Reasons to Keep Watching The Bucs This Season. UPDATE

Last I checked, I had 10 Reasons to Keep Watching the Bucs This Season. Last night’s come-from-behind victory now gives the Buccos 13 wins on the season, meaning I should probably update my list. Plus, I’ll put all the reasons at the bottom, so you don’t have to go to several different pages to find the entire list.

11. Injuries Haven’t Played A Huge Role, Yet. Defending NL Batting Champ Freddy Sanchez started the season on the DL, and John Wasdin currently sits on the DL. Xavier Nady battled what seems to be Crohn’s disease, and even tweaked a hammy. However, injuries have been kind to the Bucs so far. At least no one has showed us their ankle bone anytime recently.

12. Bautista and Paulino Cemented My Claim Last Night. Reason 6 was on my original list, and I named both Jose Bautista and Ronny Paulino as future stars. The next game, Paulino hit his first homer of the year. Last night, Bautista and Paulino hit back to back homers on successive Dave Bush pitches. It was the first back to back instance for the team this year. Pretty good when it comes from 2 young guys who occupy the 7 and 8 batting slots.

13. Bryan Bullington. Yeah, he’s in Triple-A Indianapolis, but his numbers are crazy right now. 4-0 with a 1.17 ERA. He’s only allowed 5 runs in 5 starts (4 earned runs) and has given up just one homer. He’s not really blowing by batters, having only 14 K’s in a little over 30 innings, but 4-0 is 4-0. If he keeps putting up numbers like this, how long will he stay an Indian?

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Reasons to Keep Watching the Bucs This Season (Comprehensive)

1. Tom Gorzelanny. Wow! I never thought he would be reason number 1. The kid is on pace for 25-30 wins! How could you not get behind a young pitcher with a perfect early-season record? His ERA is a more than respectable 2.05 (Take that, Tony Armas Jr. and your 18.90 ERA), and is second on the team in strikeouts. He might (will) flare out. No pitcher in today’s game will win 3 of every 4 starts, but it is nice to have that kind of success early on.

2. Ian Snell. He is reason number 2, because he leads the team with 24 strikeouts through 27 innings pitched. His strikeout per innings ratio is a little lower than Gorzo, but he can flat-out make hitters miss. In a sport where games can turn on one bad pitch, I’m relying on Ian to trust his stuff (I never like when people use that expression. Sounds kinda weird and dirty) and keep making batters whiff.

3. Brad Eldred. Yeah, the Pirates are having trouble making room for Big Country. The management seemed to forget Country when they decided to trade for ADD (.105 avg, .281 slg) Laroche this past offseason. The same thing happened last season when the Bucs brought in “hometown hero” Sean (Left fielders can throw me out at 1st) Casey. Neither 1st base pickup brought any life to the Pirates bats (I’m still hoping Laroche will heat up), and Big Country is still forced to look from the dugout. Even though Eldred is sporting a .117 average, he has only been to the plate 17 times. As the season progresses further, expect the Paul Bunyan-esque Brad to get more playing time while stepping in for guys that are tired/slumping

4. We Play in the National League Central. This argument always frustrated me, but it is the truth. While the NL Central isn’t the worst division in the bigs, it isn’t necessarily a powerhouse. A 7-10 record is only 4 games behind the Brewers (who have played 2 more games), the only team in the Central with a record over .500. If the Buccos can warm up against Woody Williams and the rest of the Astros staff this week, the team has a legitimate shot at reaching .500 and contending for the division lead.

5. Andrew McCutchen. He’s not in the bigs yet, but a mid-to-late season call-up is not entirely out of the picture. Citing 14 years of regular season debacles, there is a high possibility that Andrew could be in a Pirates uniform before the active roster expands from 25 to 40 on September 1st. For a team that once employed Adam Hyzdu, having McCutchen on the roster would definitely be a bonus. The Buccos will still be entertaining to watch as the season rolls down even if this year turns out like the past 14, simply because we might get a chance to see Andy face some major-league pitching.

