Friday, September 4, 2015

9/4: Streak Snapped; Gill's Boner; Vern Law's Comeback; Lee's Debut; Harvey's No-No Deleted

  • 1890 - The Pittsburgh Alleghenys snapped a 23 game losing streak and a stretch where the club lost 33-of-34 games with a 6-2 win over the Cleveland Spiders. It didn’t do much to turn the season around; the dropped 20 of the last 23 games to finish 23-113. From July 3rd (when they had their final winning streak of the year of three in a row), they were 6-66.
  • 1908 - With two outs and the Pirates-Cubs in a scoreless 10th inning tie at Exposition Park, Chief Wilson singled to center with the bases juiced, scoring Fred Clarke with the winning run. Warren Gill, on first base, saw Clarke score, and jogged to the dugout before touching second. The Cubs' Johnny Evers tagged second base, and claimed a run preventing force out on Gill. The lone umpire, Hank O'Day, had already left the field and the Cubs protested the game to no avail. Three weeks later on September 23rd, Evers did get a force call in roughly the same situation against the NY Giants’ Fred Merkle, and that play became forever known as “Merkle’s Boner.” Ironically, O’Day was the ump for that game, too.
Warren Gill was almost the original Merkle (photo 1908 team photo)
  • 1916 - The Pirates swept the Cards at Forbes Field behind some stellar pitching. Frank Miller threw a four hit whitewash in the opener, winning 7-0 as the Redbirds shot themselves in the foot, with four errors leading to three unearned runs. Wilbur Cooper followed with his own four hit shutout, taking a 2-0 decision. Carson Bigbee went 3-for-4 day with an RBI, double and stolen base while Cooper drove in the other run.
  • 1965 - Vernon Law was featured on the cover of The Sporting News for a story of the same name. He won the NL Comeback Player of the Year award that season with a 17-9/2.15 slash in 29 games.
  • 1971 - The Bucs mishandled five balls, but still won 7-6 over the Montreal Expos in 11 innings at TRS. The Expos clanked four the same night as six of the 13 runs scored were unearned. The Bucs won on an oddball rally. Rennie Stennett singled and went to second when Gene Clines was HBP by Mike Marshall. Marshall picked Stennett off second, and during the same at-bat, had Clines picked off first, but Ron Fairly mishandled the throw. Instead of being out, Clines ended up on second where he scored the winning run on Vic Davalillo’s knock.
Gene Clines 1973 Topps series
  • 1976 - The Pirates put up three runs in the ninth, then held off the Expos 5-3 at Parc Jarry for their 10th straight win. The Bucs ninth inning was sparked by a two run hit from Omar Moreno, who later scored on a wild pitch. Kent Tekulve gave up a score in the ninth and faced the tying run in Larry Parrish, but retired the slugger on a fly to center to pick up a save for Dave Giusti’s win. Montreal had 13 hits, but were thwarted by four DP balls.
  • 1978 - In his first major league at-bat, Dorian “Doe” Boyland struck out while sitting on the bench. The Pirate rookie was yanked with a 1-2 count after the Mets made a pitching change in the seventh frame, replacing Skip Lockwood with Kip Kobel. Pinch hitter Rennie Stennett took Boyland’s place in the box as Chuck Tanner played the match-up game, and completed the K by watching strike three during the first game of a Bucco 7-4, 7-0 doubleheader sweep at TRS. The victories put the Bucs one game out of first. They would finish the year in second, 1-½ games behind the Philadelphia Phillies.
Dorian "Doe" Boyland 1978 Topps series
  • 1982 - Lee Tunnell got his first MLB start as a replacement for John Candelaria (his shoulder was tight), and took full advantage. Tunnell outpitched Fernando Valenzuela in a 1-0 win over Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium as Lee Lacy’s first inning homer stood as the game’s only score. Tunnell left in the eighth with a blister; Rod Scurry and Kent Tekulve finished up.
  • 1991 - The Bucs won their eighth of nine games by defeating the SF Giants 8-3 at Candlestick Park. John Smiley won his 17th as Steve Buechele and Andy Van Slyke homered and Don Slaught went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles.
  • 1991 - The MLB Committee For Statistical Accuracy deleted Harvey Haddix’s 12 inning perfect game from the list of perfectos while removing the asterisk from Roger Maris’ 61 homer year.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Jinx Goes On: Bucs Swept 5-3

Taylor Jungmann had just a spot of trouble in the first; Josh singled and stole second, but was left there. Frankie gave up a walk with one away, but came back to get a 4-6-3 DP to clean that up. With one gone in the second, Fran got plunked, Pedro singled and Jordy worked a walk. Frank whiffed and Gregory couldn't pick him up, lining out on an at 'em rope to left. The Brewers used a one out walk and two out single to put runners on the corners, but in between, Liriano struck out the side to keep it at zero.

1-2-3 for the Bucs in the third. Jungmann doubled to open the Brew Crew half (he's hitting over .300) and Ryan Braun drew a two-out walk, but Frank worked out of it. Pittsburgh was retired in order in the fourth. Frankie started by issuing his fourth walk, then Domingo Santana doubled off A-Ram's glove, the ball dying in left, to put Brewers on second and third. A sac fly made it 1-0 before he shut the gate.

