Sunday, September 23, 2018

See Ya, Buccos - Brew Crew In the Last Home Match of 2018, The King v Miley, Lineup & Notes

Today: The farewell to 2018 at PNC Park begins at 1:35 and will be aired by AT&T SportsNet & 93.7 The Fan. It's the last Kids' Day and the tykes will get a Pirates knit cap to serve as summer reminders during the coming gray months.

Pitchers: RHP Nick Kingham (5-6, 4.69) closes the last homestand against LHP Wade Miley (5-2, 2.08). Nick's replacing Big Joe Musgrove, who was shut down yesterday. Kingham hasn't started since September 2nd and only appeared one other time since, on the 8th. But he has seen Milwaukee plenty. In three outings (two starts) he's 2-0, but with a scary 5.27 ERA. He's been tagged for eight runs in 13-2/3 IP, but on the other side of the coin, he does own 18 whiffs against the Brew Crew. Miley has made 14 Brewers starts and surrendered two or fewer earned runs in 13 of them, letting in three earned runs in the other. He's faced Pittsburgh twice this season and allowed two runs over five innings in each outing.

Nick Kingham gets the last home start of the campaign (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
Lineup: Pablo Reyes RF, Starling Marte CF, J-Bell 1B, Elias Diaz C, Jordan Luplow LF,Jose Osuna 3B,Josh Harrison 2B, Jordy Mercer SS & Kingham P. Lefty lineup.We thought Clint was saving J-Hay & Jordy for the home finale; nice touch for a pair of vets who aren't likely to be returning.

Notes:
  • Nick Kingham will make both starts that were on tap for Joe Musgrove, today and Friday in Cincy.
  • Ric Rod's 85 strikeouts are the club's single-season rookie record for a relief pitcher, topping the old mark of 84, set by Blas Minor in 1993.
  • Ryan Lavarnway has gone 3-for-3 as a pinch hitter since joining the Pirates on September 4th.
  • Edgar Santana will have an MRI on his arm tomorrow.
  • Big Joe told the press gang that he first noticed his ab injury just prior to the All-Star break and it got progressively worse. He added that surgery is still a possibility if the rest period doesn't solve the problem, like the wait-and-see process recently undergone by Chad Kuhl.
  • After tonight, the Bucs have four games at Wrigley against the Cubs starting tomorrow and close out the year at Great American Ball Park versus the Reds; there are no remaining off days.

9/23 Through the 1920’s: 1925 Clincher; Pud Pick-Offs; Clarke Day; HBD Joe, Johnny, Dino & Lino; Game Stories

  • 1886 - According to Charlton’s Baseball Chronology and Wikipedia, Pittsburgh Alleghenys’ pitcher Pud Galvin walked the first three Brooklyn Bridegrooms he faced, and then picked them all off for a 1-2-3 inning! Pittsburgh went on to win the game at Washington Park by an 8-2 score. The Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette made no mention of the feat, but did note that “Galvin...showed up well. To-day he not only twirled with great effect but showed remarkably good judgment when men were on base.” 
Pud Galvin 1994 American Archives
  • 1886 - OF Joe Kelly (not to be confused with Bucco “Handsome Joe” Kelly of earlier years) was born in Weir, Kansas. He played regularly during his rookie campaign as a Pirate in 1914, hitting .222, and spent parts of five seasons in the show. Like many players of that era, Joe had a long career in minor league ball that spanned 23 seasons (1908-30), spending the last five years as a player-manager. 
  • 1895 - OF Johnny Mokan was born in Buffalo, New York. He started his seven-year career with the Bucs in 1921-22, hitting .262 off the bench, then spent the next five campaigns with Philadelphia where he blossomed. He spent the last two years of his playing days with the local farm clubs at Buffalo and Rochester and later worked as an equipment operator for NY State. 
  • 1904 - The Pirates downed the runaway NL leaders, the NY Giants, by a 7-0 score at the Polo Grounds. Charlie Case tossed a two-hitter, and didn’t give up a knock after the second frame. His opponent wasn’t quite up to snuff; the Pittsburgh Press said that “Leon Ames...was as wild as a March hare and issued six free passes. Besides, the Pirates stung his delivery at a lively rate and practically sewed up the game in the second inning, when three free passes turned into tallies.” The New York Herald was a little less kind - "Pittsburg Plays All By Itself" was its headline. 
  • 1907 - The Pirates dropped the NY Giants 2-1 at Exposition Park. Vic Willis tossed a six-hitter with six K to outgun Hooks Wiltse. Bill Hallman had three hits and a run scored for the Bucs, Honus Wagner added two knocks and a stolen base, and Ed Abbaticchio doubled and scored. The game had a little added spice when umpire Bill Klem and Giant manager John McGraw argued during the lineup exchange, greasing the skids for McGraw’s ejection in the sixth inning. 
"Batty" 1911 Colgan Stars of the Diamond
  • 1915 - It was “Fred Clarke Day” in Pittsburgh, and Cap suited up one last time in his only on-field appearance of his final season. He played four innings and went 1-for-2 against Dick Rudolph of the Boston Braves in an 8-4 win at Forbes Field with Wilbur Cooper on the hill. For farewell gifts, Clarke received an eight-day grandfather clock from his players and a leather binder containing the names of several thousand supporters as a keepsake. 
  • 1922 - LHP Lino Donoso was born in Havana. Donoso was a star in the Mexican League (and for a few seasons with the Negro League NY Cubans) although it didn’t quite translate in MLB. The Pirates brought him up on the strength of his 19-8/2.37, Pitcher of the Year performance in 1954 for Hollywood in the PCL; the only problem was that Lino came to Pittsburgh as a 33-year-old and had lost some steam on his fastball. He worked 1955-56 as a Bucco, going 4-6/5.21 and returned south of the border. He became one of the few ML pitchers with 100+ wins and was elected to the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988. 
  • 1924 - OF Dino Restelli was born in St. Louis. He had just a two-year MLB career (1949, 1951) spent with the Pirates, but has a legit claim to fame: he hit a record seven home runs in his first ten games. He, along with Jose Abreu (White Sox - 2014) and Mark Quinn (KC - 1999), are the only players since 1914 to have a pair of multi-HR outings in their first 10 career games. But his star dimmed quickly. In parts of two seasons (1949-50), he hit .242 with 13 HR and was nagged by a series of injuries. The theories as to why he fizzled seem to focus on two issues - one was fear of the Lord, instilled in him by the Reds’ Ewell Blackwell who drilled him high with a fastball as a rookie. The other was his eyesight - he wore glasses that fogged up and he would often back out of the box to wipe them clean with an ever-present red hankie (which precipitated his incident with Blackwell). After his baseball career ended in 1955, he became a San Francisco police officer briefly before another injury caused him to leave that job. But he found work in nearby San Carlos where his parents lived. There he became a civic mover and the local Mr. Baseball, coaching and working with the local Parks Department.
Dino Restelli 1949 (photo via Find-A-Grave)
  • 1925 - The Pittsburgh Press wrote “The Phillies gave the Pirates a merry tussle in the game that clinched the pennant for the Smoky City…” as the Bucs turned six DPs and edged the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 at Forbes Field to claim the NL flag for the first time since 1909. It was the ninth straight victory for the Pirates. Emil Yde tossed a seven-hitter for the victory with late help from Tommy Sheehan. Max Carey and Pie Traynor contributed a pair of knocks.

