Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Giants Make the Plays, Bucs Don't In 2-1 Loss

The Bucs went down 1-2-3 to Jeff Samardzija. The Giants had a different script against Trevor Williams. A double and two walks jammed the sacks with an out; a possible DP grounder wasn't fed very well by Jordy to Fraze who couldn't make the turn. Pittsburgh evened it up in the second thx to a JJ walk, Fran knock and Fraze two-bagger. Jordy was walked to load them and The Shark helped himself by bare handing a dribbler off Trevo's bat and getting a force at home. Starling was jammed and popped out to leave the ducks on the pond. The Giants got a bunt single played a little too leisurely by Trevor but it caused no damage. J-Hay singled and stole second, but his other mateys all K'ed in the third. San Fran got a harmless two-out rap. The Pirates went down in order in the fourth and the Giants again got a two-out knock, this one off Fraze's mitt.

The Bucs wasted a strong outing by Trevo (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

It was another easy inning for The Shark in the fifth; he's fanned seven so far. Denard Span smacked a two-bagger to open and tagged to third on a fly but there he remained. Samardzija cruised through the sixth as did Williams. The Pirates got a single in the seventh to break a 13-in-a-row out streak but didn't dent the scoreboard as Brandon Belt may have saved a double with a nice grab of Jordy's opposite field bid. Tony Watson took the hill and two doubles, one to the leadoff hitter and the other with two outs, gave the G-Men the lead. The second hit was a gift; Starling lost a routine fly in the sun. J-Hay reached with one away in the eighth against Hunter Strickland; Cutch lined into a DP. Hitting 'em hard is part of the battle; hitting 'em where they ain't is the other. Juan Nicasio worked a clean frame. Sam Dtson kicked the slab in the ninth. The Pirates had a couple of long at-bats but never got a ball out of the infield.

It was a well pitched game and the gloves made all the difference. The Giants made the difficult grabs, saving themselves a run or two, while the Pirates muffed a couple of routine plays to cost themselves two runs, no further comment needed.

Notes:

  • J-Hay and Fraze had a pair of hits; the Bucs only had five raps on the day.
  • The Pirates are 2-11 against the Giants and Reds.
  • Pittburgh is 6-41 when scoring less than four runs.

Wednesday: Bucs-Giants Finale, Trevo v Jeff Samardzija, Lineup, Notes

Today: The Pirates close out against San Francisco at 3:45. The game will be on AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan.

Lineup: Starling Marte LF, Josh Harrison 3B, Cutch CF, Josh Bell 1B, John Jaso RF, Fran Cervelli C, Adam Frazier 2B, Jordy Mercer SS & Trevor Williams P. Sorta surprised that Fran isn't getting a blow. Freeser was due a day of rest, so the lineup has a Sunday kinda look to it.

Trevo looking to win the rubber match (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Trevor Williams (4-4, 4.74) closes the set against Jeff Samardzija (4-11, 5.05) in a rematch from early July. In his past 13 starts, Williams has slashed 3-2/4.21 in 72-2/3 innings pitched. He  has a 51% ground ball rate, keeps the ball in the park, having surrendered a home run in just three of his last 11 outings, and worked at least six innings in four of his last six starts. Trevo has won three of his last four road decisions. He's not been top-of-the-rotation material, but for a back ender has been plenty effective. Williams has faced the G-Men once this year and gave up three hits and two runs while taking a 2-0 lead into the 7th inning on 7/2 at PNC Park; was in line for the win before the bullpen imploded in a 5-3 loss. Samardzija has nice peripherals - 10 K and one walk per nine innings, 1.200 WHIP and a shiny 3.15 xFIP - but he's been serving up gopher balls with regularity. He's also faced the Bucs once this year and won that 5-2 game that Trevor started, giving up six hits and two runs in six frames with one ball leaving the yard. The Shark has seen Pittsburgh plenty, going 5-4/2.97 in 26 appearances (13 starts) during his career.

Notes:

  • J-Hay is on a three-game multi-hit streak.
  • Lefty love: Felipe Rivero is one save shy of matching fellow southpaw Tony Watson with a team-high 10 saves this season. It would mark the first time in club history that the Pirates have had two left-handed pitchers earn 10 or more saves in the same season since saves became official in 1969. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this has happened only three times in MLB history; John Rocker (24) and Mike Remlinger (12) with the Braves in 2000, Mitch Williams (16) and Paul Assenmacher (10) with the Cubs in 1990 and Dave Righetti (25) and Lee Guetterman (13) with the Yankees in 1989.
  • When he's healthy, Cervy gets no rest. Today will be his 15th start in 16 games since he came off the concussion DL.
  • Dilson Herrera, now a Reds farmhand, will undergo surgery to remove bone spurs from his right shoulder. He's expected to miss the rest of the season.

7/26: Jerry Meals Game; HBD Jimmy, Eddie, Tom & Jose; Big Yankee Swap; Starling's Smashing Debut; Game Stories...

