Monday, July 6, 2015

AJ v James Shields; Lineup & Notes - Josh on DL, Starling Out

Today's Game - AJ Burnett (7-3, 2.05) and James Shields (7-3, 4.14) go head-to-head in the series kickoff. AJ has won seven of his last nine decisions, posting a 1.77 ERA in his last five starts, and has gone 2-2 with a 1.29 ERA in seven outings at home. He owns an 11-5 win this year over San Diego, and lifetime is 4-7 with 4.38 ERA in 12 starts against the Friars.

Shields has been mostly solid for the Padres, tho he is carrying a three-game losing streak into today's game and has three+ walks in three of his last four starts. Big Game James has faced the Pirates once, getting a no decision earlier in the year. He went six innings, giving up six hits and two runs. The game starts at 7:05 and will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan. There may be a passing shower or two tonight (imagine that) but the game is forecast to be a go.

Josh won't be flying around the bases for awhile (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Today's Lineup - Gregory Polanco RF, Neil Walker 2B, Cutch CF, Jung-Ho Kang 3B, Fran Cervelli C, Pedro 1B, Jordy Mercer SS, Sean Rodrihuez LF, AJ P.

Josh is out, and will be for awhile with torn thumb ligaments. Starling is also sitting with a rib cage injury of unknown seriousness (though he is listed as available from the bench). The Bucs were bound to get bit by the injury bug sooner or later; we'll see how the depth holds up now, and how it affects their participation in deadline dealing.

  • Josh Harrison tore ligaments in his thumb on a face plant slide yesterday; he was put on the 15 day DL and is expected to miss six weeks (although he'll seek another opinion tomorrow; it's still too swelled to be 100% sure of the severity). Travis Ishikawa took his place on the roster. Looks like swim-or-sink time for JHK and El Coffee, and the need for a fourth outfielder suddenly hit alarm status, especially if Starling's injury is more than a tweak..
  • The Pirates have never won a series against San Diego at PNC Park. The last series the Bucs took at home against the Friars was in 2000 at TRS; SD is 43-12 at PNC and won 16 of the last 19 contests. They haven't done much hitting lately, scoring two runs or fewer five times in the past six games, so maybe it's time for the worm to turn. But they are coming off a four game split at St. Louis, where the Cards are scary good.
  • Andrew McCutchen has hit safely in 12 straight games, the longest streak by a Pittsburgh player this season (Josh went 11 games). Cutch’s longest career hitting streak is 13 games from back in 2009. The Kid is working on a nine-gamer.
  • Jordy Mercer has started the last 20 games at shortstop and is hitting .293 with eight doubles and seven RBI in that time. He has six multi-hit contests in the last 13 games.
  • Pat Murphy, the Padres' interim manager, is Pedro's father-in-law.
  • OF Michael Suchy of the WV Power was named the Sally League Player of the Week after hitting .421 with two homers and 10 RBI. Suchy, 22, was a fifth round pick in last year's draft.
  • The Mets on-again six man rotation is going through a couple of bumps.

7/6: Ward Splashdown; HBD Cy; Freak Show Sweep; McClatchy Steps Down; All-Star Outings

