40-15 was the big number going in this past weekend's series between the Pirates and Marlins. That wasn't the combined score of the three-game set, it was the disparity between the two team's payrolls. The Pirates spent 40 million, while the Marlins pay their players a total of 15 million. No bang for the Bucs, I guess. I apologize for the bad pun. The Marlins look bad, at least pitching-wise, but they have an up and coming, young lineup. Also, they did this tear-it-down, build it back up thing before, so stay tuned. It just might be another city they're doing it in.
The Pirates have a welcome off day today, with no travelling between home games. Wrong, they go to Cooperstown, NY for the Hall of Fame game against the Reds. Don't get me wrong, it's an honor to play at Doubleday Field, but if one team could really use a day off, it's the Pirates. Any day the team has had off has been a travel day, so (and BELIEVE ME, I'm not making excuses for the club) they have to be a little tired. Today should just be one of those "get the hell away from baseball and recharge the batteries" type days.
A few quick notes:
Outfielder Chris Duffy was optioned to AAA Indianapolis yesterday. Duffy has been a major disappointment so far this year. He was expected to be the everyday center fielder and leadoff man, but struggled mightily in both roles. He opened eyes last year with his .341 average and stellar glove down the stretch, but couldn't get it going this year. Duffy also committed a cardinal sin of baseball: letting a poor performance at the plate affect his play in the field. I'm not giving up on him. The truth is, Nate Mclouth has played pretty decently in Duffy's stead, and Chris just couldn't get on the field. It's better to play everyday at Indy instead of rotting on the bench in a windbreaker with the big club.
Plus, the move had to be made to make room for Joe Randa, who was activated from the DL. Jose Bautista, originally called up to replace Randa, has been playing too well to merit another demotion--just as he did this spring--and Duffy appears to be the odd man out -- for now.
In case anyone's interested, here's a quick fantasy outlook for the week.
This might not be a good week to start any pitchers, as the Pirates have the Reds at home and the Indians at Jacobs this week. The Reds hit just about anywhere and Cleveland has been slumping, so look for them to have a huge breakout. If you insist, however, lefty Paul Maholm (pronounced Muh-hallum) will get two starts this week.
In my last post, I pointed out that Bautista didn't have any power to speak of. No sooner do I hit "blogit," he goes out and smacks two, tripling his career output of one. He's still probably no more than a buck on the waiver wire, so he's better to have on your bench or spot starting than say, Darin Erstad.
In the prognostication department, I believe it's Baywatch time. That means that struggling Jason Bay should finally be ready to bust out of his slump and be the player he was last year. He's starting to get on base more by drawing walks, and his patience usually leads to getting better pitches to hit. Look for more homers, doubles and RBI's this week.