Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sunday: Buc-Mets Finale, Glasnow v Matt Harvey, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: The Mets and Bucs finish up the series at 8:00 with a rubber match in PNC Park. It's a rare Sunday evening booking as the contest is ESPN's Sunday Night Game with radio coverage on 93.7 The Fan. Kids 14-and-under will get a Pirates beach towel, compliments of Coke. It's forecast to be a little dark and stormy night, so the towels should come in handy.

Lineup: Adam Frazier LF, Josh Harrison 2B, Josh Bell 1B, Gregory Polanco RF, David Freese 3B, Cutch CF, Fran Cervelli C, Jordy Mercer SS & Tyler Glasnow P. Since it's night game, the usual Sunday lineup shuffle is not in effect.

Ty looking to become the guy (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Tyler Glasnow (2-3, 6.69) closes the set against Matt Harvey (3-3, 5.36). Tyler tossed it pretty well against Atlanta in his last outing (two runs in six IP) and went 3-for-3 to boot. He's getting his walks under control, although he does have a five-game home run streak that he'd like to shake as he continues to take small steps toward holding his own in the rotation. He's never faced the Mets. Harvey has a had a bumpy ride with NY in a couple of ways and hasn't made it through the sixth in his past five starts after a pretty good April. A little patience at the dish should bring the Met bullpen into play sooner rather than later. Considering yesterdays pitcher-burning, how far into the game either starter can go might be tonight's key. Harvey is 0-1/5.29 in three starts against the Bucs, but he hasn't seen them since 2015.

Notes:
  • J-Hay has a nine-game hitting streak goin' on.
  • Last night the Pirates won when trailing after eight innings for the second time in four games and for the third time this season. The Pirates won a total of three games when trailing after eight innings last year.
  • Per Elias Sports: The last Pirate to tie a game in the ninth and then walk off in the 10th was Al Oliver against Houston on May 1st, 1977; it took JJ 40 years to replicate the feat.
  • Jamo tossed three innings in his first rehab stint since cancer surgery. He fanned six and gave up a hit & a walk in three innings/47 pitches for Altoona.
Austin is heatin' up (photo via MLB Pipeline)
  • Austin Meadows is starting to figure it out at Indy. He had his fourth straight multi-hit day (and sixth in seven games) and has reached base safely in his last 17 outings.
  • The Astros put Charlie Morton (5-3, 4.06) on the DL with a lat strain. In 10 big-league campaigns, Ground Chuck has finished the year north of 25 starts/150 IP just twice.
  • Alex Presley was recalled by the Tigers.
  • The blog Everything Bluebirds posts the Frankie Liriano has to learn to pitch to catchers not named Russ Martin. Kinda interesting POV.
  • Jim Bunning died Saturday at 85. Bunning pitched for the Pirates from 1968-69 and in a 17-year Hall-of-Fame career threw no-hitters in both leagues including a perfect game. After retirement, he became a Kentucky congressman and senator, so Jim packed a lot of juice into those 85 years.

5/28 TRS-PNC Park Era: Mack's Big Day, Four Long Gones, Bay Bombs, Bonds All Day, Holiday Walk-Off

