Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cueto Cuts Down Pirates 4-0

Johnny Cueto downed the Bucs 1-2-3 in the first. Not so for Francisco Liriano, who walked leadoff man Billy Hamilton, who promptly stole second. Liriano then threw a wild pitch - actually, a ball in the dirt than Tony Sanchez blocked, but didn't come up with cleanly -that allowed Hamilton to get to third (he's kinda fast, if you haven't heard), then walking Joey Votto, the second hitter. Another wild pitch brought in the first run; Frankie can't find the dish and Sanchez isn't helping him any. He righted the ship after that, with the Reds up 1-0.

Six up, six down for the Bucs. Frankie was sharper, giving up just a weak ground single to Brayan Pena. Tony Sanchez led off the third with an infield single, but that was it. Liriano put the Reds away in order, picking up a couple of K. Cutch doubled with an out in the fourth, But Cueto whiffed Pedro and Gaby, both looking. He has five whiffs, and four were called, so he's getting a break on the black.
Liriano has four K after that rough start, and knocked down the Reds again for eight outs in a row.

Buc bats aren't helping; the Pirates had to get a call overturned for their third hit, an infield single by Jordy Mercer, which at least turned the order over.

The Reds half started with JT crashing into the LF fence to make a fine grab; Marte had to come in to replace him, as Tabata exhibited some mild concussion symptoms. Zack Cozart grounded to third and got the single-and-error to second when Pedro airmailed the toss. Cueto bunted, and was called out for interference when he didn't get down the line and out out Sanchez's way. Good thing; Hamilton beat out an infield single to Neil Walker and then stole second, but Frankie whiffed Joey Votto for the second time.

The Bucs went down in order again in the sixth while the Reds made some noise with two outs. Chris Heisey doubled and Ryan Ludwick walked and Heisey stole third; the Reds have been running fools against the Buc batteries. Liriano K'ed Brayan Pena to strand two more.

Pittsburgh failed to make a peep in the seventh. The Reds again prove to the Bucs that if you can't get the ninth guy out, you'll pay. Cueto blooped one into center, and after a Hamilton forceout, Joey Votto went deep to make it 3-0. Both innings the Reds have scored have been after Hamilton reached base; we have to wonder how big a distraction he was to Frankie.

It was another 1-2-3 frame for Cueto in the eighth. Francisco was pinch-hit for, and his line ended up 7 IP, giving up three ER on six hits, three walks, two wild pitches and seven K after 95 tosses.

Stolmy Pimentel got the ball, and wasn't sharp; it was only his second call this season from the pen. After an out, a hit batter, single and double (on a ball misplayed by Snider, who came in on a ball over his head) made it 4-0. A bouncer got the lead man tossed out at home; it was reviewed by the umps themselves (seems like every tag Sanchez makes is reviewed) and upheld; Tony had the ball before crunching the runner.  A soft grounder ended the frame. Stolmy's velocity was down, working at 88-91 instead of his usual 94; can't tell if that's because of lack of work or something more sinister.

Cueto came out to finish what he started, and he did, ending up with  a three-hit shutout and a career high 12 K. Not hard to figure this one out; Johnny Cueto didn't drop the ball today.

The Bucs take on the Brewers in a four-game set starting tomorrow at 7:05. Yovani Gallardo (2-0, 0.96 ERA) and Edinson Volquez (0-0, 1.29 ERA) will stage a rematch.

The Bucs went 3-5 on this road trip; hopefully they'll find some mojo on the Allegheny shore. The fielding was bad and the pitching not up to Bucco standards while the club was away, and hopefully some home cookin' can straighten those issues out.

  • Votto's homer was the first Liriano has surrendered to a lefty as a Pirate.
  • The Pirates have the same record they did at this time last year, 7-8. Last year's Bucs never fell under .500 after that, winning 8-of-10 and never looking back.

