Picking up the 2010 Pittsburgh Pirates season review the Bucs record stood at 23-33. The Pirates were praying in earnest for solid pitching while a gift from the baseball Gods,a second baseman, fell into their lineup.
It was the second week of May and the Bucs were up against the Cardinals. Aki was benched because he couldn’t come close against lefties, Andrew McCutchen was smoking hot with four straight multi-hit games, Jeff Karstens who was left at AAA to start the season, had just thrown six scoreless three-hit innings against the Cardinals during which Joel Hanrahan was lights out.
After the May 8 game, Hanrahan was on Pirates Extra Innings with Rocco, and talked about his slider grip, that “some guy in Indianapolis” helped him develop. Hanrahan got Albert Pujols to strike out on a nasty slider in the eighth inning.
[Hanrahan said he quick pitched in this story.]
“I did a no-look pitch — I didn’t look at the runners — and I think that might have messed up (Pujols’) timing a little bit, It was a good pitch, well-located.”
Watching Hanrahan be so effective in big situations gave Pirates fans countless reasons to believe he will be the closer in 2011. Especially after he scared the shit out of us by being placed on the DL to start the season.
The pitching the Pirates were so desperate to find was coming out of the bullpen, not from a multitude of failed starters.
In Major League Baseball, 2010 was the year of the pitcher as six no-hitters were thrown. The Bucs would nearly make it seven when they were one hit by Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto. To honor the offensively challenged Pittsburgh Pirates lineup, here is our recap of the Pirates production against Cueto. In the recap we included a video that could have been used as their walk up music that night. This was our favorite:
AKI IWAMURA: 0 for 4; 2K’s, 2LOB
Aki should should have came to the plate to Ice, Ice, Baby by Vanilla Ice.
Ice, Ice, Baby.
Rollin’ to the plate with my average at one five oh,
got my brace on—so my knee don’t blow.
Later in the month, we made a trip to Wrigley to watch some of the best baseball the Bucs would play all season. We took thousands of pictures and if you missed them you can see them below.
These pictures were the most exciting ones we snapped all season as Octavio Dotel worked himself into, and out of, a jam in the ninth inning.
2010 will be remembered for the Pirates youth movement. The 2010 version started on May 25 when Neil Walker got the call to the bigs after continuing to blister AAA pitching and Aki Iwamura continued to redefine the word suck. Walker didn’t disappoint. His impact was felt immediately when he ripped a double for his first Major League RBI. But then he was picked off second base. Heh, it’s a cruel game.
John Russell spoke with Dejan after the game about how Walker would be used for the Bucs:
“We’ll use him a lot of ways and he’ll start sometimes.” John Russell on Neil Walker
The always quotable Walker chimed in:
“For me, I don’t care if it’s left field, rover, if I have to catch, I just want to help this team win in whatever form I can. I’m happy to be here.” Neil Walker
Yeh, Neil Walker was going to play rover. Good shit.
1. Over the course of games 29 to 56:
The blowouts were evident including beatings of 7-0 by the Braves, 12-2 from the Phillies, and 9-0 to the Reds. It can be broken down very simply. When the Pirates pitching sucks, it really sucks. This year, the pitching has sucked, one of the worst staffs in the league in fact, and the Bucs have won twenty three games in spite of it. Baseball is so damn simple and so freaking confusing at the same time.
2. The Pirates pitching staff had allowed 544 hits. That’s the fourth worst in major league baseball.
3. The Pirates had collected just 444 hits. That’s the worst in major league baseball.
4. We could go into all kinds of details, but really what else is there? If the offense can only score 186 runs, worst in MLB, this team as currently constructed won’t win very much.
5. Jeff Clement was given an opportunity to be the Pirates starting first baseman and unfortunately swung and missed, much like he did at the plate consistently since April 5.
6. Aki Iwamura had been awful defensively, offensively and I hear he elbowed a lady at Giant Eagle, no just kidding, but he did lose his starting job at second base.
7. Ronny Cedeno refused to walk. He had two walks in his first 89 AB. He ‘picked up’ the pace to ten walks in 179 at-bats. Last year in 341 at bats with the Mariners and the Bucs he walked 19 times.
Cedeno struckout 43 times to lead the team. His strikeouts have increased from last year when he struckout 29 times in 155 at-bats with the Pirates.
8. Remember what we wrote after the first 28 Games?
9. Octavio Dotel was very, very good during this stretch. Nine-for-nine until the blowup yesterday. His wife had the baby and now it was time for Dotel to get back to making money.
10. Andrew McCutchen had been a catalyst. He has now played in over 162 MLB games. So what do you think of the guy?
11. Garrett Jones had come alive with the deep ball. It was a thing of beauty.
12. Today the Pirates add more youth to the roster with the MLB draft. It was desperately needed. The franchise spent millions on young arms, young arms, and more young arms.
13. Pedro was hitting at AAA Indianapolis.