Thursday, May 24, 2018

Ivan's Terrible Inning Too Much To Overcome As Pirates Fall 5-4 & Lose Series To Reds

Fraze dropped a one-out single off Luis Castillo to provide the only early action. The Reds worked a walk with an out off Ivan Nova, and that was it. The Bucs opened the second with a Colin Moran walk and Austin Meadows knock, then shot themselves in the foot when Elias Diaz grounded into a DP, despite AM knocking pivot man Scooter Gennett into a heap, and S-Rod fanned. Cincy stranded a leadoff single. The Pirates hit a couple of balls hard in the third to no avail. The Redlegs took a second walk, this one to the pitcher Castillo, followed by a knock. An out later, Scooter's soft roller back to the mound loaded the bases when Nova's flip to first didn't connect with Freeser. Eugenio Suarez got a 2-1 curve above the knees and drove it into the seats; grand slams are becoming commonplace for the Reds. Two gift baserunners make it all the more galling.

Ivan fell short again... (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Freeser flared a single to right and died at first in the fourth, again with a couple of hard-hit outs. Baseball is funny - the Buc knocks have been hit softly, the outs hard. Go figure. A single, GIDP and another grounder ended the Redleg inning. Castillo breezed through the fifth; he's settled in and hitting his spots now. It took Jesse Winkler 166 at-bats, but he got his first dinger of the year off Nova. Fraze walked with an out in the sixth and it counted when Freeser crushed a 3-1 heater 435' into the seats as Castillo is missing the edges this inning. He switched to off speed stuff and got the next pair of Bucs handily. The Reds got a ripped single and bleeder around an out, bringing on Richard Rodriguez. After an out, Joey Votto got a call on a 3-2 pitch to walk, but the Reds left the sacks juiced for a change.

David Hernandez got the seventh inning call and was greeted with a two-bagger by AM off a two-strike curve. With two outs and Meadows on third, J-Bell grabbed a bat and Amir Garrett was given the ball. It took three pitches to set Bell down, the last a flail at a buried slider. Tyler Glasnow answered the phone and got three worm burners for a clean frame. Garrett cruised through the eighth. Ty fanned a pair - he threw a heater clocked at 100 past Adam Duval - before an inside out swing produced an opp field double, but no damage done. A Corey D single and one-out bomb by Meadows made it 5-4 and brought on Jared Hughes. He got lucky; Eli drilled one through the box, but Hughes deflected it to second for the 1-4-3 out. The Bucs challenged and lost; Eli is a lot of things but speedy isn't one of them. Gregory pinch hit and lifted a fly to deep right, but not deep enough and the Reds held on 5-4.

Gonna be tough to send this kid back to the farm (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Nova has no one to blame for this loss but himself; walk the pitcher and misfire on a 10-foot flip, then give up the granny... We've been growling about inconsistency in the youngsters, but at worse they have an upside; Ivan is what he is and isn't going to suddenly blossom. With Nick Kingham and Tyler Glasnow both looking competent, it's time to put the magnifying glass on Nova (his 4.97 ERA is the rotation's worst mark and he hasn't won a game since April 15th) instead of playing musical chairs with the young guns.

Notes:

  • Austin Meadows had three hits. He's batting .440 with three homers and one strikeout in six games/25 at-bats. Freeser added a pair of knocks; both guys homered and had two RBI, accounting for all the Pirates scoring.
  • The Buccos had seven hits, stranded just four runners and fanned 10 times; the Sunday lineup didn't generate much offense on this getaway day.
  • This is the third straight start that Ivan Nova has committed an error. 
  • Jared Hughes, btw, has two saves and a 1.23 ERA for the Reds this year.

Pirates-Redlegs Rubber Match, Nova v Castillo & Notes

Today: The getaway game starts at 12:35 and will be on the MLB Network  locally and 93.7 The Fan.

Lineup: Josh Harrison 2B, Adam Frazier RF, David Freese 1B, Corey Dickerson LF, Colin Moran 3B, Austin Meadows CF, Eli Diaz C, S-Rod SS & Ivan Nova P. Another Clint getaway day lineup, a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma...especially if you're Jose Osuna.

Ivan going for the series win (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: RHP Ivan Nova (2-4, 4.79) finishes up the set against RHP Luis Castillo (3-4, 5.61). Ivan's been tossing better lately, but he still has to get over the first and sixth innings. He's given up 27 runs between frames 1-6 this year, with 17 coming in those two innings. The Reds have been a thorn in his side; he's 3-5/4.47 in nine career starts and got whacked around last year. Ivan went 0-4/7.25 ERA in four starts in 2017 with three losses at GABP. The 25-year-old Castillo was touted as top of the staff material, but got off to a rocky start. The Reds began working on a couple of mechanical glitches, and it's paid off - he's been pretty strong in his last five starts (his ERA was 7.85 before that stretch, but he hasn't allowed more than two earned runs/outing since), so the Bucs should have their work cut out for them. Pittsburgh beat him when he was struggling in early April (five IP/four runs), but he only gave up three tallies in two 2017 starts lasting 12 innings.