Pre Game Lineup, Notes

Francisco Liriano (0-2, 4.00 ERA) will duel Johnny Cueto (0-2, 2.14) in the series' rubber match. Frankie was handed three of his eight 2013 losses by the Reds as he went 0-3 with a 3.70 ERA in four career against them (tho he did win the wild card game, and against Cueto). Cueto has been tough and durable, working seven frames in each of his three starts without much support. He'll have the added advantage that 40,000 people won't be yelling "Qway-toe" at him this afternoon.

The lineup: Jose Tabata LF, Travis Snider RF, Cutch CF, Pedro 3B, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Neil Walker 2B, Tony Sanchez C, Jordy Mercer SS and  Liriano P. Starling Marte got the day off to regroup; he ran up five straight winging K's before being nicked with a 0-2 pitch last night.

The Pirates are looking to get back to winning individual series (they've taken 3-of-4 so far) while Reds will be after their first series win of the season. After the game, the Bucs will come home to face the Brewers to kick off an eight game home stand.

The 12:35 PM game will be aired by Root Sports, the MLB Network and 93.7 The Fan.
  • Today's game qualifies as the back end of a triple header in a way. The Bucs and Reds are meeting for the third time in less than 24 hours (19, to be exact) as today’s tilt comes on the heels of last night’s regularly-scheduled game which followed the completion of Monday’s suspended game. The last time Pittsburgh officially played three games in one day was October 2nd, 1920 (also against Cincinnati).
  • Yesterday's batting hero, Mike Leake, leads all pitchers in hits (59) since his 2010 debut.
  • Looks like another year of grinder games. 11 of Pittsburgh’s first 14 games have been decided by two runs or less.
  • Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors lists 25 players who could have an impact on the 2015 FA market, including Francisco Liriano and Russ Martin.
  • Guess what team is tied for third in the MLB home run race? The Buccos have 19 long balls, behind just the LA Angels and Atlanta while tied with the Chi White Sox.  Their BABIP is among the league's lowest at .268, so there's room for the offense to get better.
  • Theo Epstein of the Cubs sounds like a NH clone: "Every trade we make, we try to get an arm. Every time we have a draft pick, we look closely at the best available arm who we can add to the organization" he told Gordon Wittenmyer of Baseball America (subscribers only).
  • Ex-Bucs: Robbie Grossman was sent down by the Astros, who are expected to call up uber-prospect OF George Springer. The Nats picked up former Pirate minor league OF Quincy Latimore and assigned him to the AA Harrisburg Senators.

4/16: Deacon, Big Poison, Triple Play, The Great One, Jose DeLeon, Grand Slams & More...

Deacon, Big Poison, Triple Play, The Great One, Jose DeLeon, Grand Slams & More... 
  • 1903 - The Bucs started the season off right, defeating the Reds 7-1 behind a Deacon Phillippe two hitter. Playing before 12‚000 fans at Cincinnati’s Palace of the Fans, it was the first of four straight wins over Cincy to open the season that would eventually take them to the first World Series against the Boston Americans. 
  • 1903 - Pirate Hall-of-Fame OF Paul "Big Poison" Waner was born in Harrah, Oklahoma. He had a 20 year big league career, with the first 15 spent in Pittsburgh. As a Pirate, Waner compiled a line of .340/.407/.490 as one of the greats to don a Bucco uniform.
  • 1912 - The Bucs booked the rare 5-3-7 DP at Redland Field, with LF Max Carey sneaking behind second base to finish the twin killing. The Pirates took an 8-2 decision for their first victory of the year while dealing Cincy its first loss. 
  • 1929 - The Cubs drew their largest Opening Day crowd to date, estimated at 46,000, but lost to the Buccos 4-3 at Wrigley Field. Burleigh Grimes went the distance for the win, while Pie Traynor banged out three hits and scored twice. 
  • 1935 - The Reds lobbied to have their home opener today, and the league office agreed. In a classic case of being careful what you wish for, Pittsburgh clocked Cincinnati 12-6 in front of 27,400 at Crosley Field. Sam Byrd homered for the Bucs and Waite Hoyt picked up the win. The next day, the two teams travelled to Forbes Field in Pittsburgh where the original opener was scheduled, and the Reds had better luck, taking a 7-4 decision. 