  • 1889 - The Alleghenys defeated the Cleveland Spiders 8-4 at Recreation Park despite giving up a two-run infield homer to Jay Faatz, whose grounder to 3B Jim White bounced off his foot and went into the “free seats” - temporary stands - and couldn’t be dug out in time to stop Faatz from circling the bases. Fred Carroll, Ned Hanlon and Doggie Miller each had three knocks to spearhead a 16 hit Buc attack to give Harry Staley the win. Miller homered over the left field wall, and the Pittsburg Press wrote “The crowd went wild as little George trotted over the circuit and lifted his cap at the plate. An enthusiast threw a silver dollar at him, which (Miller) accepted with a smile.” 
Doggie Miller 1888 Allen & Ginter
  • 1917 - 2B Jimmy Bloodworth was born in Tallahassee, Florida. Jimmy played for 11 seasons and was a member of the 1950 NL champ “Whiz Kids” Phillies team. Like many of his era, he spent time in the Army from 1944-46. Bloodworth put in one season with the Pirates in 1947, batting .250, just about his career average, appearing in 88 games. 1951 was Bloodworth’s last season in the major leagues. He played in the minors for the next three years, managed in the bushes for two more years and then served as a deputy sheriff in Florida.
  • 1920 - IF Eddie Bockman was born in Santa Ana, California. He had a brief four-year MLB stay, spending his last two campaigns in 1948-49 with the Pirates, playing second and third while batting .230 in 149 games. He later scouted for the Philadelphia Phillies, where he signed Bob Boone, Larry Bowa, Joe Charboneau, Buck Martinez, Ricky Jordan, Randy Lerch, Dick Ruthven, John Vukovich and Bob Walk. In 1992, he became a scout for the expansion Florida Marlins. He passed away in 2011 at the age of 91. 
  • 1921 - OF Tom Saffell was born in Etowah, Tennessee. He played for the Bucs from 1949-51, then after three seasons in the minors, returned in 1955. The speedy OF’er hit .239 for the Bucs. He was a minor celeb, though, as he was the pitcher for the 1960 syndicated TV show “Home Run Derby” that was hosted by Mark Scott. That program was said to inspire the ASG’s home run derby, and is also part of ESPN’s Classic series. 
Tom Saffell 1952 Topps
  • 1927 - The Pirates pushed across two runs in the bottom of the eighth to edge the Brooklyn Dodgers 6-5 at Forbes Field to remain tied with the Cubs for the NL lead. They were almost derailed by a former mate, Max Carey, who had three hits, three runs, and three stolen bases. But the Waner brothers came through in the clutch. Lloyd had three hits and scored twice, both times driven home by Paul. Little Poison took over the league lead in hits with 82 while Lee Meadows went the distance for the win. 
  • 1928 - NY Giant future Hall of Famer Carl “King” Hubbell made his MLB debut against the Pirates at the Polo Grounds. He pitched a scoreless first inning‚ but the Bucs scored five times in the second to knock him out of the game, winning 7-5 behind Burleigh Grimes. Paul Waner had three hits and two RBI to lead a balanced Bucco attack. 
  • 1942 - Utilityman Jose Martinez was born in Carenas, Cuba. Jose was signed by the Bucs in 1960 and spent 1969-70 as a Pirates, his only stop in the show as a player, hitting .245 in 96 games. He put in 14 years on the farm before his MLB career took off as a bench guy and administrator. Jose served as a minor league manager and major league coach for the Kansas City Royals from 1980-88 and then coached with the Chicago Cubs from 1988-94. He joined the Atlanta Braves front office as a special assistant in 1995 and worked for them until his death in 2014.
Jose Martinez 1970 Topps
  • 1950 - Ray Mueller went 2-for-2 with two walks, a homer, two runs and two RBI, Wally Westlake hit a home run and Bob Dillinger collected three hits as the Bucs beat Boston 8-4 at Braves Field. Mel Queen got the win and Murry Dickson tossed three frames for the save. 
  • 2008 - OF Xavier Nady and RHP Damaso Marte were traded to the New York Yankees for RHPs Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen & Ross Ohlendorf along with OF Jose Tabata. During their Bucco careers, Karstens tossed for five years (23-35/4.31), McCutchen made 109 appearances in four seasons (8-11/4.77) and Ohlie tossed for four years (13-27, 4.61). Tabata was the key prospect; the Pirates locked him up to a long term deal guaranteed for five years/$14.5M. Although he hit .275 for Pittsburgh over six years, injuries and lack of power were his undoing and he was shipped to the Dodgers. 
  • 2011 - The black day of the Jerry Meals game in Atlanta, heralding the end of the Bucco's improbable pennant run. The ump blew a call at home in the 19th inning, giving the Braves a 4-3 win and starting a downward spiral of epic proportions for Pittsburgh. At 6 hours and 39 minutes, it was the longest game in club history. The Pirates filed a protest (at 2:30 in the morning) but the judgment call was upheld, even though the League Office admitted it was wrong. To add a little salt to the wound, Meals was born in Butler. 
Jerry Meals says "safe!" (image Root Sports)
  • 2012 - In a rookie-to-rookie match, Starling Marte homered to left center against Houston’s Dallas Keuchel on the first MLB pitch he saw (Keuchel has since rebounded nicely). Pittsburgh won 5-3 at Minute Maid Park as Garrett Jones & Clint Barmes also went long while AJ Burnett took home the victory.

