Tuesday, September 19, 2017

9/19 Happenings: HBD Yank, Mouse, Stuffy, JJ & Robinzon; Ralph's #4 Retired; Danny's 26, Jay's 8...

  • 1859 - IF Yank Robinson was born in Philadelphia. Yank had his heyday from 1885-89 with the American Association’s St Louis Browns. He could play just about anywhere and was patient at the plate: From 1887-90, Robinson drew 472 free rides (427 walks w/45 HBPs) and 400 hits for an OBP of .412. Yank got into a beef with the Browns’ owner in 1889 triggered by a pair of tight pants and jumped to the Pittsburgh Burghers the following season, keeping up his old tricks. During the season, Robinson had just 70 hits for a .229 BA, but his 101 bases on balls jacked up his OBP to .434, fourth highest in the Players' League. That was his only Pittsburgh term. He was also noted because he played the field bare handed and could throw ambidextrously; the combination made him a dangerous fielder who could either make an outrageously difficult play or take a routine two-hopper off the pinky for an error. It’s thought that his nickname dates back from childhood as he was born just prior to the Civil War. 
Ed Glenn 1889 Goodwin/Old Judge
  • 1860 - OF Ed “Mouse” Glenn was born in Richmond, Virginia. Ed played every other year in the majors, making stops in 1884-86-88, with the Alleghenys being his team in the middle. He hit .191 (his rep was as a gloveman), spent a year in the minors and split time in the NL in 1888. He lost his chance to repeat his two-year cycle when he injured himself badly crashing into another player while chasing down a fly while on the farm at Sioux City; he sat out 1890 and eventually passed away from injuries caused by the collision in early 1892. 
  • 1882 - Rookie Guy Hecker of the American Association Louisville Eclipse (aka Colonels) tossed a no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, winning 3-1 at Eclipse Park. He would join the Pirates in 1890, albeit for his final MLB season. 
  • 1890 - 1B Stuffy McInnis was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Stuffy, a solid contact hitter and glove man, spent the tail end of his 17-year career as a Pirate in 1925-26. McInnis still had a sharp stick, hitting .337 over that span and .286 in four games of the 1925 World Series against the Washington Senators, retiring after the 1927 campaign. He picked up his nickname as a youngster playing in Boston, where his feats on the field brought shouts of "that's the stuff, kid." 
Stuffy McInnis 1925-26 (photo Conlon Collection)
  • 1949 - In a 6-4 loss to the NY Giants at Forbes Field‚ Ralph Kiner hit his 50th home run (he finished the season with 54) off Kirby Higbe. With that blast, the 26-year old outfielder became the first NL’er to hit 50 bombs in two different seasons. It would take until 1965 for Willie Mays to match Kiner’s record. 
  • 1953 - Danny O'Connell hit safely in his 26th game‚ a 4-1 loss to the NY Giants at the Polo Grounds. The streak ended the next day as the second longest in Pirate history, trailing Jimmy Williams’ 27-game streak of 1899 (Williams had a 26-game streak earlier in 1899 and Kenny Lofton also put together a 26-game run in 2003).
  • 1983 - 1B/OF John Jaso was born in Chula Vista, CA. The Bucs signed the 32 year old to a two-year, $8M deal after Jaso hit .286 and produced a .380 OBP/.839 OPS in 70 games with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2015. JJ was primarily a catcher and DH in the show until the 2015 campaign, when concussion woes necessitated a switch of positions. He was converted by Pittsburgh to a full-time first baseman to replace Pedro Alvarez after El Toro was non-tendered following the 2015 season. JJ’s adjusted to the field, pinch-hitting and playing 1B/OF off the bench. 
Robinzon Diaz 2010 Topps
  • 1983 - C Robinzon Diaz was born in Monte Plata, Dominican Republic. He was the return for the Jose Bautista swap with Toronto in a deal that Neil Huntington would no doubt like to claim a mulligan. Diaz played briefly in 2008-09 for Pittsburgh, hitting .289 in 43 games but he couldn’t beat out Jason Jamarillo for the back-up spot due to defensive shortcomings. After bouncing around in AAA, he took a gig in the Mexican League. 
  • 1987 - Ralph Kiner’s #4 was retired. The Mets won the game at TRS 5-4 in front of 20,933 fans in a match that he announced. The slugger was a Hall-of-Famer, and in his eight years as a Buc, he hit .280 with 301 HR and 801 RBI. 
  • 1997 - The Pirates held a Roberto Clemente commemoration night, unveiling a video of his career highlights followed by his widow Vera tossing out the first pitch at TRS before playing the Cards. They lost 6-5 in front of 16,235. 
  • 2003 - Jason Bay drove in eight runs (the franchise single game record is nine, set by Johnny Rizzo in 1939) during a 10-9 loss to the Cubs, hitting a pair of homers and a double in the first game of a DH split at PNC Park. It was a tale of two games; Chicago scored the final run in the top of the sixth and there was just one more hit between both clubs over the final 3-½ innings. The Buc bats stayed hot in a 10-6 response with Matt Stairs going long and five different Pirates collecting a pair of hits to give Salomon Torres the win.

9/19 Games: Veale 10-Inning 1-Hitter, Clemente Clutch, Doug 20 & Barry 30/50, 9-Run Frame, Game Stories...

