Sunday, September 30, 2018

RTJR For The Last Time As Bucs Take The Finale 6-5 in 10 Innings

For the Bucs, it was three up, three grounders, three down to Sal Romano. Billy Hamilton doubled, stole third and scored off Clay Holmes; a walk was erased by a DP. Eli led off with a knock in the second; an out later, Joey O's hard one hopper (104 MPH) was snagged by Romano and he turned two. The Reds opened with a walk and a knock. A line drive DP temporarily eased the pressure, but Tim Federowicz dumped one in the seats to make it 3-0. The bottom of the Bucco order went down peacefully in the third when K-Man was robbed on a diving catch by Phillip Ervin in right, and it was 1-2-3 for the Redlegs also. Starling doubled high off the wall, just missing homer #20, with an out in the fourth that led to nothing. Clay escaped after walking a pair in the Cincy half. Red Beard walked and Joey O doubled to open the fifth. Krame's sac fly brought in a run and moved Osuna to third, where he scored from after a wild pitch. Tanner Anderson took the bump and gave up a single, then bopped a batter on an 0-2 pitch. He almost got out of it, but a fly that moved the lead runner up and a two-out bouncer that Krame butchered (ruled an infield knock, home cookin', we guess) plated a run. A walk loaded the sacks before a whiff ended it.

Michael Feliz got the last win of '18 (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
Matt Wisler got the sixth inning as the bullpenning began in earnest. This time Starling didn't miss as he connected on a long fly, and J-Bell followed with a tater of his own to knot the score. With two outs, lefty Amir Garrett took the hill with Red Beard up and stopped him on a liner to first. The tie didn't last long; Dilson Herrera led off with a homer off Anderson, who settled in and fanned two of the next three Reds. Joey O banged a two-bagger to open the seventh and a fly moved him up. Jared Hughes was waved in, and K-Man slapped an 0-2 sinker into right to even it up again. Ryan Lavarnway singled him to third, but Pablo squelched the rally with a 6-4-3 DP. Dovy Neverauskas answered the phone and punched out a pair in a clean frame. David Hernandez worked the eighth without a blip. Steven Brault climbed the slope and K'ed a pair in a calm frame. Raisel Iglesias toed the slab in the ninth and Colin smacked his first offering for a double. Joey O lined out to right and the two Kevins K'ed to freeze him at second. Michael Feliz spun for the Bucs and struck out the side, kinda. The last K was a ball that escaped Diaz and J-Bell couldn't come up with the throw to first, but a grounder made it a moot boot.

Jackson Stephens entered in the 10th and K'ed Feliz; guess the game's outcome isn't a big deal to Clint since he still has guys on the bench and in the pen. Pablo doubled and went to third on a bobble. Starling bounced out to third, then J-Bell walked semi-intentionally and Eli unintentionally. A wild pitch gave the Pirates the lead before Colin's soft liner ended it. Now Clint cares as Felipe Vazquez responded to the bell. Pablo made a nice running grab to get the first out, then The Nightmare took over, punching out the next pair. RTJR.

Joey O had two doubles today (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
Well, got it all in the last game - homers, botches, B-Listers, an entertaining finale and the win. The Bucs finished 82-79 and now it's officially hot stove season. There will be lots to chew the fat over in the off season.

  • Starling and Joey O each had a pair of hits, with a homer and three doubles between them. The Pirates had 10 hits (five were two-baggers and two left the yard) but went 1-for-11 w/RISP.
  • Neal Huntington said on this Sunday show that they'd like to find a middle ground to bring Jung-Ho Kang back, though his $5.5M option is still in play. Kang's considered competition for Red Beard at third; there are no plans to use him at short.  NH added that the the club will "keep the door open" for Jordy and J-Hay to return, depending on their off season market value.
  • Starling Marte became the third Pirate to have a 20 HR/30 SB season, joining Barry Bonds (four times) & Andy Van Slyke (1987-88).
  • Clint Hurdle got his 1,200th career victory in the show today. He joins Bruce Bochy, Mike Scioscia, Buck Showalter and Terry Francona as current skippers in the 1,200 win club.
  • This is the first time that the Bucs have two relief pitchers with at least 80 strikeouts in the same season: Felipe Vazquez has punched out 89 and Ric Rod 88. Only two Pirate relievers have hit 90 Ks in a campaign (Joel Hanrahan w/100 in 2010 & Jason Grilli w/90 in 2012).

The Last Hurrah, Clayton v Romano, Lineup & Notes

Today: The last game of 2018 begins at 3:10 and will be carried by AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan.