  • 1896 - The Pittsburgh Press described the game, played in the rain at Washington, as “...a farce. But was not without excitement, however, for Umpire Tim Hurst threatened to whip half a dozen players.” Hurst reportedly punched Pirates Jake Stenzel and Emerson "Pink" Hawley in the jaw for the guff they had given him during the game. According the New York Clipper "neither player resented the attack." The Pirates defeated the Senators 6-2 at Boundary Park.
  • 1901 - NY Manager George Davis said he would pull his team off the Polo Grounds rather than allow ump Harry Colgan to call the game, and he got his wish. Colgan didn’t show up, and under the threat of a forfeit and fine by the league if the blustering Giants didn’t play the match, the two teams each selected a player - Giant Charlie Buelow and Pirate Jack O'Connor - to ump. Davis might have been better off with Colgan as his club lost 6-2, but at least there weren’t any rhubarbs. There were only two bang-bang plays, and sportsman O’Connor called them both for the Giants.
  • 1908 - RHP Darrell Elijah “Cy” Blanton was born in Waurika, Oklahoma. He twirled for Pittsburgh from 1934-39, going 58-51-4/3.28 and earning an All Star spot in 1937 with a dazzling array of breaking pitches. In 1935, his 2.58 ERA was the lowest in MLB, besting Lefty Grove. But his promising career was shortened by arm and physical woes, aggravated by an alcoholism, and he died at the age of 37. A bit of trivia: he barnstormed with fellow Oklahoman and good bud Carl Hubbell, another pitcher noted for his breaking ball.
Cy Blanton 1935 Diamond Stars series
  • 1933 - CF Paul Waner and 3B Pie Traynor represented the Bucs in the first-ever All-Star Game held at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. The AL won 4-2. Traynor doubled against Lefty Grove in his only at-bat, and Big Poison got into the game but didn’t make a plate appearance.
  • 1938 - The Bucs sent P Mace Brown, SS Arky Vaughan and CF Lloyd Waner to the All-Star Game at Crosley Field. Brown was the only guy to play; he went three innings, giving up a run on five hits with two strikeouts, and earned a save for starter Johnny Vander Meer in a 4-1 NL win.
  • 1940 - Arky Vaughan, Elbie Fletcher and Maurice Van Robays each homered and combined for 10 RBI and six runs as the Bucs romped over the Cards 15-8 in the lidlifter of a Sportsman’s Park DH’er. Pittsburgh took the second match from St. Louis, also by a 4-3 count, pushing across a 10th inning run for the win. Van Robays had a two run homer in that game to help give Mace Brown the win. Brown pitched five innings of one hit, shutout relief to get that hard earned victory.
  • 1942 - 3B Bob Elliott was the sole Bucco invited to the All-Star Game at the Polo Grounds. He singled in his only at-bat during a 3-1 loss to the AL.
Bob Elliot 1948 Leaf series
  • 1945 - A doubleheader couldn’t begin any better; Pete Coscarart and Jim Russell started it off with a bang, smacking back-to-back homers, the first time that had been done in franchise history. But Boston regained its composure pretty quickly and swept the Buccos 13-5 and 14-8 at Braves Field.
  • 1954 - 1B Jason Thompson was born in Hollywood. He played for the Pirates for five years (1981-85) and hit .253 with 93 HR, with a particularly sharp eye that led to a .376 OBP. Thompson was an All-Star in 1982, batting .284/31/101, and spent 11 years in MLB.
  • 1955 - Jerry Lynch, Frank Thomas and Dale Long hit back-to-back-to-back homers in the sixth inning against the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Carl Erskine during a 10-5 loss of a doubleheader lidlifter at Forbes Field. The Bucs didn’t homer in the nitecap, but won 4-1 behind Vern Law.
  • 1980 - Cub relief pitchers held the Pirates hitless for 12-2/3 innings at TRS but Pittsburgh took home a 5-4, 20 inning victory. Cliff Johnson's two-out homer in the ninth off Bert Blyleven tied it for Chicago‚ but Omar Moreno's single hours later (it was a 5-1/2 hour affair, the longest in TRS history) was the game winner. Jim Bibby (11-1) earned the win with three scoreless innings‚ but lost a probable start in the All Star game because of his unexpected relief outing.
Omar Moreno 1981 Topps Star Sticker series
  • 1983 - The AL broke out of a two-decade long slumber and pummeled the NL 13-3 at Comiskey Park in the All Star game. 3B Bill Madlock, the only Bucco AS, went 0-for-1.
  • 1985 - The Pirates blew a three run lead at TRS, allowing the Padres to tie the game in the ninth inning, but came back in their half to take an 8-7 decision. Steve Kemp homered and the Bucs added a triple and five doubles during the contest, but Pittsburgh used three consecutive two-out singles against Craig Lefferts, the last by Marvell Wynne, to claim the victory.
  • 1992 - If you like pitching, this was the game. Zane Smith and Houston’s Jimmy Jones started in a game that ended up 1-0, with Orlando Merced’s sixth inning homer the only run scored in front of the 15,385 fans at TRS. Smith worked 8-⅓ innings of five hit ball with Stan Belinda coming on to record the final two outs. It was exciting. Belinda inherited Jeff Bagwell at second and walked the first hitter he faced, but got a pair of pops to ice the game.
  • 1997 - The Pirate “Freak Show” completed a four game sweep of St. Louis, 6-3, at Busch Stadium to go into the All-Star break with a one-game lead in the NL Central standings after winning seven straight. Steve Cooke won the game backed by Jose Guillen’s homer and four RBI, the first four-ribbie day of his career.
Steve Cooke 1997 Upper Deck Collectors Choice series
  • 2001 - Pittsburgh put up a five spot in the eighth inning to rally past the White Sox 10-6 at Comiskey Park. Jack Wilson had three hits and John Vander Wal added a homer to pace the attack.
  • 2002 - Houston's Daryle Ward became the first player to put a baseball in the Allegheny on the fly when he homered off Kip Wells during a 10-2 Astro win. The ball traveled an estimated 463'.
  • 2002 - The Pirates traded RHP Mike Fetters to the Arizona Diamondbacks for RHP Duaner Sanchez in a swap of relievers. Sanchez pitched poorly for the Bucs and was released after the 2003 season, but found success with the Dodgers and Mets until a mid-season car accident in 2006 caused what would eventually be a career-ending shoulder damage.
  • 2007 - Kevin McClatchy announced that he would step down as CEO after the 2007 MLB season, resulting in the September hiring of Frank Coonelly.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Pirates Ride Big Frame and Cole Train To 5-3 Win; Marte Hurt, Ishikawa Claimed

