Tuesday, May 21, 2019

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

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

Archie's struggles continue 2019 Topps Opening Day 

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

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

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

Archie v German Marquez, Lineup & Notes

Game: The game starts at 7:05 against the Rockies as the Bucs return home after a pretty good road jaunt. It will be aired on AT&T SportsNet and 93.7 The Fan.

Lineup: Adam Frazier 2B, Starling Marte CF, Bryan Reynolds LF, Josh Bell 1B, Melky Cabrera RF, Colin Moran 3B, Fran Cervelli C, Cole Tucker SS, Chris Archer P. Cervy is back on the bike after taking the San Diego series off. Gregory was originally pencilled in but flipped for Reynolds; not sure what that's about.

Pitchers: RHP Chris Archer (1-3/5.58) opens the set against RHP German Marquez (4-2/3.80). Archie got battered in his return from the IL; he needs to throw more strikes and carry the game deeper. Hopefully, he just had the rust shaken off last time out. He beat the Rox last year, going five innings and giving up two runs on five hits. Marquez has been workmanlike for Colorado, with good control and a strikeout per inning. The 24-year-old went 1-1/3.75 against the Pirates last year, pitching a strong game at Coors and having a bumpier ride at PNC Park (although he's generally an excellent road pitcher).

Looking for a bounce back (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
Notes:
  • Josh Bell was named the NL Player of the Week. He hit .407 last week in 25 at-bats, with four homers, ten RBI's, six runs scored and a league-high 24 total bases. J-Bell is one of five MLB players to hammer 10 homers in the past four weeks.
  • This is the first meeting of the year between the two clubs; they split the series 3-3 last season, each winning 2-of-3 at the others park. Colorado is 1-4 on their current road trip, with all five games decided by one or two runs.
  • Mitch Keller was scrubbed from his Indy last start as a matter of workload management, per the Bucs. This, naturally, is fueling speculation that he may be called up soon, so that's a sidebar worth watching even if it proves to be 2+2=5; the FO still believes he's a work in progress, and his performance so far merits that consideration. Sure won't be here tomorrow, as he's tossing for the Tribe tonight.
  • 1B Mason Martin of Greensboro in the Sally League had a Sunday to remember - the 19-year-old Pirates prospect hit a pair of three-run, walk off homers on the same day to lead the Grasshoppers to a twin bill sweep of Lakewood.

5/21 Through the 1920’s: Kitty Calls; Small Ball; Not Cricket; HBD Sure Shot, Mace, Bunny & Fitz

  • 1859 - IF Fred “Sure Shot” Dunlap was born in Philadelphia. The slick fielder played for the Alleghenys from 1888-90, hitting .240. He also managed the club to a 61-71 record as a player manager in 1889. His declining stick - he was still a whiz at defense - led to a contract cut in 1890, causing him to jump to the NY Giants of the outlaw Player’s League early in the season. Per Wikipedia, he earned the nickname "Sure Shot" for the strength and accuracy of his throws to first base, and was also sometimes referred to in the 1880s as the "King of Second Basemen." 
Sure Shot 1888 Goodwin/Old Judge
  • 1891 - LHP Charles Bunn “Bunny” Hearn was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Bunny spent one of his six big league seasons in Pittsburgh with the Rebels in 1915, going 6-11/3.38. Hearn joined John McGraw's 1913 world touring team and during its London stop, Hearn demonstrated pitcher’s grips to King George V, leading to a lifetime humblebrag that he taught the King of England how to throw a curve. After his pitching days, he managed in the minors and at North Carolina for 17 years where he won eight league titles. 
  • 1907 - NL president Harry Pulliam dismissed the protest of Pittsburgh manager Fred Clarke over NY Giant’s C Roger Bresnahan's donning of cricket-style shin guards, with Clarke calling them a danger to runners after he slid into Bresnahan’s pads trying to score on Opening Day. Bresnahan was the first, and at the time only, receiver to add them to the tools of ignorance though they were quickly adopted by the league’s backstoppers. A safety-first kinda guy, Bresnahan also developed a prototype batter’s helmet. 
  • 1909 - RHP Mace Brown was born in North English, Iowa. He tossed seven years (1935-41) for the Pirates and in every role, from starter to closer, with a line of 55-45-29/3.67. Brown was an All-Star in 1938, when he led the NL in outings with 51, winning 15 games and saving five. Mace scouted for the Red Sox after his playing days from 1947-89, with one year on the big league staff as pitching coach. 
  • 1913 - The Pirates beat Brooklyn 5-2 at Ebbett’s Field and set a small-ball MLB record with four sac bunts in the eighth inning (two Dodger errors allowed the bunters to reach base). Babe Adams got the win. His curve was on, as noted in the Pittsburgh Press: “Adams was working a big sweeping outdrop that he would swing across the plate time and time again…” One Dodgers batter, Jake Daubert, and the Pirates Dots Miller were both given the boot by ump Bill Klem for griping over strike calls. The Bucco victory snapped a seven game winning streak for Dodgers hurler Pat Ragan. 
Babe Adams 1913 (photo George Bain/Library of Congress)
  • 1917 - Per BR Bullpen: The Giants took over first place with a 4-3 win over the Pirates behind the pitching of Big Jeff Tesreau and the iffy umpiring of Kitty Bransfield. Kitty made an out call in the ninth on a grounder that the Pirates Doug Baird clearly beat after earlier missing that G-Man Art Fletcher had left third base early before scoring on a sacrifice fly. Kitty was a former Bucco and didn’t harbor any grudges but was noticeably raw at calling a game. The Pittsburgh Press wrote that “Kitty is a mighty fine fellow, but at the gentle art of umpiring, he still has considerable to learn.” In fact, Bransfield was teamed with the best-reputed ump of the era, Bill Klem, in order to bring his game up to speed. The contest itself was meaningless in the context of the season as the New York club finished first and the Pirates last, a whopping 47 games off the pace. 
  • 1924 - C Ed Fitz Gerald was born in Santa Ynez, California. He was in WW2 before baseball, capturing a pair of German soldiers single-handedly before returning home and signing with the Bucs in 1946. Fitz spent six (1948-53) of his 12 big league years in Pittsburgh mainly as a reserve, hitting .247. Ed had a career moment when he caught Cliff Chambers' no-hitter on May 6th, 1951. Fitz spent the second half of his career as a Washington Senator. When he left active duty, Ed coached for the Indians, Athletics and Twins, then managed the Fresno Giants of the California League through 1966.

5/21 From 1940 Through the 1960’s: Cy Sold; 5-for-5 Frankie; Game Stories; HBD Steve & Tony