Pitchers:  RHP Clayton Holmes (1-3, 7.25) closes the campaign versus RHP Sal Romano (8-11, 5.37). Holmes has pitched four scoreless innings over his last two relief outings, but hasn’t started for the Pirates since August 10th. He's faced the Reds once, in April, and gave up a run in two innings of work. Romano hasn't started since August 21st, being relegated to the pen, and hasn't thrown more than 29 pitches in a game since. In three outings (one start) against Pittsburgh, he's given up six runs (four earned) in 6-2/3 IP on nine hits. This may not officially be a bullpen game, but the odds are that it will end up one.

Clay gets last call... (photo Dave Arrigo/Pittsburgh Pirates)
Lineup: Pablo Reyes LF, Starling Marte CF, Josh Bell 1B, Elias Diaz C, Colin Moran 3B, Jose Osuma RF, Kevin Kramer 2B, Kevin Newman SS & Holmes P. It's the peach fuzz lineup for the Bucs while the Reds are going with their A-Team for the hometown finale.

  • Guess who else is missing the playoffs for the third straight season? Yep, the Cards. They were eliminated by the Dodgers, who rallied for a 10-6 win over the Giants yesterday. 
  • The Cubs and Brew Crew are tied for first in the Central; ditto for the Dodgers and Rox in the West with a game to play. Both division titles could be decided by tie-breaker games on Monday.
  • Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams both went 14-9 this season. The last time the Pirates had two RHPs win 14 or more games in the same season was 1978 with Bert Blyleven (14-10) and Don Robinson (14-6). The last season with two Pittsburgh pitchers who won 14 games or more was 1992, when righty Doug Drabek (15-11) and lefty Randy Tomlin (14-9) did the deed.
  • More tossing twosome stuff: Willy (3.11) and Jamo (3.20) rank eighth and 10th respectively among the NL leaders in ERA. It's the first time since 1991 that the Pirates will finish the season with two pitchers among the Top Ten, when Randy Tomlin (2.98) was eighth and Doug Drabek (3.07) was 10th.
  • Deja vu all over again: In just 179 days, the Pirates and Reds are scheduled begin the 2019 regular season on Thursday, March 28th at Great American Ball Park.
  • Big day in Bucco history: OTD in 1972, Roberto Clemente doubled for his 3,000th and final hit.

9/30 Expo Park-Forbes Field Era: Ralph's 54th; Temple Cup; Phil & Jughandle; Herman Deal; HBD Pat; Game Stories

  • 1891 - RHP Leo “Pat” Bohen was born in Oakland, Iowa. He got into two major league games; one was with the Bucs in 1914, when he gave up two runs on two hits with two walks in an inning of work. Bohen at age 24 retired after the 1915 campaign, spent at Moline and Peoria, and became a machinist. 
Temple Cup (photo via
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
Billy Herman (photo George Burke/George Bruce collection)
  • 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. Herman was announced as Bucco skipper after the deal and was inked to a two-year contract. 
  • 1946 - The Bob Feller Major League All-Stars and the Satchel Paige Colored Stars opened the post-season touring circuit in Forbes Field before 4,592 fans, with the Colored All-Stars taking a 3-1 win. The big draw was a three-inning duel between Paige and Feller. Paige gave up a hit and fanned four; Feller gave up two hits and whiffed three, the aces leaving the game with the score 1-1. Ray Brown was the real star, pitching six innings of one-hit, shutout ball to top Bob Lemon, who gave up the final two Colored Stars’ runs. 
  • 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 (broken in 1965 by Wille Mays with 17), and 54 homers is still the Pirate standard for long balls in a season. 
Ralph Kiner 1948-49 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 were 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.

9/30 From 1970 - 1980’s: Roberto's 3000th; Candy's 20th; '79 Clincher; HBD Bryan; 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 panel by Bill Winstein (Pittsburgh Post Gazette 9-30-1972)
  • 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. 
  • 1977 - John Candelaria became the first Bucco since Vern Law in 1960 to win 20 games (and it would take until 1990 for Doug Drabek to become the Pirates next) when he downed the Cubs 3-1 at TRS. Al Oliver, Kenny Macha and Frank Taveras chased home the Pittsburgh runs. Candy Man scattered seven hits to go with seven whiffs, and his only mistake was a 3-0 meatball that Steve Swisher smacked into the seats. Candelaria went all the way to become the first Puerto Rican pitcher to notch a 20 win season. He finished the year 20-5/2.34, both the best marks in the league. 
  • 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. 
Bryan Bullington 2003 Bowmans Best
  • 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. 
  • 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, spoiling the Prez’s day. 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.