Jordy doubled to open the fifth and Frankie's fly moved him to third. Gregory then walked and stole second. Josh's grounder tied the game. Hold the lead? Nah. Jonathan Lucroy singled with an out and was forced by Braun. He stole second and scored on Khris Davis' two bagger. Josh made a great effort and almost ran it down, too bad he doesn't have Starling's wheels.

Frankie didn't have it tonight (photo Gregory Bull/AP)
Jungmann tossed another clean frame in the sixth. Frankie walked Santana to start the Brewers off. Hernan Perez tripled him in, then he hung a 1-2 slider to Elian Herrera, who got enough to double him in off the wall in left; it took an umps review to determine it hit on, not above, the yellow line. It didn't take much review to yank Frank; Antonio Bastardo took over. Jean segura singled on the first pitch, but Josh came up firing and nailed Herrera at home. AB closed it out after that assist.

Will Smith came in for Jungmann in the seventh, and the fun began. Michael Morse tripled and Jordy doubled him home. JHK grabbed a bat, and his singled chased Mercer in. Two outs later, Starling had an infield knock, and that brought Tyler Thornburg to the hill. He K'ed A-Ram with a high heater. Radhames Liz toed the rubber and worked a clean frame.

Jeremy Jeffress came in for the eighth and gave up a two-out double to Morse; P-Flo came in to run for him. Jordy walked, but JHK grounded to third to end the frame. That was followed by Liz hanging a slider to Santana; he banged it yard to add an insurance run. That was followed by a single before a whiff and DP calmed the waters. Francisco Rodriguez took the mound and tucked the Bucs to bed.

Neither starter had much, and that's a lot more worrisome for the Bucs than the Brewers. Jungmann was lucky to last six; half his outs were hit on the nose. But since July, batters have been making Frankie throw strikes, and he's walked himself into holes. Tonight, the bottom of the order did him in; the 6-7-8 guys had six hits, four for extra bases. On to St. Louis; it'll be interesting to see if Clint values his glove lineup over his stick lineup in a series that the Bucs need. Jay Happ opens against Carlos Martinez.

  • Jordy went 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles and two walks while Michael Morse also was two-fer, with a double and triple.
  • The Pirate streak of 11 straight wins when Frankie starts was snapped.
  • Cutch was out, resting a case of Achilles tightness tonight to ready himself for the Card series coming up next.
  • Corey Hart will end his rehab but remain on the DL for the remainder of the season; he went home to Arizona.

Frankie v Taylor Jungmann; Lineup (Cutch, JHK on the Bench) & Notes; Cutch NL PoM

Today's Game - Francisco Liriano (9-6, 3.28) closes out the series against Taylor Jungmann (8-5, 2.48). Frankie was sharp in July, but in August, his ERA was an head-shaking 4.94 with 15 walks surrendered in 27 IP. It's no secret that Liriano is at his best ahead in the count, and teams have taken a patient approach at the plate against him, so first-pitch strikes are his key. he's faced the Brewers once this year, losing 4-1 to today's opponent, Jungmann. Still, the Pirates have won each of his last 11 starts, with Frankie 5-0.

Rookie Jungmann, 25, is a big part of the future of the Brewer staff, along with Jimmy Nelson. He's faced the Bucs twice this year, and in 14 IP has given up nine hits and two runs, winning both starts. He uses an average, 92-ish fastball that's set up by his signature pitch, a slow, big breaking curve to go along with an effective running two-seamer that's been turned into lots of grounders. The game starts at 7:20 and will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

Cutch gets a day off; probably wise with the Card series on deck. JHK is down, too as Jordy gets back in the mix. Gonna be some interesting combos this month. Heck, maybe even Fran will get a day off; this is his seventh game in a row behind the dish

  • Prior to tonight’s game the Brewers will honor their long-time 3B'man and now Bucco, Aramis Ramirez, who plans to retire after the season.
  • Bradenton's CF Austin Meadows and IF Erich Weiss have been named End-of-Season All-Stars by the Florida State League
  • Rob Biertempfel of the Trib reports the Bucs may play the Marlins in Puerto Rico next year during the regular season, replacing a couple of Miami dates. 