Notes:
  • Cervy reinjured the finger he jammed earlier. He doesn't believe it's serious, and he's scheduled for an off day at any rate because of the night-followed-by-day game schedule. He is available off the bench.
  • Good to have ya back: Josh Harrison is is 8-for-15 since his return from the DL.
  • The Pirates have an extra-base hit in a season-high 20 straight games.
  • Starling Marte is running and hitting in the cage, so it's good news re: his oblique injury. The rest of the injured Bucs, pitchers AJ Schugel, Enny Romero and Rule 5 pick Nick Burdi, along with OF Daniel Nava (admit it, you forgot about him) still aren't playing games but are in varying stages of rehab.

5/24 Through the 50’s: Hot Glove Corner; Streak Snapped; Sly Connie; Game Stories; HBD Sam & Giant Killer

  • 1859 - 2B Sam Barkley was born in Wheeling. After a contract kerfluffle (he had signed with Baltimore, but had been sold by his old club to the Alleghenys), he played for Pittsburgh from 1886-87. In his opening year, he hit .266 with 31 doubles and stole 22 bases while playing in 122 games. His performance dipped in 1887, playing in 89 games and hitting .224. After the season, Pittsburgh sold him to the Kansas City Cowboys of the American Association. Sam retired to Wheeling after the 1889 campaign to become a cigar maker. 
Sam Barkley 1886
  • 1878 - LHP Jack “The Giant Killer” Pfiester was born in Cincinnati. Jack spent eight years in the show with his first two (1903-04) as a seldom-used Bucco. In six games, he slashed 1-4/6.69 and spent 1905 in Omaha before he took off as a Cub from 1906-09, winning 63 games in four years before arm woes ended his career two seasons later; the curve-baller ended his days with a 2.02 ERA. He got his nickname for his success against the NY Giants, going 11-5 against them (he was only 1-5 against his old mates in Pittsburgh). 
  • 1884 – Al Atkinson of the Philadelphia Athletics retired the final 27 batters in pitching a no-hitter over the Pittsburgh Alleghenys at the Jefferson Street Grounds. Atkinson hit leadoff batter Ed Swartwood, who stole second, moved to third on a grounder and scored on a wild pitch. He was the only Allegheny baserunner in the 10–1 Philly victory. 
  • 1889 - Bill Kuehne converted 13 chances at the hot corner, handling three putouts and 10 assists without an error (“...a remarkable game” per the Pittsburgh Press)‚ for a MLB record. His stellar work in the field helped Harry Staley and the Alleghenys to a 9-7 win over Washington at Swampoodle Grounds. It was an outlier; Kuehne wasn’t exactly noted for his glove work. He had 34 errors that season and finished with a .908 fielding average, making his feat remarkable indeed. Jake Beckley led the hit parade with three knocks including a pair of doubles while Billy Sunday and Pop Smith, who homered, collected a pair of hits each. 
Connie Mack 2012 Topps Archive
  • 1893 - Before the days of the infield fly rule, C Connie Mack intentionally allowed a popup in front of home plate to fall and then started a triple play against the Browns, and the play was one that eventually led to an infield fly rule in 1895 (the current one was adopted in 1901). He later drove in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth to lead Pittsburgh to an 8-7 win over St. Louis at Exposition Park. Mack was a backup catcher who hit .286 for the Pirates that year, and later entered the Hall of Fame as a manager. 
  • 1894 - The Pirates rallied to beat the Cleveland Spiders and Cy Young 6-5 at League Park. Down 5-2 late, the Bucs scored twice in the seventh and twice more in the eighth for the win. Red Ehret (“Ehret never pitched better ball in all his life” gushed the Pittsburgh Press) went eight innings for the victory in relief of Lefty Killen, who was rocked for four first-inning runs. Jake Stenzel had two hits and scored three runs while Jake Beckley added three knocks. 
  • 1955 - The Bucs broke an 11-game losing streak in style by pounding the Brooklyn Dodgers 15-1 at Forbes Field. Jack Shepard had four hits, Preston Ward had a single‚ triple & HR while Gene Freese added three raps to lead the attack. Ward, Freese and Roberto Clemente each had three RBI with Bob Friend getting the win in relief of Vern Law by tossing 4-1/3 innings of no-hit ball. One of the Dodger relievers the Corsairs tortured was future manager Tommy Lasorda, who gave up five runs in two innings of work. The Pirates had 19 hits and batted around three times. Another highlight: it was the debut of Roberto Clemente wearing #21; he had been #13 but claimed OF’er Earl Smith’s old number when he was sent down. However, the good times were fleeting; the club lost six of its next seven games.
#21 made its debut - Topps 1955
  • 1959 - The Bucs swept a pair from the Reds at Forbes Field by 2-1 and 5-4 scores; both games were won by walk-off, pinch hit doubles. Danny Kravitz drove home Don Hoak to give Ron Kline, who had surrendered a go-ahead unearned ninth inning run on a Ducky Schofield boot, the win. Pittsburgh had tied the game a batter before when Bill Mazeroski beat Johnny Temple’s throw home to knot the score. The Pirates were down 4-2 in the nightcap and down to their last out when Rocky Nelson tied the game with a two-run homer. Pittsburgh won it in the 10th when Smoky Burgess doubled home Roman Mejias to give Ron Blackburn the win. The Bucs took the four game series from Cincinnati, winning by a run each time.

