Monday, July 22, 2019

Willy v Daniel Ponce de Leon, Lineup & Notes

Game: Opening pitch is slated for 7:05 with the first of four games on AT&T SportsNet & 93.7 The Fan. It should be a cool and cloudy evening, with the rain clearing out well before gametime.

Lineup: Adam Frazier 2B, Bryan Reynolds RF, Starling Marte CF, Josh Bell 1B, Colin Moran 3B, Corey Dickerson LF, Kevin Newman SS, Elias Diaz C, Trevor Williams P. Maybe the cool temps will heat up the sticks.

Willy has been de-bugged - photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates

Pitchers: RHP Trevor Williams (3-3/5.17) opens against RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon (1-0/2.80).  Willy has been a mess since returning from the IL - in his latest four starts, he's 1-2/9.53, giving up 37 hits (including eight homers) in 22-2/3 IP. But Trevor was tough enough in his first 2019 outing against the Redbirds, winning 2-1 despites scattering nine hits over seven innings.  He missed his Saturday start with the flu, and hopefully after bouts with the bug and the steamy weather, he's got his strength back. Ponce de Leon made it through 3-2/3 IP and gave up four runs last week in his last start against the Pirates while allowing 10 runners to reach (eight hits, two walks). It's his sixth start of the year and his peripherals are all good, so we'll see if last outing was an outlier or the league punching back.

Notes:
  • Steven Brault threw a bullpen session today and still has some work to do; no word on the status of Keone Kela, who tossed back-to-back for the first time yesterday.
  • Since the break, the Bucs have dropped 7-of-9 while the Cardinals have won 6-of-9, including 2-of-3 from the Bucs last week. The series has been hard fought, with the Redbirds up 5-4.
  • 1B Calvin Mitchell of Bradenton was selected as the Florida State League POTW.
  • Expect a little ruder treatment than yesterday's trespasser got if you decide to interlope on the field. PNC security took a lot of heat for its slow response and should be fired up to tackle future uninvited visitors. 


7/22 Through the 1920’s: O'Toole Joins; Deacon Granny; Ginger Six-Pack; Game Stories; HBD Mooney, Elmer & Larry

  • 1880 - C George “Mooney” Gibson was born in London, Canada. He played a dozen years for the Bucs (1905-16) as a defense-first catcher, batting .238 but tossing out 949 runners. He had a 46% throw-out rate back in the days when baseball was a go-go league - 1,101 runners actually did steal off him against the Pirates. He was durable, too, once catching 140 straight games. Mooney finished his career as a NY Giant and later returned to Pittsburgh as a manager, first in 1920-22, then from 1932-34, finishing second three times with a record of 401-330. Gibson was the first baseball player elected to the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. Per Wiki, his nickname may have been inspired by his round, moon-shaped face, though other sources claim he picked it up because he had played on a sandlot team known as the Mooneys. 
Elmer Kentzer - 1914 Cracker Jacks
  • 1885 - LHP Elmer Knetzer was born in Carrick. He tossed for the Pittsburgh Rebels of the Federal League from 1914-15 with a 38-26/2.73 slash, with six years in the NL sandwiched on either end of that stint. Knetzer was the first active player to jump from the NL to the FL after Brooklyn lowballed him during contract time. He went by “Pretzel” and “The Baron” - Pretzel because of the way his curveball twisted, while Baron goes unexplained. He stayed a hometown boy, and when he died in 1975, he was buried in St Wendelin Cemetery in Carrick. 
  • 1885 - OF Sheldon “Larry” LeJeune was born in Chicago. He played for brief parts of two seasons in the show, his last being in 1915 for the Pirates, hitting .161 and committing five errors in 61 chances. Still, he came to Pittsburgh with a pretty good resume - he had led the Central League in batting from 1912-1915 and in homers in 1910 and 1912. Larry did make the record books, tho - in 1910, he hurled a baseball 426’ 9”, a record that stood until minor-leaguer Don Grates broke it (434’) in 1952. 1899 - The Pirates rolled over the Philadelphia Quakers by an 18-4 count at Exposition Park. OF Ginger Beaumont went 6-for-6 at leadoff and scored six times without hitting a ball out of the infield. Rookie second baseman Jimmy Williams drove in three runs with a pair of triples. 
  • 1908 - The Pirates scored twice in the first inning and those runs held up as they beat the Brooklyn Superbas 2-1 at Exposition Park. As described by the Pittsburgh Press “Howie Camnitz was on the rubber for the Pirates and pitched in faultless style, allowing only four hits and having his opponents at his mercy the whole way.” One of those hits was a bomb by Brooklyn 1B Tim Jordan, who “...laced the sphere over the right field fence...It was a terrific swat and the Superba star was cheered to the echo by the spectators.” He was the first batter to put one into the seats on the fly at the Expo since 1899. 
  • 1910 - Deacon Phillippe hit a second-inning inside-the-park grand slam off Brooklyn’s Fred Miller as part of a 14-1 win at Washington Park as the Pirates swept the Superbas in a four game set. Mel Stottlemyre was the next MLB pitcher to hit an inside the park grannie - in 1965! Phillippe was the first Bucs hurler to empty jammed bases; there are only five in franchise history with grand slams. 
Marty O'Toole - image 7/23/1911 Pittsburgh Press
  • 1911 - The Pirates paid St. Paul of the American Association $22‚500 for RHP Marty O'Toole‚ the most expensive purchase of a player to that date. The AA ace was to join the Bucs when the minor league campaign ended (His first Bucco start was on August 30th). Barney Dreyfuss spent another $5‚000 for his battery mate Bill Kelly. In 1912‚ O'Toole went 15-17/2.71, led the NL with 159 walks and was out of Pittsburgh by 1914, winning a total of 26 games while walking 300 batters in 599-1/3 IP. Kelly was a reserve catcher, hitting .290 for Pittsburgh and out of MLB after 1913.