Bucs Have Night to Forget In 11-3 Thumping by Giants

Red-hot J-Hay singled in the first off Madison Bumgarner, who had no other problems. It was 1-2-3 for Jamo. Joey O doubled in the second and was left aboard while the Giants did some damage with some help. Back-to-back singles opened the frame. J-Bell tried to turn two but tossed the ball away, allowing a run to score. An out later, Hunter Pence stole second, which was big because it turned another potential DP ball into a run-scoring bouncer to make it 2-0. In the third, J-Hay reached on a boot and Freeser doubled with two outs, but no run scored as Pence played the ball to perfection and J-Bell couldn't cash the guys in. JT continued with leadoff problems with a knock off J-Hay's glove and a bop; an out later a double steal set the G-Men up (the Pirates challenged the bang-bang play at third but the safe call stood). Buster Posey doubled in a run on a ball that Joey O played, well, like a large lumbering first baseman. An intentional walk loaded the sacks. With two gone, Joe Panik drilled one to the track in right for a bases-clearing triple to make it 6-0 after three.

Jamo was Wham-O tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

The Bucs went down w/o a peep in the fourth. Pitchers continued to torture the Pirates as Mad Bum opened with a knock (in fairness, he is one of the better hitting hurlers) and another knock sent him to third. That was followed by back-to-back doubles; the Giants are killing Joey O in right. Seems like a good spot for Stephen Brault about now, but Clint brought in AJ Schugel (the pitcher leads off next inning). He got two outs before another rap made it 10-0. The Bucs got a run on three singles with Freeser chasing Fraze home with two gone in the fifth. Brault came on with Stew catching and Fraze at second as the white flag waved. Mad Bum walked and Brandon Belt doubled two outs later. A Posey bullet hit an ump's foot; it was ruled a dead-ball single to load the bases. A liner to J-Bell ended it; Brault's not gonna save the pen much work at 34 pitches per frame. Chris Stratton climbed the hill (too much time on the bench for Mad Bum while the Giants were up, we'd guess) and set the Pirates down in order; ditto for the G-Men thx to a GIDP after a Fraze error.

Joey O's bat was hot; his glove, not so much (photo Joe Guzy/Pirates)

The Bucs loaded the bases with one out against Stratton in the seventh; Freeser hit into a DP. The Giants went quietly. Pittsburgh is nothing if not persistent; they again loaded the bases with an out in the eighth on three raps. This time a Fraze sac fly and Starling single potted a couple of runs. Wade LeBlanc toed the slab and gave up a pair of two-out doubles. The Bucs went down without a struggle in the ninth.

Of course hours after we praise Jamo he gets beaten up like a little leaguer. He didn't have it tonight; too much stuff over the dish and five-out innings don't help. The Bucs hit on zero cylinders; pitching, defense and hitting (they left 11 runners on) were all rookie-league level tonight. The performance does point out the need for an actual fourth outfielder. The Giants hit everything to right field where Joey O is out of his league, and it's not his fault; you can't turn a big galoot first basemen loose in the outfield and call it versatility rather than wishful thinking. They've gone the whole year without a bench OF'er (although Fraze has made big strides in the pasture). Either get an outfielder or let Adam fill the vacancy while Gregory's out. Otherwise, mama said there'd be games like this; take he series tomorrow and they'll still be on track.

Freeser was swingin' it (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
Notes:
  • J-Hay, Freeser, Joey O, and Fraze each had two knocks.
  • This was Jamo's shortest outing of the year; once last year he was also chased after three. It was easily his worst outing; his previous high for runs surrendered was six. JT's ERA jumped nearly a run (from 3.08 to 4.03) in three frames *ouch*
  • Eduardo Nunez was pinch-hit for in the middle of the game and exchanged hugs with his teammates as he was traded to the Red Sox for two minor league pitchers.
  • Keon Broxton, who for many fans had become a poster boy for rash Bucco deals, was demoted to AAA by the Brewers after slashing .218/.294/.430 with a 38 % strikeout rate so far this year.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tuesday: Pirates at Giants, Jamo v Mad Bum, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: Bucs at San Francisco with a 10:15 start. The game will be carried by AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan.

Lineup: Starling Marte LF, Josh Harrison 2B, Cutch CF, David Freese 3B, Josh Bell 1B, Jose Osuna RF, Fran Vervelli C, Jordy Mercer SS & Jamison Taillon P.