9/23 From 1930 Through the 1960’s: Murry's 20; Ralph's 51; Scoops 1st; HBD Rook, Jim, Dennis & Jim; Game Stories

  • 1935 - Behind the four-hit pitching of Jim Weaver and Pep Young’s three knocks and seven RBI, the Bucs left the St. Louis Cardinals pennant hopes on life support, taking a 12-0 over the Redbirds at Sportsman’s Park to drop the Redbirds four games behind the Cubs in the loss column with four games to go. Woody Jensen had four hits, including a pair of doubles, while Lloyd Waner and Arky Vaughan added three hits and runs apiece. 
Jim Rooker 1981 Fleer
  • 1942 - LHP Jim Rooker was born in Lakeview, Oregon. Rook pitched eight years (1973-80) for the Bucs with a line of 82-65/3.29, which he equalled in playoff time with a 3.20 ERA, including a strong start in Game #5 of the 1979 Series, a crucial match that the Pirates, down 3 games to one, won. He was also a Pirate TV color analyst from 1981 through 1993, and worked for ESPN from 1994 to 1997. Rooker’s most memorable TV moment came when he said on air that he’d walk home from Philadelphia if the Pirates lost, which they did. True to his word, he staged a charity walk after the season. Retired now, he’s an author of children’s books. 
  • 1947 - Ralph Kiner hit his franchise record 51st homer (he would break that mark in 1949) against Jim Kearns of the Cards at Forbes Field in an 8-4 loss to the Redbirds. It was the only hittable ball he saw that night. He was walked on four pitches in three other at-bats and was ahead 2-0 before his swat. 
  • 1951 - Murry Dickson tossed a five-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds at Crosley Field to win his 20th game 3-0. Gus Bell had a pair of hits and two RBI to back Dickson. Murry was the only Bucco pitcher to win more than eight games that season; the team only won 64 contests. 
  • 1952 - IF Jim Morrison was born in Pensacola, Florida. He spent half (1982-87) of his 12 year career as a Pirate, hitting .274 as a Bucco with a standout 1986 campaign. That year, Morrison together a line of .274/23/88 as Pittsburgh’s starting third baseman. He had his most memorable outing on June 1st, 1986, against the Los Angeles Dodgers, when Jim chased home seven runs with a double, a triple and a grand slam, the only granny of his career. After he quit playing, he managed in the Phillies system for a couple of years and has been with the Tampa Bay organization since 2007. 
Jim Morrison 1984 Donruss
  • 1952 - RHP Dennis Lamp was born in Los Angeles. He worked in Pittsburgh in 1992 as a 40-year-old, finishing out his 16-year MLB career going 1-1, 5.14 in 21 appearances until his June release. Dennis has worked behind the seafood counter at Bristol Farms in Newport Beach since 2004. According to his store manager, "He talks sports. He sells fish. He works hard." Lamp, for his part, shrugs and says he doesn’t really need the money, but just likes to work. 
  • 1956 - With the Dodgers leading the Pirates 8-3, 44,932 fans, the largest crowd in Forbes Field's history (with several thousand turned away at the gates), lured by a “prize day” promotion, left early when a ninth inning rain delay postponed the game with two outs, triggering the Sunday curfew with the Dodgers up 8-2. Brooklyn officially won the game the next day. Don Newcombe got the win in a match that saw seven Bucco hurlers take the bump. 
  • 1959 - RHP Jim Winn was born in Stockton, California. A first round draft pick (14th overall) of Pittsburgh in 1981, the reliever never quite panned out, plagued by a series of injuries. He tossed from 1983-86 for the Bucs with a 7-11-4/4.47 line, then spent a couple of years in the AL to end his career, which was short-circuited by TJ surgery back in the day when it was a new and not always successful procedure. After his baseball days were done, he became a salesman. 
Al Oliver 2005 Topps Rookie Cup
  • 1968 - In his Bucco debut, Al Oliver spanked his first MLB hit in the second game of a twilight doubleheader at Forbes Field, singling and scoring off Clay Carroll in the fourth inning of a 2-1, 10-inning win over the San Diego Padres. He started in right field and got into four games that season after a September call-up. Al would spend a decade in Pittsburgh and collect 1,490 hits with a .296 BA here; in all, Scoops put together an 18-year, seven-team MLB run and piled up 2,743 hits, a lifetime .303 average, seven All-Star caps and a World Series ring (1971).