9/30 From the 1990’s: '90 Clincher; Dewey Day; Stayin' Alive; Wakefield Whitewash; Game Stories

  • 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. It set up a Pirates-Reds NLCS; ironically, the old rivals were the only two NL teams not to win a division title in the 80s. 
Doug Drabek 1990 Score
  • 1993 - Tim Wakefield shut out 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 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.
  • 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. 
Gerrit Cole 2015 Topps
  • 2017 - The Pirates had been held to one hit over eight innings by Max Scherzer, AJ Cole and Enny Romero and were down 1-0 going into the ninth at Nationals Park. Washington sent Brandon Kintzler to close it out, and he got within a strike of doing it. With runners at first and second, Sean Rodriguez slapped a two-out, 3-2 sinker into left to tie the game. A walk loaded the bases and Max Moroff cleared them with a triple to cast a wide safety net. Felipe Rivero mopped it up to save George Kontos’ win (Jameson Taillon tossed seven innings of four-hit ball to start the game) and the Bucs took home a 4-1 win from Washington.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Bats Quiet, Reds Even Series With 3-0 Win

Starling cracked a one-out double off Michael Lorenzen; J-Bell lined the next pitch to short and Marte was doubled off. He beat the throw to second, but his foot came off the base with the tag on. The Reds got a knock off Jamo and nada else. J-Hay singled amid three bounce outs in the second. JT struck out the side. Jameson singled with one gone in the third and an out later, Starling hit a rocket to center, but even 100 MPH lasers can't outrace Billy Hamilton. And on cue, Hamilton tripled to right (a wrist shot up the line that hopped into the corner) with one gone, scoring the game's first run on a sac fly. Another rap prolonged the inning by two pitches, ended thanks to a nice running catch by Corey. Lorenzen cruised through the fourth, fanning a pair. Pablo replaced Fraze in right; not sure what that's about. Eugenio Suarez deposited the second pitch into the seats to make it 2-0. With two outs, Dilson Herrera doubled and came home on Lorenzen's knock (he's a good hitter) when Jake Stallings lost Dickerson's throw on the tag; the runner was beat.

Jamo's year didn't end the way he hoped... (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
J-Hay walked to start the fifth; three very soft grounders left him aboard. Kevin Newman took over at short; the September lineup is in blossom (Jordy did play a hard hop off his shoulder/upper arm earlier in the game). Mason Williams collected his third hit of the day with one gone, but was quickly erased trying to steal, leading to a 1-2-3 frame. With two outs, a J-Bell walk and knocks by Corey and Jung-Ho loaded the bases in the sixth. David Hernandez came in to face J-Hay, who grounded to Joey Votto to stop the music. Jamo K'ed a pair in the Reds half. K-Man opened the seventh with a single and he got to second after a wild pitch, but two punch outs and a pop up kept him there. Kyle Crick took over and struck out the side. Ol' matey Jared Hughes took the bump in the eighth and added three more ground outs to the log. Felipe Vazquez punched out a pair in the Redlegs' half. Raisel Iglesias answered the ninth inning call and tucked the Pirates away quietly.

The Bucs were held to six hits and they only threatened once, and that with two outs. Lorenzen and company kept the ball down, served a lot of grounders and induced soft contact, a credit to them and the Pirates lineup. One more to go...

Corey is at .300... (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

  • No Pirate had two hits though Corey D went 1-for-3 to get his average to .300. He was pinch-hit for, we suspect to keep him at that mark, and the consensus is that Clint will sit him tomorrow so he can end the year as a .300 hitter. 
  • The Reds snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Bucs.
  • Fraze was removed as a precaution; his hammy tightened up on him.
  • Jordy was taken out because he bruised his arm on a ball that came up on him earlier in the game.
  • Jamo ended the season with 22 straight starts that he gave up three or less earned runs, just shy of Bob Friend's run of 23 in 1963. He finished the year with a 3.20 ERA, among the Top Ten for NL starters. Willy, with a 3.11 ERA, is also among that group.

Bucs & Reds at GABP, Jamo v Lorenzen, Lineup & Notes

Today: It's a 4:10 start with the game aired by AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan.

Pitchers: RHP Jameson Taillon (14-9, 3.16) goes against RHP Michael Lorenzen (3-2, 3.35). Taillon will complete his first full season in the majors with his 32nd start, and he's grown into his big boy pants. The Bucs have won 20 of Taillon’s 31 starts and he's been not only good but consistently so. He's 3-1/2.74 in four starts against the Redlegs this year. This will be Lorenzen’s third 2018 start as he auditions for a rotation spot next year after working as a reliever the past three seasons; he was in the club's starting rotation as a rookie in 2015. He's appeared five times against Pittsburgh this season and tossed eight innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on nine hits. But career-wise, he's been tough - Lorenzen is 4-2/2.18 in 23 games against Pittsburgh.