7/22 From 1930 Through the 1970’s: Teke Twin Save; Bottle Barrage; Game Stories; HBD Vogey, RC, Jack & Denny

  • 1932 - LHP Jack McMahan was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He pitched for one season in the show, and his 11 game stint with the Pirates in 1956 didn’t go so well. In 13-1/3IP, the Rule 5 pick from the Yankees gave up nine runs on 18 hits with nine walks and he was traded with Curt Roberts to the Kansas City Athletics on June 23rd for Spook Jacobs. His stay with KC went a little better, but not so well that he got another call to the majors. He retired after the 1959 season, opened a liquor store for a spell and then became a golf equipment salesman. 
  • 1933 - Fans were hard to come by during the 30’s, but 27,000 came out to Forbes Field to see the Bucs and Giants mix it up, the biggest turnout since 1930. The first game was a duel between Larry French and Carl Hubbell, who exchanged six-hitters in the lidlifter, with the G-Man claiming a 1-0 win thanks to Mel Ott’s sac fly in the first inning. It was a tight game, and the fans got into it by showering ump Charlie Moran with pop bottles after he called Bucco Tony Piet out at first, changed his mind and ruled him safe, and then, as the Giant infield charged first in protest, reverted back to his original call. There were no injuries - Moran even caught a couple of the bottles (although Beans Reardon, the third base arbitrator who had nothing to do with decision had some debris aimed at him, too) and after a cleanup, the game went on. The heated rooters and NY nine cooled off after an hour’s rain delay and Heinie Meine tossed the Pirates to a calm 6-2 win, with the pivotal blow a two-run triple by Arky Vaughan, who tallied a third score after the three-bagger on a wild pitch.
  • 1934 - 1B RC Stevens was born in Moultrie, Georgia. The 6’5” slugger was signed out of Moultrie HS, but his one-trick stick wasn’t enough to earn him a starting spot in the show. As a backup, he hit decently, with a .260 BA and eight homers in 108 PA in 71 games from 1958-60, but he couldn’t outpace Ted Kluszewski, Dick Stuart and Rocky Nelson in the first base race. 
  • 1939 - Boston committed seven errors in a 9-3 loss to the Bucs at Braves Field, allowing five unearned runs to cross the plate. One frustrated Bee’s fan jumped out of the stands and took a swing at Braves’ catcher Al Lopez after he dropped a popup. But it wasn’t entirely bad glovework. The Bucs also banged out 13 hits, led by Lee Handley’s 3-for-4 effort. Chuck Klein ran his hitting streak to 21 games with a 2-for-5 performance before the Bees stopped him the next day. 
  • 1939 - Girls baseball never caught on in Pittsburgh, but softball was red hot here. The Duquesne Gardens hosted a pair of games touted as “Girls Indoor Baseball” (never mind that it was softball) on back-to-back days with the championship New York City Roverettes going against the Pittsburgh All-Stars. Pittsburgh won the opener 2-1 behind SS Ann Giaciach, who had four hits, but was thumped in the rematch 10-1. 
  • 1963 - Utilityman Denny Gonzalez was born in Sabana Grande de Boya, Dominican Republic. He played parts of four seasons as a Buc (1984-88) but never spent a full campaign on the active roster, hitting .206. After his playing days, Gonzalez scouted for the Chicago White Sox and runs the Sox' Dominican Academy. He also has taken the Dominican National team reins in international play.
Denny Gonzalez -  1986 Topps
  • 1964 - Pittsburgh scored four runs in the first and never looked back as they whipped the St. Louis Cardinals 13-2 at Busch Stadium. Bill Mazeroski knocked in five runs with a double and homer while Willie Stargell hit for the cycle with four runs scored and three more driven in. Jerry Lynch also went yard and added three ribbies as Bob Veale cruised to victory. 
  • 1973 - Pittsburgh swept San Diego 3-1 and 13-7 at TRS. Willie Stargell hit two home runs and chased home five runs during the twin bill; rookie Dave Parker smacked his first MLB homer in the opener. Nellie Briles went seven innings, giving up six hits, to win the lidlifter with help from Ramon Hernandez and Dave Giusti. Willie’s two-run double was the key blow. Stargell’s two homers primed the attack in the nightcap; Bob Robertson also went long. The Cobra had three raps, with Willy, Robby, Al Oliver and Manny Sanguillen adding two knocks each while Richie Zisk iced the game with a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double. Luke Walker got the win with Bob Moose and John Lamb holding down the fort. 
  • 1977 - RHP Ryan Vogelsong was born in Charlotte, NC. He worked five years for the Pirates (2001, 2003-06), going 10-19 with a 6.00 ERA. He took a hiatus to Japan, but came back in 2011 to his original team, the SF Giants, and pitched strong ball for the G-Men, earning an All-Star spot in 2011. He rejoined Pittsburgh in 2016 as a long man/spot starter, missing a large chunk of the campaign after a brutal beaning in the eye area. Vogey went 3-7/4.81 for the Bucs in that campaign. He signed with the Twins in 2017 but was released in camp. A fan fave in the Bay, he retired as a Giant later in the year. 
  • 1979 - Kent Tekulve saved both ends of a doubleheader as the Pirates swept the Braves 5-4 and 3-2 at TRS. Teke scattered four hits over three scoreless innings in the first game of a twin bill, closing out Don Robinson’s win (which Robinson helped along with two RBI and a run scored), then tossed the final inning in relief of Jim Bibby (who was also a hitting hero with a two-run homer) in the second game for his 15th and 16th saves of the year.

