Thursday, May 23, 2019

Bombs Away In Pittsburgh PA - Pirates Roll 14-6 Over Rox

Jordan Lyles dodged a first-inning bullet. The leadoff batter blooped a single into shallow left, and two outs later, a double set the Rox up, but a tapper back to the mound closed it out. Antonio Senzatela  had nowhere to hide. He bopped Starling, who stole second and scored ahead of Gregory's homer. J-Bell walked and came in on Melky's double; Cabrera took third on the play at home and tallied on Redbeard's single to make it 4-0 from the jump. Both sides went quietly in the second. The Rox stayed quiet in the third; the Bucs added on. J-Bell banged a two-bagger and scored on Redbeard's single. An Eli single and K-Man walk loaded the sacks for Lyles, who bounced a two-run knock into right. The party ended on a break for Senzatela; Fraze's liner to second turned into a DP. Colorado was 1-2-3'ed in the fourth; a Starling double and J-Bell single made it 8-0. Chad Bettis saved further embarrassment by getting Melky to bounce into another inning-ending DP. Again, no Rockies runners in the fifth; the Bucs got a single. But in the sixth, the Rox dropped an avalanche of two-out hits on Jordan.

Brian Giles? The Cobra? Pops? Nah, just lil' ol' J-Bell. (photo MLBPipeline)

With a runner on second and two outs, four singles and a four-pitch walk cut the Pirates lead in half, to 8-4,  and brought in Geoff Hartlieb. He walked a guy, tossed a wild pitch and gave up a knock to make it 8-6 before the flames were doused. Mike Dunn took the ball for the Rockies. Fraze singled, then Starling bounced into the Bucs third DP of the afternoon, making for a calm inning. Kyle Crick got the ball for the seventh and gave up a bunt single, followed by a grounder into left. A comebacker was turned into a big DP (lots of them today) and a whiff put up another goose egg. J-Bell got Big Mo to wink at the Bucs by leading off with a dinger into the bullpen off Carlos Estevez, with the crowd chanting "MVP" before and after the blow. Colin legged out a hustle double an out later, and it kept going. Eli walked and with two away, Bryan Reynolds went yard to restore some deep breathing room. An error and a Starling blast made it a 14-6 romp again before Jake McGee took the ball to get the final out. Frankie got a pair of K in a clean eighth. Yency Almonte matched him. Montana DuRapau got back on the bike for the ninth (how often does the guy who started yesterday's game get to finish today's?) and was touched for a two-out rap but flipped another zero at the Rox. Raise the Roger.

Notes:
  • J-Bell and Redbeard led the hit parade with three knocks; Bell, Starling, Bryan Reynolds and Gregory homered. Five different Pirates had two RBI; Marte & Bell scored three times; Eli and Colin twice.
  • Today, the Bucs hit the daily double -14 runs is their highest offensive output of the year, and eight runs is the largest margin of victory.
  • Josh Bell has played in all 47 games, but the next two might surprise ya - Melky has been in 45, then Redbeard at 44. Fraze at 43 is next on the ironman list.
  • Jordan Lyles had retired 14 straight batters before his sixth-inning collapse.
  • There were 15,490 ticket holders for today's game.

Jordan Lyles v Antonio Senzatela, Lineup & Notes

Game: It's getaway day at PNC Park with a 12:35 first pitch. The game will be carried by AT&T SportsNet and 93. 7 The Fan. The weather may be iffy, no surprise that.

Lineup: Adam Frazier 2B, Starling Marte CF, Gregory Polanco RF, Josh Bell 1B, Melky Cabrera LF, Colin Moran 3B, Eli Diaz C, Kevin Newman SS, Jordan Lyles P. Melky for Bryan Reynolds is the only change from yesterday; guess Cervy is still sore from Tuesday. Good thing Eli's young, catching a day-after-night game is a task.

Hopin' to stop the bleeding... (image Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: RHP Jordan Lyles (4-1/1.97) closes the series against RHP Antonio Senzatela (3-3/4.89). Whatever evaluators saw Lyles in their crystal ball during the offseason deserve a huge raise; he's been the ace so far this year. Jordan faced off against the Rox five times last year, once as a starter, and put up a 1-0/1.32 line in 13-2/3 IP, giving up five hits and fanning 15. The Buca are once again counting on Jordan to be their stopper. The 22-year-old Senzatela isn't a big K guy with so-so peripherals, but he does a good job of keepin' the Rox in games when he takes the bump. Senzatela has seen the Bucs once; he tossed an inning in relief against them last year with a walk and a whiff.