  • 1940 - The Pirates had sold P Cy Blanton to the Syracuse Chiefs during the off season for $10,000 a year after he tore ligaments in his elbow. He beefed that he was “sold down the river” and threatened to hold out. Cy came around to accept the deal, but after three straight losses, the Chiefs claimed the Pirates sold them a bill of goods (they probably had; his career was more-or-less done after the injury) and tried to return him to Pittsburgh to recoup their money; the Bucs didn’t want him back. Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis finally had to call a hearing to clear up the mess and subsequently declared Blanton a free agent on this day. He signed with Philly soon afterward. 
Frank Gustine 1949 Bowman
  • 1948 - Frankie Gustine went 5-for-5 to lead Pittsburgh to an 8-4 win over the Dodgers. He scored four runs and drove in a pair at Ebbets Field. 1B Max West helped the cause by blasting a two-out, three-run homer in the fifth and Fritz Ostermueller picked up the win. 
  • 1950 - The Pirates had a big day at the Polo Grounds, sweeping the NY Giants by 4-2 and 8-6 scores to even its record (tho not for long; the Bucs finished the year last with 57 wins and stayed below .500 from May 25th onward). The hero of the day was Ralph Kiner, who homered in the first game and had three hits in the nightcap, including a 475’ triple in the oddly angled ballyard. 
  • 1959 - In a meeting held at Pirates owner John Galbreath’s Ohio farm, MLB owners nixed expanding its 16 team league, even though just three of the franchises were located west of the Mississippi River and both Congress & the proposed Continental League were applying pressure. That pressure to grow (and profit) was too strong to resist. In 1961 each league added a pair of teams, and now the MLB roster includes 30 clubs. 
  • 1961 - Tony LaCava was born in Pittsburgh. He never made the show as a player, but won a state championship at Central Catholic HS and went on to play at Pitt. The local boy made good not in a uniform but a suit. He signed with the Bucs out of college, and after a couple of years struggling in the low minors, Tony began scouting for the Angels, Braves, Expos and Indians. The Blue Jays hired him as an assistant to the GM in 2002, and he served as GM for a season with Toronto; he’s now their VP of Baseball Operations & Assistant General Manager. LaCava, an Oakmont resident, was interviewed and considered one of the top candidates for the Bucs GM spot in 2007 that eventually went to Neil Huntington. 
Tom Sturdivant 1962 Topps
  • 1962 - The Bucs beat the Cubs 8-4 at Forbes Field behind the top two guys in the order, Bill Virdon and Dick Groat. The duo went 8-for-9 with a walk, two doubles, scored twice and drove in six runs. Tom Sturdivant earned the win with 6-⅓ shutout frames in relief of Earl Francis. 
  • 1965 - The Bucs broke an eight game losing streak with a 6-1 win over the Phils at Forbes Field. Vern Law and Al McBean combined for a five-hitter, backed by Bill Mazeroski’s two hits and three RBI, Donn Clendenon’s three knocks and a big two-run pinch hit rap by Jerry Lynch. The Pittsburgh Press sports banner read “Brace Yourself - Pirates Win One.” Beat man Les Biederman noted “In the clubhouse, the players were shaking hands with one another and cutting up for the first time in ten days.” 
  • 1968 - OF Steve Pegues was born in Pontotoc, Mississippi. Steve joined the Bucs in 1994 after starting the year with Cincinnati and stayed through 1995, getting into 89 games and hitting .264. Steve was a toolsy guy but it never translated in the bigs. He was drafted by the Tigers in the first round of the 1987 draft (21st overall) and spent 11 years in the minors with another campaign in an indie league, but his 94-95 campaigns were his only MLB years.

5/21 From 1970: Umps Out; Basebrawl; Crowd Pleaser; Game Stories

  • 1976 - The Pirates tried to come back from a 5-0 hole but fell 5-4 to the Cubs at Three Rivers Stadium. The bigger issue was the umps. The regular crew in blue passed on the game, supporting the striking TRS vendors, so the Bucs lined up some sandlot guys. By all reports, they did an acceptable job. Also out were the ground crew and other union workers - “everyone but the players,” per one newspaper - but the club got through it as things returned to normal after a two day work stoppage. 
Mark was a little enthusiastic on his slide... 1997 Fleer Ultra (reverse)
  • 1997 - The Bucs ended a four-game tailspin by edging the Cards 3-2 at Busch Stadium, scoring on a balk, a bases-loaded walk and blooper, with a couple of sidebars to the story. In the second inning, with Bucs on the corners, Jason Kendall checked off ball four as Joe Randa headed to second. The Cards threw to second and beat The Joker to the bag, but since it was ball four...or was it? The Redbirds asked for a confirmation by the first base ump, who overruled the plate ump and called Kendall’s wiggle a swing, so instead of the bases loaded with no outs, the Bucs had a runner on third with two away. He did score on a balk, but not before coach Pete Vukovich was ejected and manager Gene Lamont protested the game. In the eighth, Mark Johnson was thrown out at home by two steps, slapping C Mike Difelice in the noggin on the play. The two then tussled, Kevin Young knocked Tony La Russa's glasses off during the ensuing melee, and he joined Johnson and Difelice in the shower. The winning vibes were provided by the Pirates pitchers - Francisco Cordova, Matt Ruebel and Rick Loiselle - who made the three runs stand up. 
  • 2002 - Brian Giles hit a three-run, opposite-field inside-the-park homer to highlight a 12-1 Bucco win at Wrigley Field in the lidlifter of a twin bill. It was his first inside-the-park blast and the first by a Pirate in three years. Kevin Young had a homer and two doubles while Chad Hermansen went long and added a two bagger to back Jimmy Anderson and Sean Lowe’s three-hitter to ice Chi-town. The Cubs rallied to take the nightcap 4-3. Pittsburgh jumped off to a 3-0 first-inning lead but Sammy Sosa’s three-run shot in the sixth off Josh Fogg earned a split for Chicago. 
  • 2005 - Before a sellout crowd of 37,504 at PNC Park, Ollie Perez surrendered a pair of hits and two runs while striking out eight batters in five innings on the bump as the Pirates beat the Rockies 8-3. C Humberto Cota did the heavy work at the dish with a pair of hits, including a double, and four RBI. The victory was Lloyd McClendon’s 300th as the Pirates’ skipper. 
Good time for a granny... 2013 Topps
  • 2013 - The Cubs scored first and last, but the Bucs scored enough in the middle, keyed by a sixth-inning Travis Snider grand slam, to eke out a 5-4 win. Snider’s grannie was his first ever and the first Buc pinch hit salami at PNC Park since Craig Wilson’s in 2003, rallying the Pirates from a 3-0 hole to a 5-3 victory. Wandy Rodriguez got the win over Matt Garza. 
  • 2014 - Neither Pirates starter Wandy Rodriguez nor the Orioles Chris Tillman made it through the first two innings of the game. It was the first time in either club’s history that both starters were removed so early in a game; the quick hooks were also a first in interleague play. (Rodriguez was designated for assignment the following day after giving up six runs in 1-⅔ innings.) The score was 8-6 Pittsburgh after two frames; the O’s tied the game late, then the Pirates rallied to take a 9-8 decision at PNC Park. The middle of the Buccos order - Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Starling Marte and Ike Davis - went 11-for-17 with six runs scored and chased home six more. Tony Sanchez delivered the game-winning hit and Bryan Morris claimed the W.

Monday, May 20, 2019

5/20 Through the 1960’s: Double Down; Turnstile Spinning; Game Stories; HBD Horace, George & Moon