  • 1908 - Ralph Davis of the Pittsburg Press wrote “In the presence of a grand out-pouring of more than 25,000 fans and in one of the most stubbornly fought battles ever waged at the Polo Grounds, the Pirates defeated the New York Giants by the score of 6-2 after ten innings of strenuous work.” The better part of that battle was fought by Lefty Liefield, who went the distance to outlast Red Ames and Doc Crandall. Ed "Batty" Abbaticchio knocked home a pair of runs in the 10th, and an error followed by Chief Wilson’s hit brought in the final two tallies. 
Abby - Colgan Stars of the Diamond
  • 1925 - The Pirates edged the Braves, 2-1, at Forbes Field as Kiki Cuyler had four hits and Pie Traynor added three more. The two teams combined for 23 hits and drew seven walks but managed to strand 23 runners, hitting into two DPs and getting three runners thrown out trying to steal. The Bucs and opportunity took nine innings to get together - Pittsburgh left the bases loaded with one away in the eighth and needed a two-out, bases-packed single by Glenn Wright in the ninth to squeak out the win for Vic Aldridge. 
  • 1943 - Rip Sewell whipped the Reds, 10–3 for his 21st win, which would top the MLB chart that season. Rip also stole a base to finish the year with seven swipes. Elbie Fletcher had three hits and two RBI; Bob Elliott inverted that with two hits and three RBI. The Pirates swept the twin bill 2-1 as three Pirate pitchers (Xavier Rescigno, Hank Gornicki & Max Butcher, who got the W) combined to outlast Johnny Vander Meer. Pittsburgh was its own worst enemy in the nightcap, hitting into a DP, going 0-for-2 in stolen bases and getting a runner tossed out a home before scoring twice in the ninth on singles by Vince DiMaggio and Elliott. 
  • 1959 - Bill Mazeroski, who homered earlier, drilled a two-run triple in the 12th as the Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds‚ 4-3, at Forbes Field. Elroy Face gave up a run in the top of the 12th but got the win thanks to Maz. Face’s record was 18-1‚ and he won eight straight games in extra innings. He ended the year with the top winning percentage (.947) of any pitcher with 15 decisions, capping a season for the ages for the relief ace. 
Bob Veale 1965 Bazooka
  • 1965 - Bob Veale allowed one hit, a two-out sixth inning single by Tony Taylor, and struck out 12 to earn a 1-0‚ 10-inning win over the Phillies at Forbes Field. Roberto Clemente's two-out single off Philadelphia reliever Jack Baldschun to score Bob Bailey was the game winner; Veale had been thrown out at home the batter before, trying to score on Manny Mota’s single. 
  • 1966 - The Bucs took an 11-inning victory from the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park by a 6-1 score, sparked when Roberto Clemente ignored manager Harry “The Hat” Walker’s instructions. Clemente, leading off and in an 0-for-13 funk, was told to bunt for a hit; instead he swung away and homered. Bob Bailey added a grand slam to close out the frame, giving Pete Mikkelson the win in relief of Bob Veale. 
  • 1970 - Roberto Clemente, out of action for two weeks, returned to score one run and chase home another with a key double in Pittsburgh's 2-1 victory over New York, keeping their 1-½ game pad over Chicago intact. The Bucco D turned four DPs to give Luke Walker the win, with the final four frames closed down by the bullpen. With Roberto back, the club would go 12-5 to close out the month and win the division by five games, but were stopped by the Big Red Machine in the NLCS. 
  • 1974 - Pittsburgh put up a five spot in the seventh inning to take an 8-6 win from the St. Louis Cards at TRS. The big blow in the frame was Richie Hebner’s three-run homer, giving Ramon Hernandez the win with a Dave Giusti save. The win moved the Bucs within ½ game of first, and they won the pennant over the Cards by sweeping the Cubs in the last series of the season. 
Richie Hebner 1975 Twinkies
  • 1978 - In one of Pittsburgh’s lighter moments, 38 year old Willie Stargell attempted to steal 2B against Chicago (he did have 3 steals that year) quite unsuccessfully. As Cubs' SS Ivan DeJesus waited at the bag with the ball, Stargell slid in 10 feet short of the base, looked up and called for time-out. The Bucs won despite Pops’ baserunning antics, 12-11. Dave Parker’s homer, his second of the day, in the 11th off Bruce Sutter, gave the Bucs their seventh straight win and 30th in their last 38 games. 
  • 1990 - Doug Drabek won his 20th game and Bobby Bonds hit his 30th and 31st HRs as Pittsburgh beat Chicago 8-7 at Wrigley Field. Bonds and his dad became the first father-son members of the 30/30 club. Two days later, Bonds swiped his 50th base of the season to became the second MLB player to join the 30/50 club. 
  • 1993 - A Buc rally fell short as the Cards prevailed 7-6 at Busch Stadium. Dave Clark swatted a two-run, pinch hit homer in the ninth to give the Bucs a 6-5 lead, but Mark Dewey surrendered the game after two outs with a walk (the second of the inning; the other was charged to Denny Neagle) and a double just inside the line by Mark Whiten that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Carlos Garcia and Jeff King each had three hits in the heartbreaker. Clark’s homer would be the last for another decade to give the Bucs the lead in the ninth after trailing going in until Rob Mackowiak’s blast defeated the Reds in 2003. 
Emil Brown 1999 Upper Deck Signature
  • 2000 - The Pirates rode a nine-run sixth inning to a 12-8 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Veterans Stadium. The Bucs sent 13 batters to the plate, with the big hits being a two-run knock by Emil Brown and a bases loaded double by John Wehner. The Phils made a game of it in the ninth, scoring three runs off Scott Sauerbeck before Mike Williams came on to end it. 
  • 2005 - Ian Snell pitched eight innings to earn his first MLB win as he beat Roger Clemens and the Houston Astros 7–0 at PNC Park. Snell allowed just three hits, retiring the final nine batters he faced before José Mesa closed out the four-hit shutout in the ninth. Four different Pirates - Tike Redman, Jason Bay, Jack Wilson & Freddy Sanchez - had three hits, and every Buc starter except JJ Furmaniac had a hit and scored/drove in a run (or both). Though a loss, the game checked off another notch on Clemens’ bucket list - he had now pitched in every major league ballpark currently in operation. 
  • 2014 - The Pirates were dueling with the Milwaukee Brewers for the last wild card spot and losing late 2-0 at PNC Park, unable to dent long time nemesis Yovani Gallardo. Jonathan Broxton came on in the eighth, and after giving up singles to Starling Marte and Neil Walker, watched Russ Martin launch a ball into the right center field seats to give the Bucs a 3-2 lead, with the electrified sellout crowd of 37,974 fans demanding a curtain call. Ike Davis singled in an insurance run as John Holdzkom earned his first MLB win after a strong start by Jeff Locke, with Mark Melancon nailing down his 31st save. It also marked the 21st time that the Pirates won a game during their last at-bat that season. 
John Holdzkum 2015 Topps Autograph
  • 2015 - Francisco Liriano and the Pirates beat LA ace Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium 3-2 to snap a four game losing streak. Frankie K’ed nine and retired 16 straight batters during one stretch; Tony Watson and Mark Melancon finished up the game, with Mark the Shark recording a club record-setting 47th save. Andrew McCutchen and Aramis Ramirez provided the offense with doubles; Cutch’s drove in a pair and A-Ram’s was the game-winner.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Pirates September Sleepwalk Continues 3-0

Maybe you've read the script before: strand guys early, give up a homer to break up a scoreless tie, TOOTBLAN on the bases, leave a play in the field and let a pitcher (Brent Suter) who hasn't gotten past three innings this month go five frames...hey, welcome to the September Pittsburgh Pirates. It went like so:

Leave a couple on in the first, leave a couple on in the third. Watch Jamo's first mistake of the night leave the yard as Ryan Braun homers in the fourth. Neil Walker singles in an insurance run in the sixth, chasing JT, but the gate is shut by AJ Schugel. Edgar Santana pitches a nice seventh; Eli was thrown out trying to stretch a one-out double by a base; can't blame Joey Cora, either, as Diaz never bothered looking for his aid. George Kontos gave up a run in the eighth; after two ground ball singles, he got a DP bouncer hit to Jordy. He lifted his glove, the ball scooted under it and instead of the inning ending, another run crossed. To add a little salt to the wound, it was ruled a hit. Johnny Barbato left a Brewer at third; Gregory got tossed out trying to stretch a two-out single, with the score 3-0 in the ninth, into a double.

Cutch was worth the price of admission tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

This would strike us as a good time to install a little discipline, like maybe sitting down guys who go off on suicide runs around the bases or commit other equally little-league infractions. Maybe let the kids play to pump a little energy into the unit; they miss the J-Hay/Cervy vibes and surely Max Moroff couldn't do much worse than S-Rod (who, btw, we think is a fine pickup, but another guy who is maybe pushing their body a little faster than need be.) Most of all, give the team a little direction instead of divvying up playing time by grab bag.

Notes:
  • Cutch had three hits; no one else reached base more than once tonight.
  • Pittsburgh is 68-83. They've lost 11-of-12 and scored 15 runs in the losses.
  • The steady losing is showing up in the Bucco pocketbook: The team averaged almost 31,000 tickets sold per game in 2015 but are down to the 24,000 range this yer, per KDKA-TV. And that's just tickets sold, not actual attendance with its peripheral financial spinoffs. Today's attendance was 16,283.

Monday: Brew Crew in Town; Jamo v Brent Suter, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: The Brewers visit PNC Park tonight with first pitch at 7:05. AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan will carry the game. The Pirates Puppy Pound is off the leash against Milwaukee as Jamo, Trevo and Steven Brault (with Tyler Glasnow to piggyback) toeing the slab this series. The clock is not a friend of the Brew Crew. Milwaukee is four games behind the Cubs and 2-1/2 games in arrears for the second wildcard spot with 13 games remaining.

Lineup: Jordy Mercer SS, Jordan Luplow LF, Cutch CF, David Freese 3B, Jose Osuna 1B, Gregory Polanco RF, Sean Rodriguez 2B, Elias Diaz C & Jameson Taillon P. No, we don't know...the lineups this entire year have baffled us and being w/o Starling, Amore & J-Hay while J-Bell (.225 v LHP and in a slump; understandable) & Fraze (.327 v LHP; not so understandable) get scratched by auto correct against lefties doesn't leave much of a menu selection.

Jamo on the rubber (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Jameson Taillon takes on Brent Suter (2-2, 3.66). Jamo hasn't pitched since giving up six runs and 11 hits in 4-2/3 IP to the Cubs on the 7th. JT's line in his last 11 outings is 2-4/7.17, and he's 1-2/3.76 in five career starts against the Brew Crew. He's 1-0 this season, winning a 4-2 decision over Jimmy Nelson on July 20th at PNC Park. We know the Bucs are trying to get him a good start to end the season, but with all he's been through this year, we would have shut him down and start working on getting on track for 2018. In three starts since coming off the DL, Suter hasn't gone longer than three innings/50 pitches. His last outing was against the Pirates on Tuesday, and he worked three frames at Miller Park, giving up two runs on three hits w/three K and a walk.

