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Pitching and defense

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CHICAGO — Not a lot of defensive gems by the Pirates in the first two games of this series against the White Sox.

Tuesday, left fielder Jason Michaels took a few steps in on Jermaine Dye’s liner. The ball went over Michaels’ head for a two-run double. Last night, second baseman Luis Rivas called off first baseman Adam LaRoche for a pop-up, then stumbled and dropped the ball. It went as a two-base error and allowed a run to score.

A local TV station’s promo for today’s game boasted of a “South Side sweep.” Listening to the Chicago beat guys in the press box, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of respect being given to the Pirates.

That’s what happens when you play D like the Keystone Cops.

But more so than the defense, the Pirates’ pitching has been lousy. The Sox have hit seven home runs by seven different players. Carlos Quentin, who hit a 372-foot solo shot last night, is a legit power threat. But Toby Hall? Orlando Cabrera? Brian Anderson?

I talked Wednesday afternoon with GM Neal Huntington, who reiterated there are no “serious conversations … at this time” about sending any of the struggling pitchers down to Indianapolis.

If a starter would be demoted, John Van Benschoten would be called up from Indianapolis.

“John was sharp in his last outing, but he scuffled a bit before that,” Huntington said. Not a ringing endorsement.

Huntington’s assessment of Ian Snell’s start Tuesday against the Sox (four innings, seven runs, nine hits): “He picked and nibbled and gave the White Sox too much respect. His stuff is good enough to get them out.”
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