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Barmes hopes to build on Wednesday’s performance at the plate

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Clint Barmes hasn’t had the most auspicious of starts with the Pirates, a fact he’s aware of perhaps more than anyone.
The shortstop, signed in the offseason for two years and $10.5 million, didn’t have a hit going into Wednesday’s game against the Dodgers. He hasn’t been the only member of the team struggling at the plate by any stretch. The same condition applies to the majority of the hitters at this point.
Manager Clint Hurdle, who had Barmes back in his Colorado Rockies days, said that the shortstop hasn’t been as comfortable as he’s seen him in the past, probably because he’s been trying to show everybody he belongs.
“If your focus is on playing well you tend to play a little more rigid, little more tight, with a little more anxiety,” he said. “You’ve got to be able to capture that mentality of being just out in the backyard playing. That’s usually the biggest challenge for someone coming from one organization to the next. You want to make an impact. You want to show them right away that you’re worthy and you’re here for all the right reasons and it’s one of the traps you can set for yourself to really not play with that confidence and relaxed atmosphere because you’re trying to force things.”
Barmes admitted as much after Wednesday’s game, in which he got his first hit to snap an 0-for-12 streak. It was a home run off Chad Billingsley in the third inning, and Barmes said early hitting work with coach Gregg Ritchie helped.
“Just more about the mental side and the approach than anything, really,” he said of the adjustments he made Wednesday prior to the game. “Early on I was maybe trying to do a little too much, getting a little too big at the plate and it causes me to over-swing, try to get a little too big at times. It hasn’t been good, I haven’t had really good at-bats until I felt like today, tonight anyway. Even my second and third at-bat got out both times but just seeing the ball better, felt like I put better swings on pitches I did the previous four games.”
Hurdle also said before yesterday’s game that he hopes the nine games in a row will give the team as a whole a chance to get into a routine, build some continuity and get into a rhythm more than the one day on, one day off, two days on, one day off schedule to start the season. As he also likes to say, time will tell.

= Sorry about the lack of blogging here the past few days. There have been myriad technical issues so far this trip, which I hope are now solved. Fingers crossed.

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Comments

  1. Chuck H. says:

    I bet the Dodgers will hate to see the Pirates leave town. They might have to face Major League quality teams that can both hit the ball and actually score some runs. I notice that the Rockies scored 17 runs yesterday against the Giants, 6 of them off Tim Lincecum, one of the best pitchers in baseball. So don’t tell me that the Pirates are facing top notch pitching, and that is why they are not scoring enough runs to win. I don’t even consider the Dodgers a premier team. Wait till we play the Brewers or the Cardinals. Any team that leads off an inning with a triple and cannot score, has many questions to answer. I would sit Walker for awhile with his .059 batting average, and a few of the others with similar enemic averages.
    Don’t get me wrong. I still love the Pirates. I am trying to shame them into doing better.

  2. E.J. says:

    Sick and tired of the broadcasters’ excuses. So what if the Buccos faced some tough pitchers. Get used to it! Pitching is the name of the game now, which means we’re in for another looooong season on the north side.

  3. Johnstownruss says:

    I really wish the announcers were not employees of the pirates. I can’t stand them anymore. There needs to be changes in the booth. With the exception of Steve blass, they need upgrades.

  4. Chuck H. says:

    There you go!! Another game which it seemed like the Pirates didn’t care one way or the other whether they won or lost. Another home run, but with nobody on base. Pinch hitter Walker lowered his BA to .056 by hitting into a double play. Pathetic way to start a season in which they are going to stop their losing skid. HO, HUM, GO BUCS!!

  5. Paul says:

    Could not agree more with the sentiments about the lack of objectivity, if not lack of knowledge apparently on display, amongst the broadcast crew. John Wehner is especially difficult to listen to any more. Honestly, one more comment about a deep fly out to deep left center at PNC by one of the right handed hitters being a home run in any other ball park and and I’m going turn it off and call it a season. Guess what guys, it’s PNC park and the Pirates are going to have to play 81 games there this year and every other year as long as they’re here so it’s not an excuse. What it is is an example of Huntington and Hurdle’s most obvious failures that they don’t know how to assemble a roster and/or lineup that fits their home stadium.

    Sadly the cheerleading seems to be spreading to the local print media as well and I can’t help wonder if the access some of the “guys” are getting isn’t creating a conflict of interest and “friendships” are interfering with their jobs. Dejan Kovacevic used to be one of the few guys around town who you could count on for an unbiased breakdown statistical analysis of performances and these days all he’s seems interested in doing is excuse making. His willingness to bend over backward to gloss over Walker’s short comings is especially glaring.