9/3: Dizzy & Daffy Go Down; HBD Matt, Dave; Sollie's Back; Berra's Walk-Off; Connie Guides the Club

  • 1894 - Replacing fired skipper Al Buckenberger, Connie Mack took the helm to lead the Pirates to a 22-1 win (“...the Pittsburgs were in brave form against the visiting Senators” said the Pittsburg Press) over his former Washington team at Exposition Park. Mack was a player/manager with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1894 to 1896, compiling an 149–134 (.527) record in that time.
  • 1905 - Deacon Phillippe and Chicago's Bob Wicker hooked up in a 10 inning scoreless duel, each allowing three hits, before the Colts scored an unearned run in the 11th following a triple that scored a batter later when with the infield in, 1B Del Howard threw the ball away going for the out at home. In the nitecap, Paul “Lefty” Leifield made his MLB debut and whitewashed Chicago 1-0 on a three hitter in a game stopped after six innings at West Side Park. The Buc run scored in the final frame when Fred Clarke doubled to lead off and scored on a pair of groundouts. The opening loss broke an 11 game winning streak by the Bucs. They went on to win 8-of-9 afterward on the way to a 96 win, second place finish.
  • 1914 - In an early example of a guaranteed contract, Pittsburgh Rebel Harry Gessler reached a final settlement with the Federal League club after he was fired as player/manager two weeks into the season. He rebuffed the ownership's settlement and hired an attorney to collect his pay and a separation bonus, as stipulated in his “ironclad” contract. Gessler, from Indiana and Greensburg HS, then left baseball and went to medical school, picking up the moniker “Doc.”
Harry Gessler 1914 Cracker Jack series
  • 1914 - The Pirates had a big day in an otherwise dismal season when they swept the Cards 11-6 and 10-3 at Forbes Field. Wilbur Cooper won the opener with relief help from Hickory Bob Harmon while Erv “Kanty” Kantlehner went the distance in the nitecap. The offensive hero was Max Carey, who scored five times in the opener. The Bucs swept a four-game set from St. Louis without the injured Honus Wagner. Pittsburgh ended the season with a 69-85 slate, finishing in seventh place, 25-½ games off the pace of the Boston Braves, as their roster was badly deflated by defections to the upstart Federal League.
  • 1925 - The Pirates won their ninth in a row with a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Forbes Field. Glenn Wright went 3-for-4 with two RBI to back Ray Kremer’s pitching.
  • 1927 - The Pirates bombed the Cards 14-0 at Forbes Field. George Grantham went 4-for-4 while Paul Waner and Pie Traynor each went 3-for-4. Carmen Hill tossed a five hit winner as the Pirates began to pull away from the Cards and NY Giants, taking a two game lead in the NL race that they would never surrender.
  • 1928 - The Bucs broke out the bats at Forbes Field, clobbering the Chicago Cubs 16-1 in the opener of a Forbes Field twin bill and taking the nitecap 6-3. Five Pirates had multiple RBI in the first game as Lloyd Waner led the 19 hit outburst with four knocks behind Erv Brame’s five hitter. Paul Waner, Adam Comorosky and Dick Bartell added three hits each. Big Poison homered and had a pair of RBI to back Ray Kremer in the finale. Comorosky was a busy boy; he tied an NL record for right fielders with nine putouts in the second contest.
Dick Bartell 1935 Diamond All Stars series
  • 1934 - The Pirates beat the Dean brothers, Daffy and Dizzy, by 12-2 and 6-5 scores during a Forbes Field doubleheader. Freddie Lindstrom had four hits in the lid lifter, Pie Traynor and Gus Suhr knocked in three runs each and Larry French cruised to the victory. The Bucs put it away with their biggest inning of the season, an eight run third. The second game had its action in the ninth. The Cards scored three times to take a 5-3 lead; the Pirates came back with a three spot of their own in the bottom half, ripping three hits off reliever Dizzy Dean and claiming the win when Pie Traynor singled into right to score Lindstrom, who had seven hits during the day. Howie Meine got the win after coming in to relieve Waite Hoyt in the final frame. Volney Walsh of the Pittsburgh Press wrote “the customers had come to see Dizzy pitch, no doubt about it, but when he left the mound, thousands stood and gave a tremendous ‘boo’ that could be heard for blocks. Even the Carnegie Museum seemed to rock from that razzberry.”
  • 1944 - The Pirates took both ends of a twinbill from the Cardinals‚ 6-5 and 8-2, to sweep the four game set from St. Louis. The brooming ended the Cards’ amazing MLB record of 132 consecutive series without a sweep. Rip Sewell and Jumbo Strincevich were the complete game winners, putting on a show for the largest Forbes Field crowd of the season, 34‚927.
  • 1945 - The Bucs took a twinbill from St. Louis‚ 6-5 and 6-2. The Bucs banged four homers in the opener, two by C Bill Salkeld. Ted Wilks took the loss; he wouldn’t lose again until 1948, after 77 more appearances. In the nitecap, Preacher Roe scattered seven hits while fanning 11, and his batterymate Al Lopez caught his 1‚793rd game‚ a then-MLB record for catchers, slipping past the old Cub Gabby Hartnett, who set the mark in 1941.
Al Lopez 1942 Play Ball series
  • 1950 - The Pirates gave up a pair of runs in the tenth to the Cards, then rallied to score three in their half to beat St. Louis 12-11 at Forbes Field. Bob Dillinger and pinch hitter Pete Castiglione hit back-to-back homers off Harry Breechen to tie the game. After Breechen walked Ralph Kiner intentionally with two outs, Gus Bell doubled home the game winner.
  • 1962 - OF Dave Clark was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. He played for the Pirates for five seasons (1992-96) as a reserve OF’er and bench bat. Clark’s Pittsburgh line was .278/35/158 with an OPS+ of 111 in 940 AB.
  • 1978 - Dale Berra’s three-run, walk-off homer off Gene Garber in the ninth gave the Pirates a 6-3 win over the Braves at TRS. Atlanta manager Bobby Cox had intentionally walked Bill Robinson to get to Berra. Phil Garner tied the game in the seventh with a two-out, three run bomb, the same frame that Willie Stargell collected his 2,000th hit. Kent Tekulve got the win in relief of Bert Blyleven. The win was their 19th in 22 games and put them just two games behind the first-place Phils, but they eventually finished second, 1-1/2 games short of Philadelphia.
  • 1983 - RHP Matt Capps was born in Douglasville, Georgia. The closer spent five years (2005-09) in Pittsburgh, putting up a record of 19-19-67/3.61. Though he went converted 27 of 32 save opportunities in 2009, his 5.80 ERA led to the Pirates to non-tender him after the campaign.
Matt Capps 2007 Upper Deck First Edition series
  • 2002 - Salomon Torres pitched his first MLB game since July 20th‚ 1997‚ and went 8-1/3 scoreless innings against the Braves, also collecting his first hit since 1994 in the Pirates 3-0 win. Torres‚ 30‚ retired as an active player in 1997 and served as Montreal's pitching coach in the Dominican Summer League before he signed with Pittsburgh in January.
  • 2007 - Jack Wilson had a big game, going 4-for-5 with a homer and double, scoring twice and driving in three as the Bucs beat the St. Louis Cards 11-0 at Busch Stadium. Ronnie Paulino was hot, too, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, three runs and two RBI while Ian Snell and Juan Perez combined on a six hit shutout.
  • 2013 - Travis Snider’s ninth inning homer lifted the Pirates to a 4-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park and gave Pittsburgh a two-game lead in the NL Central. It also snapped a 20-year losing streak by the franchise, unmatched by any other major professional sports team in North America. There were more contributors than Snider, though - Andrew McCutchen, Justin Morneau and Marlon Byrd combined to go 7-for-10 with three RBI and three runs scored, Mark Melancon picked up the save for Vin Mazzaro, and Gerrit Cole, who gave up a pair of first inning runs after just three batters, came back to put up zeroes through six innings and retired the last 12-of-13 hitters he faced. Cutch’s homer was his 100th, putting him in the Bucco 100 HR/100 steal club along with Barry Bonds, Al Martin, Andy Van Slyke, Dave Parker and Paul Waner. And in a final bit of irony, the Brewers broke their club record 12 season losing streak at PNC Park in 2005, so it was fitting the Bucs returned the favor at Miller.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Brew Crew Rolls Over Pirates 9-4

