April 30, 2008

A Few Things I Have Noticed

When Van Benschoten started changing speeds and throwing something other than a 90-92 MPH fastball, he started getting outs.  Unfortunately today it took him 17 pitches to throw something other than a fastball.  Once he started throwing the curve, he started looking like the pitcher we keep hearing about.  Last night in the 11th inning, he threw mostly fastballs and allowed the winning run.  JVB needs to learn to change speeds and mix his pitches better.  he has been throwing, not pitching.  Hopefully JVB will get word of this, or maybe Jeff Andrews needs to smack him with a fungo bat, hopefully it will sink in then.


Paulino and Bautista need to get a clue.  Neither one understands situational hitting.  In the 11 inning loss last night to the Mets, both players, back to back, swung at first pitches when the pitcher they were facing was having control issues and the bases were loaded.


Evan Meek SUCKS!!!  He has the pinpoint accuracy of Rick Ankiel*.  Beyond having such historic accuracy, his fabled "arm of lightning" has not thrown a fastball over 92 MPH in the action I have seen in the last week.  When you throw 30 pitches in an inning and only 10 are strikes, maybe the outfield is a better place for him.  The Meek may inherit the Earth, but this one must inherit a trip back to the Rays.


Adam LaRoche may catch fire soon.  No not from sitting on the bench after each strikeout.  He is starting to make some good contact and is driving the ball to all fields.  When he is on, he hits a ton of balls to the opposite field, which makes him hitting in PNC even more confusing.  When Littlefield made this trade, he must have missed the part about opposite field power.  Never mind, Littlefield never made sense anyway you put it.  But a left handed bat with power to left field in a stadium when fly balls to left are akin to death valley for fly balls...Littlefield was a moron.

Back to LaRoche, his batting average is starting to resurrect itself.  He is currently hitting .171 with a .115 average with runners in scoring position.  He has been just brutal when it comes to RISP, early last week he was hitting .033 with RISP until an RBI got him over a .100 average.  Not a good sign for a guy who is slated to bat 5th.  There was a reason he batted 7th or 8th in Atlanta, to hide his slow start, but also to allow him to see some better pitches.


LaRoches long swing lends to early burnout.  When your swing takes a month to get in sync, there isn't much time before the swing starts taking longer and longer to come around.  A long term deal for LaRoche is probably a bad idea.


With LaRoche not willing, or not interested, to sign a long term deal with the Pirates, the team should focus some energy on signing Nady to a deal.  Although he is not a left handed bat, he has proven over the last year and a half that he can handle both righties and lefties with great consistency.  He has shown very good defense in right and has played smart consistent ball.  The only reason to be leery is health issues, which in all honesty can strike anyone at any time.  The way he has played with the Pirates, he deserves a deal.


Further proof Littlefied and his managers were morons....Nate McLouth.  Every time this guy has had a chance to play regularly, he has played well.  Last year I did a post on McLouth versus Duffy, if I find the link I will add it, where it showed through the minors McLouth had similar numbers to Duffy all around and better in some area such as stolen base percentage.  The most glaring difference was McLouth walked more than Duffy but had a similar OBP.  The reason?  Duffy got his free pass by getting hit by pitches.  With the pitchers having better control in the higher levels and in the majors, Duffy's primary way of getting on base began to disappear.  There was no reason to have Duffy start ahead of McLouth.  For no other reason, this is proof enough that this management group at least has a clue on the talents of players.


Lastly, after the Pirates 13-1 victory over the Mets, the Pirates now are 11-10 against teams not called the Cubs.   Conversely the Cubs are 10-10 against teams not named the Pirates.  The Pirates do not match up well against the Cubbies.   Wonder why?  They have all right handed batters.  We have all left handed starting pitchers.  Hmm????


*  For those who do not remember, Ankiel is the pitcher who had such sudden trouble with his control he converted to the outfield and now is back on the Cardinals roster and starting in center.  Ankiel was a pitching stud until the mysterious loss of control happened.  Ankiel has also been mention in steroid allegations.  Not that they have anything to do with each other, I thought the balls shrank not the strike zone.

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