9/23 From the 1970’s Forward: 2013, '14, '15 WC Clinchers; Pud Remembered; Rook Gem; Rallies

  • 1974 - Jim Rooker threw nine shutout frames as the Bucs beat the St. Louis Cards 1-0 in 10 innings at Busch Stadium, with Dave Giusti working the last frame for the save. The Bucs scored when pinch hitter Paul Popovich singled and was replaced by Miguel Dilone on the basepaths. He was bunted to second and came around on Richie Hebner’s single. The win moved the club to ½ game behind the Cards in a see-saw pennant race that Pittsburgh eventually eked out.
  • 1978 - Dave Parker was featured on the cover of The Sporting News for the story “Peerless Pirate.” He would win the MVP and his second batting crown (.334) despite playing with a football-like mask on his helmet after breaking his jaw in a plate collision in late June. 
  • 1986 - Barry Bonds hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off Philadelphia’s Steve Bedrosian to give Pirates a walkoff 6-5 win. The slumping Bonds (he hit .223 in his rookie ‘86 campaign) had tried to lay one down to set up Bobby Bonilla (Jim Leyland told Bob Hertzel of the Pittsburgh Press that “I almost passed out when he tried to bunt.”) before he decided to swing away. The Bucs scored five times in the last two frames for the comeback; Mike Diaz was the hero, with three RBI at TRS. Four Pirate relievers tossed 6-⅔ innings of shutout ball, with Barry Jones getting the win. 
  • 2011 - The Bucs let the Reds tie the game in the ninth when Joel Hanrahan plunked Todd Frazier with a bases-loaded, two-out, 3-2 pitch, but came back to claim a 4-3 walk off win after Jason Jaramillo doubled and came in on Ryan Ludwick’s knock. Garrett Jones’ two-run homer had staked the Pirates to an early lead. 
  • 2013 - For the first time in 21 years, the Pirates clinched a playoff spot with a 2-1 win at Wrigley Field. Charlie Morton tossed seven innings of three-hit ball through seven and was up 1-0 on Neil Walker’s first inning homer. The Cubs tied it in the eighth on a ball that scooted through a drawn up infield, but the Bucs retook the lead in the ninth on Starling Marte’s two-out, two-strike homer deep into the bleachers. The drama wasn’t quite over; with two outs and Nate Schierholtz on first, Ryan Sweeney blooped a ball into right that glanced off Marlon Byrd’s mitt. Schierholtz was waved around, but an Andrew McCutchen-to-Justin Morneau-to-Russ Martin relay and tag were just enough to give Mark Melancon the win and Jason Grilli the save. 
  • 2014 - The Pirates guaranteed themselves a playoff berth with a 3-2 win over Atlanta at Turner Field, but it wasn’t easy. Down 2-0 after two innings, and saved from a bigger hole thanks only to bad Brave baserunning and a bases loaded, no-out DP, Gerrit Cole found his rhythm and retired 17 straight Bravos. Andrew McCutchen scored on a delayed steal of home when the catcher’s throw to second was high in the fourth, then Travis Snider tied it with a leadoff homer in the fifth. Doubles by Cutch and Starling Marte gave the Pirates their first lead in the sixth. Cole worked seven innings and struck out eight for the win, with Jared Hughes picking up a hold and Tony Watson taking the save. To earn their playoff spot, the Pirates won 15-of-18 games after being written off following a sweep by the Cardinals in early September. 
  • 2015 - The Bucs defeated the Colorado Rockies 13-7 at Coors Field to clinch a postseason spot for not only the third straight year, but on the same 9/23 date, too. The Pirates jumped out to a 7-1 lead after a first inning bloop and third inning blast by Neil Walker, who ended up going 4-for-5 with a homer and career best six RBI. But Charlie Morton couldn’t stand prosperity and was yanked in the fifth after a homer cut the lead to 7-6. The Buc bullpen took over, putting up zeros until the bats put up a six spot in the ninth, keyed by Sean Rodriguez’s bases loaded, bases clearing double on an 0-2 pitch. Joe Blanton got the win for Pittsburgh. 
  • 2016 - Pittsburgh rallied to defeat the Washington Nationals 6-5 in 11 innings at PNC Park on a pair of do-or-die knocks. With two gone in the ninth and down by a run, Sean Rodriguez doubled home Pedro Florimon to send the game into extras. The hit was off former Bucco closer Mark Melancon, making his first appearance versus Pittsburgh since a deadline trade only to earn his first blown save as a Nat. With the bases loaded and two away in the 11th, the Pirates sent up their last bench player, September call-up Jacob Stallings. He fell behind 0-2, worked the count full and then singled home the winning run for his first MLB walk-off hit, just the second knock of his career. The game lasted 4:36 and featured 44 players, 17 of which pitched, leading Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle to quip "That's your snapshot of a September, expanded-roster game." 
  • 2017 - SABR held a celebration of the life of Hall of Famer Pud Galvin. The event was at Calvary Cemetery in Hazelwood, where Pud’s flat stone marker was replaced by a headstone. Galvin’s resting spot was the third grave topped with a new tombstone by the SABR 19th Century Grave Baseball Marker Project. The dedication ceremony featured the life story of Galvin, prepared by his biographer Chip Martin, as well as a gathering of other baseball notables and members of the Galvin family.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Bucs Quiet Brewer Bats, Starling Clutch In 3-0 Win To Even Series - Other News: Big Joe Done For the Year

