Saturday, September 30, 2017

Bucs Take It To Last Strike In 4-1, Never-Say-Die Win

First; the lineup is not as we posted. Cutch was bugged by a sore foot caused by a foul ball last night and was a late scratch. Jordan Luplow was added, penciled in at cleanup and J-Bell slid into the three-hole. Max Scherzer was doing Max Scherzer things to the Pirates; Jamo had one burp when a single, wild pitch (likelier a passed ball), single sequence cost him a cheap run. In the fourth, Scherzer stopping in mid-motion. It was a cold night, and he appeared to have a tight hammy. With the playoffs around the bend, he wisely pulled himself and AJ Cole took the ball. The pitching remained rock solid; it was still 1-0 after seven. The Pirates had one hit by Mad Max, though they did strand leadoff walks at third in the sixth and seventh frames, while the Nats managed four raps.

Jamo finishes on a high note (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Enny Romero took over for Cole in the eighth and George Kontos did the same for Jamo each continuing the string of zeroes. Brandon Kintzler got the ninth inning wave and gave up an infield knock to Starling that required review (he beat the rap) to pass muster. An out later, J-Lup singled him up a station. With two gone and two strikes, S-Rod's rap to left tied the game. The Bucs put runners on second and third after the throw home, and a walk to Eli packed the sacks. Mad Max, the only Bucco on speaking terms with the basepaths tonight, unpacked them them with a triple. Dusty brought in Sammy Solis a batter late (thank you, Mr. Baker) to get the final out. Nine pitches later, Felipe Rivero had his 21st save and the Bucs had a rare road kill. The pitching has been pretty good for the Pirates this month and the players still grind to the end, so you can't ask for much more with one breath left to the season.

Felipe nailed down save #21 in 23 opps (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
Notes:
  • Max had two hits and two walks; the only other Pirate to reach base twice was J-Bell, who earned a pair of free passes.
  • Jamo didn't waste his last two outings. After a good show last time out, he went seven innings tonight, giving up a run on four hits with a walk, wild pitch and five K after serving 92 pitches.
  • Congrats - Josh and Brittney Harrison had their second child late last night when Kinsli Rose Harrison entered the world.

Saturday: Two To Go - Jamo v Max Scherzer, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: The countdown reaches two with the first pitch at 7:05. The game will be aired on AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan.

Lineup: Adam Frazier 2B, Starling Marte LF, Cutch CF, Josh Bell 1B, Gregory Polanco RF, Sean Rodriguez 3B, Elias Diaz C, Max Moroff SS & Jamo P. Looks like Jordy is getting the series off; maybe Stew too.

Been a long year for JT (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Jameson Taillon (8-7, 4.62) finishes his campaign against Max Scherzer (16-6, 2.55). Jamo will be making his 25th start tonight, and had a good outing last time he toed the slab with a 4-1 win over the Cardinals, though we're still not sure what purpose is being served by trotting him out. He faced the Nats once last year and has no record against them. Scherzer is again on the short list of Cy Young candidates (six hits per nine with 12 K) and is going up against a team that has been swinging their bats like they're made of lead. It will be his first outing of the year v the Pirates, with a 4-2/2.89 lifetime slash in nine starts.

Notes:
  • Starling Marte ran his hitting streak to 10 games with a 2-for-4 performance last night. He's hitting .472 (17-for-36) during the streak with seven multi-hit games. Cutch has a six-gamer going on.
  • The Bucs have gone 29-50 on the road this season, having lost seven in a row and 13 of their last 14.
  • Big day in Bucco history: Roberto got hit #3,000 on this date in 1972 and Ralph Kiner hit his franchise-record 54th homer in 1949.
  • Max Scherzer, btw, has whiffed 250+ batters for four consecutive seasons (2014-17). He's the fourth hurler in MLB history to do that, joining Hall-of-Famers Randy Johnson (1997-2002), Ferguson Jenkins (1968-71) and Pedro Martinez (1997-2000).

9/30 TRS-PNC Era: 3,000 For Roberto, '79 Clincher, HBD Bryan, Cover Boy Scoops, Game Stories

  • 1972 - At Three Rivers Stadium, Roberto Clemente hit a fourth-inning double off a Jon Matlack 0-1 curve to become the 11th player in major league history to reach the 3,000 hit plateau. As an added bonus, Clemente scored and his run was the game winner when Manny Sanguillen chased him home with the Pirates’ first tally. Take it with a grain of salt if someone told you they were there for the big occasion. Only 13,117 people showed up to watch the 5-0 win over the Mets on a raw Saturday afternoon. Dock Ellis took home the W and Bob Johnson worked three innings for the save; the pair combined on a two-hitter. 
Roberto Clemente 2000 Upper Deck 3000 Hit Club
  • 1972 - Al Oliver was featured on the cover of The Sporting News for the story “Swat Artist.” That he was; the Bucco center fielder slashed .312/18/89 and scored 88 times on the way to his first of seven All-Star selections. 
  • 1978 - The Phillies clinched their third consecutive NL East title by eliminating the Pirates, 10-8 at TRS. The victory, fueled by Phil pitcher Randy Lerch’s two home runs, snapped Pittsburgh’s 24-game home winning streak. The Bucs went down fighting. They scored four times in the ninth and got the tying run to the plate twice, but Willie Stargell, who had earlier swatted a grand slam, whiffed and Phil Garner bounced out to end the rally. 
  • 1979 - The Pirates clinched the NL East crown with 5-3 win over the Cubs on the last day of the season in front of 42,176 jubilant fans at TRS. Bruce Kison and Kent Tekulve got the win and save, Dave Parker had three hits, Phil Garner added a RBI, and Bill Robinson’s two-run single in the seventh was the key blow as the Bucs finished the season two games ahead of the Montreal Expos, who dropped a 2-0 decision to Steve Carlton and the Phils. Willie Stargell became the Pirates all-time RBI leader when he bombed a solo homer in the fifth to overtake Honus Wagner. Pops’ pair of RBI were numbers 1,475 and 1,476; he would finish his career with 1,540. 
  • 1980 - RHP Bryan Bullington was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Ball State junior was the Bucs top pick and first selection overall in the 2002 draft. He made his debut in 2005 for the Bucs, then returned to toss some in 2007 after labrum surgery, going 0-3, 5.89 in six games (three starts) as a Pirate. BB never made much headway in the show, winning just one game. After pitching for KC in 2010, he went to Japan where he tossed until a shoulder injury in 2015. 
Bryan Bullington 2003 Bowmans Best
  • 1987 - The Pirates split a doubleheader with the Chicago Cubs at TRS. They won the opener 5-3 behind Brian Fisher as Jose Lind chased two runs home and Spanky LaValliere scored twice. They dropped the nitecap 10-8 despite Darnell Coles tying a team record by blasting three homers and driving in six runs. Pirate pitching gave up just nine hits, but six were for extra bases and they added 11 walks. 
  • 1988 - President Ronald Reagan tossed out two ceremonial first pitches before the Cubs lost 10-9 to the Pirates at Wrigley. “Dutch,” a former play-by-play announcer, joined Harry Caray for an inning and a half in the WGN booth. Jose Lind and Andy Van Slyke combined for seven hits in the win. It was a wild finish; Pittsburgh and Chicago each scored five times in the eighth and ninth innings to end up with a 9-9 regulation stalemate. Andy Van Slyke drove in Rafael Belliard with the winner in the 10th. Scott Medvin claimed the W while Goose Gossage took the loss. 
  • 1990 - Pittsburgh beat St. Louis 2-0 at Busch Stadium behind Doug Drabek's three hitter to clinch its first NL East title since 1979. Gary Redus and Andy Van Slyke had the RBI as the Pirates finished a seven game winning streak to pull away from the Mets (the Bucs finished the year four games up). It took Drabek just 80 pitches to go the distance. 
  • 1993 - Tim Wakefield shutout the Phillies on four hits (although he did walk six) in a 5-0 whitewashing at TRS. It was the first time Philadelphia had been shut out since September 19th, 1992 (also at TRS, by Doug Drabek), a NL record-setting stretch of 174 games between blankings. Pittsburgh’s home finale victory over Philadelphia was led by Dave Clark, who homered & tripled, and Tom Foley, who had three hits including a two-bagger. 
Ryan Doumit 2009 Upper Deck Legendary Cuts
  • 2009 - Ryan Doumit went 4-for-4 with a home run, three runs scored and four RBIs in the second game of a doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs, an 8-3 Pittsburgh win behind Jeff Karstens. Dewey became the second Pirate catcher in the last 40 years to have at least four hits and four RBIs in the same game; Jason Kendall collected four knocks and five RBIs in a 13–1 Pirates victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on May 19th, 2000. It was a good day at Wrigley Field for the Bucs as they took the opener, too, 4-0. Charlie Morton tossed a four hitter and Jason Jaramillo doubled in two runs. 
  • 2012 - The Pirates were dropped by Cincinnati 4-3 for their 82nd loss, finishing below .500 for the 20th consecutive season to extend their sad little record. The Bucs were 16 games over .500 on August 6th, but for the second consecutive year, a dog days’ collapse was in the cards. This one at PNC Park hurt, as the Reds scored twice in the ninth off closer Joel Hanrahan to steal the win in front of 32,814 fans. 
  • 2015 - The Pirates stayed alive in the NL Central race by winning the lid lifter of a twin bill at PNC Park against St. Louis, 8-2, for Gerrit Cole's 19th win. The offense was generated via a grand slam by Francisco Cervelli, Neil Walker’s homer and Gregory Polanco chasing home two runs. But the Cardinals clinched the flag and a 100-win season when they won the back end, 11-1, chasing Charlie Morton in the third and getting a Jason Heyward grand slam of their own off Bobby LaFromboise. The Pirates hosted the Wild Card walk-in game for the third straight season as their consolation prize.

