Because of fellow bloggers Carson (who said "Phillies suck") and Smokin' Steve (who said "Pirates suck") I felt the need to take a look at both teams and decide "who sucks less?"
I'm breaking it down this way, comparing each squad in right NOW in the following: Starting Pitching, Relief Pitching, Defense, Hitting, Manager, GM, MInor Leagues, Ballpark, Uniforms, Opportunity.
Starting Pitching: The Phillies have a (legit?) number 1 starter in Brett Myers (4-2, 2.80). They have one of the top prospects in baseball emerging as we speak in Cole Hamels, but he's only started 2 games.. After that, they have an overweight over-the-hill soft-thrower (Lieber), an average 4th starter (Lidle), a joke (Floyd), and a reliever (Madson). Four of the 6 starters have ERAs over 5, Floyd leading with 7.29. The Pirates have 4 starters under the age of 25 (3 lefthanders) who in the last 2 weeks have been pitching well (see earlier blog Gotta Love Pirates for stats). Their 5th starter is a journeyman (Santos) who still has a better ERA than Madson, Lieber and Floyd. Advantage:Pirates
Relieft Pitching: Tom Gordon is lights out for the Phils. Frenchy is sizzling with an 0.98 ERA but has not been used in clutch spots, but rather the 6th inning, so his line is less impressive. Art Rhodes has been worrisome, Fultz/Geary adequate, and Franklin downright horrendous. They lose games in the set-upThe Pirates big three of Hernandez, Marte, and Gonzalez has been steady. Advantage: Pirates
Defense: Doesn't get much more equal: errors 39 to 38, fielding percentage tied at .981, SB against 32 to 31... Advantage: Push
Hitting: Pirates have 7 guys hitting over .300 (.265 team average.), .428slugging, 66 homeruns, 23SB. Phils are batting .260, slugging .438, with 68 homeruns and 28 steals. Given the "park factor" between the Cit and PNC, the Pirates numbers are better, and that's without factoring in average with RISP. The Phils seemingly have a better lineup with Rollins, Utley, Abreu, Burrell, Howard, Rowand...but the numbers haven't shown that. Wilson, Wilson, Castillo, Bay, Casey, Sanchez have put up similar numbers in a decidely pitcher's park. Even so... Advantage: Push
Manager: Are you kidding me? Advantage: No One.
GM: Dave Littlefield is disgusting. Pat Gillick has a reputation, although his first moves in Philly have been suspect (Nunez, Gonzales, Franklin.) Given the track record of both guys... Advantage: Phillies
Minor Leagues: The Pirates have little (Gorzellany, Burnett, Bayless, McCutchen, Boeve, Walker) because most of their young players are already up (Duke, Bautista, Maholm) but still have a few arms and a few bats. The Phils have no bats. None. But they do have pitching (Matheison, Gonzales, Haigwood, Segovia.) And pitching wins games. Advantage: Phillies
Ballpark: The Cit is nice. But if you've ever been to PNC, you'll know this isn't even a contest. Advantage: Pirates
Uniforms: Why? Because I like uniforms. And I DO NOT like the Phillies' interleague cap. Pirates use the old-school vest. Money. Advantage: Pirates
Momentum: The Buccos just swept the Brewers and have won 6 or 7. The Phils are 4-6 in their last 10 and dropping. Advantage:Pirates
Future: Phils have 13th highest payroll. Pirates have the 27th highest. Phils play in a bigger market and will always have higher revenue potential and higher payroll. They have the opportunity to fill holes in their team via free agency with legitamite players (Thome, Wagner, Gordon compared to Burnitz, Randa). Pirates relying heavily on developing their own draft picks and trading at the deadline for more minor leaguers. Advantage: Phillies
Analysis: Pirates take 5 categories (SP, RP, uniform, ballpark, momentum.) Phils take 3 categories (GM, minors, future.) Hitting and manager are pushed. Like I said, these are based on current situations and production, so they are subject to change, but as of right now, the Pirates suck less.