Only in my wildest dreams did I believe the Bucs would get the solid starting pitching this season that they have. Of course, in my dreams, Charlie Morton and James McDonald would be the aces, and the other three (whoever they were) would have a combined ERA slightly above 4.00 and give us a chance to win. I imagined Pedro Alvarez batting cleanup, hitting 30 HRs while being protected in the lineup by a solid Lyle Overbay, and leading a promising Pirates offense towards a .500 record.
I can hear you laughing.
Pedro Alvarez was optioned back to AAA Indianapolis today after batting just .174 since rejoining the team on July 25th. He has me stumped. The good thing is he is only 24 years old, so he has plenty of time to figure it out. I am confident that he will have a great career, but I am a bit concerned that it might not be until after he has left Pittsburgh.
The rest of the offense just never seemed to stay healthy. Jose Tabata, Ryan Doumit, Chris Snyder, and Ronny Cedeno all getting hurt allowed us to get a look at Alex Presley, who then went on to get hurt himself. The Pirates looked to get great deals in acquiring Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick, but Lee broke his hand and might not return this season.
Considering all the injuries, the disappointing play of Alvarez and Overbay, it is quite a feat that the Buccos have already surpassed last seasons win total… until one remembers how low last season’s win total actually was. The Pirates did sign their top two draft choices which leads us to start looking at next season and beyond. And there are reasons to have hope and some interesting decisions to be made. We will delve into those discussions soon.