  • 1988 - The Pirates whipped the Reds 5-2 at Riverfront Stadium behind an unstoppable leadoff man Barry Bonds. BB went 2-for-2 and was walked three times, scoring three runs with a RBI to rev the Bucco engine. Bobby Bonilla and Darnell Coles both added a single and double to help Bob Walk to the win with a Bob Kipper hold & Jeff Robinson save.
Chico was the man 1990 Topps Big
  • 1990 - Memorial Day seemed like it was going to be more memorable for Dodger pitcher Tim Belcher, who was working on a one hitter through eight innings at TRS, than anything the Bucs would do. But in the end, the Pirates provided the holiday fireworks, scoring five times in the ninth off two Dodger relievers to take an improbable 6-5 win from LA. The Bucs trimmed the lead to 5-3 and loaded the bases with two down in the final frame. Jose Lind spanked a 3-2 liner through the right side and RF’er Hubie Brooks tried to cut down the tying run, Gary Redus, at the plate. The throw was up the line and C Mike Scioscia tried to pick the ball and swipe the runner. It didn’t pan out; he missed the throw entirely and it rolled to the back wall, allowing Don Slaught to lumber in from first to plate the game winner for Bill Landrum, who had worked the ninth for Pittsburgh.
  • 2004 - In the lidlifter of a twin bill, utilityman Rob Mackowiak smacked a two-out, walk-off grand slam for a 9-5 Pirates victory barely nine hours after his wife, Jennifer, gave birth to their first child, Garrett Matthew. In the second game, he drilled a two-run shot, the 500th homer at PNC Park, into the same right center field seats as the one he hit three hours earlier to send the nitecap into extra innings, later won by Craig Wilson’s 10th inning homer, for a 5-4 sweep of the Cubs. It was the first time since 1967 that a doubleheader was won by walkoff homers. Chicago’s Matt Clement also tied a MLB record when he plunked Bobby Hill, Jason Kendall and Craig Wilson in the fifth inning of the opener.
  • 2006 - The Pirates lost to the Astros 5-4 at PNC Park. Houston scored four times in the ninth off three different Pirate pitchers to tie the game, then won it in the tenth on a Preston Wilson knock off Salomon Torres. The game did have a bright side. Jason Bay homered off Fernando Nieve in the fourth inning to run his consecutive game HR streak to six contests, the second longest in Pirate history after Dale Long’s 1956 skein. It started on the 22nd against Arizona’s Orlando Hernandez. Bay had a pair of bombs on the 20th, too, giving him nine home runs in eight games.
Andrew led an unlikely parade of big swingers -  2011 Topps Toppstown
  • 2011 - Four Pirates - Andrew McCutchen, Lyle Overbay, Chris Snyder and Ronnie Cedeno - went long as Pittsburgh whipped the Cubs 10-1 at Wrigley Field. Paul Maholm tossed a three hitter for the complete game victory.
  • 2013 - The Bucs rode strong pitching and an eleventh inning home run by Neil Walker off Jose Ortega to edge the Tigers at Comerica Park 1-0, despite striking out 14 times. Jeanmar Gomez and Rick Porcello started the game while Jason Grilli finished it in style with swinging strikeouts of Motown’s Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in order to earn his 21st save and Mark Melancon’s first win as a Pirate.

5/28 Expo Park-Forbes Field Era: Dale's HR Streak; HBD King, Steve & Kirk; Reddy; Game Stories

  • 1881 - RHP James “King” Brady was born in Elmer, New Jersey. King worked two of his five MLB seasons with the Bucs in 1906-07, where he didn’t get much work going 1-1, 2.16 in four starts (although he averaged 11.5 hits every nine innings) and was shipped to the minors early in 1907 after taking a liner off the bean. He spent eight years on the farm, winning 85 games. The source of his nickname is uncertain, although it’s thought that a Pittsburgh writer gave it to him after a good outing.
  • 1903 - OF Romer “Reddy” Gray‚ brother of author Zane Grey (they were both originally Grays; their dad changed the spelling allegedly to dodge some bills), made his MLB bow as a Buc. He went 1-for-3 in his only big league game as the Pirates beat Boston 7-6. Gray scored a run, knocked in another, drew a walk, and caught the only ball hit his way in the OF. He played on loan from the nearby Worchester minor league club as the Pirates, due to some injuries and personal issues, found themselves short handed for the game against the Beaneaters at the South End Grounds. Gray was an early AAAA ballplayer; he never found a home in MLB but had a career .311 minor league BA. His author brother was also a ballplayer in his younger days. They were teammates on both the Jaxons and Findlay Sluggers of the Interstate League in 1895, and Zane went on to pen several baseball themed stories.
Steve Nagy 1947 (photo via Baseball Birthdays)
  • 1919 - LHP Steve Nagy was born in Franklin, New Jersey. Steve was teammates with a couple of famous folk, notably TV star Chuck “The Rifleman” Connors (who played for Brooklyn and then the Cubs before going on to Hollywood) at Seton Hall University and Jackie Robinson as a Montreal Royal, but their fame didn’t give him any coattails. He pitched briefly in the majors for two years, spending 1947 as a Pirates reliever and going 1-3, 5.79. Steve missed some time during WW2 while in the navy, but still managed to play 14 minor-league campaigns before he retired from the game after the 1958 season.
  • 1921 - Pittsburgh protested their 4-3‚ 10-inning loss to the Reds and won. After Reds P Dolf Luque misfired the ball into the Cincinnati dugout‚ Clyde Barnhart was called out going to third when the ball was tossed back into the field. The Pirates said no way; it was a dead ball, and NL president Heydler agreed. The game was later replayed from that point (it was 3-3), and the Bucs took full advantage of their second chance, turning the table to win 4-3 on June 30th.
  • 1956 - First baseman Dale Long set a major league record by hitting a homerun in his eighth consecutive game, a 3-2 win over the Brooklyn Dodgers at Forbes Field. The liner was hit off of Carl Erskine in front of 32,221 Forbes Field fans who didn’t settle down until the big first baseman made a curtain call, said to be the first in MLB history. The record was later tied by Don Mattingly (1987) and Ken Griffey, Jr. (1993).
Dale Long 1956 (photo via Baseball Hall of Fame)
  • 1957 - OF Kirk Gibson was born in Pontiac, Michigan. He spent 1992 as a Pirate toward the end of his 17-year MLB run, coming over from KC in a swap for P Neal Heaton, and the 35-year-old was released in May after hitting .196. He closed out the final three years of his career with the Tigers after Sparky Anderson talked him out of retirement. The 1988 World Series hero has since worked as a coach, manager and announcer.
  • 1960 - More Destiny’s Darlings lore: Roberto Clemente was on third and Hal Smith on first with two outs in the eighth with Maz up at Forbes Field. He fanned on a ball that hit in the front of the plate, ricocheted off ump Al Barlick and to Phillies pitcher Jim Owens. Maz froze, Smith jogged to second and Clemente went halfway down the baseline. Owens chased Roberto as his bench called for him to throw to first. In the run-down‚ Clemente knocked the ball out of C Jim Coker's glove to score the tying run. The Pirates won 4-2 in the 13th on Don Hoak's two-run HR.
  • 1963 - Called out at first on a close play for the second time in the game‚ Roberto Clemente twice jostled ump Bill Jackowski while arguing the decision. Clemente was ejected‚ and skipper Danny Murtaugh got his Irish up, challenging the man in blue to duke it out until he was pulled away. The Great One was fined $250 and suspended for five days by the league. To top the day off, the Pirates lost 5-1 to the Phils at Forbes Field.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Bullpen, JJ Overtake the Mets in 10 Frames 5-4