Notes:
  • The Pirates have posted a 6-1 record and a 2.08 ERA in the seven games played against Milwaukee at PNC Park this season, winning the last four games. Pittsburgh is up 9-7 so far in the series this year.
  • Tyler Glasnow's next appearance will be Wednesday out of the bullpen. He'll get a clean inning after Steven Brault's start. And yes, if you believe the Pirates are operating without any direction at all this month, you would be right.
  • Cervy will be shut down for the year per Clint; that's the right move.
  • Cole Train has not only set a career high by giving up 30 homers this season, but he's close to the franchise mark of 32, set by Murry Dickson in 1951. Murry had 45 outings (35 starts) and 288-2/3 IP under his belt that year while Gerrit has made 31 starts and tossed 192 frames this campaign.

9/18 TRS-PNC Park Era: HBD Jody & Donnie; BB's 30/30, Team of the Century, WS Plaque,Game Stories

  • 1971 - The Bucs clinched at least a tie for the Eastern Division title (they sewed it up two games later) with a 4-0 win against the New York Mets at TRS. Richie Zisk smacked his first career home run to drive in a pair of runs and Dave Cash’s two-bagger plated the other two. Steve Blass tossed a two-hitter for the win. 
Jody Gerut 2005 Topps
  • 1977 - OF Jody Gerut was born in Springfield, Illinois. A touted outfield prospect, the Bucs got him at the 2005 deadline from the Cubs for Matt Lawton. He barely played for the Bucs (four games & 18 at-bats) as he haggled with the FO over a knee injury and sat out most of 2005; he wanted surgery, the Pirates felt it unnecessary, and a grievance was filed. Though the two sides settled, Gerut didn’t play in 2006, was released and after a season in the Dominican League returned with the Padres in 2008. By 2010, he was done; his numbers were good but he never got to 300 PAs for a season. A Stanford grad, he went into financial advising for MLB players and later became a player agent. 
  • 1979 - The Pirates scored three times in the first inning against the Expos at Olympic Stadium, then laid goose eggs for nine frames before finally solving Montreal pitching in the 11th to pull out a 5-3 victory. Willie Stargell had the game-deciding blow, a two-run homer in extras to win the game for Grant Jackson. 
  • 1984 - LHP Donnie Veal was born in Jackson, Mississippi. Veal was a second-round pick of the Cubs in 2005 and the Pirates took him in the Rule 5 draft of 2008. He stuck on the roster in 2009, being used as a reliever rather than starter, and put up a line of 1-0, 7.16 with 16 K in 16-⅓ IP but also 20 BB. He missed 2010 with TJ surgery, spent a year on the farm and then he was signed by the Chicago White Sox where he had two decent seasons in 2012-13 before arm troubles again laid him low. 
Donnie Veal 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter
  • 1987 - In a wild west shootout at TRS that took over 3-½ hours to play, the Pirates outhit the Mets to take a 10-9 victory. Mike Diaz went 4-for-5 with a 2B, 3B and four RBI, Junior Ortiz knocked in a pair, Felix Fermin had three hits and John Cangelosi homered, providing enough firepower for John Smiley to get the win in relief of Brian Fisher, with Jim Gott closing it out. 
  • 1992 - Barry Bonds hit his 30th homer of the season off Philadelphia's Terry Mulholland in the Pirates' 5-2 win at Veteran’s Stadium. Bonds became the fifth MLB player to date with a pair of 30-HR‚ 30-stolen bases seasons. The others were his dad Bobby‚ Willie Mays‚ Howard Johnson‚ and Ron Gant. 
  • 1998 - A state historical marker was dedicated outside TRS to honor the first World Series, with games 4-7 played at Exposition Park between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Americans in 1903. 
Photo: Brian Merzbach Ballpark Reviews
  • 1999 - The Pirate “Team of the Century,” voted on by fans, was announced. The winners were: C Jason Kendall, 1B Willie Stargell, 2B Bill Mazeroski, SS Honus Wagner, 3B Pie Traynor, LF Ralph Kiner, CF Lloyd Waner (barely over Andy Van Slyke), RF Roberto Clemente (leaving Paul Waner off the club), LHP Harvey Haddix (his perfect game eliminated the Pirates’ winningest pitcher, Wilbur Cooper), RHP Vern Law, RP Kent Tekulve (in a close race with ElRoy Face) and MGR Danny Murtaugh.

9/18 Expo Park-Forbes Field Era: HBD Heinie, Kitten, Ken & Roger; Ray & Vern's 20; Bucs Clinch; Paul's 200; Game Stories

