Thursday, August 31, 2017

8/31 TRS-PNC Park Era: Ray, Mad Dog, Diaz, A-Ram, Dunston, Morneau Deals; HBD Juan, Game Stories

  • 1981 - The Pirates acquired 2B Johnny Ray and two PTBNLs (pitchers Randy Niemann and Kevin Houston) from the Houston Astros in exchange for IF Phil Garner. Ray spent seven years in Pittsburgh, hitting .286, and was Rookie of the Year runner-up in 1982 to Steve Sax. Scrap Iron played through 1988 and hit .260 for the Astros, where he also had a seven-year run. 
  • 1985 - The Pirates traded former batting champion Bill Madlock to the Dodgers for prospects RJ Reynolds‚ Cecil Espy‚ and Sid Bream in a pretty solid deal for the Buccos. Madlock would last two more year in the show. 1B Bream spent six years in Pittsburgh, four as a starter, and hit .269 in that span. Reynolds, a platoon OF, also spent six seasons with Pittsburgh and also hit .269. Bench OF Espy spent a couple of campaigns in town, hitting .254. 
AVS 1988 Donruss Diamond Kings
  • 1987 - The Pirates won their seventh straight game, defeating the Atlanta Braves 7-3 at TRS. Andy Van Slyke went 3-for-3 with a homer and walk, scored three times and drove home a pair as Mike Dunne went the distance, tossing a six hitter. 
  • 1991 - The Pirates rode six innings of perfect relief by Roger Mason, Bill Landrum and game winner Bob Kipper to a 3-2, 12-inning victory over San Diego at Jack Murphy Stadium. The Buc tallies came in the second on Barry Bonds’ two-run shot and a leadoff homer to left by Don Slaught off Jose Melendez in the 12th. 
  • 1986 - RHP Juan Nicasio was born in San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic. The Pirates signed the five-year vet (LA, Colorado) in 2016 to a $3M deal and inked him again in 2017 for $3.65 M. After trying him out as a starter, the Pirates put him back in a bullpen role and he’s been an effective eighth-inning bridge. 
  • 1994 - In one of their better international deals, the Pirates signed 16-year-old Aramis Ramirez as an amateur free agent. A-Ram was the Pirates' last significant signing from the Dominican until the Rene Gayo era began a decade later. Ramirez had a pair of stints with the Bucs to open and close his career. 
Shawon Dunston 1988 Fleer
  • 1997 - The Bucs became buyers instead of sellers when they obtained SS Shawon Dunston from the Cubs to bolster the chances of the “Freak Show” team sneaking into the playoffs after Kevin Polcovich injured his ankle. Dunston hit .394 with five homers, but after an 18-game Bucco career was lost to the Indians in free agency after the season.  
  • 1999 - The Bucs provided lots of late-inning drama while topping the Rox at Coors Field in 10 innings by a 9-8 score. Kevin Young gave the Bucs an 8-4 lead with a two-out, first-pitch grand slam down the LF line in the ninth. In the bottom half, six straight runners reached off Mike Williams to make the score 8-8, but Angel Echevarria was thrown out at home by Brian Giles to keep the game knotted. The Bucs came up with four hits and a walk in the tenth, but could only tally a run to take a shaky lead. With two away for Colorado, Dante Bichette singled off Jose Silva and was waved around on Vin Castilla’s double to left center, but was cut down by Al Martin to Mike Benjamin to Keith Osik (7-6-2) to preserve the win. 
  • 2008 - Milwaukee thumped the Bucs, 7-0, for Pittsburgh's 10th loss in a row. Ricky Weeks led off with a homer at PNC Park and it went downhill from there. The big story was CC Sabathia’s one-hitter; the lone rap was a weakly-hit fifth-inning grounder by Andy LaRoche that Sabathia dropped; the scorer, much to the chagrin of manager Ned Yost, ruled it a hit (and not unreasonably). Yost felt that CC had fired a no-hitter and even filed an unsuccessful appeal over the ruling. CC blamed himself for the controversy, telling ESPN "The ball was still rolling and I probably should have picked it up with my glove...I think if I pick it up with my glove, I get him." 
Matt Diaz (photo Claus Andersen/Getty)
  • 2011 - Pittsburgh shipped OF Matt Diaz to the Braves for a PTBNL, P Eliecer Cardenas, who was quickly released. Diaz hit .259 in his brief spell as a Buc and spent two more bench years before hanging up his spikes after the 2013 season. 
  • 2013 - The Pirates pulled off their second trade of the week, picking up 1B Justin Morneau from Minnesota for OF Alex Presley and a PTBNL (RHP Duke Welker). They celebrated by going out and whipping the Cardinals, 7-1, at PNC Park to retake the NL Central lead behind AJ Burnett. Russ Martin had the big bop, a three-run homer, while Neil Walker added three knocks. Morneau was ready to rep; although not needed for this battle, he arrived in mid-game after flying in from Texas. Justin hit .260 w/a .370 OBP during the month, but his lack of power (0 HR, 4 2B, 92 PA) led the Bucs to let him walk the following year.

8/31 Expo Park-Forbes Field Era: HBD Duke, Red, Monte, Ray, Ramon & Morris; Deals & Games

  • 1866 - C Charley “Duke”/“Duke of Marlborough” Farrell was born in Oakdale, Massachusetts. Farrell was a big (6-1, 208), switch-hitting catcher who could fill in at other spots and batted .275 in 18 big league seasons. He stopped at Pittsburgh in 1892 but had a fairly miserable time, batting just .215 and never feeling quite at home in the clubhouse or city; he was traded in the offseason for Lefty Killen. He earned the nickname Duke of Marlborough early in his career; he was raised in Marlborough as a youth. 
  • 1868 - RHP Phillip “Red” Ehret was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He played for Pittsburgh from 1892-94 and put up a 53-59/3.79 line in 109 starts and 15 relief appearances. Red also played some outfield and got 438 PA in that span (mostly as a pitcher), batting .201 (hey, better than Mario Mendoza, right?) And yes, he was a redhead. 
Red Ehret 1888 Goodwin/Old Judge
  • 1869 - SS Monte Cross was born in Philadelphia. Monte spent 15 years in the show, known as a good glove man, and helped launch his career in Pittsburgh in 1894-95, batting .273 and becoming a starter for the first time in ‘95. He spent his last 10 seasons at home with the Phillies and the Athletics. When his MLB career ended in 1907, Monte hung on for awhile, playing minor league/semi-pro, umping and managing, notably for several seasons at Maine, before joining the real world as a salesman. 
  • 1907 - C Ray Berres was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He was a Bucco back-up from 1937-40, a good glove guy that hit .225. After his playing days, he was the pitching coach for the Chicago White Sox from 1949-66, then again from mid-season of 1968 through 1969, primarily under manager Al Lopez. He and Lopez had an interesting history together. Berres served as Lopez’s back-up early in his career and then was later traded to the Pirates straight-up for him. 
  • 1940 - LHP Ramon Hernandez was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico. The reliever tossed six years (1971-76) in Pittsburgh, going 23-12-39/2.51 after being signed by Howie Haak, and was a bullpen member of the Bucco division champs of 1972, 1974 and 1975 (he was a September call-up for the 1971 team). In a nine-season career, Hernandez’s line was 23–15-46/ 3.03. 
Ramon Hernandez 1974 Topps
  • 1953 - The Pirates sold RHP Johnny Lindell to the Phillies. His knuckler fluttered wildly that year, leading the league in walks and wild pitches. He was listed as a pitcher with the Pirates, but was often used as a pinch-hitter and hit .286, once tying a game with a three-run ninth-inning homer. The Phillies released him in May 1954 after his hybrid pitcher-outfielder role proved to be a not very strong pairing. Lindell was an odd story. He entered the league in 1941 as a pitcher, then was converted to outfield, where he played from 1943-50, earning an All-Star berth once with the Yankees. Then tried to come back again as a knuckleball pitcher after a couple of years in the minors. 
  • 1960 - The Pirates fell behind the Giants and Billy “Digger” O’Dell 3-0 at Candlestick Park, but after seven were up 7-4 and that lead held up. The club got a two-run shot from Roberto Clemente in the fifth, used four singles to take a 4-3 lead in the sixth and iced it in the seventh with two more singles, a walk, an error and two sac flies. The G-Men got a run back in their half off Joe Gibbon and had a pair on, but Elroy Face came on and struck out Felipe Alou and Willie Mays. He finished up the game, striking out six in 2-⅔ IP for his 20th save. Reliever Clem Labine was credited with the win. 
  • 1960 - LHP Morris Madden was born in Lauren, Souch Carolina. He tossed 14 of his 16 big league outings (three starts) for the Pirates in 1988-89 with a 2-2, 5.03 line and was released after the ‘89 campaign. 
Morris Madden 1989 Score Rising Star
  • 1968 - Steve Blass got the first out against the Atlanta Braves‚ and then moved to LF. ElRoy Face, 40, was in the process of being sold to the Tigers (actually, it was a done deal; Detroit wouldn’t have an open roster spot until September 1), and the club sent him in for one last appearance (legend has it he was asked whether he wanted to start or relieve, and opted to make his last outing from the pen). He retired Felix Millan on one pitch to tie Walter Johnson's MLB record of 802 pitching appearances with one club. Then manager Larry Shepherd came out for him, Blass returned to pitch and the Pirates won 8-0 at Forbes Field.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Cubs Sweep Bucs Out of Chicago With 17-3 Whuppin'

