Friday, August 29, 2014

8/29: Pep, Booby Byrne, Billy Cox, Bob Friend, Big Poison, Johnny Ray, Dave LaPoint, Wagner & Benson One-Hitters & More...

Pep, Booby Byrne, Billy Cox, Bob Friend, Big Poison, Johnny Ray, Dave LaPoint, Wagner & Benson One-Hitters & More...
  • 1907 - IF Lemuel Floyd “Pep” Young was born in Jamestown, North Carolina. He played eight years (1933-40) for the Bucs, hitting .264 and playing mainly second, but with some short and third thrown in. The high tide of his career was in 1938, when he received some votes for the NL MVP after hitting .278 in 149 games. As fate would have it, he hurt his knee the next season, and played just 93 games over the final three years of his career (1940-41; 1945). 
  • 1909 - The Pirates traded 3B Jap Barbeau, 2B Alan Storke, and cash to the Cardinals for 3B Bobby Byrne. Byrne had his best years as a Buc, playing through the 1913 season and hitting .277 while helping the Pirates to the 1909 World Series title. 
  • 1919 - SS Billy Cox was born in Newport, located in central Pennsylvania. He got a September call-up in 1941, spent four years in the service and became the starting Bucco shortstop in 1946-47, batting .280. He was traded to Brooklyn, moved to the hot corner, and played seven seasons for them and in three World Series. 
Billy Cox Being Tutored By Hans Wagner - undated Associated Press image
  • 1958 - The Bucs squeaked out a 3-2 win against Milwaukee at County Stadium. Dick Stuart went long to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the first inning and Bob Skinner made it 2-0 in the fourth with another solo homer. The Bucs pushed across the winning run in the seventh when Hank Foiles brought Frank Thomas home to give Bob Friend the win with ninth inning help from Don Gross. 
  • 1959 - Bob Friend helped himself by driving in three runs with a two-out, bases loaded double and tossed a nine hitter against the Phils in an 11-1 romp at Forbes Field. Smoky Burgess also plated a trio of runs with a pair of homers while Dick Groat added four hits. 
  • 1965 - Hall of Fame OF’er Paul “Big Poison” Waner died in Sarasota, Florida at age 62. Among his many marks were a .333 lifetime BA, 3,152 hits and a 1927 MVP award. During retirement, he owned a batting cage in Harmarville, and one of the guys he helped develop there was rookie shortstop Dick Groat. 
  • 1984 - God helps those who help themselves: RHP Don Robinson pitched two scoreless innings of relief, knocked in the go-ahead run and scored the insurance marker as the Pirates beat the Astros, 4-2, at The Astrodome. Robinson broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the 9th inning with a two-out single and touched home for the fourth run after Tony Pena followed with a double. 
  • 1987 - The Pirates traded 2B Johnny Ray to the Angels for two minor leaguers, 3B Bill Merrifield and LHP Miguel Garcia. With Jose Lind in the wings, the Pirates thought Ray was expendable after seven years and a .286 BA. Maybe he was, but they Bucs sure didn’t get much - Merrifield and Garcia were gone by 1988 while Ray won an All-Star berth and hit .296 in four seasons for the Halos before closing his career in Japan. 
Johnny Ray 1984 Donruss series
  • 1988 - LHP Dave LaPoint became the first Pirate starter to begin his career here with three one-run or fewer starts when he whipped the Reds 8-1 at Riverfront Stadium. He was obtained for reliever Barry Jones in August from the White Sox, finished the year 4-2, and then signed with the Yankees as a FA the following season. 
  • 1990 - Barry Bonds went 3-for-4 with five RBI to lead the Bucs to a 10-0, rain-shortened seven inning win over the Braves at Atlanta-Fulton Stadium. Jeff King added three RBI, two off sac flies, as Doug Drabek won his 17th game. The game ended a four game losing streak and followed a clubhouse meeting held by manager Jim Leyland after a lackadaisical 9-0 loss the night before. 
  • 1995 - RHP Paul Wagner came within one strike of a no-hitter with a one-hit, 11K, 4-0 win over the Rox at TRS. With two away in the ninth, 1B Andres Galarraga chopped a 3-2 pitch past the mound and over second, where Nelson Liriano made the grab but couldn’t beat The Big Cat to first with his throw. For Wagner, it was just his third win against 13 losses, and the win snapped a six game Pittsburgh losing string. 
  • 2000 - Kris Benson shut out the Giants 8-0 at TRS. He gave up one hit in eight frames, a first inning single to Barry Bonds. The Pirates banged four doubles, a triple and a homer off Livian Hernandez, who only managed to get six outs before getting the hook. 
  • 2006 - The Pirates scored twice in the 11th on an error and bases loaded walk to defeat the Cubs 7-6 at PNC Park. Matt Capps picked up the win while Xavier Nady went 3-for-5 with a double and couple of runs scored. 
Matt Capps 2006 Fleer series
  • 2012 - The Pirates made their last push of the year by dropping the Cards by a 5-0 score behind Wandy Rodriguez at PNC Park. Pedro Alvarez banged a three run homer to lead the attack. The Bucs moved within a game of the wildcard, having shut out the Redbirds 9-0 the day before with El Toro adding another pair of homers and four RBI in support of James McDonald. It was just a tease; Pittsburgh finished September 7-21 and ended the season with just 79 wins.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Call-Up Cheat Sheet, Pedro-Garvey, Notes On An Off Day...

