Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pirates 1 Diamondbacks 9

Jeebus, was that a terrible game with such a promising start.

The Pirates again got guys on early, but couldn't come up with the big hit (Jeff Clement scorched a ball to the opposite field with the bases loaded, but right at the fielder). Charlie Morton was cruising through the D'Back's lineup the first time around by mostly throwing four-seam fastballs and a sharp breaking ball. But despite what Bob Walk may drool about, you cannot get by with throwing four-seam fastballs, especially against a line up this good (there's a lot of talent in AZ's lineup, mixed in with some guys who could breakout or bounce back; Stephen Drew, Conner Jackson, and Kelly Johnson). It really started with hanging a breaking ball to the opposing pitcher who lofted a lazy single down the line, and then after that, it was scorcher after scorcher that didn't somewhat end until Chris Young blasted a grand slam.

Charlie Morton has exceptional stuff, but when he's not getting ground balls (or even a few foul balls with a downward trajectory), he's not gonna be able to simply strike everyone out. I thought Morton threw a two-seem and a four-seem fastball, but everything tonight looked like a four-seem (which has decent horizontal break, but not enough vertical break to get ground balls). I guess it's just something to keep in mind when watching Morton; no matter how many K's he accumulates in the first few innings, if he's not getting ground balls, it could get ugly quick.

The rest of the game sucked; although I do have a few thoughts.

It was nice to see Hayden Penn get back out there after his terrible outing yesterday. He threw strikes and got a couple ground-balls while breaking a bat. He did get away with a fastball on the inner-half of the plate that Justin Upton skied to second base; I wouldn't try that again against a guy like Upton.

I know it's only been a few appearances, but Evan Meek has been fairly unimpressive; his fastball has lacked the high velocity expected (he's at 90-92 instead of the 94-96 I was expecting), and he falls behind hitters consistently. He hasn't been terrible, just that I expected a lot from him this season and from the early returns, it looks like he may be taking a step back... but it's early.

I'm tired of watching Ryan Doumit hit. I remember when he first came up and the ball just flew off his bat, mostly to the opposite field which made it all the more impressive. Now it's the same thing over and over again; he's either going to roll over a pitch to the same side of the infield, pop up, or hit a line-drive to the same side. He has completely lost the ability to stay back and drive the ball to the opposite field, which is what made him such a special hitter in the first place. I tend to do this with a lot of the Pirate hitters who have been around awhile (even Brian Giles frustrated me towards the end), but it seems like such a shame that Doumit has turned into a one-dimensional hitter. And don't even get me started on his receiving; unbelievably lazy attempts at blocking balls in the dirt.

I absolutely loved Lastings Milledge's attitude towards the end of the game; stole a base despite being down by 6+ runs and scored on the ensuing single (usually a move I would hate, but considering everyone else was sleep walking through the rest of the game, it was nice to see someone with a little energy) and then had a fantastic at bat in the eighth inning in which he worked the count to full, just missed a pitch by popping it a mile high, and then sprinted full-tilt around the bases despite knowing the ball would be caught. I know I may be reaching for positives, but it was nice to see someone look like the gave a damn past the third inning.

If Andy LaRoche looks at another low borderline two-strike pitch, I'm gonna scream (and yes, Pedro did hit another two home runs tonight).

The offense wasn't as putrid as it seems either; they squared a lot of balls up that ended up right at people, but they failed to hit a HR again and have not hit one since the first inning of the second game (26+ innings). That has to change, but from where and by who I don't know.

The Pirates will not win tomorrow night either as Dan McCutchen is facing Dan Haren, but if you're interested, the game will be on at 8 p.m. on the MLB Network in Pittsburgh.

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