  • 1856 - Horace Phillips was born in Salem, Ohio. He was an early manager of the Alleghenys from 1884-89, and led them to their first winning season ever in 1885. His best finish was second the following year, when his team went 80-57. He shepherded the club from the American Association into the NL in 1887. Phillips was yellow rag fodder during the era for various financial peccadilloes, and the effect showed. After he quit managing, Phillips spent the rest of his years in various insane asylums. 
  • 1891 - 1B Joe “Moon” Harris was born in Coulter (now part of South Versailles Township). Harris was a war hero, and recovered from serious injuries (in fact, his war record won him reinstatement to the majors after he had been suspended for playing with an indie team) to play MLB ball for five teams over 14 seasons, including the Pirates in 1927-28. He hit .329 in 145 games as a Buc and was part of the 1927 WS club. A local kid, Joe got his start playing for the McKeesport Tubers, and when he retired, he ran a pool hall/bowling alley in Renton. He went by the nicknames of “Coulter Joe” and “Moon,” one for his birthplace and who knows for the other. 
Joe Harris 1927 (photo George Rinhart via Detroit Public Library)
  • 1896 - Per John Dreker of Pirates Prospects “This Date In Pirate History,” Pittsburgh played Brooklyn at Expo Park. The Bucs fell behind 6-0 after three innings when it began to rain and manager Connie Mack told his team to go easy in the field, hoping that the game would drag on and be called. Pirate pitchers started lobbing the ball over the plate, tho Brooklyn caught on quickly enough and tried to make outs to make sure the game reached five innings. It was never called as the weather cleared up, leaving the Pirates in a 17-0 hole after five innings. When they realized the game was going to be official they began to play hard again. The Bridesgrooms’ pitcher, Bert Abbey, was told not to strain his arm and began lobbing the ball too, allowing the Pirates to score six runs in the last two innings for a 25-6 final. 
  • 1900 - IF George Grantham was born in Galena, Kansas. He played seven years (1925-31) for the Bucs, hitting .315 with a .410 OBP; he never fell below .300 in any of his Bucco campaigns. Grantham played for the 1925 and 1927 World Series clubs, hitting .364 against the Yankees in the 1927 match-up. His biggest season was 1930, when he hit .324 with 18 homers, 99 RBI and 120 runs. In 1951, Grantham was honored at an Old Timers Day at Forbes Field when the city of Pittsburgh named a North Side street in his honor (it ran across Lacock and was lost when I-279 was built). 
  • 1932 - Paul Waner tied the MLB record with four doubles in five at bats during the Pirates 5-0 win over the Cards at Sportsman’s Park. Big Poison set an NL record that season with 62 two-baggers. Larry French fired a two-hitter for the win. 
  • 1947 - Talk about your small ball! The Bucs beat Milwaukee 4-3 at Forbes Field as the teams combined for 22 hits, and every one was a single. Hank Greenberg knocked home the winning run in the 10th, making Tiny Bonham a winner. The teams added nine walks, too, and stranded 20 runners between them. 
Elmer Riddle 1949 Eureka Sports Stamps
  • 1948 - The Bucs bombed Boston 13-0 behind a big eight-run fourth frame primed by a Ralph Kiner homer and double, while Elmer Riddle tossed a four hitter at Braves Stadium. Six Bucs had multiple hits, five had multiple RBI (led by Kiner’s three), and eight different players scored. 
  • 1950 - An ugly brooming: The Bucs were no-hit for 9-2/3 frames by the Dodgers’ Ralph Branca‚ Jack Banta‚ and Dan Bankhead at Ebbets Field to lose the back end of a twin bill 4-3 in 11 innings. They dropped the opener to Brooklyn 3-2 when Gil Hodges pounded a two-out, two-run double in the eighth of Mel Queen; both runs were unearned. 
  • 1956 - The Pirates drew their biggest crowd in five years (32‚326) and celebrated with a DH sweep over the first-place Milwaukee Braves‚ 6-5 and 5-0, at Forbes Field. Dale Long homered in each game and drove in seven runs; he was three games into his eight-game homer streak. Bob Friend won the opener and Ron Kline tossed a six-hitter for the victory in the nitecap. 
  • 1960 - The Pirates stretched their NL lead to 1-1/2 games by edging the Giants‚ 5-4‚ on Roberto Clemente's single in the 12th inning. Clemente had three hits to raise his average to .378. Willie McCovey's homer in the ninth tied it for San Francisco‚ and a score in the 12th put them ahead. Don Hoak's single and a run-scoring double by Dick Groat set the stage for Clemente’s game winner at Forbes Field. 
Roberto Clemente 1960 Topps
  • 1960 - The Pirates were still looking for pitching but lost out on free agent LHP Curt Simmons, who had been cut loose by the Phils. He signed with the Cards, who offered him a major league contract, spurning the Bucs offer of a minor league deal. The 12-year vet still had eight seasons left in the tank and went 59-42/3.10 from 1960-64, starting 136 games and tossing 982 IP. 
  • 1962 - The seven and eight hitters for Pittsburgh, Don Hoak and Bill Mazeroski, went 4-for-7 with a walk, double, triple and homer, four runs scored and five RBI to carry the Bucs and Vern Law past the Reds 8-2 at Forbes Field.

5/20 From 1970: Lawton Laser; Pops Good Day, Bad Day; Game Stories HBD Tony

  • 1970 - Pittsburgh beat the Phils, 3-2, in 14 innings at Forbes Field. Roberto Clemente's third-inning triple, a 440-footer off the left-centerfield light tower, plated Freddie Patek. In the eighth, John Briggs dropped an Al Oliver fly, allowing Matty Alou to score the tying run. Alou later scored the game-winner courtesy of two consecutive wild pitches by Dick Selma. After a two-out knock, Matty moved up 90’ on the first wayward toss and then scored when the next took a wild bounce off the cement beneath the backstop screen, giving Alou time to scoot home from second. Bob Veale started, followed by five innings of stalwart, two-hit relief from Dave Giusti, and then Bruce Dal Canton finished off the last two frames for the win. 
Matty Alou  1970 Topps (Reverse)
  • 1978 - Batting against Wayne Twitchell of the Montreal Expos, Willie Stargell hit the only fair ball ever to reach the upper deck of Olympic Stadium. The red seat where the ball landed, 535’ away, was painted yellow to mark the spot (and tho baseball has long left, the seat memorial yet remains). The Bucs won 6-0 as Bert Blyleven tossed a three-hitter with eight strikeouts, amply supported by Pops’ five RBI. 
  • 1988 - Former Pirates MVP Willie Stargell was booed at TRS for coaching rival Atlanta, managed by Chuck Tanner. The Bucs won rather handily despite facing their old legends by a 10-3 score as Junior Ortiz and Mike Diaz teamed up to drive home six runs. Mike Dunne got the win in a game finished by Jim Gott. 
  • 1988 - C John Anthony “Tony” Sanchez was born in Miami. He was drafted in the first round (4th pick) of the 2009 draft out of Boston College and first appeared as a Bucco in 2013. Tony hit .259 from 2013-15, serving as a call-up third catcher. He was DFA’ed after the 2015 season and has bounced around the league since then. 
  • 2000 - C Keith Osik made the second mop-up relief appearance of his career, allowing five runs on five hits‚ two hit batters‚ a wild pitch and a home run in the ninth inning of a 19-4 loss to the Cards at TRS. Osik became just the second position player since 1900 to both give up and hit home run in the same game when he took Pat Hentgen deep in the eighth inning before surrendering a long ball to Thomas Howard.
Catch a little, pitch a little ...2002 Topps
  • 2004 - The Bucs were down 6-0 after an inning and 7-1 after two, but Daryle Ward and Jason Bay each had a pair of homers and three RBI to lead the Bucs to a 9-7 comeback win (the biggest since overcoming a seven-run deficit against the Twins in 2001) over the San Diego Padres at PNC Park. Mike Gonzalez got the win and Jose Mesa the save. Despite the homers and nine runs scored, the Bucs went 0-for-7 with RISP. 
  • 2005 - Matt Lawton hit the longest Pirate homer to date at PNC Park, blasting a 463’ rocket off Colorado’s Jamey Wright in a 9-4 Bucco victory. Lawton & Rob Mackowiak had three RBI each, Tike Redman went 4-for-4, and starter Mark Redman was credited with the win with four relievers filling in behind him to get the final eight outs. 
  • 2011 - Neil Walker hit a homer and double, driving in five runs, to lead Pittsburgh to a 10-1 win against Detroit at PNC Park. Jeff Karstens earned the win, sealed by a trio of relievers. Jose Tabata and Garrett Jones added two knocks each while Lyle Overbay went long.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Colin Moran Gets Bucs Off To Quick Start As Pittsburgh Holds Off San Diego, 6-4, To Take Series

Fraze opened with a rap; Melky, for some reason, bunted. Gregory K'ed but J-Bell, the Man of Steel, singled and the Bucs drew first blood against Cal Quantrill. Then came a Bryan Reynolds rap and Redbeard bomb; holy first-inning outburst! Eli singled before it ended with young Cal tossing 39 pitches and down 4-0. Big Joe served three grounders for an easy opener. The Padre youngster calmed down in the second and twirled a clean, seven-pitch frame. Joe punched out a couple of Friars in another quiet inning. Gregory walked to start the third and J-Bell took a two-strike slider to the track; close but no cigar. After another fly, Polanco got picked off, tumbling to first in another of his Mack Sennett slides. Wil Myers opened with a walk for SD. An out later he was picked off for Musgrove's third three-up, three-down frame; lotta daydreaming goin' on this inning. Redbeard hit a laser to right (106 MPH off the bat) to start the fourth, but Hunter Renfroe was there for the grab. Eli then singled, but the pot wasn't stirred any further. Joe kept cruising. Fraze doubled to open the fifth and Melky singled him home. He even stole a base, and J-Bell walked, but no more damage was wrought.

Eli's on an 8-of-16 tear (image via Pittsburgh Pirates)

Eric Hosmer singled to get the first Friar knock; an out later, a DP kept Big Joe's workload at the minimum. Robbie Erlin came on and tossed a flawless sixth frame; ditto for Musgrove. No peeps out of the Bucs in the seventh; Greg Garcia led off with a two-bagger for San Diego, and the wheels came off. A single scored a run, Joe mishandled a tapper after a pop out by rushing a throw to second rather than taking the sure out at first, and Hunter Renfroe went yard off a 2-0 hung hook, making it a 5-4 game in a hurry. Geoff Hartlieb was called in and got the final two outs, sandwiched around a walk. The Bucs had an eighth-inning answer. Bryan Reynolds doubled with an out and Redbeard's rap brought him home. Eli singled and Craig Stammen was waved in to plug the dike. Frankie Liriano was beckoned, and a walk with an out was erased on a 4-3 DP. Brad Wieck got the ninth and worked a quiet frame. The Nightmare took his spot on the rubber, and after a pair of K was touched for a knock. Three pitches later, he had his trifecta and you can raise the Roger.