After a whiff, Kevin Newman ruined a 10-pitch battle between Willy and Christian Yelich by throwing away his grounder but caused no damage to the scoreboard. After Fraze lined an at 'em ball to Yelich in center, Starling walked against Zach Davies. A wild pitch moved Marte up, then he was caught trying to steal third, with a tapper ending the frame. A single, punch out and strike 'em out, throw 'em DP made up the Brew Crew second. Corey D opened with a single; J-Low bounced into a 4-6-3 DP on the next pitch followed by a whiff; hope its not another of those days. Milwaukee left a Davies knock and Yelich walk aboard in the third. The Bucs got a two-out infield knock by Trevor. Fraze banged out a rap and Starling doubled the pair home. He went to third on the throw home, but J-Bell couldn't cash him in. There was no Brewski noise in the fourth; ditto for the Pirates. A leadoff single in the fifth was countered by a whiff and 4-6-3 DP. Brandon Woodruff came on to hurl. Stalls walked with an out; he was sent to third on a two-out single by Fraze after Willy couldn't bunt him along. Starling was bopped on a 1-2 pitch on the hand to pack the sacks, staying in after a check by the trainers, but J-Bell's fly left 'em loaded.

Willy is a baddd man... (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

In the sixth, Ryan Braun dropped a two-out bunt single (who'd thunk it?) to set up Travis Shaw. No sweat; Willy fanned him. Xavier Cedeno was waved on and red hot Corey D started it up with a single. A wild toss got him second. After an out, Joey O came to pinch hit and the Brewers answered with Taylor Williams; Clint flipped Osuna for Colin Moran. He singled off the pitcher's glove to put Bucs on the corners. K-Man fanned and Stalls bounced out. It was another opportunity lost; the Pirates have stranded five in the past two frames. Ric Rod got the seventh inning job and sailed through it on eight pitches. Joakim Soria took the hill and Ryan Lavarnway greeted him with a knock. A pop and Marte 6-4-3 DP quickly ended the frame. Kyle Crick was beckoned in the eighth and was sharp, getting two whiffs & a roller in front of the plate. Lefty Dan Jennings took the ball and J-Bell led off with a single. After a force, righty Jacob Barnes came on to face J-Low, who walked. Red Beard singled the opp way on a 3-2 heater to plate a third run. Newman fanned for the second time with a runner on third and one out. The Bucs tried a delayed double steal; it didn't work as J-Low was tossed out by a mile. Felipe Vazquez entered for the close; Yelich said "hi" with an opening double. The Nightmare waved back and cruised out with a bouncer & two strikeouts for his 36th save. RTJR.

