Results tagged ‘ Akinori Iwamura ’

Hoping we leave the losses in San Francisco

Thank you Edgar Renteria.

 

edgar.jpgWithout your error in the top of the ninth inning of Tuesday’s 6-5 loss to the Pirates, the lowly Bucs would not have won a game in the series.

Everything fell apart for the Pirates in the series. Falling apart may not be the best descrption because it seems like this team is what we’re going to get all season.

Charlie Morton got shelled on Wednesday giving up 3 home runs. One of which included an inside the parker by Aubrey Huff. Not the speed king at all but he just lucked out. His deep ball carromed off the base of the wall and took a bounce that would never occur 99 times out of 100. After watching the replay about 25 times I can assure everyone that it was not Garrett Jones’ fault for misplaying it.

Wednesday was the only game where the Bucs manufactured key runs. Aki Iwamura drove in a key run in the ninth inning and hit a home run earlir in the game. Andy LaRoche also helped out with his first home run of the season, a two run shot.

The west coast was not kind to Pittsburgh as we won just two of six. With a 4-5 record the Pirates face the 5-4 Reds. Now it is early in the season but I’m taken the Divisonal race seriously because lets face it. The Pirates are not going to be doing anything this year.

A sweep would be nice. And so would 2 out of 3. COming out of the weekend standing at or above .500 is the goal.

See ya’ll at PNC Park on Friday!

photo credit: zimbio.com

13 runs will do that to ya

It was a beautiful day in Morgantown, West Virginia on Sunday. Low 70 temps mixed with party cloudy skies make for one thing, softball.

softball.jpgTen of my closest friends at WVU make a pact that every nice day we have to attempt to get a game of softball in. Sunday was one of those days where we all were on the same page, we found an open field and it worked.

Part of what made the day so great is that I was not even able to watch the Pirate game today. The Extra Innings package blocks the games out regardless because I am in the Pittsburgh market and Fox Sports Pittsburgh was showing the Penguins game today.

I was however game tracking it on my buddy’s iphone. I was happy and please. Up until the 4th inning. The Pirates were up with a nice 4-2 lead. Andrew McCutchen teed off for his first homerun of the year and pitcher Daniel McCutchen was progressing smoothly. I will say it again-up until the 4th inning.

The Diamondbacks put up a whooping 13 runs in one inning alone to win the ballgame 15-6.

Theres not much to be happy about a 15 run performance but take away that one inning and the Bucs win the game easily.

Daniel McCutchen will be sent down tomorrow because relief pitcher Joel Hanrahan is ready to begin the season after an injury. If I was in charge I would send current relief pitcher Hayden Penn with him. Penn currently has an inflated ERA of 30.80 and has been shelled in both of his appearances this season and does not look like a major league caliber pitcher.

There were some bright spots in Arizona this weekend, most coming on Saturday.

 

Thumbnail image for duuuuuke.jpgDuke looked awesoem, maybe the best since his Opening Day start of 2009, pictured above. He went eight innings and only walked two batters. Duke gave up just a 2-run homer to Mark Reynolds and managed to work out of a handful of tough jams. He stands at 2-0 on the year which not only helps his confidence early on, it also elevates his staff ace status.

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Leadoff man Aki Iwamura belted his first homrun of the year and went 2-for-4. Iwamura has been a gem the past few games after beginning the year 0-for-8. He has been working counts and waiting on his pitches. Hopefully he continues to find his stride and become confortable.

The guy touching Aki on the head has not quite been the guy he was the first two games.

Garrett Jones was 0-for-4 on Sunday striking out and grounding into a double play.  His breakout game and opening day seems so long ago as Jones is batting just .208 right now. It can’t really be said that he will breakout of this slump because he never has had the opportunity before. We know the power is there, but the question remians, can he deliever consistently?

I for one am happy to just be leaving Chase Field. It has not been very welcoming to Pittsburgh in recent years. Thej Pirates have lost 11 of their last 18 in Pheonix and have won just two out of their last six. 

I love Chase Field. I was there for the Pirates series last year and enjoyed the atmosphere, affordability and fans at the stadium. However I cannot say the curse the team or ballpark bestows upon the Pirates is good in anyone, simply because it is not.

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It is a nice place to watch a game, and I am not a big fan of retractable roofs at all!

Anywho, it will be a late night for me tomorrow as I have a paper to write and get to watch the Bucs at ten pm. Its Pirates-Giants in San Francisco. 3-3 right now and I would love to take 2-of-3.

photo credits: Associated Press

 

Move over Sidney, there’s a new Crosby in town

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And his name is Bobby.

The Pirates are reportedly close to signing infielder Bobby Crosby to a one year deal on Thursday. The 29 year old shortstop is a former Oakland A with an aresenal of talent hiding within him and six years of big league experience.

As the winter meetings come to a close and the biggest blockbuster officially landing on Wednesday (the 3-way trade of the Yankees, D-Backs and Tigers), it is safe to say this free agent pick up by Pittsburgh will be overlooked, not only by the baseball world, but in the Pittsburgh area as well.