Our sense of the upcoming call-ups, covered by about all of the Bucco blogosphere, is that there won't be many.

Among pitchers, Charlie Morton is one if he's able, Stolmy Pimentel, Casey Sadler and maybe Ernesto Frieri (although he has a 5.40 ERA at Indy with two homers surrendered in five frames) are on the 40-man and been in the show before Vin Mazzaro (4-3-4, 2.59) and Drew Oliver (3-3-13, 2.39) have tossed strong ball, but aren't on the 40-man and the Bucs have shown no inclination to add them so far this year, though  both could work low leverage innings.

Outside shots: big righty John Holdzkom, who has K'ed 42 in 33-1/3 minor league frames, and Bobby LaFramboise, who has nothing going for him except for being a lefty and on the 40-man roster.

As for position guys, sure shots are Gregory Polanco, Tony Sanchez, Andrew Lambo and maybe Brent Morel/Mike Martinez. They're both on the 40-man and with Pedro at first, the Bucs may bring one (or maybe both) up just to occupy a seat. Jaff Decker is a long shot - the Bucs have a zillion outfielders.

We'd expect the Pirates to set the roster at 35 players as our over/under
  • Charlie Morton is tossing tonight for Altoona to see if he can work through his herna
  • Pedro isn't traveling uncharted ground - Steve Garvey of the Dodgers journeyed on the same career path 30 years ago, per Tom Singer of
  • Buster Olney of ESPN has a piece on Cutch playing through the pain, but to get further than the lede you need to be a subscriber.
  • The KC Royals have claimed IF Jayson Nix off waivers from the Bucs.
  • Jon Heyman of Baseball Insider reported that the Brewers won the waiver claim on Justin Morneau, the current NL batting leader, but were unable to swing a deal with the Rox for him.
  • West Virginia Power SS Jacoby Jones, the Pirates' third round pick in the 2013 draft, was selected to the outh Atlantic (SALLY) League post-season All-Star team. He hit .292 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI this season.
  • Gonzo Buc outfielders - Houston 's (via Minnesota) Alex Presley (.252/.291.359 5 HR); Philly's Marlon Byrd (.271/.317/..468 - 24 HR) and the Indians' Chris Dickerson (>232/.318/.337 - 2HR).

8/28: Jolly Cholly, Howie Haak, Ray Brown, Roberto, Neagle-for-Schmidt, Pedro Bomb, Byrd's Debut & More...