Should be interesting tonight; Jeff may be pitching for his rotation life. When asked before the game why the batting order was so heavy with hitters tonight, Clint told the press gang that "We also want to put an offensive lineup up that covers a pitcher’s ERA to some degree." Doesn't sound like a huge vote of confidence to us (although a struggling pitcher could use some leather behind him), and may be why they decided to keep Vance stretched out at Indy; they also have Radhames Liz and even Joe Blanton (unlikely) here already.

Rookie Chris Davies had an easy first inning; three grounders sandwiched around the mandatory Cutch walk. Jeff's third pitch was a hung change and Jean Segura banged it for a double. Jonathan Lucroy brought him home with a single up the middle. After an out, Khris Davis lined a juicy fastball for a double and another run before the quitting bell rang.

Davies went heavily to the change in the second and got a pair of whiffs as the Bucs showed very little that could be mistaken for discipline at the dish. Jeff jumped back on the barstool and took care of the bottom of the order. Three up, three down for the Bucs in the third; the first ten batters have hit two balls hard so far. With two gone, Ryan Braun and Davis singled (Davis' hit was a swinging bunt to A-Ram). Adam Lind's knock brought Braun home.

Starling opened the fourth by smacking a change to left for a lead-off double, followed by another Cutch free pass. A-Ram squared up on a knee-high, inside fastball and dropped it over the center field fence to tie the game. Pedro walked with two gone before the music stopped; two of the three outs were hit on the nose, so the second time around seems to be the charm. Locke got the first two Brewers, then gave up a two-strike single to the pitcher. Segura doubled him to third. Ray Searage came out but it didn't help as Locke tossed a 1-2 fastball right down the middle to Lucroy, who singled both runners home. That was it (maybe for the season) for Jeff as Jared Hughes came on to finish up the frame.

Jeff Locke - another sad sack outing (photo Charles LeClaire/USA Today)
Jaff Decker hit for Hughes and opened the fifth with an opposite field single. Gregory lined out, then Starling dropped a soft single to right. Davies called it a day as Corey Knebel took the ball. He caught Cutch looking at a two strike fastball down Broadway. A-Ram picked him up by doubling in Decker. The Brew Crew was saved a run when the ball bounced over the wall for a ground rule double and JHK popped out. Joe Blanton climbed the hill. After an out, he fought Lind in a 10 pitch at bat; Lind won by taking a shin high sinker and pounding it over the wall in center; good pitch and off the plate, but in a lefty sweet spot.