Two of league premier fireballers, Gerrit Cole and Danny Salazar, traded zeroes in the first. That wasn't to be in the next couple of frames. Cole Train gave up a leadoff walk followed by a single in the second, but looked to be past them when he coaxed a DP ball. Not to be; a single, stolen base and then another knock made it 2-0. The Tribe added on in the third on a double, bunt, and single to jump ahead 3-0.

Meanwhile, Salazar was toasting the Bucs. After four innings, it was 3-0, and Pittsburgh had but one hit to go with seven whiffs. Then the fifth happened. It was quiet for Cleveland, but noisy for the Pirates.

JHK opened with a knock and trotted home when El Toro tore the cover of a 97 MPH, 1-2 heater and dumped it over The Notch to make it 3-2. After an out, Stew singled on a call that review had to make (he clearly beat it out). A bunt moved him up, and the two-out dance began. Josh legged out a bleeder, then The Kid tied it with a liner to center. Cutch drove them both home when he slammed a changeup off the bullpen fence for a double. That was it for Salazar and the scoring.

Gerrit Cole on a roll (photo Charles LeClaire/USA Today)
The Buc bats were apparently wore out after that big frame. Cole wasn't; he was still hitting 100 in the eighth, 105 pitches into the game, and left with 16 straight Indians retired. Mark the Shark tossed a quiet ninth, and the Bucs claimed the series with a 5-3 victory.
Nice way to enjoy a Sunday. Now the San Diego Padres come to town with AJ opening the three game set against Big Game James Shields.

  • Cutch extended his hitting streak to 12 games and The Kid's is now at nine. 
  • The Pirates as a team had eight hits; six were in the fifth inning.
  • Gerrit Cole reached 12 wins before the All-Star Game, a deed done only four previous times in franchise history. The last Pirate hurler to hit that mark was Ken Brett in 1974; the most wins was 14 by Dock Ellis in 1971.
  • Starling Marte left the game with the dreaded "left side discomfort" after a swing in the fourth inning and will be reevaluated tomorrow. Hopefully, it's not an oblique issue.
  • Pedro's homer was his first with a runner on base since last season.
  • Greogory Polanco is now 0 for his last 12 at bats.
  • The Pirates claimed 1B Travis Ishikawa off waivers from the San Francisco Giants. No, we don't know why either. They'll make their roster moves when he arrives in Pittsburgh. We assume he'll just be a pinch hitter, but calling up Jaff Decker seems like a more useful move to us.
  • For those on the Clayton Richard watch, he won his first game with the Cubs yesterday, going 6-1/3 IP against Miami. He gave up two runs on eight hits and a walk with four whiffs. It was his first MLB win since June 16th, 2013 as a Padre, defeating Arizona 4-1.
  • The Brewers have won eight straight and 11 of their last 13 games. They're still 36-48.

