On Friday afternoon, the Pirates set sail on their 2011 season albeit on some unusual competition, the State College of Florida Manatees. They also faced off against Rays on Saturday and Sunday, here are my thoughts.
Friday vs SCF Manatees W 21-1
-Don’t really know what you could take from a game against a junior college team but I’ll try my best.
-Steve Pearce had a really good game at the plate. He’s doing a lot of work at third base this spring. It would be a big lift if he could take some of the pressure off Pedro Alvarez at the hot corner this season, especially since Pearce hits well off lefties and El Toro has shown struggles.
-Corey “Wimbo Slice” Wimberly has got some serious speed and potential. He may not make the team for Opening Day but I’m sure we’ll see him at some point in 2011.
-Awesome seeing prospects such as Chase d’Arnaud and Gorkys Hernandez do their thing. Don’t get to see the minor leaguers all that often except this time of year.
-Garrett Atkins had a 3 run HR. He’s one to follow this spring as well, as he’s a part of the competition for a bench spot.
-Though the webcast was low-quality, I still had a blast taking in the game with a lot of the other bloggers and super-fans of the team.
Saturday vs Rays L 9-5
-The competition for the 5th spot in the rotation got underway. Charlie Morton pitched two innings, allowing one hit and no runs. He was aided by two double plays. Brad Lincoln didn’t fare as well. He got out of a jam in the 3rd, getting a strike out and a pick-off of Sean Rodriguez on 2nd base to end the inning. In the 4th he wouldn’t be as lucky, as Evan Longoria hit a home run off of him. Round 1 goes to Morton, but it is a very long spring.
-Daniel McCutchen didn’t have good stuff at all. Allowed a bases loaded double, and threw just 5 of his 13 pitches for strikes. His future with the team was up in the air before the season, and this first outing didn’t help.
-Lyle Overbay is such an upgrade defensively at 1B over Jones and Doumit. What worries me is his offensive ability.
Sunday vs Rays W 10-3
-Andrew McCutchen had a big game, going 3-3 with a HR off James Shields. He also had an RBI double and a stolen base. A lot of people in baseball think this will be Cutch’s breakout season. However, I don’t like Clint Hurdle batting him 3rd in the order. The team would benefit a lot more with him and Tabata as a 1-2 punch causing havoc on the basepaths for the middle of the order.
-Kevin Correa had a tough opening start. He only pitched 1.1 of his 2 scheduled innings after reaching his pitch limit. He allowed 2 ER on 2 hits and 2 walks. He was thought to be a lock for the rotation, but if he can’t find the control the Pirates will have to look at other options.
-From the obscure ex-Pirate files, there were Jonah Bayliss and Chris Bootcheck sightings as both pitched for the Rays. Boy I though our options were bad.
The Pirates are beginning their first full week of Grapefruit League play this week. I hope to have a week and review post Sunday night. Until then happy Spring Training