5/24 From the 60’s Forward: Boys Will Be...; Cover Boy Richie; FranKie; Hot El Coffee; Roberto Bombs; Game Stories

  • 1961 - Roberto Clemente homered in back-to-back at bats against Dick Ellsworth and drove in four runs to lead the Pirates to a 7-3 win at Wrigley Field. Dick Stuart also went long and added a triple to help Vinegar Bend Mizell to the victory, closed by a Clem Labine save. The Bucs needed Clemente’s big day; they hit into three twin killings and committed a pair of errors during the afternoon. 
  • 1969 - Richie Hebner was featured on the cover of The Sporting News for the story “Pirates Pin-Up Prize.” In his first full season as a Pirate, he hit .301 after inheriting the hot corner from Maury Wills. 
  • 1983 - The Bucs built a 6-0 lead on the strength of Larry McWilliams arm and two-run shots by Lee Mazzilli and Jason Thompson (Lee’s left the yard; Jason’s was a two-bagger), then hung on as the Braves scored five times in eighth after twice leaving the bases loaded with an out in the second and fourth frames. Kent Tekulve nailed it down in the ninth thanks more to the baseball gods than good stuff; Atlanta ripped three bullets off him, but two of them found gloves to send the 17,447 fans at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium home frustrated. 
  • 1981 - A lot of little oddities occurred in the Bucs 7-1 win over the Phils at TRS. The Pirates drew four intentional walks, stole five bases in six tries and got a two-run homer from pitcher Jim Bibby. With all that, they didn’t put the game away until the eighth when one of the intentional walks backfired. They went into the frame up 2-1 on the strength of Bibby’s bomb and added another on Phil Garner’s one-out triple and a Dale Berra single. With runners on second and third and two gone, Philadelphia put Lee Lacy aboard to get to Omar Moreno. The Antelope singled home a pair off Sparky Lyle and Bill Madlock followed with a two-run two-bagger to ice the game. Bibby got the win and Victor Cruz worked two inning for the save in front of 21,771 fans. 
Marc lowered the boom on roomie Jeff - 1998 Pacific Invincible
  • 1998 - Relievers Marc Wilkins (who was on the DL with rotator cuff damage) and Jeff Tabaka got into a fight over a card game, which was thought to also involve some tippling, at Milwaukee’s Pfister Hotel that grew heated, and Wilkins punched Tabaka. He broke his jaw, sending him to the DL until early July. The two were roommates who shared an apartment in Pittsburgh during the season, and made up shortly after the brawl. GM Cam Bonifay brushed it off, telling the Associated Press that “Each other took a stance, as manly gentlemen sometimes do.” 
  • 2015 - Francisco Liriano capped a sweep of the Mets by K’ing 12 batters in six innings on the way to a 9-1 win at PNC Park, aided by homers off the bats of Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte. It was historic work at the franchise level, as Liriano followed Gerrit Cole and AJ Burnett, who both fanned 10 in the series first two games, becoming the first trio of Pirate starters to compile three straight double-digit strikeout games since September 11-12th, 1969, when Bob Veale, Bob Moose and Dock Ellis did the deed. It's only the third time since 1900 that Pittsburgh put together such a stretch. The swing-and-miss fest also set an MLB record, per Elias Sports: "It is the only time in modern major league history (from 1900 to date) that a team's starting pitchers won three straight games within one series while recording a double digit strikeout total in each game." 
  • 2016 - The Pirates romped over the Diamondbacks 12-1 at PNC Park as Gregory Polanco homered, doubled, scored twice, and had five RBI. The first 11 Bucs in the lineup that got at bats had hits, with the streak ending after Arquimedes Caminero, in his first MLB at-bat, grounded out in the seventh inning. Frankie Liriano got the win, but was a wild child, giving up just four hits but walking five. He wasn’t as wild as Caminero, who hit two Snakes in the head as a reliever, not as a matter of bad blood but of bad control. After the game, Arizona manager Chip Hale questioned if Arquimedes should even be in the league with command that poor. 
Arquimedes was a wild child (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
  • 2017 - It looks like a runaway score, but the Bucs 12-5 win at SunTrust Park came down to the last out of the ninth. The Bucs jumped ahead 3-0 on Adam Frazier’s second-inning homer, but Atlanta rallied for four runs in the sixth and carried a 5-3 lead into the ninth. With two outs and the bases filled, rookie Jose Osuna laced a two-run knock into left to knot the game. In the 10th, Josh Collmenter had a nightmare frame as the Bucs rang up a seven-spot, with the cherry on top being back-to-back-to-back homers by David Freese, Osuna and Jordy Mercer. Adam Frazier reached base six times on two hits and four walks. He became the first Pirates leadoff man with at least three walks and two hits that included a homer since Barry Bonds on May 28th, 1988, against the Reds at Riverfront Stadium. Fraze also was the first Buc to reach base six times in a game via hit/walks since Neil Walker (5-for-5, walk) on August 12th, 2012, v the Padres at PNC Park.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Bucs Stumble But Rally In 12 Innings To Take 5-4 Win

