirates big sticks were coming to the plate.  However, clutch hitting is still being worked on by the Bucs.   Heh, it is spring training guys and the Pirates did finish 3-for-11 with RISP.

Jose Tabata flew out. Garrett F. Jones took two big swings and came up empty.  He then  just missed extra bases as he ripped a ball that went foul down the first base bag.  GFJ then grounded out to second baseman Blake Davis to end what certainly looked like would have been a more productive inning.

In the bottom of the third inning, Adam Jones hit the first pitch from Daniel McCutchen.  He got all of it too.   It went into the tall palms behind the 375 marker on the right center field fence.   McCutchen, a candidate for the fifth starter spot, allowed three hits over his two innings and the homer by Jones was his one earned run. Ugh.

Once again in the fifth inning, Walker showed great strike zone awareness.  He worked the count full before laying off and getting another free pass.  Walker then stole second on a hit and run swing and a miss by John Raynor. (Chad Moeller had just substituted for Matt Weiters)  Raynor, the Rule 5 pick, then singled to left field. Would have been nice to get it to RF.  Ahh.  With nobody out, Walker was given the stop sign by smilin’ Tony Beasley.

Raynor got some attention with his lead at first base, but Aki Iwamura was not able to take advantage and struck out on a breaking pitch for the first out of the inning.  Jose Tabata displayed more of the Pirates new found plate patience when he walked to load the bases.

GFJ came up with bases juiced. Jones was hacking at the first pitch and ripped it toward 1B Atkins, who knocked the ball down and made a nice play to get Jones at first.  Haha.  Walker would score on the play.  Ryan Doumit  was at the plate with second and third and two outs.  Ryno struck out.

Jeremy Powell, the former Expo–no that is not a typo, came on to pitch the fifth inning.  He didn’t get much help from his infield.  Aki booted a liner by Davis so badly it turned into a  two base error.  Again, the O’s hit behind the runner as Jones flew out to Garrett F. Jones in RF moving Davis up 90 feet.   With Cedeno playing back and one out, again the Orioles did the right thing and they got a bonus.  Cedeno let the ball go through the five hole and the Orioles scored the go ahead  run.

Powell should have had three outs.  The infield defense officially scares me.  Then, to ‘ice the cupcake,’  3B Walker threw one in the dirt to Pearce allowing an Oriole to reach first base on a play Walker makes, normally.  It was the infields third error in the inning, but Powell kept the O’s lead at 3-2 by getting the final out when he fielded a high hopper and threw off balance to Pearce to get the final out of the inning.   Seriously, I am glad it was on radio.

Pearce worked a walk.  Moss, who was 0-for-4, grounded out to first, but Pearce safely made it to second base. Unfortunately for Pirate fans, the small rally was quickly stiffled when Pearce was doubled off second base on a nice play by former Pirate Jeff Salazer.  The RF snatched a line drive and gunned Pearce who had strayed from the bag.  Unreal.   One would think Salazer wouldn’t pick on an ex-team mate like that, but perhaps he too is glad to be out of Pittsburgh.  Did Salazar get contacts too?

In the sixth inning, first round pick from Boston College, Tony Sanchez came in to catch for the Bucs.  On the mound was  former Boston Red Sox reliever,  Javier Lopez.   Lopez and Sanchez got two quick outs with a fly ball to center and an infield groundout, Walker to Pearce. 

It was about to get interesting again.  A liner by Jonathan Tucker got past the outstretched glove of SS Argenis Diaz.  Davis, who scored the go ahead run earlier, came up to bat.  But the Pirate fans in Sarasota were in for a treat.  Davis wouldn’t have an opportunity to hit.   It was time for the Tony Sanchez Show!  

Sanchez gunned down the speedy Tucker on a steal attempt.  It was a ”frozen rope,” Rock Wehner said.  One could feel the glow through the radio.  Why wasn’t this game televised? 

Evan Meek came on in the seventh inning and allowed a single, but then the  Bucs middle infield of Delwyn Young and Diaz recorded two groundball outs.  Meek would close out his inning of work with a strike out of  Jeff Salazer looking.   That’s the Salazer we know, not sure who the guy with the cannon was in RF.

In the top of the eighth, Tony Sanchez, the Bucs fourth pick last year, drilled a solo homerun to straightaway CF.  Wow.  Karma?   Why couldn’t this game be televised? 

Ramon Aguero struggled in the bottom of the eighth.  Aguero loaded the bases before going to his breaking ball to record a two-out strikeout to end the inning.  Just curious if Sanchez called that pitch….

After a strikeout to lead off the ninth by Diaz, Walker again would provide a productive plate appearance.  He didn’t get great wood on a ball hit to the left side of the infield, but still came out flying down the line to earn an infield single.  Raynor followed by fisting a single into RF.  Walker beat the throw to third with a head first slide and Raynor wisely moved up to second base.

Delwyn Young followed with a rip that drove in Walker.  Young promptly stole second.   Jose Tabata plated Raynor with an RBI sacrifice fly.  Jonathan Van Every struckout to end the ninth, but not before the Bucs had grabbed their first lead of the Grapefruit League season.   Ronald Uviedo closed it out in the bottom of the ninth.

The Bucs are rolling.   Rolling back to Bradenton with their first Grapefruit League victory to prepare for the opener tomorrow afternoon against the Phillies.  See you then Pirate fans.

Rum Punch: 

The Box Score from MLB.com

Duke allowed two hits in his two innings pitched.

Neil Walker.  We are smiling.  Three walks this spring Pirates fans.  Walker has been on base four times in his five plate appearances.  Two runs scored and a stolen base.

Could John Russell keep Tony Sanchez around longer in camp like Bobby Cox did with Jason Heyward last year?  I know I certainly would like to see more of him, and just can’t believe Russell, a former catcher, can’t help but love seeing him play too.

Hilarious.  John Wehner said  ” HE’S ENORMOUS!”   He said it at least three times when looking at Matt Weiters. “He’s huge!”  

Jones smash off McCutchen was the Orioles ninth home run in their first three exhibition games.

Friends at the game noticed more improvement from Delwyn Young at 2B. 

John Raynor was all or nothing 2-for-4. Two strikeouts. 

Jonathan Van Every struckout in both of his plate appearance. 

Garrett Jones is still struggling with RISP.   He will get better soon enough.

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Tags: Brandon Moss Daniel McCutchen Delwyn Young Evan Meek Jayson Werth Jose Tabata Kevin Hart Matt Weiters Neil Walker Tony Sanchez Zach Duke

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