1933 Goudey series

  • 1937 - The Pirates traded 1B/RF Earl Browne to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for LHP Joe Bowman. Bowman worked five years for the Bucs with a 33-38/4.35 record, splitting his time between starting and the pen while Browne’s last big league season was 1938. Bowman swung a good stick, too, batting .281 for the Pirates as an often called-upon pinch hitter with 322 PA. 
  • 1953 - The Pirates beat the Phils in a 14-12 barnburner on Opening Day at Forbes Field. The Phillies scored nine runs in the top of the fifth‚ and the Pirates came back with six in the bottom half to tie the NL record for runs in an inning at fifteen. They added five more in the sixth to pull away. It was a team effort; all nine members of Pittsburgh’s starting lineup had at least one hit. Cal Abrams led the pack with three knocks while Danny O’Connell had 3 RBI. 
  • 1962 - Roberto Clemente's three run homer in the fifth propelled the Bucs to a 6-5 win over Chicago at Wrigley Field, redeeming himself for a first inning error that allowed a run in. Diomedes Olivo got the win in relief of Bob Veale. Bill Virdon had three knocks, and Dick Groat, Dick Stuart and Don Hoak each chipped in a pair. 
  • 1985 - Jose DeLeon tied the Bucco record for most strikeouts thrown in a game by a right-handed pitcher as he whiffed 14 Mets at TRS. He gave up four hits without a run or walk in 8 innings of work. The Pirates went down 1-0, victims of a Ron Darling/Jesse Orosco one-hitter. Candy took the loss in relief. 
  • 1996 - Orlando Merced and Jay Bell both hit grand slams at Busch Stadium to lead the Bucs to a 13-3 win over the Cards. Merced had three hits and five RBI while Zane Smith earned the W.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Reds Keep the Runs Comin' In 7-5 Win

Well, Mike Leake doesn't mind the cold; he struck out the side to open the game. Gerrit Cole wasn't as sharp, but retired the Reds while giving up a Joey Votto single.

Pedro opened with a walk and stole second on a ball in the dirt. Gaby cashed him in with a two-out single to left. Cole was having trouble finding the strike zone, and walked Roger Bernadina with an out. He swiped second, and Devin Mesoraco dropped a ball softly into right to put Reds on the corners. Cole worked out of the jam quickly, tho, when Zack Cozart banged the next pitch to Pedro for an around-the-horn DP.

The third was another easy frame for Leake. The Pirates have been pretty free swinging so far, and he has six K thanks to their impatience. Then Leake added insult to injury by doubling to left to lead off the Reds half. He was bunted to third and he trotted home after a Joey Votto liner into center to tie the game. Brandon Phillips followed with a grounder through the left side, Votto stopping at second. But Cole soldiered through, getting Jay Bruce to bang into a 4-6-3 to stop the bleeding.

Cutch opened the fourth by rolling a single into left, and Pedro singled to right to put Bucs on the corners. Martin rolled over a slider down and away back to Leake, who threw it away to allow Cutch to score and leave Pirates on the corners. Walker hit one to first; Pedro was off on contact and out at home. Gaby and Jordy both lined out, and it was 2-1. Two seeing eye balls go for hits; two liners for outs. Cole needed just six tosses to get through the inning.

The Bucs went down quickly in the fifth, with Marte whiffing for the third time. After striking out the first two batters, Cole gave Heisey an 0-2 fastball down the middle that he bounced into left and then stole second. Votto fouled off a couple of tough pitches and got the call on a couple on the edge to walk. Cole escaped again when Phillips lined out to Snider.

Pittsburgh went down 1-2-3 in the sixth; that's nine in a row for Leake. It's telling to watch Joey Votto's strike zone and then Pedro's, who was called out on strikes during the frame. Big difference, even with the same ump. Bruce started the frame with a 3-2 walk. He stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. It didn't matter much; Todd Frazier drilled a slider that caught too much plate over the wall in right center to make it 3-2 Reds. Mesoraco singled with an out; the slider just isn't working this frame. Not much is; Leake homered with two gone, and it was 5-2.