Notes:
  • The Pirates announced that Joe Musgrove was diagnosed with a stress reaction (a microfracture, as best we can figure) on the front of his pelvic bone and an abdominal wall muscle strain. The injuries call for six weeks of rest before he can start his offseason work routine. Nick Kingham will pick up tomorrow's start. Geez, Bucco pitchers are dropping like flies...
J-Grove is done for the year (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • Fraze, Corey D and Colin Moran each had a pair of knocks; Starling's two-out, two-run double was the telling blow. It was Pittsburgh's only extra-base hit.
  • There were 23,070 at the ballyard tonight.
  • This was Willy's 10th shutout start of six+ innings this year, and he has an ERA of 1.00 over his last 12 outings. Tonight, he put up six zeros on four hits with a walk and seven K after 95 pitches.
  • Starling is fourth in MLB with 33 stolen bases; he leads the majors in caught stealings with 14.
  • Jordan Luplow has hit into six GIDP in 33 at bats with runners on first; he has three hits in that time.
  • Rough transition: In his last 18 at bats, Kevin Kramer has one hit and 13! strikeouts.
  • Kinda Figuring It Out: In his last 11 games, Kevin Newman is 10-of-40.

Brew Crew Round Two, Willy v Davies, Lineup & Notes

Today: The game starts at 7:05 and will be carried by AT&T SportsNet & 93.7 The Fan. Today's giveaway is a Bucco Oktoberfest stein (it's early October weather already), so trink, trink, trink und essen.

Pitchers: RHP Trevor Williams (13-9, 3.16) meets RHP Zach Davies (2-6, 4.66). After a burp, Willy got back to dealing in his last outing. He owns a 1.10 ERA over his past 11 starts and a 1.19 mark in the second half; he and Jamo have become pretty formidable at the top of the rotation. He's owned the Brewers - in two 2018 starts, he's gone 13 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and four walks while fanning 14. This is Davies' second straight start against the Pirates and just his 12th of the season, as he was on the DL for three months before returning in September. In that outing, he allowed two earned runs on three hits in five innings last Saturday.

Willy on the bump (photo Joe Guzy/Pirates)

Lineup: Adam Frazier 2B, Starling Marte CF, J-Bell 1B, Corey Dickerson LF, Jordan Luplow RF, Kevin Kramer 3B, Kevin Newman SS, Jacob Stallings C & Williams P. Four starters, four auditioners & Willy.

Notes:
  • The Pirates didn't provide updates on the conditions of Edgar Santana (forearm) or Fran Cervelli (stomach).
  • J-Bell recorded his fourth straight multi-hit game Friday night after going 2-for-4 and hitting his 11th homer. It's the first time in his career he's put together four multi-hit games in a row.
  • Corey Dickerson’s 52 extra-base hits are the fourth-most by any left fielder in all of MLB, and the most by a Pirates LF'er since Jason Bay banged 67 in 2006. Corey-D also ranks first with a .996 fielding percentage and .958 zone rating among NL left fielders, with one error in 256 total chances, and is tied for second with a career-high seven assists.
  • Trevor Williams is the only pitcher in MLB this season to make 10 starts of at least five innings without allowing a run. He's also made nine starts of at least six innings without allowing a run this season, with three zeros in his last four outings. Willy is the only pitcher in Pirates history (since 1908) to do that deed.

9/22 Through the 1930s: Wheeling Alleghenys; Heinie, Hal Shine; HBD Harry & Ira; Game Stories & More

