TOM GORZELANNY Gorzelanny looked positively dominant in Monday's victory over the Marlins, throwing seven scoreless innings, walking none, and bending a terrific breaking ball. He has now allowed three runs total in his last three starts. He won't maintain a 2.36 ERA the whole season, but this isn't like the fast starts Zach Duke and Paul Maholm enjoyed upon entering the league - Gorzelanny's better, and health permitting, there's no reason he can't continue to be well above average.
FREDDY SANCHEZ Sanchez rapped seven hits in two games to raise his batting average from .250 to .280. That's not going to win any more batting titles, and his OPS is still a miserable .639, but at least there are signs that his bat is starting to come alive.
THE BULLPEN The 'pen has allowed just three earned runs in the last week. Salomon Torres, Damaso Marte, John Grabow and Matt Capps haven't allowed any runs at all.
THE PITCHING IN GENERAL In the last seven games, the Pirates have pitched 68 innings and allowed just 23 runs while striking out 56 and walking 12, all while facing decent offensive teams. That's simply excellent.
ADAM LAROCHE Last week, it looked like he might be breaking out of his slump, but since last Tuesday he's managed just one extra-base hit and hasn't made a dent in his horrible .168 batting average. The Bucs are benching him semi-regularly now, mostly to make room for the surging Ryan Doumit, who has now hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games.
CHRIS DUFFY He'd been on the bench for two straight games until Friday, when Xavier Nady failed to make a crucial play that led to four runs and a Bucs loss. Duffy had a good game on Sunday and a stolen base on Monday, but other than that he's done very little with the bat. He now has a .640 OPS, which is pretty close to his 2006 total and still isn't nearly acceptable for a starting centerfielder.
JASON BAY The Bucs' offense in general has been so bad that few have noticed, but Bay is having a pedestrian season so ar, hitting a mere .289/.369/.472. That's just fine for most players, but it's 86 OPS points lower than his 2006. Is it just a sample-size thing, or has he already peaked? Or are his knee problems to blame?