Well the Bucs couldn’t bust out the brooms against the Nationals last night as they fell 5-4. The Pirate pen feel apart when holding a lead. Tom Gorzelanny proved that his first few outings were nothing to get used to as he gave up two crucial runs that would ultimately be the dagger in the heart of the Pirates. While it was a nice streak of 5 wins, it was enjoyable while it lasted. With stiffer competition along the way will the momentum of a strong hot streak carry on to Illinois?
The Southside sluggers are up first, the White Sox of Chicago. Currnetly the Sox sit at 17-23 on the year, mediocre for the AL Central. The White Sox are growing progressively older as a unit but still have tenured vetrans who ar eno slouches at their positions. Paul Konerko, Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye continue to be the cornerstones of the team. Carlos Quentin is coming along as a player and a leader. Hot prospect Alexei Ramirez has filled the shortstop position but could be doing better. Right now he is batting .213, very dissapointing for someone with such high aspirations. Not only did he have high expectations for himself, I too believed in the Cuban product. By drafting him fairly high on my fantasy team , he proved to be a huge mistake and I have since dropped him.
The Pirates have not fared well against these guys in year spast. They have a 12-8 advantage over Pittsburgh. The Pirates made a trip to U.S. Cellular last season and were completely overmatched. Chicago outscored the Bucs 37-15. This season the Pirates have a chnace to increase their run production with a spot for the Designated Hitter. Craig Monroe, Delwyn Young and Brandon Moss will all probably rotate in the DH spot. The way these 3 have been playing look for alot of pop to come off the bats.
U.S. Cellular Field has been spruced up to become a rather nice major league ballpark. The new Comiskey has its been called is a large structure with seating for just over 40,000. At one time it held over 50,000 but thanks to the major re-structuring plan it has become more fan friendly and intimate.
The picture to the left is me and my brother, Zach from a game we wnet to at U.S. Cellular back in 2005 when I was 16 years old. I remember fondly that game against the Mariners. The PA announcer is one of the best in baseball and the intro video of the team was very dynamic, as a neautral fan it really pumped me up for some White Sox baseball. The stadium faces away from the downtown skyline of Chicago. From the upper concourses of the stadium by the concession stands fans are treated to breathtaking views of the windy city. The city is definately windy from that point as you are very high up and the winds blow quite hard. I remember it being a cool August night.
I can only hope a warm May night is upon the Bucs this weekend so they can right the ship and make the roadtrip to Chicago a pivital one that can turn this season around. More importantly, to turn the interleaugue record around. If you read this week’s edition of Sports Illustrated you will see that the Pirates own a winning percentage of right around .300 in interleague play, the league’s worst record. A few wins against the struggling Sox would be great for our Pirates.
PHOTO CREDIT: crsil.com