Gregory walked with an out, ducked a couple of pick-offs and trotted home ahead of Cervy's homer off a Homer Bailey slider. J-Bell followed with a knock, but despite a couple of well-struck balls, no more damage was done. Chad Kuhl twirled a clean frame. The Pirates went quietly in the second; Scooter Gennett opened with a walk but never left first. J-Hay singled to open the third, but Gregory grounded into a 4-6-3 DP before Amore lined out. A two-out rap was Cincy's only action. J-Bell waited out a walk to begin the fourth and Corey D moved him up a station with a knock. Red Beard went down looking at a curve three pitches later. After a Meadows lineout, Homer worked around Jordy, walking him to load the bases for Chad, whose swinging bunt ended the frame. It was the third time the Bucs left the bases loaded in 13 innings. The Reds got another two-out single,the only damage adding seven pitches to Chad's count. J-Hay and Fran singled around a Gregory whiff in the fifth. J-Bell fanned too, but Corey D came through with a two-out knock to make it 3-0.

Chad gave the Bucs a strong start tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

J-Hay and Fran singled around a Gregory whiff in the fifth. J-Bell fanned too, but Corey D came through with a two-out knock to make it 3-0. Chad can't quite milk a 1-2-3 inning; Bailey managed to bleed an infield knock that Red Beard couldn't quite barehand for another four batter frame. Austin and Jordy opened the sixth with soft singles. Chad's bunt worked - he pushed it past the mound and the Reds were slow to get to the ball with AM racing around in full tilt boogie mode to score. Tanner Rainey (he sits at 98-99) came on and walked the bases loaded. He K'd El Coffee, fishing for a slider. He did the same to Cervy (we're sensing a trend - heaters followed by a buried two-strike slider at 90-91). J-Bell hit a comebacker and that's four times the bases have remained juiced in the series. With two outs, of course, Scooter Gennett homered on the first pitch, an inside-half fastball above the knees. Dickerson walked to start the seventh but didn't advance. The Reds opened with a single bounced into center, and that brought in Edgar Santana, who finished it three up, three down.

Jackson Stephens climbed the hill for a quiet eighth inning. Michael Feliz gave up back-to-back knocks, one a shot through the box that he couldn't handle (actually, it bounced off his butt) to put Redlegs on the corners. He got Joey Votto on a liner but walked Scooter. A sac fly made it 4-2, and in came Felipe Vazquez for the four-out save opp. Alex Blandino fought off a two-strike heater and dropped an RBI blooper into left. Jose Peraza got a 3-2 heater right down the middle and singled into center to tie it; the runners moved up a base when Meadow's throw home missed the mark. He finally got an out, but he's at 16 pitches. Jared Hughes was called on for the ninth and gave up a two-out knock - J-Bell got a good swing but hit a loud out to center - to Corey D, who dug down for a shin-high sinker and rolled it up the middle, but Moran bounced out. Felipe stayed on and tossed a 1-2-3 frame. Michael Lorenzen got the ball in the 10th. S-Rod walked with two gone and Josh dropped a dink into center, but Freeser rolled one to second to strand a couple more ducks.

Corey D broke out of his mini-slump in a big way (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Steven Brault took the bump. He intentionally walked RHH Eugenio Suarez with two outs to face the last man on the bench, Tony Cruz (.118 BA), and he got him on a fly to center. Dylan Floro answered the phone and served two flies to Billy Hamilton before Corey D smacked a two-bagger. Needless to say, he was left there. Brault walked the first Red; a bunt try fizzled on an interference call when the batter got drilled by Cervy's throw to first. Two outs later, a bopped batter did get the runner to second. Steven reared back and whiffed Tucker Barnhart. AM opened the 12th with a double; Jordy bounced to short and Meadows was cut down at third; neither guy showed much baseball IQ on the play; Jordy has to move him up and Austin has to not self-immolate. But all's well - J-Hay drilled a ball the opposite way and Jordy used the sweeping swipe slide to touch home, with Josh ending up at third. He stayed there.

Kyle Crick came in looking for the save, with Eli catching (Amore's hand is acting up after being smacked a few frames earlier). Bad start as Votto opened by yanking a double to right and a Scooter single put Reds on the corners. A fly left them there; Votto is not Billy Hamilton on the bases (Billy would have scored twice during the sequence that sent Votto to third). With an empty bench, the pitcher had to bat and Floro fanned. A walk loaded the bases, but Crick had one more out left in him, so RTJR.

Steven tossed two strong frames for the win (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Well, when the back end of the bullpen implodes and you strand 15 runners, taking home a victory is a good thing. The four game losing streak is snapped and the Bucs can take the series tomorrow afternoon, so the victory sets a lot of good things in motion; the Pirates are in need of a roll with the schedule that's around the bend.