Gerrit v Danny Salazar; Lineup & Notes

Today's Game - The series rubber match will pit Gerrit Cole (11-3, 2.20) versus Danny Salazar (7-3, 3.80). The Cole Train is 6-1 with a 2.01 ERA in his last eight starts and has been charged with two or fewer earned runs in 13 of his first 16 outings. Gerrit enters today with a league-leading 11 wins (this is his third shot at 12) and is pretty much The Man. He's never taken on the Indians.

Salazar is known for his velocity (he sits at 95) and strikeouts with his fastball, slider, change combo, but on Tuesday changed gears and pitched to contact, carrying a no-no into the eighth while collecting his career high seventh win. We'll see if that strategy was an outlier; he still averages almost 11 K's per nine. He has never faced the Pirates. The match begins at 1:35 and will be aired by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.

After his three hit day on Wednesday, Gregory has been 0-for-9 and Josh will take his place in right, with JHK manning the hot corner. Stew will again be behind the dish for Gerrit. So the top half of the order remains the same, with a gentle shake for the bottom four.

  • Mark Melancon leads the NL in saves (26), two shy of the club record for most saves prior to the All-Star break (Jason Grilli had 28 in 2013). His 24 consecutive save conversions are two short of Joel Hanrahan's franchise record of 26, set in 2011.
  • Fran Cervelli's start shouldn't be that much of a surprise. He's slashing .301/.376/.406 going into today; his line in 2014 was .301/.370/.432. Fran is 31 games and 70 PA's away from setting career season highs in those categories, so if anything is a surprise, it's his staying power.
  • Today’s tilt marks the halfway point of the season in games played. The Pirates had a 41-40 record after 81 games last year, a 51-30 record at the midway point in 2013 and are now 46-34. 
  • How about that? Saturday’s game time (2:06) was two minutes shorter than Friday’s rain delay (2:08).
  • The All-Star starters will be announced tonight at 7:30 on ESPN, and the rest of the club tomorrow at 7.

7/5: Bonds Father & Son; 10-In-A-Row; Woodie's Zero String; Big Long Balls...

  • 1886 - The Pittsburgh Alleghenys swept a DH from the Baltimore Orioles 15-1 and 13-2 at Recreation Park, led by Fred Carroll, who banged an American Association record nine hits.
  • 1948 - Ralph Kiner hit three HR with five RBI in the opener of a twinbill split against the Reds at Forbes Field, backing Vic Lombardi’s pitching in the 10-3 win. He was shut down in the second game, a 6-4 loss.
  • 1953 - At Forbes Field, the Phils' Robin Roberts shut out the Pirates 2-0 in ten innings for his 28th consecutive complete game, outlasting Murry Dickson. It was also his 13th straight win over Pittsburgh going back to August 26th‚ 1950 (the string would reach 15). The Bucs did win the nitecap of the DH by a 7-4 tally.
  • 1960 - The Bucs and Milwaukee Braves played a dramatic, see-saw game at County Stadium with the Pirates hanging on for a 5-4, 10 inning win. Down 2-0 in the top of the ninth, Rocky Nelson and Don Hoak homered to give the Bucs a 3-2 lead. Del Crandall’s two-out, bases loaded single off Paul Giel tied the game, with Bob Skinner cutting down the winning run at the plate to extend the match. With two gone in the 10th, an infield knock by Skinner was followed by Nelson’s second homer to make it 5-3. Bob Friend, a starter by trade, got the call to relieve Giel, who tossed a pair of wild pitches, one on a K of Henry Aaron. He gave up a run, but closed it out.
Bob Skinner 1960 via Wikipedia
  • 1963 - Roberto Clemente, always touchy about guys throwing at him, clobbered a pitch that Met’s pitcher Tracy Stallard tossed under his chin with two strikes and two outs in the eighth inning, lining it into the upper deck to break a 1-1 tie and give the Bucs a 3-1 win at the Polo Grounds. Stallard told Maury Allen of the New York Post that "'I was trying to waste a pitch. I figured maybe I could get him to swing again at a pitch around his head.” He did. Don Cardwell got the win, with Alvin McBean picking up the save.
  • 1966 - Woodie Fryman tossed his third straight shutout, a 6-0 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The rookie lefty surrendered just seven hits in the three complete game wins. Donn Clendenon smacked a two run bomb and Jose Pagan added a pair of RBI.
  • 1982 - Pittsburgh's first two hitters of the game, Omar Moreno and Johnny Ray‚ homered off Houston's Joe Niekro at TRS, the second time in Pirate history that feat had been done. Niekro ended up with the last laugh, though, in a 6-4 Astro win.
Johnny Ray 1983 Topps series
  • 1989 - Barry Bonds homered in Pittsburgh's 6-4 loss to the Giants at TRS‚ giving him and father Bobby the MLB father-and-son home run record with 408. The Bells (Gus and Buddy) and the Berras (Yogi and Dale) had shared the record of 407.
  • 2000 - Wil Cordero drove in six runs with a pair of long balls to lead the Bucs to a 9-6 win against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Aramis Ramirez also added a homer against Chicago. Jimmy Anderson went five innings for the win.
  • 2004 - Pittsburgh won its tenth straight game 3-1 over the Marlins at Pro Player Stadium as Kip Wells outdueled Josh Beckett. Wells gave up four hits and K’ed eight in a scoreless eighth inning outing, and then had to sweat out a shaky Jose Silva save. Abraham Nunez homered in the win. The streak ended the next day at Florida, and was the highlight of an 89-loss season.
Kip Wells 2003 Topps series
  • 2005 - Kip Wells scattered four hits and punched out a dozen Phils in a 3-0 complete game victory at PNC Park. Jason Bay provided the big blow with a two run blast in the fifth with Matt Lawton's double plating the other.
  • 2007 - Adam LaRoche pounded a pair of homers and a double, driving in three runs and scoring three more as the Bucs dropped the Brewers 6-3 at PNC Park. Xavier Nady added three hits, including a homer of his own. Tom Gorzelanny got the win and Matt Capps the save.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Locke Magnificent In 1-0 Bucco Win

