28 Games Later


Pirates GM Neal Huntington and President Frank Coonelly are

knee deep in the middle of a rebuild that is easily the most difficult in sports history.  It’s not easy rebuilding a baseball club.  It is downright painful watching this club struggle as the front office works with limitations most will never comprehend.  .

Baseball is not built for a quick rebuild.  So while the first 28 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates were difficult on the city of Pittsburgh and fans of the team, the last 28 had some exciting glimpses into the future, but some disappointing results.

We knew coming into the season that it could easily be a tale of two seasons: the first half would allow for some players like Jeff Clement, Lastings Milledge, Andy LaRoche, and a few others to show the front office they belong on the club.

The second half would showcase the young talent in the organization should a few of those players on the roster at the beginning of the year not perform well.  It’s rather obvious that most of the players with an opportunity at the major league level, like Milledge, Clement, etc….well, they have struggled leaving the door wide open for an infusion of talent.

So when we left the Bucs last in this seasonal breakdown, a sweep of the Chicago Cubs had put the lucky Bucs at 13-15.  We were a little confused.  If you are at this website, you must be a dedicated Pirates fans. You understand what is happening.   The Pirates were fortunate.

Now the Bucs stand at 23-33.

Much like the movie 28 Days, the aftermath of the roster explosion has left an intersting team on the field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  It has many question marks.  Still.  28 Days Later.


The Ugly:

1.  The blowouts were present including beatings of 7-0 to 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 has allowed 544 hits.  That’s the fourth worst in major league baseball.

3.  The Pirates have 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 has been awful defensively, offensively and I hear he elbowed a lady at Giant Eagle, no just kidding, but he has lost his starting job at second base.  He also runs like a first grade girl on the basepaths.

6.  Ronny Cedeno refuses to walk.  He had two walks in his first 89 AB.  He has ‘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 has struckout 43 times to lead the team. His strikeouts have increased from last year when he struckout 29 times in 155 AB with the Pirates.  Yesterday he wore a painted on mustache.  Come on Ronny, you CAN’T mock the stache!


7.  The defense has been disgusting.

The Dramatic!

8.  Remember what we wrote after the first 28 Games?

"9.  Octavio Dotel is receiving a RumBunter free pass. Did you ever have a child?  The month before your wife has birth is pure hell. The male species can do nothing right during this time.  However.  The upcoming joy should create a bounceback for Dotel.  I still think we will curse repeatedly in the ninth inning during his save opportunities.  One, because of the amount of runners he will put on base, two because of the solid contact he allows and finally because when he coughs dirt flies from his pie hole, but remember he is still showing indications of getting swings and misses."

Dotel has been very, very good during this stretch.  Nine-for-nine until the blowup yesterday.  The wife had the baby and now Dotel is back to business.

The Good!

12.  Neil Walker has been very good.

13.  Despite being majorly overworked, the Pirates bullpen has been Stargell star worthy.

14.  Andrew McCutchen has been a catalyst.  He has now played in over 162 MLB games.  So what do you think of the guy?

15.  Garrett Jones has come alive with the deep ball.  It’s a thing of beauty.

The Future:

16.  Call for backup.  It’s coming.  Can you feel it?

17.  Today the Pirates add more youth to the roster with the MLB draft.  It’s desperately needed.

18.  Pedro is hitting at AAA Indianapolis, it’s only a matter of time, I think he will make it in time to be part of the next 28 Games recap.  God, that’s an exciting feeling.

Pedro! Pedro! Pedro! Photo by Stephen Simonetto