Thursday, April 06, 2006

Brewers series

It's pointless to draw any lasting conclusions from this series--there's still way too little data for that. But...
  • Duffy will have to show something within the first month, or he is on his way back to AAA. Obviously, swinging at the first pitch against Turnbow in the 9th last night was a rookie mistake. But he has not looked good since spring training. I have more hope for McLouth, but if he also struggles, we may be talking to Tike Redman's agent by mid-May. Or thinking about Bay in center and Wilson in left.

  • Speaking of Wilson, he's looked good so far, and thinking about having an effective Craig Wilson in the lineup every day makes me angry about the Burnitz signing all over again. Burnitz did well in the Brewers series, but even an average Burnitz year is a luxury this team can't afford when it has a better and younger option occupying the bench. Similarly, our improved bench--and it is now an improved bench--is something that is needed more by a finished team that is close to contention than by our team.

  • I think Torres will be okay--he looked great last night--and I like Hernandez despite the key walk last night. You can't fault Hernandez for Fielder's bloop, which was pure luck, but you can fault him for putting us in a position that the bloop hurt us. Marte worries me. He was worse for the White Sox last year than in previous years, and the issue was control. So far (and again, it's too early to say this), control still seems to be an issue. Grabow also worries me a little, and Vogelsong is just awful and should not be on this team. Assessment of the bullpen is incomplete, though, until we've seen Gonzo and until the starters begin to go deeper in games.

  • There's reason to be optimistic from the performances of Perez and Duke.

  • As advertised, Casey can hit and get on base but hits into way too many double plays. His highly touted defense so far has not been evident. A couple of the infield errors might have been saved by exceptional plays at first.

  • If Jack develops Steve Sax syndrome, we're in big trouble.

  • Nothing I've seen so far diverts me from my earlier conclusion that the Randa signing was unnecessary. How much of an upgrade is he over Sanchez, if at all?

  • The influence of luck on a short series like this one is exaggerated; it's only over the long term that the influence of luck begins to recede and patterns emerge on which real conclusions can be drawn. We easily could have won all of these games if we had been more lucky than the Brewers, and if we had, most of the despair that is now engulfing serious Pirates fans would not exist. But the source of the despair is not bad luck, it's performance--meaningful patterns are discernable from 13 years of data, and those of us who have been watching have learned to expect the worst.

  • I'm looking forward to seeing Snell and Maholm


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