Cesar Jimenez twirled the ball and gave up a lead off single to The Kid. A pop up and 6-4-3 DP cleaned that up. Joe tossed a clean frame. Jeremy Jeffress took his turn in the seventh and used seven pitches to get three grounders. Arquimedes Caminero toed the rubber. With an out, Braun got to second on a hit-and-error charged to JHK. After a whiff, Lind was walked intentionally to get to righty Domingo Santana, who screwed up the strategy by reaching on a bleeder to third. Scooter Gennett grabbed a stick, and he singled in a pair on the first pitch, making it 8-4 and giving the Buc bats a mountain to climb.

Jeffress had another 1-2-3 inning in the eighth. Rob Scahill came on for Pittsburgh, and had a third 10 pitch battle, eventually losing Jason Rogers. Segura rolled a single to right, and a knock by Braun an out later chased in a score, bringing Bobby LaFramboise into the game to douse the fire. Tyler Thornburg put the Bucs out of their misery.

A pretty miserable night for Jeff Locke and the bullpen. A lot of the problems tonight were self inflicted by the pitchers, but we can' help but wonder how many runs are being bled by an infield whose best defenders are spectators or in the wrong position for the sake of offense. It'll be interesting to see how Clint juggles his lineup to find a balance among his six infielders.

Frankie has a tough task tomorrow as he goes against young gun Taylor Jungmann in the series finale.

  • Cutch has reached base in the first inning for eight straight games, but his eight game hitting streak ended.
  • The Miller Field jinx: Arquimedes Caminaro's 17-1/3 IP scoreless streak and Joe Blanton's 16-1/3 IP goose egg string were both broken tonight.
  • Today was Rob Scahill's first Pirate appearance since June 25th.
  • Milwaukee scored five two-out runs; three came with two gone and the bases empty.
  • Clint also noted in his pre-game that he's thinking of "bundling" player time so guys get consecutive starts instead of yanking them in and out of the lineup by matchup.
  • The Pirates made some minor league moves, the most noteworthy advancing OF'er Austin Meadows from Bradenton to Altoona, where he can acclimate a bit since that's his likely 2016 assignment. RHP Tyler Eppler also moved up, and he's likely to be a Curve next season, too.
  • Brandon Moss hit the longest LH homer in Busch Stadium III history tonight off Max Scherzer, going 454'.

Jeff v Zach Davies; Lineup & Notes; Last Night's Quickie Recap

Today's Game - Jeff Locke (7-8, 4.46) faces rookie Zach Davies. Jeff is coming off a pretty sharp performance in Miami, but has mostly struggled mightily this year. Locke is 1-1/3.38 at Miller Park this year, so he's held up pretty well in the House of Horrors , while also taming the Brew Crew once at PNC.

Davies joined the team after the deadline trade that sent Gerardo Parra to Baltimore. He's gone 6-8 with a 3.30 ERA in 23 starts and one relief appearance in Triple-A ball, and is a pitch-to-contact guy. The 22 year old's bread-and-butter is command and changing speeds; it's no surprise that his change is his most advanced pitch. The game starts at 8:10 and will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

Well, going with the sticks lineup again. Guess Clint is planning on getting the lead and turning it over to the pen and the leather brigade on the bench.

  • Cutch has a nine game hitting steak, and Jordy a five-gamer.
  • The Pirates now have a losing record (21-30) against every NL Central rival in 2015. The Cards are 32-18 intra-divison and have a winning record against every NL Central club. That's an 11-1/2 game spread just within the division.
  • Pittsburgh hasn't lost three straight games since July 17-19th.
  • The Pirates officially added Pedro Florimon to the roster, and moved Deolis Guerra to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man space.

Last Night's Recap: (Sorry; the original game story was swallowed up by cyberspace) The Bucs lost 7-4 last night, and it wasn't as close as the final score indicates. Gerrit gave up four runs in the first, a combination of bullets, bloops and defensive indifference by his infield. Joakim Soria gave up a couple more in the seventh. The Bucs homered three times late; Pedro in the eighth, followed by A-Ram and JHK blasts in the ninth. All in all, a typical loss at Miller Field. 

9/2: Roberto Sets Pirate Hit Mark; HBD Milo, Luke, Gaby; Stu Drives In 5...