9/30 Expo Park-Forbes Field Era: Temple Cup, '08 Race, Mo Bros, Kiner Wallops, Herman Deal, K Mart

  • 1893 - The Pirates ended their season with an eight game winning streak by topping the NY Giants by an 8-6 score to finish the year 81-48, five games behind the Boston Beaneaters. Pittsburgh’s partial owner William Chase Temple thought there should be a series between the top two teams (as his club was second) for the title, so he donated the Temple Cup to the league for a best of seven post-season championship series, to start in 1894. It lasted for four years, never being terribly popular among the players or fans, and didn’t help Temple’s Bucs at all - they never finished higher than sixth during the Cup’s existence. The winner was supposed to take ⅔ of the gate, but the first teams to play agreed beforehand on a 50-50 split, which the winning club then reneged on, causing Temple to sell his Pirate share in disgust with baseball. 
Sam Leever 1909 (photo Conlon Collection/Detroit Public Library)
  • 1908 - The Pirates beat the Cards 7-5 at Forbes Field behind Sam Leever, who relieved starter Vic Willis, and “Wee Tommy” Leach’s home run. Pittsburgh fell behind 5-0 in the home finale, tying the game in the seventh and pushing the winning runs across in the eighth. The victory put the Bucs in a virtual tie for first with the NY Giants and ½ game ahead of the Chicago. In a wild NL finish, the Cubs would take the pennant by a game over both the Pirates and Giants. 
  • 1921 - RHP Phil Morrison got his only big league outing, tossing ⅔ of an inning against St. Louis in a 12-4 defeat, giving up a hit and getting a K. He’s noteworthy as one of the Pirates’ early brother acts, as he joined sib “Jughandle Johnny” Morrison, who pitched eight years for Pittsburgh, on the roster that season. 
  • 1946 - 2B Billy Herman, who the Bucs wanted as a manager, was traded to Pittsburgh by Boston with OF Stan Wentzel, RHP Elmer Singleton and IF Whitey Wietelmann for three-time All Star 3B Bob Elliott and C Hank Camelli. Even Herman realized a lopsided deal when he saw one, saying "Why, they've gone and traded the whole team on me.” Elliott won the 1947 NL MVP award and led the Beaneaters to the 1948 NL pennant. 
  • 1949 - Ralph Kiner hit his 54th homer and 16th in September over the LF scoreboard at Forbes Field as the Pirates beat Herm Wehmeier and the Reds‚ 3-2 behind Bob Chesnes four-hitter. The monthly total eclipsed Cy Williams' 1923 NL mark, and 54 homers is still the Pirate standard for long balls in a season. 
Ralph Kiner 1950 Bowman
  • 1951 - Ralph Kiner hit a two-out, 425’ walk-off grand slam in the 11th inning to give the Pirates an 8-4 win over the Reds at Forbes Field. The four RBI gave him 109 on the year, his fifth straight season with 100+ runs driven home, tying the franchise record set by Pie Traynor. Bill Werle, the Pirates third pitcher, got the win. 
  • 1964 - 19 Pirates struck out in 16 innings, but the Bucs still beat the Reds 1-0 on Jerry Mays’ suicide squeeze, knocking Cincy out of the top spot in the NL. Starter Bob Veale struck out 16 in 12-1/3 innings while the Reds’ Jim Maloney K’ed 11 in eleven frames at Crosley Field. Al McBean went the final 3-⅔ IP for the victory.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Bucs Go Quietly Into the Night 6-1

Stephen Strasburg had a calm first; Gerrit Cole was lucky to get out with a run after three singles and a double. He was saved by a liner-back-the-box DP and a Marte-Rodriguez-Diaz cutdown at home. Strasburg was strong; he struck out five-of-six in the second & third and didn't give up a hit until the fifth when Gregory singled off 1B Ryan Zimmerman's mitt. The wheels fell off in the sixth. The Nats strung together three singles in four at-bats off Cole Train to plate a run and bring in AJ Schugel. He was tagged for a homer, walk and knock before Johnny Barbato was waved in to pull the plug. Strasburg and Angel Sanchez traded zeroes in the seventh. Stephen walked a couple of Bucs in the eighth to run his pitch count up to 98, so Ollie Perez (yes, the one and same) strolled in to put out the fire. Dan Runzler took his turn and Zimmerman took him long. Then Jason Werth did the same. Wade LeBlanc was reintroduced to the mound (it's his first appearance since September 13th) and punched out Matt Wieters for the third out. Matt Grace gave up a Starling single and Cutch double to lose the shutout but not the game.

Starling may be the only Buc sad to see the season end... (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Another very meh performance by Cole Train (his final 2017 line is 12-12, 4.26), backed not at all by the bats, though, of course, Mr. Strasburg does make hitters besides the Pirates look silly. Ah well, two games to go and then...well, that's the question, right?

Notes:
  • Starling again had two hits, as many as the rest of the team together.
  • Some Bucs visited Walter Reed before the game to mingle with the patients, with the group consisting of several coaches and players Stew, S-Rod, Trevo and Steven Brault.
  • Derek Jeter fired several more Marlin honchos, including pitch doctor Jim Benedict who was pirated from Pittsburgh in 2015; the Fish sent Trevo here as compensation. We wouldn't worry too much about Benedict, though; he'll land on his feet and quickly. The new bosses also canned Marc DelPiano, who left Pittsburgh about the same time to become the Miami overlord of player development. Mike Berger, a Central Catholic HS grad and Oakmont resident who was the assistant GM was also deep-sixed.

Friday: Pirates at Nats, Cole v Strasburg, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: Pittsburgh at Washington, round two, to begin at 7:05. AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan will air the game.

Lineup: Adam Frazier 2B, Starling Marte LF, Cutch CF, Josh Bell 1B, David Freese 3B, Gregory Polanco RF, Elias Diaz C, Sean Rodriguez SS, Cole P. Jordy's knee must have been pretty banged up; his absence shows the bench hole at middle infield, especially with J-Hay out. Hopefully, after an offseason of rest, we'll get the 2016 S-Rod back to fill it.

Cole Train closing it out for the season (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (12-11, 4.23) and Stephen Strasburg (14-4, 2.68) are the gunslingers. It may be a meaningless game for the standings, but it's tough not be juiced up over a Cole v Strasberg head-to-head. Gerrit is making his career-high 33rd start of the season and should break the 200 IP mark for the second time. It's been a roller coaster season for Cole Train. He's dropped his last two road games and has given up 31 home runs (amazingly, he had never given up more than 11 in a season until this year), which is one shy of the club record of 32 allowed by Murry Dickson in 1951. Cole is finishing up on a winning note, going 9-5 over his last 19 starts. He's 3-1/2.56 in five career starts against the Nats and won a 6-1 decision in May in his only 2017 outing. The Nats are giving Stephen an extra day or two between starts to preserve his arm for the money games. Strasburg is still one of the elites with 10.5 K/nine, a 1.038 WHIP, and the rest of his peripherals equally shiny. He has a win over the Bucs this year, though it wasn't one of his better outings (six IP, three ER), when he took an 8-4 count over Chad Kuhl.

