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Location: Johnstown, Pennsylvania, United States

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Bob Smizik abuses his right to free speech...again

Bob Smizik. He's nowhere bad as Ron Cook's worthless drivel, but he has occasionally put out a real stinker of an article. Today's story, however, wasn't 100% bad. Not exactly cutting-edge reporting, as a majority of it is stuff we all already know: The Pirates are playing well, we're hovering dangerously close to .500, the Braves are a good team, etc. He also lists his concerns, which include the obvious problems of Mesa not pitching well and Lawton not hitting nearly as well as he was earlier in the season (.311 in April, down to .246 now while in the midst of a .217 streak.)

Then he gets to his point that our offense (or lack thereof) is putting too much pressure on the pitchers. I wouldn't say that lately. In April, yes, absolutely. In April our offense was so inept that I was wondering when they were going to start calling for public tryouts for somebody who could hit. Lately though, we've been much better. Over our last 15 games, we've averaged 5 runs. In our first 15 games, we managed only 2.87 RPG. Not coincidentally, we were 4-11 in those first 15 games and 8-7 in our most recent 15. These aren't amazing numbers or anything, but I'd say our offense has been keeping us in games of late. Especially given that some of those games have come against very good pitching (Prior, Hudson, the Marlins (Leiter notwithstanding, he sucks), and the Cardinals' staff who dominates us despite not being top-tier pitchers.)

In fact, the Pirates were 6th in the NL in runs scored in May. Given that we actually lead the league in slugging, homers, and total bases, as well as second in OPS. I know we should have been higher than 6th in runs in light of this information, but our offense has not been the problem of late. In fact, if anything I'd say our usually stellar defense has been more to blame for some recent losses than anything. Our pitching has been fine, as mentioned by Gene Collier in an article yesterday. It's not that our pitching has HAD to be this good, it's highly likely that they ARE this good. It's not like they're up there throwing CG's every night and mowing down every batter they face, they're just pitching well and keeping us in games. Last time I checked, that was a pitchers' job - to keep the other team from scoring.



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