Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sunday - Bucs & Cards at Williamsport, Nova v Mike Leake, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: Pittsburgh closes out the St. Louis series in Williamsport with the first pitch due at 7:08. ESPN and 93.7 The Fan will carry the "Little League Classic" match from Bowman Field, newly renovated (it's the second oldest minor league field, built in 1926) but still limited in seating at 2,400 or so. It will be the first major league game ever played in the city.

Lineup (with nickname): Starling Marte LF (Tato), Josh Harrison 2B (J-Hay), Andrew McCutchen CF (Cutch), Josh Bell 1B (JB), David Freese 3B (Davehuman), Adam Frazier RF (Fraz), Jordy Mercer SS (The Rook), Chris Stewart C (Stew), Ivan Nova P (Super Nova). The little leaguers get to see the Pirates A-Team, as it stands today.

Ivan's looking for another strong start (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Ivan Nova (10-10, 3.77) closes out the set against Mike Leake (7-11, 3.88). Ivan tossed it pretty well against last time out, so hopefully he's catching a second wind after taking on water for a long stretch. But he's lost his last four decisions and hasn't won a game since July 18th. He's faced the Redbirds once, throwing 78 pitches in a complete game, but losing 2-1 to Lance Lynn in April at Busch Stadium. Leake is going through a rough period. He's 1-5/6.39 in his last eight starts with a .371 oppo BA (thx to an unlucky .404 BABIP) and was toasted in his last outing. Leake beat the Bucs in April 2-1 and has two no-decisions since then in an 8-4 Redbird win and a 5-2 Bucco victory. We've got a pair of vet workhorse guys trying to toss their way out of a summer doldrum as tonight's feature at Williamsport.

Notes:
  • Both teams can add a 26th man (position player) for today's MLB Little League Classic. The Bucs reportedly brought up C Jacob Stallings while the Cards added OF Stephen Piscotty.
  • Both teams will be sporting little-league themed jerseys with nicknames on the back nameplate; good luck in figuring some of them out.
  • This is the first home game played by the Pirates at a neutral site since September 22nd, 1890, when they played the New York Giants in Wheeling, West Virginia (they also moved a game to Canton, Ohio). That club was one of the worst ever put on the field; they shifted nearly 30 home games to opponents fields because they couldn't attract anyone to watch them play at Exposition Park.
Max returning to his Little League roots (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • Lots of Pittsburgh links to Williamsport: Bowman Field is the home of the Class-A Williamsport Crosscutters of the New York-Penn League, which was a Pirates farm club from 1954-56 and again from 1999-2006. Cutch played for the Crosscutters for 13 games in 2005, and would eventually become the first C-Cutter to win a MVP Award. Jordy Mercer made his first professional appearance at Bowman Field while playing for the State College Spikes in 2008. Bucco manager Clint Hurdle met his wife, Karla, while he was serving as the manager of the Williamsport Bills in the New York Mets’ farm system during the 1991 campaign and coach Tom Prince managed two seasons in Williamsport (2005-06), taking the ‘Cutters to the playoffs in his first season. Max Moroff played there as a lad in the LLWS and Maz made his pro debut with Williamsport in 1954.

8/20 Happenings: HBD Bull, Al & Matt, Montanez & Cozy Deals, Danny's #1,000 Win, Omar's Swipes & More

  • 1890 - OF Lew “Bull” Smith was born in Plum,West Virginia. He was raised in an orphanage but overcame that humble beginning to become a WVU grad (he won a law degree). Bull played sparingly in the MLB, with his 13-game season with the Pirates his longest stay, hitting .143. Baseball wasn’t his only strong suit, though - he was also a halfback for the Canton Bulldogs in 1905-06, playing in the NFL’s forerunner, the Ohio League. He managed and played locally at Clarksville and Charleston after his big league days and later became a lumberman and school teacher. 
  • 1883 - According to Charlton’s Baseball Chronology, after the Eclipse-Pittsburgh game at Exposition Park (won by Louisville 8-2), Allegheny OFs Billy Taylor and Mike Mansell‚ along with 2B George Creamer, were each fined $100 and suspended indefinitely for drunkenness. 
Al Lopez 1946 (photo Acme News Service)
  • 1908 - Hall of Fame catcher Al Lopez was born in Tampa. He caught seven years (1940-46) for the Pirates, hitting .254 with a rep as one of finest defensive catchers in baseball, earning a 1941 All-Star berth. After his playing days, Lopez had success as a manager of the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox. 
  • 1913 - The Pirates traded P Howie Camnitz and 3B Bobby Byrne to the Philadelphia Phillies for third baseman Albert “Cozy” Dolan and cash. Camnitz and Byrne were at the end of their effective careers (Bryne had a strong 1914 before fading), and Dolan was traded at the end of the year, so though a couple of big names were involved, it ended up a minor deal. Cozy was banned from baseball in 1924 as a coach after being involved with a bribe offer during a heated pennant race. He didn’t get his nickname by being cozy with the bookies, though, but rather from a namesake baseball predecessor, Patrick “Cozy” Dolan. Fortunately for scorekeepers, there was a five-year break between Patrick’s last game and Albert’s MLB debut. 
  • 1946 - The Pirates voted against recognizing the American Baseball Guild as their bargaining agent by a 15-3 count with 10 abstentions in a pre-game Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board election. They then blanked the Brooklyn Dodgers 10-0 at Forbes Field behind Nick Strincevich’s four hitter. Elbie Fletcher banged a three-run homer and Jim Russell had three hits that chased four Buccos home. 
Elbie Fletcher 1947 Tip-Top
  • 1961 - The Cubs and Pirates tied an NL record by playing their third straight extra-inning game at Wrigley Field. Chicago took this one 1-0 when Billy Williams singled home the winning run with two outs in the 11th, making Bob Friend a loser to Don Cardwell. The clubs had split the first pair; all three games went 11 innings. 
  • 1975 - Manager Danny Murtaugh’s 1,000th win (he finished with 1,115, all with the Buccos) was in the books after a 3-1 victory over the Giants at TRS. The Pirates scored all three of their runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on Craig Reynold’s double and a two-run knock by Rennie Stennett. Jim Rooker pitched eight innings of three-hit ball to earn the win with Dave Giusti closing it out. 
  • 1980 - Omar Moreno stole his 70th base of the year in a 5-1 loss at the Astrodome‚ becoming the first player in the 20th century with three consecutive 70-steal seasons. The Antelope swiped 71 in 1978‚ 77 in 1979‚ and finished 1980 with a career-high 96 successful larcenies. He swiped 412 sacks in an eight-year Bucco stay, behind only Max Carey (688) and Hans Wagner (639) in the franchise record book, and 487 bases during his career.
Omar Moreno 1980 Topps
  • 1981 - Pittsburgh traded John Milner to the Expos for Willie Montanez in a flip of reserve first basemen. Neither did much for their new teams, and Montanez was released after the 1982 season so the Pirates could bring Milner back for his final MLB campaign. 
  • 1985 - 1B Matt “The Hitman” Hague was born in Bellevue, Washington. The Pirates selected Hague in the ninth round of the 2008 draft out of Oklahoma State as a third baseman; he was switched to first because of Pedro Alvarez. He got his nickname because in the minors it was said all he did was hit, but in two Pittsburgh stays (2012 & 2014), he stroked just .222 and was waived to Toronto, where he played in 2015. After a year in Japan, he’s now in the Twins organization.