  • 1865 - The Philadelphia Athletic Base Ball Club began a two-day series of four games against Allegheny City teams. The Enterprise, Lincoln, and Allegheny Clubs, as well as an all-star team of the best players from the three clubs, challenged the touring Athletics. The “Great Base Ball Tournament,” played in the Allegheny West Commons (then in Allegheny City and now known as North Side's West Park), marked the first time an out-of-town club visited the area, the first time a bleacher structure was built for fan seating locally, and likely the first time fans were charged admission to see a game (25 cents per game; 50 cents for all four). The Philadelphia AC won the four matches by a combined score of 247-42, per the Heinz History Center. 
  • 1889 - 3B Heinie Groh was born in Rochester, New York. He spent 15 years manning the hot corner for the NY Giants and Cincinnati Reds. The speedy Groh was an leadoff hitter extraordinaire, playing his invention, the bottle bat, to a .292 lifetime tune with a .373 OBP and 180 SBs. In 1927 Groh ended his career with Pittsburgh, playing only 14 games during the regular season (he had badly injured his knee in 1925, rendering him a bench player) and made his final big-league appearance as a pinch-hitter in the 1927 World Series; it was the fifth Fall Classic of his career. Per Sean Lahman of SABR: “When his playing days were over, Groh stayed in baseball, first as a minor league manager and later as a scout. He eventually returned to Cincinnati where he worked as a cashier at River Downs Race Track.” 
  • 1890 - The Pittsburgh Alleghenies switched their match against the Cleveland Spiders from Recreation Park to Canton’s Pastime Park, a minor league field (some cite Mahaffey Park, tho Pastime seems the more likely). It was the first of two games that season played at a neutral site (although 30 or so home games were played at opponent’s parks) in hopes of attracting a crowd larger than the team roster. The Spiders, who finished seventh in the NL with 44 wins, took the match 11-10 behind Ohio boy Cy Young, pitching in his rookie year. Pittsburgh would become baseball’s worst team ever at the end of the season with a 23-113 record; they would lose the top spot to the Spiders a decade later when Cleveland finished 20-134 in 1899. 
Fred was clutch (photo The Sporting News)
  • 1903 - The Bucs swept a twinbill from the Boston Beaneaters (aka Nationals) at Exposition Park in a pair of nail-biters, 7-6 & 6-5, to clinch the NL crown. The Pirates scored three times in the ninth in the opener and took the nightcap with a ninth-inning rally, too. In the first game, Fred Clarke was on first with two out when Hans Wagner doubled. Kitty Bransfield’s knock chased them both home and he scored the game-winner on Claude Richey’s knock. Clarke was the sparkplug in the second match, too, tripling in the ninth and scoring on Jimmy Sebring’s single. Sam Leever and Gus Thompson were both bloodied on the mound but each went the distance to earn the wins. The Boston Americans claimed the AL title the day before, and the teams announced that they would meet in the first World Series between the leagues to determine a champion. 
  • 1909 - Vic Willis stopped the Brooklyn Superbas on one hit‚ a Baltimore chop off the plate in the third inning by Zack Wheat. It was the nearest anyone came to a tossing a no-hitter at Forbes Field. Pittsburgh won‚ 6-0, with two hits each from Honus Wagner and Tommy Leach. 
  • 1925 - LHP Harvey Haddix was born in Medway, Ohio. The Kitten (he got that moniker as a rookie in St. Louis because of his similarities to veteran mentor Harry "The Cat" Brecheen) worked for the Pirates from 1959-63 with a line of 45-38/3.73. He won two games against the Yankees in the 1960 World Series, including the seventh, and tossed 12 perfect innings against the Milwaukee Braves on May 26th, 1959, losing in 13 frames, a game considered by many to be the best pitching performance in major league history. He was also the Pirates pitching coach from 1979-84. 
Kiki Cuyler 1925 Exhibits
  • 1925 - Kiki Cuyler collected four hits to launch a five-game hitting streak during which he banged out 15 knocks (he had three four-hit games in the span). C Earl Smith joined him with a four-rap day in a 9-7 win over the Boston Braves at Forbes Field to give the Pirates third hurler, Emil Yde, the win. The Pirates won all five of Kiki-streak games on their way to the NL and WS titles while Cuyler finished the campaign batting .357, the highest average of his career. 
  • 1930 - Ray Kremer picked up his 20th win of the year when he slipped by the Phils 6-5 at the Baker Bowl. He went the distance, surviving a pair of Chuck Klein homers behind a balanced Bucco attack that saw every Pirates position player reach base. It was Kremer’s second 20-win campaign; he won 20 in 1926, too. 
  • 1931 - The Bucs split a twinbill with Boston at Forbes Field, losing the opener 6-1 and taking the nitecap 4-1. It was a memorable day for Pie Traynor. He doubled and drove in a run in the first game, then went 4-for-4 in the closer with a HR & 2B, scoring twice and bringing home a pair. His three RBI for the day were #99, 100, & 101, giving him his fifth straight 100 RBI season, which set the franchise record. He finished the year with 103 runners chased home. In his career, Pie had seven 100+ RBI campaigns and drove in 1,273 runs, the fourth highest total in franchise history, behind only Willie Stargell, Honus Wagner and Roberto Clemente. 
Pie Traynor 1931 W517 Strip Card
  • 1937 - Paul Waner established a 20th century NL record with his eighth year of 200+ hits (he finished the year with 219 raps) when he collected three knocks against the Brooklyn Robins in a 3-2 win at Forbes Field. Pittsburgh’s Cy Blanton outlasted Freddie Fitzsimmons for the victory behind Gus Suhr’s pair of RBI. Big Poison had a string of 14 consecutive campaigns with 150+ hits that finally ended in 1940 when he was 37 years old. 
  • 1938 - Pitching on one day’s rest (he worked 6-⅓ innings against the Braves on 9/16), Russ Bauers threw a complete game four-hitter at the Phillies and took a 1-0 victory as Paul Waner drove in pinch runner Johnny Dickshot in the ninth at Shibe Park. The second game was also a pitching duel between the Bucs’ Ed Brandt and Syl Johnson, but was called after five innings because of darkness with the score 1-1. 
  • 1948 - LHP Ken Brett was born in Brooklyn. The 14-year vet spent 1974-75 in Pittsburgh, winning an All-Star berth in ‘74 as the Pirates sole rep and winning the game. He went 22-14, 3.32 for the Bucs and hit .281 with three homers before being sent to the Yankees as part of a package for Doc Medich. After his career, Ken was an announcer, college coach and minor-league team owner. Sadly, after a six-year battle with brain cancer, he died in 2003 at age 55. 
Roger Mason 1992 Fleer Update
  • 1957 - RHP Roger Mason was born in Bellaire, Ohio. The nine-year vet rejuvenated his career in Pittsburgh from 1991-92, slashing 8-9-11/3.82. He worked for two World Series clubs and seven teams in his career while setting the dubious record of having the first three batters he faced in a game homer off him (They were San Diego Padres Marvell Wynn, Tony Gwynn and John Kruk. But that’s just a footnote; Mason’s Giants won the game.) He retired to his hometown after the 1994 season.  
  • 1960 - Vern Law joined the 20-win club with a complete game, 5-3 win in the lidlifter of a Sunday doubleheader at Cincinnati's Crosley Field. The Deacon won the 1960 Cy Young award with a 20-9 record and 3.08 ERA. The Bucs didn’t have another 20 game winner until John Candelaria went 20-5 in 1977. His support came from Dick Stuart and Don Hoak, both of whom homered, doubled and drove in two runs. The Pirates took the nitecap 1-0 as Vinegar Bend Mizell tossed a three hitter against the Reds and Bob Purkey. Ducky Schofield drove in the game’s only run.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Big Inning, Long Balls & Quiet Bucco Bats Give Reds the Sweep 5-2

Let the circle be unbroken. The Pirates and Reds entered the sixth at 0-0; Robert Stephenson and Gerrit Cole had each given up one hit (the Bucco rap was a double that belonged to Cole; it set up a second & third with no outs and top of the order situation. A strikeout and two pop ups took care of the only real threat the Pirates would mount.). The Corsairs continued to make young Mr. Stephenson look like the reincarnation of Cy Young (actually, you can replace Stephenson's name with just about anyone they've faced this month) in their half of the inning. We know that in tight contests, the Pirates pitchers will eventually walk someone and/or give up a homer to let it get away.

Cole Train did both. First he lost Jesse Winkler and then gave up a long ball to Eugenio Suarez, then rinse, lather, repeat: he walked Joey Votto and served a gopher ball to *sigh* Scooter Gennett. Huddy came in, got two quick K's, then hit Zach Vincej (who was taking his fourth major league at-bat) before getting banged for a triple by Tucker Barnhart. It's getting so the Fat Lady doesn't even hang around for the final three frames anymore before warbling, taking a bow and exiting stage right.

The big inning and the long ball (and no support) bit him again (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Deck McGuire did the honors in the seventh, getting nicked for a J-Bell knock before adding another zero to the board. Jack Leathersich got a pair of whiffs to go with a walk in his half of the frame. Luke Farrell took his turn in the eighth and did the walk/dinger thing, tossing four wide ones to Chris Bostick and then feeding a meatball to JJ to make it 5-2. He settled down after that and Johnny Barbato took the ball for the Bucs and tossed a 1-2-3 inning. Michael Lorenzen came on to turn out the lights; took him eight pitches.

For our money, Fraze and J-Bell should be playing everyday and the guys who don't have a MLB resume yet should be building one; we kinda know what S-Rod, JJ, Stew, Freeser, and for that matter, all the starters, bring to the table. Let all the kids loose for two weeks.

Notes:

  • J-Bell was the only Bucco to reach safely twice with a walk and a knock. The Pirates drew more free passes (4) than had hits (3).
  • Gerrit Cole has given up a career-high 30 homers this year; he had never given up more than 11 in any season prior to this.
  • The Pirates finished 6-13 v the Cincy Reds; they're just two games ahead of them in the battle for the basement. They're 5-11 for September and have lost 10-of-11, scoring 15 runs in the 10 defeats. 

Sunday: Reds Go For Sweep, Cole v Robert Stephenson, Lineup, Notes

Today: Familiar ground - the Bucs will try not to get swept again; the first toss at redemption is scheduled for 1:10. The game will be on AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan.

Lineup: John Jaso RF, Jordan Luplow LF, Cutch CF, Josh Bell 1B, David Freese 3B, Jordy Mercer SS, Sean Rodriguez 2B, Stew C, Gerrit Cole P. September Sunday lineup.

Cole Train toes the slab (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (11-10, 4.04) tries to get that pesky ERA under four today as he takes on Robert Stephenson (4-5, 5.45). Cole Train's last start was a 5-2 loss in Milwaukee; everyone oohed and aahed over his 10 K in six innings when the important number was the five runs. Still, he's been solid, going 8-4/3.50 over his last 17 starts. Cole Train has been a road warrior, slashing 7-1/2.90 in his last nine away outings. Traditionally, he's been thoroughly El Stinko v the Reds, but this year he's been good, bad and in-between, so we could see a gem as easily as a lump of coal. Like Sal Romano yesterday, Stephenson is overcoming some early rough waters with a nice stretch starting in August. He's gone 4-1/2.97 since then, throwing strikes (60%), notching whiffs (40 in 33-1/3 IP) and holding opponents to a .218 BA with his Achilles Heel being walks/pitch counts. In that six week span, he's faced the Bucs twice and held them to three runs in 11-1/3 frames, with Cincy taking both decisions.