Jamo goes tonight (image Positively Pittsburgh)

Pitchers: Jameson Taillon (6-3, 3.08) goes against Madison Bumgarner (0-4, 3.57). In 13 starts, Jamo leads the rotation in ERA (3.08), x FIP (3.48), strikeout rate (23.2%/8.9 per 9 IP), strand rate (80%), fewest home runs per nine (0.62) and WAR (1.7). He has his warts, too: game length (he's gotten an out in the seventh just three times in 13 starts; eight outings haven't made it through the sixth), a so-so walk rate (7.7%/three per 9 IP) and high BABIP (.343, leading to a 1.370 WHIP). Still, it's pretty safe to say he's not just the Pirates ace-in-the-making, but their ace, end of convo. JT hasn't tossed against SF this year. He was touched for three runs in six IP in his only 2016 appearance, getting a no-decision in a 4-3 Bucco win. Mad Bum has made just six starts this season due to an April dirt bike rollover. He's tossed twice since then and gotten beaten up fairly well, giving up seven runs in 13-1/3 innings with four dingers. But it's just a matter of him getting in the work and chipping off the rust; hopefully the Bucs are catching him still in shake-down mode. Bumgarner is 2-4/2.97 in six lifetime starts against Pittsburgh. His last outing v the Bucs was in 2016 when he lost to Jeff Locke and the bullpen 1-0.

Cutch is on the oWAR short list (photo Pirates promo)
Notes:
  • Freeser has a six-game hitting streak entering tonight.
  • The Pirates have won seven straight contests at AT&T Park.
  • Cervy has started 13 of the last 14 games and has hit safely in seven of his last nine games, going 14-for-34 (.412) with five multi-hit outings.
  • The Bucs have taken each of their last 11 games when scoring at least four runs and have gone 17-2 in their last 19 when plating four or more.
  • Starling as gone 8-for-19 with six runs scored, three RBI and four stolen bases while hitting leadoff in the first four games of the road trip.
  • Through age-30, only eight other center fielders in MLB history have amassed more oWAR (46.5) than Cutch - Mickey Mantle, Tris Speaker, Ken Griffey, Willie Mays, Duke Snider, Mike Trout, Vada Pinson and Cesar Cedeno. That's some pretty fast company.
  • John Sickels of Minor League Ball posted a quick profile of Stephen Brault.
  • Ben Martens of Beyond the Box Score examines if the Bucs surge is for real
  • Zach Duke is back from off-season TJ surgery and has reclaimed his spot as the Cardinals' LOOGY.

7/25 From the 60s Forward: HBD Doug, Ed & Alex; ASG; Candy Faces the Minimum; Jackson Loses 1-Hitter; Game Stories

  • 1960 - The Bucs regained first place when Bob Friend defeated the Cardinals 4-2 at Busch Stadium behind homers from Bill Virdon, Bob Skinner and Roberto Clemente. Pittsburgh wouldn’t relinquish the top spot for the remainder of the season. 
Doug Drabel 1988 Topps Big
  • 1962 - RHP Doug Drabek was born in Victoria, Texas. He tossed six seasons (1987-92) in Pittsburgh with a line of 92-62/3.02. Drabek won the Cy Young in 1990 when he went 22-6, but oddly never made an All-Star team as a Pirate. Doug spent six seasons in the show after he left Pittsburgh following the 1992 season but never won more than a dozen games elsewhere. After he retired, he spent time at home and helping coach Little League ball. In 2010, he returned to pro ball as a pitching coach for Arizona, a position he still holds. 
  • 1963 - Tommie Sisk pitched five innings of near perfect relief (he walked two) and rode Roberto Clemente’s three-run homer to a 6-2 win over league leading Los Angeles and ace Sandy Koufax at Dodger Stadium. Smoky Burgess chipped in with a pair of RBI. Koufax had entered the game with just three losses and a 1.75 ERA. 
  • 1965 - The Bucs took the opener of a twin bill at Forbes Field from the Cubs 3-2 when back-up catcher Del Crandall, 35, was called into duty in the sixth. He banged a two out, 3-1 pitch barely into the left center seats for the win. Bill Mazeroski also homered, and Vern Law won his second game in 24 hours as the seventh Pirate pitcher, working the final 1-⅓ IP. The Cubs took the nightcap easily 5-0 in 1:37; the Pirates had just three hits and a Roberto Clemente line-out triple play to show for their efforts. 