8/20 Games: Boot the Ball Day; Bob, Jose & Kris Gems; Game Stories

  • 1903 - The Pirates set a record for futility in the first inning of a twin bill at the Polo Grounds, committing six errors (they would boot eight balls during the game) and allowing seven runs to the NY Giants in a 13-7 loss. But they came back in the nitecap behind Deacon Phillippe, who tossed a five hit, 4-1 winner against NY, backed by Fred Clarke’s home run. The split kept the Pirates five games ahead of the G-Men in the NL pennant race.
Babe Dahlgren (photo via Baseball Birthdays)
  • 1945 - The Pirates hit two homers (Babe Dahlgren, Pete Cascarart), two triples (Lee Handley, Jim Russell) and two doubles (Tommy O’Brien, Johnny Barrett) to romp over the Brooklyn Dodgers 11-1 at Ebbet’s Field. The Dodgers added seven errors and six walks to the mix to make it an easy day for the Pirates. Preacher Roe went the distance for the win. 
  • 1947 - It wasn’t a very good day for pitchers as Pittsburgh bludgeoned its way to a 16-10 win over Boston at Braves Stadium. 19 players banged out 34 hits. The leader of the pack was the Pirates’ Jim Russell, who went 5-for-6 with a double and triple, five RBI and three runs scored. Jimmy Bloodworth wasn’t far behind, going 4-for-5 with three RBI and two runs. It wasn’t all on the hurlers; the teams combined to commit six errors, allowing 10 unearned runs to score. 
  • 1953 - The Pirates used four Philadelphia Phillies errors to beat Robin Roberts 5-2 at Connie Mack Stadium, ending his 15 game winning streak against them. The winner was 19-year-old Jim Waugh, who tossed a six hitter. Four of the Bucco runs were unearned.
Jim Waugh 1953 Topps
  • 1969 - Bob Veale tossed a four hitter with one walk and 10 Ks to defeat the Houston Astros and Denny Lemaster 1-0 at Forbes Field. The big lefty allowed just one runner beyond first during the contest. The game’s only run scored in the eighth, when back-to-back Astro errors and a successful bunt set up Roberto Clemente’s sac fly. 
  • 1983 - Jose DeLeon took a no-hitter into the seventh inning for the third time during the season‚ but Cincinnati's Dan Driessen doubled with two outs to spoil the no-no. DeLeon finished with 13 strikeouts and a 4-0 two-hit victory at TRS. Jason Thompson and Tony Pena had two hits, a run and a RBI each. 
  • 2002 - Pirate pitching held the Cardinals hitless after a one out single in the first at Busch Stadium. The 8-0 win was started by Kris Benson, with an inning each from Brian Boehringer and Al Reyes. Jason Kendall had three RBI, and five Bucs homered - Brian Giles, Aramis Ramirez, Rob Mackowiak, Craig Wilson and Adam Hyzdu. 
Reggie Sanders 2003 Topps 205
  • 2003 - Reggie Sanders hit a pair of homers in the fifth inning, including a grand slam‚ as the Bucs scored 10 times in the frame on the way to a 14-0 romp against the Cards at Busch Stadium. The Pirates homered six times (Sanders - 2, Rob Mackowiak - 2, Jason Kendall & Brian Giles), with a team record-tying four bombs in the fifth as Kendall, Giles and Sanders went back-to-back-to-back in the inning. Jeff D’Amico tossed a complete game three hitter. 
  • 2014 - Down 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth and in the throes of a seven game losing streak, the Bucs rallied to overtake the Atlanta Braves at PNC Park by a 3-2 score. A leadoff walk to Gaby Sanchez in the eighth was followed by a ground rule double off Travis Snider’s bat. A grounder and wild pitch brought them home to tie the game. Jordy Mercer opened the ninth with a single and went to third an out later when Justin Upton misplayed Starling Marte’s fly to left center. Sanchez again was the man of the hour, hitting a fly just deep enough to plate Mercer. Tony Watson got the win and Mark Melancon the save.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Bucs Start Fast & Hang On For 6-4 Streak-Snapper

Well, it started out shaky; Chad plunked a batter and gave up a walk, but a DP in the middle got him through. The Bucs went 1-2-3 to Michael Wacha. In the second, a double, passed ball and grounder into right made it 1-0 Redbirds before the rain delay; it had been threatening all afternoon. With a worn-to-the-nub bullpen today, Kuhl took the bump again after a two-hour (1:56, to be exact) stoppage. He finished the interrupted frame and the Bucs took the lead when Fraze drilled a two-run shot into center; Marte added another two-run jack and the Bucs put up a five-spot despite an Eli DP. Eli came up short again, leaving the bases loaded in the third; Chad stood tall by stranding the leadoff hitter at third with no outs in the fifth. Po' Eli keeps coming up with runners dancin' (and in most cases, two outs) and left two more aboard in the Bucco half.

Chad started slow, but came back strong after a little nap (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Dovydas Neverauskas got the call in the sixth - great job, Chad - and kept the zeroes coming; Jose Osuna took Josh Lucas long (his first pinch-hit homer) to make it 6-1. George Kontos added another Card zippo to the board. Juan Nicasio made it interesting when he gave up a two-run homer in the eighth to Paul DeJong; Felipe Rivero more so when he opened the ninth by serving up a Jose Martinez dinger. But two soft grounders and a whiff put it to bed and the streak has ended at six. You'd like to see the bullpen nail it down with a little more authority; then again, tho Chad did yeoman's work today, you'd like to see a starter turn in a seven-inning game, too. But why quibble? It's been a while since the Jolly Roger has been raised and that's the ultimate goal.

Notes:

  • Starling and Fraze each had three hits including a homer, two RBI and a run scored (for Marte, it's now five straight multi-hit games) while S-Rod and JJ had two knocks (Jaso also walked).
  • Pretty good line for Chad, especially considering the rain break: five IP, one run, three hits, one walk, one plunk, one wild pitch and six K on 92 pitches. His control is still a little iffy, but he's been money in the second half; we're still a little bewildered about talk that claims he's better suited for the pen.
  • In the last six games, Pirates pitchers have given up 17 homers, nine by the starters and eight by the bullpen.
  • There were 34,660 tickets sold for today's game.

Saturday: Cards at Bucs, Kuhl v Michael Wacha, Lineup (Dovy Up, Steven Down), Notes

Today: St. Louis at 4:05 with the game on AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan. And though he's not here to celebrate, it's Gregory Polanco bobblehead day for the first 20,000 fans.

Lineup: Starling Marte LF, Josh Harrison 3B, Cutch CF, J-Bell 1B, Adam Frazier 2B, Sean Rodriguez SS, John Jaso RF, Elias Diaz C, Chad Kuhl P.  Jordy and Freeser are on regular rest days per Clint. We suppose a B-Team lineup can't do much worse than the regular guys have done lately.

Chad looking for some bounceback (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Pitchers: Chad Kuhl (5-8, 4.64) faces  Michael Wacha (9-5, 3.85). Chad, like most of the staff, was thumped in his last outing, but still is 3-2/3.35 in his last nine starts. Caveat emptor - in 12 starts at PNC Park this season, Cool Chad is 3-4/5.15, so he's not much of a home boy. He's 0-2/5.50 in four career starts against the Redbirds. Chad is 0-1/4.91 in two starts this year; losing a 2-1 game at Busch in April and earning a no-decision in an 8-4 loss in St Louis in June. Wacha is usually a dog days beast, with a line of 6-1/2.85 over 17 August appearances, although so far this year he's averaging just five innings per outing while slashing 1-2/4.85 during his three starts this month. The righty pitched well in his only matchup with the Pirates this year, spinning a one-run outing over 6-2/3 innings back in April to take a 2-1 victory. He's 4-2/3.94 in 12 career appearances (11 starts) v the Buccos.

Notes:
  • The Pirates, per their lineup card (it was later officially confirmed), have called up righty reliever Dovydas Neverauskas and returned LHP Steven Brault to AAA. We assume the thinking is that Brault can finish out the AAA season starting and rejoin the Pirates in September in the bullpen. Could also be that since he went four IP last night that the Bucs decided they need a fresh arm to burn after the recent run of short starts so they swapped him out. Either way, it's kinda weird how they've handled Brault this year.
  • Among NL rookies this season, J-Bell ranks first in hits (107), triples, walks (50) and games played (120) while ranking second in RBI (68), doubles (22), extra-base hits (48) and total bases (201). He has nine RBI in his last seven games, with his 68 RBI the most driven in by a Pirates rookie since Jason Bay plated 82 runners in 2004.
  • J-Hay has homered in back-to-back games and established a new personal single-season high in home runs with 14.
  • Starling has gone 8-for-17 (.471) in his last four games after a 1-for-10 stretch and reached base in 10 of his last 19 PAs. 