7/22 From 1980: Coles-Wilson; A-Ram-Lofton Dump; LaRoche-Strickland & Diaz; Freddy Deal; Grilli on SI; Game Stories; RIP Little Poison

  • 1982 - Lloyd “Little Poison” Waner passed away at age 76. The 18-year veteran (all but one in a Bucco uniform, at least in part) batted .316 and teamed with his brother, Paul - known as ''Big Poison'' - to lead the Pirates' attack in the late 1920's and throughout the 1930's. Lloyd, elected to the Hall of Fame in 1967, had 2,459 career hits. The speedy Waner was Pittsburgh’s long-time leadoff hitter with an eagle eye at the dish. In 8,333 plate appearances, he struck out just 173 times. After retiring as a player after the 1945 campaign, Waner worked as a Pirates scout from 1946-49 before getting a day job as an inspector for Oklahoma City.
Little Poison - 1973 TCMA All Time Greats
  • 1987 - The Pirates turned some efficient pitching from Rick Reuschel and some shoddy Giant play into a 4-0 win over San Francisco at Candlestick Park. Both teams traded five hits, and the Bucs were nursing a slim 1-0 lead into the ninth when a single, an error, three walks (two intentional) and a wild pitch netted them three runs. Big Daddy went the distance and used up just 91 pitches to dispatch the G-Men. 
  • 1988 - In a swap of outfielders, Pittsburgh sent Darnell Coles to Seattle for Glenn Wilson. Wilson spent 1988-89 as a Buc, returning again for his 1993 swan song. He got into 147 games and was solid, hitting .274 with 11 HR. Coles spent 1987-88 as a Pirate, also smacking 11 homers but hitting just .230 in 108 games. GM Syd Thrift had been after Wilson for over a year, from when he was with the Phils, but couldn’t strike a deal with Philadelphia, which wanted a front-line pitcher in return. 
  • 1993 - The Bucs scored four times in the ninth to rally past the Braves 8-7 at TRS. Jay Bell drove in the first run in the final frame, and with two outs, Dave Clark’s single got the Bucs within a run. The next hitter, Kevin Young, dropped a soft liner into right center, plating Lloyd McClendon and Clark, who scored all the way from first, to give Blas Minor the victory. 
  • 2000 - The Pirates beat the Phillies 2-1 at TRS in front of 28,485 Saturday night fans. Bronson Arroyo allowed two hits over seven shutout innings for his first major league win, with Jason Christiansen and Mike Williams (who gave up a solo shot but nailed down the save) following on. Mike Benjamin had a double & triple while Emil Brown added a pair of hits, scoring once & driving in a run. 
Press editorial 7-24-2003
  • 2003 - The Pirates traded 3B Aramis Ramirez, OF Kenny Lofton, and cash to the Cubs for SS Jose Hernandez, P Matt Bruback, and 2B Bobby Hill in Dave Littlefield's darkest day of salary dumping. It was speculated that P Kris Benson, not Ramirez, was who the Cubs were after, but he missed his prior start with “shoulder discomfort” so Chicago passed on him. The Bucs also dealy Scott Sauerbeck & Mike Gonzalez to the Boston Red Sox for Brandon Lyon & Anastacio Martinez. Ten days later, Gonzo was traded back to Pittsburgh with Freddy Sanchez & cash for Brandon Lyon (who flunked his Pirates physical), Martinez & Jeff Suppan, basically making the deal Sauerbeck & Suppan for Sanchez. 
  • 2009 - The Pirates traded Adam LaRoche to the Boston Red Sox for two minor leaguers, SS Argenis Diaz and RHP Hunter Strickland. LaRoche remained in the show until 2016 when he retired, while Diaz played for Pittsburgh briefly in 2010 and Hunter, after a stint with the Giants, is now with Seattle. 
  • 2009 - The Bucs used a season-high five home runs to hold off the Brewers 8-7 at PNC Park. Brandon Moss went long in the ninth off Mitch Stettler for his first walk off homer; Ryan Doumit added a pair of blasts while Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones each had one. Delwyn Young and Jones had three hits apiece. Paul Maholm started and was chased in the fifth after giving up all seven runs; Joel Hanrahan, John Grabow and eventual winner Matt Capps shut the gate afterward. 
  • 2013 - Jason Grilli was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, the poster boy for Ben Reiter’s story “The Strangest But Truest Story of the Summer: The Playoff Bound Pirates and Their Sharknado Bullpen.” It was purely coincidental that Grilled Cheese was injured pitching the same day, put on the DL, and out of action until September 3rd. It was also the first time in 21 years, since Barry Bond’s 1992 appearance, that a Pirate graced the cover of SI.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Hot Day, Icy Bats - Phils Take Series 2-1 On 11th Inning Homer

Dario Agrazal was touched for a two-out double by Bryce Harper, but as usual kept the scoreboard clean. The Bucs drew first blood off Drew Smyly when K-Man doubled, J-Bell walked, and Melky's  two-out rap plated Newman. A two-away single by the Phils was all the action either club could muster in the second. The third went quietly for Philly; K-Man walked and got to second for the Bucs, where he remained. It's been gray and drizzly with some pretty loud thunderclaps, but the umps checked their cell phones apps and said "Play on." Harper drew a full-count walk to start the fourth and tagged to second; he looked like a goner if K-Man came up with Bryan Reynold's throw cleanly. The rain picked up some, though still light, and the tarps were unfurled, with the delay being short-lived. The earlier dropped ball ended up a big deal when Harper came in on a well-placed two-out single through a shift to knot the score. Joey O led off with a knock and that was it. Dario issued a two-out walk before closing down the fifth while Smyly struck out the side.

