Baseball Jeremiad

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A Curiously Intelligent Baseball blog

Make-Up Thoughts

I witnessed a listless Pirates’ effort today at PNC Park. 

Carlos Silva moved to 8-0 on the year, as the visiting Cubbies avoided a sweep at the hand of the Buccos.  Calcaterra can tell you what you need to know about the starting pitchers in today’s matchup.

Some observations throughout the game:

  • The stadium was empty.  If you took the under on today’s 1,000 attendance number, well, congratulations, you nailed it.
  • I’m still mildly offended by the Pirates pre-game graphics show in which Pirates ships with the Buccos’ logo destroy ships with the opposing team’s logo with a variety of missiles, cannonballs and assorted other projectiles.
  • I understand that the Pirates are rebuilding (again).  What I can’t seem to understand is how a retread like Bobby Crosby gets a start at third base.  According to baseball-reference.com, do you know who possesses the closest similarity score to Mr. Crosby?  Dave Sveum
  • Jason Jaramillo is from Racine, Wisconsin.  His first name is pronounced with a hard “J”; his last name with a soft “J,” as in “Jose.”  I found this combination slightly odd.
  • In  between innings, the Pirates play the assorted series of trivia games, inanimate objects now animated races and the like.  They also have a finding out more about the Pirates question.  Simply put, they ask a “fun” question of each Pirate and then play his answer on the scoreboard.  Today’s question: What is the one place you’d want to visit that you’ve never previously visited.  The majority of the Pirates went with Hawaii.  A couple, however, seemingly didn’t understand the question.  Then again, are we considering “Africa” or “A trip around the world” as one place now?

I sat through the game demurely in an outfield seat to the foul territory side in right field.  I only found occasion to yell once. 

After Jack Tashner labored through two innings of relief work, John Russell called upon right-hander Joel Hanrahan.  Hanrahan had an effective 2008 campaign for the Nationals, but since then the wheels have come off the cart.  At one point, there was a runner on second to whom Hanrahan paid all sorts of attention.  And then, he tried something that high school pitchers try exactly once in their careers before realizing that biology trumps wishful thinking.  There are two pick-off moves available to right-handed pitchers to second base from the stretch.  Let’s briefly review:

  1. A righty can whirl around pivoting on his right foot, and leading around his left shoulder.  Here’s eHow’s explanation of this particular move.
  2. His section option is the “inside move,” illustrated in this video.  The pitcher will hang his left (lead) leg, pivot on his back foot and bring his lead foot around his body towards second base. 

These are, good friends, the only available options.  However, in every young pitcher’s mind, there is the thought: “Hell, maybe I can step off the rubber and short-arm/sling the ball towards second base and catch the runner napping.”  This particular manoeuver require the pitcher to essential throw off his back foot which is moving; it is also impossible to position the arm in any position conducive to throwing. 

You guessed, Hanrahan tried it, one-hopping second base.  Tip of the hat to Ronny Cedeno for preventing the ball from careening into centerfield.

And from the seat, I shouted: Didn’t you learn that doesn’t work in high school?  Your JV coach should be fired!

Filed under: Games Attended, , , , ,

A Make-Up, A Cliche and a Journeyman

After last week’s disasterous attempt to see a Pirates game, I’ll be trying again today.

I’m setting the attendance over/under for this 12:35 Cubs/Pirates make-up game at about 1,000.  Any takers?

Meanwhile, I think MLB.com’s preview for the game sums things up rather adroitly (or just shows the desperation Chris Hempson must have felt when writing the blurb):

The Pirates, meanwhile, can only hope they will score a run off Silva, as the 31-year-old hasn’t given up a run against the Pirates in 9 2/3 innings over five career relief appearances. Granted, he hasn’t faced them since 2003, but Cubs manager Lou Piniella will hope the trend continues, as the Cubs want to snap a 1-7 record in eight games against the Bucs during this year.

Silva, however, doesn’t have anything special planned for the Pirates.

“I just pitch my game,” he said. “Go there, pitch my game.”

Newly acquired Dana Eveland will take the hill for the Pirates, as he looks to erase any memories of his final three starts with the Blue Jays, during which he surrendered 17 earned runs in 9 2/3 innings.

Filed under: Games Attended, , ,

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