Cole Train wasn't sharp again in the first as Jay Bruce took him deep and he was also touched for a single/double combo that caused no added damage. The Bucs went quietly against Zack Wheeler. It didn't improve a lot in the second; Curtis Granderson's leadoff triple came home to make it 2-0 with NY'ers left at second and third again. The Pirates had an answer this time as Freeser walked and jogged home ahead of Cutch who drilled one into the center field shrubbery. The third was quiet, with J-Hay's two-out two-bagger the only noise for either club. The fourth saw Travis d'Arnaud homer; it could have been worse as Mets were stranded at second and third. The Bucs got two hits and a walk but no runs as Freeser's DP short-circuited their half of the frame. Lucas Duda went long in the fifth, the ball landing on the concourse, and the Metropolitans left runners at second and third for a fourth time, so Gerrit had a tough outing (five IP, four runs, 10 hits, 98 pitches and eight stranded) but kept the club alive. Pittsburgh went down in order.

Cutch happening kept the Bucs in the game early (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Wade LeBlanc took over in the sixth and tossed a clean frame. J-Bell opened with a knock and plated when Andrew drilled a ball up the 3B line for a two-out double. He was nailed at home, tho, when he hit third and headed for the dish on Amore's grounder in the hole to short. Cutch apparently thought the throw would go to first but instead Asdrubal Cabrera flipped to the catcher and cut down Andrew. Wade zipped through the NY gang in the seventh and Neil Ramirez climbed the hill. Jordy led off with a ground-rule double and moved up on a grounder. Fraze was up and the Mets countered with lefty Jerry Blivins whose diet of curves sat Adam down. J-Hay walked but J-Bell's bouncer shut the door. Juan Nicasio answered the eighth inning bell and struck out the side on 12 pitches. Blivins got Gregory on a foul pop and righty Fernando Salas was waved on, getting a Freeser bouncer and Cutch fly-out to the track.

Felipe Rivero entered for the ninth and had an easy time of it with two whiffs and a roller. Addison Reed got Cervy on a warning track fly to center that Juan Lagares ran down; he didn't have that luck when Jordy doubled off the fence. A wild pitch moved pinch-runner Gift up ninety feet and he was chased home by JJ's opposite field knock. Fraze was jammed with two strikes but managed to roll the ball into right, sending JJ to third on the rap. J-Hay froze him tho with a grounder to third. J-Bell barreled up, but his liner was nicely gloved by Lagares to send it into extras. Tony Watson gave up a pair of singles in the 10th but the Mets continued their strand 'em all MO. Tyler Pill, just called up as a long man/spot starter, came in to toss. Lagares grabbed a smoked liner a step short of the fence to deny Gregory. Freeser singled, Cutch was bopped by a pitch and Cervy worked an eight-pitch walk. Gift hit a pop fly to right, icing Freese. Lefty Josh Edgin took over to face JJ. The battle went nine pitches and to a full count; Jaso won the duel by sending the last pitch into right to send Freeser home.