Notes:
  • Starling Marte extended his hitting streak to nine games with a 2-for-4 performance last night.
Finishing strong... (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • Bryce Harper should be available for the rest of the series after missing yesterday's game w/hyperextended knee.
  • Love that dirty water: The Bucs have gone 29-49 on the road this season, having lost six in a row and 12 of their last 13. The club hasn't won back-to-back games away from PNC Park since late August. Pittsburgh posted a 40-41 record on the road last season.
  • Pete Mackanin will not return as Phils manager next year; he's being kicked upstairs to serve as a special assistant to the GM. Mac managed the Pirate farm clubs Hickory Crawdads and Lynchburg Hillcats in 2001 and 2002, then became Lloyd McClendon's bench coach for the for the 2003 season. After Lloyd was fired, Mackanin served as the Pirates' interim manager for the last month of 2005 and spent the next season managing at Bradenton before moving on in 2007.

9/29 From the 50s Forward: HBD Ken, Teke Takes Two, Alou #2, Browns, 6-In-A-Row, Cutch Walks It Off, Giants Finale

  • 1950 - Ken Macha was born in Monroeville. The Gateway grad, a sixth round draft pick in 1972, played briefly for the Bucs (1974, 1977-78), hitting .263 as a corner utilityman. He made his name as a MLB coach and manager of the Oakland Athletics and Milwaukee Brewers. Ken is retired and now lives in Latrobe after a stint as a pre-game analyst for Root Sports
Ken Macha 1978 Topps
  • 1957 - The New York Giants played their final game at the Polo Grounds before pulling up their stakes and heading west, losing to the Pirates 9-1. Bob Friend got the win; Johnny Antonelli took the loss. Roberto Clemente, Johnny Powers and Friend each had three hits; rookie Powers hit the last homer and tallied the final RBI ever at the yard. After the game, 11‚606 fans swarmed for keepsakes as both teams retreated to the center field clubhouses for safety. 
  • 1968 - Ahead of Matty Alou by a razor’s edge on the season’s last day, Pete Rose went 1-for-3 to keep his average at .335 while the Pirates outfielder wore an 0-for-4 collar in a 5-4 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field, finishing the year with a BA of .332. The day before, the batting crown rivals were en fuego, combining to go 9-for-9 to set up the final day dramatics. 
  • 1978 - Kent Tekulve won both ends of a season-ending DH over the Phils at TRS in relief‚ 5-4 and 2-1. He pitched 2 innings in the opener and 1-1/3 frames in the nitecap‚ winning in the 10th. Both wins were gift wrapped; the Bucs won the opener when the relay to third on Ed Ott’s two out ninth inning triple got away, and the Phils balked in the winning run in the ninth inning of the nitecap. Bruce Kison made the pitcher trivia rounds in the second game when he homered off Steve Carlton. That gave him a season natural batting cycle of a single, double, triple and homer in that order. Of course, for a hitter, a natural cycle begins with his first at-bat; with pitcher Kison, it started with a single on July 20th (with a few outs sprinkled in between). The twilighter drew 45,134 fans as a September run by the Bucs cut the Phils lead to 1-½ games after their 24th straight win at TRS. Pittsburgh finished two games back, but the late season run pointed the way to 1979. 
Teke 1978 Topps
  • 1992 - The Pirates won their sixth straight game by a 3-0 score over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field as Zane Smith, Paul Wagner (the winner), Steve Cooke and Stan Belinda combined on a two-hitter to put the Bucs nine games up in the standings. Andy Van Slyke homered and drove in a pair of runs to spark the Pirate attack. 
  • 1999 - In an oddity noted by BR Bullpen, the Bucs 1-2-3 hitters against the Milwaukee Brewers at County Stadium were Adrian Brown, Emil Brown and Brant Brown. Adrian had two hits and Brant drove in a run, but the Brown line wasn’t enough to save the day as the Pirates fell 5-2. 
  • 2012 - Andrew McCutchen hit a walk-off homer to right center off Jonathan Broxton of the Cincinnati Reds with one down in the ninth inning for his 31st long ball of the season. It gave the Pirates a 2-1 win at PNC Park in front of a Saturday night crowd of 38,623. Kyle McPherson started the game, and Joel Hanrahan finished for the win.

9/29 Through the 40s: HBD Cannonball & Paul, Camnitz Clan, Game Stories

  • 1862 - LHP Ed “Cannonball” Morris was born in Brooklyn. Morris was considered by many to be the first great lefty to pitch in the majors. In 1884, Cannonball tossed a no-hitter against Pittsburgh for Columbus, and was purchased by the impressed Alleghenys five months later. The lefty pitched for the Alleghenys from 1885-89 with a 171-122/2.84 line, winning 80 games from 1885-86. He struck out over 300 batters twice with 298 another year, and threw over 550 innings in two different seasons. He also worked a year with the Pittsburgh Burghers of the Players League in 1890, his last season in the majors. Afterward, he ran a hotel/saloon on Pittsburgh’s North Side and was a deputy warden at Western Penitentiary. He remained a fan, rarely missing a Pirates game, and in 1934 he was tapped by the team to pitch an inning during the Silver Anniversary of Forbes Field. As you may have guessed, he was nicknamed "Cannonball" for the velocity of his ol’ number one. 
Ed Morris 1889 Goodwin/Old Judge
  • 1900 - Busted! Per the Pittsburg Press after a 4-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds “...the disgrace of being beaten...was not the most humiliating experience the Pirates had at Exposition Park, and until they clear themselves of the charge of attempting the dishonorable Philadelphia trick of tipping off the signals (ie, stealing signs) of opposing clubs, they will get little sympathy from Pittsburg’s patrons of the national game.” Reds’ shortstop Tommy Corcoran called the ump over late in the game and pointed out an advertising sign in center field that could be adjusted by a hidden Bucco with spyglasses to give away the pitch. Corcoran had a nose for opposing tricksters; he also uncovered the ploy in Philadelphia that involved a vibrating electronic gizmo buried in the third base box. The Reds filed cheating charges, and though we never found the resolution of the matter, it appears the Pirates defense of “how could we have cheated if we lost” was upheld. 
  • 1908 - Pittsburgh blanked the Cardinals 7-0 at Forbes Field behind Howie Camnitz in the first game of a doubleheader sweep. Camnitz had a no hitter until the ninth when Claude Osteen singled. The last-place Redbirds were blanked for a record 33rd time. The Cards broke out the lumber in the nitecap, but still lost 6-5 when Roy Thomas’ grounder brought home George Gibson in the ninth to give Vic Willis the win. 
Howie Camnitz 1909 Piedmont
  • 1909 - RHP Harry Camnitz mopped up in the Pirates 6-1 loss to the NY Giants at Forbes Field. It was his only outing of the year (he had been purchased from the minor league McKeesport Tubers in July), but it made him part of the first brother act for the Pittsburgh Pirates to appear during the same season; he was the little bro of the team’s ace, Howie Camnitz. The Bucs added him to the roster after he picked up 27 wins with the Tubers. 
  • 1932 - RHP Paul Giel was born in Winona, Minnesota. Paul was a two-sport star at the U of Minnesota and picked baseball over football (he was a highly touted QB) when he graduated. He spent parts of six seasons in the big leagues and made 20 appearances with the Pirates in 1959-60, going 2-0, 7.30. He retired from baseball in 1961 and embarked on a journey through the Minnesota sports scene. Giel went to work for the Vikings briefly, spent a longer stretch with local sports broadcasting and then became the AD at his alma mater. 
Paul Giel 1960 Topps
  • 1935 - In his only major league game, C Aubrey Epps went 3-for-4 with a triple and three RBI in the Bucs' 9-6 loss at Cincinnati, giving the Pirates a doubleheader split on the season’s last day. In an oddity, the touted 23-year old catcher ended up with identical career batting and fielding averages (.750) as he committed two errors in eight chances; guess that’s why it was his only game. Aubrey caught pneumonia after the season, although he did recover in time to report to 1936 camp. He couldn’t win a roster spot and spent the next six seasons in the minors. He was nicknamed “YoYo” for reasons we couldn’t find, although playing for 10 minor league teams at five different levels may have contributed. 
  • 1942 - Satchel Paige of the KC Monarchs tossed 5-2/3 innings of hitless relief against the Homestead Grays (by that time, they split dates between Pittsburgh & Washington), winning 9-5 at Shibe Park in Philadelphia to cap a four game sweep of the 1942 Negro League World Series. The series featured seven members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, three from the Monarchs (Satchel Paige, Hilton Smith, and Willard Brown) and four from the Grays (Josh Gibson, Jud Wilson, Ray Brown, and Buck Leonard). Paige had actually been slated to start but showed up late at the ballpark, claiming he was tardy because of a speeding ticket he picked up on the way to the park.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

J-Bell Ties It Late But Nats Rally To Walk It Off A 5-4 Win

The Bucs got a single and GIDP off Edwin Jackson in the first while the Nats got a double, walk, single and wild pitch but only a run off Ivan Nova.  The second went quietly with the Nats leaving a couple more runners on. Mad Max walked with an out in the third and Ivan got clunked in the hand trying to bunt. Steven Brault finished the at bat and then Chris Bostick and Starling went to work. Bo doubled in Max and Marte chased Bo home. Then Tyler Glasnow took the hill. He gave up a couple walks, one after being up 0-2, and a rap to tie the game. The Bucs spun their wheels. Glasnow tossed a quiet fourth, gave up a couple of hits but no runs in the fifth and was pulled after three walks in the sixth to set up a Victor Robles v Edgar Santana two-out, bases-filled duel. Santana won, getting a swinging K.

