Results tagged ‘ Jack Wilson ’
The Pirates have won 4 games in a row. After having a terrible 1-5 road trip, the Pirates have played great baseball this homestand. So far they are 4-1 after a series with the Indians and two games with the Royals. The Buccos are now 35-39 and back to a familiar 4 games under .500 and 5 games out of first. We still sit in last place, but we’re only a game and half out of 3rd. Our Pythagorean Wins/Losses is now at 38-36 and we are now an oustanding +7 in run differential. It’s amazing how we can say those two stats and still be 4 games under .500, let’s just hope the baseball gods even out the karma a little bit in the next couple months. I still really believe this team can break .500 and possibly compete in the division. However, there is one thing that could really kill it, and that would be trading Jack Wilson and/or Freddy Sanchez.
Jack is hitting .291 this year (21 points above his career average) with 3 home runs and 24 RBI. He’s been hitting 8 hole all year, so the 24 RBI isn’t bad at all. He’s only played in 54 games due to that finger injury last year. The Pirates don’t need Jack because of his bat though, he’s been with the team for 9 years and he has never been considered an above average hitting shorstop. It’s his defense that makes him valuable. Jack has a career .978 fielding percentage, that number is at .976 this year. He’s committed 6 errors this year, which is 1 more than he had all of last year, but that is still a solid number. The numbers on Jack aren’t amazing, but you really grasp his greatness when you watch the team without him. Jack’s defense is just something we’ve all gotten used to and taken for granted in these 9 years. The guy is the best shortstop in the league at starting and turning double plays. He has made numerous web gems and highlight reel plays in his career, and 2009 has proved no different. It seems he makes a great play every game and is in the top 5 in web gem points on baseball tonight (how is that for a statistic). Jack’s Total Fielding Runs Above Average is 11.8, which means he has saved us 11.8 runs more than the average shortstop would have. That translates into saving us 20.3 runs this year. In comparison, Jimmy Rollins’ highest career TFRAA is 10.2, Jose Reyes has only been over 10 once in his career. There aren’t many shortstops in the league with a better number in that category. And trust me, any guy we call up to replace him will turn Jack’s +11.8 into a negative number, and I can almost guarantee that. Brian Bixler is terrible, he’s not a big league player, so let’s not make him one. Keep Jack Wilson. He’s 33 years old, but he has a couple more seasons of great baseball ahead of him, and this team can definitely compete in that time, and we will need him to do so. Jack has offered to take pay cuts to stay in Pittsburgh, he really wants to be here when he hangs them up.
Freddy has been the Pirates most consistent hitter in the last few years. This year has been much of the same. He is hitting .317, and he is on base to shatter his career highs in power numbers. Freddy has hit 6 homeruns already, and his career high in that category is 11. He also has driven in 31 runs, his career high is 85. He might not drive in 85 but I think it’s safe to say he’ll hit over 11 homers. Freddy’s fielding has greatly improved this year as well, he is rated as one of the top 3 defensive 2nd basemen in the National League. Freddy has a .997 fielding percentage, you can’t do much better than that. He has made 1 error all year. He’s been apart of 56 double plays this year, he and Jack lead the league in DPs. Freddy is pretty much a shoe-in to be the Pirates’ all-star representative this year. Freddy is 32 years old and also has a good 2-4 years of this level baseball in him. Like I said before, I believe this team has the tools to compete in these next two years and they will need Freddy to do it.
These two guys are fan favorites. Everybody loves them, they are really involved in the community and both sponsor many programs to help underprivileged children and things of that like. Kids idolize them and they are really the heart of the Pirates. I understand that the Pirates are building for the future and the answer is in the farm system, but I really believe that these two guys we have to keep. Let’s face it, they both have more value in Pittsburgh than in any other city. We have no replacements for them, at least in the next 2 years. If we were to get rid of these two, we would have absolutely no chance of even hitting .500 this year or next year. The two have been at the top of the league in DPs every year they’ve played together and they are sure fun to watch. I will greatly miss both of these guys if they leave. Please Neil, keep Freddy and Jack! They have earned the right to retire in Pittsburgh, let them do it.