8/19: HBD Ike &Terry; Byrne, May & Redus Deals; Pretty As a Picture; Game Stories

  • 1891 - SS Ike McAuley was born in Wichita. In his three years in Pittsburgh (1914-16) he had just 50 PA and hit .149, yo-yo’ing between the show and the farm. He did have a moment in the sun, tho - when he made his debut, the Bucs started him at SS and played Hans Wagner at 3B. He also had stints with the Cubs and Cards. 
Honus 1905 National Police Gazette
  • 1902 - In a see-saw game at Exposition Park, the NY Giants went ahead of Pittsburgh 4-3 with a ninth inning run off Jack Chesbro on a single that went off Honus Wagner’s glove. But in the Bucco half, the Dutchman atoned when he spanked a two-out, two-strike single through the left side to score Deacon Phillippe and Ginger Beaumont to give the Bucs a 5-4 win. 
  • 1909 - The Pirates traded Alan Storke and Jap Barbeau to the St. Louis Cardinals for 3B Bobby Byrne. Storke died young in the next year from the flu, while Barbeau lasted two more seasons. Byrne held down the hot corner for the Bucs for the next five seasons, hitting .277 in 590 games.
  • 1941 - Manager Frankie Frisch was ejected by ump Jocko Conlan and fined $50 during the second game of a twinbill when he appeared on the field with an umbrella to protest the damp playing conditions at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field. The argument was later the basis of a Norman Rockwell painting. Da Bums were the better mudders‚ winning 9-0 and 6-2 as they hung out the Pirates to dry. 
"Tough Call" 1949 (Norman Rockwell)
  • 1950 - The Pirates outlasted the Cubs 13-9 at Wrigley Field for their sixth win in seven games, led by Ralph Kiner’s pair of bombs and three RBI. Johnny Hopp had a big day, too, with a homer and pair of doubles, driving in a pair and scoring twice. Pittsburgh plated six times in the final two frames to take the win. 
  • 1955 - OF Terry Harper was born in Douglasville, Georgia. The Bucs traded for the then 32-year-old Harper from the Tigers in June of 1987, and it was the last hurrah for the eight-year vet. He hit .288 and then played out his final campaign in Japan. Terry’s now a private hitting instructor in the Atlanta area. 
  • 1958 - The Pirates held off the Chicago Cubs 4-3 at Wrigley Field on the strength of two-run blasts by Bill Mazeroski in the second frame and Dick Stuart in the sixth (Stu’s went 450’ and touched down on Waveland Avenue), both off starter Taylor Phillips. Curt Raydon worked six innings for the win, with Bob Porterfield tossing three shutout frames to save the decision. A key factor in the victory was Roberto Clemente’s play in the field; he made a pair of highlight grabs and threw out a runner at third. The win was the Pirates’ twentieth of twenty-eight games and kept them in second place, 6-1/2 games behind the Milwaukee Braves. 
Jim Rooker Topps 1974
  • 1973 - Jim Rooker spun a five hitter and went 3-for-3 as the Pirates beat San Francisco and Juan Marichal 5-0 at TRS. Richie Hebner also added three hits, as he & Al Oliver went back-to-back with long balls, and Manny Sanguillen iced the cake with a two-run double. 
  • 1983 - The Pirates traded Steve Nicosia to the Giants in exchange for Milt May and cash in a swap of back-up catchers. May retired after the 1984 season and Nicosia, who was unhappy playing behind Tony Pena, remained a reserve and played a bench role for three teams before giving up the tools of ignorance after the 1985 campaign. 
  • 1988 - The Pirates traded 1B/OF Mike Diaz to the Chicago White Sox for OF Gary Redus. Diaz ended the year with the Sox before heading to Japan to finish his career. Redus played first and some outfield for the Bucs until 1992, hitting .255 with 24 homers, 96 RBI, 157 runs scored and 69 stolen bases as a Pirate. 
Gary Redus 1989 Upper Deck
  • 1999 - Cincinnati defeated Pittsburgh 1-0 at Cinergy Field‚ as Pete Harnisch and Scott Williamson combined for a one-hitter while whiffing 13 Bucs; Harnisch surrendered just a seventh inning single to Mike Benjamin. Kris Benson pitched a dandy of his own, scattering seven hits and punching out eight. He had a shutout going until one out in the eighth, when Sean Casey homered for the game’s only run. 
  • 2012 - The Bucs outlasted the Cards at Busch Stadium to take home a 19-inning victory, 6-3. The teams ran through 16 pitchers before it was decided on a Pedro Alvarez homer off Barret Browning; starter Wandy Rodriguez was called on to work the last two frames and notched the W. Both teams swapped runs in the 17th to keep the game rolling. El Toro became the first player in Pirates history to hit a home run in the 19th inning or later. It was the first road win of 19 innings or more since beating San Diego in 1979, and the first time the Pirates put up three runs or more in the 19th or beyond since 1912 against the Boston Braves.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Too Deep a Hole; Bucs Fall 90' Short In 11-10 Loss

J-Hay and Freeser homered in the first and second frames off Carlos Martinez while the Redbirds turned Trevo everyway but loose, scoring six runs on eight hits (three that went yard) in his three innings of work, the killer being Matt Carpenter's two-out, three-run dinger in the second. Steven Brault picked up four innings, giving up a couple of runs, and Huddy of course was nicked for tally in his frame. The Pirates added one more on Starling's two-out triple, chasing home Jordy.

Mad Max splashed down tonight (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

The Bucs tried to make a game of it in the eighth. Mad Max banged a two-run shot into the river on the hop and Elias Diaz cracked a two-run double with an out. But in keeping with Bucco protocol, he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple although down 11-8. Schugs tossed a clean ninth, and Matt Bowman came on. He walked back-to-back hitters with an out and then bopped S-Rod on a 1-2 pitch. Ol' Bucco Zach Duke took over to face J-Bell; Joshua worked an eight-pitch walk off him to make it 11-9. That brought in Seung Hwan Oh. Freeser lifted one to the track and the sac fly cut the lead to a run. Fraze was intentionally walked to bring up Eli, and there the rally ended when he chased a slider off the plate to whiff.

It had the feel of a little-league all-star game and finished like one. For the Bucs, it was close but no cigar; the pitching has fallen during the six-game losing streak and can't get back up. But at least some of the young guys they have to decide on like Brault, Moroff and Diaz are getting some looks, much like Taillon, Kuhl, Bell and Frazier did last year.

AJ was the only Buc pitcher to put up a final line zero (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
Notes:
  • Starling and Jordy had two knocks and a walk; Mad Max, J-Bell and Fraze had a hit and walk.
  • Trevor Williams gave up three homers in three innings tonight. He had given up nine in 111-2/3 IP (one every 12 frames) this year before this match.
  • S-Rod replaced Cutch in center tonight instead of swapping with Starling; wonder if that's just a PNC Park thing?
  • None of the five homers hit early in the game were particularly spanked; all of them dropped just a row or two into the seats. Still, they go in the books the same as a 450' blast.
  • The six-game losing streak is the longest of the year.
  • 29,906 were on hand for fireworks nite.
  • Jared Wyllys has an interview with S-Rod in The Sporting News.

Friday: Redbirds & Bucs, Williams v Carlos Martinez, Lineup (Brault Up, LeBlanc on DL), Notes

Today: First pitch is at 7:05 v the Cards. The game will be on AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan. It's fireworks night; hopefully the Bucs will join the Zambelli Brothers in providing some.

Lineup: Starling Marte LF, Josh Harrison 2B, Cutch CF, Josh Bell 1B, David Freese 3B, Adam Frazier RF, Elias Diaz C, Jordy Mercer SS, Trevor Williams P. Eli gets the call. Only two lefties in the lineup against a guy who's rough on same-side batters; JJ was the only other LH option with Max Moroff available as a switch-hitter.

Pitchers: Trevor Williams (5-5, 4.19) is again called on to be  stopper, taking on the Redbirds Carlos Martinez (9-9, 3.56) in a rematch from July. Trevo is coming off a bad day at the office in his last start against Toronto on Saturday. He has enjoyed home cooking with a 1-0/2.03 slash in his last five starts at PNC Park. Williams has held his own against the Cards; in his only outing against them this year, he got a no-decision against Martinez after going 5-2/3 IP and giving up a run in an eventual 4-3 Bucco win. Lifetime, he's 1-0/3.60 in four career appearances (one start, three 2016 outings from the pen). A quick start is the best way to dent Martinez; the opening frame has been his worst with a propensity to give up dingers, so hopefully the Bucs will come out swinging. He also sports a pretty wide L/R split, mainly as he's murder (.193 OBA) on RHB with lefties batting at a much more presentable .264 rate. His July battle with Trevo was his only 2017 outing v the Pirates; in his career, he's made 10 starts (19 appearances) with a line of 4-5/3.50 against the hometown nine.