Notes:
  • Last night's attendance was the Pirates sixth crowd of fewer than 10,000 this season. They had seven sub-10k crowds last season. (s/o Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic)
  • Injuries are still in the same ol' rut - Keone Kela may or may not be close, Lonnie Chisenhall still has calf tightness and is away from Indy, and the rest of the gang is pretty much treading water, although JHK and Corey Dickerson are on the road to a rehab assignment, perhaps next week. And the bench may be even a little shorter today; it's still TBD if Cervy will be available off the bench.
  • A tale of an unlikely pair of buds - the Pirate Parrot and the Philly Phanatic, via Julia Hatmaker of Penn Live.

5/23 Through the 1920s: Meadows Trade; Game Stories; HBD Deacon, Bill, Clyde & Hugh

  • 1872 - RHP Charles “Deacon” Phillippe was born in Rural Retreat, Virginia. The Deacon spent 12 years with Pittsburgh (1900-11) with a line of 189-109/2.59. He went 3-2 in the 1903 World Series with a 3.07 ERA and closed out two games in the 1909 World Series, pitching six scoreless innings. Phillippe was perhaps the greatest control pitcher of the modern era, won 20 games six times, and was voted by Buc fans as the greatest right-handed pitcher in Pirates history. He came about his nickname honestly, being a devout Lutheran and clean living guy in an era noted for its rowdy ballplayers. He also went by “The Great Phillippi” due to his pitching prowess. Trivia: The outlaw league Pittsburg Filipinos of 1912 took their name from their manager - Deacon Phillippe. 
Deacon Phillippe 1910 White Silks
  • 1879 - OF Bill Miller was born in Bad Schwalbach, Germany. 23-year-old Miller was called up in 1902 to help bolster a thin roster on the recommendation of Tommy Leach. He played right field on August 23rd against the Brooklyn Superbas at Exposition Park. He went 1-for-5 with two RBI, and played a fair right field, although he misplayed the first ball hit to him (“He ran in for it when he should have hiked in the other direction...Being a newcomer, his mistake gave the crowd a bad impression from the start” per the Pittsburgh Press). It ended up his only MLB game. 
  • 1885 - 1B Hugh Bradley was born in Grafton, Massachusetts. After spending three years with Boston (he was the first player to homer at Fenway Park), he spent a season in the minors and then signed with the Pittsburgh Rebels. He was the starting 1B in 1914, hitting .307, but was bumped to reserve duty when veteran Ed Konetchy joined the team the next season. Spending time in the pasture and not happy about it, he was released and moved on to the Brooklyn Tip-Tops. They likewise let him go and he became a member of of a third Federal League club, the Newark Peppers. Brad spent from 1916-23 in the minors, umpired after that and then got on with his life. Fun factoid: for a while, Bradley spent the off seasons with a vaudeville act of Boston players called the “Red Sox Quartette,” a barbershop quartet. 
  • 1890 - During a 17-10 New York victory at the Polo Grounds‚ the Giants swiped a record 17 sacks against the battery of rookie P Fred “Crazy” Schmit and veteran C George “Doggie” Miller. The Alleghenys added three steals of their own to set a game record of 20. Crazy was thought nuts by the other players because he was the first pitcher to keep a book on hitters, warmed up at 75' rather than 60’ by tossing a water-soaked ball to make it heavier and used other quirky personal tricks of the trade to get ready for a game. He also answered to “Germany” for more obvious reasons. The 1890 Alleghenys, it should be noted, may have been baseball’s worst team ever, winning just 23 games and allowing 447 stolen bases, nearly four per game - and the catchers had a 31% toss-out rate! 
Doggie was busy OTD 1887 Buchner Gold Coin
  • 1892 - The Pirates ended the Chicago Colts 13-game winning streak with a 5-4 win at Southside Stadium in front of 2,000 Windy City fans. The Pirates overcame an early 4-0 deficit, led by extra base knocks by Jake Beckley, Doggie Miller, Mike Smith and Lou Bierbauer, generating just enough offense to push Mark Baldwin to victory. As recapped by the Pittsburgh Press: “The Pittsburgs defeated the Chicagos in a very close and exciting game. The Pittsburgers were outbatted, but their hits were more timely and counted more than those made by the Colts.” Part of the excitement was the fielding; each side surrendered just one earned run, with the clubs combining to boot five balls. 
  • 1923 - Pittsburgh sent 2B Cotton Tierney and P Whitey Glazner to the Phils for 2B Johnny Rawlings and P Lee Meadows. Meadows went 87-51 over the next five years as Glazner's rotation replacement, winning 20 games once and 19 twice. Whitey was out of baseball after winning 14 games in two seasons for the Phils while Cotton was done after the 1825 campaign. 
  • 1924 - Coach Clyde King was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina. King never played for the Bucs, but after hangin’ up the mitt he managed the Hollywood Stars in 1957 and the Columbus Jets in 1958, both Pirate farm clubs. After coaching outside the organization, he returned as a member of Harry Walker’s staff from 1965 to 1967. He continued to coach in the minors and the MLB as manager of the SF Giants, Atlanta Braves and NY Yankees, also serving as the Gotham GM.