Dario strong again - image Pittsburgh Pirates

The Phils got a bopped batter with one gone in the sixth (Rhys Hoskins was not a happy camper about it, nor was Harper when he was rung up the at bat before on a pitch that was up), then a Philly fan ran (OK, he kinda sauntered) on the field, finishing his 15 minutes of fame wearing a PPD bracelet and taking a perp walk off the field. A DP ended it before any other sideshow events had a chance to develop. Starling opened with a two-bagger for a second before a replay ruled him out, leading to another calm frame. Ric Rod got the seventh, and with two outs he plunked a Phil; no prob as he fanned the next one. Juan Nicasio took the ball and took just eight pitches and three grounders to return to the dugout. Kyle Crick, despite some recent bumpiness, was waved in for the eighth and put Philly away in order on 10 tosses. Adam Morgan walked K-Man in between strikeouts, then Newman was caught stealing.

The Nightmare was called in for the ninth. He was greeted by a leadoff knock, but no damage was done. Hector Neris climbed the mound and clipped the leadoff guy, Starling. A grounder on a hit and run moved Marte up 90' and another roller got him to third. Redbeard was plunked (a 95 MPH heater that bounced off his hand and flew all the way to the dugout *ouch*) then Corey D was walked intentionally to juice the sacks. Eli lasered a shot to left, but it was an at 'em ball, and the horsehide gods have decreed bonus ball. Chris Stratton took command in the 10th, and gave up a double with an out (Starling made a nice play to get to the gapper and hold it to two bases). Two routine grounders kept it tied. Ranger Suarez got his turn. Fraze doubled to greet him and was bunted to third by K-Man. Reynolds fanned on a 3-2 changeup, and Marte bounced out on an 0-2 change. The out-for-a-base debate continues unabated... Stratton stayed on for the 11th, and Hoskins yanked a 1-2 curve just inside the foul pole in left with an out (Harper was K'ed looking on another pitch up; could be his whining got to plate ump Ben May) before shutting it down. Suarez stayed on and Melky singled with an out. Jake K'd looking at a heater, ditto for Redbeard, and that was the ballgame.

Ol' man Melky can still swing it - photo Pittsburgh Pirates

Six hits. 14 whiffs. 1-for-9 w/RISP. Fed a steady diet of curves and changes, the bats were frozen by fastballs. Drew Smyly had an ERA of 12.74 in his last five MLB starts, yet held the Bucs to one run in six innings. 'Nuff said...gotta be able to handle the slow stuff through discipline and recognition, and the Pirates couldn't today.

Notes:
  • Melky had two hits; K-Man posted a knock with two walks at leadoff. He's batting .335 w/OBP of .370 at the top of the order. J-Bell is still in deep freeze mode, going 0-for-4 and dropping his BA to .289, the first time it's been under .290 since May 7th.
  • Dario Agrazal set his career high in whiffs today with five in six innings. He gave up one run on three hits and two walks while flipping 93 pitches. His ERA is now 2.25.
  • Kyle Crick has gone two-of-three outings without a walk, so maybe he's getting over the hump. He hasn't gone consecutive appearances w/o a free pass since late May.
  • Today's crowd was announced at 24,830.
  • On his radio show, Neal said that the FO is still working through trade scenarios, with the debate focusing on current needs v future building blocks. As for the Vazquez rumors, he said they'll listen to offers, but “We fully anticipate Felipe will be closing the next playoff games that we’re a part of.” The schizo streaky play of the team doesn't help in the deadline decision making.

Dario v Drew Smyly, Lineup & Notes

Game: It's a 1:35 start and the rubber match will be broadcast by AT&T SportsNet & 93.7 The Fan. It's Kids Day with a pre-game party outside and base-running after the match. Kids 14-and-under also get pierogi figurines of Jalapeno Hanna, Sauerkraut Saul and Cheese Chester. The weather could be squirrely as popup storms are crossing the region.

Lineup: Kevin Newman 2B, Bryan Reynolds LF, Starling Marte CF, Josh Bell 1B, Melky Cabrera RF, Jose Osuna 3B, Jung Ho Kang SS, Elias Diaz C, Dario Agrazal P. Must be Sunday...

K-Man slides to 2B w/JHK at short - photo Pittsburgh Pirates

Pitchers: Dario Agrazal (2-0/2.45) gets the finale against LHP Drew Smyly (1-5/8.52).
Dario's peripherals - seven strikeouts in 22 IP and a 5.72 FIP - suggest imminent doom, but the Bucs are 3-1 in his four starts (the only loss was 4-3) so we'll see if he can keep his train rolling. Smyly gives up 3.3 HR per game, 11 + hits and walks nearly seven with a WHIP of 1.9. His does average a strikeout per inning, tho, guess that's what attracted Philly to sign him. He'll be making his first MLB start since June 18th; he's tossed three games in AAA since then. Smyly hasn't seen the Pirates since 2013.