Well, Jeff Locke sure quieted the ado about Clayton Richard in a big hurry. He went eight innings of two-hit (three, if you count a game opening hit batter) with six K and no walks on just 89 pitches. With two DP's behind him, he faced one batter over the minimum. If it wasn't the game of his career, it was certainly by far his strongest showing of the campaign. No nibbling; he went right after hitters with first pitch strikes and filled the zone, going to three balls twice all day.

His only brief jam was in the second when he gave up both hits, singles to lead off the frame. But a DP cleaned that up before it became a mess, and that led to a streak of working to 21 batters over the last seven innings. Mark Melancon provided more drama making the save in the ninth, when a two out walk and infield single put the tying run on second, but a tapper to first earned The Shark his 26th save.

Jeff Locke Tosses a Gem (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

it took the Buc three tries to dent Cody Anderson, who pitched a whale of a game himself. He's the kind of soft tosser that gives the Bucs fits, and he scattered six hits over eight innings. The Pirates helped by not playing very good small ball.

In the first, Josh doubled and went to third on a groundout, but a K and soft fly ended that threat. In the third, Jordy singled, went to second on a balk (Anderson dropped the ball while on the rubber) and was bunted to third. In a bad break TOOTBLAN, Josh hit a one hopper directly over the bad at third (maybe think opposite way next time, Josh), Jordy couldn't get back to the sack and was eventually tossed out in a rundown.

Finally in the sixth, a Josh double followed by The Kid's single to right brought home the one run Pittsburgh needed. Good thing, too - that was the last Pirate push of the afternoon.

Gerrit Cole and hard throwing Danny Salazar meet in the rubber match tomorrow at 1:35.

  • Cutch extended his hitting streak to 11 games and The Kid to eight.
  • Mark the Shark now has converted 24 straight save opportunities.
  • The Pirates drew 37,928 to the ballyard today, yet another sellout. The holiday crowd had a while to kill before the fireworks as the game lasted just 2:06.
  • Corey Hart hit another homer in his Indy rehab tour.

Jeff Locke v Cody Anderson; Lineup & Notes

Happy Independence Day!

Today's Game - Jeff Locke (4-4, 4.55) tosses the Holiday match against Cody Anderson (1-0, 0.57). Jeff has posted a 2.96 ERA in five starts last month and has gone 2-2 with a 3.04 ERA in nine starts at home, where he's been much more effective than on the road (7.04 ERA). He's never tossed against Cleveland.

