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Washington vs. Pittsburgh, 29 July 2007

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7:05 PM, FSNP, WPGB

Matt Chico (3-5, 5.08) vs. Ian Snell (6-5, 2.92). Now here's a winnable game. The Nats have scored the fewest runs of any team in baseball; some of that is their home park, but mostly they just can't hit. Chico wasn't really a top prospect; he wasn't taken when he was left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft in late 2005, and he was good but not spectacular in the minors last year.

Some notes:

-P- Craig Biggio completely stole Frank Thomas' thunder by collecting his 3,000th hit last night. Personally, I'm more impressed with Thomas' 500 homers, but Biggio's had an awfully good career, especially considering that we won four Gold Gloves at second base despite starting his career as a catcher. If I had a Hall of Fame vote, I'd have to really think hard about him - he was obviously a terrific player, but the fact that he only finished in the top ten in MVP balloting twice says a lot, I think.

Thomas, on the other hand, is a clear Hall of Famer as far as I'm concerned. Vlad says Thomas may have been "the best pure hitter of the '90s"; Barry Bonds is the only other guy who even has much of a case, in my opinion. However, Thomas' reputation as a whiner may keep him out; hopefully, his gutsy performance last year with the A's - and the complete lack of steroid rumors about him - will soften the opinions of voters for whom character matters.

-P- The Bucs may dump Tony Armas. Again, I don't understand why they don't just see if he might be able to pitch better if he doesn't have to pitch long stretches. Why don't the Pirates try making him a one-inning guy for a few weeks? It isn't like they have any shortage of long relievers on the roster, or a long list of potential replacements who are likely to be effective.

The Post-Gazette points to Matt Treanor's two-run jack off Armas yesterday, in what ended up being a two-run loss, as a point against Armas. There's no doubt that his performance was lacking, but it's not good evidence that the Pirates can't afford to carry him, in my opinion. Remember, every reliever the Bucs have called up this year except Masumi Kuwata has imploded soon after arriving. And the game yesterday appeared to be well out of reach of the Pirates' poor offense when Armas entered it.

I'm certainly not going to cry my eyes out if the Bucs cut Armas, but on a team with so little upside, I really don't see the harm in finding out what he can do if he knows he only has to face a few batters. If that doesn't turn him around in short order, fine, cut him, but in the meantime, it makes no sense to cut him just so you can bring up someone just as bad or keep Wayback Wasdin on the roster instead. The only potentially decent reliever from Indianapolis we haven't yet seen is Jesse Chavez.

-P- From the same article, the Bucs have released Cuban pitcher Alay Soler, who didn't do anything for Altoona. Oh, well - no risk, no downside.