Notes:
  • Corey Dickerson ended an 0-for-12 run with four straight hits tonight. J-Hay also had four knocks, including the game-winning triple. Amore and Austin had two raps each, accounting for 12 of the 15 Bucco hits.
  • Fran Cervelli's homer was his seventh, tying his career high - in May! He left the game in the 12th after injuring his hand/finger earlier in the game.
  • It wasn't pretty, but it was Kyle Crick's first MLB save. Steven Brault got the win, his second from the pen this month.
  • David Freese is 3-for-18 with seven K w/RISP. He does have five RBI, two on sac flies.
  • The Reds put closer Raisel Iglesias on the DL with a biceps injury and activated Michael Lorenzen, who had been on the DL, for today's game.
  • The Brew Crew won again this afternoon. They've taken six of their last seven games and eight of their last 10, and their 50-game record of 31-19 is the best start in franchise history. The Brewers are three games up on the St. Louis Cardinals and 3-1/2 ahead of the Pirates and Cubs going into tonight.
  • Big props to Pitt - they took down the #1 seed in the ACC tournament, North Carolina, by a 5-4 count.

Game Two - Reds & Bucs, Cool Chad v Homer Bailey & Notes

Today: The game's opening toss is scheduled for 7:10. AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan will air the contest; it's also the MLB.TV free game.

Lineup: Josh Harrison 2B, Gregory Polanco RF, Fran Cervelli C, J-Bell 1B, Corey Dickerson LF, Colin Moran 3B, Austin Meadows CF,Jordy SS & Chad Kuhl P. The usual gang.

Chad toes the rubber (image Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: RHP Chad Kuhl (4-2, 4.53) duels RHP Homer Bailey (1-6, 6.11). Chad can breathe a sigh of relief that Nick Kingham was sent down, but prob shouldn't get too comfortable; everytime that he's been on the brink, he comes up with a nice enough game to earn a reprieve but fails to build on success. He possesses plenty good stuff (we, along with half of Pirates Nation, looked for him to breakout this year) but needs to put it together consistently for longer than three-or-four inning strings. Kuhl is 1-1/3.24 in three career starts against the Reds; in his first appearance this year, he left with a 4-2 lead after five innings but ended up with a no-decision. Homer hasn't had a strong campaign since 2014, bedeviled by arm injuries, but has been solid against the Pirates, going 10-7/3.55 in 22 lifetime starts. The Bucs chased him in the fifth in his April outing, winning a 5-2 decision.

Notes:
  • Austin Meadows is the fourth Pirate to hit two homers in the first four games of their career. The others are Walter Mueller (1922), RC Stevens (1958) and Dick Stuart (1958).
  • Flying under the radar because of his breakout with the lumber, Fran Cervelli ranks second among NL catchers with seven caught stealings this season and a 37% toss-out rate - he only had 11 CS and a 20% throw-out rate last year.
  • Joey Bats didn't stay on the unemployment line long; the Mets signed him after Atlanta released him; he went 1-for-3 last night in his NY debut after hitting .200 for the Bravos.
  • Brandon Warne of Minnesota's Zone Coverage site had a Q&A with Zach Duke re: his 2016 TJ surgery and recovery.
  • Alex Presley has signed a minor league deal with the White Sox after opting out of his Baltimore deal.
  • Lastings Milledge has become a salesman for baseball in the black community since he's retired, per Ron Morris of Baseball America.

5/23 Through the 40s: Lee Meadows Swap; One Hit Win; Streak Snapped; Swipe City; HBD Deacon, Clyde, Bill & Hugh