Cody was just called up and is making his third start. He's been great so far, allowing one run in 15-⅔ innings. His only question mark is his K rate; the pitch-to-contact guy has struck out just six hitters, although in the AL, with the DH, that number can sometimes be deceiving. Here's a little trivia for ya: Anderson was a 17th round draft pick and attended Feather River College, where he was an outfielder and relief pitcher.

The game starts at 4:05 and will be carried by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan. And for a welcome change, word is that the sun may even be around for the first pitch!

Same as last night. Gotta say that so far, questions about Fran's durability have been answered in spades; he catches more day-after-night games than any guy we can remember under Clint.

  • Cutch has hit safely in 10 straight games (13-for-35, .371), one game shy of matching Josh for the longest streak by a Pittsburgh player this season. Andrew’s longest career hitting streak is a 13-gamer in 2009. And his next long ball will tie him with Jason Bay for eighth on the all-time Pirate list with 139 dingers
  • The Kid has gone 11-for-21 (.524) with seven RBI in his last four games. It's about the time of year he gets rolling; Neil carries a career batting average of .339 during the month of July.
  • Pedro has 16 career homers in interleague play, one shy of the club record of 17 held by Brian Giles and Kevin Young.
  • The Pirates have won each of their five Saturday home games this season, averaging 6.5 runs per game.
  • Not all the pitching news is bad. RHP Clay Holmes, who missed 2014 after TJ surgery, is pitching well in the GCL on his rehab tour, racking up five shutout frames earlier today.

July 4th: HBD America, Chuck Tanner & Jared Hughes; Expo Flooded; Satchel No-No; Kendall Hurt; Fireworks...

  • 1902 - The Pittsburgh Press headline read “River Invades The Park.” During a doubleheader against Brooklyn, a flooding Allegheny River caused water to rise knee-deep in Exposition Park’s outfield. A special ground rule was created for the day: all outfield hits into the water were singles. Players occasionally caught a ball and dove into the water to splash around, much to the crowd’s delight - and there were over 20,000 in attendance. The Pirates swept the Superbas as Jesse Tannehill tossed a 3-0 two-hitter in the opener and Jack Chesbro a four-hit, 4-0 win in the nitecap to extend the team’s winning streak to eight games.
Exposition Park during a rain-out. (image via Pitt Viewer)
  • 1905 - The Pirates traded shortstop George McBride to the St Louis Cardinals for IF Dave Brain. Brain lasted in Pittsburgh until the end of the season (he hit .257 in 85 games), when he was packaged in the trade to get Vic Willis, who became a Bucco mainstay on the hill. McBride played for 14 more seasons in the majors. A good glove guy, he never batted higher than .235 during that time, with a lifetime .218 BA.
  • 1906 - The Cubs took two from the Pirates by 1-0 scores at Exposition Park. In the opener, Three Finger Mordecai Brown beat Lefty Leifield with both pitchers firing one-hitters. It was the second double one-hitter in history‚ the first occurring on August 20th‚ 1886. Leifield banged the only Buc hit off Brown while holding Chicago hitless until Jimmy Slagle's single in the ninth inning. The Cubs came around on a sacrifice‚ error‚ and ground out. In the second game‚ Carl Lundgren won a duel against Vic Willis. The Pirates had only been shut out twice all season before the twinbill.
  • 1927 - The Pirates swept the World Champion Cardinals‚ 7-2 and 6-4 in a Forbes Field doubleheader. Lee Meadows took the opener behind Johnny Gooch’s bases loaded triple. The Cards rallied to tie the second game in the top of the eighth, but Clyde Barnhart answered with a two run double in the bottom half for the win. Carmen Hill went the distance for the W.
  • 1928 - Pirate skipper Chuck Tanner was born in New Castle. He managed the Pirates for nine years (1977–1985) and won the World Series in 1979. He was also skipper of the White Sox, Athletics and Braves. Tanner was traded for Manny Sanguillen to the Pirates in 1977 by Oakland, only the second manager-for-player trade in history.
Chuck Tanner (uncredited photo)
  • 1932 - Satchel Paige of the Pittsburgh Crawfords tossed a no-hitter against the Homestead Grays at Greenlee Field on Bedford Avenue, the only runners reaching on an error and a walk. He struck out 17, establishing the all-time Negro League record, and matching what was then the MLB whiff record for a single game.
  • 1985 - RHP Jared Hughes was born in Stamford, Connecticut. The righty is a converted starter who has worked out of the pen since 2011 as a mid-inning fireman. The Cal State alum was selected in the fourth round of the MLB draft in 2006.
  • 1999 - C Jason Kendall dislocated his ankle in a loss to the Brewers. Trying to break up Steve Woodard's perfect game‚ Kendall dragged a bunt in the fifth inning and hit the bag awkwardly‚ ripping the ankle bone from the joint. He was out for the rest of the season, and many believed he was never quite the same after the gruesome injury.
Jason Kendall 2002 (photo: Mangin Photography)
  • 2000 - The Pirates scored seven times in the ninth, fueled by three homers, to drop the Cubs 10-4 at Wrigley Field. Jason Kendall, Wil Cordero and Pat Meares had the final at-bat Bucco blasts that made a winner out of Marc Wilkins.
  • 2001 - Brian Giles and Adam Hyzdu homered twice while Aramis Ramirez added a pair of doubles, each driving in three runs, as the Bucs put on their own fireworks display in cruising to a 14-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds at Cinergy Field.
  • 2010: The Bucs trailed Philadelphia, 5-2, before scoring six times in the seventh inning for an 8-5 win at PNC Park. Evan Meek picked up the win on the same day he was named to the NL All-Star team. The seventh inning fireworks featured a leadoff homer by Pedro Alvarez and a two-run single by Garrett Jones.