  • 1890 - The Pittsburgh Alleghenys moved their home game with the New York Giants to Wheeling, WV, due to attendance issues at home (they couldn’t draw flies; they went 23-113). The game at Island Grounds, home of the Wheeling Nailers, drew 1500 fans and it remains the only major league game ever played in the state of West Virginia. According to the Wheeling Daily Register, “The game was played under some slight disadvantages, as the outfield was unkempt and unshaven, the grass being so tall that the ball, and almost the players, frequently got lost. (The Giants Mike) Tiernan knocked one into the tall grass, and while some seven or eight players were still on the hunt, he modestly crossed the home plate...” for a ninth-inning, cherry-on-top inside-the-park homer. The Alleghenys lost 8-3 and the Pittsburgh Press wrote “to be sure, the local team lost to be in keeping with its record and (team owner) Mr. McNeill may rest assured that his team will establish a world record in time (for losing).” The paper was right; they were baseball’s worst until the Cleveland Spiders of 1899 finished 20-134, bumping the Alleghenys to runner-up. It would also be the last regularly scheduled Pittsburgh home game moved to a neutral site until 2017 when the Pirates played St. Louis in Williamsport to help celebrate youth baseball. 
Pittsburgh Press 9-23-1890
  • 1893 - OF Ira Flagstead was born in Montague, Michigan. Ira closed out his 13-year career in Pittsburgh from 1929-30, a journey that had begun with the Tigers and blossomed with the Red Sox where he was a top shelf CF’er with a good stick and rifle arm. He signed with the Pirates on July 8th, 1929, bolstered by his acquaintance with Pittsburgh manager Donie Bush, whom Ira played played with in Detroit, and that Washington, which had signed him earlier, wanted to dump his contract. He hit .257 and was released in August, 1930. Ira closed out his pro ball in the PCL in 1931. He retired to Olympia, where he grew up, and managed the local Timber League nine. “Flaggy” (he was also known as “Pete” from his teen days) was elected to both the Red Sox and Washington State Halls of Fame. 
  • 1894 - After tossing 12 innings in a tie game the day before, Phil “Red” Ehret threw a complete game four-hitter to salvage a doubleheader split with the NY Giants by a 4-1 score at Exposition Park. His opponent was Les German, the same pitcher whom he had squared off against the previous day. Pittsburgh lost the opener 6-2. 
  • 1903 - Pittsburgh's 16-game winner Ed Doheny‚ suffering from bouts of paranoia‚ was escorted home by his brother. After the World Series‚ Doheny was committed to the Danvers Insane Asylum and at the age of 26‚ his major league career was over. Not only was this a tragic turn of events for Doheny, but it cost the Bucs dearly in their World Series loss to the Boston Americans as they were short of pitching for the series. He, Deacon Phillippe and Sam Leever formed the Pirate rotation, and with Leever nursing an injury, Phillippe was forced to start five of the seven games, eventually wearing down. Poor Doheny, whose mental issues were said to be triggered after he developed a dead arm during the season, never recovered. He had some violent episodes at home and was committed full-time to the Danver asylum. He never recovered and was transferred to another institution where he died at 43. 
Ed Doheny (image via the Vermont Historical Society)
  • 1908 - The Brooklyn Superbas cashed in a run in the ninth, scoring when no one covered first on a two-out grounder to the right side, but Pittsburgh and Nick Maddox prevailed 3-2 in 11 innings at Washington Park. Alan Storke tripled home Hans Wagner with the go ahead run and scored himself on a wild throw home. Maddox gave up a homer in Brooklyn’s half, but hung on for the win as the Pirates stayed alive in their late drive for the flag, which fell a game short. 
  • 1911 - Cy Young, pitching for the Boston Rustlers (they didn’t “rustle” players like the Pirates had “pirated” them; the moniker was a play on the name of team owner William Russell; they were aka the Nationals), earned his 511th and final career victory by defeating the Pirates, 1-0. Cy scattered nine hits and fanned three at Forbes Field to best Babe Adams. Although 20 games above .500 at the time, the Bucs were well off the pace and in third place, drawing just 1,208 fans. The Pirates feasted on Boston during the season: the Rustlers (they became the Braves in 1912) won only 3-of-22 against Pittsburgh, with two of the victories coming on shutouts thrown by the 44 year-old Cyclone. 
  • 1929 - Utilityman Harry Bright was born in Kansas City. He played for parts of eight seasons, with the first three (1958-60) in Pittsburgh. Bright hit .237 and was traded to the expansion Washington Senators after the ‘60 season as part of the Bobby Shantz package. Harry had a long pro career, playing 20 years and in nearly 2,000 games between the show and the farm. Bright managed the PCL’s Sacramento club and in the Chicago Cubs, Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers & Atlanta Braves organizations, plus he scouted for the Montreal Expos after he retired. 
Harry Bright 1959 Topps
  • 1931 - The Phillies overcame a 2-0 ninth inning deficit to send the game to overtime, but the Pirates tacked on a run in the 13th to claim a 3-2 win at Forbes Field. Heinie Meine went the distance for the victory, tossing a four hitter. It was his 19th win, which led all NL pitchers that season. The Bucs left 20 men on base as Philadelphia pitchers allowed 10 hits and 13 walks. The workhorse logged 284 IP in 35 starts by season’s end, both marks also league highs. 
  • 1932 - Rookie Hal Smith recorded a six-hit shutout in his first MLB start in a 7-0 Bucs’ win at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. The Bucs got all the runs they would need by scoring five times in the third inning. Arky Vaughan and Adam Comorosky led the way with two RBI apiece while Paul Waner banged out three hits and scored twice. Former (and future) Pirate pitcher Burleigh Grimes took the loss. 
  • 1938 - Pittsburgh swept a twinbill from the Brooklyn Robins by 6-0 and 11-6 scores at Ebbets Field to take a 3-½ game lead in the race for the pennant. Jim Tobin tossed a four hitter in the opener. Arky Vaughan had four hits, with three doubles and three RBI to go with Pep Young’s four runs driven home to power the win in the nitecap. But the 1938 NL crown would go to Chicago, which won their last ten games while the Bucs stumbled to a 3-7 finish.