Ed Sprague 1999 Topps Traded
  • 1967 - 3B Ed Sprague was born in Castro Valley, California. The 11-year MLB vet spent 1999 with the Pirates, hitting .267 with 22 long balls and winning an All-Star berth. Pittsburgh let him leave as a free agent (he signed with San Diego) as they had his heir-apparent, 21-year-old Aramis Ramirez, waiting in the wings. After he retired, Sprague became the head coach of the Pacific Tigers college baseball team from the 2004-15, then went to Oakland, where he’s now the team's Coordinator of Instruction. 
  • 1972 - The NL nosed the AL 4-3 at Atlanta Stadium in the All-Star game, kicking off an 11-game winning streak for the senior circuit. Manager Danny Murtaugh had a boatload of Bucs on his roster: P Steve Blass, OFs Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Al Oliver plus C Manny Sanguillen. Blass went an inning and gave up a run. Sangy went 1-for-2, Pops 0-for-1 with a walk, and Scoops went 0-for-1. The Great One didn’t get in the last of his 12 All-Star games; he was voted a starter, but was injured. He did have a pretty capable replacement, though - Hank Aaron played in his stead. 
  • 1982 - John Candelaria faced the minimum 27 batters in a four hit shutout win over the Atlanta Braves. Three DP and a caught stealing took the Brave runners off the basepaths in an 8-0 whipping at TRS. The middle of the Pirate lineup - Bill Madlock, Jason Thompson and Dave Parker - drove home a pair of runs each.
Alex Presley 2013 Topps
  • 1985 - OF Alex Presley was born in Monroe, Louisiana. Picked in the eighth round of the 2006 draft, he hit .261 as a yo-yo part of the Pirate roster between 2010-13, when he was traded to Minnesota as part of the Justin Morneau deal.He’s played for Houston, Milwaukee and Detroit since then.
  • 1987 - The Pirates ended their west coast trip on a winning note by dropping the San Diego Padres 9-3 at Jack Murphy Stadium. The journey had started perilously with a pair of losses to the LA Dodgers but concluded at 6-4, their first winning left coast visit since 1983. The offensive heroes were Sid Bream with three hits/five RBI, Andy Van Slyke with two knocks/three runs scored from the top of the order and Barry Bonds with two raps including a homer. Brian Fischer took the win with help from Barry Jones and Don Robinson.
  • 1992 - Danny Jackson gave up one hit at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, but it was unfortunately a home run to David Justice as the Braves behind Charlie Leibrandt beat the Bucs 1-0 for their 13th straight win. The Pirates best chance to score was in the first, but both Andy Van Slyke and Lloyd McClendon were caught stealing to run themselves out of the frame and the game. Pittsburgh didn’t make any noise again until the seventh, with Otis Nixon sprinted to the fence and pulled back AVS’s blast from over the wall. The last hurrah was in the ninth, when Barry Bonds bounced out with two down and two aboard. 
  • 2003 - Pittsburgh won its fifth game in six tries 10-5 over the Cards at Busch Stadium. Reggie Sanders had a homer and triple, Brian Giles a homer and double and Jose Hernandez added a pair of two-baggers against Saint Louis. Brian Meadows got the win in relief of Kip Wells. 
Tike Redman 2004 Topps Total
  • 2004 - The Bucs won their eighth game in ten outings with a 6-5 decision against the Reds at PNC Park. Tike Redman had a homer and three RBI as Sean Burnett, who was yanked with an out in the sixth, got the win behind 3-2/3 scoreless innings from the pen. 
  • 2011 - In their first ESPN-televised game in seven years, the Pirates defeated the Atlanta Braves 3-1 behind James McDonald, who struck out nine in 5-2/3 frames, and four relievers at Turner Field, keeping the Bucs tied for first place in the NL Central for the last time in 2011.