Odd first frame for Jose Quintana: 31 pitches, two runs, three hits, two HBPs (on 0-2 counts) and struck out the side while leaving the bases loaded. Ivan Nova's wasn't much cleaner - 31 pitches, a run, couple of knocks, walk, wild pitch and inning-ending save by J-Hay to stem the early bleeding. The Bucs whiffed in order and Javier Baez tied the game in the second. He reached on Freeser's error, went to third when Stew's throw on a SB attempt missed the mark and then stole home (Stew tried to pick him off third; Baez instead broke for the p;late and scored w/o a return throw). In between, Nova also struck out the side. The third saw the Cubs bang out a single, double, homer (Ian Happ) trifecta to make it 5-2; Ivan is still looking for answers. Steven Brault took over in the fourth, stranded a double and got beat up in the fifth, A two-bagger, bopped batter and Happ double cashed in a run. A single brought in one more run and reliever AJ Schugel, who was lit up too. Kyle Schwarber went long off him and it was 12-3; the Fat Lady has sung.

No answers for Ivan - or any Pirates pitcher - tonight (photo Pgh Pirates)

Josh Bell homered off Quintana in the sixth; Anthony Rizzo did the same against Angel Sanchez. Hector Rondon worked a quiet frame and Angel gave up another dinger, this one a two-run blast to Schwarber. Justin Wilson put up an eighth inning zippo. For some reason, Felipe got the Bucco call and gave up a variety of singles, from infield bleeders to laser bolts, and the Cubbies tacked on a couple of more tallies before Dovydas Neverauskas got the third out. Felix Pena got the ninth inning honors. Jordy doubled with two outs to keep the flicker alive but Eli went down swinging to mercifully turn out the lights. OK, September call-ups are around the corner and the Bucs are down-and-out; time to see what's cookin' for 2018.

  • The Pirates had six hits: J-Bell's boomer, Jordy's two-bagger and four singles. No Buc got aboard twice tonight.
  • It was as bad as it seemed. The Cubs punched out a season-high 20 hits, their first 20-hit game since May 12th, 2014, against the Redbirds. The Cubs have scored 15+ runs four times this month, as many as the rest of MLB combined per ESPN Stats.
  • John Jay became the first lefty to get a hit off Felipe Rivero since May, a streak of 40+ hitters.
  • Not much to write home about for Ivan again - he went three IP, giving up five runs (four earned) on five hits, a walk, wild pitch and five K after 69 pitches.
AJ has become the mid-inning clean-up man (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • AJ Schugel has allowed 12 of 19 inherited runners to score, which is the best mark on the team beside George Kontos (20/35) who did most of his work with SF. 
  • May the circle be unbroken: Stetson Allie, pitcher turned 1B for the Bucs, signed with the Dodgers as a minor-league FA. And guess what? They're converting him back to pitcher, working the 26-year-old out of the pen.

Wednesday: Bucs Try to Salvage One At Wrigley, Nova v Jose Quintana, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: Closing it out at Chicago with first pitch at 8:05. The game will be on AT&T SportsNet & 93.7 The Fan.

Lineup: Josh Harrison 2B, Sean Rodriguez RF, Cutch CF, Josh Bell 1B, David Freese 3B, Starling Marte LF, Jordy Mercer SS, Chris Stewart C, Ivan Nova P. We're not sure why S-Rod keeps getting planted at the top of the order and Marte dropped, but that's just a nit.

Ivan's been tough on the Cubs (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers:  Ivan Nova (11-11, 3.97) takes on José Quintana (8-11, 4.49) in the finale. The Jekyll and Hyde Nova went 9-6/3.21 in 18 starts prior to the All-Star break and 2-5/6.00 in eight starts since. To make it a little worse, he's winless  in his last five road starts (0-5/7.57); the good news is that the last road game he won was against Chicago. Ivan has actually been quite solid against the Cubbies lifetime in a small sample, with a line of 2-0/2.84 in three starts. He's 2-0/3.29 this year, winning 4-3 in June and 4-2 in July, both decisions against Jake Arrieta. Jose Quintana is the guy that the White Sox wanted the farm for, and the cross-town Cubbies were the ones that bellied up. The southpaw hasn't gone longer than six innings as a NL'er since his first start and in the seven outings since July 23, he's 3-4/5.31. He still can get swings and misses, averaging 10 K per nine and his acquisition gave the Baby Bears a yuge mental jolt, but he hasn't been much of a physical difference-maker since switching leagues. Jose beat the Bucs in his only outing against them back in 2015 but was touched for three runs and nine hits in six innings.

  • Jordy has hit safely in five straight games (9-for-17, .529) with three multi-hit performances.
  • Nova could have his busiest campaign ever tonight; he's five innings away from topping the career-high mark he set in 2012 (170-1/3 IP).
  • Jerry Crasnick of ESPN has a piece on J-Bell "The Best Rookie You Haven't Heard Of Yet."
  • LHP Steven Brault (10-5/1.94) of Indy not only made the International League Postseason All-Star Team but was named the IL's Most Valuable Pitcher.

8/30 Happenings: HBD Charlie, Kiki, Johnny & Luis; RIP Arky; Wilbur's 200th; Arlin Back; Deals & More...

