The days of losing to the Manatee Community College baseball team are over, the Pittsburgh Pirates now scrimmage against each other in the Black & Gold game. Looking at the lineup from last years game is interesting to me.
Good Lord where has the Black team gone? Alex Presley has left the building. Chase d’Arnaud has plenty to prove to regain a spot with the big club. Jerry Sands….is in Tampa working on that swing. Clint Robinson we hardly knew you. Brandon Inge is putting leopard skin contacts in his eyes and playing deck hockey against Mark Madden. Jared Goedert…is that how I even spell his name? Unfortunately, Josh Harrison is the lone representive of the Black squad that had an impact in 2013–and that might be overstated. Michael McKenry and Felix Pie are also no longer on the Pirates ballclub.
The Gold team with Starling Marte and Jose Tabata in the one, two spots in the order looks familiar. Matt Hague is still Matt Hague. Gaby Sanchez in the four hole seemed silly. Brad Hawpe batted fifth ahead of Jordy Mercer and Tony Sanchez? What the hell, who put this lineup together? Ivan Dejesus and President Ford rounded out the order.
Now let’s look at the 2014 version.
The Gold team has the more established Pirates players once again with Jose Tabata in right field and Jaff Decker in center. Everyone’s fan favorite last summer Andrew Lambo will be at first with Tony Sanchez batting cleanup and catching for starter Joely Rodriguez. Josh Harrison will play third and Robert Andino beside him at short. Chase d’Arnaud is starting at second base which is interesting. Paulino will be the DH and Mel Rojas, Junior is in left field.
The Black team has the talented Alen Hanson leading off at short followed by Gregory Polanco in center field. Seriously? Why center I wonder? Chris Dickerson is in left and Matt Hague is at the hot corner once again with Travis Ishikawa in right… Oh, that’s why Polanco is in center field because of the respect necessary due to Ishikawa. Nevin Ashley will catch for starter Stolmy Pimentel. Chris McGuiness gets the start at first base with Michael Martinez at second. Omir Santos will serve as the DH and completes the lineup.
Also scheduled to pitch for the Black team when Pimentel is through are southpaw Andy Oliver and right-handers Jay Jackson, Zach Thornton, Brandon Mann and Matt ‘Eggs’ Benedict. For the Gold team it will be the following pitchers after Joely finishes his work: Casey Sadler, Jake Brigham, Cody Eppley, Elvin Ramirez and Ryan Beckman.
Comparing the lineups it seems that many of these players are really on the bubble. It will be very interesting to see just who is able to open up some eyes. The 2013 Black & Gold Game was all about the starting pitchers when Gerrit Cole faced off against Jameson Taillon. It might be the same story this year, but with two much less heralded pitchers in Rodriguez and Pimentel.
The less than inspiring lineups aside, this game still beats playing those hated Manatees. Over the years it become more and more apparent that is was simply a ‘no-win’ situation.
Throw the first pitch already, we waited long enough!