Monday, June 18, 2007

Monday, June 18, 2007

-- Seattle primer.

-- Only show in town.

---West Coast Swing #2---

Not a lot of time to blog on this one. I was actually hesitant to blog at this point, because the Pirates actually had a winning homestand, and I didn't want to jinx it by posting again. Well, I figured I had to put something down, or my few-but-proud loyal readers would forget I was here.

By the time the Bucs take Safeco Field tomorrow night, they'll have been off for over 48 hours. Superficially, on paper, this series could be a good one.

The Mariners are among Major League's best in batting average, hitting .284, while the Pirates are batting a full 30 points lower (.254 for people who hate math).

However, the Pirates have a similar edge in pitching: their ERA is 4.56, vs. Seattle's 4.84.

Looking a little deeper, though, this series could see Seattle mounting rallies in the later innings.

Statistics for innings 1 through 6:

Pirates ERA: 4.35
Seattle ERA: 5.41

Pirates BA: .265
Seattle BA: .288

Good pitching beats good hitting, allegedly. So, give the Pirates the slight edge here with the starters.

Turn the page...innings 7 and onward:

Pirates ERA: 4.96
Seattle ERA: 3.63

Pirates BA: .231 (tied for last with White Sox, Baltimore, and Tampa Bay)
Seattle BA: .275 (best in MLB)

Those who have even only casually followed the Bucs this year know how bad the bullpen has been through most of this season. Throw that bullpen against the best-late-inning-hitting team in ball? You'd better pray that either the starter is still in, or that there is a 10-run lead entering the final 3 frames.

Statistics, of course, only chart tendencies, but when you put the above together, it seems to spell out that the Bucs can get a lead in the early goings, but Seattle will be more than ready to erase that the third or fourth time through the order.

Another stat that does not favor the Pirates at all:

With the bases loaded, the Pirates are hitting .271 (middle of the pack in that stat).

Seattle, however leads all teams with a BA of .439

So, as if trying to predict the weather, buckle down for some cardiac style endings in the Emerald City.

Of course, Seattle has lost 5 straight while Pittsburgh's fortunes have been decent during the past week. Some might say that the Pirates are catching the Mariners at the right time, but I say that the Bucs are usually the cure for what ails struggling teams.

And, any Pirate fans in that area who spot a Seattle fan in the stands complaining about Superbowl XL, kindly remind them that this is baseball.

Then light it on fire. I can probably scrounge up a WMBS T-shirt for you or something.


The statistics heading into the series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim don't look like they make for an exciting series at all.

The Angels are one point better than the M's with a team BA of .285.

But where the Angels kick Seattle's collective butts are with their ERA: 3.77

For those keeping track, that's over a full run better per nine innings than their divisional counterparts in the northwest US.

The forecast for Los Angeles this weekend looks like an Angels' sweep.

Of course, Ian Snell's recent finger-burning might serve the purpose of having both of our "star" pitchers take the mound during that series to salvage at least one victory out of Angel Stadium.

T-minus 52 wins
T-minus 43 losses
with 93 to play.

---Baseball Only---

With the conclusion of the NBA Finals last week, baseball season is now the only show in town. Unless you're a NASCAR fan. Or a Golf fan. Or an Arena Football fan.

Heh. I didn't think so.

Steelers training camp begins in 5 weeks.

Penguins training camp isn't even on the calendar yet, as far as I'm concerned.

But about those NBA Finals. I'm not a huge NBA fan, but who the heck do you root for when you're sick of the Spurs, but simultaneously hate Cleveland? I mean, I couldn't root for Tim Duncan to win yet again. If Cleveland has to win a Championship, I'd rather it be in basketball...they can't really lord that over Pittsburgh fans, no more than Penguin fans could brag to Cleveland fans about winning a Stanley Cup.

Well, at least it was over quickly, right?


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