7/25 Through the 50s: HBD John, Beckley-Davis, Highpockets Claimed, Kiki Swipes 'Em All, Game Stories & Feats

  • 1863 - John Tener was born in County Tyrone, Ireland, and moved to the City as a babe. A pitcher for the Pittsburgh Burghers in 1890, he later served as Governor of Pennsylvania from 1911 to 1914 and President of the National Baseball League from 1915 to 1918. 
John Tener 1889 Police Gazette Cabinet Card
  • 1894 - The Chicago Colts pounded out 26 hits, 12 for extra bases, and laid a 24-6 beating on Pittsburgh at the West Side Grounds. Every Colt had at least a hit and a run, and Chicago batted around in four innings. It could have been worse; the game was called after seven innings so the Pirates could catch a train back home. The Pittsburg Press noted that the game “...resulted in the most disastrous whipping recorded in the annals of the national league of baseball,” adding that “...the Pittsburg fielders were kept busy chasing savage drives...Pittsburg’s weakness in the (pitching) box was apparent,” as it was in the 18-11 loss suffered the day before. Still, the club did finish the year at 65-65, albeit with a 5.62 team ERA. 
  • 1896 - The Pirates traded 1B Jake Beckley to the New York Giants for 1B Harry Davis and cash. Beckley was a local favorite who would eventually enter the Hall of Fame, and the deal didn’t sit very well with the fans. Both teams got a good year, bad year out of the players, who then went on to star for different clubs. Beckley spent seven years with Cincinnati and hit .325 over that span, cementing his HoF path, while Davis spent 16 of his last 17 seasons (he played 22 years) hitting .279 for the Philadelphia Athletics. 
  • 1908 - Before a SRO crowd of 30,000 at the Polo Grounds, the Pirates' Lefty Leifield topped the NY Giants and Christy Mathewson, 7-2. Two errors in the seventh opened the door for five Pirate runs. Pittsburgh was led by Honus Wagner, who went 5-for-5 to take over the batting lead from Mike Donlin of the Giants. After each hit, Wagner held up a finger to show the number of safeties he had to RF Donlin, according to the BR Bullpen entry. 
Howie Camnitz 1912 T207 Brown
  • 1912 - The Pirates blew an early lead against Brooklyn, but rallied to tie the score in the eighth and then rode Howie Camnitz’s arm to a 14 inning, 8-7 win over the Superbas at Forbes Field. Camnitz gave up just two hits in six innings, and got the win when Dots Miller’s sac fly brought home Chief Wilson, who had singled and moved to third on a Honus Wagner double. 
  • 1913 - Max Carey scored five runs against the Phils without a hit‚ reaching first via an error and four walks‚ as the Bucs won 12-2 at Forbes Field. He also stole four bases and advanced twice on wild pitches to help Claude Hendrix to the win. The Pittsburg Press griped that “The battle was a long, drawn out affair that required two hours and 10 minutes.” 
  • 1917 - 1B George “Highpockets” Kelly was claimed by the Bucs in a waiver deal with the NY Giants. He got in eight games, and after the injured player he replaced (43 year old Honus Wagner) came back, he was returned to the Giants in another waiver deal. Kelly became a Hall-of-Fame player for NY, hitting .297 over 16 seasons. 
  • 1921 - CF Max Carey corralled 11 flies during the Pirates' 6-3 win over New York at Forbes Field. He also scored three times, going 3-for-4 with two doubles. Rabbit Maranville, batting behind him, drove home three to support Babe Adams, who went the distance for the win. 
Max Carey 1921 American Caramel
  • 1925 - In a ho-hum 7-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals at Forbes Field, Kiki Cuyler became the last Bucco to steal second, third and home in a game. 
  • 1931 - Larry French went the distance at Forbes Field during a 14-inning, 3-2 win against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the longest NL contest of the season. It wasn’t exactly a gem, as he gave up 15 hits, but enough of an effort to outlast Fred Heimach, who also went gate-to-gate. Pie Traynor had three hits (two 3B & 2B), two runs and an RBI. It was the second game of a twin bill; the Bucs took the opener 5-2. Spades Wood not only tossed a three-hitter, but drove in a pair of runs. Traynor had two hits in that match, including a double, and scored twice. 
  • 1944 - Max Butcher tossed a six-hit goose egg at the Polo Grounds as the Bucs blasted the NY Giants‚ 15-0. Pittsburgh banged out 20 hits and posted a nine run second inning. Bob Elliott had six RBI and a homer while Pete Coscarart and Jim Russell each added four knocks. 
  • 1951 - The Pirates overcame a 4-0 deficit by scoring four times in the seventh and once again in the eighth to storm past the NY Giants 5-4 at Forbes Field. Joe Garagiola’s homer in the seventh was the big blow. The game winner was a bases loaded sac fly by George Strickland delivered an inning later. Ted Wilks got the win after two innings of clean relief work with three whiffs.
Joe Garagiola 1952 Bowman
  • 1956 - The Bucs blew a four run lead by giving up eight tallies to the Cubs in the last two innings. But Chicago wasn’t the only comeback club at Forbes Field. Roberto Clemente ripped an inside the park, ninth-inning grand slam to bring the Bucs back for a 9-8 win. He banged the pitch off Jim Brosnan, and it ricocheted off the base of the left field light standard and ran along the track into center. Clemente ran through 3B coach Bobby Bragan’s stop sign (there were no outs) and as Ernie Bank’s relay headed home "He slid, missed the plate, then reached back to rest his hand on the rubber... as the crowd of 12,431 went goofy with excitement" wrote Jack Herndon of the Post Gazette. It was the first walk-off, inside-the-park grand slam in MLB history. In the same game, Dale Long hit his 20th homer, then a club record for lefties, breaking Arky Vaughan’s 1935 mark.

Bucs Rock 'N' Roll Over Giants 10-3

Hokay, good start against Matt Cain; a Starling walk and stolen base followed by a J-Hay two-bagger (Marte didn't score; he held up to make sure the ball dropped) both turned into runs after a Cutch roller and J-Bell double; the last two outs were screamers that found leather. Cole Train, holy moly, put up a zero with just a walk to mar his opening round. Jordy singled with an out in the second and was bunted up; a boot that would prove quite costly put Bucs on the corners. J-Hay's rap brought in a run and Cutch added to the pot by dinging a ball over the 382' mark in left center. Cain yelled at the ump (who didn't, in fairness, throw the hanging curve), Bruce Bochy came out to join the chorus and got tossed.  A single off a glove and passed ball set up the G-Men, but Cole Train said no. Freeser led off the third with a knock but an out later a GIDP ended the fun. The Giants went down quietly and quickly on eight tosses.

Cole Train labored but kept the lid on (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

The fourth went meekly for the Bucs while the Giants dented the board on a Brandon Belt double and Brandon Crawford one-out rap. A walk followed and an out later, another one loaded 'em up. Pinch-hitter Conor Gillaspie took Cain's place and grounded out *whew* Albert Suarez took the ball in the fifth and tossed a clean frame. The Giants drew a walk to open followed by a single (Cole gave up on the edges after the walk). Belt didn't see a strike but was in swing mode anyway, bouncing into a force. Buster Posey singled in a run; Cutch pulled a fake trap catch deke and held up Belt long enough to toss him out at third. A bouncer ended the Giant party. With two gone in the sixth, Cervy singled and went to third on Jordy's knock. Gerrit, who is at 94 tosses, batted and whiffed on three pitches; guess Clint wanted one more inning. He got it - Gorkys Hernandez singled with two gone, running Cole's pitch count to 115 but causing no other damage.