Juan and the Bucco bullpen was lights-out (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Both sides had plenty of chances to put the game away, with the Mets squandering early chances against Cole Train and the Bucs squeezing sawdust in the later rounds. The Pirates are tough when you let them hang around; this was their third walk-off win of the year. They only had four in all of 2016. So the rubber match is tomorrow night on ESPN when Tyler Glasnow takes on Matt Harvey.

Notes:
  • JJ hadn't had a hit against a lefty all year and had just one last season. He had two knocks in two tries tonight; Cutch, Fran and Jordy also had a pair of raps.
  • This was the first time in Cole Train's career that he's surrendered three homers in a game.
  • The Pirates warning track power was in it's full glory late in the game. In the ninth and 10th innings they hit four balls to fence; only Jordy's double eluded Lagares.
  • With a double and homer tonight, Cutch passed up Bill Mazeroski for eighth place in extra-base hits smacked by a Pirate. ( thx to @JohnDreker )
  • The Mets again stacked the lineup with seven lefties; remember when the Pirates used to have a slew of southpaws in the rotation?
  • Clint said Huddy will return to his set-up role after a couple of strong outings as the seventh-inning bridge. Won't be tonight, tho, as he gets a day of rest after working two frames last night.
  • 31,658 turned out tonight (there were quite a few Met fans in the house) , so the last couple of contests have spun the turnstiles pretty well.
And look who will be back on the bump tomorrow... (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • The Pirates announced that Jameson Taillon will begin a rehab assignment at Altoona tomorrow.

Saturday: Bucs & Mets, Cole Train v Zach Wheeler, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: The Mets & Pirates get it on at 7:15 in PNC Park. Fox "Saturday Night Baseball" will cover the TV side regionally and 93.7 The Fan will handle the radio call. The Bucs will hand out free ball & bat t-shirts to the first 20,000 fans.

Lineup: Adam Frazier LF, Josh Harrison 2B, Josh Bell 1B, Gregory Polanco RF, David Freese 3B, Cutch CF, Fran Cervelli C, Jordy Mercer SS & Gerrit Cole P. This is about as solid a crew as Clint can muster; hopefully Wheeler won't be as tough as deGrom was last night.

All aboard... (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (2-5, 3.36) tackles Zack Wheeler (3-2, 3.74). Gerrit had his roughest outing of the year against Atlanta in his last start, a combination of an off day on the mound and some shaky fielding, so tonight is a bounce-back opportunity for the Bucco's top gun. He's 1-2/4.15 in three career starts against the Mets and didn't face them last season. Wheeler is on a roll. His ERA is up because of a rough April, but from the end of that month into May he's only surrender six runs (five earned) in his last four starts. His Achilles Heel is control; he's walked four or more in three of those outings, so he's another five-or-six inning guy who requires some plate discipline. He's never tossed against the Bucs, so it's a first look for both clubs. Tommy Milone (1-2, 7.91). It's been a while since the Bucs have seen a lefty after a pretty steady diet of southpaws earlier in the month.

Notes:
  • J-Hay has hit safely in eight straight games (14-for-35, .400) and in nine of his last 10 contests (16-for-43, .372). He went 2-for-4 last night and now has 10 hits in his last 19 at bats.
  • Cutch has 1,221 career appearances in the outfield and will bypass Dave Parker for eighth place on the club’s all-time list for most games played in the outfield tonight. Willie Stargell is next on the ladder at seventh with 1,293 outings in the pasture (he was a LF'er in his younger, more svelte days).
  • Yesterday was Neil Walker's fifth career multi-homer game and it was his first at PNC Park.
  • Antonio Bastardo and Josh Lindblom will begin their rehab assignments today at Indy.