  • 1878 - IF Charlie Starr was born in Pike County, Ohio. Charlie played three years in the show, joining the Bucs in the middle in 1908 after a couple of years at Youngstown and batting .186 in 20 games. He played for two more clubs after that in 1909,played in Buffalo a couple of seasons and then headed south, suiting up for New Orleans, Mobile, Chattanooga and Little Rock before his last at-bat in 1916. He retired and became a metal worker in construction. 
Kiki - The Sporting News
  • 1898 - OF Hazen Shirley “Kiki” Cuyler was born in Harrisville, Michigan. The Hall-of-Famer spent his first seven seasons (1921-27) as a Pirate, hitting .336 with a .399 OBP. The end of his Pittsburgh era was rocky. In 1927, Cuyler was benched for nearly half the season because of a dispute with rookie manager Donie Bush. The Pirates went to the World Series, but Cuyler was on the pine, and that November, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs. He played 11 more seasons and ended his career with a .321 BA. Per SABR, two explanations have been given for his nickname "Kiki." In one version, the players called him "Cuy" in the minors at Nashville, so when a fly ball was judged to be his play, the shortstop would call out "Cuy" as would the second baseman, and the echoed “Cuy-Cuy” caught on with the fans. A variant says that "Kiki Cuyler" was caused by his stuttering problem and was the way Cuyler's name came out when he pronounced it. 
  • 1916 - RHP Johnny Lindell was born in Greeley, Colorado. Johnny started as a pitcher in 1942 and ended as one in 1953, spending the eight years in between as an outfielder. After hitting below the Mendoza line in 1950, he was sent to the Hollywood Stars in the PCL where manager Fred Haney turned him into a knuckleballer. Lindell returned to the majors in 1953 at the age of 36 with the Pirates, who had Haney at their helm. His knuckleball was tough to hit but tougher to control, and Johnny led the league in walks and wild pitches with a line of 5-16, 4.71. His stick recovered as he batted .286 in 91 appearances, but it was the end of his road. He was sold to Philly in late August of 1953, finished out the season there, then got five at-bats the following campaign before leaving the show. 
Johnny Lindell 1953 Topps
  • 1924 - Wilbur Cooper, who is the Pirates all-time pitching leader with 202 opponent scalps and 236 complete games, won his 200th career contest (he finished with 216 wins) in a 12-3, complete game decision over Cincinnati at Forbes Field. It would be Wilbur’s last Pirates campaign and he finished the year slashing 20-14/3.28 before becoming part of a six-man deal with the Cubs after the season. The 32-year-old lefty had started out with Pittsburgh in 1912 when he was just 20. Wilbur won double-digit games 10 times in that time, including four 20 or more win seasons and two more at 19. 
  • 1952 - Arky Vaughan, 40, and his friend Bill Wimer drowned in California’s Lost Lake. While the two were fishing, their rowboat overturned. Wimer couldn’t swim, and both men went under when Vaughan tried to save his bud. Vaughan retired with 1,173 runs scored, 926 RBI, 118 steals, a .318 BA and a .406 OBP. His .385 batting average, .491 OBP, and 1.098 OPS in 1935 are Pirate team records, and the batting average is a 20th century record for NL shortstops. Arky was a Hall-of-Famer, included in the Ritter/Honig book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time and cited by Bill James as the second greatest SS in history, behind only Honus Wagner. 
  • 1972 - Bob Prince turned the mic over to ex-KDKA announcer Harold Arlin, the first man to ever broadcast a live baseball game. The Gunner graced him to call a few innings in Pittsburgh while Harold’s grandson‚ Steve Arlin‚ was on the mound for San Diego. Pap-pap didn’t have much to brag about as the Bucs won 11-0, with Manny Sanguillen and Dave Cash combining to drive in seven runs on five hits. 
Luis Rivas 2008 (photo John Grieshop/Getty)
  • 1979 - IF Luis Rivas was born in La Guaira, Venezuela. Luis played for eight years, primarily for the Twins, and finished his career in Pittsburgh in 2008, batting .218 (he had never hit under .256 in his prior stops) after signing a minor league FA deal for $525K. He did have one big week for the Bucs, though - he had his first two-homer game on May 25th and banged his first grand slam on the 31st. 
  • 1990 - The Pirates picked up vet OF/1B Carmelo Martinez from the Phillies for OF’s Tony Longmire, Wes Chamberlain and Julio Peguero. Martinez lasted less than a season with the Bucs, while the young outfield prospects ended up with bench roles during their brief careers, with Chamberlain the only solid producer of the three. 
  • 1991 - The Rangers traded 3B Steve Buechele to the Pirates for young pitchers Kurt Miller and Hector Fajardo. Buechele, a FA, signed with the Pirates after the season, but was moved at the next deadline for Danny Jackson after hitting .248 in 453 BA. Miller tossed off-and-on until 1999, appearing in 44 games for the Marlins and Cubs, while Fajardo was done in 1995 after pitching in 28 games for the Rangers. 
Charlie Hayes 1996 Fleer Update
  • 1996 - The Pirates sent 3B Charlie Hayes to the Yankees (the eighth player New York brought in during August) for a PTBNL, RHP Chris Corn. Charlie hit .286 for the Yankees and played through 2001; Corn never advanced past AA ball. 
  • 2002 - After marathon sessions, Bud Selig & Donald Fehr announced a new four-year Collective Bargaining Agreement between MLB and the MLBPA. Revenue sharing increased, random drug tests were permitted, a luxury tax was introduced, the minimum salary rose to $300K and contraction, a major bone of contention, was ruled out until 2006 at the earliest. The 30th was the drop-dead date set by the Union to wrap up negotiations and the two sides just crossed the wire. 
  • 2013 - The Latino Baseball Hall of Fame announced its newest class, including ex-Pirates Matty Alou (1966-70), Vic Davalillo (1971-73), Rennie Stennett (1971-79), Tony Armas (1976) and Julian Javier (minors 1956-59, traded to SL 1960).

8/30 Games: 17 For Roy, Pie 5-for-5, Robertson Cycle, Double Trouble, Rallies, Gems, Game Stories

  • 1921 - Dave Robertson connected for the cycle to lead the Bucs to an 8-2 win over the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. He scored twice and drove in three runs. George Cutshaw and Clyde Barnhart had three knocks each as Whitey Glazner cruised to victory, scattering seven hits for the complete game win. 
  • 1929 - Pie Traynor went 5-for-5 to lead a 21-hit attack in an easy 15-0 win over Chicago at Forbes Field. Heinie Meine tossed a three-hitter as Pittsburgh dominated. It was the Pirates' fourth win over the Cubs in three days, with the Windy City snapping their losing streak with a 7-6 win the following day. 
The Waner boys 1935 (photo Leslie Jones/Boston Public Library)
  • 1930 - The Pirates swept a twinbill from Cincinnati, 5-0 and 3-2, to win their 12th game in 14 outings. The Waner brothers, Paul and Lloyd, scored all five runs in the opener with George Grantham driving them in three times. Spades Wood tossed a six-hitter for the win. Grantham was big in the second game too, with three hits, two runs and an RBI as Larry French outlasted the Reds’ Larry Benton. 
  • 1951 - The Pirates rallied from an 8-1 deficit to take a 10-9 victory from the Giants at the Polo Grounds. Frank Thomas hit his first MLB homer and Ralph Kiner won it with a long ball in the ninth. Gus Bell and Pete Castiglione also homered for the Bucs. Pittsburgh climbed back to take the lead in the eighth only to have the Giants tie it, but the G-Men were trumped by Kiner in the end. Murry Dickson blew the save but ultimately got the win, one of 20 he earned during the campaign. 
  • 1959 - ElRoy Face notched his 17th straight victory of the year, earning a 10 inning win against Philadelphia, 7-6, at Forbes Field after Dick Stuart’s two-run double in overtime. The Bucs rallied from a five-run ninth-inning deficit on the strength of Danny Kravitz and Stuart homers to sweep the doubleheader. They took the opener 2-1 behind Harvey Haddix’s arm and Bob Skinner’s two-out, ninth-inning knock that scored Dick Hoak. Face had also won the last five decisions of 1958, giving him a 22 game winning streak. He finished the year 18-1, and his 18 relief wins remains the major league record. The Baron went a month (6/11-7/12) without giving up a run, and his 22 straight wins is second only to Carl Hubbell’s 24-gamer.
ElRoy Face 1959 Topps
  • 1960 - The Pirates defeated Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers, 5-2, at the LA Memorial Coliseum. Bob Friend, with late help from ElRoy Face, picked up the win supported by long balls from Dick Groat and Roberto Clemente, who was the only right-handed hitter beside Frank Howard to homer the opposite way in the Coliseum during the season. 
  • 2005 - The Milwaukee Brewers fell 6-0 to the Bucs behind Paul Maholm’s four-hitter at Miller Park. It was an oasis in an otherwise arid stretch of games that saw Pittsburgh lose 11-of-12 contests. The Bucs put up a five spot in the first inning, keyed by Jack Wilson’s three-run, bases-loaded double. The Bucs had the bases empty with two outs, but Doug Davis walked four of next the five batters, all on 3-2 pitches, before Wilson cashed in. 
  • 2006 - Pittsburgh scored three times in the 11th inning to come back against the Cubs 10-9 at PNC Park. Chicago scored twice off Marty McLeary (who got the win), but the Bucs scored on Jose Castillo’s single to cut the lead to one. Ryan Dempster walked Jose Bautista on four pitches to load the bases for Freddie Sanchez, who lined a two-run, two-out single to right for the win, giving him four RBI on the night. Castillo had four knocks while Jason Bay and Xavier Nady had three hits apiece. 
Marty McLeary 2006 Upper Deck Rookie
  • 2011 - Andrew McCutchen was a ray of sunshine in an otherwise dismal outing as he hit a ninth inning homer against the Houston Astros in an 8-2 loss at Minute Maid Park, becoming the eighth Pirates player to ring up 20 home runs/20 stolen bases in one season, and the first since Nate McLouth in 2008. 
  • 2013 - The Pirates defeated the St. Louis Cards 5-0 at PNC Park behind Francisco Liriano’s two-hitter and a 3-for-4 night by Garrett Jones, who had four RBI and was a triple short of the cycle. The HR was #100 of his career. Pittsburgh moved back into a Central Division tie for first with the Redbirds in front of a sellout crowd of 38,036.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Buc Bats Runnin' On Empty; Cubs Take Round Two 4-1