Edgar Santana came in to get a big whiff (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Brandon Kintzler took the hill for Jackson and tossed a clean seventh. Dovydas Neverauskas didn't for Pittsburgh - a walk and triple put the Nats up and Jack Leathersich came in to give up a sac fly to make it 4-2. Ryan Madson tossed a clean eighth as did Johnny Barbato. Sean Doolittle took the ball but couldn't nail the coffin shut after Cutch singled to greet him and J-Bell launched a tying blast. Daniel Hudson got the call and three consecutive singles made Bell's bomb moot.

Santana and Barbato scored some points tonight; Glasnow and Dovy didn't. Unfortunately, none of the young hitters look ready; Osuna, Diaz, Moroff, Luplow and Stalling are all hitting < .235; only Bostick, with 25 at-bats, has a decent (.285) BA. September means something to them - and to the FO, who has some work to do on the roster between now and April.

Tyler still needs a GPS to find the dish (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
Notes:
  • Starling stayed on fire with two raps; no other Bucco reached base more than once as the club managed just six hits.
  • Josh Bell's homer was his 26th of the campaign, tying him with Jason Bay (2004) for the most dingers hit in during a Pirates rookie season.
  • With Steven Brault named to make the last start, Tyler Glasnow was relegated to the bullpen for this series and Clint wasted little time getting him in action for probably the last time this year (he went 3-2/3 IP and fired 76 pitches). Nova, btw, injured his index finger and x-rays on it were negative.
  • Final attendance figures for PNC Park: 1,916,851/23,961 this year compared to 2,249,201/27,768 in 2016, a loss of 3,807 fans per game. It's a continuing trend. The Bucs drew an average of 2,470,580/30,514 in 2014-15 and this season broke a streak of five straight 2M fans attendance. 

Thursday: Pirates at Nats, Nova v Edwin Jackson, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: The Bucs are at Washington with a 7:05 first pitch. AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan will carry the match.

Lineup: Chris Bostick 2B, Starling Marte LF, Cutch CF, Josh Bell 1B, Jordan Luplow RF, Sean Rodriguez 3B, Elias Diaz C, Max Moroff SS, Ivan Nova P. Smart play in a couple of ways by not pushing Jordy, who is banged up, and Gregory, who is always a step away from the DL, in the last series.

Ivan takes his last bite out of 2017's apple (photo via mlb.com)

Pitchers: Ivan Nova (11-14, 4.14) faces Edwin Jackson (5-6, 5.40). Ivan has pitched decently in his past pair of outings and is looking to sail into the off-season on smooth seas. He was a workhorse this year even if the post all-star outings were ragged, setting career highs in innings pitched (185) and starts (31, counting tohight). Showing up on the road would help as he's gone 3-12/5.03 (compared to 8-2/2.80 at PNC Park) in 18 out-of-town starts this season. Nova hasn't notched a W since the Little League Classic five weeks ago. He's 1-1/4.63 in two starts against the Nats, but hasn't met them this year. He gave up six runs in four IP last year and won a 4-1 decision over Jackson while pitching for the Yankees way back in 2012. Jackson has struggled in September, posting a 0-3/12.38 line in his four outings, so he's shooting himself in the foot for a 2018 job after putting himself in a good spot by going 5-3/3.33 in his first 11 starts as a Nat. He's faced the Pirates once this year in relief for Baltimore, giving up two runs on four hits in 2-2/3 IP.  But spoiler alert: he's been a Bucco pain in the butt over his 15-year career, going 10-3/3.71 in 21 appearances against Pittsburgh.

Notes:
  • Starling is on an eight-game hitting streak and has gone 12-for-24 with a double, triple, homer, six RBI and four stolen bases in his last seven games. Andrew has hit safely in four straight games (7-for-14) and in 12 of his last 15 (19-for-58, .328). J-Bell is hot, too, going 5-for-11 with a homer and four RBI in his last three games.
Starling is finishing up strong (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • The Pirates have won four in a row and 5-of-6. The Bucs took 2-of-3 from the Nats in May at PNC Park.
  • The Nationals are locked into the second spot in the NL playoffs with 95 wins, way behind the Dodgers 102 and safely ahead of the Cubs 89 victories. So it's an interesting set for them; they get to use the series to rest the regulars and to get the rotation/bench in order for the playoffs.
  • So the balls not juiced? The Pittsburgh pitching staff has served up 177 home runs this season, the third-fewest among MLB teams. The Bucs gave up 180 homers in 2016 and the club record for most home runs surrendered in one season is 183 (in 1996). So the team could set a franchise record for dingers in a year when they are among the stingiest, in relation to the rest of baseball, at surrendering long balls.

9/28 From the 50s Forward: '52 Woes, Freak Show Finale, Homer Show, Homer No-No, Game Stories & Stuff

  • 1952 - The Post Gazette lead told the story: “The Pittsburgh Pirates wound up the clubs losingest (sic) season in modern baseball history by doing just that - losing.” The Bucs did put up a fight at Crosley Field as Gus Bell dinged a two-run homer in the ninth to tie the game briefly before the Cincinnati Reds stormed back in the ninth to claim a 3-2 win from Forrest Main. The Pirates finished the year with a 48-106 slate. Still, it was a profitable day for a couple of Pirates - in a pre-game set of contests, Brandy Davis won $100 as the fastest player while Joe Garagiola ($50) and Frank Thomas ($25) came in 1-2 in the distance-hitting event.
Gus Bell 1952 Topps
  • 1966 - Pittsburgh swept a doubleheader from the Philadelphia Phillies by 2-1 and 4-2 scores at Connie Mack Stadium. The strong mound work of Steve Blass and Bob Veale pulled the club within 1-½ games of first place LA. It was their last hurrah; the SF Giants swept the final three-game set at Forbes Field and the Bucs finished third, three games off the pace. 
  • 1970 - Danny Murtaugh was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated for the story “The Desperate Race.” It actually wasn’t that desperate; the Bucs’ lead had grown from two games into five by the time the issue was published after winning 6-of-7 down the stretch. 
  • 1997 - The Freak Show ended its run with the club’s 79th victory, 5-4, over Houston in 11 innings at the Astrodome. Jose Guillen swung the hot bat with a homer, two runs scored and three RBI to give Jason Christiansen the win, saved by Rich Loiselle. The club wouldn’t match that victory total again until 2012. 
  • 2009 - The Pirates won their home finale 11-1 against the Dodgers, with Andy LaRoche hitting two homers and driving in six runs. John Russell drew the ire of the 16,696 fans in attendance when he inexplicably pulled starter Zach Duke (103 pitches) with two outs in the ninth after a sac fly ruined his shutout bid. 
Andy LaRoche 2009 Topps Heritage
  • 2012 - The Bucs drew 34,796 fans to PNC Park, but the star of the show was Reds pitcher Homer Bailey, who tossed a no-hitter to outduel AJ Burnett and earn a hard fought 1-0, complete game win. Bailey walked one and fanned 10 as the Pirates were no-hit for the first time since 1971. It was the year of the no-hitter; Bailey’s was the seventh of the season, tying a modern-day MLB record. 
  • 2013 - Behind a six-home-run barrage (Neil Walker-2, Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Marlon Byrd and Andrew Lambo), the Pirates won home field advantage for their wild card game against the Reds by defeating Cincinnati 8-3 at GABP. It was the first time since August, 2007, versus the Rockies at Coors Field, that Pittsburgh banged out that many long balls in a game. It was his first career multi-homer game for Walker and the first career MLB homer for Lambo. Alvarez became the first Pirate third baseman to drive in 100 runs since Aramis Ramirez chased home 110 in 2001, and his 36 homers were a club record for a third baseman. Vin Mazzaro came on in the fifth inning and was credited with the win. 
  • 2016 - Although eliminated from playoff contention the day before, the Pirates still had some spunk left in them and whipped the 100-win Cubs and Jake Arrieta 8-4 at PNC Park. John Jaso led the attack by hitting for the first cycle in PNC Park history (it was the first Bucco cycle since Daryle Ward’s in 2004) while chasing home five runs and scoring twice. Rookie Jameson Taillon spun a one-hitter through six innings and survived some occasionally shaky bullpen work to earn the win. Josh Bell, Sean Rodriguez and Eric Fryer each added two knocks with S-Rod scoring three times.