5/27:Eight Straight for Cooper, Four Bombs, TV Dale, Brett's Big Day, Vinegar Bend Deal, B-Days & Game Stories

  • 1921 - Wilbur Cooper won his eighth straight game, this one by a 5-4 count at Forbes Field against Cincinnati when the Pirates pushed across a ninth inning run. All eight of Cooper’s victories were complete games. Rabbit Maranville’s sac fly brought in Walter Schmidt with the winning tally in the home half of the ninth. Maranville also tripled and scored twice for the Pirates. Between June and July, Cooper would go on an 8-of-10 win streak, and his two hot spells would carry him to a 22 win season for the Pirates.
Wilbur Cooper 1922 Exhibits
  • 1927 - The Pirates overcame a 7-1 deficit by scoring six times in the sixth and seventh innings to defeat the St. Louis Cards in 10 innings at Forbes Field by an 8-7 count. They ran their victory streak to nine games; it reached 11 before being snapped. Kiki Cuyler had three hits to spark the Bucs. Guy Bush pitched three innings of one hit ball for the win.
  • 1929 - RHP George O’Donnell was born in Winchester, Illinois. The epitome of a AAAA player, the knuckleballer was signed out of high school by St. Louis in 1948 but only got one MLB shot, for the Pirates in 1954 when he slashed 3-9/4.53. O'Donnell tossed in the minors through 1961 as part of the Browns, Pirates, LA Dodgers and Senators systems. In all, George appeared in 530 MiLB games w/1,948 IP and a career 127-93/3.44 line with two 20 win campaigns. He also played in Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. George retired to farm and then took a job with the state of Illinois.
  • 1956 - On the way home from a Philadelphia rainout, 1B Dale Long took a detour and stopped in NYC as a guest of Ed Sullivan on his show “Toast of the Town” after hitting homers in seven straight games. After the appearance, he hurried back to Pittsburgh and hit his eighth against Brooklyn.
Ross Baumgarten 2003 Topps
  • 1955 - LHP Ross Baumgarten was born in Highland Park, Illinois. Ross tossed the last of his five big league campaigns with Pittsburgh in 1982, coming to town as the key piece of the Vance Law deal, and went 0-5, 6.75. Ross, who finished fourth in the Rookie-of-the-Year voting in 1979, hurt his arm as a Pirate, though the injury remains a mystery to even him. He told Ed Sherman of Spotlight Stories that “I went to see seven of the top doctors in the country, and I got like seven different diagnoses. In those days it was totally different than now. You know, there was no MRIs.” But he landed on his feet, using his U of Florida training to land a job in finance in 1984 and has been building portfolios ever since.
  • 1960 - Pittsburgh acquired 29-year-old LHP Wilmer "Vinegar Bend" Mizell from the Cardinals‚ along with LF Dick Gray‚ for minor leaguers IF Julian Javier and RHP Ed Bauta. Javier started at 2B for the Cards for a dozen years, but he was blocked in Pittsburgh by a guy named Bill Mazeroski. Mizell went 13-5 for the Bucs with a 3.15 ERA, solidifying their staff during their World Championship run.
  • 1965 - OF Jacob Brumfield was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana. Jacob spent the middle part of his seven year career as a Pirate from 1995-96, traded here for Danny Clymer. He hit .268 in Pittsburgh before being dealt to Toronto for a minor leaguer. He’s best remembered for his head-on collision with fellow outfielder Dave Clark. The two met full speed ahead and Clark broke his collarbone while Brumfield had 15 stitches worth of cuts on his face. 1999 was his final MLB year, followed by a season in the minors and one more season playing indie ball before he hung ‘em up for good.
Ken Brett 1974 Topps
  • 1974 - It was a big day for Ken Brett in a DH sweep against the San Diego Padres at TRS. In the opener, he carried a no-hitter into the ninth, settling for a two-hit, 6-0 win in a game that wasn’t decided until the Bucs put up a five spot in the eighth. In the nitecap, his two-run pinch hit triple primed a five-run seventh that keyed the Bucs 8-7 victory (the match was eventually won in the ninth on a two-run, two out homer by Richie Hebner). Brett ended the day going 2-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored and three RBI to go along with his two-hitter in one of the Bucs’ top “do it all” performances.
  • 2006 - The Pirates won an 8-7, 18-inning match at PNC Park against the Astros when Jason Bay flattened Astros' catcher Eric Munson to score on Jose Bautista’s sac fly. The game time of five hours, 49 minutes tied it as the longest contest ever played in Pittsburgh. Bay also hit a homer in his fifth consecutive game, the first Pirate player to do so in 50 years.
  • 2015 - The Pirates scored five times in the seventh against the Miami Marlins after the bases were empty with two outs to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 5-2 win at PNC Park for their sixth victory in a row. Chris Stewart, Jose Tabata and Josh Harrison singled, scoring a run. Pedro Alvarez dribbled one through the SS hole against the shift to bring home the tying tally, then Andrew McCutchen walked to load the bases. Starling Marte took a 3-2 pitch down and away for a run-producing free pass. Jung-Ho Kang drilled a final two run single, and that was the ballgame. Gerrit Cole got his seventh win while Mark Melancon earned his 12th save.
Jung Ho Kang 2016 Donruss
  • 2016 - The Pirates banged out four homers, hit by Starling Marte, Jung Ho Kang, Gregory Polanco and Andrew McCutchen, to defeat the Texas Rangers easily at Globe Life Park 9-1. Jon Niese went six innings for the win, with help from Wilfredo Boscan and Rob Scahill. They defeated former NL nemesis Cole Hamels, who had a 19-start streak without Texas losing (he personally went 12-0 during that span) snapped by the Buccos.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Mets, deGrom Steamroll Pirates 8-1