5/23 From 1940 Through the 1960’s: Sid, The Hound Dealt; Whalin' Willie Debut; Game Stories; HBD Nelson

  • 1943 - The Pirates only had one hit during the match but it was enough. Vince DiMaggio’s fourth-inning double scored Elbie Fletcher, who had walked, for a 1-0 win at Forbes Field against the Chicago Cubs. Bob Klinger went the distance for Pittsburgh, tossing a four-hitter to hand Dick Barrett a tough defeat. The Pirates wouldn’t win another game with just one hit again until 2017 when they defeated the Dodgers 1-0 at PNC Park. Josh Harrison’s walk-off homer in the 10th broke up the no-no and shut-out bids of LA pitcher Rich Hill in one sweet swing. 
Bill McDonald 1951 Bowman
  • 1950 - After traveling a twisted trail (he was signed out of high school by the Tigers, granted free agency by the league with a handful of other Detroit farmhands due to some contractual hanky-panky, then signed with the Pirates for $20,000 to become their first “bonus baby” to reach Forbes Field) Bill MacDonald made his first major league start. It was a good one as he shut out the Phillies‚ 6-0, twirling a complete game three-hitter against the future NL champs. “Whalin’ Willie” (his bread-and-butter was the fastball) went 8-10/4.29 for the last-place Bucs, making 32 outings (twenty starts) with two shutouts and six complete games to his credit. His major drawback was a wild streak; he averaged over five walks per nine. MacDonald then missed the 1951–52 seasons when he was in the service during the Korean War years, and when he returned in 1953, he had lost it. Bill pitched poorly in four more games (12.27 ERA), was sent to the PCL and retired after the 1954 campaign. 
  • 1952 - It took 13 frames, but Johnny Merson’s double scored Gus Bell with the game winner to end an eight-game losing streak as the Bucs topped the Cubs 6-5 at Forbes Field. The Pirates scored four times in the opening inning, but Bob Friend couldn’t hold on. Ted Wilks spun the last 5-⅔ frames without yielding a run to end the drought. 
  • 1955 - 3B Sid Gordon was sold to the New York Giants for “considerably over the $10,000 waiver price,” thought to be in the $25K range. Despite hitting .306 in 1954, the 36-year-old Gordon was a seldom-used backup third baseman (he lost his job to Gene Freese) and pinch hitter, providing not a lot of value as their highest-paid player at $27,500. The Pittsburgh Press said he was “...understandably happy and excited when called into Branch Rickey’s office to get the glad news...” The NY nine didn’t do much to extend his career; he got into 66 games and hit .243, ending his career. 
  • 1958 - IF Nelson Norman was born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. In six MLB years, Nelson got into 198 games; three were for Pittsburgh in 1982 when he went 0-for-3. But he had some Bucco history. The Pirates originally signed him in 1975 as a 16-year-old. He went to Texas a couple of years later as part of the Bert Blyleven deal. The Rangers acquired Mario Mendoza in 1981, bumping Nelson out of a job, and after the season, the Rangers traded Norman back to the Pirates for Víctor Cruz. He played mostly for Portland (AAA), Lynn (AA) and Hawaii (AAA) through 1984, finishing out his career in the minors for Baltimore and Montreal in ‘87. He’s coached for several organizations since retiring and is now a scout/head of Dominican Operations for the O’s. 
Bob Skinner 1963 Topps
  • 1963 - The Bucs sent OF Bob Skinner to the Reds for Jerry Lynch, who started his career in Pittsburgh. Lynch spent his last four years as a Pirate and set the MLB pinch hit home run record of 18 (since surpassed by Matt Stairs) in a Bucco uniform. Skinner spent nine seasons with Pittsburgh, compiling a .280 BA, and lasted five more years in the show. 
  • 1965 - The Pirates came to Milwaukee in the throes of an eight game losing streak and left with a three-game sweep of the Braves at County Stadium, taking a 10-1 victory in the series finale with the match iced by an Andre Rogers grand slam. Roberto Clemente and Bill Mazeroski each had three hits to back Bob Veale’s complete game, four-hit performance. The combination of the Pirates and some unseasonably cool weather didn’t do much to line the owners’ pockets - the set drew just 7,394 fans for the three contests, with the biggest crowd being 2,679 for the Friday night series opener. Of course, the fact that the Braves announced their move to Atlanta just a week or two prior probably didn’t help spin the gates, either. After the relo, Milwaukee went without MLB ball until 1970 when the Brewers (nee Seattle Pilots) arrived.