Walker singled to start the seventh and went to third on Gaby's double to left. Mercer cranked a fly to the track in center, plenty deep enough to plate The Kid and move Gaby up a station. Travis Ishikawa stepped in for Cole, and looked at strike three. Marte broke his K streak - how else - by getting plunked with an 0-2 pitch. After struggling this inning and hitting the 110 pitch mark, Bryan Price yanked Leake. Manny Parra got the ball and barely took care of pinch hitter Jose Tabata, who lined out, to keep it 5-3.

Justin Wilson climbed the bump. Votto bled a ball to short and beat it out for an infield knock. With Votto on second and two down, one on a great grab by Marte, Frazier was intentionally walked to get to lefty Bernadina. He loaded the bases with an infield single on a slow roller to second. Jeanmar Gomez came on to face Mesoraco, who flared a 1-2 slider into left to bring home a pair and make it 7-3.

Cutch walked against Parra to open the eighth, but Pedro rolled over on a curve and banged into a 3-6-1 DP. The Bucs challenged the call at first, and it was reversed; Parra's foot never made contact with the bag. It helped the cause; Walker banged a home run - batting righty - with two gone to make it 7-5. Billy Hamilton led off with a single, and the burner was caught stealing, the first runner Russ has nailed this year. It was on time, too, as Gomez gave up back-to-back two out singles before closing out the frame.

Jonathan Broxton came on looking for the save. he had a rough start when mercer led off with a double. Two outs later, JT walked to bring up Cutch. After a long at bat with a lot of breaking balls, Cutch finally got his heater. But he got under it and popped it into short center and into Phillip's glove to end the match.

Pitching is the coin of the realm, and the Bucs didn't have it tonight. In the last eight games, the staff has allowed 42 runs, and it's a credit to the attack that they've won three. Francisco Liriano gets the nod tomorrow afternoon against Johnny Cueto.

  • This was the first time Gerrit Cole has allowed more than four runs in a game, and the first time he gave up a pair of homers.
  • Neil Walker's RH homer was his fifth from that side in 548 PA.
  • The Pirates have struck out 23 times against Red pitching in the first two games of the set.
  • Jason Grilli and Mark Melancon were out of action in this contest except for emergency use after pitching in the suspended game, but Tony Watson, who threw just seven pitches, is available. The closer, if needed, will be determined by the situation. Jordy Mercer is the only position change from yesterday's lineup.
  • Opposing base runners are 13-for-15 stealing bases v the Pirates this year.
  • The weather is bad all around. The Pirate minor leagues had three of their games rained out.

Bucs Take Suspended Game 8-7 On Martin's Knock

Sam LeCure tossed a pitch to Travis Snider, and inning seven of last night's slugfest was begun. Cutch doubled to left with an out - and twisted his back a bit while batting, but hung in - and scored an out later when Russ Martin singled him home.

Tony Watson came on for the Pirates, and Ramon Santiago greeted him with a grounder up the middle. He was bunted to second and a grounder moved him to third, but Watson got Brandon Phillips to chase for a three pitch whiff. Martin had to block the ball, but had no problem with the throw, as Phillips elected to not run it out.

Gaby grounded out sharply to third to open the eighth, followed by a Clint Barmes bloop single. It ain't how hard you hit 'em, just where. Travis Ishikawa grabbed a stick and took a walk. Marte whiffed swinging over a 3-2 knuckle curve, a pretty gutsy pitch for LeCure to toss in that count. Snider bounced out, and Mark the Shark got the call.

With an out, he lost Jay Bruce on a full count with a cutter that could have easily been called Melancon's way. A roller moved Bruce to second, but after falling behind Devin Mesoraco 3-0, MM got him to ground out to second on his green light swing.