Notes:

  • In his last 51 games, Redbeard is hitting .337, and overall has a .378 BA w/RISP and played four positions in the field.
  • With last night's victory, Clint Hurdle (712) moved past Chuck Tanner (711) into fourth place with wins among Pirates skippers. The three top guns are Fred Clarke (1,422), Danny Murtaugh (1,115) and Jim Leyland (851). Clint's got a bit to go to catch up that trio.
  • Smyly, DFA'ed by Texas in June, worked three games in Milwaukee's minors (1-0/4.97) before signing as a FA with the Phils. It could be a good deal in the long run; Smiles had TJ surgery in mid-2017 and this is his first season back.
  • Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Lee Smith and Harold Baines will be inducted into the HoF today. The first four were voted in; the latter pair selected by "Today's Game" committee.

7/21 Through the 1950’s: Fordham Flash HoF; Satch v Josh; Game Stories; HBD Young Cy & Dick

  • 1877 - LHP Irv “Young Cy” Young was born in Columbia Falls, Maine. Irv worked on the railroad and played amateur ball; he didn’t join a pro team until he was 27 and was good enough to be in the majors the following year. He was a star pitcher for a terrible team, the Boston Beaneaters, and the Pirates had interest in him even then; they offered to buy him in September of his 1905 rookie campaign for $7,500 but were turned down. Irv returned to earth and in 1908 he was traded to the Pirates for pitchers Tom McCarthy and Harley Young. In 16 games for the Bucs, Young was 4-3-1/2.01. Sadly for Irv, the 1909 Bucs were loaded with pitchers - their top six starters were Vic Willis, Howie Camnitz, Nick Maddux, Lefty Leifield, Babe Adams & Deacon Phillippe - and despite Irv’s strong showing, he was on the outside looking in. Young Cy returned with the White Sox in 1910 and pitched well, but after the following season, his age 34 campaign, he was done. Fun fact: in 1905, Irv went 20-21 for the Boston Beaneaters to become one of two pitchers in modern (post–1900) era to win 20 games for a team that lost 100 games (51-103), and also had the most wins for a pitcher with an overall losing record. 
Irv "Young Cy" Young 1908 - photo Conlon Collection/Detroit Public Library
  • 1927 - IF Dick Smith was born in Blandburg, Cambria County. The Bucs signed him out of Lock Haven, and from 1951-55 he yo-yoed back and forth between Pittsburgh and the minors. In 70 games over that span, he hit .134, never reaching the Mendoza Line in any of his five campaigns. But he was a decent minor league hitter, and his pro career spanned from 1949-60 with the last seven years spent mainly in the PCL before he retired at age 32. 
  • 1932 - The Pirates tied the Chicago Cubs in the seventh on a Dave Barbee triple and Gus Suhr sac fly, then with the bases empty and two outs in the ninth rallied for a 3-2 win at Forbes Field. Pie Traynor singled and came all the way around in the final frame when Lloyd Waner, who had entered the game in the eighth inning, took the next pitch to left center to plate Pie with a walk-off double. Ray Kremer tossed a complete game seven hitter for the win over Jumbo Elliott. Little Poison’s pinch knock kept alive a 22-game hitting streak, and gave him hits in 31-of-32 games. 
  • 1942 - At Forbes Field‚ in front of 11,500 fans in a game under the new Forbes Field lights, KC Monarchs (and ex-Pittsburgh Crawfords) pitcher Satchel Paige intentionally walked Howard Easterling to jam the sacks and set up a battle with Josh Gibson. Years earlier‚ Paige had told Gibson that one day he would strike him out with the bases loaded, and the showman decided now was the time. Well, he didn't fan him, but Satch did coax a soft fly to left with the same run-stranding result. Still, the Grays rallied from a 4-0 deficit, tying the game with a four-spot in the eighth and winning it, 5-4, in 11 innings. Later that year, Paige got his revenge when he won three Negro League World Series games against Homestead to lead KC to the title. 
  • 1947 - Frankie “The Fordham Flash” Frisch was enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Though he never played for the Bucs, he managed the club from 1940-46. His teams were usually competitive (539-528/.505) but never serious contenders, and Frisch's years with the Pirates were remembered more for his on-field antics and umpire-baiting than victories.
Frankie Frisch 1945 - photo 7/11/1945 Pittsburgh Press
  • 1956 - Brooks Lawrence took his 13-game winning streak into the ninth with a 3-1 lead, but his string was snapped by Roberto Clemente, who hit a three-run homer as the Pirates edged the Cincinnati Reds‚ 4-3, at Crosley Field. Lawrence gave up just six hits, but three of them were bunched up in the ninth. The first run was chased home by Frank Thomas, who had two hits. Elroy Face, who tossed two scoreless innings, won in relief of Bob Friend.

