Fun things from today's game:
Andrew McCutchen takes Eric Milton deep, three pitches into the inning. I know, I know. Anyone can take Eric Milton deep, but Andrew McCutchen is younger than me. I feel like I could go deep against Milton.
The Reds announcers are idiots. "Eric Milton needs to have a huge bounce-back season if the Reds are going to contend for the playoffs."
Uh, guys. Eric Milton was NEVER good. What is he going to bounce back to? That single-season low ERA of 4.32? "Only" serving up 30 long balls? Your team made a stupid fucking move to give this guy all that money. Live with it.
Big Donkey blasts a round tripper against Zach Duke. I'm not worried, since Dejan published some pretty comforting stats in the P-G this morning:
The statistics back Duke's case about fluky hits: He gave up 0.71 home runs per nine innings, third-lowest in the league and a clear sign that he was not getting hit hard. He also saw 33.6 percent of the balls put in play against him result in hits, seventh-highest in Major League Baseball.
Luis Matos' turn to touch 'em all against Milton. According to the Reds announcers, both of the Pirates' home runs were wind-aided cheap shots. Yeah, keep making excuses for Eric Milton. Poor guy is just a victim of sheer bad luck. He only gives up 35 home runs a season because God hates him.
McCutchen doubles with two outs. He's 2-for-2. I am getting really, really excited about this kid.
I finally managed to get the Pirates feed, thank God. Lanny and Steve Blass are talking about colonoscopies, which isn't entirely surprising in itself given some of the things I've heard over the airwaves over the past decade or so. I'd still rather hear about colonoscopies than unceasing drivel about how Edwin Encarnacion is the second coming.
Paul Wilson comeback sighting!
Man, remember "Generation K?"
Where is Bill Pulsipher these days, anyway
Ah, the Josh Hamilton saga. He's a Rule V pick, so he has to stick, or he might just be done with baseball, period. Should be interesting. It'll be especially interesting if he does make it, to see what the over/under is for the date of his first cocaine binge.
Luis Matos hits his second home run of the afternoon. He's got a serious shot to make the team as our right-handed backup outfielder. I wouldn't really mind, as long as the Pirates aren't also wasting a roster spot on a backup catcher who can't do anything. There are worse 5th outfielders than Matos. He can pick it a little bit in center, and he wasn't a terrible hitter when healthy.
Salomon Torres is making his first of what probably will be 25 appearances this spring. Historically, Sal has tended to pitch better later in the season. The more tired his arm gets, the more his splitter dives, and the more unhittable he becomes. Since some geniuses decided it would be a good idea to make Sal a closer, it's pretty imperative that his arm gets tired sooner rather than later. If he's closing, he'll also be pitching far less often than the 94 appearances he made last season. So the plan is to just work the hell out of him in March, and hope he's ready for the real thing.
Why is Jose Hernandez still in this baseball game? Steve Blass is ragging on Josh Hamilton's arm. Good stuff.
Hooray, John Wehner makes his triumphant arrival in the booth.
Few things bring me such unbridled joy as hearing this man's voice, in all its yinzer glory.
Jim Tracy has replaced stepson Jose Hernandez at first base with son-in-law Mike Edwards. Ugh.
Yes, Eddy Garabito sighting. The Pirates have a nice little clusterfuck at the middle infield position between AA and AAA. The problem is, only one of them, Brian Bixler is actually a prospect, and he'll probably be the regular shortstop in Indianapolis. Then there's Pittsburgh native and Neil Walker's brother-in-law Don Kelly, Canadian Nick Green, Javier Guzman, who was recently fired as a prospect (by way of removal from the 40-man roster), Garabito, and probably some other guys I'm forgetting. If Garabito winds up as a starter in Altoona, I would enjoy that immensely.
Allan Simpson is pitching for the Pirates. Allan Simpson had lupus. That's about all I know about him.
Josh Hamilton takes him deep. That's eight total home runs on the afternoon, the announcers haven't been exaggerating about the wind apparently.
Rheal Cormier, Major League Baseball's resident French Canadian, is on to pitch for the Reds.
Neil Walker apparently has been playing third base for the last couple of innings, but I haven't really been paying attention to see whether he's gotten any opportunities in the field. Michael Ryan is in the game too, and it's struck me how many Western Pennsylvanians are in camp. Walker, Ryan, Don Kelly, Josh Sharpless. Let's bring back Mike Gulan.
Vic Buttler gets an at-bat. He's sort of been lost in the Creechling shuffle.
I just learned that the Pirates signed Randy Ruiz to a minor league contract. This is a guy who was busted for steroids last season, and claimed it was because he was on Viagra. But whatever, man can rake at the AA level. His presence in Altoona will make going to those games a whole lot more fun.
Ho ho, Greg Brown just made a funny (probably unintentionally) about Javier Guzman's status as a prospect. "Javier Guzman...still a prospect in the Pirates organization...?" he says, raising his voice at the end as if it's a question. The sooner they get rid of him, the better. We need to be completely rid of that disgraceful Craig Stansberry/Guzman era.
Sweet, Yurendell de Caster is still hanging around the Pirates system. Last I'd heard, the team released him this winter and were considering resigning him, but I didn't know that we actually had.
Man, the news just keeps rolling in. Apparently Mark Corey is back in the Pirates camp. This instinctively reminds me of the time I was shouting "BLUNTMAN!" at a Pirates game that Corey was pitching in, and some 8-year-old kid decided to follow suit.
But Kevin Gryboski is pitching now, and he has a pretty impressive strikeout to walk ratio in the Major Leagues. He's walked 105 guys and struck out 103. That's Chacon-esque right there.
Well, it's taken eight and a half innings, but this game has finally seen someone that I have honestly never heard of before. Some guy named Brad Salmon is pitching for the Reds now.
Greg Brown is such a dork. "WELL THE PIRATES COULD REALLY USE A LEFTY SLUGGER OFF THE BENCH I THINK MICHAEL RYAN FITS THAT PROFILE AND IT WOULD BE AN AWESOME STORY BECAUSE HE'S FROM THE PITTSBURGH AREA AND ALL."
The situation right now: Michael Ryan at third, Mike Edwards at second, Humberto Cota at first. Vic Buttler at the plate. Yep, it's the Grapefruit League opener, all right.
Fun fact that I would never have known if it weren't for spring training broadcasts: Jason Kendall's brother is employed by the Pirates as a scout.
Rajai Davis strokes one into the right-center field gap, but Javier Guzman is thrown out at the plate to end the game. Final score is...not important. I <3>