5/23 From 1970: Vogey Drilled; K-Day; Game Stories; HBD Mike

  • 1978 - Reliever Mike Gonzalez was born in Corpus Christi. He was drafted by the Pirates and pitched his first four seasons (2003-06) in Pittsburgh. Gonzo became a rare LH closer in 2006, earning 24 saves before being sent to Atlanta in the off season as part of the Adam LaRoche deal. He last pitched in the majors in 2013 for the Brewers. 
  • 1984 - Bucco lefty John Candelaria struck out 12 batters in eight innings of work as the Pirates beat Cincinnati, 7-2, at Three Rivers Stadium. It was Candelaria’s fourth win of the year. The Pirates took the lead with six runs in the fifth inning and never looked back. Catcher Tony Pena went 3-for-4 with a triple. 
John Smiley 1989 Panini
  • 1989 - John Smiley struck out nine batters and tossed a complete game in a 5-2 victory over Zane Smith and the Braves in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Glenn Wilson had two hits, including a two-run homer, to lead the attack. The win was Smiley’s fifth in a row en route to winning 12 games for the Bucs that year. The 24-year-old’s 1989 campaign would see him set personal full-time bests in ERA (2.81) and WHIP (1.086). 
  • 1998 - Jason Kendall had a big if somewhat painful day at Pro Players Stadium against Florida in Pittsburgh’s 10-4. He went 3-for-3 with three RBI. After his first inning single knocked in a run, he was rewarded with a pair of HBPs; he responded by doubling and singling to plate two more runs and touch the dish once with his following pair of swings. Turner Ward also drove in three runs and Tony Womack scored three times. Jon Lieber got the win and Ricardo Rincon the save. 
  • 1999 - Jason Schmidt left after two innings, with the Florida Marlins up 5-0 (he missed the next start with “dead arm”). But the Bucs came all the way back at Pro Player Stadium. They did it the hard way, too. They plated their runs on a sac fly, a grounder, an single/error followed by a rap, a wild pitch/missed catch, a double play and softly scored the winner in the ninth. Mike Benjamin singled off a glove, went to second on a balk, tagged to third and scored on Al Martin’s blooper that barely cleared short. They may have ground to score runs, but the victory was thanks to a great bullpen effort: Jeff Wallace got the win, the save went to Mike Williams and goose eggs were tossed by relievers Chris Peters and Brad Clontz. 
  • 2010 - Ryan Doumit had a day as the Bucs walked off with a 3-2, 10-inning win over Atlanta in front of 23,045 fans at PNC Park. The Pirates left the bases loaded in the seventh, failing to add to a 2-1 lead, before former Bucco Eric Hinske homered off Evan Meek to tie the game in the eighth. The game went on quietly when with two outs in the 10th, Dewey jumped on Takashi Saito’s first pitch and knocked it over the RF wall. The blast gave Octavio Dotel the win in a match started by Zach Duke. Doumit’s three hits led the parade; Aki Iwamura and Andrew McCutchen added a pair of knocks apiece. 
Dewey 2010 Topps Heritage
  • 2016 - In one of PNC Park’s scarier moments, witnessed by 34,529 stunned fans, Pirates pitcher Ryan Vogelsong was hit in the face with an 0-2 fastball by the Rockies Jordan Lyles in the second inning and was carted off the field with facial fractures. Ryan was temporarily blinded in one eye after the beaning, but his vision slowly recovered to nearly normal. He had surgery and against the odds returned to the mound on August 4th and pitched well (six innings, one run, three hits) in his return. The Bucs, btw, won the match against Colorado by a 6-3 score and Lyles was introduced to instant karma - he lost the game and then was sent to the minors the next day.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Rox Rock Bucs 9-3