  • 1909 - Per Charlton’s Baseball Chronology, Boston's Cliff Curtis pitched his first MLB game and beat the Pirates 1-0 to give the Doves their only win against Pittsburgh that year. The Pirates, who would claim the NL pennant, won the nightcap at the South End Grounds 5-3, took the remaining September games and finished the season 20-1 against last-place Boston.
  • 1927 - Leland Milo Hamilton was born in Fairfield, Iowa. Milo had the unenviable and ultimately untenable job as Bob Prince’s replacement in the broadcast booth. His quiet demeanor was a stark contrast to the Gunner’s folksy ways and boosterism, and the gig wore thin on both Hamilton and the City. He moved on to the Cubs job in 1980, and discovered that working with Harry Caray wasn’t much easier than replacing Prince. Milo finally found a home in Houston in 1985, where he broadcast for 28 years until his retirement in 2012.
Milo Hamilton (photo via The National Baseball Hall of Fame)
  • 1927 - The Pirates took over first place with a 5-3 win over the St. Louis Cards at Forbes Field. Ray Kremer won against Grover Cleveland Alexander, and added an RBI to the effort. The Waner brothers went 7-for-10 with two runs scored and two RBI. The Bucs never relinquished first place after the victory, and nosed out the Cards for the title by a 1-½ game margin.
  • 1933 - Pittsburgh won its eighth straight game by a 4-1 tally over the St. Louis Cardinals at Forbes Field. Woody Jensen and Tommy Thevenow each had a pair of hits with a triple each and together drove in three runs to give Howie Meine the win. The Cincinnati Reds ended the streak convincingly the next game by a 9-3 score.
  • 1943 - LHP Luke Walker was born in DeKalb, Texas. He worked eight years (1965-66, 1968-73) for the Bucs, with a line of 40-42-9/3.47. Walker had a breakout 1970, going 15-6 with a 3.04 ERA and was a member of the 1970-72 championship teams. He not only started, but worked everything from long man to closer.
  • 1944 - The Pirates slid by the first-place St. Louis Cards 5-4 at Forbes Field‚ giving Ted Wilks his first loss after he had reeled off 11 straight victories. The Bucs scored in the bottom of the ninth when Bob Elliott, who was 4-for-5 with a homer, singled home Jim Russell to give Max Butcher the victory. The lead switched hands several times during the game; Dick Fortune of the Pittsburgh Press called the contest “...a ding dong battle all the way.”
Bob Elliott via Out of the Park Development
  • 1948 - The Bucco hand was caught in the cookie jar... Commissioner Happy Chandler fined the Pirates $2‚000 for violating the NL bonus rule when the Pirates signed ML Lynch as a scout while offering his son Danny a contract. Chandler interpreted this (and probably rightly so) as an attempt to influence the second baseman's decision. Lynch was declared a free agent and signed with the Cubs. He played just seven MLB games.
  • 1961 - Dick Stuart had a pair of homers, but his biggest hit was a broken bat single that went off the pitcher’s mitt in the eighth to plate Dick Groat. That knock proved the game winner in a 5-4 Buc victory over the St. Louis Cards at Busch Stadium. Stu had all five RBI and ElRoy Face shut the door in the last two frames to earn the win. Joe Christopher threw out Stan Musial in the sixth, trying to go from first-to-third on a single to right. That was followed by a pair of knocks, so Joe’s arm defused a possible big frame.
  • 1966 - The Pirates claimed first place by besting the Cubs 7-5 on a Roberto Clemente homer‚ his 2,000th career hit. Clemente's long fly gave him 101 RBI for the year‚ the first time he reached the century mark. He ended up with a career high of 119 RBI in 1966, and collected 110 the next season, the only other time he drove in 100+. The Bucs would finish third with 92 wins, three games behind the LA Dodgers.
Roberto Clemente 1972 Topps series
  • 1972 - With his 2,971st knock as a Bucco, Roberto Clemente broke Honus Wagner's record for the most hits in the history of the franchise. The record-setting blow was a three-run homer off Giant hurler Sudden Sam McDowell in the bottom of the fourth inning during an 6-3 victory at Three Rivers Stadium.
  • 1972 - LHP Bob Veale, 36, was sold to the Boston Red Sox after an 11 year career in Pittsburgh that saw him win 116 games and save six more, starting 255 times in his 341 Buc outings. His 1,652 strikeouts are still the Pirate mark for a LHP and second overall in Bucco history.
  • 1983 - 1B Gaby Sanchez was born in Miami. He joined the Pirates from the Marlins in 2012 as the right-hand half of a first base platoon, first with Garrett Jones and then with Ike Davis. He played for the Buccos through 2014, hitting .241 before going to Japan.
Gaby Sanchez 2014 Topps series
  • 1992 - Tim Wakefield came one out away from a complete game as the Pirates beat the Giants 3-2 at TRS. Bob Patterson came in to get the final out while picking up his ninth save of the year. The Bucs took the lead for good in the sixth inning on a two-run homer from Barry Bonds after Don Slaught’s blast in the fifth provided the first score. The victory was in the midst of a seven game Pirate winning streak and kept the Bucs comfortably in first place by a three game margin.
  • 1997 - In front of 43,380 at TRS, newcomer Shawon Dunston hit a pair of homers to lead the Freak Show Bucs to a 6-4 win over the Cleveland Indians. His four RBI powered Jose Silva, with help from the bullpen, to the victory and helped pull the Pirates to within 1-½ games of first, the closest they would come to the top spot for the rest of the season.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Call Ups Announced

The active rosters expanded today, and the Bucs brought in some reinforcements:

Outfielders Travis Snider and Jaff Decker will provide a lefty bench bat and maybe see a little OF time; Josh's return has pretty well staked out that fourth outfield spot. Elias Diaz got the call instead of Tony Sanchez; this may be Tony's last hurrah in the Bucco organization; the Pirates are deep in young catching prospects. Pedro Florimon is expected back, too, (he's technically not eligible for recall until tomorrow) and gives Clint one more glove-first infielder.

