Buc’n Battle Report: Saint Searage?
It is only 14.1 innings and that proves absolutely nothing but Volquez’s start of the season should at least have us thinking about our letters to Pope Francis asking him to name pitching coach Ray Searage a saint. After all a saint needs to have performed a miracle and if Volquez keeps pitching at anywhere close to this level I think we have one here.
Maybe there is no such thing
As a pitching prospect. The Pirates ranks took another blow this week as Luis Heredia was removed from his start after throwing just one pitch. The issue appears to be his shoulder and it is reported to be minor but this still isn’t good news. Hopefully Heredia will be throwing again in a matter of days/weeks not months but shoulder injuries always worry me. Heredia was already nearing disappointment status after basically a lost 2013 season which saw him show up out of shape another set back would drop him down to just an ordinary prospect.
The story at AAA has been Gregory Polanco and his torrid pace but lost in all of that is the fact Andrew Lambo is starting to hit pretty well. It is still probably too early to have changed the Pirates minds but sooner or later he is going to have to get his shot over Ishikawa who after a good start is regressing back to what we knew was coming.
It is always nice to add depth and by adding Jeff Locke and Vin Mazzaro back in the ranks in AAA that is just what the Pirates did. Locke should serve as the sixth starter and with the shaky beginning the rotation has had he might be needed sooner rather than later. It is more difficult to guess as to what role Mazzaro will have as Hughes and Welker will likely be the top two options to fill a hole in the bullpen thanks to being on the MLB roster but if a reliever goes down with a long term injury the Pirates may turn to him.
Two weeks into the season and amazingly enough Wei-Chung Wang still hasn’t made his major league debut. The Brewers appear like they really want to hold on to him but don’t want to play him. With their good start likely raising expectations you have to wonder just how long they can continue to field in essence a 24 man roster.
Central gets tougher
I hate to admit it but this Brewers team is a strong one. I still don’t think they are the best team in the division that belongs to the Cardinals but I had a sneaky suspicion they might be able to challenge for the second spot and so far things are trending that way. Still the bullpen is playing over its head right now and the offense is performing at a level they aren’t capable of maintaining so they will regress but even so I expect them to be in the race for most of the year.
I am quite amazed the Pirates have made it two weeks without having to make a single adjustment to the Opening Day roster. Such a thing usually doesn’t happen as a player is bound to come up with a minor early season injury. Another thing that amazes me is just how regular the Pirates everyday lineup has gotten. Hurdle typically likes to mix things up a bit and with non cookie cutter platoons at 1B and RF I expected to see a good bit of it. Now as for if these things are good or not I think the former definitely is while the later well the jury is still out on it.
Morales and Drew?
With Morales and Drew still not signed the talk is shifting to them signing after the draft. Naturally with a hole at 1B and a struggling SS the Pirates are popping up as a potential landing spot. Given there is still plenty of flexibility in the budget a thing not a lot of teams have this seems like a reasonable suggestion. Personally I like the idea of signing Drew to give the offense a boost should Mercer not come around but I’m a bit more skeptical on Morales for the simple fact I don’t really view him as an everyday 1B.
More division games. I know just a little under half the games the Pirates play this year will come against their division mates but starting out with 26 such games in a row is a bit of a long stretch especially considering just how good the division is. I know most were hoping the Pirates would just come out firing but let’s be realistic here if the Pirates can just hold their heads above water in their own division going a touch above .500 their playoff chances still look pretty decent. With all that being said the Reds aren’t playing really well right now and the Pirates need to defend their home when the Brewers come to town.