A Count Dracula kinda day broke into a beautiful evening for baseball. Jay Bruce liked it, doubling off the wall with two outs of Chad Kuhl in the first but advancing no further. J-Hay continued to smoke with a one-out knock off Jacob deGrom followed by a J-Bell walk. A grounder moved the pair up but Freeser went down swinging to ice them. Lucas Duda opened the second with a double and scored an out later on a rap up the middle while the Bucs went down quietly. Jose Reyes K'ed flailing at a wild pitch and reached first. That hurt because it allowed The Kid to get up with two gone in the third and he lined a shot over The Clemente Wall to make it 3-0. J-Hay dropped one down with two outs for his second hit. It almost paid off but J-Bell's opposite field liner was gloved to end the dance. The Mets got a couple of two-out knocks in the fourth but drew no blood. The Pirates did get on the board via Gregory's solo shot to center.

Cool Chad was Bad Chad tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

But the euphoria was short-lived. A triple, sac fly and another Walker homer (rub it in, Kid) made it 5-1 in the fifth. Jhan Marinez came on and barely made it out alive, stranding Mets at second and third. deGrom kept on cruising. Johnny Barbato came on in the sixth and ball-foured himself into trouble. After two walks and two outs, Walker's bloop into short no-man's land in left plated a run and Duda doubled home two more on a ball that El Coffee should have gloved but apparently lost in the lights or something; sadly, those things happen a lot to Gregory. It was 1-2-3 for Pittsburgh again. JB walked another in the seventh and gave up a knock to deGrom (his second) but escaped unscathed. Cutch and Jordy singled to create a little smoke but no fire. Hold the phone - a clean inning v the Mets in the eighth, courtesy of Huddy. For Pittsburgh, their three up, three down was SOP tonight. Huddy sailed through the ninth, de Grom got gave up a single and collected his 10th whiff when he was yanked after 118 pitches for Fernando Salas, who easily dispatched the final two Pirates.

Well, Chad is back to being bad; too little control and too much up-in-the-zone when he was over the dish. Even if he was on, the Pirates couldn't solve deGrom tonight anyway, so c'est la vie and go get 'em tomorrow. Oh, and welcome home to The Pittsburgh Kid who went 3-for-5 with two homers, three runs scored and four RBI. Wonder how Jon Niese is doin'?

Notes:
  • Gregory and J-Hay had a pair of knocks for the Bucs.
J-Hay just keeps on tickin' (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • New York loaded the lineup against Chad tonight - there was only one RH batter in the lineup. He has a big split w/lefties hitting .333 against him going into the game and it paid off for the Metropolitans.
  • There were 29,408 in the park tonight. Be an interesting poll to see who was there for the game and who was there for Flo Rida.
  • Ya wonder why Met pitchers drop like flies? Terry Collins sent deGrom out for the ninth after 111 pitches and finally pulled him at 118 in an 8-1 game.
  • Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports reports that Felipe Rivero has joined Tony Watson in signing with agent Scott Boras.
  • RHP Mitch Keller of the Bradenton Marauders was pulled from his most recent start after complaining of back pain and today he was placed on the minor league DL with a back sprain retroactive to 5/24. He's the Bucs #2 prospect and #41 overall per MLB Pipeline.
  • Ever hear of blind baseball? It's an international sport per Reuters Sarah Marsh and is played in America as Beep Ball.

Friday - Bucs Back Home v Mets, Kuhl v Jacob deGrom, Lineup (Cutch & Gregory Return), Notes

Tonight: The Mets come to town for a 7:05 match at PNC Park. The game will be on Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan. Get ready to shake that Bucco booty; after the game Flo Rida will be the Fan Jam band. It's also the first Pirates Social Media Party of the season. The rain is supposed to be gone by gametime, so if you're looking for something to do until the Penguins hit the ice Monday, well...