The Nightmare struck out the side in the ninth (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Odd trip; at 7-4, it's an unqualified success, especially considering the Pirates lost the opener of all three series. The Bucs are 24-20 and holding up OK as a MASH unit. It was also nice to see someone who isn't one of the usual suspects step up today and row the boat; Colin Moran's big day came right on time as Melky, Gregory and J-Bell managed just two singles. Hope the guys enjoy their day off, as they get ready to rumble with the Rox, Dodgers, Reds and Brew Crew before they get another day of rest.

Notes:
  • Redbeard had two hits and four RBI; Eli stayed hot with three raps, and Fraze & Bryan Reynolds added a pair of hits/runs scored each.
  • Melky collected career hit #1,900 today.
  • Petco Park hadn't had a rain delay since 2015, and only six in its history. (In fact, there have only been three rainouts ever at PP) But today, the tarp didn't come up until 4:00 as the Mother Nature fooled around enough to cause the seventh delay. It was just for 25 minutes, with the game starting at 4:35.
  • LHP Buddy Boshers, who spent last August with Indy, started this season in Mexico. He just turned that into a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays.

Big Joe v Cal Quantrill, Lineup & Notes

Game: The finale starts at 4:10 EDT and will be carried by AT&T SportsNet & 93.7 The Fan. And holy moly, it's even raining in San Diego, although it's supposed to pass before gametime.

Lineup: Adam Frazier 2B, Melky Cabrera LF, Gregory Polanco RF, Josh Bell 1B, Bryan Reynolds CF, Colin Moran 3B, Elias Diaz C, Cole Tucker SS, Joe Musgrove P. Starling gets a blow; Cole is back in action and Cervy still isn't after being hit in the hand with a bat while catching Wednesday at Arizona.

Big Joe closes out the road trip today (image Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: RHP Joe Musgrove (2-4/3.59) tosses against LHP Cal Quantrill (0-1/3.60). Big Joe threw a scoreless, seven-inning one-hitter against the Snakes last time out, so he looks like he's climbed back on the barstool. Musgrove met the Friars once last year at Petco and shut them out on seven hits through seven innings. He's another homecoming kid, out of Grossmont HS and he had a commitment to San Diego State before being drafted in 2011. Quantrill, 24, started in AAA, got a couple of spot starts earlier this month, was sent back down and just recalled again for today's game. His peripherals are nothing special and he wasn't lighting it up at AAA El Paso (4-1/4.80) although the PCL is not a very pitcher-friendly outfit. Cal held his own against the Mets and Braves, so we'll see what the rookie has to offer today.

Notes:
  • Long flight home, but it's followed with a day off after 13 straight games. We're sure the pitchers at least are looking forward to it, especially with 14 games in 13 days (twin bill in Cincy) next on the dance card. The nice part is that 10 of them will be home cookin'.
  • Last night's "opener" game is thought to be a regular season first. Jim Leyland used the ploy in 1990 against the Reds in the NLCS, per the Trib's Jerry DiPaola. Just goes to show everything old is new again...
  • Nick Margevicius had a tough outing for SD last night. He gave up four homers and then was optioned back to the minors today. Ditto for Gerardo Reyes, who hasn't had much luck against the Bucs either.
  • Larry Broadway, player development head honcho, said that the Bucs are going to try to turn OF JB Shuck into a pitcher.

5/19 Expo Park-Forbes Field Era: Long Streak Starts; Roberto Hurt; Game Stories; RIP Sam; HBD Ed, Fireball, Bud & Newt

  • 1890 - As Pirates Prospects John Dreker noted in “This Date In Pirates History,” this day was a tough one for Pittsburgh baseball fans. Not only did the Alleghenys lose by an 18-2 score, but the Pittsburgh Burghers of the Player’s League lost big, too, 16-3. It launched the Alleghenys on an 11-game losing streak; the Burghers lost seven in row. 
Not a great campaign for the 1890 Alleghenys
  • 1897 - RHP Bernard Aloysius “Bud” Culloton was born in Kingston, New York. His big league time consisted of 13 outings for the Pirates from 1925-26 with a line of 0-1, 3.28 in 24-2/3IP. He spent most of his last campaign at Class A New Haven and called it a career. 
  • 1901 - 2B Newt Allen was born in Austin, Texas. He spent over two decades playing in the Negro Leagues (1923-44), almost entirely with the Kansas City Monarchs. He did split the 1932 campaign, though, playing for both KC and the Homestead Grays. 
  • 1913 - RHP Theolic “Fireball” Smith was born in Wabbaseka, Arkansas. He began his career with the Pittsburgh Crawfords from 1936-38, going 4-11 in 16 starts. It was the start of a well-traveled career that lasted until the 1955 season with stops in the Negro, Mexican and Pacific Coast Leagues. Fireball was not only an All-Star pitcher several times over, but hit well enough to be used as an outfielder. His nickname fit him a couple of ways - it described his fastball and also his quick temper. 
  • 1915 - Player-manager Fred Clarke filed a patent application for flip down sunglasses that he designed to be used in the outfield. In addition to the shades, which the future Hall of Famer believes are "good for motorist, too", he also created and was issued patents for a sliding pad and a mechanical field tarpaulin. 
  • 1953 - RHP Sam Leever, who spent his entire 13 year career in Pittsburgh (1898-1910) died in his hometown of Goshen, Ohio. Leever went 194-100/2.43 and won 20+ games four times. Leever wasn’t a hard thrower, but his curve and outstanding control made him one of the era’s better hurlers. Mark Armour of SABR passed on this Leever tale: “In 1924 Leever was startled to discover that he was dead, or believed to be so. As reported in The Sporting News, "he had a great deal of enjoyment out of reading his own obituary, and he appreciates all the nice things that were said about him, but he insists that he is not even half-dead. In fact, Sam says he never felt better in his life, and he has no thought whatever of cashing in." The misinformation was due to the passing of a distant relative with the same name; Sam didn’t shuffle off this mortal coil until three decades later. 
Ed Whitson 1979 Topps
  • 1955 - RHP Ed Whitson was born in Johnson City, Tennessee. He never worked a full season during his 1977-79 tenure in Pittsburgh, compiling an 8-9-5/3.73 slash. But he lasted 13 years in the show as a fairly durable starter, even making an All-Star appearance as a SF Giant. He’s also noted for his stormy stretch as a Yankee, highlighted by an altercation with manager Billy Martin. 
  • 1956 - Dale Long's ninth-inning home run against the Cubs’ Jim Davis was the first of eight consecutive games in which he homered. The Bucs won the game 7-4 at Forbes Field. Long also doubled and had four RBI while Nellie King picked up the victory. 
  • 1959 - Roberto Clemente came out the game with St. Louis at Busch Stadium complaining of elbow pain. He had felt the soreness since camp and aggravated the injury (he believed it was an old battle scar that was acting up) with a hard landing while making a diving catch earlier against LA. The Great One ended up missing several weeks of the campaign, not returning until July 9th, still sore but able to throw again. Clemente played in only 105 games and batted .296 that year, but recovered enough to play winter ball and reported to camp the next season at 100%.