Bauer, Tribe Pen Quiet Buc Bats In 5-2 Indian Win

Good start for Charlie; ten pitches, three outs. The Bucs went down quietly to Trevor Bauer . The Tribe drew first blood; old Pirate Brandon Moss took Morton deep the opposite way after a David Murphy single, and the Bucs were in a quick 2-0 hole. Chuck added a two-out walk and is quickly at 45 pitches.The Pittsburgh bats remained at bay. One more walk and the Indians went down in a tidier, 13 pitch third inning while Bauer was yet to be dented.

Charlie opened the fourth by plunking Moss with an 0-2 curve, followed by a Yan Gomes knock. Gomes apparently doesn't know much about Starling Marte; he was cut down trying to stretch it. Morton followed that nice play by issuing his third walk. Michael Bourn yanked a two strike sinker to right for a double; one run scored and Indians were sitting at second and third. To his credit, he left them there with a pair of grounders. The Bucs answered. With an out, The Kid (who else) got the first Pittsburgh hit, followed quickly by Cutch losing a ball over the wall in center to make it a 3-2 affair.

Cutch was the offense tonight (photo Dennis Poroy/Getty Images)
The fifth was 1-2-3 for Charlie, using just eight pitches. Good Charlie, bad Charlie all in one game. Ditto for the off-and-on Bucco batters, who also went down in order. Morton continued his recent mojo run, whiffing a pair in the sixth. Chuck left after 104 pitches, but hung tough enough to keep the Bucs in the game on a day his command wasn't there. Josh singled with an out, but The Kid proved he was human, grounding to first and into a DP after a review of a close call at first was upheld.

Antonio Bastardo took the ball in the seventh. After an out, he walked the pitcher, burning nine pitches. Eight tosses later, he walked Jason Kipnis, even with Fran stealing a strike call for him. Ray Searage had a little chat with AB, and he responded by whiffing Francisco Lindor. A fly out kept the game at one run. Cutch led off with a walk as the weather worsened during another rainy Pittsburgh night; there was a delay during the stretch as the grounds crew worked OT to fill in the puddles. No use; after a Marte force, the tarps came out. There's a big dark green blob on the radar map; looks bad for the Buccos.

Even though it was still a little drizzly, the tarp was rolled back up around 10:30 as a break in the storm approached, with an 11:15 estimate to play ball again. Close enough; lefty Mark Rzepczynski (I think; my spell check and I are glad he's in the AL now) came on to face Pedro, who whiffed. So much for Mark; righty Zach McAllister took the ball to face Fran, who drew a walk after a feisty at bat. McAllister came back to K El Coffee in a matchup that worked in reverse for the Tribe; Zach's hi-90's heat overpowered Polanco.