Jamo takes the hill for the last time during his breakout campaign (photo  Pittsburgh Pirates)
Lineup: Adam Frazier RF, Starling Marte CF, Josh Bell 1B, Corey Dickerson LF, Jung Ho Kang 3B, Josh Harrison 2B, Jordy Mercer SS, Jacob Stallings C & Taillon P. Well, a blast from the past at the hot corner...

  • Clint is going after win 1,200 today, Jamo is looking for his 22nd straight three-runs-or-fewer start and the Bucs are looking for their eighth in a row over the Reds. 
  • The Rockies, winners of eight straight, have clinched a playoff spot. LA's magic number to eliminate the Cards is one with two games remaining.
  • New feather in Russ Martin's cap: He'll get to manage the Blue Jays on Sunday, said departing Toronto skipper John Gibbons.

9/29 Through the 1940s: Bro Act; Epps Outing; Cheaters Never Win; HBD Cannonball, Rubber Wing, Hunky & Paul; More

  • 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. 
Cannonball 1889 Goodwin/Old Judge
  • 1866 - RHP “Rubber-Winged Gus” Weyhing was born in Louisville, Kentucky. In a 14-year career spanning over 500 appearances, he tossed one game for the Pirates in 1895. He won it before joining his hometown Louisville Colonels, his third team of the season (he tossed for nine clubs). Gus was a strong pitcher, winning 25+ games six straight seasons, but he was one of the old-timey pitchers that didn’t cope very well when the mound was moved back ten feet to 60’6” in 1893, though he did manage to hang around until 1901. He was also a colorful character - he jumped leagues twice and was an early wild child; he still leads the majors with 277 hit batsmen. 
  • 1884 - 3B/OF Royal “Hunky” Shaw was born in Yakima, Washington. The Washington U alum has one MLB at-bat on his resume (he whiffed) in 1908 as a Pirate. He played pro ball until 1924, mostly in the Northwest and Nebraska Leagues. He retired and opened a sporting goods store, and became a club exec for the minor league Yakima Pippins. 
  • 1900 - Busted! Per the Pittsburgh 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 potentially be adjusted by a hidden Bucco with binoculars to steal the catcher’s signals. 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. 
Howie Camnitz 1909 Piedmont
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
Aubrey Epps (image via Diamonds in the Dusk)
  • 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 his proficiency with the toy, per Diamonds in the Dusk
  • 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.

9/29 From the 1950s: Teke Takes Two; Rose Noses Matty; Brown Bros; HBD Kenny & Game Stories

  • 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
Kenny 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 showdown. 
  • 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 two 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 quite 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 stretch run pointed the way to 1979. 
Teke 1978 Topps
  • 1990 - Bob Walk threw a four-hit complete game, winning an 8-0 decision over St. Louis at Busch Stadium in a match of the top dog Pirates and cellar-dwelling Cards. The 6-7-8 bottom of the order batters (Sid Bream, Mike LaValliere & Chico Lind) had two hits each and scored six runs, with even Walk contributing a RBI double from the nine-hole. The win almost put Pittsburgh over the top; they would clinch the division by eliminating the NY Mets the next day. 
  • 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. The Buccos other run came on a Carlos Garcia sac fly that scored Gary Varsho. 
  • 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 bunch wasn’t strong enough to carry 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. Alex Presley doubled home Chase d'Arnaud in the seventh for the Bucs first run. Kyle McPherson started the game, and Joel Hanrahan finished for the win.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Reds Still Bad, Bucs Roll To 8-4 Win

Fraze opened the game with a flare oppo-field double and Starling walked. After a whiff, Corey doubled Fraze home and Eli's sac fly brought in Marte against Anthony Sclafani before the third out, a fly to the LF track by Red Beard. The Reds started with an infield knock and a walk an out later, but two K's by Nick Kingham closed it out for a rare scoreless first inning. The bottom of the Pirates order went down meekly in the second. A leadoff rap was bunted to second, followed by a two-out walk, but a rollover grounder got Nick to the dugout. The top of the Bucco order was just as quiet in the third. Joey Votto dinked a double down the line with an out and moved up on a grounder. He jogged home after Eugenio Suarez tagged a slider that hung mid-plate into the seats in dead center to tie it up. That was followed by a triple and intentional walk before fanning Sclafani. Eli regained the lead in the fourth when he was served a hung 3-2 slider that he drilled into the second deck in left. Billy Hamilton robbed Krame of extra bases/maybe homer via a leaping catch at the wall, with degree of difficulty added after crashing into teammate Phil Ervin, who was also all over Kramer's drive.

