Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pirates at Mariners, 10:05 PM

The Mariners prepare for the Pirates' arrival - AP Photo/Jessica Kourkounis

The Pirates begin a three-game series with the Mariners tonight in Seattle. Tom Gorzelanny will take the mound for the Bucs, with Miguel Batista going for Seattle. This game begins at 10:05, which means I must decide between watching the game and sleeping for more than four hours. If you don't see any posts from me tomorrow, you'll know what I chose.

Expect to see the Pirates win by a comfortable margin tonight, only to have Seattle fans complain about the umpire's strike zone for the rest of their lives. (Yes, I will take shots at Seahawk fans, despite the fact that I am still bitter about the Joe Nedney game from January 2003 and the Tony Randazzo call in June 2005. No, I don't care whether or not that is fair.)

Brian O'Neill has an interesting article in today's Post-Gazette, as he looks at the Pirate infield issue. The Pirates currently have four players (Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez, Jose Bautista, and Jose Castillo) to play three positions (second, short, and third). The problem is that the two best fielders are the two worst hitters and vice versa. Offensively, the best infield includes Bautista, Sanchez, and either Wilson or Castillo. Defensively, the best alignment would be Castillo at second, Wilson at short, and either Bautista or Sanchez at third. Bautista and Sanchez have both been red-hot at the plate, making it difficult to remove either of them. However, Freddy's lack of range at second has really hurt the team this year. It does not help that the Pirates' rotation includes several groundball pitchers who do not strike many batters out. This is something I have been mulling over for several weeks, and I still do not have a satisfying answer.

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