I'm done with my test.
And so now I'm at the bar.
Let's go Ohlendorf.
I'm done with my test.
And so now I'm at the bar.
Let's go Ohlendorf.
See, games like this one are why I'm not convinced that we're going to catch the Nationals for the worst record in the league. Clearly, we're not a very good team. Still, we're much better than the club that cratered with 12 losses in 13 games and at some point, everyone that's upset about the trade deadline stuff will get over themselves a little bit and things will improve. Maybe not a lot, but I still don't think we're a whole lot worse than we were before the deadline.
Tonight, we absolutely killed Carlos Villanueva. That probably says a lot about Villanueva, but it's still nice to see the Bucs hitting the ball over the fence and racking up hits and batting around. Kevin Hart did exactly what he's been doing on the mound; he throws hard, he gets some swings and misses, and he's hittable. That was good enough with the offense teeing off on Villanueva, though. Rarely has an August win by a last place club felt so good.
As a sidenote, I think that maybe the broadcaster highlight of the year was the conversation tonight between Greg Brown and Steve Blass about Woodstock. This isn't verbatim, but it went something like this:
Brown: And now we're celebrating the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. Hard to believe it's been 40 years! There was so much good music there. Hendix, Janis Joplin ...
Brown: Hah! You're such a joker!
Blass: I'm not joking. They were there.
Brown: Sha-na-na was not at Woodstock! Come on! With Arlo Guthrie and Joan Baez? Steve, you're a funny guy.
Blass: I'm serious.
Five minutes pass.
Brown: I've just been informed by the guys in the van that Sha-na-na was indeed at Woodstock. But they played at like 4:30 AM on the last day and everyone was in bed and no one knows they were there.
Blass: But they were there!
I don't know if I'm more amused with the actual conversation itself, or with the idea that Greg Brown thinks that people slept at any point during Woodstock. Can you even imagine Greg Brown at Woodstock? "Guys! Keep it quiet! I'm trying to sleep! HEY! HEY! WHO'S GOT THE ACID! GIVE ME YOUR DRUGS RIGHT NOW! HEY! TAKE THAT PILL OUT OF YOUR MOUTH RIGHT NOW OR I'M CALLING THE POLICE!!!"
Ah, and now, all I can think of is this:
Anita Miller: All the kids make fun of him. They call him the Narc behind his back.
Elaine Miller: What's a narc?
Anita Miller: It's a narcotics officer.
Elaine Miller: Well, what's wrong with THAT?
See? Isn't winning much more fun than losing?
With the Pirates mired in an ugly 12-losses-in-13-games skid, just about the last team in the world that I want to see is the team that's owned us unlike any other in the past few seasons, the Brewers. I don't care if Kevin Hart vs. Claudio Vargas is a favorable pitching matchup for us, this isn't good. Hypothetically speaking, we could just about close the door on the Brewers' playoff hopes with a series win or sweep (if they have hopes left), but that seems about as likely as it snowing here in Chapel Hill tomorrow.
An unrelated side note: How awesome is it to not have to fret over the draft pick signing deadline tonight? The run-up to midnight on August 15th last year might be the most stressful thing that's happened to me as a Pirate fan in the last five years.
That's the word from on high this morning, and it shouldn't be surprising to anyone. Russell was hired by Huntington because of his extensive experience with young players as a minor league manager for the Twins and Phillies. The team that's on the field now and the team that's coming up in the minors is the one he was hired to manage.
Russell works pretty closely with Huntington on a lot of things (see: Jason Jaramillo, Doug Mientkiewicz). I actually think that his even demeanor is probably a good thing for a team like the Pirates, even if it drives a lot of people insane. Quite honestly, the manager always gets a bad rap on bad teams and I think a lot of the anger directed at Russell is a result of having his hands tied by a bullpen that's unpredictable at best and awful at worst. At the very least, I think he deserves a chance to manage this team as the prospects start arriving.
With the Pirates falling apart right before our eyes, it makes sense that focus is really turning to the 2010 draft. That makes sense if Bryce Harper is half the prospect everyone says he is (I've wanted to write this post since well before both Pittsburgh papers wrote about Bryce Harper on Sunday). The problem is that Bryce Harper terrifies me.
Look at how Boras is talking to the Nationals about Stephen Strasburg. Talking about how the system is broken, how Strasburg wants to set a precedent, etc. etc. It's possible that that sort of talking Boras huffing and puffing and hoping the Nats play his game and that even if they don't, Strasburg will take what the Nats are offering (it is supposed to be quite substantial afterall) at 11:59 or so on Monday night.
That's a potential outcome because as good as Strasburg is, his leverage as a 21-year old college pitcher has its limits. That's not to say he's not a great prospect, because he is. He's about the most impressive college pitching prospect I can remember (though to be fair, the other two that immediately jump to mind are Mark Prior and Kris Benson) and that's worth something. But he throws 101 mph and everyone that's ever thrown as hard as he does has encountered serious arm problems. Every pitch he throws for the St. Paul Saints or the Fort Worth Cats is one that he's not getting paid what he could be getting paid and with the nature of pitching prospects, that's risky. Both Strasburg and Boras know that because they do, Strasburg is certainly more likely to sign than not tomorrow.
Bryce Harper is an entirely different set of circumstances and that's what makes me so nervous about him. He'll be 17 next year, he's a position player, and he's got more hype behind him than any prospect in baseball history (which says something in this day and age). He will literally have more leverage on whatever team picks him than any draft pick in baseball history.
What's scary about Harper is his age. He can sign if he wants, but he can do anything if he doesn't. Maybe Boras's insinuations about Japan seem like a joke in regard to Strasburg, but Harper could go to Japan for five years and come back and he'd only be 22. What happens to a high school kid who doesn't sign and doesn't go to college? I'm sure there are loopholes here and Harper is the exact client that Boras can probe for those loopholes with. And since he's so young, he can do it without really even threatening his career.
This is all speculation on my part, of course. I don't know what's going to happen with Harper next year. Hell, I don't even know that the Pirates will finish with the worst record in baseball this year. But I do know that Boras has been rumbling about re-defining the way the draft works for several years now and he'll never have a better opportunity to do so than he does with Harper.
Ross Ohlendorf and Rich Harden at 2:20. The only reason to watch today is if you're some sort of rubbernecker. I suppose Ohlendorf is the only pitcher to win a game in the last twelve, so maybe there's some kind of hope for today.
To begin with, there's no point in complaining about not having Tom Gorzelanny today. This team was almost no-hit by Yusmeiro Petit just over a week ago. No pitching performance shy of a perfect game against them will impress me. I'm not kidding.
Actually, there's not a whole lot to say here. This was just another uninspired loss in a long stretch of uninspired losses. There's really no worse baseball to watch than the kind the Pirates are "playing" right now.
I saw the commercials yesterday for today's 2:00 start time ... and I forgot Chicago's in another time zone. Zach Duke tries to put yesterday's disaster behind him against Tom Gorzelanny, Brian Bixler and Denny Bautista are up with the Pirates (shudder), and I'm blacked out because FOX are a bunch of jerks.
The Pirates and Cubs kick off a series of three straight afternoon games today at 2:20 at Wrigley. Charlie Morton and Randy Wells take the mound. I also posted an epic-length Futilitywatch at FanHouse today with some stuff that I thought was interesting about the other longest losing streaks in American sports history.no comments