7/21 From 1960 Through the 1980’s: Pops Last Pop; Lynch Ties Mark; Cobra Cover; Game Stories; HBD Kimera

  • 1960 - The eventual World Champs chalked up a 4-1 victory over the Dodgers at the LA Coliseum. Vern Law, who would win the 1960 Cy Young Award, tossed a complete game, surrendering five hits to defeat Johnny Podres. Hal Smith hit a pair of solo home runs and Roberto Clemente knocked in the other two RBI in the victory. 
Jim Marshall - photo via Sports Memorabilia
  • 1962 - Jim Marshall came off the bench in the 11th frame and delivered a bases-loaded single to vault the Pirates past his former club, the San Francisco Giants, by a 7-6 score at Forbes Field. Don Hoak led the attack with three hits, including a triple, and three RBI. Roberto Clemente ran his hitting streak to 18 games with two raps before the Giants snapped his string the next day. Neither starter got through the third as Al McBean and San Fran’s Digger O’Dell were chased early. The teams combined to use nine pitchers, with ElRoy Face besting Don Larsen. 
  • 1963 - Pinch hitter Jerry Lynch drilled a three-run home run off Chicago's Lindy McDaniel in the ninth inning to tie the Cubs 5-5 at Forbes Field. Lynch’s homer was his 14th career round-tripper off the bench, tying the MLB mark set by former Cincinnati teammate, George Crowe. The Bucs eventually won the contest in 14 innings, 6-5, on Bill Virdon’s two-out infield single to salvage a doubleheader split. The Pirates had 22 hits during the game, but stranded 15 runners. Roberto Clemente hit into a 3-6 triple play in the second frame, lining out to first baseman Merritt Ranew, who stepped on first to force Manny Mota and then threw to second to retire Ducky Schofield, giving an early indication of what kind of grind-it-out contest was on tap for the Bucs. 
  • 1972 - Coach Kimera Bartee was born in Omaha. After a six-year pro career as an outfielder, mostly with Detroit, Bartee was hired as the Bucs’ roving minor league outfield & baserunning coordinator in 2008 with a 2011 stint as short-season State College’s skipper. In the 2016 offseason, he was promoted to the Pirates as the outfield/baserunning coach. 
  • 1979 - Dave Parker was a cover boy of The Sporting News in the magazine’s All-Star issue along with George Brett, Fred Lynn & Pete Rose. The Cobra showcased his powerful arm by throwing out Jim Rice at third base and Brian Downing at home. At the dish, Parker added an RBI on a sac fly and was named the game's MVP. 
  • 1982 - Willie Stargell hit his final bomb, a club record 475th home run, against the Reds’ Tom Hume. It was an eighth-inning, game-winning, pinch-hit solo shot in a 3-2 victory at Riverfront Stadium to give Larry McWilliams the win, backed by a two-inning save by Kent Tekulve. 
  • 1983 - The Pirates walked off with a 5-4 decision over the LA Dodgers at TRS for their 10th win in 11 games, the first leg of a 20-of-25 July winning streak that would carry them from fifth place to first. The City of Angels raced out to a 4-1 lead behind Fernando Valenzuela, but the Pirates chipped away with single runs in the seventh and the eighth to trim the gap to one. The Bucs had a runner on first in the ninth, thanks to a Dodger boot, with two down when Bill Madlock singled and Jason Thompson drew a walk off Steve Howe. Jim Morrison became the hero when his bases-loaded rap into left chased home two runs to give Kent Tekulve, the Pirates fourth pitcher, the victory.

7/21 From 1990: Grilli Signed; Waner's #11 Retired; Stairs' Splashdowns; Game Stories