He's back... (photo: Charles LeClaire/USA Today)

A couple of arms were added, too - LH reliever Bobby LaFromboise will allow for LOOGY match-ups and Radhames Liz, who looked sharp at Indy, will take a long-man role, same as earlier in the season. Rob Scahill was removed from the DL and added to the active roster to give the skipper another bridge option. We wouldn't be stunned to see Vanimal back, though he would require the FO to drop someone off the 40 man roster and may be a fallback only if AJ has a setback. At any rate, the Bucs want him to remain stretched out if they need another rotation add.

Snider, Liz, and later Florimon/Worley all need to be added to the 40 man roster. Today was easy as there was one vacancy and Casey Sadler was moved from the 15 day to 60 day DL. He joined Corey Hart, Andrew Lambo and Brandon Cumpton among those not counted against the roster.

AJ Burnett and Travis Ishikawa are on the 40-man & the DL, and they'll join the club sometime this month, too. Ishy can come off the DL on September 7th, and AJ is hoping to return by mid-September.

The one thing they almost all share is MLB experience, except for Diaz. So forget about Tyler Glasnow, Alen Hansen and Josh Bell; their time may be just around the corner, but the Bucs won't be starting their service-time clocks any sooner than necessary. (Heck, we'd have even taken Gift Ngoebe rather than Florimon, but not our choice. The FO values experience over all as this year is an America Cup race, not a break-in cruise.)

Clint told the press gang that he can handle a roster of up to 35, so there may be another move or two coming when Indy season's concludes. Stay tuned.

Cole Train v Jimmy Nelson; Lineup & Notes

Today's Game - Gerrit Cole (15-7, 2.44) vs. Jimmy Nelson (10-10, 3.81). Glad to report that Gerrit has been back on top of his game the last two starts. He's also been a hardy road warrior, with a 7-4/2.13 slash on the road this campaign. He won his only start against the Brew Crew this year and is 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA in six career starts against Milwaukee. Gerrit, btw, is working today instead of tomorrow because the travel day gave Clint a chance to line up the rotation so the Cole Train can go against St. Louis on Sunday.

Nelson has a 3-1/1.85 mark in four starts v Pirates this year with 27 K in 24-1/3 IP. The good news is that his four game winning streak ended last outing when the Indians slapped him around. Still, the 26 year old is on his way to becoming Milwaukee's workhorse, though he is a work in progress. The game starts at 8:10 and be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

The Brewers will, one way or another, have a big part to play in deciding the NL Central title. They play 20 September games vs. St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Chicago and would love to spoil somebody's party. The Pirates certainly haven't pushed the Brewers around; they're just 6-6 on the season and 2-4 at Miller Park, where the Bucs were swept in July. This would be a good time to shake off the ol' Milwaukee jinx.

Makes sense that Clint would break out the all-sticks lineup behind Gerrit; the Pirates have had trouble generating much of an attack against Nelson.
  • The Pirates called up Jaff Decker, Radhames Liz, Travis Snider, Bobby LaFromboise and Elias Diaz, while Rob Scahill was reinstated from the DL.
  • The Pirates have committed multiple errors in a game 30 times this season.
  • It's all happening at the zoo: 26 of Pittsburgh's final 33 games are against NL Central foes (7 games - Chicago, Milwaukee; 6 games - St. Louis, Cincinnati; plus a 7-game West Coast trip to LA & Colorado).
  • The NL Central is about as clear cut as its been lately - the Cards are five games ahead of Pittsburgh and the Cubs 5-1/2 games behind us, both in division & wildcard. The Giants are 5-1/2 games away from the Cubs for the final WC and 11 behind the Pirates.
  • The Bucs are sending the following guys to Glendale for some Arizona Fall League action: SS Adam Frazier and LHP Steven Brault of AA Altoona, along with C Reese McGuire, CF Austin Meadows, LHP Cody Dickson, RHP Tyler Eppler and RHP Brett McKinney of High A Bradenton. Curve pitching coach Justin Meccage will coach Glendale in AFL.

9/1: First All-Minority Lineup; Bucs Beat Sandy & Don; HBD Joe L; Pud's Gem; Quail Walkoff; Teke In the OF; Trebuchet On the Hill...

