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Location: Johnstown, Pennsylvania, United States

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Growing concerns as we head to Cincinnati

Yes, we've lost 4 in a row and 6 of our last 8. After a streak in which it looked like we were going to hit .500 and start to turn the corner from "potentially decent team" to "actually decent team," we've started to suck. Hard. Problems include things like Mesa totally dropping off, Bay and Lawton's averages tanking, and our inability to hold a lead.

Yes, I said HOLD a lead and not GAIN a lead. Last night was the first time in our last 16 games that we haven't had the lead at some point. In that stretch we've gone 8-8, which wouldn't be terribly awful except that we started out 6-2. So apparently having the lead at one point means little about our chances of actually winning the game. Might this have something to do with our bullpen? You don't suppose..... I'll spare you the ranting about Mesa, because we all know that he's decided to suck lately, allowing tons of walks, hits, runs, and what have you. I'm more concerned about Torres. He had a pretty good start to the season, getting his ERA as low as 1.17. Obviously ERA isn't the best indicator of a reliever's performance, but thats low enough that its indicative of good work. He allowed 1 run in his first 8 appearances, totalling 7.2 innings. He's allowed 6 runs in his last 4 appearances (though only 3 were earned.) In his 8 appearances in the month of May, he's walked 6 batters and struck out only 1. His K/BB ratio is now 4/11. Did I mention that 2 of those last 4 appearances were against the ROCKIES? We can't survive this coming month with one of our better relievers giving a clinic on how to throw balls (against the Rockies, he got Barmes to ground out on the 2nd pitch, then threw 9 straight balls and 12 in 13 pitches to walk the bases loaded before getting pulled.) Does anybody know why we haven't been using Grabow more often? He's been doing pretty well this season, so I'm hoping its just because we don't utilize our lefties very often (and when we do, we have no reason to not use Gonzalez.)

I'd like to formally invite Jason Bay to quit oggling the balls as they come to the plate and hit them instead. Less Peeping Tom and more Michael Pitman please. He has great potential, but if he keeps striking out this much (11 times in the last 7 games, with only 5 hits) we're going nowhere but down. Matt Lawton could also use to find his swing (4 K's and 4 hits in the same 7-game span.) His OPS has dropped from .823 through the first month of the season to .747 now. And obviously Jack isn't hitting anything at all except the fan sitting in the 3rd row when he tries to turn a DP or throw someone out on a slow roller. When the top 3 batters in your lineup aren't getting any hits, it doesn't give you much hope for winning the game.



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