After a K, a knock and a walk started simmering the water around Montana DuRapau. It boiled with two outs when Daniel Murphy clobbered a 2-1 heater into the seats. That was followed by another rap and a new pitcher, Nick Kingham; Montana was already at 27 pitches. He gave up an infield dribbler, but finally closed the gate. Jon Gray got two grounders and a whiff for a quiet opener. Nick held the Rox to a walk in the second. The Bucs got a run back when J-Bell banged a solo shot to lead things off; for the second time this month, he dropped it into the Allegheny on the fly. The cut the lead to one with a two-out mini-rally when Eli singled and came all the way around on K-Man's two-bagger. Nick's not having a lot of luck; he gave up two infield knocks in the third, both soft squibs and one off a glove. They cost when Tony Wolters pounded a high heater into the stands to make it 6-2. Fraze opened with a single for the Pirates, but a K and DP ball quickly ended the frame. The fourth saw The King issue a couple of more walks, but a caught stealing led to a zero. The Bucs settled for a two-out single.

Clay Holmes saved the pen tonight (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

The Rox kept coming in the fifth, with back-to-back doubles followed by a single. Eli helped him with a pickoff at third and the Rox gave up an out with a bunt, but another single and walk did Nick in (he was at 89 pitches, too, so...). Clay Holmes came on and the first hitter he faced singled in the Rockies ninth run of the night before the third out. Not a peep was heard from the Bucs. The sixth was 1-2-3 for Clay, and the Bucs scratched out a run on a Gregory walk, J-Bell single and Bryan Reynolds bouncer. It was a walk for the Rox in the seventh and a clean inning for Gray. Colorado bopped back-to-back one-out singles to occupy the corners in the eight; Clay manned up and fanned the next pair of Rox. Bryan Shaw toed the slab, and Pittsburgh got a one-away rap followed by a GIDP. Michael Feliz got the ninth. He was tagged for a double and fanned a couple for a scoreless outing. Jairo Diaz was sent out for the last lap; a walk and bopped batter didn't move the tally.

To everything there is a season, it's said, but the opener ploy as a regular tactic doesn't seem to be one of them. Still, a pair of high, straight, two-out fastballs on the outside of the plate that left the yard made the diff in this one; it's especially galling that of the four runners who were on before the blasts, one was walked and two more reached on infield knocks. Well, sera, sera, and go try to salvage a game tomorrow.

Notes:
  • J-Bell and Eli Diaz each had a pair of raps.
  • Jake Elmore was hitting .380 for Indy; he's 1-for-16 since being called up.
  • There were 9,534 tickets sold for tonight.
  • The Mets continue to shuffle ol' Bucco OF'ers - after trading Keon Broxton, they called up Rajai Davis to replace Brandon Nimmo, who is on the IL.

Montana v Jon Gray, Lineup & Notes

Game: Opening toss is at 7:05, with the game broadcast by AT&T SportsNet & 93.7 The Fan. The weather should be OK, with rain coming on after the game although a scattered shower or two may visit.

Lineup: Adam Frazier 2B, Starling Marte CF, Gregory Polanco RF, Josh Bell 1B, Bryan Reynolds LF, Colin Moran 3B, Elias Diaz C, Kevin Newman SS, Montana DuRapau P. Kinda expected Eli back behind the dish after Cervy was bruised up last night, and K-Man's been hitting the ball, something that Tuck hasn't been doing very well. Also good to see Gregory back.

Pitchers: RHP Montana DuRapau (0-0/1.35) matches up against RHP Jon Gray (3-4/4.73). Guess Montana has become the designated Buc opener and why not? He did well enough in his last go, putting up a couple of zeroes before handing the ball off to Steven Brault. We assume it'll be the same righty-lefty combo tonight. Gray averages 10 K per nine innings, but other than a solid three-game string in mid-April, hasn't overwhelmed anyone. His 10 HR's served in 53 IP have hurt, with seven coming in his six road starts. He hasn't seen Pittsburgh since 2016, and hasn't fared well in his three career starts against them, giving up 14 runs in 12-2/3 IP.