George Kontos scaled the slope in the seventh and tucked the Bucs in. Tony Watson answered the bell. He was welcomed with a walk and a knock but got Belt to roll over on a 3-2 pitch and bounce into a DP. The G-Men then tallied on Posey's knock before the third out was recorded. Josh Osich toed the rubber in the eighth. Back-to-back knocks and a bunt set the table. Cervy couldn't get the ball in the air, but Jordy could, sending a center-cut 3-2 slider over the fence in left-center to put the cherry on top. Joey O singled and plated on Starling's double. Kyle Crick was waved in to close the frame. Juan Nicasio took the hill (he was the only one warming up before the two-out explosion), giving up a single but no runs. Two walks and a rap loaded the bases for Pittsburgh (the second free pass led to Giant pitching coach Dave Righetti getting the heave-ho) in the ninth, but Jordy took a hack at ball four and bounced out to short. Felipe Rivero came on, just for the work (he hasn't twirled since the 20th against Milwaukee). He had a little rust, walking the leadoff hitter before driving the final nail.

Jordy's three-run bomb brought the Fat Lady onstage (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
The pitching wasn't efficient tonight, but it was effective. Mix in a couple of three-run homers (somewhere Earl Weaver is smiling) and it's a nice rebound from the Colorado set. Time to make some hay against some of league's have-nots.

Notes:

  • Jordy and J-Bell had three hits. Freeser had two knocks and a walk, J-Hay two raps and Fran a walk and a knock.
  • Gerrit ended a five-game streak of first-inning runs allowed.
  • Both starting pitchers had issues (and words) with home plate ump Chris Conroy, who shrunk the strike zone in an equal opportunity fashion in the early innings of tonight's game. Chris' calls became merely erratic over the final frames. It played a part in the Pirates tossing 189 pitches and walking six tonight, although most of it was thx to bad aim. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday: Pirates at San Fran, Cole v Matt Cain, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: The Bucs are at San Francisco's AT&T Park with first pitch scheduled for 10:15. The game will be on AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan.

Lineup: Starling Marte LF, Josh Harrison 2B, Cutch CF, Josh Bell 1B, David Freese 3B, Adam Frazier RF, Fran Cervelli C, Jordy Mercer SS & Gerrit Cole P. Lather, rinse, repeat with Fraze in right.

Cole Train toes the slab (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (7-7, 4.18) starts the set against Matt Cain (3-8, 5.49) Gerrit is coming off a strong performance against the Brew Crew, going seven IP and giving up a run while fanning a season-high 10 batters. He was rewarded with  a no-decision in Pittsburgh’s 3-2 walkoff win in 10 innings. After a cold spell, he's slashed 4-1/3.05  over his last seven starts. Cole Train needs time to get his engine purring, though, as he's been scored on in the first frame in each of his last five starts, so the gang has been starting in a hole. He's generally pretty solid against the G-Men with a career 3-1/3.21 line in five starts, but got walloped in his one outing this campaign, a 13-5 loser at PNC Park in June when he was roughed up for seven runs in five frames. Matt Cain has hit the wall this year; his ERA is in line with his xFIP (5.25) so he hasn't been victimized by bad luck as much as bad pitching. He's surrendering 1.3/HR per game and issuing four walks to just five whiffs per nine while both lefties and righties are banging away at him at a .300+ clip. But beware - though struggling mightily on the road, at home, he's still Matt the Man with a 3-2/3.16 slash, so he won't be quite the pushover that his peripherals suggest. He hasn't faced the Pirates this year, but they generally hold their own against him. Cain is 3-3/3.57 in a dozen lifetime starts v the Buccos.

Notes:
  • Even with the two thumpings in Colorado, the Bucs have won 12-of-17. The streak started after the Giants swept them at PNC Park. San Fran has taken 5-of-16 since that set. 
  • Big stretch of games coming up. The Pirates will play the Giants, Padres, Reds, Padres, Tigers, Blue Jays, Brewers and Cardinals in a row; all but the Brew Crew are currently under .500. The Bucs have to step up to the plate; so far they're are 22-26 against teams under .500, fueled by losing 6-of-7 to Cincinnati.