9/28 Through the 40s: The Gloaming; HBD Bill, Lou, Cy the Third, Everett, Cy, Leon & Buck; Clarke Honored;Tiny 2-Hitter

  • 1863 - RHP Bill Nelson was born in Terre Haute, Indiana. He tossed three games for the Alleghenys in September of 1884, going 1-2/4.50. His peripherals were a little bit rougher - in 26 IP, he gave up 21 runs (13 were earned), hit four batters and tossed five wild pitches. He was released at the end of the season; the Alleghenys were about to buy the Columbus roster, leaving no room for a pitching project. Little is known what happened to Bill afterward; he appears he got on with his life at home as he ended his days in 1941 back in Terre Haute. 
Lou Bierbauer Pepsin Badge
  • 1865 - 2B Lou Bierbauer was born in Erie (some sources claim he was born in Philly, que sera, sera). The Pirates signed him in 1891, as he wasn’t on the reserved roster of his American Association club, the Philadelphia Athletics (he had skipped to the outlaw Players League in 1890). His rights were decided by an arbitrator, and though the AA thought the Alleghenys’ act was “piratical,” Pittsburgh was awarded Bierbauer and a new nickname, the Pirates. From 1891-96, Bierbauer was a defensive master and hit .260 for the Pirates. 
  • 1883 - RHP Harlan “Cy the Third” Young was born in Portland, Indiana. The Pirates purchased Harlan’s contract from Wichita of the Western Association in 1908 and he did OK in a limited time, going 0-2/2.23 in three starts. Then it gets interesting. In Cy Young’s era, every pitcher named Young became a Cy of one stripe or another. Cy the Third, Harlan, was traded to Boston for Cy the Second (aka Young Cy), Irv Young. The association by name didn’t help Cy Two much nor Three at all. Irv did go 4-3/2.15 for Pittsburgh and lasted two more seasons with the White Sox, winning 63 games in six years. Harlan remained winless with Boston, and then bumped around in minor league ball until 1920. He retired, and though he never outdid his namesake in the baseball record books, Cy III ran a golf course and later managed apartments in Florida, living to the ripe old age of 91. 
  • 1891 - OF Everett Booe was born in Mocksville, North Carolina. His MLB days were from 1913-14; he spent his rookie campaign as a Bucco, batting .200 in 29 games before jumping to the Federal League. Booe was a speedster and did have a long playing career in the minors, stretching from 1910-30 with the last handful of seasons spent as a player/manager. After he was done, he retired with his wife to Kennedy, Texas, where he ran a lumber supply company and was active in community affairs, both civic and baseball. 
Cy Rheam (photo via Find-A-Grave)
  • 1893 - 1B/OF Cy Rheam was born in Pittsburgh. Cy went to Indiana Normal School (now IUP) and the utilityman got a couple of seasons in with the Pittsburgh Rebels in 1914-15, batting .201 while playing six different positions. That was the sum of Cy’s MLB career, and he apparently stayed local after his playing days. He died in the City in 1947 and was buried in Allegheny Cemetery.  
  • 1902 - RHP Leon Chagnon was born in Pittsfield, New Hampshire. He worked for the Bucs from 1929-30, then again from 1932-34 after spending 1931 in the minors. Mostly called to action from the bullpen, he went 19-14-2 with a 4.61 ERA during his Pirate career. He closed out his big league stay with the Giants in 1935, then spent two years in the minors before hangin' the spikes up.
  • 1909 - Player/manager Fred Clarke was honored at Forbes Field before the game, when, according to Ralph Davis of the Pittsburg Press, “...Mayor WA (William) Magee presented him with a bag of gold coin ($600). Just as the money was being handed to Clarke, James Geary placed a wreath of evergreen on his brow and showered dozens of rosebuds all over him while the fans shouted themselves hoarse at the scene.” After all that, the Pirates went out and lost to the NY Giants 13-9, but even that was good. The Pirates clinched the pennant when the Chicago Cubs lost to the Phils 3-2 and went on to beat the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. 
  • 1938 - The Bucs lost the “Homer in the Gloaming” game to the Cubs at Wrigley Field, considered one of the greatest pennant race finishes in baseball. The teams were tied for first and tied in the bottom of the ninth. The umpires ruled that the ninth inning would be the last to be played because of darkness; if it was still tied, it would become a no-contest and would be replayed the next day in its entirety. Player manager Gabby Hartnett came to bat with two out, fell behind 0-2, and then connected off Mace Brown, launching the ball into the left-center field bleachers for the walk off win and sending 34‚465 fans home in ecstasy, many of whom circled the bases with him. The Cubs won the next day (their 10th straight), the Pirates faded, and Chicago became the NL champs. The loss was so painful to manager Pie Traynor that it’s said to have contributed to his retirement after the 1939 season. 
  • 1942 - LHP Grant Jackson was born in Fostoria, Ohio. Buck tossed for the Pirates from 1977-81 and made his last MLB outing as a Buc in 1982. His line here was 29-19-36/3.23, and he tossed scoreless ball in his six appearances during the 1971 NLCS/World Series campaign. After he retired, Jackson was hired as Pittsburgh's pitching coach in 1983. He held similar positions with four other organizations (Chicago Cubs, NY Yankees, Cincinnati Reds, and Baltimore Orioles) before he retired for good after the 2002 season. He got his nickname in the minors; one of his teammates thought he walked like a cowboy and so dubbed him “Buck.” 
  • 1947 - Tiny Bonham tossed a two-hit whitewash as the Bucs defeated the Reds, 7-0, at Forbes Field to end a dismal season in Bill Burwell’s only game as a manager (he replaced Billy Herman, who resigned). Pittsburgh finished 62-92, 32 games out of first. Dixie Howell and Frank Gustine homered in front of 33,794 fans. The Bucs had won just 64 games the year before, but would take 83 the following season under new skipper Billy Meyer.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Bucs Finish Up Homestand on Winning Note 5-3

Cutch was still feelin' it after yesterday's game; he threw out an Oriole that had the audacity to tag on him in the first and then a bit later singled Fraze to third (after a nice ovation from the fans), where he scored on J-Bell's knock. Chad Kuhl wasn't feeling it; a pair of singles and another set of doubles put Baltimore ahead 3-1 in the second. Gregory homered off Gabriel Ynoa to cut the lead to one and in the third, a two-out Cutch walk followed by a Bell bomb put Pittsburgh ahead by a run. Man, Baltimore must have called up a lot of pitchers this month - Mike Wright took the hill in the fourth; they only got four innings out of Kevin Gausman last night.

Felipe brought the smoke tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

It heated up a little more; the Bucs left a pair aboard in the fifth, then the Birds got their first two men aboard in the sixth, chasing Kuhl and bringing on Jack Leathersich. He got his out, then Clint waved in Edgar Santana (September bullpens!) who got the next two. Dovydas Neverauskas tossed a clean seventh and the Bucs added an insurance marker off Mychal Givens when Starling's two-out infield knock brought home S-Rod who had doubled. George Kontos worked the eighth quietly as did Richard Bleier for Charm City. Felipe Rivero gave up a double in the ninth to keep it interesting but quickly laid it to rest, which isn't all that hard when you're lighting the radar gun at 103.

Chad had a rough outing - five IP, three runs, eight hits - but five K & just one walk helped to keep the damage contained. Cutch and J-Bell pumped up the middle of the order; one or two more run producers should be on the FO's 2018 to-do list.

J-Bell brought the lumber (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
Notes:
  • Josh Bell had three hits and three RBI, Starling had a couple of knocks and Cutch had a rap and was walked twice, reaching base seven times in a row before finally making an out.
  • Pedro Alvarez started tonight's game; this is El Toro's first visit back to PNC Park since he and the Bucs parted ways. He was given a video tribute and got a warm welcome from the fans. Petey even started a 3-6-3 DP in the first inning, something he was seemingly incapable of here.
  • Teke also drew a rousing roar when he was recognized tonight while doing his last Pirates game, not only by the fans but by the entire Pirates dugout.
  • He didn't do the National Anthem, but Pittsburgh's Wiz Khalifa did toss the final ceremonial first pitch of the 2017 campaign.
  • 24,779 visited the park tonight. 
  • The hot & cold Bucs have now won four in a row as they travel to DC to close the season with a four-game stand with the Nationals.
  • The Cubs clinched the NL Central tonight with a 5-1 win over the Cards.