  • 1877 - Jim “Pud” Galvin and the Alleghenies edged St. Louis in 15 innings‚ 1-0. Two days earlier‚ they had beat Milwaukee by the same score in 12 innings, per Charlton’s Baseball Chronology. Both games were played in the International Association, even then considered a minor league.
Pud Galvin 1994 American Archives series
  • 1890 - On Labor Day at Washington Park, the Brooklyn Bridegrooms, later known as the Dodgers, won all three games against Pittsburgh in the first tripleheader ever played. The home team swept the visiting Alleghenys, who were renamed the Pirates next season, 10-9, 3-2, and 8-4. The Alleghenys lost the next game to them, 5-4, to run their losing streak to 23 games.
  • 1917 - The Pirates lost their third straight 1-0 game to the St. Louis Cardinals at Robison Field. The Cards‚ behind the pitching of Red Ames, Oscar Horstmann and Milt Watson‚ outpitched Bob Steele, Wilbur Cooper and Hal Carlson. With the three-in-a-row 1-0 wins, the Cards tied the MLB mark and set the NL standard.
  • 1918 - GM Joe L Brown was born in New York City. Brown served as the general manager from November 1, 1955, through the end of the 1976 season, replacing mentor Branch Rickey. Under his watch, the Pirates became world champions in 1960 and 1971. Ever a loyal Pirate, after a decade of serving as a Southern California-based scout for the Bucs, Brown was called back in 1985 to serve as acting GM when the Pirates, rocked by a drug scandal, poor play and falling attendance, were sold by the Galbreath family to a local group. He oversaw the transition and acted as a bridge between GMs Pete Peterson and Syd Thrift.
Joe Brown 1985 (photo George Gojkovich/Getty)
  • 1927 - The Pirates tied for the NL’s top spot by beating the Cubs‚ 4-3 at Forbes Field. Joe Harris homered and doubled, with two runs and two RBI, to back Lee Meadows. The Waner brothers cut down Chicago runners at home and third. The Bucs whipped the Cards the next day to take the sole possession of first place and never looked back, winning the hotly contested pennant race by 1-½ games.
  • 1963 - The “Quail,” CF’er Bill Virdon, hit a two-out walk off grand slam off Al Worthington to give the Bucs a dramatic 6-4 win over the Reds at Forbes Field. Willie Stargell drove in the other runs with a homer and double. Earl Francis, the third Buc pitcher, got the win.
  • 1965 - The Bucs laid losses on aces Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale on the same day during a Forbes Field twinbill with last at-bat rallies. The Pirates defeated Koufax, 3-2, in 11 innings in the opener and then beat Drysdale, 2-1, in the nitecap. Joe Gibbon and Vern Law picked up the victories. Jim Pagliaroni doubled home Willie Stargell to claim the opener while Bill Virdon scored on a two-out error in the eighth to take the nitecap. It was the Bucs 12th win in 14 games and moved them within 2-½ games of LA in the NL pennant race.
Vern Law 2011 Topps Lineage series
  • 1971 - The Pirates fielded baseball's first all-minority lineup 24 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color line in a 10-7 win over the Phillies at TRS. The card read: Rennie Stennett (2B), Gene Clines (CF), Roberto Clemente (RF), Willie Stargell (LF), Manny Sanguillen (C), Dave Cash (3B), Al Oliver (1B), Jackie Hern├índez (SS) and Dock Ellis (P). Six starters had two hits and every position player reached base during the game. It went almost unnoticed in Pittsburgh; both newspapers were on strike. Bob Prince and Nellie King, the radio announcers, mentioned it in passing, and Bill Guilfoile, the Pirate PR man, said they had to check the records after the game to see if it really was the first all-black lineup.
  • 1974 - The Major League Scouting Bureau was founded to cut costs and centralizing scouting. Membership wasn’t mandatory until 1984‚ and the Bucs refused to join until then.
  • 1979 - Chuck Tanner sent reliever Kent Tekulve from the mound to left field and brought in southpaw Grant Jackson to face lefty Darrell Evans against the Giants with two down in the ninth. (He wanted Tekulve available in case Evans got aboard.) Evans hit a fly to Teke, who waved his arms and made the catch to finish the game, a 5-3 Bucco win in the opener of a DH at Candlestick Park. It was Teke’s only appearance in the field anywhere but on the mound during his entire major and minor league career. Willie Stargell had two homers and Dale Berra added another in support of the Bruce Kison win. Jim Bibby pitched the Bucs to a 7-2 sweep in the nitecap, backed by Lee Lacy’s three hits, including a homer, two runs scored and three RBI.
Teke could not only toss 'em, but catch 'em, too. (photo courtesy of Pgh Pirates)
  • 2008 - Andy LaRoche’s fifth inning, 45’ roller was the only hit against CC Sabathia in a 7-0 Brewer win in Pittsburgh. Sabathia picked up the ball dribbled up the right side and then dropped it. Scorer Bob Webb ruled it a hit almost immediately. Brew Crew players and coaches were livid it wasn’t ruled an error - all except for Sabathia, who blamed himself and not the scorer for LaRoche reaching base. It was the Pirates 10th straight loss.
  • 2013 - The opening pitch was tossed out not by a human celebrity, but by a trebuchet (a catapult), designed by the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. The first machine to ever toss a ceremonial ball at PNC Park (it was named “Rookie of the Gear”), it delivered a strike to the designated catcher, the Pirate Pirate, 10 minutes before the game against the St. Louis Cards was to begin. The Bucs might have been better off keeping the contraption on the mound to pitch, as they lost to the Redbirds 7-2.