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Theres no question that this guy is not only the most famous Crosby in Western Pennsylvania, but also the most recognizable sports figure in the Steel City in a number of decades. With the Steelers at 6-6 and on the verge of one of their worst seasons in recent history, Pittsburgh is a Hockeytown. Rightfully so, the Penguins are Stanley Cup Champs and with marketable players with such as Mr. Sidney Crosby in town, the Pens not only are a dream on the ice, they really win the hearts of the tween girls of the area.

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In my honest opinion, females are the driving force behind the economics and welfare of professional sports teams. That may be a stretch, in fact it is, but girls enjoy a good team and it doesn’t hurt to have a few handsome players on that team. The Penguins have just that. It is amazing how many Steeler/Penguins shirts, hats, jerseys, jackets and other clothing items you see around the campus of West Virginia University. Any given day they sometimes out number the old gold and blue of the hometown Mountaineers. A majority of the people donning the black and gold of the professional teams of Pittsburgh are girls. It is because they are good and have these marketable players. I can count on one hand the number of Pirates paraphernalia I have seen in the past few years here in Morgantown. It is not many at all, mostly because of the irrelevant nature of my beloved Bucs and because the players are just not that marketable-yet.

The Pirates will be a better team. Maybe not in 2010 but by 2011 they should have a developing young core of guys that will make a push for the playoffs. Once the girls of the metropolitan area catch on, Pirates fever will begin to rank right up there with the recent surge of the Pens. Call me a wishful thinker but if the Pirates flirt with .500 this year and maybe, just maybe make a run at the playoffs Bobby Crosby will be reason for that overdue change of pace.

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He may not have had the greatest year in 2009. In fact he didn’t at all. Being paid over 5 million dollars to hit just above .230 and only knock out six home runs is never acceptable, even for a former Rookie of the Year. In 2004, Crosby earned that award when he hit 22 home runs and carried a .981 fielding percentage. SInce that year he has had a sharp decline in his numbers all around but maybe the six year vet just needs a change of scenery to get things back on track.

He will only be signed for one year at 1.5 million dollars. In no way will he be a starter, but a relaible option of the bench and an ideal utility infielder. Last year he made a majority of his starts at first base surprisingly but he is a natural shortstop. He adds to the expanding depth in the infield as he joins Delwyn Young, Neil Walker and Ramon Vazquez on the bench filling in for Andy LaRoche, Ronny Cedeno and Akinori Iwamura.
Personally I like this signing. It is low risk and worth the 1.5 million for a solid utility guy. For some reason I get a good vibe from he, though just a backup I feel he will give the team a different kind of spark and catch the attention of ladies if, and thats a big, IF, the Pirates catch fire in 2010.

Pirate’s Hot Sove already heating up

Well it was an off day for the World Series, but my baseball world kept turning. Just a few hours ago it was announced that Pittsburgh traded reliever Jesse Chavez to Tampa Bay for Akinori Iwamura.

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Aki, as he is affectionately called, will step in the Pirate clubhouse and not only be one of the oldest on the squad, but also an impact player. At 30 years old Iwamura suffered an injury last season. In just 69 games Iwamura batted .290 with 22 RBI. The power numbers aren’t there as he just hit 1 homer last year and has just 14 over his 3 year career. Iwamura does have a .335 on base percenatge-not bad but I’m hoping he can devlop into a top of the order hitter.

Iwamura’s defense is said to be top notch. It’ll be nice to have someone already meshed into a middle of the infield position. Delwyn Young, our current second baseman was a converted outfielder and had many growing pains when manning 2nd base this year.

In order to acquire Iwamura, the Pirates gave up reliever Jesse Chavez.

jchavez.jpgThe Pirates bullpen was simply attrocious this year.  One of the few, bright, ugh dare I say dimly lit spots was Chavez.  He was just 1-4 in his first full year of  service. Chavez held down a  4.01 ERA  over 67 innings.  No where near the numbers of a star reliever but for the Bucs, the numbers were pretty good. The Pirates need bullpen help and dealing away their best reliver  isn’t really my idea of improving.

All in all I am nutural on the deal. The Pirates need help, in any way possible. The deal will surely help our depth up the middle and Iwamura is an improvement over Ronny Cedeno and Young. It’ll be interesting to see how these three adapt to each other when alternating in an out. There was talk of moving Andy LaRoche to 2nd base, it now seems like these talks will cease.

When I recieved the text message update about this trade I figured many national pundits and local fans would be ho-hum about this.  Some may say “Oh this is just another trade by the Pirates to give away their players.”-but nobody said that, probably because of the return from the deal. People have heard of Akinori and so the Pirates getting him, is a great move by the Bucs. But when we trade players people have heard of such as Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez all I hear is mumblings that the Pirates are idiots for giving away these players! It is very contradictory.

aki mag.jpgAki has a track record of success. He has been on the Rays World Series team and was well liked amongst the clubhouse and the fans. He has the winning experience and a competitive edge. Bringing Iwamura into the mix adds a new dimension into the Pittsburgh clubhouse. I’m sure the international attention, specifically from the Japanese media will heighten for the Bucs. It is a new generation and every little bit helps. 

Hearing this news from the Pirates especially with the Philies and Yankees battling in the World Series just made me so much more excited for some Bucco Baseball in Pittsburgh. Heres to the best for Iwamura and the direction the Pirates are headed in!

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