Notes:
  • The Pirates were officially eliminated from playoff contention last night.As a sidebar, the loss left them 6-12 v the Redlegs this season.
  • Starling has been out the past couple of days with a sore shoulder; he's day-to-day.
  • After this afternoon's game, the Pirates head home for the start of an eight-game homestand against Milwaukee tomorrow. After a day off Thursday, the Bucs host St. Louis for three games and then close out the home schedule against Baltimore on September 26-27th after another day off on Monday.

9/17 Birthdays: HBD Brain, Oom Paul Otto, Wildfire, Whitey, Sam, Bob, Ed, Jim & Sean

  • 1870 - IF Dick “Brain” Padden was born in Wheeling, West Virginia. A middle infielder, he played his first three big league seasons in Pittsburgh (1896-98) and hit .265; he spent nine years total in the show. His nickname came about because of his baseball savvy, with words like “crafty” and “clever” used to describe his play. After he retired, Padden scouted for the St. Louis Browns & the Washington Senators and worked in the Ohio glass industry. 
Otto Krueger 1904 team photo
  • 1876 - Utilityman Otto Krueger was born in Chicago. Otto played 15 years of pro ball, seven in the majors. He suited up for the Pirates from 1903-04, hitting .219. Krueger missed the ‘03 World Series (he was recovering from a beaning) and was traded the next season as part of the package for Del Howard. He was nicknamed "Oom (Uncle) Paul” Otto after the president of the Transvaal, “Oom” Paul Kruger, as American audiences of his era were fascinated by the Boer War. 
  • 1882 - OF Frank “Wildfire” Schulte was born in Cochecton, New York. Frank played organized pro ball for 21 years, beginning his journey in 1902 after turning down $1,000 from his father to give up baseball and work in the family business. He was star for the Cubs and played in four World Series, but was on the downhill slope of his career in 1916 when he was traded to the Bucs. Frank hit .239 in Pittsburgh and was sold to the Phils; his last campaign was 1918. His nickname was somewhat self-anointed; he was a fan of actress Lillian Russell and a play she starred in by that title. That led him to name one of his racehorses Wildfire; eventually the sportswriters picked up on it and applied the moniker to him. 
  • 1893 - RHP Charles “Whitey” Glazner was born in Sycamore, Alabama. He pitched from 1920-23 for the Bucs, with a line of 27-18/3.48, with an exceptional 1921 campaign when Whitey went 14-5-1 with a 2.77 ERA. He was the first Pirates starter to open his career with five straight wins (he relieved twice in 1920), a record that held up until Zach Duke matched it in 2005. But he couldn’t repeat, and was traded to the Phils in 1923. 
Sam Streeter 1932 team photo
  • 1900 - LHP Sam Streeter was born in New Market, Alabama. After starting out with Birmingham and the Cuban League, Sam worked both sides of the local black league street, tossing for the Homestead Grays from 1928-30 and then finishing his career with a 1931-36 stint with the Pittsburgh Crawfords where he won an All-Star berth in 1933. Streeter had several pitches, but was known particularly for his curve and smarts in setting up a hitter. After his pitching days, Sam went to work at Jones and Laughlin steel mill for 29 years before retiring for good. 
  • 1918 - 3B Bob Dillinger was born in Glendale, California. Dillinger was a speedy contact hitter who lead the league in stolen bases from 1947-49. The Bucs had him for the last half of 1950 and first half of 1951. The 31-year-old hit a respectable .279 in 70 games as a platoon player, but his wheels weren’t what they use to be and he stole just six bases in that span. 
  • 1928 - NL ump Ed Vargo was born in Butler. A minor league catcher, he first called games while in the Army, then spent 1953-59 honing his craft in the minors before going on to have a long career in blue. He worked in the NL from 1960-83, retiring only because he hit the mandatory retirement age of 55, and then became the league supervisor, holding the post until 1997. He umped four World Series, four NLCS and four All-Star Games. Ed called eight no-hitters, including Sandy Koufax’s perfecto, did the game when Henry Aaron tied the Babe’s HR mark and was part of the first WS night game. He was inducted into the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1994. Vargo died at his home in Butler at age 79 in 2008. 
Jim Umbricht 1960 Topps Rookie Star insert
  • 1930 - RHP Jim Umbricht was born in Chicago. Umbricht joined the Pirates in 1959 in a minor league trade with the Braves. From 1959-61, he put up a line of 1-2-1, 5.12, in 19 games, mostly working in the minors. Umbricht was drafted by the expansion Houston Colt .45s in 1962 and became one of the NLs top tier set-up guys with a 2.33 ERA in 69 games from 1962-63. Diagnosed with melanoma in March 1963, his return to baseball following surgery made headlines and spurred research & funding to fight the cancer. Umbricht's health deteriorated after the season and he passed away in April of 1964 at age 33 with his ashes spread over the construction site of the Astrodome. The team retired Umbricht's #32 and wore black armbands in his honor for the 1964 season. 
  • 1982 - LHP Sean Burnett was born in Dunedin, Florida. The southpaw made his Pittsburgh debut in 2004 as a starter. After surgery made him sit out a year, he returned in 2008-09 as a reliever, slashing 7-8-1, 4.54 as a Pirate. Since the Pirates traded him to Washington at the 2009 deadline, he’s tossed for the Nats (three times), Angels, Dodgers, Braves and Twins, again proving that lefties have a long MLB shelf life. He was released by the Phils during camp in 2017 and hasn’t worked since.

9/17 Events: 9/11, Frankie Swipes, Leyland Leaves, Cover Boy Willie, JHK Breaks Leg...

  • 1915 - Rookie Carmen “Specs” Hill won his first start, 5-0, over the NY Giants in the second game of a twin bill at Forbes Field. Hill pitched eight years for the Pirates, winning 22 games in 1927 for the NL pennant winners. He also became the second MLB pitcher to wear glasses; Lee Meadows, who became a Bucco teammate of Hill in the twenties, was the first big leaguer to sport peepers earlier in the season. The Bucs won the opener 9-6 behind Wilbur Cooper. 
  • 1966 - Willie Stargell was featured on the cover of The Sporting News for the story “Plundering Pirate.” Pops had a banner year, hitting .315 with 33 HR and 102 RBI while earning his third straight All-Star nod. 
  • 1977 - Frank Taveras tied and then broke Max Carey’s single season team record of 63 stolen bases, which was set in 1916, during a 6-3 Bucco victory over the Expos in Montreal (Omar Moreno stole 96 sacks in 1980). Scheduled starter Jerry Reuss was scratched after warming up, and his short-notice replacement Ed Whitson pitched five innings for the win as Goose Gossage tossed the final four frames to earn his 23rd save. 
  • 1996 - Manager Jim Leyland announced that he’d leave the Pirates at the end of the season. The two-time Manager of the Year quickly found a new job as skipper of the Florida Marlins, signing a five-year deal with the Fish on October 4th and then winning the World Series. 
Jim Leyland (photo via MLB.com)
  • 2001 - After a week of mourning following the Twin Towers attack, MLB baseball resumed. At PNC Park, the Pirates handed out "I Love NY" buttons to fans (the scheduled flag giveaway was delayed when the manufacturer couldn’t meet the dateline), a banner in left field read, "NYC, USA, We Are Family" and the Bucs wore flags on their sleeves and decals on their helmets. Fans signed a giant poster of support for NYC and over the course of two days, nearly $300,000 was donated for various related causes such as the NYC Police & Firemens pension and for groups active in NYC’s recovery. The baseball faithful weren’t quite ready to return to normalcy - over 25,000 tickets had been sold for the game, but only about 8,000 folk showed up at the yard, passing through a new, heightened security protocol. One fan told the Post Gazette “It’s going to be hard to cheer. How can you cheer when people are still buried? But life needs to go on.” The game started with an ovation for the teams - the Mets, appropriately, were in town - and chants of "USA, USA." NY won the game 4-1, scoring three times in the ninth to break open a tight game started by Todd Ritchie and Al Leiter. 
  • 2009 - The USA's Pedro Alvarez became the fifth player to hit three home runs in a single Baseball World Cup game. El Toro drove in six runs during a 14-3 defeat of Taiwan on the road to the US’ 2009 BWC crown. Alvarez, a Vanderbilt All-American and the Pirates first-round pick of 2008, made his MLB debut the following year. 
Pedro Alvarez 2010 Topps Pro Debut
  • 2015 - Rookie IF Jung-Ho Kang broke his leg and tore a ligament in his knee when he was upended by the Cubs' Chris Coghlan on a take-out slide in a game with playoff implications at PNC Park. Kang and Coghlan both accepted it as part of the game though JHK missed the rest of the season and didn’t play again until May of 2016. The Bucs lost the game, 9-5, but held off Chicago in the race to host the Wild Card Game, which Chicago won behind Jake Arrieta.