Nick Christiani took the bump in the ninth for the Reds to face the 3-4-5 hitters for the Buccos. Cutch bounced a single to left, but Christiani worked out of it easily. Jason Grilli took the hill, with the 8-9-1 batters due up. Roger Bernadina pinch hit and went down swinging. Chris Heisey came off the bench and popped up on the first pitch. The count went full on Billy Hamilton, but Grilled Cheese whipped a heater past him and the Bucs took home an 8-7 win that took 23-1/2 hours to earn.

Bryan Morris got the win from yesterday's outing and Grilli the save. No more assault on the HR records, but a quick W is just as sweet. Forty more minutes and the regularly scheduled game will begin at 7:10.

  • The Bucs and Reds lead MLB in one run games with eight. Pittsburgh is 6-2; Cincy 2-6. Losing Aroldis Chapman (he's tossing bullpen sessions now) hasn't helped them much in the early slogging.

Pre Game Notes, News, Thoughts

Your guess for the suspended game's pitchers will be is as good as ours. Hurdle said he was goping to wait to see how the 7th inning (the game's pick-up point) plays out before committing himself.  And that's more than Bryan Price has let out. The lineups will be the same as when the game was halted.

Gerrit Cole (2-0, 3.46) and Mike Leake (1-1, 2.45) face off in the second game. Cole is working on becoming a future ace, and this will be another step in his education; he's never faced the Reds before. Leake has seen the Bucs and been pretty strong against them, with a 5-3/3.22 slash. He tossed an eight inning whitewash last outing, so he's already in form.

We'll get you the regulation game lineups with the suspended game's recap.

Root Sports will show the completion of the first game, along with the following game in its entirety, as will 93.7 The Fan.

  • We're beginning to have some concerns re: Wandy. Clint defends by saying the opposition is hitting every mistake pitch, but that's really not so; he's been living high in the zone for all three starts and left quite a few mistakes to smack.  
  • Against Milwaukee and then yesterday against the Reds, the Buc pitchers had a lot of two-strike pitches hit hard. Finishing is one big diff between this staff and last year's in the early going.
  • The first game will be finished in regular unis; the second in Jackie Robinson stuff. This si the anniversary of Jackie playing with the Dodgers.
  • Yesterday was the second time the same Pirates had a pair of back-to-back homers like The Kid and Gaby did. That was on April 27th, 1954, when Toby Atwell and Jerry Lynch first did it, also against the Reds at Crosley Field.
  • What a difference a ballyard makes - Pittsburgh has 14 homers in its last three games at Great American Ballpark. But with all this homer-mania, Elias Sports reminded us that the Royals have one HR in 11 games this year. If don't hit one tonight they'd be first team with one HR thru the first 12 games of season since the 1985 Pirates.
  • Ex-Bucs: A.J. Burnett has an inguinal hernia, which will eventually require surgery, but he's going to attempt to pitch through this season before undergoing that surgery. Jesse Chavez of the Oakland A's has found success as a starter. Texas sent Daniel McCutchen down to AAA, and the Indians did the same to Nyjer Morgan..
 The Kid & Gaby, back-2-back just like last night.
(Image from Pittsburgh Pirates)

4/15: Alleghenys Play Ball, Batty, Chief Yellow Horse, Hammerin' Hank Greenburg, Twin Killings and More...

Alleghenys Play Ball, Batty, Chief Yellow Horse, Hammerin' Hank Greenburg, Twin Killings and More...

  • 1876 - The Pittsburgh Alleghenys played what’s thought to be the city's first professional baseball game against the local Xanthas at Union Park, winning 7-3. (The Alleghenys had paid players, but weren’t members of a league). The following year, the franchise was accepted into the minor league International Association, but the team and league disbanded after the season. 
  • 1877 - Ed Abbaticchio, the first known Italian American to play MLB, was born in Latrobe. “Batty” was also one of the first person to play both pro baseball and football, starring on the gridiron for Latrobe, perhaps the first pro football team in America. The middle infielder played 3-1/2 of his nine big league seasons (1907-10) for Pittsburgh, hitting .253, and was a reserve for the 1909 World Series champs. 
  • 1921 - Pirate pitcher Moses “Chief” Yellow Horse made his major league debut against the Reds. Yellow Horse, a Pawnee, was believed by many baseball historians to be the first full-blooded American Indian to play in the big leagues. He worked the last two innings to save a win for Earl Hamilton as the Bucs beat the Reds 3-1 at Crosley Field. 

