One Huge Opportunity And Ten Signs Of Life For The Pittsburgh Pirates

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There is one important thing to remember if you are a Pittsburgh Pirates fan.  The team has sucked.  Ok, now that it’s out of the way, remember this too…it’s a young ballclub.   One that has some talent coming and one that has some serious talent already on the field.

I forget that fact often.  

The team also has a huge opportunity in front of them.  Somehow, they can finish over .500 at PNC Park this season.  It certainly won’t be an easy goal to reach.

I won’t make excuses for the Pirates.  I don’t for one minute believe they would want anyone to make excuses for them.  Outside of Brad Lincoln’s comments, I can’t recall a Pirates player blaming anything outside of their control for their poor performance. 

Sure a 100-loss season sucks.  It’s unfortunate, but a season like this can teach players a few things.  Oh yeh, get used to hearing that, I have a feeling it will be repeated all offseason by upper management.

This really sticks out for us….some of the best performers for these Pittsburgh Pirates are doing something they haven’t done before.  They are facing major league pitching in September for the first time in their career.  One would think it has to be a challenge, but two of them seem to be thriving.  Look at Neil Walker and Jose Tabata especially.  In spite of a painful season, it’s exciting stuff. 

Jose Tabata crushes the baseball with runners in scoring position at a clip of 26 hits in 65 at-bats.  We’ve noticed that Tabata and Pedro Alvarez are two of the Pirates best clutch hitters.  Can you imagine how exciting they will be to watch at this time next season? 

Don’t give up on Pedro.  Remember what Barry Bonds hit when he was a rookie?  Throw that at the next person who sounds like an idiot when speaking about El Toro.  You will be doing that person a favor when Pedro is a star.  (Bonds hit .223)

Tabata has hit safely in 42 of his past 55 games.  Think about that.  He has 10 2B, two bombs and has driven in 20 runs during that time.  Sick.

Andrew McCutchen has fought through injuries throughout his first full major league season.  Instead of fading in September, he is emerging as the player everyone believed him to be prior to the season.  He has hit safely in ten of his past eleven games.  He has 14 hits in those games including three bombs in those games to go along with three doubles and six runs scored. 

McCutchen has reached base safely in 23 of his past 24 games.  It’s been a sight to see.

The pitching staff has put some nice starts together.  James McDonald has been ridiculous.  No excuses about defense.  Lack of offense.  All that crap…JMac just puts up zeros.  Can’t wait to see him when he is fresh next season.

Don’t tell me why.  Call me crazy, but I think Charlie Morton is going to be back.  Nothing to back up this premise, just my eyeballs.  He has to start chucking that two and four seamer more though.

 Zach Duke even responded to a threat of dismissal from the rotation with a nice start on Sunday.  The Pirates pitching staff will always be the key to how quickly this mess gets headed in the right direction.  And this offseason will be an exciting one for Pirates fans.  We expect to see a multitude of starting pitching come to town.

Evan Meek has held the opposition to a .192 batting average against this season.    Everyone forgets who found this dynamic relief pitcher.

Joel Hanrahan has struck out 16 of the past 41 batters he has faced.  We are looking forward to seeing him play in these final few home games.  We can only stress that the goal of a .500 record at home gets out there to the team.  Hell, maybe it already has?

The Pirates have won three of their past four series at PNC Park.  The team has some momentum…at home.

Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek.  Sorry, I know we already mentioned them, but they make us smile so much.   Could you imagine if Huntington hadn’t picked up these young, talented, swing and miss arms?

The Bucs have played well recently against some of the better teams in the NL.  But what will they do against the Cardinals?  The Cards will be playing desperate baseball as they fight for their baseball lives.  What Pirates team will show up?

Neil Walker said it best a few weeks ago…”we ain’t quittin” 

He was certainly right.   Can you remember the key players, in what we call the Pirates “Youth Gone Wild,” showing any signs of giving up?  We would say it’s just the opposite.  And how about John Bowker for God’s sake?  Neal got him for who?  Seriously?  A LOOGY?   Well played Huntington.

Hell, even Ryan Doumit is hitting lately.  He is hitting well over .300 in his past twenty games and has three blasts, but the cool thing is he has walked eleven times on top of all those hits….it’s a sign of life, a big one.

Now let’s see if Walker can lead the Pirates to a .500 record in his hometown.  The team is 36-39 at home.  No one on planet earth can explain that fact.  The team is 15-59 on the road.  It’s insane.  But if the Pirates can reach .500 at PNC Park it would be a significant achievement and one that will be remembered forever by die hard Pirates fans when the team turns it around.

Kick the shit out of the Red Birds…..

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Tags: Andrew McCutchen Evan Meek Joel Hanrahan Jose Tabata Neil Walker Pirates Blog Pittsburgh Pirates Zach Duke

  • Tim

    The article started out well and then you brought up Charlie Morton and Zach Duke. Let’s not forget that Duke’s great season was 5 years ago. He has had his chance to figure it out and hasn’t. Morton has one good start and then 4 bad ones. His “great stuff” always gets crushed. At 26 I say he gets one more chance but I don’t see it being successful. The only hope is that he has been more successful with Chris Synder calling the shots then that other “catcher” Doumit

    • http://rumbunter.com Tom Smith

      Thanks Tim. We added Duke and Morton to put it over ten signs of life, but sure, Duke has been awful. It’s well documented on the site. We simply said he responded to a threat of being removed from the rotation–that’s a sign of life.

      Morton has been awful. It’s well documented on the site. But his fastballs looked good recently–the two and four seamer are his best dating back to 2009. That’s a sign of life. He needs work on the rest of his arsenal, and we saw some of it. Not nearly enough, but some.

      So our point was, Duke and Morton have done well for short periods of time in black and gold. Surely one of them should have the ability to be a serviceable five starter on this club in 2011. Especially since Duke will be discounted and we both know how much Neal loves discounts.

      So for Duke and Morton those are signs of life–I guess you could compare it to a bump in a flatliner of a season for each player, but nonetheless…..they are showing some life.

      Now if both could just miss a few bats now and then….

      http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/dont-blame-duke/
      Per Baseball Prospectus’ Defensive Efficiency rating, Pittsburgh has converted the lowest percentage of balls put in play into outs (67.5%) of any big league team. Duke has a whopping .351 BABIP, highest among all MLB starters.