9/17 Games: Hans Last Game, Barry Bonds 100, Jay Bell 22, Bucs 18-of-22, 11 Straight, Eight Boots...

  • 1917 - Hans Wagner, at the age of 43, played his final game in a 15-inning, 4-1 loss to the Boston Braves at Forbes Field going 0-for-2. Ralph Davis of the Pittsburg Press wrote “Wagner did not practice but he played second base for the last five innings. Honus has a very sore right hand which prevents him from properly grasping either ball or bat and he was not anxious to play…” and also was suffering from a badly spiked foot injured in July. The Flying Dutchman sat out the final 12 dates (16 games in all, w/four doubleheaders), finishing his last campaign hitting .265 and retiring as the NL's all-time hit leader with 3,418 knocks.
Ray Kremer 1925 (photo Conlon Collection/TSN)
  • 1927 - The Pirates won their 10th and 11th games in a row, sweeping the Brooklyn Robins 2-1 and 6-0. Vic Aldridge won the opener and drove in a run to help himself. Ray Kremer tossed his third shutout in four outings while Lloyd Waner banged out his 200th hit of the season, becoming the first MLB rookie to reach that mark in the 20th century. 
  • 1939 - In a 7-3 loss to Philly, the Bucs set a club record with eight errors - 3B Frankie Gustine alone had three misplays - and every Philadelphia run was unearned. The game was the opener of a doubleheader at Forbes Field. The Pirates played flawlessly in the field during the nitecap to earn a split with a 10-1 victory. Bob Klinger not only tossed a four-hitter, but went 3-for-4 at the plate and scored twice. Paul Waner and Arky Vaughan homered.
  • 1973 - Willie Stargell went 4-for-4 with a homer, triple, and two doubles good for four RBI as the Bucs beat the Mets 10-3 at TRS. Richie Zisk and Milt May both went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI each. Bruce Kison got the win and Chris Zachary earned a three-inning save. It put the Bucs up by 1-½ games, but they would lose the flag in the race no one wanted, winning just 80 games and finishing 2-½ games behind the Metropolitans. 
Doc Medich 1976 Topps
  • 1976 - Behind Doc Medich and Dave Giusti’s combined six-hitter, the Bucs defeated the Mets 4-1 at Shea Stadium for their 18th win in 22 games. Frank Taveras’ two run single in the fifth was the telling blow. The win made the NL East race interesting. The Pirates cut Philadelphia’s lead down to three games, but it would be the closest they came as they finished with 92 wins, nine games behind the Phils. 
  • 1979 - The Pirates moved back into first with a 2-1 victory against their chief competitors, the Montreal Expos, in a game played in front of 54,609 fans at Olympic Stadium. Pittsburgh took the lead in the fifth when Dave Parker collected his second RBI of the day by scoring pitcher Don Robinson, who just beat the tag of Gary Carter. Robinson was strong on the hill, too, tossing a six-hitter and getting stronger as the game went on. In the final four frames, he surrendered just an infield single, and that runner was caught stealing. Still, it remained a see-saw race in the NL East; Pittsburgh didn’t take control of the standings for good until September 25th, and didn’t clinch the pennant until the final day of the campaign. 
  • 1991 - The Pirates pounded the Cubs 9-2 at TRS. Barry Bonds hit his 25th homer off former Buc Mike Bielecki and drove in a pair to become the eighth Bucco to have consecutive 100+ RBI campaigns. Steve Buechele drove in three runs with a 2B, 3B & sac fly, four different Pirates scored twice and Doug Drabek cruised to his 14th win with a ninth inning mop-up from Bob Patterson. 
Jay Bell 1992 Topps
  • 1992 - It took thirteen innings, but the Pirates finally defeated the Montreal Expos 3-2 at TRS. Danny Cox, the Bucs’ sixth pitcher, got the win after Cecil Espy led off the 13th with a triple and scored on Jay Bell’s infield single to the SS hole. The game took four hours and 35 minutes to play, but was worth the time for Bell, who had two hits and ran his hitting streak, which had began on 8/24, to 22 games before the Phils’ Terry Mulholland stopped him the next night. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Buc Bats Quiet Again As Reds Win 2-1

Well, the ol' Ivan made a return appearance; through six innings, he faced the minimum number of batters (and with just 63 pitches). Joey Votto's fourth-inning single was the only Reds hit, and he was caught napping by Eli, who fired a bullet to first to pick Votto off, with a very nice snag & tag by J-Bell. The Bucs supported the great effort not at all. One Pirates runner reached second in seven innings against Sal Romano. Jesse Winkler banged a leadoff homer in the Reds half - their second hit - and after a double & walk sandwiched around an out, the trainer came out to check on Ivan. He left gingerly after a brief chat with Clint and Dovydas Neverauskas came on. Chief ump Joe West sent him back rto the bullpen, and Dan Runzler then toed the slab (apparently Runzler was who Clint told Joe was replacing Ivan and Dovydas didn't get the memo). Pinch hitter Scooter Gennett, high on the list of Pirates pest, singled in a run to make it 2-0, although the Bucs did get the runner at third.

Ivan was good; Sal Romano was better (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

The Pirates continued their silence at the plate and West allowed a properly introduced Dovy to toss the eighth, which he did quietly. Kevin Shackelford, who has no saves (his last was in 2012 in Class A ball) and a 5.32 ERA, came in to close. He's still looking for that save after giving up a solo shot to Cutch and then walking Freeser with two outs. LHP Cody Reed came on to pitch against Gregory Polanco while Chris Bostick ran for David. Lots of wheel spinning to end up with a game-ending grounder to second. Judging by the results this month, the Pirates FO better focus on finding a bat or three to add to the 2018 lineup, especially if Andrew changes addresses.

Notes:
  • Cutch and Eli had two hits each; the rest of the team had two raps.
  • The Bucs are 68-81 and have to win their remaining 13 games to finish .500. They've lost nine of their last 10 and scored two or fewer runs in eight of those contests.
  • Ivan departed from the game with right calf discomfort and is day-to-day, per the Pirates. Nova said post-game that it was tightening on him during the inning and that he expects to be able to make his last start.

Saturday: Pirates at GABP, Nova v Sal Romano, Lineup, Notes

Today: Game Two at Cincinnati starts at  4:10. It will be on AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan.

Lineup: Adam Frazier 2B, Jordan Luplow LF, Cutch CF, Josh Bell 1B, David Freese 3B, Gregory Polanco RF, Elias Diaz C, Jordy Mercer SS & Ivan Nova P. Freeser is starting his 91st game at third; we know he's just about the only guy hitting, and good thing too as it's apparent that the Pirates don't have anyone internally (other than Jung Ho Kang) to even look at as a replacement. When J-Hay went down, it left the team with no one even minimally capable of playing the hot corner. That was a hole coming into the season and still one heading into next year.