Lineup: Adam Frazier LF, Josh Harrison 2B, Josh Bell 1B, Gregory Polanco RF, David Freese 3B, Cutch CF, Fran Cervelli C, Jordy Mercer SS & Chad Kuhl P. Andrew is back although in a different spot, and El Coffee returns to action at cleanup. It's a pretty solid lineup although the middle of the order has been problematic all year for the Pirates, so we'll see how it goes.

Chad heads to the bump tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Chad Kuhl (1-4, 5.85) opens against Jacob deGrom (3-1, 3.56)Zack Wheeler (3-2, 3.74). The 24-year-old Kuhl will be making his 10th start of the season and is coming off perhaps his best performance of the year, shutting out the Phils on one hit for five innings w/o getting a decision. in fact, Cool Chad hasn't won a game since April 8th. On the plus side, he has picked up his velocity a bit and hasn't missed a start. The Pirates young staff has to learn to limit damage and get into the seventh inning, so we've been seeing growing pains not just with Chad but with the gang. He's never faced the Metropolitans, so add another page to his book. deGrom has been off since the 19th with a blister, so he got a couple of extra recovery days. The blister didn't seem to bother him in that outing against the Angels as he tossed seven zippo innings, giving up four hits and fanning nine on 106 pitches. That start broke up a streak of five games where he gave up three or more runs, so we'll see if the LAA contest was an outlier or if he's heating up. One thing for sure is that he can still miss bats with 12+ K per nine innings. deGrom dropped a pair of starts to the Bucs last year though he had solid enough outings, losing 3-1 and 4-0.

Notes:
  • Quick preview: The Mets are 3-3 since snapping out of a seven-game losing string, have a boatload of injuries and apparently aren't sharing their sandbox with one another very well. The Bucs are 8-4 in their last dozen matches, so ol' Mo looks to be on Pittsburgh's side. Still, the Steel City nine were 3-3 against the NYM last year in a pretty tight series, so it should be an interesting set coming up. One sort of odd stat to watch: the Pirates have lost game #1 in their last five series. 
Jordy's stick is coming around (image Positively Pittsburgh)
  • Josh Harrison has cranked out three straight multi-hit games and has a seven-game hitting streak (12-for-31) while Jordy Mercer has put together four straight multi-hit contests, going 9-for-17 with a double, two home runs and six RBI.
  • Fran Cervelli is committed to restoring a semblance of the good life to his Venezuelan people, as he explains in his post on The Players Tribune.
  • deGrom was scheduled to go last night for New York but a gloomy forecast (they did get the game in, losing 4-3 to the Padres) pushed him back another day. No rain is expected during tonight's game.
  • The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame unveiled a bronze statue of the 1955 NL Rookie of the Year and 1960 Bucco World Champion CF'er Bill Virdon on its Legends Walkway yesterday.

5/26 TRS-PNC Park Era: Ward Cycle, Cubbie Streak, Blass Beauty, Inside-the-Park, Mile High Duel, Fireworks

  • 1971 - Steve Blass carried the Pirates to 2-0 victory over Cincinnati at Three Rivers Stadium, recording a career-high 11 strikeouts while tossing a five hitter for his second shutout of the season. Willie Stargell hit a two-run homer off Reds starter Tony Cloninger in the sixth inning that proved to be the difference in the game.
  • 1980 - Lots of baseball fireworks as the Phils rallied to beat the Bucs 7-6 at Veteran’s Stadium. Bert Blyleven brushed back a couple of Phillies early on; Philadelphia reliever Kevin Saucier later plunked Pops to even the score. The he went one better, bopping Blyleven, who charged the mound, bat in hand. A donnybrook ensued, and as it was breaking up, Phil’s coach Mike Ryan reignited things. Philly had the last laugh, scoring twice in the ninth off Kent Tekulve, who gave up four straight hits, to claim the victory.
Bert Blyleven 1980 Topps
  • 1997 - For the first time in twenty years, two inside-the-park homers were hit in the same inning when Sammy Sosa of the Cubs and Tony Womack both circled the bases five minutes apart in the sixth frame of Chicago’s 2-1 victory at Three Rivers Stadium. Francisco Cordova took the loss.
  • 2000 - Behind Francisco Cordova and a double steal gone awry, the Pirates bested the Colorado Rockies at Coors Stadium 2-1 in the second lowest scoring game played to date at the mile-high field. In a 1-1 game, the Rox tried a double steal; the lead runner, Tom Goodwin, stopped between second and third, and the back runner, Mike Lansing, turned and retreated to first as catcher Jason Kendall ran the ball toward him. The nimble backstop tagged Lansing and then threw to third to catch the slow-reacting Goodwin. Cordova celebrated by singling home Mike Benjamin with the game winner in the seventh. He was supposed to bunt, but the third baseman crept in too close, and Francisco took advantage by swinging away for the hit. Luis Sojo made a nice pair of plays at third in the final two frames to seal the deal, and the Pirates ended a five game losing streak thanks to Cordova’s four hitter.
  • 2004 - Daryle Ward hit for the cycle with a career single-game high of six RBI against St. Louis at Busch Stadium as the Bucs won 11-8. Ward and his dad Gary became the first father-son team to hit for the cycle. The Pirates used six pitchers, with the win going to starter Kris Benson.
Daryle Ward 2005 Fleer Tradition
  • 2012 - The Cubs lost their 11th straight game 3-2 to the Pirates, their longest losing streak since opening the 1997 season with 14 consecutive losses. The teams were tied in the bottom of the ninth at PNC Park when Jose Tabata led off with a single off Rafael Dolis. Two walks and two outs later, the aptly named “Hit Man” Matt Hague took a pitch in the ribs for a walk-off plunk. Joel Hanrahan earned the win in a game started by Kevin Correia.

