Series 6-Pack: Giants vs. Pirates Preview
By Melissa Felkins
The Pirates are coming to town today after getting plundered by the Padres over the weekend. Today, it’s Pirates vs. Giants. I know, I know, it sounds like the title of Pirates of the Caribbean Part 17. In this movie though, one should expect the Giants to win, the Pirates getting their ships sunk and that Keith Richards look-a-like to finally die.
Tom Smith (which is kinda a crappy Pirate name) at Rum Bunter was nice enough to answer some questions about the Pirates and his expectations for this series. He does a little swashbuckling and I did call the Pirates the Giants “other farm system”, but I still have a feeling the Pirates will leave San Francisco a bit squashed.
In all fairness though, I admit, I’m a Pirates fan and was excited to do this with them…even if I came across a bit harsh on them. I love Pirates, but right now, the Giants are the ones that need a sweep.
Yours Truly, Mad Waifer Mercer (now, that is a Pirate name)
You recently added veteran Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick. I’m sure it’s not exactly what Buccos fans had hoped for, but what kind of impact do you see them making on the team? Were you at least excited about those 2 home runs in Lee’s first game?
The acquisitions were like getting an old Nintendo. What the hell it’s cheap and when you get bored with it, you can throw it away. No, we weren’t excited in the least and let it be known on the site. The homers were nice to see, but to get excited about aging veterans isn’t in our DNA.
How have Pirates fans survived the last 19 years and do you think this season has actually turned the tides, playoffs or not?
Well it makes everyone appreciate good baseball so much more. This season was magical. This ten game losing streak was something nobody saw coming. The team had little stretches where they struggled, but the team always found a way to win. That has vanished. Stopping the current streak looks monumental now. The Pirates expected to win on a daily basis as recently as ten games ago, now the pitching looks like it just wants to survive.
Giants fans kind of joke about Pittsburg being our “other farm system” at times. Are you happy to see players like Bonds, Sanchez, Vogelsong, Schmidt succeed in a Giants uniform or just as soon forget they exist?
Oh yeh, it thrills me. Melissa we just met and already I don’t like you.
The Pirates had 3 all-stars this year in in Correia, Hanrahan and McCutchen. Do you think the Pirates can hold onto these guys and have some continued success?
Dr Jekyll and Mr. Correia was at best a borderline All-Star. There were pitchers who were better. I don’t see why Hanrahan and McCutchen won’t remain in Pittsburgh for a while.
If you had to pick two players to build a team around and ditch everyone else on the team, who would you want?
I don’t like ditching players, plus I don’t like you much anyway, that ‘other farm system’ line still stings.
What are you expecting from the Giants/Bucs series, and keep in mind, San Francisco is literally built on sunken pirate ships. Okay, maybe not all pirate ships, but there are some under there.
The Pirates are pissed off after traveling across the country without a day off. Vogelsong gets ripped tonight for at least two runs. The Pirates burn down most of the city after the game while celebrating the win. The party gets out of control and the Pirates storm Alcatraz in the early morning hours, they get no rest and still take the second game behind a strong James McDonald start. The sweep is completed as Jeff the Zombie Karstens gets a bounty of run support as the Bucs blast a still hurt Jonathan Sanchez.
He also asked us some questions, so here they are too.
Us: Were you in favor of the Beltran deal and has adding him helped the Giants?
Melissa: I was in favor of it depending on what we were giving up. I didn’t want to lose Gary Brown or Brandon Belt, but could have dealt with that. However, I was happy with the Wheeler/Beltran deal.
I do think it has helped the Giants and will help even more as the season progresses. It tells the team, especially the pitchers who get so little run support, that they’re serious about trying to repeat. Since getting back to AT&T, Beltran has had some nice hits and seems to be settling in better. I honestly think it’s a great park for him with that large right field.
Now I know you grew up a Pirates fan (editor note: It’s true, I love the Pirates), did you get caught up in the buzz of the Bucs being in first place, maybe even a little bit?
Oh for sure. I am rooting for them when not playing the Giants, and usually not too sad if they do beat the Giants. I legitimately want the Pirates in the playoffs. It’s been a long 19 years.
I became a fan a bit over 20 years ago because my grandpa was a Pirates fan, so I stuck with it. I was a Bonds fan back in the day, so when he moved west, the Giants became my other team I liked and followed. When I moved west about 7 years ago, the Giants became my team. But the Pirates were my first love so I always have a special place in my heart for them. PNC is actually my favorite ballpark too.
Tell me why the Giants pitching has been so solid?
Well, I think you have to credit Dave Righetti, pitching coach, a lot. He seems to know how to mold them, especially from a young age, and maybe that is the difference in most of our pitchers and say, Zito. I also credit our farm system and pitching coaches a long the way. I mean, you have 5 of our pitchers are homegrown (granted, Vogelsong has had an interesting journey, but did started a Giant). Wheeler was a good enough prospect for the Mets to trade Beltran for, against whatever all the other teams were putting up. And that’s just our starters. Our bullpen is even better. Maybe not all homegrown, but Romo and Wilson are. Again, you just have to credit the coaching from the farm up to Rags.
I think too, once that mark has been put on you that you’re on a good pitching team, they players themselves probably work harder at being good and carrying that label.
On a one to ten scale, how much has Freddy Sanchez helped the Giants organization?
Can I say 11? No, in all seriousness, while I may be inclined to pick an 11, I’d say overall probably an 8 or 9. The only thing that’s kind of been disheartening is his time on the DL. He struggled much of last season after coming back from his shoulder surgury, so I’m a little nervous about him for next season. But otherwise, especially late last season and this season prior to his injury, he’s been a constant in a bunch of bi-polar hitters. He rarely takes cheap at-bats. He was hitting near .300 when he went down. He did his job as the #2 hitter. But his defense is just solid. Even when he struggled at the plate, you knew you were getting an all-star performance on the field from him. I mean, decent at-bats and solid defense is really all you can ask for on a consistent basis and he’s good at that.
Can Ryan Vogelsong keep this up?
I’m afraid to jinx it if I say yes. But, I’ll say, I hope so. I’m not saying he has another 10 years of pitching this way in him. Maybe he does, but if he can keep it up for a couple seasons, I’ll be happy. At this point, I don’t see any reason he can’t keep it up to some degree. He walked into one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, from Triple-A to temporarily replace a former Cy Young winner (albeit, Zito), with very little expectations from anyone except to be a somewhat okay 5th starter and has turned that into the NL ERA Leader on any given week and the understanding that “he’s not going anywhere.” He’s been through the struggles and if he can still come back to the organization 10 years later and pitch better than he’s ever pitched before, there aren’t many other things, short of getting injured, that will hold him back.
I will say, I don’t think anyone on the planet, not even Ryan Vogelsong, expected this from him. Yes, he was pitching well in Fresno, but to almost immediately become the best and most consistent pitcher on a staff of All-Stars, is nothing short of amazing.
What are your expectations for the series and if you say a sweep, keep in mind we are killing one of those otters at the pier for every Giants win (kidding…)
Well, I don’t expect a sweep, but I am expecting a series win from the Giants. Face it, both our teams are slumping right now, so at least for one of the teams, hopefully it will be a momentum changer. I think that will be us, but I do expect both teams to be clawing at a win for each game. I mean, the Pirates need a win right now. But the Giants need a series win. I think it will be a battle. I think because we’re in AT&T Park, we’ll have the advantage.