Catching and Defense Improvements Spark Pirates
Catching Upgrade evident:
When Ryan Doumit was injured 25 games ago, Pirate fans were left to wonder how we would get through one game let alone the weeks it would be until he returned. After all, little was known about the backups other than Robinzon Diaz tore the cover off the ball. Jason Jaramillo was called the more defensive catcher and went North with the ballclub. Diaz played well at AAA Indy and was the obvious call up when Doumit was placed on the DL.
We knew that Diaz was a stud for the Jays minor league system and Jaramillo had spent some time with JR. Other than those facts, we didn’t have a lot to go on. We do now.
Pirate catchers lead all NL teams with 14 doubles this season. Robinzon Diaz and JHammer have a combined average of .310 in the 25 games that Ryan Doumit has missed. Diaz has hit safely in nine of his first 11 starts and JHammer has gone 13-for-46 with seven doubles and five RBI while making 14 starts. Both have not proven to be more than average behind the plate thus far, but their command of the pitching staff has been instrumental to the continued pitching success the Pirates have experienced this season.
Joey Bautista and Ronnie Paulino were traded (seperately) over the course of the past year for Diaz and JHammer. Bautista is batting .310 with six RBI in his 71 at bats for the Blue Jays and has struck out 19 times (26 percent) Ronnie is batting .224 with 11 strikeouts in his 49 at bats.
I would say the front office made two more excellent trades.
It’s about improved team defense:
Brandon Moss is on a tear with the bat (11-for19). There is no denying it looks like Moss is relaxed and ready to rip at the plate. But do you remember that awful throw Moss made early in the year? He got some serious heat on that one. But that is a thing of the past. Moss is tied for second among NL players with five assists. Take a guess how many Jason Bay had all of last season?
Pirate outfielders lead all ML teams with 12 assists.
Ross is rolling:
Tonight’s starter Ross Ohlendorf has won four of his last five starts. Last time out in gaining the win against the Cards, he surrendered just two hits and gave up one run in 6IP. Ohlendorf retired 17 of the last 19 batters he faced.