5/19 TRS-PNC Park Era: Splashdown; Bibby So Close; Kendall Cycle; Marinez Claimed; Game Stories; HBD Brandon

  • 1971 - 36-year-old Roberto Clemente drilled Riverfront Stadium's first-ever inside-the-park home run off Gary Nolan. Clemente added a triple and two singles with three RBI and three runs to lead Pittsburgh to a 6-1 decision over the Reds, helping Bob Moose to the W. 
Bob Moose 1973 Topps
  •  1976 - The Pirates scored six runs in the last two innings to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals, 7-6, at Busch Stadium. Richie Zisk had a double and a homer in the final two frames, ending the day with three hits, three RBIs and two scores to help give Bob Moose the win in relief. Manny Sanguillen was hot, too, adding three hits and walking twice. 
  • 1977 - IF Brandon Inge was born in Lynchburg, Virginia. The Bucs grabbed him in 2013 in his 13th season hoping that he could provide some bop off the bench. Instead, he hit .181 with one long ball and was released in July. He retired to raise his boys and work his 400-acre farm in Lynchburg. 
  • 1981 - Jim Bibby tossed a near perfecto, giving up an end-of-the-bat blooper that fell between 2B Phil Garner and RF Mike Easler to Braves’ leadoff hitter Terry Harper and then retiring the next 27 batters in a 5-0 victory over Atlanta at TRS. There was a rain delay shortly after the knock and afterward, Bibby was perfect. He then coaxed Atlanta to hit ‘em where they were; he only whiffed three Bravos. C Steve Nicosia called the game and had a pair of runs driven in while Mike Easler scored twice; Bibby single-handedly outhit the Braves with a pair of doubles. 
  • 1998 - Jose Silva won his third straight game, spinning an eight-inning, four-hit shutout over the San Diego Padres to take a 3-0 win at TRS, with Ricardo Rincon and Rich Loiselle closing it out in the ninth. It was the Pirates league-leading sixth shutout of the year. Jose Guillen had a pair of hits, scoring once and chasing home a run. Jermaine Allensworth tripled and scored while making the big play of the game by running down a Steve Finley gapper at the track and turning the ticketed hit into a DP. 
Jason Kendall 2001 Topps Gold
  • 2000 - Jason Kendall hit for the cycle, the first and only time at TRS by a Bucco, and added five RBI as the Bucs beat the Cards 13-1. He did his deed against three different St. Louis hurlers. The last Bucco to complete a cycle was Gary Redus in 1989. Kris Benson tossed a three-hitter and struck out 11 Redbirds in the win; four Pirates had two hits and Kevin Young went deep to lend support. 
  • 2009 - Washington rallied from a 5-0 deficit to tie the Bucs in the ninth but lost 8-5 when future National Adam LaRoche doubled home a pair in the 10th off Joe Beimel, who became a Pirate reliever in 2011. Brandon Moss had three RBI and Andy LaRoche added two more in the W at Nationals Park. Tom Gorzelanny, who also made a later stop in DC, earned the victory; guess the scouts had their notebooks open that day. 
  • 2015 - Pedro Alvarez became the third player, after Daryle Ward and Garrett Jones, to reach the Allegheny on the fly at PNC Park when his 461’ drive landed in a docked boat. Otherwise, the night didn’t go so well as Minnesota whipped the Bucs 8-5. Frankie Liriano gave up seven runs in two innings, and the Bucs chipped away but could never put together a big inning. Pittsburgh had 13 hits but 11 K, 10 stranded runners and a 4-for-17 RISP performance to keep them from catching the Twins. 
  • 2017 - The Pirates claimed RHP Jhan Marinez off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers. Marinez had a solid 2016 campaign working for Tampa Bay and Milwaukee (3.18 ERA in 46 appearances/62-1/3 IP) but after a slow start in 2017, the Brew Crew let him go. The multi-role reliever reacted well to the change of scenery, going 0-1/3.18 as a Bucco. But his peripherals weren’t that shiny, so the Bucs released him in August and he finished the year with the Rangers. He’s looking for a job now.

Four Homers & Pitching By Committee Propel Pirates To 7-2 Victory

Nick Margevicius picked up a pair of whiffs in a quiet first. Montana DuRapau walked the second Padre he faced but put up a zero in his and the Pirates first experience with the "opening" concept. The Bucs zeroed in a little better in the second; J-Bell and Bryan Reynolds launched back-to-back homers. Eli followed with a rap, but Redbeard banged into a 4-6-3 DP, although the order did turn over. Montana kinda liked his opening gig; he struck out the side. Margevicius had more problems in the third. Fraze singled, Starling doubled and J-Bell went yard once again. Reynolds walked and Eli singled but the party fizzled out. Steven Brault came in and gave up three walks and a knock (in justice, one that looked like Fraze should have gloved) with one gone. An around-the-horn DP saved the day. Pittsburgh went quietly in the fourth, as did the Friars. Gregory led off the fifth with a dinger and Phil Maton was waved in to calm the seas. Steven gave up a double and walk, but escaped with another zero.

Steven gave up both runs but got the win (photo Joe Guzy/Pirates)

The Bucs got a single and bopped batter in the sixth, but Starling couldn't cash them in. Brault gave up a double that scored on a dink to left with an out, and Michael Feliz came in to shut it down. Matt Wisler got the seventh, and was touched for a rap but no runs. The Padres opened with a bunt single, and a two-out knock brought in Kyle Crick, who fanned Hunter Renfroe on three pitches. The Pirates went pop up, walk, 6-3 DP in the eighth. Frankie Liriano joined the cast, and after an opening single, he picked up three swinging strikeouts. Gerardo Reyes took the hill in the ninth. Starling singled with one gone, stole second and rolled into third when the throw got away. With two gone, J-Bell walked, as did Bryan Reynolds. Adam Warren took the ball, and Eli's swinging bunt plated a run before the third out. Geoff Hartlieb, 25, took his big league bow, tossing a clean frame. Welcome to the show, kid, and raise the Roger.

Guess the ol' opener ploy worked out just fine; four homers and a few early runs have a way of relaxing guys. The Bucs are 6-4 so far on this trip and end it looking for the series clincher tomorrow afternoon.

Geoff Hartlieb joins the parade (photo Michael Reaves/Getty)
Notes:
  • Josh da man again - he went 3-for-4 with a walk, two homers, four RBI and two runs scored. Eli got three raps and Starling added a pair.
  • J-Bell has more homers in mid-May (14) than he had in all of 2018 (12). His second inning dinger, followed by Bryan Reynolds, are the first back-to-back Bucco bombs of the season. And today was his third multi-homer day of the month. For the Pirates, it was their first four-homer game of the campaign.
  • The Pirates threw six pitchers at San Diego, including two rookies, and five put up zeroes: Montana DuRapau, Michael Feliz, Frankie Liriano, Kyle Crick and Geoff Hartlieb. Add in Steven Brault, and they all had at least a K as the committee whiffed 13 Padres.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Montana DuRapau v Nick Margevicius, Lineup & Notes

Game: The game starts at 8:40 EDT and will be on AT&T SportsNet & 93.7 The Fan.

Lineup: Adam Frazier 2B, Starling Marte CF, Gregory Polanco RF, Josh Bell 1B, Bryan Reynolds LF, Elias Diaz C, Colin Moran 3B, Kevin Newman SS, Montana DuRapau P. Lotta lefties, and no surprise - Margevicius has a big reverse split. Also, still no Cervy.

Montana Gets His First MLB Start (photo MLB.com)

Pitchers: RHP Montana DuRapau (0-0/1.93) goes against LHP Nick Margevicius (2-4/4.14). Montana hasn't started since his first year in the Pirates system (2014) but has worked multiple innings from the pen. Whether Clint uses him as an opener (work through the top of the order and then hand off to a starter) or the first in line as a bullpenner (send out a mix of relievers) or some hybrid thereof is TBD. Margevicius isn't a power guy by any means, but when he's on, his four-pitch mix can keep guys off balance. He's come to earth after a quick start with a 5.68 ERA over his past five games, and in eight trips to the bump, has finished six innings just once. The rookie has never tossed against the Bucs.

Notes:
  • Holes to fill: By wRC+ per Fangraphs: SS) Erik Gonzalez 49, Cole Tucker 38, Pablo Reyes -10; C) Jake Stallings 47, Fran Cervelli 44, Eli Diaz 1; 3B) Colin Moran 89, Jung Ho Kang 34, Jake Elmore -59. Too bad there's only one of Kevin Newman (128) to go around. 

