Saturday, April 14, 2012

#251: Very Small Ball

---SSL Broadcast #89---

Eleven runs in seven games.

I don't think that this kind of output even qualifies as "anemia," as that would be an insult to anemia.

The Pittsburgh Pirates, in this young season, are dead last in just about every offensive category (including runs). Last in Batting Average (.178), On Base Percentage (.216), Slugging Percentage (.260), and Walks (they've drawn only 7).

If not for the (once again) surprising starting pitching - which is currently ranked 4th best in baseball with a 2.70 ERA - this team might not even have a win to show for it.

Consider that the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL have scored 12 goals in two games in a sport that's generally lower scoring than baseball. It might be apples-to-oranges for the most part, but it's still some measure of perspective.

Pedro Alvarez, who is in his boom-or-bust third season, is 1-for-16 (at least that "1" was a homer), with TEN strikeouts. The man who is supposed to blossom into a power hitter that opposing pitchers fear is threatening to go into the night without so much as a whimper. It is almost to the point where an Alvarez at-bat does not contain any suspense.

Andrew McCutchen, who leads all Pirate position players with a .360 batting average, has still failed at times to come up in the clutch. He was responsible for a walk-off win last Sunday, but he also grounded into a double play in the season opener that killed an early threat against Roy Halladay, and he grounded out to end that game, too. However, it is good that he's getting put in that situation repeatedly. That should pay dividends down the stretch.

Neil Walker is hitting .048 so far.

One hopes it's only because the Pirates have faced very strong pitching to begin the season, and not because this is a taste of the 155 games to come.

On the latest episode:

- Flyers resiliency overcoming flash-start Penguins.

- Steelers make some signings.

- Power facing, essentially, its last chance to right the season.

- If you didn't want to read my last post due to length, I reveal who I picked in all the NHL series.



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