Guess who gets to open again? (photo Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)
Notes:
  • Clint said Cervy's four-game break wasn't injury related; he wanted to give Fran a little rest and a lot of cage time while getting Eli more involved. Diaz took advantage, going 8-for-17 and raising his BA from .135 to .241; he's still in SSS territory.
  • The opener is an OK occasional concept, but the Pirates have a hole coming up against the Dodgers Saturday and a twin bill against Cincy on Monday; they're gonna have to get off the pot and find someone to start pretty soon. Our guess: Nick Kingham goes Saturday (maybe with Frankie as an opener; we'll have to see how abused the pen is by then) while Mitch Keller will be on schedule for the double header after starting last night. That seems like a good time to make him the 26th man, bring him up for the start and then have the option of returning him to Indy after the game if Super Two is a concern. But the FO works in mysterious ways...maybe Bob Walk is due for a comeback.
  • Keone Kela is tossing a sim game today; we'll see where that leads.
  • Tonight will be Clint's 2,500th game as a big league skipper.
  • The O's got DFA'ed OF Keon Broxton from the Mets for international bonus money.


5/22 Through the 1940s: Josh Bomb; Expo Aflame; Game Stories; HBD George, Jim, Terris, Tom & Hooks

  • 1884 - RHP Tom McCarthy was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Tom makes today’s list as one of the Bucs flipped so quickly that hardly anyone knew he was here. He started the year as a Red, had one terrible outing and was sold to the Pirates in May. He pitched twice for the Buccos, once as a starter and once in relief, and reversed his fortune by giving up one unearned run and three hits in six frames. Then in mid-June, he was part of a deal with the Boston Doves for Irv Young, joining his third team in a span of 39 days. Tom tossed pretty well for the Beaneaters into 1909, then was traded to the minor league Hartford club (then independent clubs rather than affiliates) for Chick Evans. That was the end of Tom’s baseball road pretty much - he had two good minor league seasons, then had to retire due to a balky back. 
  • 1894 - 3B Hoke “Hooks” Warner was born in Del Rio, Texas. Hooks played for the Bucs in 1916 as the starting third baseman after being purchased from Dayton in August and returned for cups of coffee in 1917 and 1919 (he spent 1918 in the army). Warner hit .232 over that span, and would play just 14 more MLB games with the Chicago Cubs in 1921. After his playing days, he managed a restaurant in Pittsburgh. 
Expo Park was scorched by some disgruntled directors (photo via Love of the Game)
  • 1900 - Exposition Park was plagued by a series of fires set in the stands. The Pittsburgh Press wrote that “It is believed the fires were started by persons who formerly held passes but whom the new management refuses to recognize,” referring to small stockholders who were cut out of the action by new owner Barney Dreyfuss and apparently took the loss of their perks hard. 
  • 1910 - RHP Terris McDuffie was born in Mobile, Alabama. Originally a speedy but poor-hitting outfielder, he later converted to pitching and won over 170 games. He played baseball for 25 years in the Negro, Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Venezuelan and California Winter leagues with some time in the minors. He pitched for the Homestead Grays in 1941, going 12-8/3.12 and starting in the All-Star game (he was a three-time Negro League AS). McDuffie was a flashy player; he wore a jacket that had “McDuffie the Great” embroidered across the back and went by the nicknames of Speed, Elmer the Great, Terris the Terrible, Schoolboy and Payaso (a person who likes to clown around). 
  • 1921 - In their initial meeting of the season, the first place Pirates defeated the second place NY Giants 8-6 at the Polo Grounds. After trailing for most of the game, the Pirates scored twice in the eighth and six times in the ninth. Possum Whitted went 3-for-3 with a homer, George Cutshaw went 4-for-5 with two doubles, Cotton Tierney added three knocks and Max Carey belted a four bagger. Wilbur Cooper went the distance for the win. It was a 2-0 game in favor of Gotham going into the eighth; the G-Men had no quit in them either and scored once in the eighth and three times in the ninth to keep it interesting. NY lost that battle but won the war; the Giants took the 1921 NL title by four games from the Bucs. 
  • 1925 - The Bucs scored five times in the first inning, keyed by Glenn Wright’s three-run homer, and then didn’t score again until the 10th, but it was enough to edge the NY Giants 6-5 at the Polo Grounds. Pie Traynor shot a liner off pitcher Wayland Dean’s shin that ricocheted into short RF for a double and scored on a two-out knock by George Grantham for the game winner. Vic Aldridge got the win; Dean was a hard luck loser, working 9-2/3 innings of one-run relief only to get tagged with the loss (and a bruise). 
Steve Swetonic 1929 (image from The Sporting News)
  • 1932 - Mt. Pleasant’s Steve Swetonic, a Pitt grad, had his scoreless innings streak snapped at 26 frames when Pepper Martin hit a seventh inning solo homer, but ended up with a three-hit, 5-1 win over Dizzy Dean and the St. Louis Cardinals at Sportsman’s Park. Steve would finish 11-6/2.86 for the year, but a bum arm short-circuited his career; he would have only one more healthy season left, missing all of 1934 and retiring in 1935. 
  • 1937 - OF George Spriggs was born in Jewell, Maryland. The Bucs signed the speedy Spriggs from the fading Negro Leagues and he led the AA Southern and AAA International League in stolen bases from 1964-66. In 56 games for the Pirates from 1965-67, Spriggs hit just .182 though he was 5-for-5 in stolen bases. He got two more MLB years as a bench guy for the Kansas City Royals. George also logged time in Mexico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and independent leagues in addition to his 10-year minor league stint. 
  • 1946 - Josh Gibson hit a homer an estimated 490’ over the left center wall at Forbes Field to lead the Homestead Grays to an 11-8 victory over the New York Black Yankees. Gibson hit .379 that season and led the Negro League with 16 homers in 49 games. It was the opener for the defending Negro National League champion Grays, played in front of 5,000 fans; Homestead CF’er Jerry Benjamin led both teams with four hits. 
  • 1946 - Coach Jim Colborn was born in Santa Paula, California. He pitched for a decade in the show - he was the Brewers first 20-game winner - and went to LA as a pitching coach after his playing days. Colborn followed Jim Tracy to the Pirates in the 2006 offseason. He got into an infamous shouting match with Jack Wilson on a ball that dropped between three Buccos, didn’t have much luck in developing the Pirates young pitchers, and was let go after the 2007 campaign. He caught on with the Texas Rangers as a bullpen coach and then as their Pacific Rim coordinator; he’s based in Australia now.