Jolly Cholly, Howie Haak, Ray Brown, Roberto, Neagle-for-Schmidt, Pedro Bomb, Byrd's Debut & More...
  • 1898 - Charlie “Jolly Cholly” Grimm was born in St. Louis. The 1B played six years (1919-24) in Pittsburgh, hitting .286, but made his reputation with Chicago in the following dozen years after a big 1924 trade sent him to the Cubs. 
  • 1911 - Pirate super scout Howie Haak was born in Rochester, NY. Pittsburgh discovered much of its legendary Latino talent from the mid-1950s through the 1980s thanks to Haak's efforts. He recommended that Pittsburgh draft Roberto Clemente from the Brooklyn system and signed Manny Sanguillen, Omar Moreno and Rennie Stennett of Panama; Julian Javier, Tony Pena, Jose DeLeon, and Cecilio Guante of the Dominican Republic; Al McBean of the Virgin Islands and Roman Mejias of Cuba. 
  • 1925 - The Pirates hung on to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 10-9 at the Baker Bowl. Kiki Cuyler had four hits, including a pair of inside-the-park homers, Eddie Moore and Clyde Barnhart added three knocks apiece and George Grantham homered. But it was a struggle: Babe Adams and Tom Sheehan gave up five runs in the bottom of the ninth. Ray Kremer had to come on to get the final out with the bases juiced, retiring pinch hitter Nelson “Chicken” Hawks, who was batting for the second time in the inning and already had a hit and run under his belt.
Eddie Moore 1926 - The Sporting News Collection Archives
  • 1929 - Donie Bush resigned as the Pirate manager and coach Jewel Ens was named to replace him. Bush took the team to the World Series in 1927, where they were swept by the Murderer’s Row Yankees and played without Kiki Cuyler, who Bush had benched. The Pirates had lost 8-of-9 when Bush resigned and were 14-½ games behind the eventual titlists, the Chicago Cubs. 
  • 1930 - The Pirates scored in double figures for the third straight game, beating the Cincy Reds 11-2 at Forbes Field. They defeated Cincinnati 16-12 in the game before, and started the streak at Wrigley Field with a 10-8 win over the Chicago Cubs. 
  • 1940 - Homestead Grays RHP Ray Brown earned his 27th consecutive victory over a two year span when he shut out the Baltimore Elite Giants 5-0 on three hits, bringing his record to 12-0 (he finished 15-4). Brown played for Cum Posey's Grays from 1932 to 1945, winning 109 games in his career and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2006. 
  • 1951 - The Bucs ended the New York Giant’s winning streak at 16 games, the longest since 1935, when LHP Howie Pollet tossed a six hit shutout for a 2-0 win at the Polo Grounds. The Pirates only had three hits (two by rookie Frank Thomas), but were issued eight free passes (three to Ralph Kiner), and both Bucco runs were unearned. 
Howie Pollet 1952 Bowman series
  • 1956 - The Bucs spotted Warren Spahn and the first place Milwaukee Braves a four run lead at County Stadium, then scored four times in the seventh to tie the game on the back of Dale Long’s three run homer. The Pirates took command the next frame when Dick Groat’s two-out infield knock to the SS hole plated Frank Thomas. A tag team sixth-inning catch may have ignited the Bucs: per The Milwaukee Journal's Cleon Walfoort "Clemente and Bill Virdon robbed Spahn of an extra-base hit and the Braves of one or more runs. Clemente got his glove on the ball against the fence and Virdon grabbed it as it squirted out. It was just after this remarkable catch that the Pirates came to life." 
  • 1959 - Vern Law whitewashed the Philadelphia Phillies 9-0 on five hits at Forbes Field, striking out seven and backed by three solo homers off the bats of Roberto Clemente, Smoky Burgess and Rocky Nelson. Clemente’s was an inside-the-park four bagger that hit off the flagpole in left center 457’ away on one hop, the deepest part of FF. Pittsburgh banged out ten hits and also drew nine walks to help the cause. 
  • 1967 - Roberto Clemente had three hits, including two homers, to lead the Bucs to a 4-3 win over the Braves. He hit the game winner with two out in the tenth at Atlanta Stadium. 
  • 1974 - The Giants banged out 14 hits at Candlestick Park, but the Bucs took home the win 3-1 in 11 innings on Ed Kirkpatrick’s two out double. San Francisco stranded 16 runners as Jerry Reuss and game winner Dave Giusti bent but didn’t break. 
Ed "Spanky" Kirpatrick 1977 Topps series
  • 1988 - The Atlanta Braves sent IF Ken Oberkfell and cash to Pittsburgh Pirates for OF Tommy Gregg. Oberkfell spent a season and change with the Bucs as a seldom used reserve, and Gregg played nine more years, mostly as a reserve outfielder. 
  • 1996 - LHP Denny Neagle was traded to the Atlanta Braves for RHP Jason Schmidt, OF Corey Pointer and 1B Ron Wright. Schmidt continued in the mold of starters developed by the Bucs who blossomed elsewhere because of salary. 
  • 2012 - Pedro Alvarez hit the longest homer by a Pirate to date at PNC Park, bombing a sixth inning Brandon Dickson delivery 469’. The shot cleared the seats in center and bounced onto the Riverwalk beside the Allegheny River during the Bucs 9-0 win over St. Louis. El Toro also added a 422’ shot in the third off Jake Westbrook as James McDonald got the win. 
  •  2013 - Newly acquired Marlon Byrd hit a homer and tallied three RBI in his first game with the Bucs to ice Pittsburgh’s 7-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park, with Charlie Morton getting the victory. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Byrd was the third Pirate player to hit a home run and have at least three RBI in his first game with the team after playing for another MLB team earlier in the season. Derrek Lee hit two dingers and had three RBI on August 1st, 2011 after being traded from the Orioles and Shawon Dunston hit two long balls and drove in four runs on September 2nd, 1997 after dealt by the Cubs.
Marlon Byrd - photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ike Gives Locke All The Help He Needs As Pirates Win 3-1 & Take Series

Kind of an up-and-down first frame for Jeff Locke. Randall Grichuk banged a first-pitch fastball to right for a one out double. With two away, Matt Adams walked. Russ picked him off first, but Ike dropped the ball; Davis was charged with an error and Martin picked up an assist. And give Locke an assist; he whiffed Jhonny Peralta to strand both guys. Adam Wainwright put down the Bucs with a whiff, another whiff, and a pop up.

Jon Jay singled to open the second; Tony Cruz hit into an around-the-horn DP. Daniel Descalso singled and Waino flew out to keep the scoreboard clean. With one gone, Wainwright bopped Russ with a curveball. A pitch later, Ike squashed the horsehide, going over the wall in right center and hitting a stadium speaker to prevent the ball from bounding into the Allegheny. That was followed by a pair of routine outs.