Arquimedes Caminero climbed the slippery hill for the eighth. A leadoff walk and a one-out single put him in a jam, and another single loaded them; both singles were bullets to Marte, who kept the runners to one base. Michael Bourne then drilled a single to center, plating a pair. The Indians look like a very good fastball hitting club this inning; every hi-90s ball has been smacked right on the nose. Jared Hughes came in to try to stop the bleeding. JHK went to third, Josh to right and Gregory joined Arqie on the bench. After a punchout, he walked the bases full, but escaped with a tapper back to the box. Bryan Shaw got the call. Jordy lined out, then JHK and Josh both went down swinging.

Jared opened the ninth by giving up a nine pitch walk, the Bucs eighth of the game. He made up by coaxing a 3-6-3 DP, followed by a Pedro error that caused no further damage. Cody Allen came in for the save. After a whiff, he walked Cutch, then got two more quiet outs to tuck the Bucs away for the night.

Both clubs came in on offensive rolls; the Indians beat went on while the Pirates fell asleep at the wheel with just three hits. The middle arms in the bullpen are getting kinda worrisome lately. They're 15th in the majors in IP and 20th in appearances made, so there's no excuse for them to be burned out, but that's how they're pitching lately. Tomorrow is another day as Jeff Locke takes on Cody Anderson in a Fourth of July afternoon contest.

  • Cutch has a ten-game hitting streak;The Kid has a seven gamer. Starling and Jordy had eight game strings snapped.
  • Cutch's next homer will move him into ninth place all-time for the Pirates, ahead of Billy Maz. Maz took 17 years to hit his 138 bombs as opposed to Andrew's 6-1/2 campaigns.
  • Fran Cervelli wore a batting glove for the first time in his pro career against Detroit; he bruised his hand catching and needed something to take some of the sting out per David Manel of Bucs Dugout.
  • The Pirates had a seven game winning streak against AL opponents snapped. They also blew the chance to pick up a game on the Cards, who lost their fourth in row.
  • In a nice touch, the Pirate dads who took the trip to Detroit to watch their sons played tossed out today's first pitch to their kids. (Short clip of the tosses on the Pirate's Vine) 
  • Rain may have been forecast, but just another summer night in the 'Burg - tonight's attendance of 38,840 was the seventh sellout of the season, with help from Cleveland.
  • Brandon Moss' homer was his 14th of the campaign; he's hit 81 long balls since 2012 with a .251 BA and a plus OPS every season during that span.
  • Travis Bauer had some big fun batting. When he drew his walk, he imitated the batting stances of three of his teammates, Mike Aviles, Ryan Raburn and Jason Kipnis, much to the enjoyment of the Tribe dugout.
  • Mike Axisa of CBS Sports says the Feds have recommended charges against at least one Cardinal staffer in MLB's welcome to the data-driven era.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Saturday Notes: Clayton & Jameson Gone, Clint's Ranking, New International Signing...

Some news today:
  • Jerry Crasnick of ESPN ran a survey of the MLB managers performance among industry guys; Clint showed well, though behind the usual suspects.
  • LHP Clayton Richard, 31, who put up 4-2/2.09 slash at Indy, was sold to the Cubs (and will in fact start for them tomorrow) because of his opt-out option. That's pretty much the way Pittsburgh acquired Jason Grilli from the Phils in 2011. The red flag on him was his four K/per nine. We look at it as the Buc staff salvaging another MLB career, even if it cuts into the back-end pitching depth in the short term.
Clayton & Ray Searage (photo Dave arrigo/Pirates)
  • To stub another toe, RHP Jameson Taillon will have hernia surgery, ending his comeback campaign as he's slated to miss two months. We didn't expect to see him this year, but it will delay his timetable to the show as this became a lost season. Pending his recovery time & conditioning, he could go to the Arizona Fall league for some work.
  • Ben Badler reports the Pirates have signed a third international player, OF'er Kevin Sanchez, for $450K. 
  • Fallout from a sweep: The Tigers DFA'ed relievers Joba Chamberlain and Tom Gorzelanny today.