  • 1872 - RHP Charles “Deacon” Phillippe was born in Rural Retreat, Virginia. The Deacon spent 12 years with Pittsburgh (1900-11) with a line of 189-109/2.59. He went 3-2 in the 1903 World Series with a 3.07 ERA and closed out two games in the 1909 World Series, pitching six scoreless innings. Phillippe was perhaps the greatest control pitcher of the modern era, won 20 games six times, and was voted by Buc fans as the greatest right-handed pitcher in Pirates history. He came about his nickname honestly, being a devout Lutheran and clean living guy in an era noted for its rowdy ballplayers. He also went by “The Great Phillippi” due to his pitching prowess. Trivia: The outlaw league Pittsburg Filipinos of 1912 took their name from their manager - Deacon Phillippe. 
Deacon Phillippe 1910 Tip Top Bread
  • 1879 - OF Bill Miller was born in Bad Schwalbach, Germany. 23-year-old Miller was called up in 1902 to help bolster a thin roster on the recommendation of Tommy Leach. He played right field on August 23rd against the Brooklyn Superbas at Exposition Park. He went 1-for-5 with two RBI, and played a fair right field, although he misplayed the first ball hit to him (“He ran in for it when he should have hiked in the other direction...Being a newcomer, his mistake gave the crowd a bad impression from the start” per the Pittsburgh Press). It ended up his only MLB game. 
  • 1885 - 1B Hugh Bradley was born in Grafton, Massachusetts. After spending three years with Boston (he was the first player to homer at Fenway Park), he spent a season in the minors and then signed with the Pittsburgh Rebels. He was the starting 1B in 1914, hitting .307, but was bumped to reserve duty when veteran Ed Konetchy joined the team the next season. Spending time in the pasture and not happy about it, he was released and moved on to the Brooklyn Tip-Tops. They likewise let him go and he became a member of of a third Federal League club, the Newark Peppers. Brad spent from 1916-23 in the minors, umpired after that and then got on with his life. Fun factoid: for a while, Bradley spent the off seasons with a vaudeville act of Boston players called the “Red Sox Quartette,” a barbershop quartet. 
  • 1890 - During a 17-10 New York victory at the Polo Grounds‚ the Giants swiped a record 17 sacks against the battery of rookie P Fred “Crazy” Schmit and veteran C George “Doggie” Miller. The Alleghenys added three steals of their own to set a game record of 20. Crazy was thought nuts by the other players because he was the first pitcher to keep a book on hitters, warmed up at 75' rather than 60’ by tossing a water-soaked ball to make it heavier and used other quirky personal tricks of the trade to get ready for a game. He also answered to “Germany” for more obvious reasons. The 1890 Alleghenys, it should be noted, may have been baseball’s worst team ever, winning just 23 games and allowing 447 stolen bases, nearly four per game - and the catchers had a 31% toss-out rate! 
Doggie Miller Ars Longa Art Card
  • 1892 - The Pirates ended the Chicago Colts 13-game winning streak with a 5-4 win at Southside Stadium in front of 2,000 Windy City fans. The Pirates overcame an early 4-0 deficit, led by extra base knocks by Jake Beckley, Doggie Miller, Mike Smith and Lou Bierbauer, generating just enough offense to push Mark Baldwin to victory. As recapped by the Pittsburgh Press: “The Pittsburgs defeated the Chicagos in a very close and exciting game. The Pittsburgers were outbatted, but their hits were more timely and counted more than those made by the Colts.” Part of the excitement was the fielding; each side surrendered just one earned run, with the clubs combining to boot five balls. 
  • 1923 - Pittsburgh sent 2B Cotton Tierney and P Whitey Glazner to the Phils for 2B Johnny Rawlings and P Lee Meadows. Meadows went 87-51 over the next five years as Glazner's rotation replacement, winning 20 games once and 19 twice. Whitey was out of baseball after winning 14 games in two seasons for the Phils while Cotton was done after the 1825 campaign. 
  • 1924 - Coach Clyde King was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina. King never played for the Bucs, but after hangin’ up the mitt he managed the Hollywood Stars in 1957 and the Columbus Jets in 1958, both Pirate farm clubs. After coaching outside the organization, he returned as a member of Harry Walker’s staff from 1965 to 1967. He continued to coach in the minors and the MLB as manager of the SF Giants, Atlanta Braves and NY Yankees, also serving as the Gotham GM. 
Clyde King (photo via Sports Memorabilia)
  • 1943 - The Pirates only had one hit during the match but it was enough. Vince DiMaggio’s fourth-inning double scored Elbie Fletcher, who had walked, for a 1-0 win at Forbes Field against the Chicago Cubs. Bob Klinger went the distance for Pittsburgh, tossing a four-hitter to hand Dick Barrett a tough defeat. The Pirates wouldn’t win another game with just one hit again until 2017 when they defeated the Dodgers 1-0 at PNC Park. Josh Harrison’s walk-off homer in the 10th broke up the no-no and shut-out bids of LA pitcher Rich Hill in one sweet swing.

5/23 From the 50s Forward: V-Song Beaning; Sid Sold; Lynch-Skinner Deal; Whalin' Willie's Debut; Dewey's Day; Game Stories; HBD Mike & Nelson