The Cards halved the lead in the third when with two away, Matt Holliday caught all of a first pitch change up and dropped it over the left-center wall. The Bucs looked like they were going to have a big frame - Locke opened with a single, Josh followed with another and Travis dropped a drag bunt down successfully to juice the sacks. Cutch hit a sac fly, but Wainwright K'ed The Kid and Russ to escape a big hurt. Speaking of hurt, Snider left the game that inning with left hamstring cramps.

The fourth was quiet; Locke tossed a clean frame and Wainwright worked around a walk to Ike. Descalso got a knock in the only Card action in the fifth thanks to Josh, who made a diving stop and throw to rob Grishuk of an RBI double. The Bucs just kept on stranding runners. Josh singled to lead off, and then two outs later The Kid and Russ hit back-to-back knocks to fill the sacks. Ike tried to add on, but he lined out to second.

The sixth was fairly calm - Adams singled for the Redbirds, Locke for Pittsburgh and neither went anywhere. St. Louis went down 1-2-3 in the seventh. Carlos Martinez took the bump for Wainwright. Cutch singled with an out. Walker got ahead 3-0, took a fastball and then went after the next, flying out just short of the track in center. Martin singled Cutch to third and stole second. Ike left them there, flying out to left.

Locke walked Matt Carpenter to open the eighth, and after getting Grichuk to fly out, gave way to Tony Watson. He got a K and a tapper to close down the frame. Starling started the Bucco half by reaching via error, but a botched bunt and DP took the air out of the frame. Mark the Shark got his call. Peralta greeted him with a knock, but Melancon took care of business to retire the next three Birds and closed it out for his 24th save and Jeff Locke's 6th win.

Jeff had one of his nice games; not too much nibbling, not much in the middle of the dish and pitch to contact. It resulted in a 98 pitch outing lasting into the eighth, giving up a run on six hits and just two walks with six strikeouts. That's the Jeff Locke the Bucs have been looking for. It was a big series to take, especially after the letdown of losing the opener. Now a day to catch their breath, and here come the Reds.

September call-ups may just be around the corner, but don't expect Clint to using the fresh troops very much. He's been increasingly going to the guys he trusts, so look for the newbies to find a quiet corner of the bench and not get much in the way of a test run.

The Pirates are off tomorrow and then open a three-game home series against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night. Edinson Volquez will take on Mike Leake.
  • Per ESPN Stats: Ike Davis' second inning HR was calculated at 447 feet, the longest home run allowed by Adam Wainwright since 2010 (Jonny Gomes- 451).
  • 29,905 were on hand for this afternoon's game.
  • The Pirates took all three home series against the Cardinals this year.

Locke v Wainwright, Lineup, HR's, Injuries

Jeff Locke (5-3, 3.69) closes the St. Louis set against Adam Wainwright (15-8, 2.52)

Locke hasn't exactly been sharp as a pistol of late, living off the plate instead of going after guys, but it's been working as he's gone 3-0 in his last four outings. He's walked 12 in his past 16-2/3 IP, but has countered that by keeping the ball in the park this month after a July that saw him surrender eight long balls in six starts

This will be his first go at the Redbirds in 2014. Overall, Locke is  1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in three career starts against St. Louis, with the trio coming in 2013.

Wainwright is one of the league's top guns, but he's been struggling in August, by his standards. In his last four games, he's gone 2-2 with a 4.00 ERA in 27 IP. He's had success in his career against the Bucs, going 10-5 even though the Pirates have hung a 4.18 ERA on him. But he's been murder this year on the home team, going 1-1 but yielding just two runs in the 22 frames he's logged while working on a 15 inning string of goose eggs.

The Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Travis Snider RF, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Russ Martin C, Ike Davis 1B, Starling Marte LF, Jordy Mercer SS and Locke. The good news is that Cutch is back and Jordy is OK, tho it is a bit surprising that Russ is working a day game; guess he figures tomorrow is an off day, so...

The game starts at 12:35 and will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
  • ESPN Stats: Ike Davis' HR last night was calculated to have gone 442 feet, the longest for a Pirate player at home this season. It was his third pinch hit home run and the teams' seventh, matching last year's total.
  • Starling Marte enters the day with a five game hit streak.
  • Pedro left yesterday's game with a foot sprain and left the locker room in a walking boot; he's expected to miss a couple of games. Cutch said he took himself out last night as a precautionary measure. Jordy was off because of a scheduled rest day, not because his forerm was any crankier than usual. 
(Sorry we're late; Clint posted the lineup later than usual as he tried to figure out which of his walking wounded were ready for today's combat.)

8/27: The Byrd Is the Word, Josh, Tiny, Great One, Jordy, Pedro & More...