Colin had the hot stick tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
Hamilton started up the Reds with a single, and a soft roller moved him along. After a fly, Steven Brault was waved in to face Votto; The King is at 76 pitches. Votto walked on a full count as Hamilton stole third. Then Votto stole second, but a comebacker ended the threat. So far, the Reds have left eight runners on base. Nada from the Bucs in the fifth. With one gone, Tucker Barnhart got his third hit; it went off Brault's glove then kicked off the second base bag. Steven whiffed his way out of the inning. Wandy Peralta was called in for the sixth, and the Bucs opened with three raps that all went off infielder's gloves. Matt Wisler took the ball and after a whiff, Colin's sac fly and Krame's single plated a pair to put the Bucs up 5-2. With two away for the Redlegs, back-to-back knocks and a relay error left runners at second and third before a gentle bouncer closed the door. JHK led off the seventh and lined the second pitch into left for a knock. Starling doubled him to third an out later and Amir Garrett took the bump. J-Bell smoked an at 'em ball to second and Corey fanned to strand the pair. Ric Rod gave up a lead off single followed by a bunt knock, but a 6-4-3 DP and whiff (on a generous call, thank u) burst the Reds balloon.

Jesus Reyes was waved on in the eighth and Colin launched homer #11 off him. The Kevins chipped in when Krame's single was misplayed by Hamilton, allowing him to reach second, and he scored from there on K-Mans oppo field rap that ticked off Votto's mitt. After the smoke cleared, Michael Feliz got the next trip to the mound, fanning a pair with a walk in a calm frame. Raisel Iglesias made ninth inning appearance, and a walk and error put him a one-out hot water. He almost escaped before a two-out rap by Red Beard brought home Starling. Dovy Neverauskas toed the slab. With one away, a single and Barnhart's fifth hit, a homer this time (he's a double shy of the cycle), made it 8-4. Dovy then finished it off. RTJR.

Steven went 2-1/3 IP for the win (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
The Reds...well. They stranded 13 runners and fielded like their gloves were forged at Riverfront Steel. Still, nothing like rolling into next season with a head of steam.The team kept it's head up throughout September (15-9) when they could have easily laid down and gave the FO a fair chance to evaluate what they have and what they need for next year.

  • Four Pirates had two hits - Colin Moran (three RBI), Starling Marte (three runs scored), Corey Dickerson and Kevin Kramer.
  • Steven Brault got the win to go 6-3.
  • With their 81st win, the Bucs sewed up a winning record for the first time since 2015. Clint is also one win away from his 1,200th victory as a manager.
  • Kevin Kramer's RBI single in the sixth broke an 0-for-21 batting streak.
  • Dovydas Neverauskas has made nine September appearances; he's given up runs in five of them for a 4.83 ERA.
  • Eli has 10 long balls and Cervy 12; the last pair of Pirates catchers to hit 10+ homers in the same season were Michael "The Fort" McKenry (12) and Hot Rod Barajas (11) in 2012. The Pirates have never had a catcher hit 20 HRs; Jim Pagliaroni's 17 in 1965 is the team single-season high mark.
  • Clint says that it's "likely" that JHK will get a start this weekend.

Bucs Final Trip, The King v DeSclafani, Lineup & Notes from GABP

Today: The game starts at 6:40 and will be on AT&T SportsNet and 93.7The Fan.

Pitchers: RHP Nick Kingham (5-7, 5.23) opens against RHP Anthony DeSclafani (7-7, 4.91). The 26-year-old Kingham will be making his 15th big league start/18th appearance tonight. He's gone 0-3/12.19 in his last four starts and has a final chance to put up. He allowed two runs in 6-1/3 innings to win a 6-2 decision against the Reds in July. De Sclafani is a strong starter but the classic "can't get through the order a third time" guy. He's 1-1/4.50 against the Bucs in two starts, giving up five runs in 10 IP.

Nick gets a last look (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
Lineup: Adam Frazier RF, Starling Marte CF, J-Bell 1B, Corey Dickerson LF, Elias Diaz C, Colin Moran 3B, Kevin Kramer 2B, Kevin Newman SS & Kingham P. The Kevins team up today.