Seems like the Bucs call on the back end to be stoppers a lot (photo Joe Guzy/Pirates)
Notes:
  • Steven Brault up, Wade LeBlanc gone to the DL with a left quad strain. 
  • Perhaps missed in yesterday's defeat was J-Hay's day at the dish. He tied his season highs with three hits and three runs scored, plus he smacked his 13th home run of the season, matching his career high from 2014, while chipping in a pair of RBI.
  • AJ Schugel is due for some regression (92% LOB rate, his walks are up and K's down) but he's become Jared Hughes 2.0 with a 62% ground ball rate in his two years with the Pirates coupled with his use as a clean-up man in mid-inning jams.
  • Max Moroff hit his first (and so far only) MLB homer off Martinez on July 16th at PNC Park.
  • It's the dog days for Jordy. He's hitting .161 (9-for-56) in 15 games this month after hitting .297 in June and .250 in July.
  • The Cards placed Adam Wainwright on the DL with an elbow impingement; he hasn't broken 90 in his last pair of starts.
  • Ex-Bucco OF Robbie Grossman (he was one of the prospects traded for Wandy Rodriguez in 2012, along w/LHP Rudy Owens) fractured his thumb in an outfield mash-up and went on the DL. He's in his second year with the Twins after three seasons with the 'Stros.
Pud Galvin 1887 Goodwin Old Judge
  • For our history buffs, per a SABR release - "On Saturday, September 23, 2017, we celebrate the life of Hall of Famer Pud Galvin. Guests will meet at Calvary Cemetery (718 Hazelwood Ave.) at 4:00 p.m. Galvin is the third grave marked by the SABR 19th Century Grave Baseball Marker Project. The dedication ceremony will feature a bio of Galvin, prepared by his biographer Chip Martin, as well as other baseball notables and members of the Galvin family." His flat stone marker will be replaced by a headstone at the memorial.

8/18 Happenings: HBD Stubblebeard, Bernie, Roger, Carl, Roberto, Paul, Spanky & Justin; More Events

  • 1893 - RHP Burleigh Grimes was born in Emerald, Wisconsin. The Hall of Famer spent five years with the Bucs (1916-17, 1928-29, 1934), beginning and ending his career in Pittsburgh with a couple years in the middle. He was a modest 48-42/3.26 as a Pirate, but in a 19 year career with seven different clubs, Old Stubblebeard (he didn’t shave on gamedays) won 269 decisions. He was also the last player that was allowed to legally throw a spitball. 
Buleigh Grimes (Hariwell Collection/Detroit Public Library)
  • 1893 - RHP Bernie Duffy was born in Vinson, Oklahoma. He joined the Pirates briefly in 1913 as a highly touted arm, but in three outings (two starts), the 19-year-old lasted just 11-⅓ IP and gave up 18 hits while putting up a 5.56 ERA. He spent the next several years going from farm club to farm club, and after the 1917 season did what any self-respecting Oklahoman would do: he hung up the spikes and struck out as a wildcatter in the oil fields. 
  • 1897 - LHP Roger Bowman was born in Amsterdam, New York. He closed out his five-year MLB career with two stops in Pittsburgh in 1953 and 1955, slashing 0-7/5.66. Bowman did have a long career in the minors, working from 1946-61 and once tossing a seven-inning perfecto, and also tossed in the Cuban and Venezuelan Leagues. He was a well-rounded fellow, playing sax for area big bands in the Adirondacks, turning an art degree into an upholstery business after his ball-playing days and earning a pilot's license. 
  • 1930 - Carl Barger was born in Lewistown, Pennsylvania. A corporate lawyer at Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott, he helped form and lead the Pittsburgh Associates to keep the Pirates in Pittsburgh after they were put up for sale by John Galbreath's family in 1985. He was president of the Pirates from 1987 to 1991 when he resigned to help his friend, Wayne Huinzenga, put together the Florida Marlins franchise. He died of a ruptured aorta while attending the winter meetings in 1992, before the Marlins had even played their first game. The Fish retired number 5 in his honor (though a long-time Pirates fan from his youth, Joe DiMaggio was his favorite player) then controversially unretired it for Logan Morrison in 2012, leaving a couple of practice fields named after him. 
Carl Barger (photo via Sports E-Cyclopedia)
  • 1934 - The Great One, Roberto Clemente, was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico. The Hall of Famer and humanitarian compiled a lifetime .317 BA, hitting over .300 in 13 of his last 14 seasons, and collected 3,000 hits in eighteen years as a Pirate. He was a two-time World Series champ, 15-time All-Star, won 12 Golden Gloves, was an NL & WS MVP and had his number retired.
  • 1940 - Homestead Grays’ P Ray Brown was part of the East All-Star staff that shut out the West 11-0 at Comiskey Park in the Negro League AS game. Teammate Buck Leonard added three hits and three RBI for the winners. 
  • 1940 - IF Paul Popovich was born in Flemington, West Virginia. The WVU player (he was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 2013) closed out his 11-year career with Pittsburgh, hitting .211 in 1974-75 as a bench player for two division-winning clubs. 
  • 1952 - The Pirates sent IF George Strickland and RHP Ted “Cork” Wilks (he was called Cork in his St Louis days because he was the club’s “stopper” from the pen) to Cleveland for Johnny Berardino‚ minor leaguer Charlie Sipple and $50‚000. For Berardino‚ it was his second stint in Pittsburgh, a stopping off point before his more lucrative career in movies and as a soap opera star, notably playing Dr. Steve Hardy on “General Hospital.” The deal was a win for the Tribe; Strickland ended up with eight years for the Tribe as a defensive whiz, playing 734 games while hitting .233. 
Dr Steve Hardy in his true calling...
  • 1959 - Branch Rickey resigned as chairman of the Pirates board of directors to become president of the Continental League, a proposed third major league. The league disbanded in 1960 without playing a single game, but it helped to accelerate the expansion of MLB. Owners who were opposed to the CL approved expansion clubs in Houston, Minnesota and New York, all CL cities, to draw membership away from the new league, eventually killing it. 
  • 1960 - C Mike LaValliere was born in Charlotte, NC. Spanky caught for the Bucs from 1987-93, putting up a .278 BA, and was part of three Jim Leyland-led division winning teams (1991-93) that couldn’t get past the NLCS. He picked up his nickname because his teammates thought he looked like Little Rascal Spanky from “Our Gang.” 
  • 1987 - LHP Justin Wilson was born in Anaheim, California. A fifth round pick in 2008 from Fresno, he didn’t sign him until two days before the deadline. A starter throughout his career (he was involved in a pair of no-hitters at AAA Indy), he was converted to a multi-purpose pen arm in the show, making his debut in 2012 and now toiling for the Cubs. He went 9-5/2.99 during his Pirates stint (2012-14) before being traded to the Yankees for Fran Cervelli. 
Justin Wilson 2013 Topps
  • 1989 - The Pirates traded OF Glenn Wilson to the Astros for OF Billy Hatcher. Wilson had hit well for the Bucs before the deal, but flopped with Houston. Hatcher didn’t hit at all for Pittsburgh and was traded after the season.