  • 1950 - After traveling a twisted trail (he was signed out of high school by the Tigers, granted free agency by the league with a handful of other Detroit farmhands due to some contractual hanky-panky, then signed with the Pirates for $20,000 to become their first “bonus baby” to reach Forbes Field) Bill MacDonald made his first major league start. It was a good one as he shut out the Phillies‚ 6-0, twirling a complete game three-hitter against the future NL champs. “Whalin’ Willie” (his bread-and-butter was the fastball) went 8-10/4.29 for the last-place Bucs, making 32 outings (twenty starts) with two shutouts and six complete games to his credit. His major drawback was a wild streak; he averaged over five walks per nine. MacDonald then missed the 1951–52 seasons when he was in the service during the Korean War years, and when he returned in 1953, he had lost it. Bill pitched poorly in four more games (12.27 ERA), was sent to the PCL and retired after the 1954 campaign. 
Bill McDonald 1951 Bowman
  • 1952 - It took 13 frames, but Johnny Merson’s double scored Gus Bell with the game winner to end an eight-game losing streak as the Bucs topped the Cubs 6-5 at Forbes Field. The Pirates scored four times in the opening inning, but Bob Friend couldn’t hold on. Ted Wilks spun the last 5-⅔ frames without yielding a run to end the drought. 
  • 1955 - 3B Sid Gordon was sold to the New York Giants for “considerably over the $10,000 waiver price,” thought to be in the $25K range. Despite hitting .306 in 1954, the 36-year-old Gordon was a seldom-used backup third baseman (he lost his job to Gene Freese) and pinch hitter, providing not a lot of value as their highest-paid player at $27,500. The Pittsburgh Press said he was “...understandably happy and excited when called into Branch Rickey’s office to get the glad news...” The NY nine didn’t do much to extend his career; he got into 66 games and hit .243, ending his career. 
  • 1958 - IF Nelson Norman was born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. In six MLB years, Nelson got into 198 games; three were for Pittsburgh in 1982 when he went 0-for-3. But he had some Bucco history. The Pirates originally signed him in 1975 as a 16-year-old. He went to Texas a couple of years later as part of the Bert Blyleven deal. The Rangers acquired Mario Mendoza in 1981, bumping Nelson out of a job, and after the season, the Rangers traded Norman back to the Pirates for VĂ­ctor Cruz. He played mostly for Portland (AAA), Lynn (AA) and Hawaii (AAA) through 1984, finishing out his career in the minors for Baltimore and Montreal in ‘87. He’s coached for several organizations since retiring and is now a scout/head of Dominican Operations for the O’s. 
Jerry Lynch 1965 Topps
  • 1963 - The Bucs sent OF Bob Skinner to the Reds for Jerry Lynch, who started his career in Pittsburgh. Lynch spent his last four years as a Pirate and set the MLB pinch hit home run record of 18 (since surpassed by Matt Stairs) in a Bucco uniform. Skinner spent nine seasons with Pittsburgh, compiling a .280 BA, and lasted five more years in the show. 
  • 1965 - The Pirates came to Milwaukee in the throes of an eight game losing streak and left with a three-game sweep of the Braves at County Stadium, taking a 10-1 victory in the series finale with the match iced by an Andre Rogers grand slam. Roberto Clemente and Bill Mazeroski each had three hits to back Bob Veale’s complete game, four-hit performance. The combination of the Pirates and some unseasonably cool weather didn’t do much to line the owners’ pockets - the set drew just 7,394 fans for the three contests, with the biggest crowd being 2,679 for the Friday night series opener. Of course, the fact that the Braves announced their move to Atlanta just a week or two prior probably didn’t help spin the gates, either. After the relo, Milwaukee went without MLB ball until 1970 when the Brewers (nee Seattle Pilots) arrived. 
  • 1978 - Reliever Mike Gonzalez was born in Corpus Christi. He was drafted by the Pirates and pitched his first four seasons (2003-06) in Pittsburgh. Gonzo became a rare LH closer in 2006, earning 24 saves before being sent to Atlanta in the off season as part of the Adam LaRoche deal. He last pitched in the majors in 2013 for the Brewers. 
Gonzo 2002 Donruss
  • 1984 - Bucco lefty John Candelaria struck out 12 batters in eight innings of work as the Pirates beat Cincinnati, 7-2, at Three Rivers Stadium. It was Candelaria’s fourth win of the year. The Pirates took the lead with six runs in the fifth inning and never looked back. Catcher Tony Pena went 3-for-4 with a triple. 
  • 1989 - John Smiley struck out nine batters and tossed a complete game in a 5-2 victory over Zane Smith and the Braves in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Glenn Wilson had two hits, including a two-run homer, to lead the attack. The win was Smiley’s fifth in a row en route to winning 12 games for the Bucs that year. The 24-year-old’s 1989 campaign would see him set personal full-time bests in ERA (2.81) and WHIP (1.086). 
  • 1998 - Jason Kendall had a big if somewhat painful day at Pro Players Stadium against Florida in Pittsburgh’s 10-4. He went 3-for-3 with three RBI. After his first inning single knocked in a run, he was rewarded with a pair of HBPs; he responded by doubling and singling to plate two more runs and touch the dish once with his following pair of swings. Turner Ward also drove in three runs and Tony Womack scored three times. Jon Lieber got the win and Ricardo Rincon the save. 
Ryan Doumit 2010 Topps Bronze
  • 2010 - Ryan Doumit had a day as the Bucs walked off with a 3-2, 10-inning win over Atlanta in front of 23,045 fans at PNC Park. The Pirates left the bases loaded in the seventh to keep them up 2-1 before former Bucco Eric Hinske homered off Evan Meek to tie the game in the eighth. The game went on quietly when with two outs in the 10th, Dewey jumped on Takashi Saito’s first pitch and knocked it over the RF wall. The blast gave Octavio Dotel the win in a match started by Zach Duke. Doumit’s three hits led the parade; Aki Iwamura and Andrew McCutchen added a pair of knocks apiece. 
  • 2016 - In one of PNC Park’s scarier moments, witnessed by 34,529 stunned fans, Pirates pitcher Ryan Vogelsong was hit in the face with an 0-2 fastball by the Rockies Jordan Lyles in the second inning and was carted off the field with facial fractures. Ryan was temporarily blinded in one eye after the beaning, but his vision slowly recovered to nearly normal. He had surgery and against the odds returned to the mound on August 4th and pitched well (six innings, one run, three hits) in his return. The Bucs, btw, won the match against Colorado by a 6-3 score and Lyles was introduced to instant karma - he lost the game and then was sent to the minors the next day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Bucs Get the Scooter Gennett Treatment in 7-2 Thumping