  • The Pirates have won six straight games against the Reds and have gone 8-1 in the last nine meetings.
  • Josh Bell has reached base safely in 17 of his last 18 games and put up a .407 OBP in 21 games this month.
  • Jung-Ho Kang is in town and wearing #16. He played his last MLB game on October 2nd, 2016.
  • Pablo Reyes recorded Pittsburgh’s 34th outfield assist of the season last night. The Bucco outfielders led the NL in assists (the Cubs have 28) and are tied with the Tigers for the MLB lead.

9/28 Through the 1940s: Homer in the Gloaming; Clarke Day; HBD Grant, Lou, Leon, Cy, Everett, Pete, Cy III & Bill

  • 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. 
  • 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. 
Lou Bierbauer 1898 Pepsin
  • 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. 
  • 1889 - OF Anna Sebastian “Pete” Compton was born in San Marcos, Texas. Compton had a six-year run in MLB, playing for five clubs, with a brief stop in Pittsburgh in 1916, going 1-for-16 in five games. Though old Pete was just a .241 hitter in the show, he was handy with the the wood in the minors - he played through the 1928 season, leaving pro ball after eight straight .300+ seasons, over 2,500 hits, and a career .307 minor league BA. And no, we don’t know how Anna morphed into Pete. Guess Ma & Pa Compton were hoping for a girl. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
Leon Chagnon (photo Mears/The Sporting News)
  • 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 Pittsburgh 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. 
Grant Jackson 1977 Topps
  • 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. Herman wasn’t left holding the bag; he still had a year left on his contract and pocketed $28K for 1948.

9/28 From the 1950s Forward: Clinch '13 Home WC; Jaso Cycle; Andy's Dandy; Murtaugh's Mug; Freak Show Finale & Game Stories

  • 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. 
Matty Alou 1966
  • 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. In the first game, Donn Clendenon homered and Manny Mota chased Matty Alou for the Bucco offense. The big blows in the nightcap were a triple by Bill Mazeroski, chasing home a run & scoring on a bad relay, and a two-out Roberto Clemente double that plated Matty Alou & came around on a single and error. 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. 
Zach Duke 2009 Topps
  • 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 and the first at home since Jason Kendall’s in 2000 at TRS) 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.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Buc Bats Silent In 3-0 Loss to Cubs - JHK Back, Luplow & Arch Done for the Year

The Bucs opened with a Pablo infield knock and Starling walk. Cervy also walked an out later. Joey O whiffed and J-Hay grounded out. Despite the walks, ump Jim Wolf was giving Jon Lester a very wide strike that affected a couple of the at bats, particularly Joey O's. Ben Zobrist doubled with an out and Willy left him at second. Red Beard led of the second with a double and was stranded at third. The Cubs singled to start when Marte and Osuna let a fly drop between them, prob a miscommunication. Ian Happ followed with a slapper to center. After fanning a pair, a wild pitch moved the duo into scoring position. David Botes triple to left sent them both home, as the missed fly cost. J-Bell walked with one gone in the third and stole second as Cervy fanned on a 3-2 pitch. He joined the 0-for-7 RISP list. Willy dodged a bullet when Starling ran down Anthony Rizzo's laser, then issued a two-out walk, costing him just three more tosses. With two gone in the fourth, Jordy legged out an infield knock and Willy worked an 11-pitch walk before Pablo was rung up on an iffy call.

Willy struggled some tonight but had a great campaign (photo Pgh Pirates)
Happ walked to begin the Cubby half, but was caught stealing. Good thing, too, as Willson Contreras doubled. Lester followed with a knock, but Contreras was nailed at home by Reyes. A walk was next as Willy is laboring, and a single sent Lester home before it ended. It was a 1-2-3 fifth for the Pirates. Javy Baez doubled with an out but continued the Keystone Cubs routine on the bases by getting caught between bases on a comebacker, and a K finished the frame. There was no Bucco noise in the sixth. Dovy Neverauskas took over and stranded a double. Steve Cishek answered the seventh inning call and made it 10 straight Buccos retired. Clayton Holmes trotted out and worked a clean frame. Carl Edwards Jr. was beckoned for the eighth, and a walk & boot gave the Bucs a pulse; Cervy's 6-4-3 DP pulled the plug before Joey O flew out. Clay allowed a harmless knock. Jesse Chavez worked the ninth. Jordy had a two-out knock before the gate was shut.

Four hits won't win ya many ball games and so far, the audition period hasn't turned up any near-term help (maybe Pablo as an S-Rod type). Hopefully the Reds sad sack staff will help the Bucco bats warm up in the final set of the year. Of course, Wolf didn't help; he gave the Cubs a different zone than the Bucs tonight, and we suppose that's to be expected when you're in a playoff-bound club's rockin' house when you're an also-ran. That happens in every sport; kinda sucks when you're the underdog.