The Byrd Is the Word, Josh, Tiny, Great One, Jordy, Pedro & More...
  • 1910 - Babe Adams, who took the hill in spite of a stomach bug, tossed a six hitter to down the Superbas 4-2 at Forbes Field. The outfielders played as an afterthought; the only out recorded in the pasture was a fly caught by Chief Wilson, and Brooklyn’s sole contribution was an assist by Zack Wheat, who threw out Bobby Byrnes trying to stretch a double into a triple. The one OF put out set an NL record. 
  • 1925 - The Bucs tossed their second straight shutout against Boston at Braves Field, winning 1-0. The Pirates Vic Aldridge and Boston’s Larry Benton traded four-hitters; Pie Traynor drove in Eddie Moore in the third with the game’s only run. The day before, Lee Meadows threw a nine hit, 2-0 whitewash of the Braves, and did it without striking out a soul. 
  • 1936 - The Pirates beat the Brooklyn Dodger 6-3 at Forbes Field. The highlight came after the game, when losing pitcher Van Lingle Mungo, in a snit because of the four errors the Dodgers made that led to four unearned runs, left the team and returned to Brooklyn. He would later become famous when the 1969 song "Van Lingle Mungo" by Dave Frishberg hit the charts. 
  • 1939 - Game Two of the Negro League East-West All-Star game was held at Yankee Stadium. The East, behind Homestead Gray C Josh Gibson’s four RBI, won 10-2. 
Josh Gibson 1983 Donruss Hall of Fame Heroes series
  • 1948 - The Phillies lost on a walk off homer by Bucco pitcher Kirby Higbe, who went long in the ninth at Forbes Field to give himself a 4-3 win. Higbe had worked a scoreless final inning of relief. Pitcher Ernie “Tiny” Bonham won his last MLB start by an 8-2 count over Philadelphia. The ten year vet had complained of stomach problems, and died September 15th at the age of 36 after surgery performed the week before at Presbyterian Hospital uncovered intestinal cancer. His wife Ruth was the first baseball widow to collect a death benefit under the new player pension plan, receiving $90 a month for the next 10 years. 
  • 1965 - The Bucs scored six times in the ninth at Forbes Field to take the Astros into extra frames, eventually winning their seventh game in a row in 11 innings 10-9. Andre Rodger’s two-run knock was the key blow in the ninth; Harry Walker sent him up to pinch hit for Willie Stargell against lefty Danny Coombs. Al McBean, the Pirates sixth pitcher, took home the win. Roberto Clemente threw out a runner going from first to third the hard way. The Pirates ran a wheel play with runners on first and second, and Bob Lillis rolled the ball through the infield. Bill Mazeroski described what followed in BR Bullpen "Roberto raced in from right field, dove for the ball, and with his face in the dirt threw out the runner going to third base!" Walker told Les Biederman of the Pittsburgh Press that “Clemente made the doggondest (sic) play I ever saw.” It kept the comeback alive; Houston banged out two more hits after his play. 
  • 1986 - SS Jordy Mercer was born in Seiling, Oklahoma. He was third-round draft choice in 2008, and the Oklahoma State product also played for Team USA. Mercer rode the pine in 2012, but saw some playing time in 2013 and won the starting job the next season. 
  • 2008 - Pedro Alvarez was placed on the restricted list after the MLBPA filed a grievance against MLB over draft picks being signed minutes after the August 15th deadline. On September 22nd, Álvarez agreed to renegotiated terms on a four-year major league contract at $6.4M to resolve the complaint. 
Pedro Alvarez 2010 eTopps (minor league) series
  • 2009 - The first and last hits left the yard, and that was enough for a 3-2 win against the Phils and JA Happ at PNC Park. Cutch opened the game with a long ball, and Garrett Jones ended it with a two run walkoff shot in the ninth. 
  • 2013 - Looking to strengthen the roster down the stretch, the Pirates pulled off a waiver deal with the NY Mets for OF Marlon Byrd, C John Buck and $250K for minor league IF Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later (RHP Victor Black).

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ike Saves The Day For The Bucs With Late Bomb As Pirates Win 5-2

The first went down easily; neither Gerritt Cole nor Lance Lynn allowed a runner. In the second, Cole issued a two-out walk, missing a couple of edge-nicking calls. Russ doubled with an out, and with two away, Starling and Clint Barmes drew walks. Cole couldn't help himself, tapping back to the hill.

Cole tucked away the Redbirds in the third, helped by an wall-banging sno-cone grab by Cutch. Gerritt could stand an efficient inning - after five whiffs and a walk, his pitch count is up to 51. Lynn tossed a clean frame against the top of the order.

It was 1-2-3 for the Cards in the fourth. The Kid walked on four pitches to lead off. Russ fell behind 0-2, worked the count full and banged a heater through the right side to put Buccos on the corners. Pedro went down looking at a pitch off the plate (LH strike zones are murder) after failing to catch a couple of heaters under the letters. Starling was plunked to juice the sacks. Barmes' bouncer to third went for a forceout - the relay to first was off target - and RBI. Cole's grounder ended the frame.