5/18 Through the 1940s: Hopp Yo Yo; Hidden Ball Trick; Quick Start, Slow Finish, Game Stories; HBD Babe, Cy, Bill & Ken

  • 1882 - Charles Benjamin “Babe” Adams was born in Tipton, Indiana. The righty worked 18 seasons for Pittsburgh (1907-26) with a 194-140/2.74 line. He almost single handedly won the Pirates first World Series title, going 3-0 in 1909 against the Tigers & Ty Cobb, tossing three complete game six-hitters while allowing just four runs in 27 IP. Brian Adams of SABR explains his nickname: “According to one story, his Denver teammates pinned it on him in 1907 after a woman asking for his autograph told him he had a nice round face like a baby's. But James Skipper, Jr., in his book Baseball Nicknames, states that Adams earned the sobriquet during his 1908 Louisville stint because female fans hollered ‘Oh, you babe!’ whenever he took the mound. Either way, the dark-featured Adams apparently was popular with the ladies…” 
Cy Barger 1915 Cracker Jack
  • 1885 - Eros Bolivar “Cy” (presumably for Cyclone) Barger was born in Jamestown, New York. Cy could do a little bit of everything. He was primarily a RH starting pitcher and LH batter who played the OF as needed for the New York Highlanders, Brooklyn Superbas, Brooklyn Dodgers and the Federal League Pittsburgh Rebels (1914–15), slashing 19-24-7/3.52 while hitting .234 at his last big-league stop. He went to college at Transylvania University in Lexington and is their only major league alum. 
  • 1892 - Bill Batsch was born in Mingo Junction, Ohio. After starring at Bethany College, he joined the Bucs in 1916 for the briefest of baseball careers - he pinch hit once in a September game, drawing a walk. 
  • 1906 - Christy Mathewson lost to the Pirates and Lefty Leifield 7-6 at Exposition Park. Honus Wagner had three hits and the defensive play of the game. He erased Bill Dahlen from second base in the ninth inning with the ol’ hidden ball trick, sneaking in from behind with the tag as Dahlen focused on the action in front of him. NY Giant’s manager John McGraw was so furious with his veteran SS for napping on the bases that he hit him with a $100 fine‚ which was later rescinded. 
  • 1910 - The Pirates beat the Doves (also known as the Beaneaters and later to become the Braves) 8-5 at Forbes Field for their 25th straight victory over Boston. Howie Camitz got the win, supported by Dots Miller’s three hits along with Tommy Leach, Fred Clarke and John Flynn who each had a pair of knocks. The Doves became hawks the next day, finally snapping the streak by a 6-3 tally by scoring five ninth-inning runs off Big Bill Powell and Sam Leever. 
Max Carey 1989 Perez-Steele Great Moments
  • 1917 - Pittsburgh outfielders banged out 11 hits as Max Carey went 5-for-5 while Casey Stengel and Carson Bigbee added three knocks each in an 11-4 win over Brooklyn. The trio had five runs scored, three RBI, three extra-base hits, a walk and four stolen bases as a unit to lead a 16-hit attack at Forbes Field. Frank Miller went the distance for the win over the Robins. 
  • 1921 - The Pirates improved to 21-6 on the season with an 11-2 win over the Brooklyn Robins at Ebbets Field in New York. Wilbur Cooper, who would finish the season with 22 wins, tossed a complete game while winning his sixth straight decision to start the year. All nine starters had at least one hit, including Cooper, who brought home two runs with a triple in the fifth inning. The team won 90 games, but blew the pennant when they lost 10-of-12 from August 23rd to September 2nd, whittling a 7-1/2 game lead to a mere half game. The NY Giants ran away in the stretch, winning the pennant by four games. 
  • 1935 - IF Ken Hamlin was born in Detroit. He was signed by the Pirates as a free agent in 1957, and made his big league debut two weeks later with another shot in 1959, going 1-for-9. Ken was traded to KC as part of the Hal Smith deal in the 1959 off season, spending the next five years with the Athletics, Angels, and Senators as a good-glove bench guy, hitting .241 in 463 games for his AL teams. He kept his hand in the game when he retired, opening a baseball camp in Michigan. 
  • 1949 - The Pirates dealt 1B Johnny Hopp to the Dodgers for OF Marv Rackley. Hopp went 0-for-14 and Rackley 11-for-35 before the trade was canceled on June 7th; it ended up Rackley had a bum arm that Brooklyn forgot (ooops!) to mention before he was traded. Rackley was done in 1950, while Hopp gave the Bucs parts of a couple more .300+ years before he was sold to the Yankees in September of the following season.

5/18 From 1960: Ironman Maz; NY Hex Broke; Grannies; Game Stories; HBD Nelson

  • 1968 - Bill Mazeroski played his 392nd straight game‚ a record for NL 2B‚ in an 8-3 loss to the Reds. He played 163 games that season as the Pirates had a tie game that counted, then was later replayed in its entirety. 
Nelson Figueroa 2003 (photo Andy Lyons/Getty)
  • 1974 - RHP Nelson Figueroa was born in Brooklyn. He signed as a free agent with the Pirates in 2003 and spent most of the season pitching for the Nashville Sounds, the AAA affiliate of the Pirates. In his two Pittsburgh seasons, Nelson went 2-4/4.38. He was, unknown to the club, suffering from arm woes in 2004 and had TJ surgery in 2005. That ended his Bucco stay, although he did return to the fold in 2011, working for AAA Indianapolis. He finished with parts on nine big-league seasons under his belt working a long guy and sixth starter. 
  • 1990 - Bobby Bonilla cracked his first grand slam and Bob Walk cruised on the hill as Pittsburgh defeated the Braves 9-3 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Wally Backman also added a two-run shot to support Walk. 
  • 2006 - Jason Bay banged his second career grand slam to key a six-run first inning against the Reds at PNC Park. It wasn’t enough as the Bucs squandered that lead and went down 9-8 to Cincinnati. Vic Santos had a rocky start and Matt Capps took the loss in relief. Freddy Sanchez and Jose Castillo, with a pair of doubles, had three hits apiece while Jeromy Burnitz went deep. 
  • 2009 - Jack Wilson went 4-for-4 and the Pirates went 7-for-14 with RISP while scoring nine runs off the Washington bullpen (the Nats also committed four errors) en route to a 12-7 win at Nationals Park. The Bucs were losing 5-3 before scoring five times in the sixth inning and they never looked back. Wilson doubled twice, singled and tripled while Craig Monroe chipped in with a three-run blast. Ross Ohlendorf was the shaky starter but the beneficiary of the big inning. He got the win, with Jesse Chavez, Tom Gorzelanny, John Grabow and Matt Capps nailing it down 
  • 2011 - Charlie Morton tossed a five-hit shutout while homers from Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen provided the runs as the Pirates whipped the Reds 5-0 at GABP. It was Morton’s second shutout and third complete game. He picked a bad day to get much notice; there were five whitewashes spun on this day around the league. 
Charlie Morton 2011 Topps Diamond
  • 2012 - Josh Harrison broke up Justin Verlander’s no-hit bid with one out in the ninth when he softly lined a curve ball into center. Verlander K’ed 12 Buccos and walked a pair at Comerica Park in leading Detroit to a 6-0 victory. 
  • 2014 - The Pirates split a twin bill at Yankee Stadium, dropping the opener 4-3 and taking the nightcap 5-3. Charlie Morton gave up three first-inning runs in the first game and Starling Marte whiffed four times in four at-bats, with eight swings-and-misses. But baseball has a way of reversing fortune, and in the second game, Marte’s two-run homer was key in Gerrit Cole’s win (saved by Mark Melancon). Starling became the first Pirate in 60 years, after Preston Ward in 1954, to wear the golden sombrero in the first game of a double header and homer in the second. Other second game standouts were C Chris Stewart with two RBI & a pick-off at third and OF Josh Harrison, who homered, doubled and made a diving catch late in the game to seal the deal. Fun factoid: the second game victory was the first win the Pirates had claimed over the Bronx Bombers in New York since the 1960 World Series.

Lyles Whiffs 12 As Bucs Even San Diego Series 5-3; DuRapau To Start Tomorrow

The Bucs got Melky aboard on a two-out boot; J-Bell tried to make the Friars and Joey Lucchesi pay, but his rope to left (exit speed: 110 MPH) found leather. Jordan Lyles was tapped for a dinger by Franmil Reyes; keeping SD in the yard seems to be an issue so far this series. A tqwo-out walk led to no further damage. It was a 1-2-3 second for Pittsburgh. The Padres led off with a knock, which was enough to turn the order over. K-Man singled with two gone in the third, but it wasn't a very disciplined inning by the hitters. The leadoff man reached again when Ian Kinsler singled off Jake Elmore's glove, but a fly and 6-4-3 DP closed it out quietly. With an out in the fourth, J-Bell delivered a one-out rap and Bryan Reynolds went deep to center to put the Bucs up a run. SD stayed alive in their half on a two-out throwing error by Jake Elmore, but it only cost Jordan two extra tosses. The Pirates made nary a peep in the fifth, nor did the Padres. Melky singled with an out in the sixth and was doubled up 6-4-3 three pitches later. Back-to-back one-out raps put Padres on the corners, but Lyles coaxed a K and fly to center to keep them there.