Jordy had a pair of raps (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • Jordy had two of the Bucs four hits.
  • The Cubs won the series 10 games to nine (same as last year). Five of their wins were by shutout.
  • Trevor finished the year with a 14-10/3.11 slash in 31 starts covering 170-2/3 IP. Pretty good stuff.
  • Jung Ho Kang will join the Pirates tomorrow in Cincinnati. Don't expect a whole lot; he's got five Instructional League games under his belt since late June.
  • Jordan Luplow had an appendectomy this morning, ending his season. He'll miss 2-4 weeks.
  • Arch won't work the season finale at Cincy; he has a slight groin pull that's he worked through since mid-season and the Bucs decided to shut him down. No replacement has been named yet, and Clint said it may end up a bullpen game.

Last Dance at Wrigley, Willy v Lester, Lineup & Notes

Today: Game time is 8:05 and will be broadcast by AT&T SportsNet & 93.7 The Fan.

Pitchers: RHP Trevor Williams (14-9, 3.04) closes the Cubby set against LHP Jon Lester (17-6, 3.43). This will be Willy's last star, and geez, what a second half. The 26-year-old righty owns an 8-2/1.00 slash in his last dozen starts, averaging just shy of six innings per outing. He's 1-1 in two starts against Chi-Town, giving up two runs in 13 IP. The 13-year vet Lester has been sharp in the stretch, going 6-1/1.96 in seven starts since mid-August. He's 3-1/3.72 in five starts against the Pirates this year, so he's not had his best days against Pittsburgh. Still, this should be a dandy matchup between two hot-as-pistols hurlers.

Willy's last hurrah for 2018 (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
Lineup: Pablo Reyes LF, Starling Marte CF, J-Bell 1B, Fran Cervelli C, Jose Osuna RF, Josh Harrison 2B, Colin Moran 3B, Jordy SS & Willy P. More mix-and-match, with the first showing by Josh and Jordy since the Brewer series.

  • Today will decide the season series; the teams are tied at nine wins each. The Cubs won last year's set 10-9.
  • The Bucs have posted a 41-31 record against teams from the Central (they have four divisional games remaining) this season for the best intra-divisional record among the five teams. It's only Pittsburgh’s second winning season against the Central since it was formed in 1994.
  • No date has been set for Edgar Santana's TJ surgery as of  now.
  • Colin Moran is hitting .301 over his last 53 games, and his 11 pinch hits over the season are tied for third in MLB. He's in tonight.
  • Jordan Luplow has started 10 of the last 13 games, with two hits in his last 30 at bats. He's off tonight.
  • Bad timing: Ric Rod surrendered his first run since August 14th in yesterday's walk off loss to the Cubs.

9/27 Through the 1900’s: '01 Clincher; 16 Straight; HBD Alan, Joe, Willie, Doug & Marty

  • 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 1890 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 bike across Canada, augmenting his fur-trapping skills with handyman chores. 
Allen Stroke 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 ended per his understanding with Barney Dreyfuss. The 25 year-old Amherst grad sadly never got to see a degree; 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 Pittsburgh Heroes Deck
  • 1905 - LHP Marty Lang was born in Hooper, Nebraska. He had a brief MLB stay with the 1930 Pirates, getting into two games covering 1-2/3 IP and being rattled for 10 runs. Lang spent a decade in the minors, mostly in the Western league, before last toeing the slab in 1938. 
  • 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.

9/27 From 1910 - 1970’s: '70 Clincher; Waner Streak; Josh Bomb; Ralph's 7th; HBD Dick, Johnny, Dave & Dick

  • 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. 
Johnny Pesky 1967 Topps Stickers
  • 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. 
  • 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 to earn a save against Pittsburgh in the 1971 World Series at age 41 during his last campaign. He retired to the Baltimore area and became an accountant and a member of the Orioles Hall of Fame. 
  • 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 Topps
  • 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 city, the KC Royals, in the off season. He tossed for them for one more campaign before retiring, long enough to enter the record books as one of four players to be members of both Kansas City franchises, the Athletics (he pitched from 1960-63 for the A’s) and the Royals. 
  • 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. 
  • 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.

9/27 From the 1980’s Forward: '92 Clincher; Gile's Big Day; Big Rally; Doug's Gem; Collapse; HBD Vin & Pedro

  • 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 from 2016 on playing in the Mexican and Dominican Leagues. 
Pedro Ciriaco 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter
  • 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 out of the indie leagues in 2017-18. 
  • 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 a trio of 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. 
  • 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. 
Brian Giles 2002 Donruss Diamond Kings
  • 2002 - The Bucs beat the Cubs‚ 13-3 as Brian Giles scored five runs and drove home six with a double & 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 Palmeiro 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 - It ain’t over until it’s over: 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.