9/22 From the 1950s Forward: '71, '75, '91 Clinchers; 11-In-A-Row; 1-0 B-2-B; HBD Wally; More

  • 1958 - The Pirates set a pair of wrong way records during their 3-2 and 1-0 twinbill losses to the Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium. Three Phil pitchers fanned a MLB record 21 Bucs in the opener, and Jack Sanford whiffed 10 in the nitecap for a MLB record 31 Ks for the day. 
  • 1959 - Utilityman Wally Backman was born in Hillsboro, Oregon. He spent one season of his 14-year career in Pittsburgh in 1990, and it was more than solid as he got into 104 games and swatted .297. He came to Pittsburgh as a free agent (1 year/$400K) and left the same way, signing a two-year, $1.3M deal with the Phils. Thanks to some personal issues, Wally has had a bumpy road coaching/managing since retiring in 1993 and is now an indie league skipper. 
Wally Backman 1990 Topps
  • 1971 - Pittsburgh clinched the NL East with a 5-1 win over St. Louis at Busch Stadium. Luke Walker and Dave Giusti defeated Bob Gibson thanks to a big eighth inning. The floodgate opened when SS Ted Kubiak booted Vic Davalillo’s ball, and a walk, two hits and a sac fly later, the Bucs had turned a squeaky 2-1 lead over the Cards into a 5-1 tally. After the pennant, the Buccos eliminated the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS and then took care of the Birds to claim the World Series crown. 
  • 1975 - The Pirates clocked the second place Philadelphia Phillies 11-3 at TRS to clinch the NL East title. Bruce Kison and Kent Tekulve did the pitching honors, while three Pirate hitters had three hits each to lead the attack - Willie Stargell (2B, 2 RBI, 4 RS, 2 BB), Dave Parker (HR, 4 RBI, 1 RS) and Richie Zisk (2B, 4 RBI, 1 RS). 
  • 1978 - The Pirates purchased OF’er Cito Gaston from the Atlanta Braves. The 34-year-old went 1-for-2 in the last week of the season, his last MLB appearances in an 11-year MLB career before spending the next couple of campaigns in the Mexican League and later beginning a long run as the Toronto Blue Jay’s manager. 
  • 1991 - The Bucs won consecutive NL East titles when they beat the Phillies, 2–1, at TRS. Doug Drabek went the distance to outlast five Philadelphia pitchers. Orlando Merced walked twice and scored twice. Pittsburgh only had three hits, but seven free passes and a botched DP was just enough to do in Philadelphia. 
  • 1996 - Pittsburgh beat the Cubs 11-3 for their 11th win in a row, posting the longest winning streak in the majors for the year. Jay Bell was the star with a homer and four RBI. They still finished last with a 73-89 record, but it raised a vain “wait ‘til next year” hope among the faithful. 
Jay Bell 1996 Fleer
  • 2006 - Chris Young carried a no-hitter into the ninth against the Bucs, but lost his bid to become the first San Diego Padre to toss a no-no when Joe Randa smacked a two run homer on a 3-1 pitch following a one-out walk to Jose Bautista. Young, who was drafted by the Pirates in 2000 before being traded for Matt Herges, claimed an easy 6-2 win at Petco Park. 
  • 2014 - The Pirates won back-to-back 1-0 games for the first time since 1976 when Francisco Liriano, with help from Jared Hughes, John Holdzkom and Mark Melancon made Andrew McCutchen’s sixth inning homer off Aaron Harang stand at Atlanta’s Turner Field. The third straight 1-0 game for the Bucs (they lost 1-0 on 9/20 to the Brewers and old matey Zach Duke) was the first time that trifecta hit since 1917 when Pittsburgh lost three consecutive 1-0 games to the Cardinals.

Brewers Bomb Bullpen, Use Four Homers To Run Away 8-3

Ivan Nova started of with a nice, quick six-pitch inning, with glovely plays by Pablo and Red Beard. With two outs in the Bucco half, J-Bell took Jhouly Chacin's first pitch and sent it into the RC seats. A leadoff walk in the second was erased on an around-the-horn DP, and a pop ended it. Christian Yelich evened the books by robbing Pablo's laser to The Notch, and a walk ended up all the Bucco action, with some hard-hit balls and nice leatherwork going on early for both sides. It was 1-2-3 for the Brew Crew in the third; Chacin almost evened it up by lifting a ball into the windstream, but it was gathered in at the track. Fraze doubled with one gone and was stranded. Nova came back from 3-0 to fan Curtis Granderson to open the fourth. Yelich then banged a double onto the RF corner. A K was followed by an intention walk of lefty Travis Shaw; it backfired when Ryan Braun singled home the tying run before Mike Moustakas' comebacker. Cervy started the Bucs off with a knock and Corey D golfed a tight slider over the Clemente Wall to get the lead back. The rest of the frame went quietly. With one out in the fifth, Orlando Arcia dropped a bunt single. Eric Thames pinch hit, but before he got to swing, the rains came and he was replaced by a tarp.

photo: Pittsburgh Pirates
2-1/4 hours later, the game resumed with Ric Rod on the bump to face Tyler Saladino, as Craig Counsell decided to keep Thames in his back pocket for later. A whiff and a grounder later, the Bucs were up against Corbin Burnes. Fraze singled up the middle with an out and was caught stealing before Starling bounced out. Edgar Santana was called upon for the sixth and was greeted by a Yelich rap. Jesus Aguilar doubled him home on a catchable ball that Reyes lost at the wall; the Brewer was safe at third after the throw home when Cervy's peg was offline. Fran left the game after that toss with Eli Diaz taking over; no obvious sign of injury, so we'll see what type of discomfort the Pirates announce. It got worse; Travis Shaw homered over the short porch in right and Milwaukee had the lead. After running a 3-0 count on Braun; Santana also left the game with the trainer, again with no apparent trigger. Steven Brault came in and finished the walk.That was followed by a long ball served to Moustakas and another to Erik Kratz, sheesh. He got three of the next four to close out a nasty frame, and Josh Hader took the ball. After a pair of punch outs, sizzlin' Corey D drilled a triple into the RF corner, but Pablo joined the whiff parade on a borderline full-count strike.