  6. Edgybear says:

    I am in total agreement with the need to change the announcing team personell!!! It is pretty bad when I listen to XM so I don’t have to listen to these guys when they are on the road and very often turn off the sound when they are home.

    As to the hitting, as I have said before “How can there be two hitting coaches Hurdle/Richie) and the hitting be so abysmal”????

  7. Ron says:

    What do the Pirates and an ugly guy have in common? Neither score very often!

  8. Dick says:

    Where have all the hitters gone! Yeah, I know, it’s early and the pitchers are always ahead this time of year. I’m telling you though, nobody should be making a million bucks to put up this kind of numbers. Alvarez, in my opinion, is suffering from a lack of confidence. Every time he comes up he doesn’t know if he’s going to hit the ball or not. He should be seeing a shrink to try and build his self confidence. A good hitter doesn’t even need to think about it. He knows he can hit the ball any time he comes up. The only thing we’ve got close to that is Cutch but he can’t do it all himself. The pitching is coming together. We need to look for some hitters. Everyone in the lineup should be there because he earned his job. The object is to win.

  9. Paul says:

    @Dick

    I’m convinced by the anecdotal evidence I’ve seen that the problem with Pedro Alvarez is really a case, yet another one, of the Pirate coaches changing his approach and make him into a different type of hitter.

    Dejan Kovacevic wrote in his piece Spring Hits & Misses of observing “three distinctly different batting stances” during his time at spring training. Clint Hurlde has been quoted numerous time about encouraging Alvarez to swing at more first pitches and be become “more aggressive” as a hitter. When he’s at the plate he swings at everything in and out of the zone trying to hit home runs as that seems to be what the team is demanding of him.

    This the approach of kid who drew 128 walks in 970 plate appearances and a posted a .372 on base percentage in the minors and 125 walks in 804 and a .451 in college.

    IMO what Alvarez needs is the same thing Neil Walker, Alex Presley and Jose Tabata need and that if for Clint Hurdle and/or Gregg Ritchie to get the boot and for Jeff Branson to replace one of them.

  10. Paul says:

    Of course I meant to type this is NOT the approach of a kid

  11. Dick says:

    Paul, good info, thanks. Wouldn’t you think these coaches would see the error of their ways? I wonder if Alvarez feels the same way about this. I tell you, I am really diisappointed at this start. I really expected morel Some good pitching was wasted and we are lucky to get two wins. Anyway, thanks again Paul.

  12. E.J. says:

    Dejan can’t be objective. The T-R has a $1-million partnership with the Pirates, so he has to kiss fanny now.

  13. Chuck H. says:

    How long is this poor excuse of a baseball team going to represent the great city of Pittsburgh?? I’m not a baseball expert, far from it, but I know Pedro Alverez is never going to hit major league pitching. But then, none of the Pirate lineup stacks up to hit it either. Pedro was up three times and struck out every time, in fact, his last time up he swung at three pitches way out of the strikezone. That tells me that he really doesn’t care one way or the other, whether he hits the ball or not. It’s early in the season, but why not bring up some of your better Indy players just to see what they can do? What’s to lose????

  14. Paul says:

    Sorry Chuck but Pedro Alvarez WILL eventually hit major league pitching it’s just a matter of when.

    My guess is hit it about the same time Aramis Ramirez and Jose Bautista did, when he leaves the organization that has coaches trying to use 40 year old approaches to offense and finds himself with coaches who value plate disciple and patience.

    20 straight years now of small ball, 20 straight years with the same poor results.

    Are we learning yet?

  15. Dick says:

    For crying out loud, can anybody in a Pirate uniform hit a baseball. We’re not talking rocket science here. These guys have been playing baseball all their lives. Another loss and a shutout at that. Hang your head Tom Dooley! My guess is, if their pay was tied to production you would see baseballs flying everywhere. I musr have been dreaming because I had great expectations for this team. Okay coaches, time to earn your money. Straighten this team out if you can.

  16. E.J. says:

    It’s time to give Huntington another extension for all the great things he did last off-season.

  17. Chuck H. says:

    That was sarcasm, right E.J. I agree with Dick about the coaches and manager, not getting the best production from their players. In the case of Aramis Ramirez, he became a much better player after he was traded away. Same with Bautista. It’s sure something to think about.

  18. Ron says:

    Who is our so called hitting coach? Burnett may work out but that money would have been better spent on some quality hitters, not retreds nobody else wants. Watching paint dry is more exciting than the Bucs offense.

 
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