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Light At The End Of The Tunnel?

Is this another mirage, or are we finally witnessing a glimpse into the near future? After reeling off a season-tying five game winning streak this past week, the Buccos reverted to expected form by dropping the series finale to the Reds prior to the off day yesterday (August 24, 2009). Could another exercise in futility be far behind as this roller coaster season careens to a close? Similar win streaks of the two consecutive or, dare we hope for, even three game nature have often been followed closely by another journey into never never land. But no!

After another wild mad capper ride by our erstwhile closer, Matt Capps, the Buccos managed to grab victory from the jaws of defeat after having grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory. I think……..

Young Andrew “Clutch” Mc Cutcheon, after an outfield adventure reminiscent of why yours truly had a shortened high school baseball career, launched a two run walk off homer into the centerfield gloaming to say nighty numpkins to the coolly efficient World Champion Phillies. His giant leap for Piratedom onto home plate was just as impressive as his eighth homer of his still-young rookie season.

So what are we to make of these proceedings? Have the “village idiots” in charge of player dispersion, er, acquisition stumbled onto something here? Mc Cutcheon looks like the real deal here; a franchise player in the making. Nate Mc Louth was a nice player, but Mc Cutcheon is reminding us of a young and still-svelte Barry Bonds. Reclamation projects and minor league call-ups are also chipping in as another dismal season spirals into oblivion. Delwyn Young and Andy La Roche were recently considered to be Grade A prime Los Angeles Dodger beef. While La Roche exhibits a nice glove at third base, he is merely keeping the position warm for man-child Pedro Alvarez. Young, meanwhile, continues to hit for average while becoming more adept at second base under the tutelage of Coach Perry Hill.

Garrett Jones, where have you been all these years? While 28 years of age, old for a rookie, the kid still continues to impress with 14 home runs in just 46 games. And this while primarily playing right field instead of his customary first base. And let’s not forget Lastings Milledge who is not far removed from being a New York Met # 1 draft pick wunderkind. As he feels more comfortable in left field, the power and average are starting to show. He has also been a model citizen fitting right in with these enthusiastic youngsters who are far from sulking during these dog days of August.

Team elder Ryan Doumit is a throwback to what everyone loves from their players here in the Burgh. He is tough as nails and is blossoming into a bonafide major league back stopper. Throw in Ronny Cedeno at shortstop replacing the popular Jack Wilson, and we now see some batting patience and pop to go along with a decent glove at that position.

Improving pitching in Zach Duke and Ross Ohlendorf offer renewed hope for a rotation. Paul Maholm is still young and much promise has been seen from Charlie Morton as well as Kevin Hart, who are both recent additions as well. What all these guys need now is for the dust to settle. With all the expensive contracts gone, next July 31 bodes to be calm sailing for these Pirates. Added youth in the replenished farm system also promises to push the “scholarship” clubhouse players in the very near future.

Yes, the thinking here is that we will not have to wait for another generation comes along before the ghosts of Lumber ‘n Lightning return.