8/18 Games: Five For Big Poison, Bad Day Jose, Two-Way Dale, Sweeps & Streaks, Game Stories

  • 1914 - Babe Adams bested NY Giants Rube Marquard to take a 3-1 decision at Forbes Field. Ralph Davis of the Pittsburg Press wrote that “Adams was more than their (the Giants) master and forced them to bow to defeat.” The Babe helped his own cause by banging an inside the park homer, set up when frustrated center fielder Bob Bescher didn’t chase the ball after it got past him and allowed it to roll almost to the wall. 
Babe Adams 1913 (photo Bain News Service/Library of Congress)
  • 1931 - Paul Waner went 5-for-6 to lead Pittsburgh to a 14-5 win over the Phils at the Baker Bowl. Pie Traynor added three hits, three runs and two RBI and Eddie Phillips drove in four runs to help back Glenn Spencer’s pitching. 
  • 1948 - The Bucs put up a six-spot in the eighth inning against the Chicago Cubs to pull away for a 7-4 win at Wrigley Field. Future manager Danny Murtaugh drove in three runs, and rookie pitcher Bob Chesne helped his own cause with two hits, a run and RBI. 
  • 1966 - Oooops! 3B Jose Pagan tied the modern NL record for errors in an inning with three in the fourth frame, booting four balls overall‚ as Pittsburgh lost to Mets 9-5 at Shea Stadium. Jose’s bad mitt day led to six unearned runs charged to loser Woodie Fryman. To make things a little worse, Pagan also went 0-for-4 with two whiffs. 
Al Oliver 1971 (Pirates photo pack)
  • 1969 - The Pirates showed some late inning two-out lightning at Crosley Field by scoring three times in the ninth to tie the Reds 5-5 and then ringing up seven more runs in the 10th to seal a 12-5 win that was anything but a romp. In the final frame, Matty Alou scored on a Willie Stargell double to make it 5-3, but with two outs it looked over when Manny Sanguillen bounced a ball to SS Woody Woodward. But he botched the play and given new life, Al Oliver took full advantage by chasing home Pops and the Roadrunner with a double. Bruce DelCanton stranded a pair of Reds in their half and the Reds played kick the can again. The Buccos juiced the sacks with two gone, with two runners reaching on Cincy errors, and the floodgates opened. Carl Taylor cleaned the bases with a double, a knock put Pirates at the corners and Al Oliver’s double followed by Gene Alley’s homer added up to a seven spot. Alley had four hits during the contest while Alou and Roberto Clemente each chipped in with three. 
  • 1974 - The Bucs completed a three game sweep of the Dodgers at TRS, winning 10-4 behind the big bats of Bob Robertson and Richie Zisk. The pair combined to go 7-for-10 with five runs and five RBI, each collecting a homer and banging out three doubles together. Rennie Stennett and Manny Sanguillen went 6-for-9 at the top of the order and scored three runs as Larry Demery cruised to the win with help from Dave Giusti. The game concluded an 11-for-13 streak; after a pair of losses, the Bucs then won 14-of-17 on their way to a division title. 
  • 1976 - Bucco bats were smokin’ against the Giants John “The Count” Montefusco and Mike Caldwell as Pittsburgh ran away with a rain shortened 12-1 win over San Francisco at Candlestick Park. Every player in the lineup had a hit, and four different Pirates either scored or drove in two or more runs. Richie Zisk led the way with a 4-for-4 day; five of his teammates had a pair of knocks. Jim Rooker rolled to victory, giving up four hits in six innings before the rain fell.
Dale Sveum (photo via Sports Memorabilia)
  • 1999 - Dale Sveum became the second Pirate (Bobby Bonilla was first) to homer from both sides of the plate during a game in a 12-6 win over the Reds at TRS. Also going deep for the Bucs were Brian Giles, Ed Sprague and Al Martin. 
  • 2007 - The 2-3-4-5 hitters for the Bucs (Freddy Sanchez, Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, Adam LaRoche) combined to go 10-for-17 with a homer, four doubles, three walks, six RBI and eight runs scored to lead Pittsburgh to an 11-6 romp over the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park. 
  • 2015 - The Bucs won a game they tried hard to give away by a 9-8 count over Arizona at PNC Park. The Bucs were cruising along in the eighth with an 8-3 lead, built by a Pedro Alvarez homer and timely hitting, but a couple of walks let the D-Backs back in with three runs in that inning and then two errors in the ninth led to a pair of unearned runs (also ruining Mark Melancon’s 35 game streak of converted save opps) to tie the game. But the bullpen regained its mojo and behind scoreless three-inning stints turned in by Arquimedes Caminero and Joe Blanton ground out the win. With two out in the 15th, Fran Cervelli singled and scored on Pedro Florimon’s triple off the Clemente Wall. Florimon was hitting under .100 coming into that at bat and had failed in a bunt try his last at-bat to become an unlikely hero. Blanton got the win; Cervy had four hits during the long (five hour plus) contest - and caught the next night.

Bucs Bullpen Blasted by Birds in 11-7 Loss

The day after giving Gerrit Cole a 4-0 lead and losing, the Bucs did the same for Jameson Taillon, handing him a four run edge just to see it fade in the rear view mirror. The Bucs scored early off Adam Wainwright with an excuse-me single by Starling and a just-made-it homer by J-Hay with the first-row fans in left outjumping Tommy Pham for the ball. The Pirates plated three in more the third, for the second night stringing together a two-out, bases-empty rally when J-Hay singled, Cutch walked and J-Bell, Freeser and Fraze collected raps to put the Bucs up, 5-1. The Cards had their own two-out magic working, tallying on a Jedd Gyorko homer in the second and a fourth-inning Kolten Wong RBI single. They cut the lead to one in the fifth when the rain and some wildness (two walks scored) by Jamo, who said the steady rain didn't bother him, made it 5-4; that was followed by an hour and 15 minute delay.

Like Cole the day before, Jamo couldn't hang on to the lead (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

When it started up again, Luke Weaver gave up a hit and walk adding in a wild pick-off throw but escaped unscathed when Jamo bunted into a DP, his only job as he was done pitching after the storm. AJ Schugel put up a zero and the Pirates left the bases loaded in the sixth. In the seventh, Joaquin Benoit was tattooed, giving up three runs (Dexter Fowler's triple was the killer) while getting an out before Huddy closed it down. The Pirates stranded runners at second and third. The eighth went quietly as Marte grounded into Pittsburgh's fourth DP of the night. Wade LeBlanc gave up a four-spot in the ninth, capped by Pham's 440' blast and a Randall Grichuk triple, and the Fat Lady took the stage after Seung Hwan Oh was tapped for a couple of no-harm runs, with the Pirates leaving runners at second and third.

Andrew was cutchin' last night (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

So GIDPs, stranded runners galore (although seven runs is a good night for anyone) and a middle-bullpen meltdown (remind us again why Benoit was a better pickup than Dovydas Neverauskas, Edgar Santana, Steven Brault etc.) frustrated the Bucs tonight. As Rosanne Roseannadanna would say "... it just goes to show you, it's always something — if it ain't one thing, it's another." Amen.

Notes:
  • Cutch had three knocks and a walk, J-Hay three hits, Marte two hits and a walk, Freeser two raps, and J-Bell had a knock and two walks.
  • Fran Cervelli was placed on the DL, retro to Monday, with left-wrist inflammation. IF Max Moroff was called up as his replacement. 
  • In six Bucco outings, Joaquin Benoit has worked 5-1/3 IP, giving up nine runs (seven earned) on 10 hits with two walks, a beaned batter and 11.81 ERA.
  • Six different Redbirds had multi-hit nights, led by Jedd Gyorko's three-pack.
  • The Pirates have now lost five straight games.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thursday - Cards in Town, Jamo v Waino, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: The Cards come to town with a 7:05 first pitch. The game will be carried by AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan.

Lineup: Starling Marte LF, Josh Harrison 2B, Cutch CF, Josh Bell 1B, David Freese 3B, Adam Frazier RF, Jordy Mercer SS, Chris Stewart C, Jameson Taillon P. Cervy isn't ready for showtime and Fraze gets another start with Gregory down.

Pitchers: Jameson Taillon (7-5, 4.50) opens against Adam Wainwright (12-5, 4.87 ERA)  Jamo has settled in after his beatdown a couple of starts ago and has suddenly become a whiffmeister with 15 K in his past 12 IP.  He's been so-so against the Cards this year with a 0-1 slate and six runs surrendered in 11 frames. Waino is good to go despite missing his bullpen session with right arm soreness. He's become more of a workhorse than ace, though he's pretty much a six-inning guy anymore. Still, he's seen the Bucs plenty of times. This season they've met once and Adam gave up one earned run on two hits in a seven-inning June outing.