After two outs in the fifth, AJ Pierzynski was hit on an 0-2 pitch, followed by an Oscar Taveras ground out that went off Cole to Walker; score it 1-4-3. Josh tried to bunt his way on; the ball rolled foul and good thing as he launched the next pitch into the left field stands to make it 2-0. The Kid singled to right with two gone and Russ' knock chased him to third. Lynn fired three heaters at El Toro; he fouled a pair and popped the third behind the plate to end the frame.

That's seven stranded and 0-for-6 with RISP in five frames. And worse, Cutch came out with "rib discomfort," whether from banging into the wall or because of his last at-bat we don't know, with JT going to RF, Starling to center and Travis to left.

With two gone in the sixth, Kolton Wong lined a tight heater up the line to right for a two-bagger and the first St. Louis hit. Cole K'ed Holliday; two pitches after a 99 MPH heater, he spun a curve past him on his 104th pitch. Great outing; one hit, one walk, nine whiffs and great movement and velocity. He even mixed in his off speed stuff. Marte singled to open the Buc half. Barmes fought for eight pitches before lining out to medium center. Cole batted and bunted Starling up a station; maybe Clint is going to try to milk another frame from Gerritt. Josh K'ed, so we'll soon see.

Cole did come out, and it was a bad decision by Hurdle, especially with lefty Justin Wilson warmed up. Matt Adams doubled off a curve to open the seventh and Jhonny Peralta fought off a pitch on the hands to single through the left side put Redbirds on the corners. That brought on Tony Watson with an ovation for Cole ringing in his ears.

Jon Jay spoiled some pitches away, then got a slider he could handle well enough for a sac fly to halve the lead. Pierzynski went down swinging, but Taveras blooped a knock into center to chase Peralta to third. Randall Grichuk, just called up today (he had played earlier in the year), grabbed a stick and dropped another flare into center to knot the score and send Taveras 90' away from home. Carpenter grounded out, but two softly hit drop shots have tied the game. Sam Freeman climbed the mound and worked an easy frame, retiring the suddenly free-wheeling Pirates on five pitches.

Watson stayed on, though he had thrown 22 pitches already. He gave up a one-out single to Holliday, but a pair of K calmed the seas. Another Bucco dropped; Pedro left the game with a sore foot and Gaby took his spot.

Righty Seth Maness took the horsehide. After a Russ whiff, Gaby singled and so did Starling. Barmes hit the ball hard, but Jay grabbed it in center. Ike hit it harder, drilling a 2-2 change that spun in the middle of the dish over the wall (and almost over the back fence behind the last row) in right center. The Cards had a LHP warmed up; no idea why Mike Matheny didn't match up. Josh went down chasing a better placed change, but the Bucs were three runs up with three outs to go.

Mark the Shark got the call. With an out, Pierzynski walked, and a grounder moved him to second. There he stayed as Daniel Descalso went down swinging three pitches later.

It's a good win, and one the Bucs had to have. With Adam Wainwright on the hill and the possibility of Cutch, Pedro and Jordy being hurt and Russ getting his day-following-night break, it could shape up to be the scruberoos against the A-Team. Of course, a three-run homer or two, and who knows what could happen...?

It's also good news that both Cole and Frankie were on top of their games the last two nights. Another five or six strong starts from them would be a godsend, especially as Clint doesn't seem to have much faith in his pen outside of Watson, Melancon and maybe Hughes right now.

Jeff Locke closes out the series against Adam Wainwright in the get-away day game tomorrow.
  • Ike is tied for the MLB lead with three pinch-hit homers.
  • The once scorching Travis Snider is now 1-for-20.
  • Tonight's attendance was 25,521.
  • Indy was eliminated from the International league playoffs today. Their schedule ends on September 1st, so the minor league reinforcements should arrive the following day.
  • The Pirates announced the eight players they're sending to the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League: P Tyler Glasnow, P Nick Kingham, P Adrian Sampson, P Tom Harlan, OF/1B Josh Bell (he'll play first after spending the season as an OF'er), P Joely Rodriguez, C Elias Diaz and IF Dan Gamache.

Cole v Lynn, Lineup, Odds & Ends...

Gerrit Cole (7-4, 3.69) continues his comeback tour against Lance Lynn (14-8, 2.78) as he looks to even the series against the Rdbirds.

Cole was on the DL between 7/9 and 8/19 with right lat soreness, and has one MLB start under his belt since then, a good performance against the Braves (seven innings, two runs) that netted him a no-decision (with the injury, he hasn't won since July 4th). The good news is his arms woes seem over; he kept his velocity throughout the late innings and woke up the next day without any undue soreness.

The Cole Train has faced the Cardinals four times. He's 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA in two regular season starts this year, and 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA in two starts against St. Louis during the 2013 NLDS.