7/24 TRS-PNC Park Era: Wandy Deal, Jones Break-Out, Frankie-Strasberg Duel, Odd Ball Call, ASG, Game Stories

  • 1970 - 43,290 fans showed up for Roberto Clemente day at TRS. Pirate ownership buried him with gifts (cash gifts were, at Clemente’s request, donated to charities), and he put on a show of his own, cracking a pair of hits and making a couple of diving grabs in the field during an 11-0 thumping of the Houston Astros. Danny Murtaugh pulled him in the eighth inning so he could get a final ovation on the night (he also had cut his knee making a catch); several fans had made the trip from Puerto Rico to help honor their native son. Dock Ellis tossed a four-hitter behind a 15 hit attack. 
  • 1973 - The NL romped over the AL 7-1 at Royals Stadium in the All Star game. Dave Giusti pitched a clean seventh inning and Willie Stargell K’ed against Nolan Ryan in his only at bat. Barry Bonds was the MVP and 22 future Hall of Fame players took part in the game. 
Lee was in the middle of a ball of confusion - 1981 Donruss
  • 1979 - A baffling fourth inning call resulted in a 34 minute rhubarb during the Pirates-Reds game at TRS. With Buc runners on 1st and 3rd‚ a 3-1 pitch to Omar Moreno was called a ball‚ but Johnny Bench threw to 2B ahead of the runner from 1B‚ Lee Lacy‚ who was going on the pitch. Lacy was called out by ump Dick Stello even though the runner was entitled to second base after the walk. After questioning the out call, Lacy left the base and was tagged out again by Dave Concepcion‚ reigniting the argument. The Bucs protested the game, but NL president Chub Feeney upheld the call and the Pirates 6-5 loss was in the books. 
  • 1984 - In a see-saw game at Montreal’s Stade Olympique (Olympic Stadium), the Expos rallied behind a two-out, ninth inning double by Tim Raines off Kent Tekulve to tie the game 4-4 and send it into overtime. The Bucs apparently weren’t in the mood for bonus baseball as six of the first seven batters in the 10th had hits with the coup d’ grace provided by Benny DiStefano’s two-out granny. The eight-run outburst carried the Pirates to an 12-5 win for Rod Scurry. Johnny Ray went 5-for-6, Dale Berra batted 4-for-5 with a walk and Tony Pena, who had three knocks and a walk, homered for Pittsburgh. 
  • 2004 - The whole Pirate attack chipped in during a 14-4 romp over the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park. The Buccos had 11 batters with at least a hit and banged out six doubles as 10 different players scored and eight Pirates drove in runs. Jason Bay had three hits and three RBI while Jose Castillo scored four times to lead the attack. The Bucs scored seven times in the sixth to take control. 
Yoslan Herrera (photo Doug Pensinger/Getty)
  • 2008 - The Bucs won their fourth in a row by hammering the Padres at PNC Park by a 9-1 score. Nate McLouth, Jason Bay and Xavier Nady homered while Yoslan Herrera tossed six scoreless frames to claim the win, his first in the majors. For the X-Man, it was his last Bucco blast - he was traded to the Yankees two days later. The streak had begun with a sweep of the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park; during their short winning string, the Pirates hit 10 homers and outscored Houston and San Diego by a 34-13 count. 
  • 2009 - Garrett Jones went deep to right against Arizona’s Yusmeiro Petit for his 10th homer of the month in a 10-3 Bucco win at Chase Field. Called up July 1st, Jones hit ten home runs in his debut month and was named the NL's July Rookie of the Month. GI became the first Bucco to hit seven home runs in his first twelve games since Dino Restelli in 1949 and the first Pirate to hit 10 home runs in a month since Jason Bay in 2006. He had lots of help this day as the Bucs pounded out 16 hits (all eight starters chipped in at least a knock) and Zach Duke covered the first seven innings for the win 
  • 2012 - Wandy Rodriguez was traded by the Houston Astros with cash to the Pirates for minor league prospects RHP Colton Cain, LHP Rudy Owens and OF Robbie Grossman as the Bucs looked to shore up their stretch run rotation. Wandy ended up injury prone, and made just 31 starts with 11 wins as a Pirate until he was released in late May of 2014. Grossman has been playing as a reserve since 2013, Owens got one MLB start and has played in the Dominican & Indie leagues since 2015 while Cain never made it out of the minors.
Wandy Rodriguez 2012 Topps Update
  • 2013 - Francisco Liriano and Stephen Strasberg hooked up in a 1-0 battle, with the Pirates up, going into the ninth. Both starters turned the game over to the bullpens, and that’s when the fun started. The Bucs put up a three spot on Drew Storen, with Mike McKenry’s two run knock being the big blow, and Washington came back at Nationals Park to score a pair off Justin Wilson until Jason Grilli came to the rescue in a 4-2 Pirate win. The only score in the first eight frames came on a second inning homer by Pedro Alvarez. 
  • 2015 - Last time out, Washington ace Max Scherzer no-hit the Bucs, losing his perfect game with two outs and two strikes in the ninth. Today was a different kettle of fish; the Buccos got homers rom Pedro Alvarez (453’ and one bounce into the river), Gregory Polanco (after falling behind 0-2, fouling off six straight fastballs and taking 12 pitches) and Neil Walker (the first time Mad Max gave up three homers in a game since 2011) on their way to a 7-5 win, closed out by scoreless frames by Jared Hughes, Tony Watson and Mark Melancon in front of a full house at PNC Park. Scherzer had held Pittsburgh hitless for 14 straight innings until El Toro’s long ball in the second. That made it the longest hitless streak by a starting pitcher against one big-league team since Pittsburgh's Francisco Cordova threw 15 consecutive hitless innings vs. Houston in 1997.