 Image from Vintage Card

  • 1930 - The Bucs took the season opener from Cincinnati 7-6 at Redland Field. North Side’s Steve Swetonic went 5-1/3 innings of one run ball in relief for the win. Paul Waner batted 4-for-4 while Dick Bartell and Rollie Hemsley homered. 
  • 1947 - In his Pirate debut, Hank Greenberg doubled home the only run in the Pirates' 1-0 win over the Cubs and Hank Borowy. Rip Sewell got the win by scattering five hits at Wrigley Field. Pittsburgh bought the slugger from the Tigers after a contract impasse. 
  • 1952 - Pittsburgh became the first team required to wear helmets, both at bat and in the field. Branch Rickey mandated their use, and though his intentions were no doubt noble, he did happen to own the company that made the hats. Though first used in 1907, they weren't required to be worn by baseball until 1971. 
  • 1958 - The Pirates beat the Braves 4-3 in 14 inning contest, tying the longest opening day game ever played in the NL, a record they would tie again in 1969. Bill Virdon chased home Hank Foiles with the game winner at Milwaukee’s County Stadium. Ron Blackburn got the win and Curt Raydon picked up the save. 
  • 1960 - OF/1B Mike Diaz was born in San Francisco. He played in Pittsburgh from 1986-88, hitting .250 with 28 HR in 524 AB. 
  • 1961 - The Dodgers and Pirates tied a MLB record by turning 9 DPs (Los Angeles 5‚ Pittsburgh 4) in a 4-1 Buc win at Memorial Coliseum. It was only the second time (July 3rd‚ 1929, Cubs-Reds) that 9 DPs have been turned in a nine inning NL game. Eight were grounded into, one was a line drive DP. Dick Groat started three of the four Buc twin killings. 
  •  2009 - The Pirates acquired IF/OF Delwyn Young from the Dodgers for RHPs Eric Krebs and Harvey Garcia. Young played 234 games for the Pirates during the 2009-10 seasons, hitting .255 with 14 HR and 71 RBI, while neither Krebs nor Garcia made it, although Garcia had a cup of coffee with Florida in 2007, appearing in eight games.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Home Run Derby Suspended; 7-7 Game Will Be Completed Tomorrow

Starling Marte got the festivities against Homer Bailey rolling by, of all things, going the opposite way and banging a double into the right field corner. Cutch banged one up the middle an out later, and the Bucs had an early run, another oddity, and a 1-0 lead. It didn't last long. With two down and Joey Votto on first via a walk, Wandy tossed an 0-2 fastball right down the middle to Todd Frazier (the third four-seamer in a row to a fastball hitter), and he smoked it off the batter's eye 438' away, making it 2-1.

Might be one of those nights; The Kid hammered a 3-2 fastball 442' into the right center seats, and it's 2-2. Gaby took a 2-1 fastball and launched it 418' over the CF wall. Sheesh. Clint Barmes then blooped a single into center. Wandy whiffed trying to bunt; so much for helping yourself.  Homer rectified that by tossing a wild pitch. Marte whiffed - he may not have seen a strike - and Travis Snider followed, chasing high heat. That's Homer Bailey; three straight hits followed by three straight whiffs. Wandy worked a 1-2-3 frame, but needs better command; he's been in the middle of the plate a lot in the early going.

Bailey made it six Bucs in a row in the third; he's got them chasing balls off the dish now. Wandy worked a clean frame, too, and was using the edges a little more. Neil Walker worked the count full to start the fourth,  then lined  fastball into left for a knock, but Bailey handled the 7-8-9 hitters easily. After an out, things got interesting when Snider slid for a Frazier fly along the line and had it bounce off his face. At first it was called foul, but after reviewed that call was overturned and Todd had a double. The missed grab cost the Bucs when Wandy doubled up on changeups to Ryan Ludwick and hung them both. Luwick swung through the first, but the second one flew out of the yard. All four Red runs have come with two outs and two strikes.