Wednesday: Cool Chad v Gabriel Ynoa, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: The home season ends with the Baltimore Orioles match at 7:05, aired on AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan.

Lineup: Adam Frazier 2B, Starling Marte LF, Cutch CF, Josh Bell 1B, David Freese 3B, Gregory Polanco RF, Elias Diaz C, Sean Rodriguez SS, Chad Kuhl P. Jordy getting some down time; he has been an iron man despite having to play through a gimpy knee. And boy, sometimes we let our minds ponder a lineup with Jung Ho Kang batting between Andrew and J-Bell. The middle is something the FO has to address next season with or without JHK.

Pitchers: Chad Kuhl (7-11, 4.31) closes the home campaign against Gabriel Ynoa (2-2, 3.41). Chad will be making his 31st start of the season and hoping to keep the ball in the park tonight. He lasted 4-2/3 IP in losing a 4-2 decision  in Cincinnati when he gave up a career-high four home runs. Adding some off-speed stuff to his fastball/slider toolkit has produced some strong results with Chad slashing 5-5/3.25 ERA in his last 15 outings. The Bucs are now looking for a little more efficiency out of Kuhl, who has worked through seven IP just three times this year and hasn't made it to the sixth in 21 trips to the hill. Chad has faced Baltimore once in June and gave up one run in five innings of work, but got no decision in an extra-inning loss at Camden Yards. Ynoa is getting his fourth start for the Orioles as he's trying to open some eyes for 2018. He started in AAA (6-9, 5.25) but served as a long man when he first came up. Ynoa uses a fastball/slider combo and his last outing was his best, going eight IP against Tampa, giving up one run on five hits and stretching himself out to 94 pitches.

Chad's final trip to the PNC mound this year (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
Notes:
  • Edgar Santana and Dan Runzler have each tossed six scoreless outings since being called up on September 10th. Dovydas Neverauskas also has six straight appearances without giving up a run; Johnny Barbato has gone five games w/o being dented. The pitchers are finishing strong - they've put up the lowest ERA (3.39) in the NL so far in September.
  • The Pirates have gone 43-37 at home this season, with one win earned at Williamsport.
  • The local baseball writers voted for their annual local honors winners and they are: Andrew McCutchen (Roberto Clemente Award for MVP); Felipe Rivero (Steve Blass Award for Top Pitcher) and Jordy Mercer (Chuck Tanner Award for Most Cooperative w/Press)
  • Following the game tonight, the Pirates head for Washington, where the season will come to a close with a four-game series against the Nats.
  • Matt Cain, 33 this weekend, will pitch one more game and retire. He was San Francisco's first-round pick in the 2002 draft, broke into the big leagues in 2005 and spent his entire 13-year career with the Giants, going 104-118 with a 3.69 ERA. He has a perfect game on his resume, and he & Tim Lincecum formed one of the great one-two punches in baseball.

9/27 TRS-PNC Era: Bucs Clinch In '70 & '92, HBD Pedro & Vin, Giles Goes Wild, Game Stories

  • 1970 - The Pirates clinched the NL East title with a 2-1 victory over the Mets at TRS in front of a record 50,469 fans. Dave Cash had two hits, a run scored and the game-winning RBI to lead the offense. Dock Ellis got the win and Dave Giusti earned the save as the Pirates swept the three-game series from New York. The Pirates were broomed in the NLCS 3-0 by Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine, which in turn was beaten handily by the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. 
Pedro Ciriaco 2011 Topps
  • 1985 - IF Pedro Ciriaco was born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. Ciriaco got his first taste of MLB in 2010-11, batting .333 for the Pirates in 31 games after coming over in a deadline deal with Arizona. He popped in and out of the majors through 2015 and spent 2017 playing in the Mexican League. 
  • 1986 - RHP Vin Mazzaro was born in Hackensack, New Jersey. After working 2009-12 in the AL, Vin spent a couple of years in Pittsburgh with a line of 8-2-1, 2.89 in 62 outings. Mazzaro last pitched in the show for the Giants in 2015; he worked in the indy leagues this season. 
  • 1989 - Doug Drabek spun a four-hit shutout as the Bucs edged the Cubs and Joe Magrane 1-0. The Pirate run came in the fourth when Pittsburgh strung together three straight singles, with C Dan Bilardello bringing home Jeff King with the contest’s only run. Doug finished the year with a 2.80 ERA, his first of three sub-three ERA seasons as a Pirate. 
  • 1992 - Pittsburgh won their third consecutive division crown by defeating the Mets at TRS, 4-2. Danny Jackson got the win and Stan Belinda picked up the save. Gary Redus and Jay Bell each had a pair of hits; Redus scored twice and Bell had two RBI. The club lost the NLCS to Atlanta four games to three when the Braves scored three times in the ninth inning of the seventh game to erase a 2-0 deficit, taking the crown after Sid Bream beat Barry Bond’s throw home.
Danny Jackson 1993 Score
  • 1998 - The Pirates ended a dismal season with a 4-1 loss to Cincinnati at Cinergy Field. They finished 69-93 thanks to a 5-25 finish to the campaign, a collapse that started back on August 28th, and finished 33 games behind the Houston Astros in the NL Central. The loss was their eighth in a row and 11th in the final 12 games. The last time the club had been at .500 was on June 14th when they were 34-34. 
  • 2002 - The Bucs beat the Cubs‚ 13-3 as Brian Giles scored five runs and drove home six with a double and a pair of home runs. He added another bomb the next game to give him four consecutive years with 35+ homers‚ joining Alex Rodriguez‚ Sammy Sosa‚ and Rafael Palmiero in that select club. Salomon Torres got the win at Wrigley Field. Every Pirate starter, included Torres, had a hit as the Bucs banged out 19 knocks. 
  • 2009 - Pittsburgh scored four times in the ninth inning off Jonathan Braxton at PNC Park after the Dodgers took a 5-2 lead in the top of the frame by scoring three times off Matt Capps. Lastings Milledge delivered the game-winning hit, a two-run single to right-center, to plate Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones. Capps, despite his miserable frame (three hits and a walk), took home the win.

9/27 Expo Park-Forbes Field Era: HBD Joe, Alan, Willie, Doug, Dick L,Johnny, Dick H & Dave; Game Stories

