Monday, September 24, 2012

Lineup, Notes, News - Bad History; Good Cutch

RHP Kyle McPherson (0-1, 2.25) takes the bump against RHP Jenrry Mejia (0-1, 9.00). K-Mac has been steady since his call up, showing some swing-and-miss ability with 13 K in 16 IP. Mejia, a power arm who works in the mid-nineties, was roughed up in his start against the Brewers, hurting himself with five walks in three innings of work. It will be the second 2012 start for both guys (Mejia had three starts last year, but was mostly a reliever), and both are looking for their first MLB win. The game starts at 7:05 and will be shown on Root Sports.

The lineup: Alex Presley LF, Josh Harrison SS, Andrew McCutchen CF, Garrett Jones RF, Neil Walker 2B, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Mike McKenry C, Kyle McPherson P.

Clint Barmes gets a blow as Clint Hurdle sticks with J-Hay's hot stick; Presley is the lefty in the OF as Travis Snider tales a seat.

New York has been up and down. They just swept three home games from Miami over the weekend, but entered that series on a five-game losing streak.

Well, if the Bucs want to crack that .500 mark, they're running out of time; it has to begin with the four game set against the Mets. Afterward, they come home to face the Reds and Braves. Those two clubs may be resting some people for the playoffs when the Bucs face them, but Pittsburgh still has an uphill struggle, needing to take 7-of-10 to get to 82 wins.

  • Jason Stark of ESPN posted in his blog that Pittsburgh can make the wrong kind of history: no team 16 games over .500 after 108 games has ever finished with a losing record.
  • No, it's not Cutch's fault: McCutch has hit .304/.397/.488 since the All-Star break with 10 homers and 33 RBI. Overall this season, his line is .336/.406/.564 with 30 HR, 93 RBI, 103 RS, 19 SB and an OPS of +167 with a WAR of 6.8. He leads the NL in average, hits, runs, OBP and WAR. He did have what for him was a mundane August (.252/.347/.346), but after posting otherworldy numbers in June and July, he was bound to regress sometime. 
  • The last Pirate to win the batting title and hit at least 30 home runs was Dave Parker in 1978, who hit .334 with 30 bombs; Cutch is on track to become next. 
  • Ben Badler of Baseball America tweeted  "Lost in recent criticism of Pirates' development program: They probably have four top 50 prospects, maybe five Top 100, plus Starling Marte." He added that there were "Some notable whiffs ID-ing talent in the US in general, but it's a very good system."
  • Bucs pitchers have recorded 12 Ks in each of their last three games. games. It’s the first time Pittsburgh has done that in the modern era, beginning in 1900. The staff enters today with 1,114 strikeouts this season, just 10 shy of tying the club record of 1,124 set in 1969.
  • The 25 greatest baseball movies of all time, as rated by H. Fooksman of Gunaxin, in case you're looking for something to pass the time between the end of the season and the hot stove league.


James said...

How many Cutch apologists are there in Pittsburgh? He hit .252 when his team needed him most. He is not a superstar. He is a pretty good player who doesn't have the stones to go an entire season. He can be a complimentary piece of a team, but not a centerpiece. Burnett also had an August that was bad and you all write about how he has 16 wins and is the stopper. Really? What did he stop in August? He stopped winning.

Ron Ieraci said...

Hey James -welcome to the blog. We don't think sticking up for a guy with Cutch's numbers is being an apologist, but a realist. He was human in August, but where's the help? The rest of the team, minus Cutch, has a .234 BA, an OBP under .300 and a slugging % under .400.

AJ did have a bad August,too - 5 of 6 starts were subpar, and he had a 5.18 ERA. Since then, he's put up a 2.84 ERA in September, and only has one win to show for it.

So yah, they contributed to the August slump. But unlike the rest of the team, they've picked it up again - Cutch's .336 with 30 HR and 93 RBI and AJ's 16-8 record with a 3.53 ERA don't need defended.

Now the rest of the team...

James said...

Hey, Ron. Nice of you to be welcoming. Don't get me wrong. I have been a Pirate fan for 48 years. This season has me on the edge of being an Irate fan. August broke my spirit. And I can't figure out how they managed to play poorly at once. In any event, when I see what I did in August I feel like calling it for what it is for the whole team. A real superstar does not take a month off. A real stopper keeps stopping.

Ron Ieraci said...

James - for the life of me, I can't figure out why the whole team goes on vacation in August and September. Regression is one thing; disappearing for view is another. I'm sure it doesn't just frustrate us.

It has to be mental thing. I do wonder about the effect of going from a settled lineup, rotation and defined bullpen roles in June-July to a shook up everything in August.

That shouldn't have bothered the core guys, but for the players looking for innings/at bats, maybe they started looking to hit the five run homer or two pitch strikeout to get noticed; Clint is notorious for playing the hot hand. I dunno, except that I think the team needs a shrink more badly than a manager.