JT hopes to continue rollin' (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
Notes:
  • Cervy isn't ready to go and Max Moroff was pulled from the Indy lineup...a sorta misty dot-to-dot connection, but it could foreshadow a DL visit for Amore (which, of course, is the sensible thing instead of dragging out a nagging injury as is the Pirates MO).  
  • The Bucs have gone 4-5 against the Redbirds this season, going 2-1 in Pittsburgh and 2-4 in St. Louis...After being swept in the opening set, the Pirates won the last two series, taking four of the six meetings between the clubs.
  • Card closer Trevor Rosenthal went on the 10-day DL because of right elbow irritation.
  • Productive out debate: 15 of the 24 outs the Brewers made yesterday were K's. Still, they got seven runs on just five swings - a pair two-run jacks and three solo homers. That's one place the Pirates will need some help next year; the middle of the order features only Cutch and J-Bell with the ability to lose a ball, and easy runs are hard to come by for Pittsburgh.
  • BTW - a little understood part of the "blocking the plate" rule is that the catcher has to leave a lane while waiting on or catching the ball. But once it's in his possession, blocking the plate is permissable; hence all the somersaults and slide-bys. Clint seems to have trouble getting with that interpretation, but it is the law. It was a thing yesterday when J-Bell and Manny Pina had meeting at home and Pina had the plate covered.

8/17 From the 60s Forward: GI Might; HBD Alex & Chad, Maz #2000, Baseballs Last Hero, Game Stories

  • 1960 - Clem Labine‚ picked up the day before after being released by Detroit‚ tossed 3-2/3 innings of hitless ball with six K to save a 5-3 win for Harvey Haddix over the Phils at Forbes Field. Don Hoak’s three RBI paced the Bucco batters. Clem stuck with Pirates for another season and his last campaign was as a Met in 1962. 
  • 1965 - OF Alex Cole was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Cole put in seven years in the show, spending most of 1992 with Pittsburgh and batting .278, reaching base five times in 13 PAs in the NLCS v Atlanta. He came to the Pirates in a July trade for Tony Mitchell and the speedster was lost the following season when he was drafted by the Colorado Rockies. 
Alex Cole 1993 Donruss
  • 1969 - The Pirates opened with five runs in the first inning, capped by a three-run Gene Alley blast. The Reds answered with four tallies of their own as Pete Rose and Bobby Tolan, the first two Cincy batters, homered off Steve Blass with Johnny Bench adding another long ball an out later. The game at Crosley Field settled down after that, with the Pirates taking an 8-5 decision behind Al Oliver and Willie Stargell dingers. Steverino gave up another home run (to Tony Perez) in the third, but lasted until the eighth to claim the win with a Chuck Hartenstein save. 
  • 1971 - Bill Mazeroski recorded his 2‚000th career hit against Wade Blasingame in a 6-5 loss to Houston at TRS. Maz finished his career with 2,016 knocks, eighth on the all-time Pittsburgh hit list. 
  • 1978 - RHP Chad Qualls was born in Lomita, California. The Pirates got him at the deadline from the Yankees in 2012 for Casey McGahee as they sniffed a playoff run that never materialized (in fact, they faded badly and ended up with 78 wins). Chad didn’t help turn the corner, tossing up a 6.59 ERA in 17 appearances and getting released after the year. Qualls kept working, though - he was in the majors until July of this year before being chopped by the Rockies. 
Bobby Bonilla 1990 SCD
  • 1990 - In a battle of division leaders, the Bucs swept the Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium by 7-1 and 4-3 tallies. In the opener, Wally Backman doubled twice and drove in two runs; Spanky LaValliere also doubled and had two RBI. Bobby Bonilla cranked a homer and scored three times as Mike York got the win in his MLB debut with help from Bob Patterson. In the nitecap, the Bucs rode three solo shots by Jay Bell, Bobby Bo and Jeff King and a two out single by Bell in the eighth that plated John Cangelosi to victory. John Smiley was credited with the victory and Stan Belinda worked the last two frames for the save. 
  • 2003 - The Pirates drew 24,092 to PNC Park for Charlie Brown bobblehead night, and the fans were treated to a 5-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. Tike Redmond, Jack Wilson and Reggie Sanders homered for the Bucs as Josh Fogg claimed the win. 
  • 2004 - The Bucs dispatched Arizona 7-1 at Bank One Ballpark to win for the eighth time in their last nine decisions. Ty Wiggington and Craig Wilson homered as Jose Castillo banged out a pair of doubles. Ryan Vogelsong tossed seven innings of one run, six hit ball for the win. 
Garrett Jones 2009 Topps Update
  • 2009 - Garrett Jones homered in Pittsburgh's 9–5 victory over Milwaukee at PNC Park for his 13th home run in the 40 games since his June 30th call up. He was the first rookie in eight years to hit 13+ home runs in that span, joining Albert Pujols and Adam Dunn, who did it 2001. Adam LaRoche and Ronny Cedeno also went long as the Bucs won for only the second time in 14 games. He signed with the Pirates in the off season as a minor league free agent. 
  • 2012 - James McDonald and four relievers held St. Louis to four hits at Busch Stadium to claim a 2-1 victory over the Redbirds. The two Buc runs scored in the fourth and both were unearned - one scored on a wild pitch, the other on a passed ball with an error in between. 
  • 2013 - The film “Baseball’s Last Hero: 21 Clemente Stories” premiered at the Strand Theater in Zelienople. The movie was written by West View native Richard Rossi. It had its initial showing in Hollywood, but Rossi edited the film into its final version for this viewing.

8/17 Through the 50s: HBD Red & Bill, Win a Couple, Lose a Couple, Rube Rebus, Tommy Leach, Game Stories

  • 1892 - IF John “Red” Rawlings was born in Bloomfield, Iowa. He spent the final seasons (1923-26) of his 12-year career as a Bucco, hitting .272 mainly as a bench guy. Rawlings later managed for eight years in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League for the Grand Rapids Chicks (1946-'50), Peoria Redwings (1951) and Rockford Peaches (1953-'54). He led his teams to six playoff appearances, including a championship with the 1947 Chicks.
Tommy Leach 1903 (photo Carl Horner)
  • 1904 - The Pirates whacked 13 hits and six runs off Christy Mathewson, but it wasn’t enough as the New York Giants scored nine times against Charlie Case to win a slugfest at Exposition Park. Giants manager John “Mugsy” McGraw was at the center of a small riot. He was coaching third, and for some reason left the box and stood on the sack as a Giant runner was coming in; Hans Wagner saw the movement and thought it was 3B Tommy Leach, not McGraw, on the hot corner, zipped the ball to the bag and the overthrow plated a run for NY. Afterward, as described by the Pittsburgh Press, “Wagner made a kick and was put out of the game” by ump Johnstone. The Pirates protested to the league to no avail. The wayward third baseman, Tommy Leach, had three hits and Moose McCormick homered for the Pirates. 
  • 1907 - Pittsburgh defeated the Boston Doves at the South End Grounds by a 5-1 score. The Pittsburg Press wrote that CF Tommy Leach “...broke the hearts of the (Boston) locals with a great spear in the third inning of (Ginger) Beaumont’s rap with the bases full. He gathered the ball in his mitt with his arm extended while going at full speed...it seemed impossible to get the ball, and it cost the Bostons four runs.” Leach made several nice plays on the day, and even stole home. It was the Doves 16th straight loss, but they got over their broken heart to take the next three games of the series, scoring 26 runs to the Bucs’ 15.
  • 1915 - Rube Benton pitched the Bucs to a 3-2 win over Chicago, but both the Cubs and Giants protested the win. According to the SABR Biography Project “Cincinnati placed him on waivers in early August. The New York Giants verbally claimed him for the $3,000 waiver price, but shortly thereafter the Pittsburgh Pirates offered $4,000. The Reds accepted the Pirates' offer, prompting the Giants to file a grievance. Benton, meanwhile, reported to the Pirates and tossed a six-hitter to defeat the Cubs. One week later, the NL's Board of Directors awarded Benton to the Giants. It ruled, however, that the Pirates had acted in good faith; rather than forfeiting the August 17 game, the Board ordered that it be stricken from the record books and replayed in September. The day after the decision, Rube pitched his first game for the Giants - against the Pirates, of all teams! - and gave up 12 hits in four innings of a 9-7 loss.” 
George Grantham 1925 (photo Bain News Service/Library of Congress)
  • 1929 - The Bucs scored three times in the first inning when Paul Waner doubled in Dick Bartell and Lloyd Waner, then came home on a two-out knock by Adam Comorosky, providing just enough firepower to hold off Boston at Braves Field 3-2. Larry French got the win and Steve Swetonic the save, but 2B George Grantham actually made the key save. With Braves on first and third and nobody out, he snared a liner and flipped it to SS Bartell, who stepped on second for out #2 and tagged the Brave runner steaming in from first (the Braves had the hit-and-run on) for a triple play. 
  • 1943 - Pittsburgh won a twin bill from Boston‚ 8-0 and 4-3. Elbie Fletcher and Maurice Van Robays each had five hits on the day and drove in seven runs while banging out a homer, triple and four doubles in tandem. Hank Gornicki was the winner in both games at Braves Field. He tossed a six hit complete game in the opener and shut Boston down again for 1-2/3 frames in the nitecap. But what goes around...a few days later on August 22nd the Brooklyn Dodgers beat Gornicki twice in the same day. 
  • 1948 - The Pirates beat the Reds 4-3 at Forbes Field when Ralph Kiner took Ewell Blackwell deep with two outs in the ninth inning for the walk-off win, finishing off a 3-for-5 day at the dish. Vic Lombardi tossed a complete game for the Bucs while also going 3-for-4 with an RBI to help his own cause. 
Vic Lombardi 1948-50 (photo Mears/The Sporting News)
  • 1957 - RHP Bill Landrum was born in Columbia, South Carolina. Landrum closed for the Bucs from 1989-91, saving 56 games and putting up a 13-10/2.32 line. His big year was 1989, when he saved 26 games and had a 1.67 ERA. Bill retired when he was 36 and since has been in the real estate business back home in South Carolina.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Going, Going, Gone...Brew Crew Homers Break Bucs 7-6