After an hour rain delay, the Bucs were cooking, loading the bases on a Gregory single and a pair of walks with one out. The kitchen closed as Corey D and Colin Moran couldn't deliver and Matt Harvey dodged an early bullet. With two outs and a runner on first, Scooter Gennett shot a ball to right; Gregory somehow played the third out, a routine fly, into a double and it was 1-0 Reds. Then Edward Suarez doubled, and Jamo was down a pair. Pittsburgh went down in order in the second; the Redlegs got a Billy Hamilton knock. In the third, Cervy beat out a bleeder for the Pirates damage while Cincy went quietly. The Bucs got on the board in the fourth when Red Beard somehow drilled a chin-high fastball over the wall. Cincy tried to respond when Suarez cracked another two-bagger to lead off, but Taillon stranded him. The Pirates went down without a peep in the fifth, but not the Reds.

Jamo had another rough night (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

A single, double and intentional walk to Joey Votto brought up Gennett with the bases loaded; he was all over a first pitch change and drilled it into the seats. Both sides went down 1-2-3 in the sixth to pretty much put the game on ice. Amir Garrett came on in the sixth. With one gone, Austin Meadows homered, then Jordy and S-Rod walked. David Hernandez took over and gave up a single to J-Hay to fill the sacks. This time Gregory and Cervy failed to come through, leaving the bases juiced a second time. George Kontos came in and gave up another run - he's been scored on in five of his last six outings - on a HBP, steal, single and sac fly. Wandy Peralta worked the eighth, allowing a lone walk. Tyler Glasnow climbed the hill and whiffed two Reds in a clean inning. Jared Hughes finished up with a single,ground ball DP and fly to send the Pirates to their fourth straight defeat.

Well, of course it had to be Scooter Gennett to haunt the Pirates (he had six RBI); it's his MO. We have to wonder if AT&T SportsNet analyst John Wehner is right about Jamo tipping his pitches; it is kinda suspicious that a hitter would be sitting on a first-pitch changeup. The loss does follow a recent pattern - fielding blunders keep innings going for the bad guys and Bucco runners die on base instead of being chased home to break open innings. It's a bad time to slip into bad habits; the Pirates were set up to meet the Cards and Cubs on a roll, but now...

Notes:
  • The Pirates only had six hits; Cervy was the only Bucco to reach twice via a knock and a walk.
  • Jameson Taillon hasn't won a game since April 8th, with an 0-4 mark in eight starts since. Jamo is also winless in his last seven road starts dating back to August, 2017.
  • How much do strikeouts matter? Not much, judging by tonight. Pirates hurlers fanned 12 while Cincy pitchers whiffed six. Ditto with walks, as the Buccos walked just one Red (he scored) and the Redlegs gave out five free passes to the Corsairs (none scored).

Bucs-Reds Open 3-Game Set, Jamo v Harvey & Notes

Today: The Pirates open a brief three-game road trip against the Reds at GABP with first pitch at 7:10. The game will be on AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan.

Lineup: J-Hay 2B, El Coffee RF, Cervy C, J-Bell 1B, Corey D LF, Red Beard 3B, Austin Meadows CF, Jordy SS & Jamo P. Clint's new normal with Harrison in and Marte out.

Looks like Cervy will hold down the three hole in Starling's absence (photo Pgh Pirates)

Pitchers: RHP Jameson Taillon (2-3, 3.97) kicks it off against RHP Matt Harvey (0-2, 6.17). Jamo ran hot, then cold; now he's working his way back towards the top of the rotation. And it's about time; he hasn't won a game since April 8th, a whitewash victory against Cincinnati. JT has seen the Redlegs plenty in his short career and is 2-2/4.23 in eight career starts v them. Jameson tossed a one-hit, complete game shutout against them earlier this season, but went 0-2/6.20 in five starts last year. Harvey has two Reds outings since the bright lights of New York were shut off. He's gone four frames each time, shutting out the Dodgers and giving up a three-spot to the Giants. He's 1-1/5.46 against Pittsburgh in five career starts. He met the Pirates twice last year and was sharp in a 7-2 win in NY but not so much five days later in Pittsburgh when he was smacked around in a 12-7 Bucco win.

Notes:
  • Family Feud time: Beginning tonight the Bucs are scheduled to play 13 straight games and 16 of their next 19 against division opponents. The Pirates have gone 10-3 against teams from the NL Central division this season, but were just 3-7 at Cincinnati's GABP in 2017.
  • Colin Moran feasted during the earlier Reds series at PNC Park. He went 7-for-13 with a double and three RBIs.
  • RHP Tyler Jones, 28, was released from Indy. He was a NRI who had a pretty nice spring camp, but slashed 2-1/5.40 in 12 outings for the Indians. They promoted RHP Jesus Liranzo, 23, from Altoona, a guy who was claimed from the Dodgers and has hit 100 with his heater.
  • Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle has a piece on IF Alen Hanson, who the Bucs and White Sox both gave up on but is so far thriving by the Bay. 
  • Congrats to Pitt - not only did they make their first ACC tourney, but won 2-1 over Georgia Tech behind a strong outing by Matt Pidich. Now they advance to meet top-seeded North Carolina in the double-elimination tournament.