  • 1859 - 1B/OF Joe Visner was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Joe, part of the league’s first wave of Native American players, had a good year in 1889 for the Brooklyn Bridegrooms and in 1990 jumped to the Pittsburgh Burghers of the Players' League where he was the starting right fielder. He batted .267, scored 110 runs and hit 22 triples. Joe played one more big league season after that and got on with his life after three more minor league campaigns. His post-baseball life was a story in itself; he inherited 400 acres of land and moved his family there. He tired of the farm life and disappeared for long stretches; he’d ride his bicycle across Canada, augmenting his fur-trapping skills with handy-man chores. 
Alan Storke 1909 American Caramel
  • 1884 - 1B Alan Storke was born in Auburn, New York. He was a Bucco from 1906-09 and while primarily a first baseman, he played every infield position with a .255 BA while a Pirate. He attended Harvard Law School in the off season, joining the Pirates in early June after classes per his understanding with Barney Dreyfuss. The 25 year-old Amherst grad never got to open his oyster; he died in 1910 of a lung infection stemming from the flu (or "grippe" as it was then known) during his final term at school. 
  • 1890 - RHP Jim “Willie” Adams was born in Clearfield, Pennsylvania. Willie worked two seasons for the St Louis Browns before joining the Pittsburgh Rebels of the Federal League in 1914, going 1-1-2, 3.74 in 15 outings (two starts). He yo-yo’ed between the bigs and the farm until 1922, when he suffered a heart attack that ended his baseball career. 
  • 1891 - Utilityman Doug Baird was born in St. Charles, Missouri. He played for five teams in six years, starting his career in 1915-17 (in part) with Pittsburgh where he saw a lot of action (2B, 3B, LF, RF, CF) and hit .223 in 316 games. After his last MLB gig in 1920, Baird played for seven more years in the minors through the 1927 campaign. 
  • 1901 - Deacon Phillippe tossed the Pirates past the Brooklyn Superbas 5-4 at Exposition Park to clinch the NL pennant, the first of three straight NL titles for the Bucs. Pittsburgh scored three times in the bottom of the eighth after Brooklyn had taken the lead in the top half of the inning. Kitty Bransfield’s single to left chased home Honus Wagner, who had doubled home a pair, with the pennant-clinching run. From August 31st to this date, the Pirates had won 26-of-30 games. It was Pittsburgh’s first NL flag and first title since the Alleghenys began playing major league ball in the American Association in 1882.
Deacon Phillippe 1903 E107
  • 1907 - In a game that ended a 5-5 draw, the Bucs lost Honus Wagner for the last dozen games of the season when he was hit in the hand in the first inning by the Boston Dove’s Rube Dessau and broke a bone. The contest went 11 innings at Exposition Park before darkness claimed it. The injury was moot so far as affecting the pennant chase. Although the Bucs won 91 games that season, they still finished second, 17 games behind the Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance Chicago Cubs, the winners of the 1907 World Series. 
  • 1909 - The Bucs won their 16th straight game, the longest winning streak a Pirate club has ever put together. They beat the Giants 6-1 in the first game of a twinbill at Exposition Park, finally losing when they dropped the nitecap, 8-7. That powerhouse club took the NL pennant by 6-½ games over the Cubs with 110 wins and defeated the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. 
  • 1911 - LHP Dick Lanahan was born in Washington, DC. He got into 47 games for the 1940-41 Pirates after a couple of previous pit stops in Washington with a line of 6-9-2, 4.35. He appeared in 40 outings in ‘40, ninth-most in the NL. He toiled in the minors, with a military break, after his Pirates gig through the 1948 season. 
  • 1919 - IF Johnny Pesky was born in Portland, Oregon. Johnny made his name as a Red Sox player, coach, manager and announcer but in between served some time with the Bucs. From 1965-67, he was Harry “The Hat” Walker’s first-base coach. After Walker's firing in 1967, Pesky managed the Bucs' AAA Columbus Jets squad of the International League to a second-place finish before moving to the Boston booth. He then returned to the familiar role of Red Sox coach and instructor. 
Dick Hall 1956 Topps
  • 1930 - P/OF Dick Hall was born in St. Louis. Hall came up in 1952 as a light hitting outfielder; in 1955, he was converted to the mound and pitched until 1971. In his Bucco years (1952-59) he hit .218, and was 6-13-2/4.57 on the hill. He got better; Baltimore flipped him from starter to reliever, and he tossed for nine years in two stints as a Bird with a 2.98 ERA; he even threw a scoreless frame against Pittsburgh in the 1971 World Series at age 40. 
  • 1930 - Paul Waner kept an 11 game hitting streak alive when he smacked a homer and single in an 11-8 win over St. Louis at Sportsman’s Park. That gave Big Poison 217 knocks during the year and 1,057 hits over his first five seasons, making him one of four players - Kirby Puckett, Earle Combs and Ducky Medwick are the others - to have 1,000+ hits in their first five campaigns. Waner had staying power; he finished his career with 3,151 hits and a place in the Hall of Fame. 
  • 1930 - 18 year old rookie Josh Gibson was credited with drilling what at the time was the longest home run ever hit in Yankee Stadium, a blast that was estimated to be anywhere from 460-505’, off the back wall of the LF bullpen (he was said to have landed another ball there in 1946). The Lincoln Giant’s “Broadway Connie” Rector gave up the three-run smash in the first inning of a Homestead Grays 7-3 playoff victory. A week earlier, Gibson was credited with being the first hitter to clear the 457’ mark at Forbes Field during the same series. 
Dave Wickersham 1968 KDKA Promo Card
  • 1935 - RHP Dave Wickersham was born in Erie. The Ohio U grad had eight solid years in the AL when he came over to the Bucs from Detroit for Dennis Ribant in 1968, but he only got into 11 games for the Pirates, with a respectable line of 1-0-1, 3.48, and then was sold to his original MLB club, the KC Royals, in the off season. 
  • 1952 - In the next-to-last game of the season, a 9-6 win over the Reds at Crosley Field, Ralph Kiner homered to finish the season with 37 long balls to tie Hank Sauer for the crown. It was Kiner’s record-setting seventh consecutive NL home run title.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Cutch Rocks, Bucs Roll 10-1

Trevo got off on the right foot. After tossing a scoreless frame, he watched a Starling single and back-to-back-doubles by Cutch & J-Bell gave him a quick two-run pad. It would grow. In the second, the Bucs had two outs and Mad Max aboard when a Fraze double and Starling walk packed the sacks for Cutch. It is a well-known bit of Pirates lore that in nine seasons, Andrew has never drilled a grand slam. That can now be crossed off his to-do list; let the record show he got #1 off Kevin Gausman to make it 6-0. Cutch said "finally" as he hopped on the plate and the fans knew the history, too, demanding a curtain call. It stayed that way into the bottom of the fifth when Jimmy Yacabonis took the ball from Gausman. The Bucs used three singles to add one more chip to the pot (actually a bummer as they has the bases jammed w/no outs, but today, not a big deal).

Pretty good night for this dude (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

The Birds got on the board when Chris Davis banged a two-out homer in the sixth. The Bucs had an answer - Fraze and Starling singled and Andrew, who is a triple shy of the cycle, banged another homer to make it 10-1. Cutch was pulled for J-Lup after taking the field in the seventh so that he could draw some final crowd love (pro move by Clint). Steven Brault toed the rubber and took it home from there, earning his first save in the process by tossing three frames.

Cutch happened, the pitching of Trevor Williams & Steven Brault speaks well for the future, and the Bucs are one game away from closing out the 2017 home card.

But an even better one for this guy... (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
Notes:
  • Cutch had four hits; Fraze and Starling had two each and scored five times (it's good to bat ahead of Andrew); J-Bell also had two knocks.
  • Per @theaceofspaeder: Cutch is the first Pirate with at least four runs and eight RBI in a game since Ralph Kiner on June 25, 1950.
  • Andrew chased home a career-high eight runners tonight, a feat that hasn't been done since Jason Bay did it in 2004 (Johnny Rizzo set the team record in 1939 with nine; Bay drove in eight twice while Ralph Kiner & Dave Robertson each did it once). Cutch passed Al "Scoops" Oliver and Max Carey for 11th in all-time Bucco RBIs w/724 (Dave "The Cobra" Parker is 10th w/758).
  • Trevor was sharp again - six IP, one run, three hits, one walk and six K while serving 93 pitches.
  • There were 19,318 at the ol' ballyard tonight.

Tuesday: O's Open Last Home Set, Trevo v Kevin Glausman, Lineup, Notes

Tonight: The Baltimore Orioles open the final home series of the year tonight at 7:05. It will be aired by AT&T SportsNet  and 93.7 The Fan. It's Pup in the Park Night for all you hounds who would like to take a final howl at the moon.

Lineup: Adam Frazier 2B, Starling Marte LF, Cutch CF, Josh Bell 1B, David Freese 3B, Gregory Polanco RF, Elias Diaz C, Max Moroff SS, Trevor Williams P. Good time to get Fraze infield time; we know that's passable as an outfielder. We still don't understand why J-Bell can't get a blow.

Trevo toes the slab (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: Trevor Williams (6-9, 4.18) serves 'em up against Kevin Gausman (11-10, 4.61) Trevo will be making his 24th start, coming off a tough 1-0 loss to the Brewers Tuesday night (5.0ip/3h/1r/1er/2bb/6so)...Has allowed just one run in his last 20 innings of work over his last three home starts...Is 1-5 in his last seven outings despite giving up more than three earned runs just twice in that span. Williams has never faced the Orioles. Gausman has slashed 6-3/2.26 since July 19th. Like Trevo, his last outing was a 1-0 loss, although he was in the shower before it was decided after working eight scoreless frames. He went 6-2/3 IP in a no-decision against the Pirates in June, giving up four runs on eight hits in a game Baltimore won 6-5.

Notes:
  • Baltimore is 12-6 against Pittsburgh in interleague play, with the Pirates owning a 5-3 mark at PNC Park. The Birds took a pair in extra innings at Camden Yards in June.
  • Pedro Alvarez was called up by Charm City in September; he's hitting .286 (six-for-21) with a homer.
  • The Pirates visit Washington for four games after this quick set; neither the Bucs nor Nats have determined who is pitching yet.
  • The PNC 50-50 raffle pots for the last two games will be used for Puerto Rican hurricane relief, w/Pirates Charities matching the amount raised.
  • The Dodgers have acquired OF/1B Connor Joe from the Braves for international bonus pool space. Joe was a 2014 first-round pick of the Pirates who was sent to Atlanta for S-Rod last month.
  • The D-backs have sewn up the home Wildcard game, opponent TBD.

