In the closing moments of tonight’s 4-1 loss to the Cards and Lance Lynn, a scary thought crossed my mind: I’d rather have Ronny Paulino catching for Pittsburgh that Rod Barajas. Seriously. I’d also rather have Jason Kendall behind the plate. Does anyone know what he has been up to? I’m guessing he has kept himself in shape. He could at least be relied upon to take a couple of pitches and work a count. And run out every ground ball. And scream at people who weren’t giving a full effort. I miss him.
The Pirates put a man on in the ninth against Jason Motte. Andrew McCutchen was batting with two gone. I thought to myself how funny it would’ve been had Mike Matheny elected to pitch around Cutch (bringing the tying run to the plate), knowing full well that the Pirates would never actually tie the game due to ineptitude with the bat. Of course, no manager would ever do that. Well, maybe Tony LaRussa would’ve – just out of spite for the Pirates.
The lack of production from Jose Tabata, Pedro Alvarez, Clint Barmes and Barajas is awful. It is getting to be historically awful. The last time the Pirates left April with three regulars (or semi-regulars) hitting less than .200 was back in 2005. The culprits were Jack Wilson (13 for 80 and a .163 clip), Ty Wigginton (8-55 for .145) and Tike Redman (5-41 for .122).
Another early season topic has been the plethora of stellar pitching the Pirates have gone up against. I’m sure Lance Lynn does not fall into that category – at least not yet. He was a first round pick of the Redbirds back in 2008 in the supplemental part of the round. St. Louis got that extra pick for losing Troy Percival to Tampa as a free agent. Lynn progressed at a normal rate through the St. Louis farm system. Baseball America never had him better than the #3 prospect in the system. He never cracked Baseball America’s top 100 prospect ranking (here’s a nice link to the historical listings). So, I don’t expect him to start racking up awards like Tim Lincecum (#11 in 2007) or Justin Verlander (#8 in 2006). Then again, BA had Lastings Milledge ranked one spot behind Verlander in 2006. So, they aren’t always right. Regardless, this team is going to face great pitching as they do every year. It is time to stop making excuses.