Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hmmmm ... What to Talk About?

Now that the Pirates have reached the heady land of .500 -- oh, they what? Two games under .500? Never mind. At least they made it to .500, so we can all go home now.

What else is there to talk about?

We still intend to discuss the NFL draft (soon), but there's plenty of time to get to that. There were some interesting goings-on and what-if scenarios on Draft Day. Again, however, with the lockout, there is plenty of time before training camp (whenever that will be) to talk about all that.

So, what else?
  • Hines Ward on "Dancing With the Stars"? Don't care. Never watched the show. Never will watch it. No interest. Ditto Hines Ward on "Letterman" talking about "Dancing With the Stars." Just wondering, though: Did he and Dave talk about Hines getting handcuffed in L.A. during a traffic stop? Not that anything came of it.
  • Kordell Stewart getting arrested in Atlanta for driving with a suspended license? Too bad for him. Also, Kordell's getting married next Saturday. Yikes, man has got a lot on his mind.
  • Speaking of minds, or lack thereof, Rashard Mendenhall on Twitter? Too stupid for words. Not worth discussing.
  • Ducks in the outfield at PNC Park? We're all for ducks and angels in the outfield.
Which brings us back to ... sigh, the Pirates. Man, there ain't much to talk about, is there? Especially when it comes to hitting.

The team isn't hitting and shows no signs that it will start hitting soon.

Let's start with the positives ...
  • Second-baseman Neil Walker has been the most consistent position player all season: He's fielded surprisingly well, and he's been the team's best hitter: .296 BA, 4 HR and 21 RBIs in 140 at-bats, albeit with 36 strikeouts.
  • Also on the plus side, Ryan Doumit and Garrett Jones have hit fairly well, although their plate appearances have been limited by platoon situations. Stats on them to follow, below.
As for the rest of the team ...
  • First-baseman Lyle Overbay is batting .232 with 2 HR, 13 RBIs and 25 strikeouts in 125 at-bats. Overbay has four errors, including one last night. Is that bad? By comparison, Walker, a relative novice at second base, has three errors in just one more game than Overbay.
  • Shortstop Ronny Cedeno is batting .217 with 20 strikeouts in 106 at-bats. Like Walker, he has just three errors.
  • Third-baseman Pedro Alvarez is batting .198 with 1 HR, 11 RBIs and 38 strikeouts in 111 at-bats. Alvarez has five errors, but his defense has been surprisingly good on the whole, and at times spectacular. The Pirates have no choice but to keep playing him.
  • Left-fielder Jose Tabata got off to a fast start but has been slumping the past few weeks. He is batting just .229.
  • Same with center-fielder Andrew McCutchen: He is batting just .229.
As for the platoons, if you can call them that, in right field and at catcher:
  • Matt Diaz is batting .239 with 0 (ZERO) home runs in 67 at-bats. That bears repeating: Diaz has no home runs in 67 at-bats. Is that possible? At least Garrett Jones, Diaz's left-hand counterpart in the right-field platoon, has 6 HR in 95 at-bats. Jones is batting .253.
  • Catcher Chris Snyder ran into a pitch once for a home run in 57 at-bats. Snyder is batting .268. Switch-hitting catcher Ryan Doumit is batting .292 with 3 HR in 65 at-bats.
And there you have it:
Team batting average of .231.

For all that, the Buccos currently stand at 18-20, in third place in the NL Central, a half-game ahead of Chicago, one game ahead of Milwaukee and four games in front of Houston. It's a minor miracle the Bucs are in third place. Not for long, however, unless they start hitting. Soon.

As said previously, there's not much to talk about, is there?