Tag: Garrett Jones
Happy 4th of July everyone. The Pittsburgh Pirates definitely made it a happy 4th of July. Just like they did the 3rd of July. And the 2nd of July. And 42 other days so far during this 2012 Major League Baseball season. The Buccos are doing exactly what they need to be doing right now… making hay when the sun shines so to speak. When you play the worst teams in baseball, you need to beat them. And with the 6-4 win over the Houston Astros today, they did that for the 3rd time in the first 3 games of this series. Today’s win, the first without the benefit of a Pirates home run in 12 games, moved the Pirates to 45-36 – a record that is more and more making the whole .500 or bust quest a very minor afterthought.
This team finds ways to win. Today, it was Mayor Pedro, the Fort and the Legend all coming through with offensive games. Pedro’s 2 run single now gives him an incredible 48 RBI this season, after 81 games in the books and 81 more to go. It’s easy to figure out season paces right now, but considering his early season struggles, I’d have to take the over on his 96 RBI pace to end the season right now. And while we’re at it, hats off to Pedro Alvarez for really sticking with it and working hard to persevere this season. I think he is always going to be a streaky hitter, but at Clint Hurdle said, Pedro wouldn’t have gotten many votes for mayor earlier this year. Not too many people believed in him, and now, he’s found a home in the middle of this lineup and has show terrific improvement with plate discipline and pitch selection. He’s proving to be an inspiration to anyone that has ever had to overcome adversity in life, and he’s a guy that I am rooting for to be the best player that his talents will allow.
Michael McKenry has filled in admirably this last week or so when Rod Barajas get dinged up in the Phillies game, and Garrett Jones has also really picked up on his consistency as well. Today, those three guys brought the lumber, going 5 for 9 with 4 RBI and 3 runs scored. MVP in waiting Andrew McCutchen went 1 for 3 to keep his average at a National League leading .360. And every Pirates starter except for pitcher Kevin Correia had either a hit or a run scored today, which has been typical of this total team effort we have seen this year.
The win today moves the Pirates above the Texas Rangers for the best home record in all of baseball at 26-13, and they are now 25-12 overall since May 24, which will be tied for the best record in baseball since that time if the Yankees lose to Tampa today.
Pirates will go for the 4 game sweep and a ’10 games over .500′ record tommorrow night, with Jeff Karstens facing Bud Norris. The weekend ahead brings in the San Francisco Giants sans Matt Cain. The weekend matchups for that series are: Erik Bedard vs. Barry Zito, James McDonald vs. Ryan Vogelsong, and A.J. Burnett vs. Tim Lincecum. There is a decent chance the Pirates could hit the All Star break in first place with a blistering 49 wins.
So most of this week I’ve spent working on some of the behind the scenes stuff for this site, so that we can be full speed ahead come opening day. But at the same time, I don’t want to completely ignore the spring games that are being played each day now.
One week is in the books, and the Buccos already have 4 wins, not counting the Manatee rout. They had 7 real spring training wins all last spring. Does this guarantee wins come April? Of course not. But it can’t hurt, especially when you are teaching a team how to win. So winning at any time is better than losing any time in my book. And being 4-3 so far is just fine. More importantly though, we should look at individual performances so far this spring, and that is the intent of this article today.
Leading the offensive attack in the first week of spring is the guy who should be our rock this year, Pedro Alvarez. Pedro is off to a .357 start, with three doubles and a triple despite no long balls just yet. In a funny spring quirk, he is leading the team in hits, doubles, triples, RBI and total bases, but not home runs. He also has a team high 4 k’s so far.
Jose Tabata is also off to a good start, hitting .417 with 5 hits in 12 at bats. But despite taking more pitches, our possible leadoff man did not draw a walk yet this spring and all five of his hits are singles so far. T-Bats does have 2 stolen bases during the first week. Legend (Garrett Jones) had a decent start to spring with 3 hits (2 doubles) in 10 at bats so far, while Andrew McCutchen is one of the few Buccos to go deep this week as one of his 3 hits in 14 at bats (.217). Neil Walker went 3 for 12 with a triple during the week (.250) (though Walker just singled against the Phillies as I am writing this) and likely starting catcher Chris Snyder was 4 for 7 and a walk for a decent start to the exhibition season. Newcomer Lyle Overbay also has a home run as one of his two hits in 10 at bats during the past week (.200), though also just singled against the Phillies to make it 3 for 11 (how about that for up to the minute batting average stats?).
Some guys struggling so far include starting shortstop Ronny Cedeno (o for 11 so far) which is disappointing to see, but something to keep an eye on over the next few weeks. Matt Diaz is also starting a little slow with one hit in 12 Pirate at bats this year. Well, until just now, like Walker and Overbay, as he just singled as well to move to 2 for 13 on the season. Three straight hits for the Buccos I’m typing about right now in today’s game. No such luck for Garrett Jones who ended the first inning and stranded a couple of runners.
But back to spring’s week in review. No real surprises or strong starts from guys needing a big spring to make the team. Corey Winberly is 0 for 8 despite some early hype. Andrew Lambo is 1 for 4 and Alex Presley 1 for 6.
On the pitching side of things, both Brad Lincoln and Charlie Morton are off to good starts, each giving up one earned run on three hits in five innings. Lincoln has 2 K’s while ChuckMo has 1. James McDonald has two scoreless innings under his belt, while Paul Maholm gave up 2 runs on 4 hits in his two inning outing. Ross Ohlendorf gave up 1 run in an inning and two thirds, and Kevin Correia had a couple of runs in his first start as well as two more today in his first inning, but he did settle down today with 4 k’s (so far) today to have a team high 5 K’s on the spring season. Nobody else is really standing out one way or the other, except maybe Mike Crotta having tossed three scoreless innings so far in the past week.
Defensively, Ryan Doumit has given up 2 stolen bases on 2 attempts, which was a major issue last year, which Chris Snyder gunned down the lone steal attempt against him. Doumit also has been charged with two passed balls this week. As a team, the Pirates only have three errors in these first seven games, one each from Josh Fields, Gorkys Hernandez, and Josh Rodriguez, none of which likely to break camp with the Pirates.
So, while not to take too much of this too seriously at this point in the season, it is a first look at even a small sample size of what we might see in 2011. The biggest thing I noticed is the lack of surprises so far, and I am very curious to see if anyone steps up with one of those big springs that force the team to consider adding them to the roster, lineup or rotation. I’ll check back with an update like this each week of spring, and also capture the final spring statistics to keep them for next year and throughout the season so that we can see what these numbers do or do not mean in the grand scheme of things once we have the 2011 season in the books.