Lynn often spent time in Mike Matheny's doghouse last season, but this year he's picked it up a notch. His peripherals aren't a lot different than in the past except in three key areas - he's learned to deal with left handed sticks (he actually has a slight reverse split this season), his HR rate has dropped dramatically and he's turned his temper toward the hitters rather than imploding.

The righty held Cincinnati to four hits over seven scoreless innings for a win Wednesday and is 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA in four starts this month. He's split two meetings with Pittsburgh earlier this season, winning at home and losing at PNC Park. Lifetime, Lynn is 5-3/4.88 against the Pirates

The Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Travis Snider RF, Cutch CF, Neil Walker 2B, Russ Martin C, Pedro 1B, Starling Marte LF, Clint Barmes SS and Cole P. Jordy gets a day off; his recent 4-for-21 isn't horrendous, but he may be getting a blow for his forearm tonight.

The game starts at 7:05 and will be aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
  • Bradenton did good this year: OF Josh Bell was named the Florida State League Player of the Year while RHP Tyler Glasnow was named the FSL Pitcher of the Year.
  • Ex Bucs & Elias Sports Stats: AJ Burnett whiffed a dozen last night to become the first pitcher in MLB history to have a 12-K game for 5 different teams: PHI, FLA, TOR, PIT & NYY.

8/26: Brian Giles Deal, Mike Smith, Chief Wilson, Big Poison, Chez, Pie, Ralph, Tim Wakefield & More...

Brian Giles Deal, Mike Smith, Chief Wilson, Big Poison, Chez, Pie, Ralph, Tim Wakefield & More...
  • 1892 - The Bucs mauled the Philadelphia Phils 11-3 at Exposition Park. Elmer “Mike” Smith, Doggie Miller and Jake Beckley led the way with a pair of hits each. Smith, usually an OF’er, was the pitcher (he appeared in 17 games, starting 13), and per the Pittsburg Press, the “(Phils Ed) Delahanty found a package of lard in centerfield and the Phillies tried to work up a story that the ball had been greased...” The Pirates pleaded innocent, and the game stood. 
  • 1912 - In a doubleheader split against Boston at Forbes Field, Chief Wilson collected three triples. He finished the year with 36, which is still the league standard. 1926: Paul Waner went 6-for-6 with two doubles and a triple as the Pirates beat the New York Giants 15-7 at Forbes Field. He used six different bats to collect the hits. Pie Traynor and George Grantham each had three hits; Traynor and Johnny Rawlings added three RBI apiece. 
  • 1927 - The Boston Braves defeated the Pirates‚ 6-4 at Braves Field. Paul Waner‚ who went 4-for-4 the day before‚ started off with three more consecutive hits off two Brave pitchers before ending his streak at seven. 
Paul Waner 1931 W517 series from Dan Austin's Virtual Card Collection, image from Mike Mackie
  • 1934 - Chester Williams of the Pittsburgh Crawfords led the East with three hits in the East-West Negro League All-Star game at Comiskey Park. The East won 1-0 in front of 30,000 fans when Jud Wilson drove in Cool Papa Bell in the eighth inning, giving Crawford Satchel Paige the win. 
  • 1935 - Player-manager Pie Traynor blasted a grand slam and ended the day with five hits and six RBI as the Bucs battered the NY Giants 10-2 at the Polo Grounds. Woody Jensen and Tom Padden also homered to smooth the path for Ralph Birkofer’s win. 
  • 1947 - The Pirates scored four times each in the first and second innings and added seven more in the fifth as they rolled over the Brooklyn Dodgers 16-3 at Ebbet’s Field. Wally Westlake homered, doubled, and drove home five runs as Billy Cox and Cutley Rikard added long balls. Ralph Kiner went 5-for-5 with a walk and Frank Gustine added four hits to help Fritz Ostermueller cruise to victory. Brooklyn’s Dan Bankhead, via the Negro League Memphis Red Sox, became the first black pitcher to work an MLB game when he came on in relief of Hal Gregg. The Bucs lit him up on the hill, scoring eight runs in his 3-1/3 frames, though he did swat a two run homer in his first big league at-bat to help even out his rough debut. 
Wally Westlake image by Gerald Carpenter
  • 1951 - The Pirates scored eight runs in the seventh frame to overcome a 9-2 fifth inning deficit and beat the Dodgers‚ 12-11 at Ebbet’s Field in the opener of a twin set. Pete Castiglione and Bill Howerton had three RBI each to lead the comeback. They dropped the nitecap 4-3 in 10 innings. 
  • 1975 - The first eight Pirates hit safely against the Braves’ Jamie Easterly and Ray Sadecki before P Larry Demery flied out‚ tying the MLB record. The Buc scored six runs on their way to an 8-2 victory at TRS. 
  • 1992 - Pirate rookie Tim Wakefield defeated Tom Candiotti of the Dodgers 2-0 in the first matchup of knuckleballers in the NL since 1982 when Phil Niekro and Joe Niekro faced off in a Braves-Astros game. Wakefield scattered six hits for the victory. Jose Lind provided the offensive spark with a pair of hits, an RBI and a run scored. 
  • 2003 - The Pirates shipped Brian Giles to San Diego for Jason Bay, Ollie Perez, and Corey Stewart. Pittsburgh had wanted Xavier Nady in the deal, but SD refused and threw in Bay instead. He worked out pretty well, as Bay ended up the NL Rookie of the Year in 2004 and the Bucs reeled in the X-Man in 2006. 
Brian Giles 2001 Bowman series