Ivan was strong again before the rains fell (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
Dovy Neverauskas climbed the bump in the seventh and got two outs (and an ejection as Shaw was yapping at the ump from the bench) before giving up yet another dinger, this one to Keon Broxton. After getting an out, Corey Knebel took the ball and fanned Joey O and K-Man. Clayton Holmes answered the eighth inning bell. he plunked Kratz, causing a little snarl, then Pablo made up for his misplay by running down a bullet by Arcia before a K and grounder put it to bed. Joakim Soria tossed next and walked Fraze. Starling hit into an around-the-horn DP. J-Bell dropped a bloop single after that,but Eli fanned. Holmes walked the first pair in the ninth before settling down. Jeremy Jeffress was waved in for the ninth, and nine pitches later the game was done.

Dunno what the Pirates did during the rain break, but we'd sure change that routine. What this does point out is the need for the Pirates to bolster the pen next season. The B-team isn't cutting it, and that'll hurt now, with just three A-Listers left, and they need a Frenchy LeBlanc or Joe Hudson type to anchor the long guys next year.

Notes:
  • Fraze, J-Bell and Corey D had three hits; those guys are rakin' every day.
  • Fran's stomach was acting up, ending his day. Edgar Santana's ache was more worrisome - it's the dreaded forearm/elbow "discomfort" symptom.
  • Ric Rod's 85th K set a record for rookie Pirates relievers.
  • Corey Dickerson's homer was his first since July 22nd.
  • This was Eli's first appearance behind the plate this month following his hammy strain.
  • The attendance was 19,243 for a rainy fireworks night.
  • The Pirates announced their minor league PoY award winners: 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes (Altoona- .293 BA) is Player of the Year and RHP JT Brubaker (Indy/Altoona 10-6/2.81) is the Pitcher of the Year.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Brew Crew Three-Gamer To End PNC's Season, Ivan v Davies, Lineup & Notes

Today: First pitch is at 7:05 and the game will be on AT&T SportsNet & 93.7 The Fan.The 14-and-under gang will get a Starling Marte replica jersey, delayed from the recent Marlin rainout with the added attraction of the final Zambelli Fireworks night slated for after the game.

Pitchers: RHP Ivan Nova (9-9, 4.07) opens the three-gamer against RHP Jhoulys Chacin (14-8, 3.54). Ivan's allowed just one run in his last two stars,lasting 12 innings, and he's gone 7-4/3.46 in 16 starts since being reinstated from the DL, so he's been a solid second half contributor. He's 1-0/1.69 in two starts against the Brew Crew this year. Super Nova had a no-decision in a 2-1 Bucco win in July and won a 3-1 decision last week, cruising through six innings. Chacin has been consistent for Milwaukee, allowing three or fewer earned runs in each of his last eight starts. He hasn't been very lucky against the Bucs though he's pitched solidly with an 0-3/2.55 slash, and the Brewski Bunch has dropped four of his five 2018 starts against the Buccaneers.

Ivan & Fran are the battery (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Lineup: Adam Frazier 2B, Starling Marte CF, J-Bell 1B, Fran Cervelli C, Corey Dickerson LF, Pablo Reyes RF, Colin Moran 3B, Kevin Newman SS & Nova P.  Looks like Starling & J-Bell are biometric-proof; those dudes never sit.

Notes:
  • The Bucs have been the Brewers kryptonite this year; they're 11-5 v Milwaukee. The Pirates have been victorious in 11 of the past 14 contests and have won four consecutive one-run games for the first time since 1992, with the only time they've won five squeakers in a row back in 1946, per @joe_block.
  • Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors looks at the silver lining for non-playoff teams in the Central Division. For the Buccos, it's pitching, especially if bolstered by some "strategic investments" during the off season. 
  • The Pirates have switched Low Class A affiliates, flipping from West Virginia to Greensboro, both members of the Sally League. The Power, based in Charleston, will become a Seattle Mariner feeder while the Grasshoppers had been a long-time Miami Marlin farm club. It's a two-year deal.
  • Backyard Brawl, hardball version: the WV Mountaineers will take on the Pitt Panthers on Tuesday, May 14th, 2019, at PNC Park. The 'Eers have played Penn State the past two seasons at PNC, and their rivalry with Pitt extends unbroken back to 1895.
  • Boy, that was quick - Banny is out as Texas Rangers manager, w/the story first broken by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Bench coach Don Wakamatsu has been named interim manager for the remainder of 2018 season effective immediately. Wonderin' if there may be a Pirates reunion in the cards...?