6. Adam Hyzdu is Not on the Roster. While the offense is still finding its groove and the team sits 3 games below .500, there is no reason to believe that this team can’t make a meaningful run. Jason Bay is a 2-time All Star and former Rookie of the Year. Freddy Sanchez is the defending NL Batting Champ and an All Star last season. ADD Laroche put up career-bests last year with a .285 average, 30 home runs, and 90 RBIs. Jose Bautista and Ronny Paulino have the ability to be big-time performers in the future, and Chris Duffy is actually looking like a legit leadoff man who can swipe a ton of bases. The roster is good enough to get this team over .500. Let’s just hope the motivation and execution are there as well.

7. Its Only April 23! The season is still young. The Pirates have played only 17 out of 162 games. There’s no reason to believe (Other than the past 14 years) that the Buccos will play 7-10 ball from here on out. Alex Rodriguez hit his 14th homer in New York’s 18th game overall. He tied the April Home Runs record set by Albert Pujols last year. Did Pujols keep up that pace and hit 125 homers last year? Not a chance. What I’m saying is that the season is long, and this is only April. The Bucs have a long way to go, but I’m expecting a vast improvement over the course of the season (Although I’ve said this for the past 14 years).

8. Humberto Cota is on the DL. Honestly, why is this guy still on our team? With Ryan Doumit being called up and contributing early, Cota is, at best, our 3rd catcher. He strikes out too much, that is, when he actually gets into a game. I thought he was gone last year, when Jim Tracy struggled to find places for him to play. The Bucs tried to off him by retiring Paul Waner’s number 11, the number that Cota was still wearing. That didn’t work, so I guess the DL is the next best place for Humberto.

9. We Play Houston 9 More Times. But not again until July 20th. Still, that’s 9 more wins towards the goal of 82. If the Pirates continue to mirror the early success of the Pens against the Flyers, then Houston has no chance for the remainder of the season. Who knew that Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte had that much of an impact on the club? However, Houston has been a notoriously slow starter for the past several seasons and before you know it, they’re advancing in the playoffs. I haven’t completely written them off, but I like the Pirates’ chances from here on out.

10. The ‘Pen is Looking Good. Larry Brown Sports hit the nail on the head when he commented on the outstanding relief arms on the Pittsburgh roster. Jonah Bayliss and Matt Capps recorded the first 2 wins of the season for the Bucs, and John Grabow, who is just back from injury, was credited with the save yesterday. John Wasdin pitched 2 scoreless innings for the marathon win in the 16th, and former Yankees starter Shawn Chacon lurks in the ‘Pen as well. The only big question mark is Torres (That’s actually a huge question mark right now), so if he can return to form, the Buccos can rely on durable relievers to back up our relatively young starting pitchers.

11. Injuries Haven’t Played A Huge Role, Yet. Defending NL Batting Champ Freddy Sanchez started the season on the DL, and John Wasdin currently sits on the DL. Xavier Nady battled what seems to be Crohn’s disease, and even teweaked a hammy. However, injuries have been kind to the Bucs so far. At least no one has showed us their ankle bone anytime recently.

12. Bautista and Paulino Cemented My Claim Last Night. Reason 6 was on my original list, and I named both Jose Bautista and Ronny Paulino as future stars. The next game, Paulino hit his first homer of the year. Last night, Bautista and Paulino hit back to back homers on successive Dave Bush pitches. It was the first back to back instance for the team this year. Pretty good when it comes from 2 young guys who occupy the 7 and 8 batting slots.

13. Bryan Bullington. Yeah, he’s in Triple-A Indianapolis, but his numbers are crazy right now. 4-0 with a 1.17 ERA. He’s only allowed 5 runs in 5 starts (4 earned runs) and has given up just one homer. He’s not really blowing by batters, having only 14 K’s in a little over 30 innings, but 4-0 is 4-0. If he keeps putting up numbers like this, how long will he stay an Indian?

Reasons to Keep Watching the Bucs Archive:
7 Reasons to Keep Watching the Bucs This Season
Pirates Complete 2nd Series Sweep Against Houston This Season

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