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bucs Blow Early Chances, Fall 3-2 To Cards

Frankie looked good in the first frame; he sat down the Redbirds in order with a couple of K. Jon Lackey, on the other hand, escaped a bullet. Josh doubled to open, but was froze by a grounder to third by Travis Snider. Not moving him up cost; Cutch lined a single to left to chase Josh to third, but The Kid banged into a 6-4-3 DP; going the opposite way didn't do Snider nor Walker much good. The part that hurt is that Neil drilled the ball; he hit an at 'em grounder so hard the Cards turned two even with Cutch off on the pitch.

Jordy booted a ball with an out in the second, but it didn't faze Liriano, who routinely chopped down the other hitters. Pittsburgh got a run when Pedro smacked a one out homer; maybe Lackey will figure out what the other NL pitchers know and keep that heater in his pocket when El Toro is up. The Bucs got back-to-back infield knocks from Starling and Jordy, who were bunted up by Frankie, but Josh's fly out left more ducks on the pond.

Frankie gave up a two out walk in the third; the Pirates stranded Cutch, who singled with one gone. Jhonny Peralta got the Birds' first hit with a two out single in the fourth, but was left aboard. Pedro led off by lining a bullet off Kolton Wong's mitt, but the Pirates continued to shoot themselves in the foot with a strike 'em out, throw 'em out DP with Starling up, then Jordy K'ed to end the frame. The Bucs have seven hits in just four innings, but only one run.

Wong singled to start the fifth and was forced out by Tony Cruz, who went to second on a bunt. Matt Carpenter K'ed to end the mild threat. Frankie walked to start the Bucco at-bats. A Josh fly and Travis 6-3 DP put quick brakes on the frame; three DPs in four innings will slow down an attack.

Frankie was running on fumes in the sixth, even though he was just at 80 pitches. A one out double by Matt Holliday and a pair of walks put him in a jam. But he had enough gas in the tank to serve Oscar Tavaras a 5-2-3 DP to dodge the raindrops. The Bucs hit three flies and jogged back on the field.

Wong opened the seventh with an infield single. Jared Hughes came on and picked off Wong; good thing, as he gave up a bloop single to Cruz; the runner was bunted up and Carpenter walked. Jon Jay came off the bench to single in the tying run; the runners moved up on Cutch's throw home. Holliday hit a grounder with eyes through the left side, leaving Josh and Jordy sprawled in the dirt, to bring in another pair. Justin Wilson took the ball and finished the frame, with the Cards now up 3-1. Lackey did what good pitchers do; he got three grounders and sat down.

Wilson worked an efficient eighth and Pat Neshak took the bump for St. Louis. With an out, Josh reached on an error, but the Bucs took no advantage; Snider grounded into a 4-6-3 DP, his second twin killing. John Axford came in for the ninth. He gave up a single to Shane Robinson, who was quickly erased trying to steal between a pair of ground outs.

Trevor Rosenthal climbed the hill, Cutch was clutch again; he led off with a homer, ripping a liner to left. Russ walked with one gone, with Pedro up. He got a first pitch heater right down the middle - and tapped it back to the mound softly enough, at least, to move Russ to second. Marte flew out to center, at that was it.

Hard to believe, but the Bucs have lost back-to-back games by giving up seven runs with the bases empty and two outs. But this game was about the early innings. The Pirates keep putting guys on base, but they just can't cash them in. Of course, four DPs will cut down the chances pretty drastically. The Cards put together their frame on a bloop, a walk, a throw home that should have went to second and a routine grounder that was perfectly placed. Such are the plays that decide playoff races.

Gerritt Cole takes on Lance Lynn tomorrow night; Cole is stepping into Charlie Morton's rotation slot.
  • Pedro's homer was his first at PNC Park since June 29th.
  • The Pirates are 2-1 in a stretch of 15 consecutive games against Central Division foes. The Bucs have gone 24-31 this season against the Central (13-14 at home and 11-17 on the road).
  • Charlie Morton will make rehab start on Thursday for Altoona, with a 75 pitch limit.
  • Pirate IF prospect Alen Hansen is effectively done for the year; he was put on the the minor league DL with a hammy injury suffered last week.
  • The New York-Penn League and the Pittsburgh Pirates announced today that the Jamestown Jammers, Pittsburgh's Class A Short Season affiliate, will be relocating to Morgantown for the 2015 season. The deal that will have the Bucs club share a new ballpark with the WVU baseball team.