Ivan's looking for second-half answers (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Ivan Nova (11-13, 4.25) takes on Sal Romano (4-6, 4.54) in the middle game. Nova's had a spectacular fall from grace - after going 9-6/3.21 in 18 starts prior to the All-Star break, he's gone 2-7/6.62 in nine starts since. His last outing was a loss to St. Louis Sunday. Ivan is winless (0-7) in his last seven road starts and isn't a real good matchup with the Reds. His career line against them is 3-4/ 4.68 in eight career starts and he's slashing worse this campaign. Nova is 0-3/7.25 ERA in three games, losing a 9-3, 4-2 and a 9-5 decisions to Cincy. Romano had a tough start to his rookie campaign, including a 6-0 loss to the Pirates in their only meeting, but has put it together in the last month. He's gone 2-1/2.64 in his last five starts (he's given up three runs just once in that span) and the Reds have won four of those games, so Sal's on a roll coming into today's match.

Notes:
  • BTW, Nova lost a chance to qualify for some bonus money based on starts and innings when he was swapped out of his last scheduled outing. We've seen the club go through all sorts of hoops over the years to save a buck, but think this case is justified by Ivan's performance falling short, not FO short-changing. Even with the bad second half, Nova has 173-2/3 IP, a single-season career high for the righty, and both he and Jamo have been on pretty long leashes considering their second-half work.
  • J-Bell has gone 3-for-21 in his last six games while Eli has five hits in his last 30 at bats over eight games.
Elias has been a mixed bag so far (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • The bat may be weak (.233) bat the arm is strong: Elias Diaz has gunned five of the 14 runners attempting to steal against him.
  • Stumblin' toward the line: the Pirates have lost eight of their last nine games.

9/16 From the 60’s Forward: Rennie's 7; Bucs Boot 7; HBD Scott, Mark, Michael & Brandon; Game Stories

  • 1961 - RHP Scott Medvin was born in North Olmstead, Ohio. The Pirates picked up Scott (along w/Jeff Robinson) as part of the 1987 Rick Reuschel deal with the Giants. He worked from 1988-89 with the Bucs going 3-1, 5.03 in 23 appearances from the pen. The Pirates sent him to Seattle for Lee Hancock, and he worked his final season for the M’s. 
Scott Medvin 1989 Topps
  • 1961 - C Mark Parent was born in Ashland, Oregon. Mark spent 13 years in the show as a back-up catcher with his busiest season in 1995 as a Bucco. He got into 69 games and amassed over 200 AB for the only time in his career that year, hitting .232 but with 15 HR. Mark was sent to the Cubs in late August, and he stayed in the show through the 1998 campaign. He’s spent most of his time since retiring as a minor league coach/manager, bouncing from system to system. 
  • 1962 - The San Francisco Giants scored three times off Al McBean and Roy Face in the eighth inning on a Willie Mays homer to tie the Bucs 4-4 at Forbes Field. The Pirates then stranded five runners in the eighth and ninth, but finally claimed the win in the 10th frame when pinch hitter Smoky Burgess launched a two-run shot off Stu Miller to give Joe Gibbon and Pittsburgh a 6-4 walk-off victory. Willie Stargell made his first MLB appearance in this game. It wasn’t very auspicious - he K’ed pinch hitting in the 10th, just before Smoky went long. 
  • 1969 - In front of a Connie Mack Stadium crowd that barely edged into four figures (1,169), Bob Moose set the record for whiffs by a Bucco righty when he sat down 14 Phillies in a 9-5 victory. The Export product struck out the side once and got a K in every frame. Jose Pagan and Matty Alou had three hits each while Pagan and Al Oliver homered. 
  • 1975 - Rennie Stennett matched a major league record by going 7-for-7 in a nine-inning game in Chicago at Wrigley Field (he tied Wilbert Robinson’s 1892 record). Rennie started off with two more hits the next game for nine knocks in a row. Dave Parker had five RBI while Richie Heber & Frank Taveras added three more; to add insult to injury, John Candelaria, Ken Brett and Ramon Harris spun a three-hitter. The 22-0 romp over the Cubs was the Pirates franchise’s biggest margin of victory and the most one-sided shutout in MLB history. 
  • 1982 - Utilityman Michael Martinez was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The good glove, bad bat bench guy stopped in Pittsburgh in 2014 and hit just .128 in 26 games. Through the 2017 season, he’s played seven years for five teams,usually serving as a minor league insurance policy for the big club. 
  • 1983 - 1B/OF Brandon Moss was born in Monroe, Georgia. Moss joined the Pirates from Boston as part of the Jason Bay package and from 2008-10 hit .228 in 195 games. He went on to have three solid years with the Oakland A’s, including an All-Star campaign in 2014 and has settled into a low batting average, 20+ HR bat since his Pittsburgh days during his 11-year, seven-team journey through the show. 
Brandon Moss 2009 Topps Heritage
  • 1985 - The Pirates were charged with seven errors during an 8-4 loss to the Cards in front of just 3,601 at TRS. It was a bad day all around; the Bucs also lost the second game of the doubleheader 3-1 to be swept by St. Louis. The defeats dropped Pittsburgh to a 47-94 mark on their way to a last place finish and 104 losses. 
  • 2013 - Andrew Casher faced the minimum 27 Bucco batters as he one-hit the Pirates 2-0 at PNC Park. Jose Tabata broke up the perfect game with a seventh inning leadoff single; he was erased an out later on a 6-4-3 DP off the bat of Andrew McCutchen. The game was a scoreless duel into the seventh when three ground ball singles off AJ Burnett led to the Padres pair of runs.

9/16 Through the 50’s: HBD Sam & Con, Rizzo's 20, Kiner's 40, Red's 8, Gems...

  • 1870 - LHP Sam Moran was born in Rochester, New York. A 22-game winner for Nashville in the Southern Association who had bested Cy Young in an exhibition game against Cleveland, the Pirates bought his contract in mid-August and he went 2-4/7.47 in 10 games, walking 51 batters in 62-⅔ IP. That ended Sam’s major league stint; he hung around in the minors for a couple of more seasons before getting on with his life’s calling.
Rube Robinson 1912 (photo Gail Roberson/Argenweb)
  • 1912 - Pittsburgh won its 12th game in a row by beating the Brooklyn Superbas 2-1 at Washington Park behind Rube Robinson’s four hitter. The Bucs got their runs in the second inning when Honus Wagner tripled and jogged home in front of Chief Wilson’s homer. The Pirates were a strong club, finishing 93-58, but that was only good enough for second place in the NL, 10 full games behind the champion NY Giants. 
  • 1922 - RHP Cornelius “Con” Dempsey was born in San Francisco. Con was a highly touted sidewinder with the old San Francisco Seal teams of the Joe DiMaggio era. He led the Pacific Coast League in strikeouts twice but never quite got over the hump. In 1951, he was called up to the major leagues, pitching seven innings for the Pirates in three games (two starts, 0-2/9.00) before being released. He also attended spring training with the Philadelphia Phillies before getting cut. Dempsey pitched in the PCL through the 1953 season and then went on to coaching & teaching at San Francisco's Giannini Middle School. 
  • 1935 - Mace Brown tossed 5-1/3 frames of one-hit, shutout ball from the pen to beat the Boston Braves 5-3 at Forbes Field. Gus Suhr subbed at 1B in the last inning to run his streak of consecutive games played to 619‚ breaking the old NL mark of Eddie Brown. Suhr wouldn’t miss a game until 1937, running his streak to 822 games. 
Johnny Rizzo 1938 (photo: The Sporting News)
  • 1938 - Johnny Rizzo became the first Pirate to hit 20 home runs in a season (Gus Suhr held the team record with 19 long balls in 1935) in a 5-4 loss to the Boston Bees’ Dick Errickson at Braves Field. Rizzo, a 25-year old Texan who was hurt the following season and never played regularly for the Bucs again, finished the campaign batting .301 with 23 round trippers and 111 RBIs. That contest was the nightcap of a twin bill; the Pirates took the opener 7-6. The first game was wide open with all hands on deck. The 13 runs scored by the two teams featured 11 different players plating and 11 others driving them in. The second game was all ninth inning heroics; the Pirates scored twice to take a 4-2 lead; the Braves answered with a three-spot to take the contest. Pittsburgh held on to a three-game lead in the NL with the split, but would lose 6-of-7 at the end of the month to finish second to the Cubs by two games. 
  • 1944 - The Reds Tommy de la Cruz spun a one-hitter at Forbes Field to take home a 2-1 win. The Bucs only hit was a first inning triple by Frank Colman, driving in Jim Russell who had walked. Max Butcher took the loss when Steve Mesner drove home Ray Mueller with a ninth inning tally. The Bucs had no answer for them: Mesner had both Cincy RBI and Mueller scored both runs. 
  • 1950 - Cliff Chambers and Boston's Vern Bickford dueled through 11 scoreless innings before the Bucs broke it open in the 12th at Braves Field. Two walks‚ a wild pitch‚ and four singles gave the Pirates a 4-0 win, with Pete Castiglione’s two-run knock the big blow. Both pitchers went the distance, with Chambers tossing a six-hitter for the victory. 
Cliff Chambers 1950 Bowman
  • 1951 - Ralph Kiner set an NL record by hitting his 40th homer, the fifth consecutive year he reached that mark. The blast came during a DH loss to the NY Giants at Forbes Field, in the seventh inning of the opener against Larry Jensen. The only other player to hit 40 home runs for five or more straight seasons was Babe Ruth, who did it for seven campaigns between 1926-32. 
  • 1958 - George “Red” Witt won his eighth straight game, 2-1, over the Cards. For Witt, it was his last appearance of the year as he left the club to finish his senior year at Long Beach State. He finished 9-2, and his 1.61 ERA in 106 innings was the NL's top mark. He came to camp next season with a sore elbow and went 0-7 with a 6.96 ERA in 1959. Red won just two more games before retiring in 1962, but did work 2-⅔ scoreless IP in the 1960 World Series. Red’s win was the conclusion of a suspended game; the Bucs took two behind Ronnie Kline 3-1 as Dick Stuart and Bob Skinner combined for six hits, three RBI and two runs scored in the regular schedule.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Redlegs Hit Homers, Bucs Don't - Cincy Takes Opener 4-2