Today Freddy and Jack will team up with the rest of the buccos to try and complete the sweep of the Kansas City Royals. This will be their hardest challenge of the homstand as they face Zack Greinke, who leads the league in ERA at 1.90. He’s 5th in the AL in strikeouts and has 9 wins.
Greinke started out at a god-ish pace but has since slowed down a little bit. In his last 4 starts, he is 1-2 and his ERA has climbed .80 points. He gave up 5, 3, 4, and 1 earned runs respectively. He did nice work in his last start, going 8 strong giving up only 1 earned and striking out 5. The Pirates send Charlie Morton to face him, so it’s gonna take a great performance from him along with the rest of the club to defeat the Royals today. The Royals have only lost 6 times when Greinke pitches this year, and he’s made 15 starts. I think we got this though, the Pirates have been playing great baseball and the Royals just aren’t that good. Let’s Go Bucs!!
Ah yes, my pre-game feelings were right on. The Pirates finally ended their 8-game losing streak with an impressive 7-1 victory over the Cardinals. I feel like I should make a long post reflecting on this game’s happenings. However, no one really wants to read all that, plus I didn’t even watch the game because I was playing softball. We did win our game, in case you were wondering, we 15-runned our opponent and I made my first web-gem of the year at second base on a screaming grounder up the middle. It felt good. haha. Anyways, let’s get to some Pirates baseball information:
- Zach Duke : 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 5 K, 1 BB – Duke was phenomenal again. He’s really good in PNC Park. Duke did just what we needed him too. The only run he surrendered was a first inning home run to Albert Pujols, which wasn’t even his fault, because it’s Albert Pujols. I honestly don’t even get upset when watching a Pujols bomb, which happens so often against the Pirates. I’ve just accepted that this guy is the best hitter of my lifetime and he’s going to hit a lot of home runs. I’m a big fan of his so whatever he does is fine with me. The important thing is to get everyone else in that lineup out, which Duke did tonight. Of course the early injury to Ryan Ludwick helped Duke’s cause as well. Anyway, great work from Duke getting us off the schneid.
- Brandon Moss : 3/4, 2 R, 2 RBI – Brandon Moss finally looked like a major league hitter. He ripped a single in the second and finally hit his first long ball of the year in the 5th. Let’s just hope this is a boost of confidence and this kind of night becomes a very familiar thing. That would be a huge boost to the team. Also, let me say one thing. After that home run, I got a couple texts from friends saying “look at your boy Moss” or something of that sort. Let me say this, Brandon Moss is NOT my boy. I have stuck up for him all through April just because of his youth and upside, but I’m not going to lie that faith had been wavering him. After one game I’m not going to change my wavering view of him or say that he is ready to break out, because he probably isn’t. One thing I’m not going to do is start bragging about my patience with him and say it paid off, because I was about to give up on him and hey, it’s only one game. This is ridiculous, let’s move on.
- Matt Capps : Well Zach Duke couldn’t finish the game and stopped after 8 innings, and that gave the Pirates a chance to see Matt Capps for the first time in over a week. He showed mixed signs. He gave up a hit and 2 walks and actually loaded the bases with nobody out, but then put it together and struck out 2 batters and got a flyout to end the game. His control was off, but he was throwing good pitches that resulted in a lot of swing and misses. The control issues were probably expected because he had been down for a while, and it’s really good to see him getting hitters off balance and vulnerable at the plate. That’s the Capps we need to see for the rest of this year, enough of the wildness and straight fastballs over the heart of the plate.
Alright well I have very little time here, even though I’d love to do a full recap of this game, because it was spectacular. The Pirates collected 17 hits today, including 4 a piece from Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson. Nate McLouth had hit first hit of the season and it happened to go over the fence for his first home run and first RBIs of 2009. Zach Duke also pitched great, going 6.1 innings giving up 3 runs (1 earned) on 5 hits and striking out 4. Just an overall awesome performance. Right now Matt Capps is in for the save after a shaky third of an inning from Tyler Yates. Capps doesn’t look particularly good right now either, giving up a towering foul ball to Colby Rasmus and a long out to Nate McLouth. He just finished it up though, on another hard hit ball right at Ramon Vasquez. So it’s all over and the Pirates win 7-4.