9/26 TRS/PNC Era: Frankie #200, HBD Daniel, Smokin' Bats, Game Stories

  • 1972 - Steve Blass scattered eight hits to defeat the Phils and win his 19th game by a 5-1 score at Veterans Stadium. Al Oliver and Manny Sanguillen had a pair of RBI, and Blass added a hit and drove in the other run. He missed his only chance for 20 victories in his final start against the Mets, when he couldn’t get through the first inning after taking a line drive off the elbow. 
Al Oliver 1974 (Photo: Pirate Promo)
  • 1974 - Al Oliver smacked five hits, including two homers and a double, in the Pirates’ 11-5 win at New York’s Shea Stadium. Scoops scored four times and had five RBI. Willie Stargell added four RBI with a long ball of his own as the 37-year-old Juan Pizzaro, making just his second start of the year, won. That win moved Pittsburgh into a first place tie with St. Louis, a race that the Pirates would take down the stretch. 
  • 1982 - RHP Daniel McCutchen was born in McKinney, Texas. He came to Pittsburgh in 2008 as part of the Xavier Nady/Damaso Marte deal with the NYY. Daniel worked from 2009-12 fo the Pirates, seeing most of his action in 2011 with 73 of his 108 Bucco appearances and going 8-11, 4.77 overall. He got a cup of coffee with Texas in 2014 and was out of baseball this season. 
  • 1991 - The Pirates took their 10th win in 12 games when they defeated the Mets in the opener of a twin bill at Shea Stadium by a 4-3 count in 15 innings. Bill Landrum, the fifth Buc pitcher, gave up a tying run in the 14th but worked a scoreless frame in the 15th for a blown save/win daily double. Lloyd McClendon singled in the 14th for the lead; pinch hitter Todd Hundley homered in the Met half to knot the score again. Don Slaught doubled home Barry Bonds in the next set of at-bats, and the Mets ran out of answers. The Bucs had plenty of opportunities to run away and hide, but went 2-for-21 with runners in scoring position. They dropped the nitecap 2-1; they went 1-for-12 with RISP in that contest. 
Lloyd McClendon 1992 Fleer Ultra
  • 1992 - The Bucs laid a 19-2 hurtin’ on the NY Mets at TRS. Andy Van Slyke went 3-for-5 with a homer, triple, four runs and two RBI. Barry Bonds doubled and went long, scoring three times and chasing home three more tallies. Lloyd McClendon added a grand slam in the first to trigger the 20-hit onslaught, featuring five 2B, two 3B and three HR. Bob Walk got the win, with Steve Cooke and Paul Wagner mopping up after him. The Mets used a position player to pitch for the first time in their history when IF Bill Pecota took the mound in the ninth. 
  • 2001 - During an 8-4 loss to the Cubs in their final home game of the season, the Pirates drew 25,564 to PNC Park, its first-year ballyard, and set a franchise attendance record of 2,436,139, an average of 30,000+ fans per contest. It took until 2012 to reach the 2M mark again, and the attendance record stood until 2014. 
  • 2011 - It took seven Bucco hurlers, but the Pirates held off the Brewers 9-8 at Miller Park, with Daniel McCutchen getting the win and Joel Hanrahan the save, his 40th. The big men with the bats were Alex Presley with a HR, 2B and 1B along with three RBI, and Pedro Alvarez, who also drove in three runs. 
Frankie Liriano 2015 Topps Museum Collection
  • 2015 - Francisco Liriano won his duel with Jason Hammel as the Bucs defeated the Chicago Cubs 4-0 at Wrigley Field. The big blow of the game was delivered by Jordy Mercer, who banged a three run homer in the fifth inning, his first long ball since early June. For the Pirates, it was the culmination of an eight game road winning streak, the first time a Bucco club had pulled off that feat since 1938. Frankie also picked up strikeout #200 of the campaign, joining Gerrit Cole (who got his 200th the night before) to become the first pair of Pirate pitchers to punch out 200 batters in the same season.

9/26 Expo Park-Forbes Field Era: HBD Bob, Joe, Bobby, Steve & Brian; Larry Let Go; Lefty's No-No; Game Stories

  • 1890 - C Bob Coleman was born in Huntingburg, Indiana. The back-up catcher played for Pittsburgh from 1913-14, hitting .245 in 200 ABs. He got one more taste of the majors in 1916 with the Indians but would spend most of his innings on various farm clubs. He played until 1927 when he retired after the season at the age of 36. Bob became a minor-league lifer. He skippered for 35 seasons (20 at Evansville), and Coleman's teams won 2,496 games. Bob also coached for the Tigers and managed the Boston Braves, both for brief periods. 
Jack Chesbro 2014 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions
  • 1901 - The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 4-3 at Exposition Park, guaranteeing at least tie for the 1901 NL pennant with Philadelphia. Jack Chesbro got the win and added an RBI. The other scores were driven in by Honus Wagner, Kitty Bransfield and Lefty Davis as the Pirates put together a four-run sixth inning for the win. They would clinch the next day to take their first ever NL flag.  
  • 1906 - Lefty Leifield hurled a six-inning no-hitter against Philadelphia, winning, 8-0 in a game called because of darkness. Pittsburgh won the opener by a shutout, too, taking a 5-0 win at the Baker Bowl behind Vic Willis. 
  • 1910 - LHP Joe Sullivan was born in Mason City, Illinois. Joe closed out his five-year major league career with Pittsburgh in 1941, going 4-1-1, 2.97 in 16 games (four starts). Though manager Frankie Frisch was said to like him as a guy he could use in any situation, Joe had control problems and in camp the following spring, he came down with a severe case of tonsilitis. He was sent to the farm and never made it back to the majors. Joe retired to the Pacific Northwest (he spent several years in the PCL after his MLB career) and worked in the Naval Shipyard. 
Bobby Shantz 1962 Topps
  • 1925 - LHP Bobby Shantz was born in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Bobby worked 16 years in the show for seven clubs, stopping in Pittsburgh for the 1961 season. He went 6-3-2, 3.32, making 43 appearances (six starts). The little lefty was a three-time All-Star and won eight Gold Gloves before he retired to run a restaurant and bowling alley back home. 
  • 1937 - The Bucs rallied to take the first game against Cincinnati 5-4, then scored twice in the first frame of the nitecap to claim a 2-1 sweep at Crosley Field. The Reds led the opener 4-0 in the eighth, but the Pirates scored three times that frame and twice more in the ninth for the victory. Jim Tobin not only went the distance, but had three hits, scored twice and drove in a run. Gus Suhr doubled home Woody Jensen and Lloyd Waner to provide Bill Swift, who tossed a complete game eight hitter, all the support he needed in the closer. 
  • 1948 - The Homestead Grays won the opening game of the Negro World Series 3-2 over the Birmingham Black Barons at Blues Stadium in Kansas City. The Grays did all the scoring in the second inning, with Willie Pope banging a two-run triple and coming in on Luis Marquez’s two out single. Ted Alexander scattered eight hits for the victory. 
  • 1961 - IF Steve Buechele was born in Lancaster, California. He spent parts of 1991-92 with the Bucs, coming as part of one deadline deal and leaving as part of another, playing 3B and hitting .248. The 11-year MLB vet is now a coach with the Texas Rangers.
Earl Francis 1963 Topps
  • 1962 - Earl Francis surrendered two hits in ten frames to beat the Reds and Jim Maloney 1-0. Bob Friend pitched the eleventh to earn his only save of the year (he came in from the pen just three times during the year), holding the fort after Bill Mazeroski and Willie Stargell doubles produced the game’s only run. 
  • 1968 - LHP Brian Shouse was born in Effingham, Illinois. A 13th round 1990 draft pick of the Pirates from Bradley, he got the call in 1993 for six games and four innings. He was resilient, popping up again in 1998 with Boston before another stint in the minors that lasted until 2002 when KC gave him the ball. But he finally made it after that; he became full-time in Texas in 2003 at the age of 34 and worked through 2009. For the past couple of seasons, he’s been a pitching coach for the Rangers system. 
  • 1969 - Larry Shepard was fired as manager though Pittsburgh had an 84-73 record. Coach Alex Grammas took over the club for the remaining week of the season before the Bucs returned to old faithful, Danny Murtaugh, for his third go-around as Pirates field boss.