The 4-3 lead lasted a batter; Marte cranked a hanging curve out of GAB. Snider followed by taking a fastball the opposite way over the wall in left, and it was 5-4. Then Bailey K'ed the 3-4-5 hitters; go figure. The rain was starting to come down pretty hard now; the groundscrew began working on the mound and infield as it's supposed to be a wet evening in the Queen City. Back to them game: Pinch hitter Neftali Soto doubled just inside the third base line (or maybe just outside; the call can't be challenged unless it is an OF hit) with an out. With two down, Joey Votto took a first pitch curve, belt high on the outside black and pounded it over the RC wall, which is pretty impressive in a downpour, to make it 6-5. That could be the game winner with the weather as is.

JJ Hoover opened the sixth after the crew laid out another ton of Diamond Dri. Good move - for the Bucs, anyway, as The Kid and Gaby went back-to-back. Like Bailey, he rallied and K'ed two of the next three hitters. Bryan Morris came on, and the Reds two-out mojo was still working. Devin Mesoraco got a fastball that tailed into the middle of the plate and lined it over the left field wall to make it 7-7.

After that, crew chief Gerry Davis mercifully called for the tarp. The game is now official and all the stats count, making hitters happy and pitchers grumpy. At about 11 PM, after an hour and 45 minute delay, the game was suspended, and they'll finish it at 5: 30 PM tomorrow, before the main bout.

Gerrit Cole and Mike Leake hook up tomorrow night. It should be OK but cold, with morning snow showers and game time temp in the thirties.

  • We're guessing Gaby was chafing a little on the pine with Ishi picking up all the at-bats. Two homers tonight off RHP should earn him a little more lineup love.
  • The 10 home runs hit tonight set the Great American ballpark record. The last time there were at least 10 HRs in a MLB game was on June 18th, 2006 at Wrigley Field. The Tigers had eight and the Cubs three to set the NL mark. The MLB record is 12, twice done by the Tigers and White Sox in 1995 and again in 2002.
  • The Bucs club record for most HRs in a game is seven, done three times (last on 8/20/03 at St Louis); they still have three frames to take a shot at that standard.
  • The six Pirate homers were back-to-back jacks; all the Red homers came with two outs. The Pirates are the first team with three sets of back-to-back HRs in a game since the 1977 Red Sox. The only other team to match that was the 1956 Reds.
  • There was a considerable delay after the ball bounced off Snider. The review got it right - it was a fair ball - but the argument was where the runner should be. Frazier had barely made the turn at first, but was awarded second; that's a tough judgment call for the replay crew in NY. And not being able to challenge a fair/foul call seems a little misconceived, too.
  • More thought to chew on - in a game that's obviously going to be rain shortened, should you have your back-end relievers loose, even if it is the fifth inning? (Thx Travis Sawchik of the Trib).
  • We wonder what took so long for the Reds to put Joey Votto in the two hole, where he's a perfect fit.
  • Luis Heredia went on the minor-league disabled list, which is only seven days minimum, because of right shoulder pain.

Lineup, Pre-Game Notes

Wandy Rodriguez (0-2, 5.73) takes on Homer Bailey (0-1, 7.71) tonight. Neither vet is exactly off to a flying start, so should be interesting at GAB. Wandy hasn't fared well against the Reds, going 8-12/4.26 in 30 starts. Bailey has been tough on Pittsburgh. He has a no-hitter to go with an 8-5/2.91 ERA slash in 16 games. Both teams are looking to get back to winning ways, as the Bucs are coming off a sweep by the Brewers and the Reds have lost four of their last six contests.

The lineup: Starling Marte LF, Travis Snider RF, Cutch CF, Pedro 3B, Russ Martin C, Neil Walker 2B, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Clint Barmes SS and Rodriguez P. Clint is shaking the rust off of Gaby and Clint Barmes tonight by giving them a starting nod.