Bucs Put A Late Scare In Cubs Before Going Down in 10th, 7-6

After two whiffs from Jose Quintana, Joey O got a high 1-2 heater and drilled it into the LF stands to put Ivan Nova up 1-0 before he even toed the rubber. The two-out lightning hit him, too - after a pair of routine outs, Anthony Rizzo dropped a single into center and Jason Heyward went long to left center to claim the lead. It was a quiet second for both clubs.K-Man opened the third with a single; for the second night, the Buc pitcher bunted into a DP. They have to counter the Cubs aggressive D by swinging away or at least chopping the ball if they want to quit killing innings. Chicago opened with back-to-back knocks, one a bullet and one an infield knock. Then Fraze booted a possible DP ball, sheesh. A sac fly brought in a run and moved the other runners up. Diaz caught a pop foul; it was reviewed and ruled to have brushed the netting, a view not supported by any angle we saw. A pop to short was ruled a good catch, tho. A walk jammed the sacks and another chased home a run before Nova worked out of it. After two K in the fourth, Eli tried to get a run back but his drive was hauled in short of the track in right center. With two gone, Daniel Murphy singled, stole second and scored on Javy Baez's knock, followed by an infield rap that Fraze should have eaten up. A fourth straight hit tallied another point, tho J-Low tossed out Rizzo at third.

Tanner tossed two zeros tonight (photo ESPN)
Corey D got a run back with a first-pitch homer in the fifth. Ian Happ ran down Pablo's bid for extra bases, then J-Low came back from 0-2 to a full count and tripled. Newman tapped back to the mound and Q caught Luplow napping at third, tossing him out before he could scamper back. A liner to right ended it. Tanner Anderson took over and gave up two quick knocks, again a rope and infield hit; a bunt moved them up. An intentional walk filled the bases and a 4-3 DP made it the smart play for the Bucs. Jesse Chavez got the ball in the sixth, and gave up just a two-out Joey O single. Tanner spun a clean, nine-pitch frame. Not a peep was heard from Pittsburgh in the seventh. Michael Feliz climbed the bump and gave up a rap, then missed on a pickoff toss, but left the Cubby at second. Carl Edwards Jr. got a whiff and then walked a pair, getting the hook for Steve Cishek. After a fly, a wild pitch put the Pirates in scoring position and J-Bell walked to juice the sacks. Eli singled home a pair and moved to second when the relay to third bounced off Bell. An intentional walk filled the bases again before Pablo's full count bouncer ended the fun. Steven Brault got the call and tossed a clean frame. Justin Wilson was waved in for the ninth.

Eli had a pair of knocks in Cubbyville (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
K-Man singled with an out and moved to third following Cervy's two-bagger. Krame ran for Fran. Fraze popped out, but with two strikes, Starling lined a double to right off Rizzo's glove and it was tied. That brought in lefty Jaime Garcia to turn J-Bell around. Josh cranked out 112 MPH smash, but it was banged right to Baez. Kyle Crick claimed the hill to face the 2-3-4 hitters and worked a 1-2-3 frame. Garcia gave up a leadoff knock to Diaz in the 10th. After a fly out, Brandon Kintzler was beckoned and got Pablo to bang into a DP. Ric Rod toed the slab and walked Happ to start the frame, and burner Terrence Gore ran for him. A bunt and grounder moved him up and with two-outs, Albert Almora's grounder through the left side walked it off for the Cubbies.

A sloppy start got them in a 6-1 hole (If Fraze makes two routine plays, Ivan only gives up two runs instead of six despite laboring tonight), but the guys kept it interesting. Seems like they know that even if the games mean nothing to the team, it means a career to the young guns.

  • Starling, Eli and Newman each had a pair of hits tonight.
  • This was Super Nova's last start of the year. He finished the campaign at 9-9/4.19.
  • Add another to the list: the Pirates announced that Edgar Santana will go undergo TJ surgery and miss the 2019 season. Been a rough month after a fairly injury-free campaign.
  • Jung-Ho Kang played a nine-inning game in the Florida Instructional League w/o pain, per @RobBiertempfel, so that's a start.
  • Reese McGuire, who went to Toronto as part of the Drew Hutchinson/Frankie Liriano deal, hit his first MLB homer today.
  • The Brewers beat the Cards 2-1 to clinch a playoff spot. The Redbird loss also guaranteed the Cubs an October slot.