Jul 29, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Alex Presley (7) singles against the St. Louis Cardinals during the seventh inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 9-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Pirates sent Michael McKenry and Travis Snider to the DL this weekend. They called up Alex Presley and Tony Sanchez to replace them. Maybe these injuries are a blessing in disguise, because Monday’s game was pure, unadulterated fun to watch. Liriano was dominant and the offense didn’t miss a beat. Every time Presley stepped to the plate he looked dangerous. He drove in McCutchen with a clutch RBI single and even when he made outs he hit the ball hard. Gabby Sanchez came off the bench and was effective with an RBI sac-fly (the first for the Pirates since May 27). Tony Sanchez didn’t make an appearance, but it’s still important for him to get experience with the big league club. Bottom line: hopefully Hurdle and the rest of the staff realize the extra boost the offense gets from calling-up AAA guys.
The offense produced nine runs Monday evening and have reached at least seven runs twice in their last five and at least four runs three times in the same amount of games. Of the nine runs produced Monday, two came from bench players and Presley (not normally a starter) accounted for an RBI and also scored a run. He was productive and allowed a slumping Marte to take a much needed day off before a huge doubleheader on Tuesday.
Bucco fans should expect this on a night-to-night basis. A productive bench shouldn’t be a phenomenon. When starters need a day off there should be someone on the bench who can and will perform at a major league level to take their place. So when McKenry and Snider are healthy, make them earn their spots back on the major league roster.
Tony Sanchez is regarded as “the future” at catcher. Time to have confidence in him then. Play him as the backup catcher and not McKenry. The Fort offers absolutely NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING, in the way of defense. He makes Rod Barajas look like Yadier Molina. He was batting a putrid .200 before Tom Koehler just couldn’t take it anymore and had to give up four hits to him out of charity, raising his average to an earth-shattering .217. Even if Sanchez is just as bad (let’s hope he’s not), he still has his youth as an excuse.
The Pirates cannot settle for mediocrity. This doesn’t mean trading the entire farm system and their mothers to get a big bat. We as fans must realize that teams succeeding such as the Pirates are with an enigmatic offense is an anomaly, not the norm. The pieces are there to succeed within the system. Now management just has to use those pieces.