The Bucs used the old small ball, two-out lightning attack to spot Gerrit Cole a four runs lead. J-Bell put the Pirates up in the first with a two-out sin­gle to score Starling Marte. Marte’s two-out rap in the third started a merry-go-round. J-Hay walked, then Cutch, Bell and Freeser followed with con­sec­u­tive run-scoring knocks to give the Pirates a 4-0 lead over Jimmy Nelson. Cole pretty much gave it right back when Keon Broxton went long, followed by a walk and Neil Walker's first Milwaukee dinger. It stayed that way until the sixth when Travis Shaw's long ball brought the Brewers all the way back.

Long ball does in Cole Train (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Pittsburgh quickly retook the lead in the seventh when J-Hay singled home JJ with two outs, Jaso sliding in just ahead of the throw (and surviving a challenge) after an aggressive wave by Joey Cora. Broxton knotted it back up with another see ya ball off George Kontos. Anthony Swarzak gave up a leadoff triple to J-Bell in the eighth and Fraze's rap brought him home (with one out; he ad-libbed). That lead became a deficit when Juan Nicasio gave up a knock and two-run bingo to Manny Pina; Clint brought in Felipe Rivero to get the final out. Corey Knebel turned out lights in the ninth and maybe on the Pirates season as well.

Notes:

  • J-Bell had three hits while Starlin and Stew had a pair apiece. J-Hay had a knock and a walk. 
  • The Pirates struck out 15 Brewers today: Cole (9), Kontos (3), Nicasio (2) and Rivero (1). They were K'ed 11 times by the Milwaukee hurlers.
  • Gerrit has given up 26 homers in 25 starts, the ninth most in baseball.

Wednesday: Bucs-Brewers, Cole Train v Jimmy Nelson, Lineup, Notes

Today: A getaway day matinee that begins at 2:10. It's on AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan.

Lineup: Starling Marte LF, Josh Harrison 2B, Cutch CF, Josh Bell 1B, David Freese 3B, Adam Frazier RF, Jordy Mercer SS, Stew C, Gerrit Cole P. Yesterday's lineup gets another chance; a bit of a surprise that Stew gets short rest; doesn't say much for how the Pirates look at Diaz.

Cole Train has been back on track (photo Getty Images)

Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (10-8, 3.96) takes on Jimmy Nelson (9-6, 3.72) to finish the quick two day set. Cole Train has 7-2/3.03 over his last 11 starts and has a 2.70 ERA in six starts since the All-Star break. good news: he's 7-0 in his last road starts on the road, where he hasn’t lost since late May. Gerrit is 3-3/2.95 in 10 career starts against the Brew Crew and 1-0/1.29 in three starts this year, lasting seven innings in all three outings. Don't let Nelson's ERA fool you. After a rough May, he was tossing to a 3.24 line until his last outing when the Reds rang up nine runs on him, adding half-a-point to that number. He's faced the Bucs twice this year, working a three-inning zero in a rain game and being chased after five in his latest July outing, giving up all the runs in a 4-2 Buc win.

Notes:
  • There are conflicting stories on Cervy's sore paw, so we guess it's still a day-to-day thing. The news on Gregory isn't good; he may be done for the season although the team still holds out hope he'll get some time in. He was sent to Pittsburgh ahead of the team for additional testing. We wonder if some of the problem with these nagging injuries isn't a rush to get them back in the lineup (often at the player's urging, it should be noted).
  • The Pirates have dropped three in a row; the Brew Crew has won three in a row.
  • The Bucs will begin an eight-game homestand against the Cardinals and Dodgers after the game. Sunday’s “home” game against St. Louis will be played as part of the Little League Classic in Williamsport during a celebration of youth baseball. It will also be the first home game played by the Pirates at a neutral site since September 22nd, 1890, against the New York Giants in Wheeling, West Virginia.
  • Tristan Gray, a Pirates 2B prospect from Rice playing for West Virginia who was selected in the 13th round of this year's draft, homered and was named the Penn-NY League's All-Star MVP.

8/16 Happenings: HBD Kid, Wee Willie, Rube, Bill, Tiny, Gene, Curt, Al, Nick & Rick; More...