The Bucs stranded a J-Hay double off Jake Arrieta; the Cubs, even with a DP, left runners on second and third against Chad Kuhl. Both clubs wasted RISP in the second before the third devolved into a clean inning. A couple of Bucs walked in the fourth; a DP ended the frame. It stayed quiet until the sixth when Ben Zobrist took one deep to make it 1-0. Then it came unglued for Kuhl. A walk, a one-out double and an intentional walk juiced the sacks. A single scored one more and chased Cool Chad for AJ Schugel, who gave up a sac fly to make it 3-0. Koji Uehara served a meatball to JJ in the seventh and he sent it into the seats to make it 3-1. Huddy gave it back on a single/double duet in the eighth before Wade Davis sent everyone home.  Keep movin', folks - nothin' to see here.

JJ had it going tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • Per Bill Brink of the P-G and Rob Biertempfel of the Trib, the Pirates have put Juan Nicasio on irrevocable waivers, which means any team can claim him for just the cost of his contract (about $600K remaining). Our guess is that the Pirates were iffy when deciding on seller/buyer mode at the deadline and held on to him. Then they probably tried to get him through trade waivers but he was claimed to block him in the MLB's annual August chess match. That left them the option of keeping him (which would be our choice, but then again, not our money) or dumping the $600K he's owed. Wade LeBlanc, who we believe is still on the DL but eligible to come off now, was reported waived in a move that wasn't quite as controversial.
Juan gone per reports (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • JJ had two hits and a walk; no other Bucco reached more than once as the offense continues to drift away.
  • The Altoona Curve won 3-1 today, clinching a playoff spot. Indy lost, but no diff; they clinched a spot, too.

Tuesday: Bucs at Cubs, Chad v Jake, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: The first pitch at Wrigley will be at 8:05 with the match carried on AT&T SportsNet & 93.7 The Fan'

Lineup: Starling Marte LF, Josh Harrison 2B, Cutch CF, Josh Bell 1B, David Freese 3B, John Jaso RF, Jordy Mercer SS, Chris Stewart C, Chad Kuhl P. Looks like Clint decided to play the starters tonight.

Chad climbs the bump tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Chad Kuhl (6-9, 4.52) takes the bump opposite Jake Arrieta (13-8, 3.49). Cool Chad's last start was a 5-2 loss to the Dodgers at PNC Park Thursday when he lasted just four frames; he walked five, the third time in six outings that Chad has hit that figure. Despite that, he's been pretty solid since June with a 5-4/3.60 line in his last 15 starts. The Bucs are looking for some more length from Kuhl; he's gotten through the sixth inning just three times in his last nine efforts. The Cubs have treated him like a red-haired step child. He's 0-3/13.20 in five lifetime starts and lost 14-3 early in the year, chased before he could get six outs, then working an abbreviated three-inning game (emergency start on two days rest) that the Bucs won 14-3. We need no introduction to Jake Arrieta, who has a 1.78 ERA in the second half of this season. But Jake is 0-2/4.50  in three starts against Pittsburgh this season and has been human in the past couple of campaigns against the boys (in the last six meetings against Arrieta, the Pirates have won five of six, batting .287 w/nine homers, dealing Jake a 7.29 ERA), so we'll see.

  • It was announced that Jung Ho Kang will play winter ball with the Aguilas Cibaenas of the DWL, managed by Manny Acta. One of his teammates will be one-time Pirates prospect C Reese McGuire, now with Toronto.
  • Speaking of winter ball, the Bucs are sending RHP Mitch Keller, SS Cole Tucker, LHP Taylor Hearn, 2B Kevin Kramer, RHP JT Brubaker, LHP Brandon Waddell and OF Logan Hill to the Arizona Fall League.
  • Phil Coyne, the Bucs 99-year-old usher from Oakland (he's been working at Forbes Field, TRS and PNC Park for 81! years) was honored with a "Phil Coyne Day" declaration by City Council, 

8/29 Happenings: HBD Jimmie, Woody, Pep, Dode & Billy; Byrne & Ray Deals; RIP Big Poison & More...

  • 1883 - UT Jimmie Savage was born in Southington, Connecticut. Savage appeared in a the show for three seasons, including 1914-15 when he played for the Pittsburgh Rebels of the Federal League. Jimmie, then 30-years-old, played mostly in left but filled in at short and third base as needed. He finished his Rebel days with a .278 BA. He stayed local, dying in New Castle, but returned to his family roots and was buried in Southington. 
  • 1892 - OF Roy “Woody” Wood was born in Monticello, Arkansas. Roy started his three-year career with the Pirates after playing for the Arkansas Razorbacks. He hit .286 in a short stint and left baseball after the 1916 season to become a naval aviator in WW1. Woody went back to Fayetteville afterward, opened a dry goods store and was a mover in the town’s civic affairs before passing away at home in 1974.
Pep Young 1940 Play Ball
  • 1907 - IF Lemuel Floyd “Pep” Young was born in Jamestown, North Carolina. He played eight years (1933-40) for the Bucs, hitting .264 and playing mainly second, but with some short and third thrown in. The high tide of his career was in 1938, when he received some votes for the NL MVP after hitting .278 in 149 games. As fate would have it, he hurt his knee the next season, and played just 93 games over the final three years of his career (1940-41; 1945). He came by his nickname honestly. Per the Harrisburg Daily Independent "He is the sort of player...who is on his toes all the time, chock full of life and ginger. It was his great display of energy in the minors that earned him the nickname of 'Pep.'" 
  • 1909 - The Pirates traded 3B Jap Barbeau, 2B Alan Storke, and cash to the Cardinals for 3B Bobby Byrne. Byrne had his best years as a Buc, playing through the 1913 season and hitting .277 while helping the Pirates to the 1909 World Series title. Barbeau and Storke finished the year strong but both were near the end; Storke was done after 1909 and Barbeau in 1910. 
  • 1918 - C Joe “Dode” Schultz Jr. was born in Chicago. He played for the Bucs from 1939-41, hitting .231 as a seldom used reserve and pinch hitter. His dad, Joe Sr., was also a Pirate, donning the Bucco uni in 1916. Dode went on manage the Seattle Pilots in 1969 and replaced Billy Martin as the Tigers skipper in 1973 to cap a long minor league coaching career. As for his nickname, Rory Costello of SABR wrote “As a child, Joe’s parents nicknamed him Dode, although the boy (Joe) ‘had no idea what it meant, if anything.’” The book “Detroit Tigers Lists and More” by Mark Pattison & David Raglin claims Dode is shorthand for “Dodo.” No wonder Joe pleaded ignorance. 
Billy Cox 1941 (photo: Pirate promo)
  • 1919 - SS Billy Cox was born in Newport, located in central Pennsylvania. He got a September call-up in 1941, spent four years in the service and became the starting Bucco shortstop in 1946-47, batting .280. He was traded to Brooklyn, moved to the hot corner, and played seven seasons for them and in three World Series. 
  • 1953 - TV station WENS (Channel 16) kicked off its entry into the Pittsburgh market by being the first to televise a Pirate game from Forbes Field. There were two high cameras (one behind home, the other on the first base line; eventually, a third field-level camera was added) and the radio announcers, Rosey Rowswell & Bob Prince, did the play-by-play. Oh, the Bucs lost to the St. Louis Cards 5-4 in front of 3,145 that Saturday afternoon despite 2B Johnny O’Brien’s three hits. WENS chose the ballgame to start as they were heavily into sports, televising not only the Bucs but Duquesne basketball and Pittsburgh Hornet hockey. WENS (W-Entertainment, News, Sports) was an ABC affiliate and went off the air in 1957 after Channels 4 & 11 were licensed. 
  • 1965 - Hall of Fame OF’er Paul “Big Poison” Waner died in Sarasota, Florida at age 62. Among his many marks were a .333 lifetime BA, 3,152 hits with eight 200+ hit seasons, and a 1927 MVP award. His #11 was retired by the Pirates in 2007. After his playing days, he owned a batting cage establishment in Harmarville. One of the guys he helped develop there was rookie shortstop Dick Groat of Wilkinsburg. 
  • 1970 - Dave Giusti was featured on the cover of The Sporting News for the story “Pirate Cutthroat.” He finished his “cutthroat” season 9-3 with 26 saves and a 3.06 ERA, working 66 games/103 IP as a multi-inning finisher. 
  • 1987 - The Pirates traded 2B Johnny Ray to the Angels for two minor leaguers, 3B Bill Merrifield and LHP Miguel Garcia. With Jose Lind in the wings, the Pirates thought Ray was expendable after seven years and a .286 BA. Maybe he was, but they Bucs sure didn’t get much - Merrifield never played for Pittsburgh and Garcia made 13 Pirate appearances with a 7.71 ERA. Meanwhile, Ray won an All-Star berth and hit .296 in four seasons for the Halos before closing his career in Japan.

