Pirates fans are probably happy right now, because the team seems to have stabilized itself after a four-game losing streak and is poised as of this writing to take three of four from the Cincinnati Reds on the road. It’s great to see that the Bucs are showing fight away from home, and in a strange way, comforting to see them fighting to stay around .500 with virtually no contributions offensively from Pedro Alvarez. Charlie Morton has been outstanding through three starts as well, and given how last year went for him, three good starts is momentous.
All that positivity aside, there’s one thing that has to be enormously frustrating for Pirates fans; the play of Ronny Cedeno. I’ve been a defender of the guy, simply based on the fact that I thought he got a little bit of a raw deal right off the bat, having to replace fan favorite Jack Wilson and maybe being held to an unrealistic standard because of that.
Not anymore. I’m done going to bat (pardon the pun) for Cedeno. If there’s one thing I would like to see from any member of the Pirates, it’s consistency. Ronny Cedeno is the definition of inconsistent. Consider a few of the sequences from the Pirates 7-6 win over the Reds: Cedeno, up in a tie game with runners on first and third, decides to bunt. Garrett Jones doesn’t break for home right away, because Cedeno’s decision to lay one down appeared to be rogue, and gets thrown out (never mind that he was safe–it was still a dumb play). Then, after Andrew McCutchen singled to score Chris Snyder and bail ol’ Ronny out, Cedeno couldn’t accept that charitable gesture and inexplicably tried to take third base. Granted, he got there a hair ahead of Scott Rolen’s tag, but had he been tagged out, Snyder’s run wouldn’t have counted. Still, despite the brain farts by Cedeno, the Pirates were staked to a 7-6 lead.
You wouldn’t have been crazy to expect a bad play by Cedeno in the 8th or 9th to cost the Bucs the game. In fact, given his recent moves, a boneheaded gaffe seemed almost inevitable. So what did he do? Made a diving stab of a Rolen liner to not only preserve a tie game, but also end a dicey 8th inning. So, in the span of two half-innings, Ronny Cedeno was the bonehead, the lucky bonehead, and then the hero. Probably got your blood pressure elevated to unhealthy levels, didn’t it? Here’s the scary part: Ronny Cedeno is the best shortstop the Pirates have. Chase D’Arnaud isn’t ready. Josh Rodriguez? Don’t think so.
He might drive you nuts. The lapses in play might make you reach for the Tums. His clear physical talent and apparent lack of focus at times might make you pull your hair out. But, like it or not, Ronny Cedeno is clearly the Pirates’ best option at short.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go pour myself a drink.