So about last night …. it wasn’t so great for the Pirates.
Jonathan Sanchez didn’t record an out. He allowed two home runs and was tossed after hitting Allen Craig. They may be his last 17 pitches as a Pirates’ starting pitcher. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Sanchez will be available in the bullpen today because he threw so few pitches, but with Francisco Liriano ready on May 10 and Charlie Morton and Gerrit Cole not far behind, it’s very possible we’ve seen the last of Sanchez as a starter. A decline in velocity combined with shaky command has led to extremely poor results for Sanchez, who is winless in his 18 starts.
Also in the series-opening loss, Neil Walker required six stitches to close a cut. He could be out for a few days. And for good measure, Hurdle and Jay Bell got tossed.
But that’s one night.
The big picture through nearly one month of the season is this: this is might be the Pirates team in 20 years.
That’s what FOX/MLB national writer Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday on Twitter:
@Ken_Rosenthal Rival GM: “Best Pirates team I’ve seen in 20 years.” In particular, cited depth of lineup. #Pirates
And unlike last year, the Pirates actually have something in reserve in with Liriano, Morton and Cole. The rotation should get better.
Hurdle cited the depth of the lineup last week. He said it’s the deepest lineup he’s had with the Pirates, noting that Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin are batting in the bottom of the lineup.
If the Pirates can split this road trip that would be a victory in of itself. And if they can keep their heads above .500 until Liriano, Morton and Cole arrive, well, we could very well be looking at the best Pirates team in 20 years.
Yes, the bar has been set incredibly low, but a winning season is the kind of positive momentum that is so desperately needed.
Interesting factoid from one of my favorites, John Perrotto:
@jperrotto RHP A.J. Burnett goes into tonight’s start with NL-leading 42 strikeouts. Last Buc pitcher to lead NL in Ks: Preacher Roe in 1945.
Wow. Preacher Roe?
Preacher Roe and AJ Burnett could have something in common this season
The interesting thing Sanchez said Friday night is that he through the ball well. Not seeing that. Sanchez has to develop some consistency with his delivery to lead to better command, and perhaps the best place to find make adjustments is in the bullpen. We’ll see.