5/26 Expo Park-Forbes Field Era: Kitten's 12 Inning Perfecto, HBD Chuck & Dann, Carey Circuit, Josh Jack, There's A Riot Goin' On...

  • 1894 - The Pirates were thumping Cleveland 12-3 in the top of the ninth when the crowd of 6,200 at League Park began to riot after being taunted by the 500 spectators had made the trip from Pittsburgh. The Pittsburg Press wrote “A more disgraceful affair never occurred upon a ball field...when the disappointed Forest City fans, unable to endure the disgrace of defeat, attacked the Pittsburg club, the rivalry at white heat...In a second, cushions and pop bottles were flying in all directions...the crowd swarmed out of the stands...” and rushed the field. Red Ehret got the win, backed by an 18 hit Bucco attack.
Max Carey 1925 W461 Exhibits
  • 1925 - Max Carey walked and then swiped 2B‚ 3B‚ and home during the Bucs 7-2 win over the Chicago Cubs. Kiki Cuyler added a two run homer and Al Neihaus drove in two more scores as Ray Kremer coasted to the win at Forbes Field.
  • 1942 - RHP Chuck Hartenstein was born in Seguin, Texas. After three years with the Cubs, he came to Pittsburgh in a minor deal and worked from the pen in 1969, slashing 5-4-10/3.95. He got off to rough a start in 1970 and was released, playing for the Cards and later Red Sox during the campaign. Chuck spent from 1971-76 in AAA before making a brief comeback in 1977 with the expansion Blue Jays. He coached and scouted afterward, finally leaving the game in 1995. The 5’ 11” 150 lb. Hartenstein went by the nickname “Twiggy” for fairly obvious reasons, bestowed on him by the Cubs’ Billy Willams.
  • 1946 - Josh Gibson launched another epic blast, this one 440’ into the Yankee Stadium bleachers, as the Homestead Grays whipped the NY Black Yankees 11-8. It was the Grays’ fourth straight win and propelled them into first place in the Negro National League.
Josh Gibson 1983 Donruss Hall of Fame Heroes
  • 1959 - In baseball's ultimate pitching performance, Harvey Haddix threw 12 perfect innings against the Braves in Milwaukee’s County Stadium, only to lose the game, 1-0, in the 13th on a Dick Hoak error, sacrifice bunt, intentional walk and double that was a homer. (NL prez Warren Giles ruled that the final score should be 1-0‚ as runners Henry Aaron and Joe Adcock were ruled out, Aaron for leaving the field‚ and Adcock for passing him on the basepath. Adcock was credited with a double and not a HR.) In 1993‚ Bob Buhl admitted that the Braves pitchers were stealing the signs from C Smoky Burgess‚ who could not crouch down all the way because of his achy knees. They used a towel on the bullpen fence as a signal, making Haddix's effort even more remarkable. The only player who wasn’t impressed was Haddix, who told the Post Gazette afterward "My main aim all night long was to win. The perfect game would have meant something to me then. It's just another loss.”
  • 1959 - C Dann Bilardello was born in Santa Cruz, California. He spent most of his Pirates time at AAA Buffalo, hitting just .171 for Pittsburgh in 52 games played between 1989-90. Dann got some time at San Diego in 1991-92 and played his out his time at indie Winnipeg in 1994.