  • 1991 - Randy Tomlin spun a three-hit, complete game masterpiece against the Cincinnati Reds at TRS, winning by a 6-0 score and allowing just four baserunners, none whom made it past first base. (That no-one-past-first feat wouldn’t be duplicated by the Buccos again until 2017 when Steven Brault and three relievers stopped the Milwaukee Brewers). Andy Van Slyke and Don Slaught both had two-run raps while Gary Redus had three hits, missing the cycle by a homer, and scored twice. 
Kevin Polcovich 1998 - Upper Deck Collector's Choice
  • 1997 - The Pirate “Freak Show” stayed alive with a 3-2 win over Curt Schilling and The Phillies at Veteran’s Stadium. Philadelphia jumped ahead 2-0 on Esteban Loaiza, but Al Martin’s homer off a hanging forkball in the sixth tied it. Keith Osik led off the next frame with a double and went to third on a grounder, but a suicide squeeze attempt by Kevin Polcovich fizzled and Osik was caught at home. Kevin made amends, working the count full and then yanking a heater over the fence in left. Matt Reubel, Marc Wilkins and Rich Loiselle closed the door after that, and despite striking out 17 times (the Post-Gazette headline was “Get A Whiff Of This”), the Bucs remained in the race. 
  • 2003 - Matt Stairs became the first player to hit two home runs into the Allegheny River (both on the bounce) during a 5-3 win over Houston. He hit his first river ball while playing for the Cubs two years before. Josh Fogg got the win with plenty of bullpen help; the last of three relievers, Mike Lincoln, got the save. 
  • 2007 - The Pirates retired Paul "Big Poison" Waner's #11 in a ceremony before their game vs. the Astros on the 55th anniversary of his 1952 Hall of Fame induction. Waner was the first NL player since Honus Wagner, 28 years before, and the seventh batter in history to reach 3,000 knocks. (He got #3,000 against his old teammate Rip Sewell on June 19th, 1942, as a Boston Brave.) The team had a video presentation, the family on the field, and rolled his #11 into the outfield grass for the contest. The Bucs celebrated by ending a seven game losing streak, toppling Houston 7-3, although they reverted to form and lost seven of the next eight contests.  
  • 2008 - The Bucs ended a six-loss-in-seven-games streak with a 9-3 win over Houston at Minute Maid Park. Freddy Sanchez had three hits, including a homer, and four RBI. Jason Bay went 4-for-5 with a homer, Nate McLouth and Xavier Nady had three hits and Adam LaRoche chipped in with a home run. It wasn’t an easy win despite the final score; the game didn’t become a laugher until the Bucs rallied from behind with seven runs in the ninth inning to make Tyler Yates a winner. 
Jason Grilli 2011 - Topps
  • 2011 - The Pirates signed Jason Grilli from Philadelphia’s AAA Lehigh club; he had a major league opt-out clause that he exercised to join the Buccos. “Grilled Cheese” pitched for Pittsburgh from 2011-14 with a line of 3-11-47/3.01 and a K rate of 12.4 batters per nine innings. He went from bridge man to closer, taking Joel Hanrahan’s spot in 2013 and earning an All-Star berth with 33 saves. Grilli had a down campaign in 2014 and was swapped in a change of scenery deadline deal for the Angels’ Ernesto Frieri, with Mark Melancon taking over the Pirates closer duties. 
  • 2013 - The Pirates snapped a three game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Reds at GABP. Jeff Locke gave up one hit over six, but allowed a run on back-to-back walks, a bunt, and a two-out wild pitch. Mark Melancon surrendered the other score, giving up a ground ball single sandwiched around a pair of walks with no outs, but gladly gave up the tally in exchange for a Joey Votto DP ball. The Pirates staff only yielded three hits to Cincinnati, but seven walks gave the Reds plenty of baserunners. The Buccos scored on a Garrett Jones solo homer and RBI knocks by Jordy Mercer and Jose Tabata. 
  • 2017 - Josh Bell had a career-high four hits, including a double, triple and four RBI, as the Bucs beat the Rockies 13-5 to extend their winning streak to six and claiming their 12th victory in 14 games. Fran Cervelli added three raps to go with three RBI for his fourth straight multi-hit game, Andrew McCutchen went 3-for-4 with two walks, three runs scored & three runners plated, Starling Marte scored four times & swiped two sacks, and Jordy Mercer hit a 444’ homer as the Pirates swatted 18 hits. Trevor Williams went into the seventh for the win with Jhan Marinez providing the finishing touches.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Big Joe, Pen Shuts Down Phils 5-1

Big Joe had an easy first; fly out, single, and around-the-horn DP. Zach Eflin had an even easier one, putting the Bucs away 1-2-3. It was the Phils turn to go down in order in the second; J-Bell opened for the Pirates by getting bopped, but it didn't lead to anything. It was nine-up, nine-down for Philadelphia in the third, while the Pittsburgh bats awoke. Big Joe doubled with an out, and with two away, the action started. Bryan Reynolds singled Musgrove home, galloping to second on the throw to the plate. Starling plated him with a double, then J-Bell's blooper put the Pirates up 3-0. In the fourth, Big Joe bopped one batter and walked another, with no damage from his control fails. Corey D opened with a double, scooted to third on a grounder, and was chopped down at home on the contact play. Then we got a 1/2 hour rain delay (time well spent thx to a 1979 Championship vid) before returning to regular programming. A walk and two-base boot by Josh put Big Joe in a jam. A bouncer chased in a run; a pair of K followed to limit the damage. Nick Pivetta took the ball. With two gone, Starling beat out a bleeder and went to second on a misfire. Jake was walked and Joe whiffed to leave it at 3-1.

Starling had three hits, drove in a run and scored twice. - 2017 Topps Bunt

The Phils stranded a leadoff knock in the sixth. Corey started it off with a double, then a poorly played try to nail him at third on K-Man's bouncer left Bucs on the corners. Melky banged into a DP, but at least the Pirates got the run back. Eli then singled and went to second on a wild pitch, but the runs were done. Michael Feliz got the seventh; he gave up a knock in an easy frame. Mike Morin was waved in, and surrendered doubles to Starling (a leg two-bagger) and Redbeard to make the score 5-1. Frankie tossed the eighth; a walk, 6-4-3 DP and another roller carried him through. Fernando Salas worked for Philly. The Pirates loaded the bases with two outs after singles by K-Man, Fraze and Reynolds, but the ducks stayed on the pond. Felipe got the call to close it out, and punched out a pair in doing so. Raise the Roger.

Games are a lot easier to take when you make the plays and limit the runners. The Pirates weren't clean in the first regard, but a great effort by Musgrove overcame some sloppiness. The Phils had but eight runners (three hits, three walks, an error & bop) and the Buc bats were clutch today, driving in four of the five runs after two were out. The rubber match is tomorrow afternoon, and even rallying to take the series may not salvage the Bucco campaign with just 65 games remaining, but it would be a start.

Notes:
  • Starling had three hits while Corey D and Bryan Reynolds each added a pair. The Pirates banged out 13 hits tonight.
  • Joe Musgrove tied a season high with eight strikeouts over six innings, giving up a run (unearned) on two hits with two walks after spinning 98 pitches.
  • There was a sellout crowd of 38,380 at PNC Park for the game and '79 team reunion. The players that attended were Matt Alexander, Dale Berra, John Candelaria, Mike Easler, Tim Foli, Phil Garner, Grant Jackson, Lee Lacy, Omar Moreno, Steve Nicosia, Ed Ott, Dave Parker, Jim Rooker, Manny Sanguillen, Rennie Stennett and Kent Tekulve. Lanny Frattare was honored along with Margaret Stargell, Anna Marie Kison and the children of GM Harding “Pete” Peterson, who built the 1979 team. In a final tribute, during the seventh inning stretch, the PNC PA's played "We Are Family."

