Thursday, April 2, 2015

Bucs, O's Tie; Notes & Lineup For Grapefruit Finale

Sheesh, another tie. The Pirates and Orioles went 10 innings and walked off the field with a 3-3 draw. The big blow for the Bucs was Pedro's blast, yanking a 3-2 change up over the RF wall. If his spring translates into the summer, Pittsburgh's middle-of-the-order suddenly looks imposing with El Toro, Cutch, The Kid and El Coffee. The pitching was OK; Frankie and Gerrit each worked three, with Liriano touched for a solo dinger; their next outings will be against the Reds when the games count. . Also, Jung-Ho Kang looked quite at home playing short, making a nice play in the hole. The only bummer was a slip out of the box by Cutch, who gimped back to the dugout. He's got a scheduled off day today; let's hope yesterday's tweak didn't aggravate whatever aches he had a few days ago.

Jung-Ho Kang getting comfortable (photo Tommy Gilligan/USAToday Sports)

Today's Game: AJ leads the squad to Tampa to face the NY Yankees.The game starts at 1:05 and will be webcast on This is the last outing of the Grapefruit League; afterward, the Bucs pack it up and head to Philly for a pair of exhibitions.

Today's Lineup: Josh Harrison 3B, Jordy Mercer SS, Gregory Polanco RF, Starling Marte CF, Pedro 1B, Fran Cervelli C, Andrew Lambo LF, Sean Rodriguez 2B, AJ P.
Today's Bench: Wilkins Castillo, Pedro Florimon, Tony Sanchez, Jung-Ho Kang, The Kid, Corey Hart, Gustav Nunez and a flock of minor leaguers.
Today's Pitching: All eight relievers on the roster.

A couple of thoughts to take home: it looks like Pedro, despite his 5 HR, 17 RBI & .318 BA will hit fifth. That makes perfect sense as the spring cleanup role has fallen to Neil Walker, and constructing the middle of the order around a switch-hitting #4 is the ideal. Here's how the order looks, judging from camp - Josh will bat leadoff, Gregory Polanco second (maybe swapping spots with Jordy against lefties), Cutch third, The Kid (maybe dropping a spot when Hart plays), Pedro, Starling Marte, Mercer/Cervelli.

  • Pedro's strong spring has made Corey Hart's role more backup than platoon; we're guessing he'll get some at bats in right when a lefty is on the hill. Pedro, btw, is looking more comfortable at first; he certainly has more range than the Ike/Gaby duo of last season.
  • Jaff Decker (left calf strain) and Justin Sellers (sore Achilles) are expected to open season on DL, along with C Chris Stewart (sore hamstring).
  • Mike Axisa of CBS Sports thinks that Jung-Ho Kang has a darkhorse chance to become the NL Rookie of the Year. 
  • Charlie Deitch of The City Paper picks out the X-Factors in the Pirate depth charts.
  • The Bucs are 15-10-4 in Grapefruit League play.
  • Jeff Moore of Baseball Prospectus has some not-so-flattering notes regarding prospects Josh bell & Stetson Allie.
  • The Pirates picked up minor league 1B Hunter Morris from the Brewers for a PTBNL. Morris was Milwaukee's minor-league-POY in 2012, but has stalled the past two seasons in AAA.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ron,

Our lineup looks to be very potent. IF Pedro clicks this year look out. We have defense in spades now with JayHay at 3rd and our regular outfield. Marte is primed for a big year and Polonco could be the best outfielder of this insanely talented group

The bench is solid as is the Pen. The starters is where I have the most concern at this point - Love Frankie and Gerrit 1-2. hard to beat those guys but after that Im a little worried. This is the time for Locke to cement his status. We need AJ to have one more decent year. Surprised Worley lost out to Locke but love having him as the next man in.

We are in a very tough division but this is our year - dare to dream but I see shades of 1979.


monkee said...

I believe in your line-up the sixth hole will be Starling Marte, not El Coffee. As El Coffee is already slated for the two hole.

Ron Ieraci said...

Dave - I think the offense will be fine; I'm kinda crossing my fingers that the pitching holds up. And Monkee, thx - Polanco is due for a breakout year, but that is a bit much, lol. I fixed it up.