  • 1872 - SS Gene “The Kid” Steere was born in South Scituate, Rhode Island. An All-America at Brown University, where he got his nickname (he was on the small side and looked younger than his age), his major-league career consisted of 10 games with the Pirates in 1894, hitting .204. The Kid took the hint and went off to Hawaii at age 26, where Steere was a successful plantation owner and real estate developer who was deeply involved in baseball on the Islands. It had taken root there when Alexander Cartwright made it his home (he left NYC and the Knickerbockers to join the Gold Rush and kept going) and Steere continued to help organize the game. He returned stateside circa 1940 and died in San Francisco in 1942. 
  • 1872 - 1B “Wee Willie” Clark was born in Pittsburgh. He played the final two years of his five-season big league career with the Bucs, hitting .293 from 1898-99. Though he played well, he was part of the backsplash when Barney Dreyfuss absorbed most of the Louisville team in 1900. Willie played a year for the minor league Milwaukee Brewers, then retired. He stayed local, dying at the age of 62 and was buried in Allegheny Cemetery. 
Rube Robinson (Wikipedia)
  • 1887 - LHP John Henry “Hank”/“Rube” Robinson was born in Floyd, Arkansas. He spent the first three years (1911-13) of his career with Pittsburgh, going 26-17 with a 2.34 ERA with his time split between the pen and starting. After he retired, Robinson pitched 13 consecutive seasons with Little Rock from 1916-28. During his career he won 190 games and worked 3,000+ innings for the Travelers, earning him, along with his six-year big league career, a spot in the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1962. 
  • 1890 - RHP Bill Phillips of the Alleghenys (and Charleroi) became the first pro pitcher in history to allow two grand slams in the same inning when the Chicago Colts Tom Burns and Malachi Kittridge took him long in the fifth frame as the Windy City won 18-5 at Recreation Park. Phillips ended 1-9 with a 7.57 ERA in his rookie season, but went on to have a seven year career with a 70-76/4.09 line. 1908 - RHP Andrew Jackson “Andy” Bednar was born in Streator, Illinois. Andy pitched briefly for the Pirates in 1930-31, making five appearances with an 0-0/15.19 slash. That was his MLB career, but despite that, he was a fine pitcher in the minors , once winning 22 games for Tulsa. He never made it to 30 years old as he died in Texas in 1937 after a car crash while working the oil fields. 
  • 1913 - RHP Ernest “Tiny” Bonham was born in Ione, California. He pitched the final three years (1947-49) of his career for the Pirates, with a record of 24-22 and a 2.11 ERA. Prior to that, Tiny tossed seven seasons for the Yankees with a 21 win season and two All Star berths. In one of baseball’s saddest endings, he went to the hospital in August of his last season for an appendectomy, was discovered to have cancer and died three weeks later. 
Tiny Bonham 1947 TCMA replica
  • 1922 - OF Gene Woodling was born in Akron, Ohio. The outfielder spent 17 years in the league, and made one stop at Pittsburgh in 1947 as a 25-year-old, getting into 22 games and batting .266. He coached for the Orioles for four years after hangin’ ‘em up, but his major contribution following his playing days was as a major mover in bringing about a players pension fund. 
  • 1929 - 2B Curt Roberts was born in Pineland, Texas. The first black ballplayer for Pittsburgh, he played from 1954-56, hitting .223 as a Pirate. He lost his starting job at second in 1955 to Johnny O’Brien and they both lost out to a kid from Ohio named Bill Mazeroski, who would claim the position in 1956 and keep it for the next dozen years. When his baseball career ended, he worked as a security guard for the University of California, Berkeley. He died at the age of 40 in Oakland, California when he was hit by a drunk driver while changing a flat tire on his car. 
  • 1952 - LHP Al Holland was born in Roanoke, Virginia. Holland spent 10 years in the show, starting in 1977 with the Pirates (he would return in for a bit in 1985) and slash 1-3-4/3.54. He had some nice seasons closing for Philly, earning an All-Star berth and the NL Rolaids Reliever of the Year award. He took a hit when he admitted to coke use during the 1985 trials and that, along with a wrist injury, ended his career after the 1987 campaign. 
Al Holland 1985 Topps Traded
  • 1953 - Coach Nick Leyva was born in Ontario, California. He’s the Bucs first base coach and worked at third before that, joining the staff in 2010 when Clint Hurdle was hired. Leyva is a former minor league player and manager who began coaching in 1978. He was the skipper of the Philadelphia Phillies from 1989 through early 1991. 
  • 1964 - RHP Rick Reed was born in Huntington, West Virginia. He was drafted by the Bucs and played his first four seasons (1988-91) with them, going 4-7 with a 4.98 ERA while yo-yo’ing between the minors and the big leagues. He continued to bounce around the fringes of the league and spent all of 1966 in the bushes. Then the light went on at the age of 32; he won double digit games for six of the next seven seasons with the Mets & Twins and made a pair of All-Star teams. He was briefly the pitching coach at his old school, Marshall, but then opted for full-time retirement to raise his family. 
  • 1975 - After being pulled from his last two starts without getting through the first inning and then refusing to pitch in relief, earning a one-day suspension, Dock Ellis called a clubhouse meeting in Cincinnati and had skipper Danny Murtaugh attend. Ellis then ripped into the Irishman and team management, earning himself an indefinite suspension and $2,000 fine. The suspension left the team short a player, but GM Joe Brown told Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Press that “We’re better off with 24 (players) than we were with 25.” The club, not too surprisingly, lost the game to the Reds 5-3. The suspension was lifted on August 30th when he apologized to Murtaugh, and Ellis was traded to the NY Yankees in December. Ellis became the UPI “Comeback Player of the Year” in 1976 with a 17-8 record, then refused to sign his 1977 contract, blasted George Steinbrenner, and was traded again. But bygones are bygones; he returned to the Pirates in 1979 and retired as a Bucco. 
Dock Ellis 1975 Topps
  • 1982 - The Pirates purchased Richie Hebner from the Tigers, a homecoming for The Gravedigger who began his pro career in Pittsburgh and had a nine-year run with the Bucs. He hit .276 during the stretch run and 1983, then spent his final two campaigns with the Cubs. Richie’s Bucco average over 11 years was .277 with a 122 OPS+. 
  • 1984 - A stamp featuring Roberto Clemente, the fourth in a series honoring American sports heroes, was unveiled in Carolina, Puerto Rico, the outfielder's home.

8/16 Games: Three In A Row For Ralph & Frank, 72-Pitch Whitewash, Bonus Baseball, STFD, Game Stories

  • 1904 - The Pirates swept the NY Giants by 7-2 and 4-1 counts at the Polo Grounds in front of 23,000 disappointed fans. Patsy Flaherty took the opener from Christy Mathewson while Mike Lynch did the honors in the nightcap, defeating Dummy Taylor. Ginger Beaumont had five hits during the day to lead the Pirates while Hans Wagner chipped in with three. It was the first time during the year that the New Yorkers had dropped a twin bill in a season that they ran away with the pennant by reeling off 106 wins.
Patsy Flaherty 1904 (photo Chicago History Museum/Getty)
  • 1909 - OF Red Murray of the NY Giants saved Christy Mathewson’s bacon when, as the Pittsburg Press described “...the ball was seen rising, rising far out over the the heads of the waiting fielders. But Red Murray had his eye on the ball...the most wonderful catch ever seen at Forbes Field was pulled off, Murray getting the sphere with his bare hand after a long hard run. The inning was over and the Pirates were robbed of victory "...as the game was called because of rain with the score deadlocked at 2-2. Two runners had already crossed home when Murray snagged Dots Miller’s two-out drive...as the wind whistled, the lightning flashed, the thunder crashed and the rain descended.” 1B Ham Hyatt chipped in with his third pinch-hit triple of the year‚ a record that wouldn't be matched until 1970 by Vic Davalillo of St. Louis. 
  • 1911 - Elmer Steele tossed just 72 pitches in downing the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers 9-0 at Washington Park. Steele surrendered no walks, had no strikeouts‚ and allowed just one hit, a one-out ninth inning single that just got past 2B Dots Miller. But it wasn’t all good news: Honus Wagner severely injured his ankle during the match, ended up on crutches and would miss 25-of-26 games. During his absence, the Bucs fell out of contention and finished a distant third to the NY Giants. 
  • 1913 - The Pirates jumped on the Giants Christy Mathewson, scoring eight times in the first three frames and then hanging on for an 8-6 win at the Polo Grounds. The “demon Dutchman” (per the Pittsburg Press) Hans Wagner went 4-for-5 with a homer to lead the offense. Babe Adams got the win with help from George McQuinlan. 
George McQuillan 1911 Tango Eggs
  • 1947 - The Pirates blasted a franchise record seven homers in a game against the Cardinals in a 12-7 win at Forbes Field. Ralph Kiner launched three dingers - in a row! - while Hank Greenberg and Billy Cox had a pair. For Greenberg, it was his 35th and final multi-homer game. The homers accounted for all 12 of the Buc runs. Kiner matched the MLB marks of seven HRs in four games‚ six in three games‚ five in two games‚ and four in consecutive at bats while becoming the first Pirate to homer three times in a single game. Kiner, Greenberg and Cox were joined by Cardinal Whitey Kurowski, who also had a pair of homers, to set a MLB record for most players with multi homers in a game. 
  • 1958 - Frank Thomas bombed three consecutive HRs off three different pitchers (Harvey Haddix, Will Schmidt & Alex Kellner), drove home six runs and scored four times in a 13-4 romp over the Reds at Crosley Field. Dick Groat added four knocks and three tallies while Dick Stuart also went long. Bob Friend got the win with Bob Porterfield tossing the final two frames for the save. 
  • 1989 - The Bucs took home a 5-4 win in 12 innings against Houston at the Astrodome. Bobby Bonilla hit the winning dinger off Larry Andersen. It first played out as an apparent double, but the call was changed to a home run after a quick ump’s conference; the ball had bounced off a fan’s stone hands and back into the field. P John Smiley had two RBI, but wasn’t around for the final decision. The win went to Neal Heaton, with a save credited to Bill Landrum. 
Bill Landrum 1989 Fleer Update
  • 2011 - Andrew McCutchen hit a three-run homer to give Pittsburgh the early lead, Neil Walker hit another bomb to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, and Garrett Jones went yard in the eleventh inning for 5-4 win against the Cardinals at PNC Park. Chris Resop, the fifth Pirate pitcher of the game, got the win after working a pair of scoreless innings. Longtime Buc nemesis Albert Pujols lit up Jeff Karstens in the sixth to become the first player in MLB history to hit 30 homers in each of his first 11 seasons. 
  • 2012 - AJ Burnett wasn’t at his best, but battled into the seventh to take a 10-6 win over the Dodgers at PNC Park. This contest entered Pirate folklore when Hanley Ramirez homered off Burnett in the fourth and tossed a couple of barbs at the Bucco hurler, who got his revenge in the sixth when he struck Ramirez out swinging on a 3-2 pitch and famously told him to “STFD.” Garrett Jones had a pair of three-run homers to spark the victory over LA.