Every ten Pittsburgh Pirates games, we will take a look back at ten topics we find hot including handing out some stars.
10. Two words.
Clint Hurdle has officially arrived in Pittsburgh. The impact has been measurable. Clint has some work to do,but if the first ten games are any indication of what lies ahead, the 2011 season will be far from boring.
Our favorite sign is this team doesn’t roll over. Ever.
9. Agressive Baserunning.
It was discussed at length this offseason after the Bucs hired Hurdle. It hasn’t entirely stood out for the Bucs other than two big plays for us.
Jason Jarmillo was gunned at the plate in Chicago.
Neil Walker scored on a Pedro Alvarez two-run infield single on an aggressive play at Wrigley.
Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez are on a tear early with the whiffs. Walker leads the majors with 15. Pedro is right behind with 14.
Pirates pitchers allowed so many walks in the first ten games that it was amazing the team was able to win five games. When combined with the inability to get swings and misses, the Pirates staff has repeatedly pitched their way into and out of jams.
Sunday’s game, a 6-5 loss to Colorado, showed the height of the pain. In most of the games, the staff was able to get out of the really big jams that were caused by the exorbitant number of walks. There was no dancing away from the performance of Michael Crotta on Sunday. Crotta walked three and the Rockies thanked him for his failure.
6. Charlie Morton
What a different pitcher. Morton still has the wild stats line, but this year the ERA isn’t off the charts.
Electric Stuff has allowed just eight hits in 13 innings, but ten walks in those two starts have made it interesting for the right hander.
But Morton has avoided the meltdown, and allowed just three earned runs.
He has even thrown one visible fist pump on the field and flashed a smile off of it.
The Pittsburgh Pirates fielding has been quite awful. Pedro Alvarez has two boots, Ronny Cedeno two, and even Lyle Overbay got in on the action in Chicago. The outfielders are missing cutoffs and taking poor routes to balls.
Without solid fielding, this ballclub is doomed.
There were two highlight plays in the last ten: Pedro pierced a bullet off the bat of Ty Wigginton. (It still pisses me off to see him on a baseball diamond)
Another top play was when Garrett Jones threw a dart to Ryan Doumit at the plate who tagged out Morales of Colorado.
4. Joel Hanrahan.
What else needs said? He has been everything the position entails.
Hanranator has had four save opportunities.
He has four saves.
He has had a four out save.
He has been a leader–just like his brother said in our story from last month: JOEL HANRAHAN IS THE BEST KEPT SECRET IN PITTSBURGH SPORTS.
As Hanrahan keeps this going in 2011, we’re rather certain he won’t be a secret much longer.
3. Kevin Correia.
What a shocker. If this continues, the Pirates front office will look like rock stars for signing the righthander in the offseason. Correia has been impressive in two starts and three appearances.
The soft spoken right hander has more ground ball outs than air outs after 14 innings pitched. Correia has two victories for his efforts and has struck out six while holding the opposition to a .245 slugging.
2. Jose Tabata
Tabata has picked up exactly where he left off. You’ve heard it fifty times, but it’s pretty impressive that he has piled up so many hits since the 2010 All-Star break.
Tabata has shown the ability to be an on-base machine from the leadoff spot. Tabata has shown power with a couple of monster blasts at PNC Park. As you know, he is on a ten-game hitting streak, but it is his patient approach that is just as impressive.
Running and Walking: Jose has shown speed on the basepaths, swiped some bags and provided the dramatic and sent a couple of thousand frigid die-hards into a frenzy with his 14th inning walkoff against the Rockies. Sing it with us now….Jose! Jose! -Jose!
1. Road Wins
Can this Pirates team win on the road was answered right out of the gate. If this team can win on the road, the Bucs are going to surprise.