The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking for wins, anywhere they can get them and right now they are looking in the American League. The Pirates travel to Baltimore to face the Orioles for a three game series hosting the Toronto Blue Jays for another three game set this weekend at PNC Park.
Pittsburgh has now lost five of their last six games, eight of their last ten and are nine games behind the Milwuakee Brewers at the moment. Now the Pirates turn their attention to the American League East, baseball’s best division perennially. The Orioles and Blue Jays sit in second and third place respectively, ahead of the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Rays, the division’s best two teams a season ago.
Consequently this will not be an easy stretch for the Pirates but at least they will see some different teams than they have played so far this season. Pittsburgh is 10-16 on the season and all 26 games have come against National League Central opponents. What looked to be a great opportunity at the beginning of the season turned into a nightmare for the Pirates. Avoiding division play for a week might be the best thing for these Pirates.
Martin Gets Good News: Pirates catcher Russell Martin received good news after an MRI Sunday confirmed that his hamstring strain was just that, a strain, and his stay on the disabled list will not have to be extended. Martin was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday in St. Louis and is hoping that will be enough time to overcome the injury that had been bothering him since spring training began.
How Long for Polanco: The Pirates’ missing offense has been well chronicled. Andrew McCutchen has been the lone bright spot thus far as Clint Hurdle’s offense has struggled this season. Hits and runs have been hard to come by and while general manager Neil Huntington likely views a trade as a panic move this early in the season he does the option of calling up players from their minor league system.
So why not call up Gregory Polanco, the top prospect in the Pirates’ minor league system? Polanco is currently playing for the Pirates’ AAA affilliate, Indianapolis Indians and affirmed his status this season as a top 15 prospect in baseball. He is considered a five tool prospect that will have an impact once he gets called up to Pittsburgh.
Polanco is also hitting .421 through 21 games with four home runs and 23 RBI as the former center fielder learns the right field position. So the question has to be asked, is Polanco being held down because he is not ready? Or is Huntington leaving him there til June so the Pirates retain control over him for an additional season? If Polanco were to come up before June the Pirates lose a year of salary control over the young prospect. That sort of control is paramount to any team but especially one that operates within the kid of budget the Pirates do. Hungtington is walking a fine line here. How long can he wait on a player that would seem to be the perfect remedy for what ails his team at the moment?
The answer for the time is Polanco is staying put as the Pirates will focus on American League opponents and the chance to pick up some more wins.
Commentary by Mick Varner
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Pittsburgh Pirates