Cutch legged a two-out infield knock in the first off Homer Bailey. The throw missed the target at first, Andrew headed to second and didn't make it; seems to be a lot of that tossed-out-on-the-bases going around lately. Joey Votto made sure he'd avoid a TOOTBLAN by dropping a ball into the RC field seats off Chad Kuhl. The Bucs tied it in the third - Eli doubled and eventually came home on J-Lups sac fly. The lead didn't last long; Zack Cozart's solo shot gave the Reds the edge again. Chad was one of the stingiest pitchers in giving up long balls, but welcome to GABP... Kuhl stranded a pair after the longball. It got worse; Cozart smacked another HR in the fifth, then Scott Schebler dropped a ball into the seats, this one barely reaching the first row, to make it 4-1 and bringing in Edgar Santana.

Chad had a rare case of gopher ball-itis tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

The Bucs loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth after a walk and plunking book-ended a Freeser double. Michael Lorenzen took the ball and got Eli on a roller to first. The Reds returned the favor, leaving packed sacks in their half. Lorenzen and AJ Schugel exchanged quiet seventh frames. Lorenzen put a couple on in the eighth, then Raisel Iglesias came in and struck a couple out. Felipe Rivero bopped a Redleg but otherwise had no other messages to send. Iglesius walked Mad Max in a good, eight-pitch at-bat and in another pro battle, Fraze whacked his eighth pitch for a two-out triple, bringing up the tying run. But the Bucco streak ended with J-Lup, who lined out to left.

So far, the pups aren't knocking down the door for next year. The BAs of Elias Diaz (.233), Jose Osuna (.242), Jordan Luplow (.240) & Max Moroff (.190; he's K'ed six times in his last nine trips to the dish) aren't exactly screaming "play me." We'll see how those averages look a couple weeks down the line.

The Pirates have to decide on Eli for 2018 (photo via MiLB)
Notes:
  • Freeser had two hits; Fraze and J-Bell had a knock and a walk as the Bucs cpllected seven hits total.
  • Tonight was the first time since May 26th when Neil Walker took him deep twice at PNC Park that Chad Kuhl has allowed multiple dingers in a game and the first time he's allowed more than two long balls in a game in his career.
  • RHP Drew Hutchison cleared waivers and was outrighted to Indy; in effect, he's been removed from the 40-man roster. Hutchison earned $2.3M this year and has two more years of arb. Hutch is surely going to be non-tendered during the off-season and is eligible for minor-league free agency this year at any rate. The housekeeping broom strikes...
  • The KC Royals snapped Cleveland's record 22-game-long winning streak with a 4-3 victory at Progressive Field. Congrats to the Tribe; that's one great run.

Friday: Pirates-Reds, Kuhl v Homer Bailey, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: The weekend joust at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park begins at 7:10 and will be on AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan.

Lineup: Adam Frazier 2B, Jordan Luplow LF, Cutch CF,Josh Bell 1B, David Freese 3B, Greg Polanco RF, Elias Diaz C, Max Moroff SS, Chad Kuhl. This is a September lineup; still can't figure why Freeser doesn't get a blow sometimes.

Chad closing out strong (photo Joe Guzy/Pirates)

Pitchers: Chad Kuhl (7-10, 4.21) vs. Homer Bailey (4-8, 7.26). The 25-year-old Cool Chad will be making his 30th start of the season (who had that on their 2017 prediction list?), and he's gone 5-4/2.99 in his last 14 with his slider becoming a wipe-out pitch. He gave up just two hits and two runs (one earned) in six frames Saturday night but received a no-decision in a 4-3 Bucco loss to the Cards. Good news: His 0.79 HR/per nine ratio is the second-lowest in the NL behind Stephen Strasburg (0.75). Bad news: He's lost his last three road decisions and only has won once away from PNC, that game being in July against Philly. He's faced the Reds once, pitching seven scoreless innings in winning a 6-0 decision in August at PNC Park. Homer's problem lately has been going one inning over the line; he's been working six strong frames only to have the wheels fall off later, so look for him to maybe have a shorter leash although the Reds bullpen isn't exactly shutdown. Bailey won his only start against the Pirates this season, tossing six innings of one-run, four-hit ball on August 1st.

Notes:
  • The Bucs have gone 6-10 against the Reds this season, winning the last two games and four of the last five after a dismal start.
  • Cutch’s 532 career extra-base hits rank seventh in club history behind six Hall-of-Famers: Willie Stargell (953), Honus Wagner (865), Paul Waner (852), Roberto Clemente (846), Pie Traynor (593) and Max Carey (590). He won't catch any of them this year, and one of the off-season's big questions is if he'll be back to continue the chase in 2018.
  • A for effort - Cervy is running bases and doing some catching as he's making a pretty determined bid to get off the DL and see some action before the season ends.
Hey, don't forget me, sez Amore (photo Pittsbirgh Pirates)
  • Speaking of catchers, maybe we shouldn't fall asleep on Jacob Stallings. The 27-year-old hit .301 with 16 doubles, four homers and 38 RBI in 62 games for Indy and finished the AAA regular season with a 10-game hitting streak. He's always had the defensive chops; hard to tell if the bat is blooming late or if the bat gods have looked kindly upon him this year.
  • Altoona won the Eastern League title 4-2 over Trenton yesterday. Pitcher Mitch Keller had a big day on the hill, reliever Johnny Hellweg danced out of a bases-loaded, one-out spot in the eighth, closer Tate Scioneaux brought it home and on the attack, C Jin-De Jhang tripled with the bases packed to give the Curve the crown. It was their first since 2010; they also won that one against Trenton.
  • The Pirates have announced their instruct roster; it includes 104 players, almost all from Class A and lower (there are a handful of Curve players included) that will spend a few weeks in Florida sharpening up their games. The are several prospects: P's Mitch Keller, Taylor Hearn, Shaz Bane, Braedon Ogle & Brandon Waddell w/position guys Stephen Alemais, Kevin Kramer, Wyatt Mathison and Cole Tucker.