Most Anticipated Series of 2012

We are now within 100 days of Opening Day, which means we can really start looking forward to the upcoming season!  Here are my top 3 anticipated home series of 2012:

July 20-22 vs. Miami Marlins- The new and improved Marlins are an intriguing team this year.  They relocated to a new park, have new uniforms, and have some serious talent.  Their lineup will include Mike Stanton, Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Logan Morrison, Heath Bell, and Mark Buehrle.  It should be really fun to watch these guys play.  The first day of the series is also free shirt Friday, and the 21st is a fireworks night.

 

June 8-10 vs. Kansas City Royals- It’s always cool to see some American League teams visit PNC Park, even though the Royals don’t have anyone special worth watching (other than Bruce Chen, that’s for you, Tripping Olney).  June 8th is a free shirt Friday, and Saturday is a concert which also looks like it will be on FOX.

April 5, 7-8 vs. Philadelphia Phillies- Opening Day.  Against the Phillies.  ‘Nuff said.  Also, the 7th is a fireworks night.

 

Go Bucs

Pirates Christmas Wish List

First off-Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of the fellow Bucco fans out there.  Here are a few things that we’ll accept as late Christmas gifts from the Pirates in 2012:

1.  A consistent power hitter, preferably at first base.  With all of the power hitting first basemen on the market, I’d love to see the Bucs pick one up.  It could be what finally gets them over the hump if the pitching does well.

2. J-Mac, Chuck, and Karstens to all have good seasons.  All three showed signs of greatness last season, and it would be awesome to see them really break out in 2012.  If they could repeat what they did in the first half of 2011 for the whole 2012 season, the Pirates could be a playoff team.

3.  Pedro to do well.  I want to root for Pedro.  I want him to hit the crap out of the ball and prove all of his haters wrong.  He was our #1 draft pick a few years ago, and it would be great to see him break out as that clean-up hitter that everyone hoped he could be.

 

4. The Brewers to suck.  It made me sick to see the Brewers go as far as they did last season.  I don’t want that to ever happen again.  I hope they go 0-162 in 2012.  With Braun out for 50 games, and Prince most likely signing elsewhere, it’s possible that the Brewers miss out on playoffs.

5. Last, but certainly not least, a winning season.  82 wins.  That’s all.  Heck, I’ll take 81.  Bucco fans have been wishing for this for almost 20 years.  I think it’s about time the boys bring a winning season back to Pittsburgh.

Happy Holidays, and Go Bucs

Quick Thoughts on Clement, Beltran

Two days ago, the Pirates resigned first baseman Jeff Clement to a minor league contract, adding to the list of possible first basmen canidates.  Clement, who played in 54 games with the Bucs in 2010, was the 3rd overall pick in the 2005 draft.  He hit .201 with only 7 home runs in 2010.  Not the typical power numbers that the Pirates need from their first baseman.  I do however, think that he should be given a fair chance to make the team out of spring training.  Garrett Jones, Nick Evans, Matt Hague, and now Clement will all be competing for the starting, or possibly platoon role.

In other NL Central news, the World Series champs Cardinals signed Carlos Beltran to a 2 year deal.  The switch hitting Beltran will help replace some of the offense that the Cards lost when Pujols went to the Angels.  Beltran is a career .283 hitter, and hit an even .300 last season with the Mets/Giants.  The Cardinal lineup is now looking pretty powerful, with Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday, David Freese, and Beltran.  Their pitching staff will also get Adam Wainwright back from Tommy John surgery, which will give them one of the best 1-2 pitching combinations in the league with Carpenter.  I wouldn’t expect the Cardinals to suffer very much without Pujols in 2012.

Go Bucs

Poll #3-Favorite homer of 2011?

Who’s On First?

No, not like that.

But who is going to be playing first base for the Pirates in 2012?

Right now, it’s looking like Garrett Jones could very well end up being the starting first baseman. However, it is known that Jones cannot hit lefties very well. In 2011, he hit just .147 against southpaws.

So where do you go from there? With Jones’ inability to hit lefties, we could very well see at platoon at 1B. Either Nick Evans, who was picked up in free agency from the Mets, or Casey McGehee, acquired in last week’s trade with Milwaukee, could be candidates for the platoon job. Evans is a career .295 hitter against left-handers. McGehee has only played a handful of games at 1B and will most likely be a backup to Alvarez anyway. I, for one, am not a fan of the platoon, as it has not been very successful in past years for the Buccos.

Another option would be to aggresively pursue a first baseman in free agency, such as Carlos Pena or Derrek Lee. The Pirates are still showing interest in Lee, although it’s unknown if he has any interest in them. Pena’s name has been quiet and has been relatively left off the rumor mill. Although he strikes out a ton, it would be great to have a bat like Pena’s in the middle of the Pirates lineup. I expect both of their names to be brought up in discussion once Prince Fielder makes a decision on where he will play in 2012.

I would love to see the Pirates attempt to make a trade for a first baseman. Ike Davis has been rumored to be on the trade block, but it would cost a good amount (Marte, Lincoln, etc.) to acquire him. I feel that the Pirates have plenty of trading pieces. The outfield packed with Cutch, Tabata, Presley, and Marte on the way. Also, Joel Hanrahan‘s value is higher than ever, after Heath Bell and Jonathan Papelbon received massive contracts.

Regardless of who’s on first for the Buccos in 2012, we hope that they can provide consistent offense, as the team really needs to get the offense going to be successful.

Go Bucs