8/29 Games: Friend-ly Day, Firsts, So Close..., J-Hay's Day, Robby Does It All, Game Stories

  • 1958 - The Bucs squeaked out a 3-2 win against Milwaukee at County Stadium. Dick Stuart went long to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the first inning and Bob Skinner made it 2-0 in the fourth with another solo homer. Pittsburgh pushed across the winning run in the seventh when Hank Foiles brought Frank Thomas home to give Bob Friend the win with ninth-inning help from Don Gross. 
Bob Friend 1958 Hires Root Beer
  • 1959 - Bob Friend helped himself by driving in three runs with a two-out, bases loaded double and tossed a nine hitter against the Phils in an 11-1 romp at Forbes Field. Smoky Burgess also chased home a trio of runs with a pair of homers while Dick Groat added four hits. 
  • 1984 - God helps those who help themselves: RHP Don Robinson pitched two scoreless innings of relief, knocked in the go-ahead run and scored the insurance marker as the Pirates beat the Astros, 4-2, at The Astrodome. Robinson broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the 9th inning with a two-out single and touched home for the fourth run after Tony Pena followed with a double. 
  • 1987 - Lotta firsts: Andy Van Slyke hit his first career grand slam off Larry Andersen with two outs in the bottom of the eighth to ice an 8-2 win against the Houston Astros at TRS, extending the Bucco win streak to five games. Mike LaValliere also went deep for the first time on the season and Mike Bielecki picked up his first win of the campaign while tossing the first complete game of his career. His six-hitter topped Nolan Ryan and Larry Anderson. Bobby Bonilla added three hits, including a double, and chased home three runs. 
Andy Van Slyke 1987 Topps
  • 1988 - LHP Dave LaPoint became the first Pirate starter to begin his career here with three one-run or fewer starts when he whipped the Reds 8-1 at Riverfront Stadium. He was obtained for reliever Barry Jones in August from the White Sox, finished the year 4-2, and then signed with the Yankees as a FA the following season. 
  • 1990 - Barry Bonds went 3-for-4 with five RBI to lead the Bucs to a 10-0, rain-shortened seven inning win over the Braves at Atlanta-Fulton Stadium. Jeff King added three RBI, two off sac flies, as Doug Drabek won his 17th game. The game ended a four game losing streak and followed a clubhouse meeting held by manager Jim Leyland after a lackadaisical 9-0 loss the night before. 
  • 1995 - RHP Paul Wagner came within one strike of a no-hitter with a one-hit, 11K, 4-0 win over the Rox at TRS. With two away in the ninth, 1B Andres Galarraga chopped a 3-2 pitch past the mound and over second, where Nelson Liriano made the grab but couldn’t beat The Big Cat to first with his throw. For Wagner, it was just his third win against 13 losses, and the win snapped a six game Pittsburgh losing string. 
  • 2000 - Kris Benson shutout the Giants 8-0 at TRS. He gave up one hit in eight frames, a first inning single to Barry Bonds. The Pirates banged four doubles (two by Enrique Wilson), a triple and a homer (John Vander Wal) off Livian Hernandez, who only managed six outs before getting the hook. 
Kris Benson 2000 Bowmans Best
  • 2006 - The Pirates scored twice in the 11th on an error and bases loaded walk to defeat the Cubs 7-6 at PNC Park. Matt Capps, the sixth Pirate pitcher, picked up the win while Xavier Nady went 3-for-5 with a double and couple of runs scored. The Cubs had jumped out to a 4-0 lead; the Bucs tied it in the sixth, then the clubs exchanged tallies in the seventh to set up some bonus baseball. 
  • 2012 - The Pirates made their last push of the year by dropping the Cards by a 5-0 score behind Wandy Rodriguez at PNC Park. Pedro Alvarez banged a three-run homer to lead the attack. The Bucs moved within a game of the wildcard, having shut out the Redbirds 9-0 the day before with Petey adding another pair of homers and four RBI in support of James McDonald. It was just a tease; Pittsburgh finished September 7-21 and ended the season with just 79 wins. 
  • 2014 - It was Josh Harrison day at PNC Park against the Cincinnati Reds. Presented with the Heart & Hustle Award before the game, J-Hay had the key hit in the Pirates come-from-behind, 2-1 win. His triple off Jonathan Broxton scored Andrew Lambo to tie the game in the eighth inning, and Josh came home with the game winner on Jose Tabata’s chopper through a drawn-in infield. Not only did J-Hay have three hits, but made several web-gem plays during the contest, the best of the bunch being a diving stop that he turned into a 5-3 DP and a hustling chase of a bad relay that led to a cut down runner at home. Edinson Volquez had a no-hitter through six frames, but was in line for a loss after Tony Watson, in relief with two outs in the eighth, allowed a soft single to give the Reds a 1-0 lead. Watson got the win (funny game sometimes) and Mark Melancon tossed a perfect ninth for the save. The game was played before a sellout crowd of 37,209 fans.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Pirate Batters Dominated, Fielding Falters In 6-1 Thumping by Cubs

Should be a quick game tonight; Mike Montgomery served up five pitches and Trevor Williams spun nine more to get through the first. Pittsburgh stranded a couple of second-inning raps, but not Chi-town. An Anthony Rizzo double and Ian Happ rap made it 1-0. Trevo left a couple more on in the third. The Cubby pitcher opened the fifth with an infield knock; of course he eventually scored on a sac fly (actually, an extra-base hit denial by a flying Cutch) to make it 2-0. Steven Brault got the call in the sixth. With the bases loaded thx to an intentional walk that set up a lefty-lefty showdown and two outs, Alex Avila bounced a ball weakly to second. S-Rod airmailed the shoulda-been inning-ending toss and by the time the Pirates quit throwing the ball all over the lot (Stew, backing up, fired the apple into center) and the Cubs stopped running, three Bruins had plated. Jordy went deep in the eighth to chase Montgomery and bring on Carl Edwards. Angel Sanchez was tapped for an eighth-inning run, then Wade Davis turned out the lights.

Jordy had half the Bucco hits tonight (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Well, by the looks of the scorecard Clint handed the ump before the game, audition time has started for Pittsburgh as he turned in a Sunday lineup. If you're not going to play your best eight in their most productive order against the team you're chasing, what else could it be?

  • Jordy had three hits tonight and Freeser chipped in a pair; the rest of the team added one more.
  • S-Rod made two errors at second tonight; he made two errors at short yesterday. That may be an indicator that he may not be all the way back from shoulder surgery yet.
  • DL'ers Wade LeBlanc & Joaquin Benoit will pitch sim games tomorrow.
  • 1B Edwin Espinal was named to the Eastern League All-Star team. Espinal had a .283/15 HR/72 RBI line in 95 games with Altoona before being bumped to Indy.