The game will be carried by Root Sports and 93.7 The Fan.
  • The Bucs have won four straight games in Cincinnati.
  • Pirates starters have gone at least six innings in 10 of the team's 12 games, and the other two went into the fifth.
  • It doesn't appear that Charlie Morton's picture will be on the stopper's page. According to Elias Sports, with Sunday's loss, Morton is 0–5 with a 6.58 ERA in eight starts in which  the Pirates were on the verge of being swept
  • Gregory Polanco was named the International League Player of the Week for April 7-13 after batting .500 (14-for-28) with 7 RBI. Andrew Lambo, after a slow start, also hit .500 over that span.
  • We'll have to keep an eye on the Penguin playoff games - they knock the Pirates off the tube for sure Saturday, Monday and  next Wednesday (the first playoff game is Wednesday, but the Bucs will have an afternoon get-away day from Cincy on that date). Pittsburgh's Saturday game against the Brewers will compete with the Pens, who will be at Consol.
  • Ex-Bucs: Xavier Nady has now hit pinch-HRs for six teams, two short of Matt Stairs's MLB record. Joel Hanrahan will audition in front of a slew of scouts on Thursday.

4/14: Bucs Christen WGN, Roberto & Maz, Jim Bunning, Nate the Great, The Fort and More...

Bucs Christen WGN, Roberto & Maz, Jim Bunning, Nate the Great, The Fort and More...

  • 1925 - Chicago’s WGN Radio broadcast its first ever baseball game as Grover Alexander and the Cubs defeated the Pirates and Emil Yde on Opening Day, 8-2. Six of the runs against Yde were unearned thanks to three Bucco boots. 
  • 1960 - The Pirates showed that they would be a NL force during their home opener, pounding the Reds 13-0 in front of 34,064 fans. Vern Law pitched a complete game shutout while Roberto Clemente and Billy Maz combined to drive home nine runs. One of the Great One’s RBI was a 445’ sac fly that Vada Pinson corralled just short of the batting cage parked in center field. 
  • 1968 - Jim Bunning earned his first win with Pittsburgh‚ 3-0 at Los Angeles. It was his 40th career shutout and included his 1‚000th NL strikeout‚ making him the first pitcher since Cy Young with 1‚000 punchouts in each league. His bacon was saved when Roberto Clemente brought back a potential two-run homer to right by Ron Fairly, leaping above the wall to snag the ball. 
  • 1980 - The Pirates got their World Series rings at the home opener at TRS. The rainy day (the game was delayed three times) drew 44,088 to the yard. The Bucs were cruising in the ninth when Teke was touched up for a couple of runs to tie the match; it was untied an inning later when Bill Robinson took Bruce Sutter yard for a trot-off 5-4 Bucco win. 

 1979 World Series ring

  • 1980 - RHP John Van Benschoten was born in San Diego. As a top draft pick in 2001 (eighth overall), the debate whether was to have JVB pitch (he was Kent State’s closer) or hit (he led the NCAA in HRs). The Pirates thought he had a better shot physically at pitching. But in three stops at Pittsburgh (2004, 2007-08) he went 2-13 with a 9.20 ERA, with arm problems along the road, and he never tossed in the majors again. 
  • 1984 - RHP Chris Leroux was born in Montreal. The reliever pitched for the Bucs from 2010-13, getting fairly regular work between 2010-11. His Pirate line was 1-2 with a 5.56 ERA. 2008 - The Bucs took a down-to-the-wire 6-4 win at Dodger Stadium when Nate McLouth hammered a three-run, two-out homer in the ninth off Dodger closer Takashi Saito. Matt Capps saved the win for Tyler Yates. 
  • 2013 - The Pirates fell behind the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 before scoring 10 runs in the seventh and eighth innings to rally for a 10-6 win behind Mike McKenry’s two long balls, the first multi-homer day of his career. The PNC fans wouldn’t sit down until The Fort tipped his cap during a curtain call. Appropriately, the Pirates were dressed in throwback seventies “Lumber Company” uniforms.