Pirates Confusing Grapefruit League Baseball Continues
By Tom Smith
Mar 3, 2014; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Andrew Lambo (57) throws the ball to first for an out during the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at McKechnie Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Pittsburgh Pirates take on the five win Philadelphia Phillies in Grapefruit League action today in Clearwater. The Bucs started out like world beaters in early games and have since had a rough week. Does it mean anything? Clint Hurdle said the games matter. (And then he probably shouted NOW! about five times)
So what have we learned so far? Edinson Volquez hasn’t been bitten by any snakes, but has also not showed improvement after being treated by renowned faith healer Ray Searage. Also Andrew Lambo isn’t hitting the baseball very well. And finally, nobody wants the right field job except Chris Dickerson.
‘Bout somes it up right?
The Bucs are taking numerous starters including the likely top three in their opening day lineup. Starling Marte will lead off and play left followed by Neil Walker. The smoking hot NL MVP bats third.
The middle of the lineup is what we will overreact to this morning. Andrew Lambo will DH while Travis Ishikawa plays first base.
Feb 21, 2014; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Travis Ishikawa (3) poses for a photo at Pirate City. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Yeh, that guy.
Does anyone on this planet believe that Ishikawa might make this club? If so, does anyone believe he will be a possible long term solution for the Pirates? Or even a one week solution? Anyway, it’s just Grapefruit League play, but if we were filling out the card Andrew Lambo plays the field.
Despite looking o.k. on most plays, Lambo needs live game action. The throws to second base can be improved, his confidence can get a boost.
But the defensive side of the game is obviously impacting him at the plate. I mean that’s only logical to think that, right? The guy is hitting 74. Seven. Four. That’s two hits in 27 at bats.
Feb 26, 2014; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates hitting coach Jeff Branson (2) talks with right fielder Andrew Lambo (57) works out prior to the game at McKechnie Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
And then we started to re-think what we thought we thought….do the Pirates just want to spark his offense by putting him on the bench? The old double switch jedi mind juju trick? Perhaps Hurdle just wants Lambo to carry his bat around with him in the dugout. We can see him caressing his bat slowly, talking to it ever so softly……”they are mocking us–look they are batting us after the four hole hitter Ishikawa”
But seriously, we think the Bucs would want Lambo to see as much possible action around the first base bag. But instead they sit him. Obviously nobody in the Pirates Baseball Systems Development team are consulted when Clint Hurdle puts together these Grapefruit League lineups. So when Beezy boots two balls early in the season we will obviously point directly to this DH shit today as the cause of the problem. Dan Fox should run some numbers, create a bad ass graphic supporting this theory and make some calls.
I love overreacting to spring training games. So now that we have that fixed, let’s look at the pitching.
We see the Pirates are taking a look at Adam Wilk on the mound. The left-hander has started in the bigs for the Detroit Tigers. Uh, It was rather ugly. The one article we were reading the other day about the Tigers selling him to the Korean Baseball team that wound up lying to him, mentioned some of the stats the southpaw put up. We will spare you the link.
Secretly, we like Wilk. Of course, we like any left hander because of the advantages PNC Park can bring them. Hell, we even had a short lived infatuation with Mike Zagurski last year.
At least the Phillies lineup won’t feature Jimmy Rollins. What a fascinating story that has become.
The Pirates should put up some offense today.