Saturday, July 7, 2012

Lineup, Notes for McDonald-Vogelsong Duel

The Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong (7-3, 2.26 ERA) takes the bump opposite RHP James McDonald (8-3, 2.45 ERA). 'Nuff said.

In 2001, the Pirates traded Jason Schmidt & John Vander Wal to the Giants for Armando Rios & Vogelsong, who was 10-19/6.00 during his stint with Pittsburgh. After leaving the Bucs in 2006, he wouldn't get another shot in the show until last year, when he was 13-7/2.71 with San Fran after spending 2007-09 in Japan and 2010 in the minors with the Angels and Phils AAA clubs.

In 2010, J-Mick arrived in Pittsburgh with Andrew Lambo from LA for Octavio Dotel and is having his breakout season. Who sez starting pitching is hard to find? The game begins at 4:05 and will be aired by Root Sports. Both teams, btw, sport the same record of 46-37 and are trotting out a pair of pretty good arms, so it should be a good one this afternoon, to be followed by a Daughtry concert.

The lineup: Drew Sutton LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Garrett Jones RF, Casey McGehee 1B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Mike McKenry C, Clint Barmes SS, James McDonald P.

  • The secret to Cutch's torrid start? He's became more aggressive, letting less get by him at the plate, according to Fangraphs. He's taken hacks at 50% of the pitches he's seen, up from his previous high of 41% last year.  And he hasn't really expanded his swing zone as much as defined his hitting area; McCutch's line drive rate is the highest of his career and his fly ball rate the lowest. And as you can see by his PNC hit chart, when he does get the ball in the air, he's overcome his past pull tendencies to use the whole field; he's adjusted by going with pitches instead of rolling over on the sliders and outside stuff as in past seasons.
  • Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk gives Cutch an ever-so-slight edge in his mid season MVP rankings, a nose ahead of Joey Votto and David Wright.
  • David Schoenfield of ESPN's Sweet Spot points out the offensive abyss in LF and wrote "The question is what Huntington will do to make something out of his team’s start, and that means addressing the team’s problems, with offensive production from a power slot like left field being smack-dab at the top of the list."
  • After the All-Star break, the Bucs will reset their rotation order because of the four day gap it created. Clint Hurdle said he'd make the shuffle public tomorrow.
  • Five of the Pirates last six losses, dating back to June 20th, have been by one run. During that span, they've won one run games twice. Overall, the Bucs are 19-15 in one run games.
  • Root Sports reports that the Bucs are a big TV hit. Their local ratings are up there with the leaders: the Tigers, Cardinals and Reds, and they are the #1 regional draw some nights according to the Tribune Review and Post Gazette
  • BTW, don't expect Allie Stetson's remake as a hitter to be an easy task. He's hitting .178 with a 38% K rate in the GCL; the transition is going to take a lot of live pitching to determine his potential with the stick (although he did hit his first homer today). He hasn't swung a bat since his high school days in 2010, and his scouting report as a batter was lots of raw power, coupled with lots of swings and misses.
  • What do the White Sox see in Daniel Moskos that the Bucs don't? A record of turn-arounds for other early round busts. Matthew Pouliot of HBT says "In Chicago, Moskos will get to work with Don Cooper, who has helped turn fellow first-round disappointments Gavin Floyd, Matt Thornton and Philip Humber around."

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