The Ace? (photo MLB.com)

The Bucco seventh went single, 6-4-3 DP, lineout as Lucchesi has thrown just 77 pitches. We'll never figure Clint out; he pulled Big Joe after 75 pitches, but let Jordan go with 91. But the ol' skipper must have known something; Lyles struck out the side. Brad Wieck was called on in the eighth and walked Tuck. After a Redbeard line out, Phil Maton was waved in to face the top of the order. He tossed a wild pitch while walking K-Man. Cole went to third on a Starling fly to right and came in when Melky yanked a two-strike cutter into right for a double. Gerardo Reyes became pitcher number three after that, getting J-Bell on a tapper on 99 MPH heat. Kyle Crick lost Manny Machado with two outs on a 3-2 pitch, but no harm came of it. In the ninth, Eli walked and Gregory singled with one away. Tuck came through, bouncing a RBI single into left off a two-strike slider. Redbeard followed with a rap the opposite way to make it 5-1 and sending Cole to third. Matt Wisler was summoned to the mound and doused the fire. Felipe Vazquez came on; guess Clint hadn't counted on the late cushion. Good thing he had it; the Friars opened with a double and dinger. But The Nightmare finished up by fanning two of the next three, and you can raise the Roger.

Bryan's homer got the ball rolling (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Jordan Lyles was what the doc ordered; for all the tooth-gnashing in March, he may be the best offseason signing the Bucs made, along with Melky and Frankie. Felipe should be off tomorrow after back-to-back outings - his velo dropped a couple MPH to the final batch of batters, whether by choice for control or from lack of action. We'll see how long baseball's version of the Light Brigade can keep on keepin' on; half a league onward...

Notes:
  • Melky and Bryan Reynolds each had two hits while the Buc pitchers collected 15 K (Lyles -12, Vazquez - 2, Crick - 1)
  • Jordan Lyles is the first Pirate with 12 or more whiffs (eight third strikes on his curve) since Frankie Liriano in 2016 and had the most for a righty since Gerrit Cole did the deed in 2014. The dozen punchouts are his career high.
  • Looks like the Bucs are going with an opener (or maybe bullpenning, who knows?) tomorrow. Clint announced Montana DuRapau will start. He hasn't made a start since his first year in the Bucco system in 2014, but has been used for multiple innings in the minors.
  • BTW, for those who don't follow the Padres, slugger Franmil Reyes is born to bop. The 23-year-old RF'er has lost 14 baseballs this year, and at 6'5", 275 lbs., it's no wonder. This is the Dominican's first full season in the bigs.
  • Trevor Williams is the 20th Pirate to end up on the IL this season. He'll miss awhile as he's been shut down for 10 days.
  • If you missed it last night, SD's Ian Kinsler went theatrical after his homer, bat-flipping and cussin'. Per reports, the league fined him today.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Jordan Lyles v Joey Lucchesi, Lineup & Notes - Willy To IL, Ric Rod Optioned, Jake Outrighted; Geoff Hartlieb, Clay Holmes Called Up

Game: First pitch is at 10:10 EDT and will be broadcast by AT&T SportsNet & 93.7 The Fan.

Lineup: Kevin Newman 2B, Starling Marte CF, Melky Cabrera RF, Josh Bell 1B, Bryan Reynolds LF, Eias Diaz C, Jake Elmore 3B, Cole Tucker SS, Jordan Lyles P. Another lefty is being thrown against the Bucs, so all righties on deck tonight. Eli's caught three-of-four games, with tonight being hi first back-to-back starts of the season; wonder if something is amiss with Cervy?

Jordan on the bump (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pitchers: RHP Jordan Lyles (3-1/2.09) takes on LHP Joey Lucchesi (3-2/4.57). Jordan, like Willy, is coming off a strong outing in St. Louis and has been solid for the Bucs. He's worked against San Diego a dozen times (eight starts) and they've had his number, with a career line of 2-4/5.60. Lyles hasn't tossed against them since 2017, not surprising as he pitched for them during parts of the 2017-18 seasons. Lucchesi is a guy who's results don't match his peripherals; his FIP is a tidy 3.37, so he's not had a lot of luck going his way. He was tough against the Bucs in his lone start against them in 2018, spinning five innings of one-hit, shutout ball (although four walks kept it interesting.)

Notes:
  • Willy suffered a right side strain last night and was placed on the 10-day IL. They called up RHP Geoff Hartlieb, who has been effective but wild, and Clay Holmes once again, outrighting C Jake Stallings (he cleared waivers and Hartlieb replaced him on the 40-man roster) and optioning Ric Rod, both to Indy.
  • San Diego set an odd record: yesterday was the 8,020th straight game w/o a no-hitter, the longest a team has gone from its inception without one. The wrested the dubious mark from the Mets and the Friars remain the only MLB team that has never authored a no-no.
  • OF Keon Broxton, who the Bucs set to Milwaukee in 2015, was DFA'ed by the Mets. RHP Aaron Slegers, who was in camp with Pittsburgh this spring, was DFA'ed by the Rays.

5/17 Through the 1910’s: Leever Faces Minimum; Wild Child; HBD Cool Papa, Harry, Hal, Elmer, Fred, Frank, Bill & Henry