Monday - Pirates & Cubs, Trevo v Mike Montgomery, Lineup (Hi JL & Dovy, Bye Fraze & JB), Notes

Tonight: The first pitch at Wrigley Field will be delivered at 8:05. AT&T SportsNet & 93.7 The Fan will air the contest.

Lineup: S-Rod 2B, Jose Osuna RF, Cutch CF, Josh Bell 1B, David Freese 3B, Starling Marte LF, Jordy Mercer SS, Chris Stewart C, Trevor Williams P. S-Rod & Joey O batting one-two with Freeser & Starling hitting five-six, which thumbs the nose at our old-school sensibilities. We're assuming J-Hay has a scheduled off day, tho we sorta thought this series would be all-hands-on-deck.

Trevo toes the slab tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Trevor Williams (5-6, 4.40) opens against lefty Mike Montgomery (4-6, 3.43) Trevo ran between some raindrops last outing but got back on track by trading zeroes with Rich Hill for eight frames. He does have some history to overcome - he's considerably worse pitching on the road (4-4, 4.85) and he's 1-1/5.25 in four career appearances (two starts) against the Cubbies, all coming this year. Montgomery will make his second start in place of the injured Jon Lester. He's fit right in, going 2-0 with only one run allowed in 10-1/3 IP (0.87 ERA) in two outings (one in relief, one start) as his replacement. His success has been fueled mainly by a 59% ground ball rate. Monty has faced the Pirates three times from the pen this year, giving up two runs in five IP with four hits, four walks (he can be wild) and four K.

  • The Pirates have brought back OF Jordan Luplow and RHO Dovydas Neverauskas. Fraze went to the DL (right hammy strain) and Johnny Barbato was optioned back to Indy.
  • Don't boo Stew - he's posted a team-best 3.70 catcher’s ERA this season and has been behind the plate for six of the team’s last seven shutouts.
Stew has shepherded his flock well this year (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
  • The Pirates have used the fewest starting pitchers (six) in the MLB this year after using 14 different starters last season. The club record for fewest starting pitchers used in one season is seven (1902, 1972 and 1997).
  • Indy IF Erich Weiss was named the International League Player-of-the-Week for the week of August 21-27 after hitting .462 with 3 homers, 8 RBI and 9 runs scored. Weiss is the fifth member of the Indians to earn the honor this season, joining LHP Steven Brault (May 15-21 and August 7-13), RHP Tyler Glasnow (July 24-30), INF/OF Joey Terdoslavich (July 13-16) and infielder Jason Rogers (May 15-21).
  • With one week left to play, Indy is in first place with a 6-1/2 game lead and Altoona is in first place with a one game lead. With nine games left, Indy's magic number is three. Altoona can clinch a playoff spot as early as today, as the top two teams in the division advance to the Eastern League postseason.
  • Bradenton Marauders OF Logan Hill (.266 - 16 HR), SS Cole Tucker (.285 - 36 SB), and RHP Pedro Vasquez (9-6/3.37, 1.152 WHIP) have been named End-of-Season All Stars by the High Class A Florida State League.

8/28 Happenings: HBD Chauncey, Jolly Cholly, Wally & Howie; Schmidt, Oberkfell Deals; Donie Resigns; Brown's Win Streak

  • 1873 - IF “Chauncey” Bill Stuart was born in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania. Bill was a two-sport star, playing halfback for Penn State. He got into 19 games and collected 77 at-bats in 1895 with the Pirates, batting .247; he would get one more major league plate appearance in 1899 with the NY Giants. He retired after that and went into oil speculation. He died in Fort Worth, but was buried at State College. 
Charlie Grimm 1929 (photo Bain News Service/Library of Congress)
  • 1898 - Charlie “Jolly Cholly” Grimm was born in St. Louis. The 1B played six years (1919-24) in Pittsburgh, hitting .286, but made his reputation with Chicago in the following dozen years after a big 1924 trade sent him to the Windy City. Charlie became a manager after his playing days with stops in Boston/Milwaukee and the Cubs. He earned his nickname for his cheerful, upbeat manner, ala Chuck Tanner. 
  • 1902 - OF Wally Roettger was born in St. Louis. Wally ended his eight-year MLB career (mostly with the Cards and Reds) in Pittsburgh in 1934, hitting .245. A college hoopster beside ballplayer, Wally went on to become the baseball skipper at the University of Illinois from 1935-51 and an assistant basketball coach from 1936-49; he started on that trail when he coached hoops at Illinois Wesleyan during the baseball off-season. His tale had a sad ending; at age 49, with heart problems and failing eyesight, he took his own life. 
  • 1911 - Pirate super scout Howie Haak was born in Rochester, NY. Pittsburgh discovered much of its legendary Latino talent from the mid-1950s through the 1980s thanks to Haak's efforts. He recommended that Pittsburgh draft Roberto Clemente from the Brooklyn system and signed Manny Sanguillen, Omar Moreno and Rennie Stennett of Panama; Julian Javier, Tony Pena, Jose DeLeon, and Cecilio Guante of the Dominican Republic; Al McBean of the Virgin Islands and Roman Mejias of Cuba. 
Howie Haak (photo via SABR)
  • 1929 - Donie Bush resigned as the Pirate manager, replaced by coach Jewel Ens. Bush took the team to the World Series in 1927, where they were swept by the Murderer’s Row Yankees and played without Kiki Cuyler, who Bush had benched. The Pirates had lost 8-of-9 when Bush resigned and were 14-½ games behind the eventual titlists, the Chicago Cubs. 
  • 1940 - Homestead Grays RHP Ray Brown earned his 27th consecutive victory over a two year span when he shut out the Baltimore Elite Giants 5-0 on three hits, bringing his record to 12-0 (he finished 15-4). Brown played for Cum Posey's Grays from 1932-45 and again in 1947-48 (in fact, he married Posey’s daughter Ethel), winning 109 games in his career. He was selected for the Hall of Fame in 2006. 
  • 1988 - The Atlanta Braves sent IF Ken Oberkfell and cash to Pittsburgh Pirates for OF Tommy Gregg. Oberkfell spent a season and change with the Bucs as a seldom used reserve while Gregg played nine more years, mostly as a reserve outfielder. 
Jason Schmidt 1997 Circa Thunder (back)
  • 1996 - LHP Denny Neagle was traded to the Atlanta Braves for RHP Jason Schmidt, OF Corey Pointer and 1B Ron Wright. Schmidt continued the series of starters developed by the Bucs (like Neagle) who blossomed elsewhere because of salary constraints in Pittsburgh.

8/28 Games: Scoring Large, Tag Team Catch, Streak-Busters, Byrd, El Toro Deliver, Game Stories

