First win since the AS break

Considering Rodriguez had a perfect game going through the first three innings, I thought we were in for a bad day, especially since we had four strikeouts and not one ball had left the infield. Everything he threw was low and away and the Pirates tried pulling each pitch causing a lot of ground ball outs.

Then in the 4th it was like a switch went off and everything he threw was up and in to the batters who wailed him. The next sixteen batters combined for seven hits, a walk, and six runs, four which were earned.

Maholm took advantage of Rapuano’s typically huge zone and forced Astros batters to hit his pitches and scattered eight hits. He pitched an acceptable game – he wasn’t overpowering at all, nor did he have sharp command of his offspeed stuff, but it was good enough combined with some excellent infield defense.

So the day the Pirates finally retired Big Poison’s jersey, we finally won a game. It’s only been, what, 13 days since we last won a game? Geezz..

JvB blasted the Pirates development team yesterday by saying he isn’t convinced that he received the type of attention he needed as a pitcher (MLB report at pirateball.com).

That’s a hard knock on ex-Pirates pitching rover Gary Ruby who was considered to be one of the few outstanding additions Littlefield actually had in the system.

We heard those exact words from Kris Benson, among others, and it’s painfully obvious the Pirates gave up on Oliver Perez way too early.

So while Ruby might be taking the brunt of JvB’s calling out, I think all this really flows back to Brian Graham’s inability to get the job done. I’ve often said I felt our weakest points in the organization are scouting and development and more and more players are coming forward pointing fingers toward Graham.

BTW, is Bay still slumping Mr. Manto? And is McCutchen hitting just .222 his last five games (4-18) Mr. Redus? How about all that Mr. Nutting?

Hmm..

The fans eyes are bugging out with the recent reports that Wilson might be headed to Toronto. The fact is, you either love or hate Jack Wilson in Pittsburgh.

But before you kiss Wilson’s butt goodbye, consider the fact there are a ton of teams all scouting the Blue Jays and JP is not the easiest guy to deal with or Littlefield would have had Rios in Pittsburgh years ago. But I do know for a fact Toronto has been scouting Indy.

The Jays really need a young catcher so you have to wonder aloud if Doumit might be the one they would prefer instead of Wilson. Perhaps even a two-player deal?

I spoke with Bill James via email a few days ago about measuring a receiver’s defensive contribution and I used Doumit’s poor win-rate as an example. Mr. James wouldn’t talk about specific players but suggested that a catcher’s win/loss record could be caused by random events. Not that they are, just that they could be.

I explained that my scouting senses tell me Doumit’s inexperience and flaws behind the plate are costing the Pirates wins but I couldn’t put a definitive finger on any one particular stat to prove it with other than his win-loss record.

Mr. James stated the obvious – what I am seeing is probably real. But what conclusion can I really draw from it when I’m not the catcher, I’m not the batter, I’m not the umpire interacting with the catcher, and other players in the game with non-standard approaches have been successful?

I suppose I can’t draw any valid conclusion.

My senses can TELL me what I am seeing SHOULD be contributing, and they very well might be, but it’s nearly impossible to narrow down if they ARE contributing to the poor win-rate. Sometimes you know things you can’t prove with statistics and that’s why the game includes pro scouts.

Of course, if you have a catcher who ends up with a ridiculously low win-rate or a very high CERA over a period of time (like more than 60 games), then your senses have been validated, he said.

It was a very good conversation. In the end, I believe I have written Doumit off as an extremely poor defensive receiver prematurely. I still FEEL he is from what I see, I know the stats are starting to SUGGEST he is, but as Mr. James explained, it’s too early for me to pass rational judgment on him.

So Ryan Doumit, I apologize to you. I’ll check back with your stats this winter.

My point to all this was that it is entirely possible that other teams will view Doumit catching much differently than most Pirate fans do for many of the reasons Mr. James suggested.

Like Toronto.

As for Castillo to the Mets, who knows. I haven’t heard any direct rumors yet and there are a lot better options for the Mets to trade for, but you never know. Flip a coin.

As for Wilson, his goose is cooked – it’s not a matter of IF he’s going, it’s only a matter of WHERE he’s going and when. I would add Torres to that equation too, but not so much Castillo.

A week is like eternity in baseball so we’ll keep our ears to the ground and let you know if we hear something that’s a fact – not PR punches thrown in the newspapers to try and get others to act.

But we shouldn’t act just because Dave Littlefield has another Benson itch he can’t scratch.

Gasp – Oliver Perez tosses Thursday’s game against the Pirates. Wow. I will absolutely die if he no-hits us, and don’t think for one second he won’t be trying to. Pray for rain.

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3 comments

  1. allsnprk@verizon.net

    Dejan said Wilson to Toronto and Castillo to Mets and you basically said they were both PR punches. Nice call. Do you see any movement by Littlefield at all? Dejan said we inquired about Glaus.

  2. bill@billylittler.com

    I’m sure that inquiry for Glaus was “what would it take to get Glaus?”. Tornoto says “Gorzy or Snell”. DL says no way, or we hope he does anway.

    DL can’t be crazy enough to ask for a Wilson/Glaus deal.

  3. Pirate

    allsnprk — thanks for the kudos.

    Both of you asked about the Pirates inquiring about Glaus. Obviously, that is a smoke screen because Glaus has a strict no-trade that I would guess the Pirates are on.

    There is about a 99.9999999% chance of Glaus coming to Pittsburgh I would guess.

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