  • 1857 - IF Billy Reid was born in London, Ontario. The second baseman was part of a wave of Ontario-born Canadian players that played in the majors around the turn of the 20th century. He had a brief career, spending his second and last season with the Alleghenys, batting .243 in 1884. Billy played in the minors until 1888 and returned to London to get on with his life.
  • 1858 - UT Henry Oberbeck was born in St. Louis (maybe) Missouri (for sure). He played 66 matches for two leagues and four teams in two years for a short-lived but busy MLB career. Henry started out with two games at first base for the Alleghenys in 1883, going two-for-nine with a double and run scored before moving on to the hometown St. Louis Browns. Henry left an impact on baseball when he won a suit against the Browns (Henry Oberbeck v. Sportsman’s Park and Club Association) to collect his entire contracted salary of $738; the MO of the teams in that era was to quit paying a player that they released. It was one of the early court decisions that ruled contracts not only bound the player to the team, but that the team was bound to pay its players.
Frank Mountain w/Cannonball Morris - 1884 Columbus Buckeyes. They would remain teammates in Pittsburgh in '85.
  • 1860 - RHP Frank Mountain was born in Fort Edward, New York. Frank, who was coming off a 23-win campaign with a no-hitter, was one of 10 players the Alleghenys bought from the defunct Columbus Colts club after the 1884 season. Frank only got to pitch seven games in 1985-86, going 1-6, and saw more time in his second year at 1b. After hitting .145, his MLB days were done after that season.
  • 1868 - LHP Fred Woodcock was born in Winchendon, Massachusetts. Fred’s MLB career consisted of five games (four starts) tossed for the 1892 Pirates; he went 1-2/3.35. He had signed out of Brown (he started at Dartmouth and there were suspicions that he was a pro at some point during his college career) by Bucco manager Bill McGunnigle, who was high on him. But alas for both Gunner and Fred, Tom Burns became the Pirates skipper and Woodcock was released. He later pitched for a couple of New England League teams and then became a successful insurance broker.
  • 1886 - RHP Elmer Steele was born in Rhinebeck, New York. He spent the final two seasons of his five-year career with Pittsburgh in 1910-11, slashing 9-10-2/2.56 over that time. He left the team under unusual circumstances, being sold to Brooklyn in September although the Pirates were in a pennant race at the time. One school of thought believed he had a bad arm, though the likelier tale is that the fiery Steele had thrown several tantrums and finally pushed the Pirates to the brink when he tossed a sweater in the face of Pirates manager Fred Clarke per Bill Newlin of SABR. At any rate, 1911 was his last big league year. He played in the minors until 1914 and settled into being a player & manager in the local Hudson Valley leagues while spending 30 years as a mailman for his day job.
  • 1889 - Per John Dreker of Pirates Prospects “After issuing 10 BB in his debut (on this date), Pittsburgh P Al Krumm offered to buy a hat for any batter than drew a BB off him next game.” The Alleghenys lost that match to the NY Giants 11-7 as Krumm went the distance. He never did get a chance to back up his bet - it was the only MLB game he ever pitched.
Hal Carlson 1921 (photo Bain/Library of Congress)
  • 1892 - RHP Harold “Hal” Carlson was born in Rockford, Illinois. He worked for the Pirates from 1917-23 (with a year off as an infantryman in WW1) to a 42-55/3.64 line as a curve-ball specialist; he had started out as a spitballer, but wasn’t grandfathered in when the pitch was outlawed. Hal was fairly handy with a stick, too, hitting .224. Carlson died while still a player with the Cubs at the age of 38, the victim of a stomach hemorrhage that some suspect may have been a lingering effect from being gassed during the Battle of the Argonne Forest.
  • 1897 - 3B Harry Riconda was born in New York City. He spent parts of six years in the majors, with a brief two-month stop in Pittsburgh in 1929, arriving as part of the Glenn Wright trade with Brooklyn. Harry got into eight games and went a pretty solid 7-for-15 with three runs scored and two RBI, but was still sent to the minors next season (Hall of Famer Pie Traynor owned third base at the time). He retired two years later.
  • 1903 - James “Cool Papa” Bell was born in Starkville, Mississippi. He played for both the Homestead Grays (1932, 1943–1946) and Pittsburgh Crawfords (1933–1938), and compiled a .337 BA in the Negro Leagues. His speed was legendary. One Satch Paige story goes that when facing Bell, the outfielder hit a liner up that went zipping past Paige's ear and hit Bell in the butt as he was sliding into second base. He also claimed that when he roomed with Bell, Cool Papa hit the light switch one night and was in bed before the light went out. The first Mexican League Triple Crown winner (he played there for three years), Bell was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. Per “Mississippi History Now,” Bell told baseball writer John Holway about his nickname: “They said that ‘he’s so cool he don’t get excited.’ St. Louis Stars Manager Bill Gatewood said, ‘We’ve got to add something to it. We’ll call him Cool Papa.’” Thus was born the legendary name. The Negro League Museum has a slightly different take, saying that when Gatewood thought Bell might be nervous before a big game, Bell responded with a "Don't worry!" and thus became "Cool Papa." Yet a third goes back to his pitching days (yep, he started out on the hill) per Baseball Comes Alive: Teammates referred to him as “Cool” after he struck out out Oscar Charleston, and then he added “Papa” because he thought it sounded better. Another story says that veteran teammates gave him the moniker as a 17-year-old rookie, when their predictions that big summer crowds would intimidate him proved false; the manager added the “Papa” because of his youth.
Cool Papa 1989 Perez-Steele Celebration
  • 1906 - “The Goshen Schoolmaster” Sam Leever tossed a three-hit shutout against Iron Man Joe McGinnity as the Bucs defeated the New York Giants 2-0. Leever faced just 27 NY batters at Expo Park. Two runners were erased on DPs and the other was caught stealing. Tommie Leach scored the first run and drove home the second. It was a turnaround in fortune for the Pirates. The Pittsburgh Press wrote that after the win “You couldn’t find a ‘knocker’ within 10 miles of Exposition Park (when) a week ago those Buccaneers were mutts.” To add insult to injury, Giant manager John “Mugsy” McGraw was hauled in front of a magistrate after the game and charged with assault after getting into a post-game shouting match with some boys on the way back to his hotel. The “joshing” ended when Mugsy grabbed the whip from his coach driver and lashed at the kids (literally). He caught one urchin in the face, sending him tumbling out his passing wagon.

5/17 From 1920 Through the 1970’s: Virdon Deal; Hank & Jackie; Game Stories; HBD Ozzie, Pascual & Jose

  • 1920 - The Pirates scored three runs in the bottom of the 15th to edge the Giants‚ 7-6 at Forbes Field. NY plated a pair in the 15th when C Walter Schmidt took his sweet time chasing down a wild pitch by Elmer Ponder, allowing not one but two Giants to score. Pittsburgh rallied and took the contest in their half when Charlie Grimm singled in Possum Whitted with two down for the game winner. With all that, the game took just 2:43 to complete. 
Ozzie Virgil 1965 Topps
  • 1932 - Utilityman Osvaldo “Ozzie” Virgil Sr. was born in Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic. He spent nine campaigns playing off MLB benches, stopping in Pittsburgh in 1965 and hitting .265 while playing infield and catching. After his playing days, he coached for nearly 20 years. His son, Ozzie Jr., played in 11 MLB seasons (1980–90) and was a two-time NL All-Star. 
  • 1947 - Hank Greenberg, who had heard an anti-semitic slur or three during his career, made Jackie Robinson’s transition a little easier when he checked on Robinson after a collision at first, then advised Jackie to “...stick in there. You’re doing fine.” during a 4-0 Bucco win at Forbes Field over the Brooklyn Dodgers. Per Paul Guggenheimer of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Hammerin’ Hank (Greenberg was the original) told Jackie “Don’t pay attention to these guys who are trying to make it hard for you. I hope that you and I can get together for a talk. There are a few things I’ve learned down through the years that might help you and make it easier.” As far as the game went, da Bums outhit Pittsburgh 12-4, but one of the Pirate knocks was a two-run homer by Greenberg. 
  • 1956 - The Pirates traded with St. Louis for CF Bill Virdon, sending LHP Dick Littlefield and OF Bobby Del Greco to the Redbirds. The Quail, who was Rookie of the Year in 1955 for the Cards, played 11 seasons for the Pirates, roaming the spacious center field pasture of Forbes Field for a decade while hitting .266 and later returned as a coach and manager. 
  • 1957 - RHP Pascual Perez was born in San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic. Pérez was signed by scout Neftalí Cruz in 1976. He pitched for the Pirates from 1980-81 with a slash of 2-8/3.94 before being sold to Atlanta where he took off. The 11-year vet was quite a character, using a hand motion to shoot down opposing batters, liberally buzzing batters, tossing a blooper pitch and peeking between his legs to check runners at first, even on occasion hiking the ball through his wickets as his pickoff. His last big league campaign was in 1991 with the Yankees. Perez’s colorful career came to a sad end when he was beaten to death in 2012 during a robbery in his homeland. 
Pascual Perez 1982 Topps
  • 1959 - The Cubs and Pirates traded long balls in a doubleheader split at Wrigley Field, with the clubs banging out 10 homers. Bill Mazeroski hit a pair and drove in three runs as the Bucs took the opener 5-4 behind Vern Law and ElRoy Face. The Cubs came back in the nightcap, claiming a 7-6 win thx to Pittsburgh’s “messing up of a pop fly” per Post Gazette writer Jack Herndon, giving Bennie Daniels the loss. Beside Maz’s two long flies, Roberto Clemente added a pair (one flew just to the left of the scoreboard, one of the longest blows ever hit at Wrigley) while Dick Hoak and Bob Skinner also homered. 
  • 1971 - Roberto Clemente's two-out, two-run, walk-off triple off Mike Marshall carried the Bucs to a 6-5 win over the Expos at TRS. Clemente had three hits, including a homer, and three RBI. His home run and Bob Robertson’s in the eighth had pulled Pittsburgh within a run to set up Clemente’s ninth inning heroics. Montreal had jumped to a 5-0 lead in the third off Luke Walker, but the bullpen work of Jim Nelson, Nellie Briles and Mudcat Grant shut them down the remainder of the game. 
  • 1976 - OF Jose Guillen was born in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. Signed by the Bucs in 1992, he made the Opening Day roster in 1997 after tearing up the High A Carolina League with Lynchburg. The RF’er was traded after the 1999 season after hitting .267 in his three-year Bucco span. In 2003, he found his power stroke and was a solid MLB player for 14 seasons, finishing up with a .270 BA and 214 long balls. 
Jose Guillen 1997 Pinnacle
  • 1979 - Willie Stargell homered twice, with his two-run shot off Jesse Orosco in the eighth being the game-winner, in a 6-5 victory over the Mets at TRS. Pittsburgh only had seven hits on the day but made them count as they went 5-for-10 with RISP. Ed Whitson got the start, Jim Bibby came on in the sixth, and Teke Tekulve got the victory with two scoreless frames. The Pirates started the season slowly, being 12-18 at one point before a six-game winning streak got them back above water and helped launch them to an eventual world championship.