5/22 From 1960: Ducky-Pagan Deal; Pops Cover; Game Stories; HBD Corey, Jose & Julian

  • 1965 - The Pirates sent IF Dick Schofield to the Giants for IF Jose Pagan. Pagan spent seven years with Pittsburgh, hitting .263 and driving in the winning run in the seventh game of the 1971 World Series. Ducky played until 1971, but the light-hitting utilityman only batted above .221 twice during that span, most notably in 1960 when he swatted .333 replacing injured SS Dick Groat late in the season.  
Jose Mesa 2005 Topps
  • 1966 - RHP Jose Mesa was born in Pueblo Viejo, Dominican Republic. The two-time All-Star and 1995 Reliever of the Year (he had 46 saves for the Indians and a 1.13 ERA) signed with the Pirates late in his 19-year major league career, looking for a place where he could again compete as a closer. He won the job in Pittsburgh and in 2004-05 picked up 70 saves, although with a 3.93 ERA and 12 blown saves. He went on to play two more seasons as a set-up man for Colorado, Detroit, and Philadelphia before retiring in 2007. 
  • 1968 - With the wind blowing out at Wrigley Field‚ the Pirates came from four runs down to defeat the Cubs 13-6. Willie Stargell hit three home runs and just missed a fourth, drilling a double that bounced off the left field top railing. Pops also smacked a single for 15 total bases and seven RBI on the day. Bill Mazeroski had three hits and scored twice; Jerry May had two knocks and a walk, scoring three times. Tommie Sisk got the win in relief of Jim Bunning, but Dave Wickersham did the heavy lifting,going five innings of three-hit ball and giving up one unearned run. 
  • 1973 - RHP Julian Tavarez was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Tavárez had been a starter, but suffered a shoulder injury in 2002 as a Marlin that he tried but couldn’t pitch through. The 30-year-old signed a minor league deal with the Pirates the following season. They converted him to the bullpen (where he had started his career) and he put up a career-high 11 saves, going 3-3-11/3.63. The Bucs lost him to free agency the next year when he signed with the Cards. Julian had a 17-year MLB run, playing for 11 teams before his final campaign in 2009. 
  • 1981 - Willie Stargell was featured on the cover of The Sporting News for the story “Streaking Slugger.” The Captain was on the downside of his career, being a sub/pinch hitter from 1980 until his retirement after the 1982 season. He only got 66 PA in 1981 playing behind Jason Thompson and for the first time since his rookie campaign, when he had just 31 AB, he went without a homer though he did bat .283. 
  • 1989 - OF McKenzie Corey Dickerson was born in McComb, Mississippi. Dickerson, who had played five seasons for the Rockies and Rays, came to Pittsburgh in a 2018 deal for RHP Daniel Hudson, minor league 2B Tristan Gray and cash. He was an All-Star in 2017, batting .280 with 27 HR, but had a Jekyll and Hyde campaign, hitting .312 at the halfway post and then slumping to .241 through the dog days. He was penciled in to start in LF, filling in the hole left by the Andrew McCutchen trade and has held the job since Opening Day until a shoulder injury sidelined at the start of the 2019 campaign. 
  • 2013 - Francisco Liriano outdueled the Cubs Jeff Samardzija 1-0 at PNC Park; the only run scored in the first, when with two outs Andrew McCutchen doubled and Garrett Jones singled him home. Liriano gave up two hits, a walk and K’ed nine in seven innings. It was only the second time in Pirate history that a pitcher began his Pittsburgh career by allowing a run or less in his first three outings, the other being Dave LaPoint in 1988.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Marquez Sharp, Archie Not, In 5-0 Loss to Rox