  • 1925 - The Pirates hung on to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 10-9 at the Baker Bowl. Kiki Cuyler had four hits, including a pair of inside-the-park homers, Eddie Moore and Clyde Barnhart added three knocks apiece and George Grantham homered. Babe Adams and Tom Sheehan gave up five runs in the bottom of the ninth and Ray Kremer had to come on to get the final out with the bases juiced. He retired pinch hitter Nelson “Chicken” Hawks, who was batting for the second time in the inning and already had a hit and run under his belt. 
Gus Suhr 1933 Goudey
  • 1930 - The Pirates scored in double figures for the third straight game, beating the Cincy Reds 11-2 at Forbes Field in the second game of a twin bill after winning 16-12 in the lid lifter. The club started the streak at Wrigley Field with a 10-8 win over the Chicago Cubs. Gus Suhr went 7-for-13 with six runs, eight RBI, two homers, two triples and a double over that span. 
  • 1951 - The Bucs ended the New York Giant’s winning streak at 16 games, the longest since 1935, when LHP Howie Pollet tossed a six-hit shutout for a 2-0 win at the Polo Grounds. The Pirates only had three hits (two by rookie Frank Thomas), but were issued eight free passes (three to Ralph Kiner), and both Bucco runs were unearned. 
  • 1956 - The Pirates spotted Warren Spahn and the first place Milwaukee Braves a four-run lead at County Stadium, then scored four times in the seventh to tie the game on the back of Dale Long’s three run homer. The Pirates took command the next frame when Dick Groat’s two-out infield knock to the SS hole plated Frank Thomas. A tag team sixth-inning catch may have ignited the Bucs: per the Milwaukee Journal's Cleon Walfoort "Clemente and Bill Virdon robbed Spahn of an extra-base hit and the Braves of one or more runs. Clemente got his glove on the ball against the fence and Virdon grabbed it as it squirted out. It was just after this remarkable catch that the Pirates came to life." 
Roberto Clemente 1958 Topps
  • 1959 - Vern Law whitewashed the Philadelphia Phillies 9-0 on five hits at Forbes Field, striking out seven and supported by three solo homers off the bats of Roberto Clemente, Smoky Burgess and Rocky Nelson. Clemente’s was an inside-the-park four-bagger that hit off the flagpole in left center 457’ away on one hop, the deepest part of FF. Pittsburgh banged out ten hits and drew nine walks. 
  • 1967 - Roberto Clemente had three hits, including two homers, to lead the Bucs to a 4-3 win over the Braves. He hit the game winner with two out in the tenth at Atlanta Stadium. Denny Ribant got the win, and Juan Pizarro the save. 
  • 1974 - The Giants banged out 14 hits at Candlestick Park, but the Bucs took home the win 3-1 in 11 innings on Ed Kirkpatrick’s two-out double. San Francisco stranded 16 runners as Jerry Reuss and game winner Dave Giusti bent but didn’t break. It was Pittsburgh’s sixth straight win and nudged them 1-½ games ahead of the Cardinals. 
Ed Kirkpatrick 1975 SSPC
  • 2012 - Pedro Alvarez hit the longest homer by a Pirate to date at PNC Park, bombing a sixth inning Brandon Dickson delivery 469’. The shot cleared the seats in center and bounced onto the Riverwalk beside the Allegheny River during the Bucs 9-0 win over St. Louis. El Toro also added a 422’ shot in the third off Jake Westbrook as James McDonald got the win. 
  • 2013 - Newly acquired Marlon Byrd hit a homer and tallied three RBI in his first game with the Bucs to ice Pittsburgh’s 7-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park, with Charlie Morton getting the victory. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Byrd was the third Pirate player to hit a home run and have at least three RBI in his first game with the team after playing for another MLB team earlier in the season. Derrek Lee hit two dingers and had three RBI on August 1st, 2011 after being traded from the Orioles and Shawon Dunston hit two long balls and drove in four runs on September 2nd, 1997 after being acquired from the Cubs.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Pirates Take Series With Down-to-the-Wire 5-2 Decision

The Bucs gift-wrapped a run in the second when Scooter Gennett doubled off Jamo, went to third on a wayward pickoff try by Eli and scored on a sac fly. The Pirates tried to answer in the third off Tyler Mahle, but Fraze's GIDP w/runners on the corners and an out muffled the effort. To boot, Adam hurt himself (looks like a hammy) on the play, bringing Mad Max into the game. Then the Reds punched back, loading the bases with no outs; Jamo worked out of it with a K, pop and fly. Pittsburgh did come back in the forth thx to the J-Gang - J-Bell walked, J-Hay was bopped, and both scored on JJ's two-bagger. Again, the Reds put runners at second and third, thx to S-Rod's two-out mishandle of a grounder, but again JT wiggled out. The cushion was padded when Starling singled, was bunted up and plated on Cutch's knock. The Reds did finally push a run in with a bloop, walk - Jamo was swapped out for AJ Schugel after that - wild pitch and grounder to make it 3-2. It was another bad day at the office for Jamo - four IP, five hits, four walks & four K while tossing 108 pitches.

Felipe added a little drama but brought it home (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Kevin Shackelford and AJ traded zeroes in the sixth. Drew Storen and Huddy did the same in the seventh. The Bucs blew a golden opp in the eighth against Micheal Lorenzen. A Cutch walk and J-Bell double put runners at second and third. After a J-Hay lineout, JJ was given an intentional pass to load 'em.It proved a good move when S-Rod banged into a 6-4-3 DP and a potential crooked number turned into another goose egg. Juan Nicasio also put up a zip the more traditional 1-2-3 way. Raisel Iglesias gave up  a single-double combo to Eli and Freeser to open the ninth, and this time the Bucs cashed in on a two-run rap by Starling. He stole second and moved to third on a grounder, but surprisingly didn't tag on Cucth's medium fly to right and ended up stranded. Felipe came on and a single, later followed by S-Rod's two-out misthrow (he's not having day to write home about), brought up Joey Votto as the tying run. He walked for the fifth time, taking a borderline 3-2 heater to load the bases. But a bouncer later, it was all good and the Jolly Roger unfurled.

JJ chased the first runs home (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Not a thing of beauty, to be sure. 19 runners were left aboard between the two clubs. The Bucs struck out eight more times, bringing the series total to 33. The staff walked seven more after losing six in the opener, a disturbing trend as of late. But hey - they're 3-of-4 in their little league unis; we say make them the alt jersey.

  • Starling had three hits, JJ a knock and two walks and the trio of Cutch, J-Bell & Eli had a rap and a walk. Partay and Jaso both had a pair of RBI. Marte, btw, has played in just 50 games but holds the team lead in stolen bases with 13.
Marte Partay! (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • Joey Votto walked five times. He tied the MLB record for most pitches seen in five plate appearances with 43 (D'Angelo Jimenez, SD - 2001) since 1988 when pitch count records were first officially kept. Of course, Joey has the teensiest strike zone in the league; he'll be hugely out-of-luck when the robo-umps arrive.
  • In his radio show, Neal Huntington said the Bucs may go to a six-man rotation or skip some starts to create innings for Brault/Glasnow and that Austin Meadows will not get a call up. They want him, as previously noted, to play winter ball. (Austin was pulled from the Indy game for undisclosed reasons about the same time Fraze was injured, so NH may have spoken too soon). He said September call-ups will be two-tiered, with an early call followed with some later post-playoff additions.
  • Going into today, Juan Nicasio leads the majors in appearances with 64; Felipe Rivero is sixth at 61 though neither is top ten in bullpen innings worked. Both, btw, worked an inning today. Seven of the top 12 pitchers in games pitched come from the NL Central.
  • Tyler Mahle's C Chad Wallach was also making his big league bow. Chad is familiar with Tyler as they were the Louisville battery, so while green, there was a comfort zone between the pair. It's the second time this year that Cincy has fielded a MLB debut battery.
  • The Tigers recalled OF JaCoby Jones from AAA Toledo. He was dealt to Motown in 2015 for Joakim Soria, and Jones has developed into a good glove, bad bat CF'er.

Sunday; Pirates - Redlegs Finale; Jamo v Tyler Mahle, Lineup, Notes

Today: The Bucs meet Cincinnati in the rubber match at 1:10. The game will be on AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan.

Lineup: Starling Marte LF, Adam Frazier 2B, Cutch CF, Josh Bell 1B, Josh Harrison 3b, John Jaso RF, S-Rod SS, Elias Diaz C, Jameson Taillon P. Yep, a Sunday lineup. Jordy's b-day gift is a day off.

Jamo looking for a turnaround today (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Jameson Taillon (7-5, 4.85) concludes the set against Tyler Mahle (0-0, 0.00). Jamo walked five and gave up five runs in five innings in his last outing, so we're hoping the strike zone isn't a moving target for him today. He's been through a rough patch, going 2-3/8.24 in the eight starts since the break. Cincy won't be a walk in the park for him - JT is 1-2/7.01  in five career starts against the Reds and been bopped this year. He's 0-2/9.82 in three starts this campaign, so this isn't the ideal nine for him to start a rebound against. Mahle will make his major league debut (he's Cincy's #4 minor-league prospect) and is projected as a mid-rotation arm. He uses four pitches and depends on location rather than sheer stuff. The 22-year-old was promoted to AAA Louisville and was 3-4/2.73 with a 1.10 WHIP, showing good control and some ability to miss a bat. So we'll see what he's got today.

  • By our count, this is the fifth time that Eli has been called up to the Pirates.
  • Felipe Rivero notched his 15th save last night, tying him with Tony Watson for the second-most games save by a Pirates lefty in a season. Mike "Gonzo" Gonzalez had 24 in 2006. Felipe has converted 15-of-16 save opps and worked five multi-inning saves.
  • The Pirates have nine walkoff wins (five by homer) this year. Two have been delivered by J-Hay with seven other Bucs playing the hero in the others.
  • Following the game today the Pirates head for Chicago, where they are slated to begin a three-game series Monday night. Pittsburgh, believe it or not, has posted a 5-1 record at Wrigley Field so far this season.

8/27 Happenings: HBD Eddie, Cholly, Mike & Jordy; Byrd's the Word; Pedro Reserved; Tiny's Last Start; ASG, Ouch

  • 1887 - The Alleghenys gave up the most runs in franchise history when they were bombed by the Boston Beaneaters 28-14 at North Side's Recreation Park. It was the sixth season of the franchise and its first in the NL, where the Alleghenys finished sixth with a record of 55–69. 
  • 1894 - IF Eddie Mulligan was born in St. Louis. Mulligan had a long and strong minor league career with short MLB interludes. He made his big league debut with the 1915-16 Chicago Cubs, then returned to the minors. In 1921, he joined the Chicago White Sox after the Black Sox scandal and after two seasons there, he went back to the minors with the San Francisco Seals. Five years later in 1928, Mulligan spent his final season in the majors as a utility infielder for the Pirates, batting .233. Eddie returned to the Pacific Coast League, this time for another decade. He spent 17 years overall in the PCL for eight teams, banged out 2,574 hits. He was elected as a member of the PCL Hall of Fame and was later presented with the King of Baseball award given by Minor League Baseball. 
Eddie Mulligan 1928 (photo Conlon Collection/Getty)
  • 1903 - IF Charlie “Cholly” Engle was born in New York City. Cholly had a couple of cups of coffee in the show, then got his only real taste of the bigs with Pittsburgh in 1930 when he got into 67 games, playing 2B, SS & 3B while hitting .264. Cholly played in the minors for eight years after that, then managed on the farm through the 1950 season. Engle then ran a bar/restaurant in San Antonio for 25 years after his baseball days. 
  • 1939 - Game Two of the Negro League East-West All-Star game was held at Yankee Stadium. The East, behind Homestead Gray C Josh Gibson’s four RBI, won 10-2. Teammate Buck Leonard also started. Held in addition to the All Star Game played in Chicago each year, the second ASG gave more fans an opportunity to eyeball the action in the pre-TV days. 
  • 1949 - Pitcher Ernie “Tiny” Bonham won his last MLB start by an 8-2 count over Philadelphia. The ten year vet had complained of stomach problems, and died September 15th at the age of 36 after surgery performed the week before at Presbyterian Hospital uncovered intestinal cancer. His wife Ruth was the first baseball widow to collect a death benefit under the new player pension plan, receiving $90 a month for the next 10 years. 
Mike Edwards 1977 Topps
  • 1952 - IF Mike Edwards was born in Fort Lewis, Washington. Mike was drafted four times, finally signing with the Bucs in 1974 as a seventh-round selection from UCLA. He got his first taste of the bigs with Pittsburgh briefly in 1977 before he was shipped to Oakland as part of the Manny Sanguillen trade. He had a good year in ‘78, but 1980 would be his last MLB campaign. Mike closed out his career playing in Mexico and Japan. 
  • 1986 - SS Jordy Mercer was born in Seiling, Oklahoma. He was third-round draft choice in 2008, and the Oklahoma State product also played for Team USA. Mercer rode the pine in 2012, but saw some playing time in 2013 and won the starting job the next season, a spot he still holds. He’s been a dependable if not particularly rangy fielder with a slow-starting bat (he usually ends the year hitting .255-.260) and some occasional pop. 
  • 2008 - Pedro Alvarez was placed on the restricted list after the MLBPA filed a grievance against MLB over draft picks being signed minutes after the August 15th deadline (Petey had made a verbal agreement). On September 22nd, Álvarez and the Bucs settled on a four-year major league deal at $6.4M that resolved the complaint to everyone’s satisfaction. 
Marlon Byrd 2013 (photo Mike McGinnis/Getty)
  • 2013 - Looking to strengthen the roster down the stretch, the Pirates pulled off a waiver deal with the NY Mets for vets OF Marlon Byrd, C John Buck and $250K for minor league IF Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later (RHP Victor Black). The deal was triggered by Starling Marte’s hand injury, which kept him out of action for three weeks (he returned September 9th) Byrd (.318, three HR, 17 RBI in 30 games) helped the Bucs to a wildcard spot (he last played in 2016 for Cleveland prior to receiving a second PED suspension) while Buck hit well in Pittsburgh (.333 in nine games) before retiring after the 2014 campaign. Dilson has bounced around (he’s in the Reds system now) and Black, after a good showing with the Mets in 2013-14, has been injury-bitten and is now with the SF Giants organization.

8/27 Games: Bobby Hustle, Pitching Beauties, Rallies, Higbe Homer, Van Lingo Mungo...

  • 1925 - The Bucs tossed their second straight shutout against Boston at Braves Field, winning 1-0. The Pirates Vic Aldridge and Boston’s Larry Benton traded four-hitters; Pie Traynor drove in Eddie Moore in the third with the game’s only run. The day before, Lee Meadows threw a nine hit, 2-0 whitewash of the Braves, and did it without striking out a soul. 
Lee Meadows (graphic 1925 Pittsburgh Press)
  • 1936 - The Pirates beat the Brooklyn Dodger 6-3 at Forbes Field. The highlight came after the game, when losing pitcher Van Lingle Mungo, in a snit because of the four errors the Dodgers made that led to four unearned runs, left the team and returned to Brooklyn. He would later become famous when the 1969 song "Van Lingle Mungo" by Dave Frishberg hit the charts. 
  • 1948 - The Phillies lost on a walk off homer by Bucco pitcher Kirby Higbe, who went long in the ninth at Forbes Field to give himself a 4-3 win after working a scoreless inning of relief behind Elmer Riddle. It was the last of three career homers for Higbe. 
  • 1965 - The Bucs scored six times in the ninth at Forbes Field to take the Astros into extra frames, eventually winning their seventh game in a row in 11 innings 10-9. Andre Rodger’s two-run knock was the key blow in the ninth; Harry Walker sent him up to pinch hit for Willie Stargell against lefty Danny Coombs. Al McBean, the Pirates sixth pitcher, took home the win. Roberto Clemente threw out a runner going from first to third the hard way. The Pirates ran a wheel play with runners on first and second, and Bob Lillis rolled the ball through the vacant infield. Bill Mazeroski described what followed to Les Biederman of the Pittsburgh Press "Roberto raced in from right field, dove for the ball, and with his face in the dirt threw out the (back) runner going to third base!" Walker told Biederman that “Clemente made the doggondest (sic) play I ever saw.” It kept the ‘Stros from running away with the game; Houston banged out two more hits after his play. 
Lee Tunnell 1984 Topps
  • 1983 - Lee Tunnell and Ken Dayley tossed five-hitters at TRS with the Bucs coming out on top 2-0 behind a two-run blast by Bill Madlock in the third inning. Both hurlers were in complete command. Tunnell, who went the distance, faced down his only real threat in the second when he left the bases loaded with an out by whiffing the pitcher and getting a Brett Butler bouncer to escape. Lee Lacy had two hits for Pittsburgh and scored ahead of Mad Dog’s dinger. Both teams were leading their divisions at gametime but would finish the year in second behind the Phils and Dodgers. 
  • 2009 - The first and last Bucco hits left the yard, and that was enough for a 3-2 win against the Phils and future Bucco JA Happ at PNC Park. Cutch opened the game with a long ball, and Garrett Jones ended it with a two-run walkoff shot in the ninth. Denny Bautista got the win in relief of Charlie Morton, with Matt Capps earning a save.