Chris Archer was touched for a couple of opening round raps but escaped unscathed. Bryan Reynolds doubled with two away against German Marquez and was left on the pond. The Bucs gave the Rox a gift in the second. Daniel Murphy doubled, went to third on a grounder and scored on the contact play. J-Bell's throw to home beat him by plenty and got Murphy hung up in a rundown, but Cervy's toss to third nicked his helmet and went into left to allow the run in. The Pirates went down quietly. Trevor Story started the third with a long ball to left on a ball that barely cleared Reynold's leap, ticking off his glove. The Bucs made no noise in response. Archie walked a pair (the 7-8 hitters) with an out in the fourth and both scored on Charlie Blackmon's two-out, first-pitch triple. Marquez kep dealing; he's mowed down 10 in a row. The Rox were held to a single in the fifth. Melky and Cervy singled for the Buccos, but stayed anchored at first and second.

Archie's struggles continue 2019 Topps Opening Day 

Well, Chris Stratton isn't pitching tomorrow; he came on in the sixth after Archie burned through 92 tosses. And Cervy didn't last much longer; Eli came in after Fran took a foul to neck area batting the inning before. A walk, fly and not-so-good bunt back to the box by Marquez that became a 1-6-4 DP made for an easy frame. Reynolds walked for all the Pirates action. Stratton gave up a walk and single in the seventh, but a caught stealing kept things calm. Pittsburgh continued to flounder against Marquez. The Rox used three eighth-inning singles to add another tally to the board and make it 5-0. The Bucs didn't get a ball out of the infield, though Jake Elmore did come close to ducking a tag at first. He lost the call (a review didn't show a tag being made, but Jake was still rung up), annoying Clint, who eventually was bounced; he prob had more frustrations than a call at first to get off his chest. Michael Feliz got the ninth and went 1-2-3. Carlos Estevez took over - Marquez was at 104 pitches - and a walk and error left runners at second and third with two gone before a whiff ended it.

Archie's performance was iffy at best; still too many walks and pitches, but he didn't have much chance tonight; Marquez was on top of his game.  So tip o' the cap and go after 'em tomorrow, whoever may be pitching.

Notes:
  • Bryan Reynolds saw the ball well tonight; he was 1-for-2 with a double and lineout to go with a pair of walks. Only three other guys reached base besides him on two singles and an error
  • Gregory was scratched from today's lineup because of "finger discomfort." Cervy was removed as a precaution after suffering an upper chest contusion.
  • The Pirates are 1-6 when Arch starts this year; they game they won was 7-5. They were 5-5 in his 10 Pittsburgh starts in 2018.
  • The announced attendance: 12,265.
  • The Pirates have dropped four straight series openers, but have taken two-of-three after the smoke cleared w/the Rox set TDB.
  • Harold Ramirez, the Bucco OF prospect sent to Toronto w/Frankie Liriano and Reese McGuire in 2016, hit his first MLB homer tonight with Miami.