Big Joe v Zach Eflin, Lineup & Notes

Game: It's a Saturday night game, starting at 7:05. It will be carried on AT&T SportsNet & 93.7 The Fan. Big night - it's the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the 1979 World Series Championship club. Both teams will sport throwback uniforms, with pre-game intros of members of the Squad. Fans also get a Vintage Bobblehead (meaning not an identifiable player) in a 1979 uniform as a giveaway. As an added attraction, Lanny Frattare will also get special recognition from the club. On top of all that, it's Pitt Night, with a special H2P section and free hybrid Pitt/Pirates caps. It's a sold out event, but if you're wondering about blue & gold instead of black and gold at the yard, there you are...

Lineup: Adam Frazier 2B, Bryan Reynolds RF, Starling Marte CF, Josh Bell 1B, Colin Moran 3B, Corey Dickerson LF, Kevin Newman SS, Jake Stallings C, Joe Musgrove P. Jake sure been seeing alot of time behind the dish...

Big Joe steps in forWilly - photo Pittsburgh Pirates

Pitchers: RHP Joe Musgrove (6-8/4.31) goes in the middle match against RHP Zach Eflin (7-9/4.16). Big Joe has given the Bucs the best chance among the original rotation to hang around in games. Since June, he's slashed 3-2/3.89, but in his last two games, he's given up seven earned runs (eight overall) in 10-2/3IP, so he's been in a recent rut too. In his last four games, Eflin has given up six runs+ three times and surrendered seven homers in his last 20 IP, so he's part of that shaky trend, too. But his only outing against the Bucs was as a rookie in 2016, and it was strong - he tossed a complete game, three-hit shutout.

Notes:
  • The Pirates announced Friday that Trevor Williams was bumped from today's start because of “severe flu-like symptoms,” so Joe Musgrove will man up tonight. He'll be on regular rest thanks to Thursday being an off day.
  • The Pirates have lost six-of-seven since the All-Star break, falling to 45-51 overall and are 7-1/2 games behind the Cubs.

7/20 Through the 1940’s: First Home Walk Off; HBD John, Harry & Heinie

  • 1880 - RF Harry Cassady was born in Bellflower, Illinois. Out of Illinois Wesleyan, he got into 22 games in the show; 12 of them were with the 1904 Pirates, hitting .205 in 44 at bats. Cassady went on to spend three years in the American Association (1905-07) and then six seasons with Denver of the Western Association (he was a much better hitter in the high minors), retiring after the 1912 campaign at age 31. 
Harry Cassady - via Baseball Reference
  • 1882 - Nearly 3,000 fans watched the Pittsburgh Alleghenys earn the first home walk off win in franchise history when they defeated the Cincinnati Red Stockings 3-2 at Exposition Park. Down 2-1 in the ninth, Billy Taylor drilled a one-out, game-tying homer. Rudy Kemmler’s single would become the game-winning run when he was plated by Chappy Lane’s two-out rap. Denny Driscoll got the win with a complete game three-hitter. 
  • 1894 - Cincinnati defeated Pittsburgh 7-6 in 10 innings when George "Germany" Smith‚ homered with two outs. Pirate OF Elmer Smith was prevented from retrieving the game-winning hit in the field-level LF bleachers‚ as permitted per Cincinnati’s League Park ground rules‚ by zealous Reds fans. One of them allegedly pulled a revolver on Smith after he wrestled with several other rooters in an attempt to reach the ball, per Charlton’s Baseball Chronology. The Pittsburgh Press wrote diplomatically that Germany "drove one into the seats." Quite a finish to the NL’s first extra-inning game of the year. 
  • 1901 - Hall of Fame LF Heinie Manush was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Manush spent the last two years of his career (1938-39) in Pittsburgh as a pinch hitter, getting just 28 PA (four hits, three walks) before being released, ironically enough for another future HoF’er, Chuck Klein. He was a .330 hitter during his 17 year career with 1183 RBI and 1287 runs scored. 
  • 1905 - Club baseball was serious biz (especially for the men in blue) back in the day, like the big rivalry game between the local nines of the Western Union and the Postal Telegraph Co, played at Bedford Park in the Hill District. The Pittsburgh Press description: “The rival managers had bowed gravely to each other as befitted the leaders on baseball gladiators. The umpire had made his will and left it with his wife...it was time to play. There was some terrible slugging (and) thus the battle went on until the 11th inning…” Then a couple of spectators got into a brawl, the ballplayers intervened, and a riot ensued as bricks flew (“The women screamed and fled”) until police calmed things down. The game was called a draw, and the Press reported that “...the umpire has sent word to the managers of the two clubs that if there is another game to be played, he wants time to take out an accident insurance policy and get it mentioned in his will.” 
John Lamb 1971 - Pirates Promo
  • 1946 - RHP John Lamb was born in Sharon, Connecticut. John came from a Northeast prep powerhouse, Housatonic Valley HS, which produced several players including the Pirates Steve Blass (John was his brother-in-law) and Tom Parsons; Pittsburgh had a bit of an edge as their coach, Ed Kirby, was also a part-time Buc scout. He was signed out of high school in 1964 and debuted in 1970, working parts of three seasons (1970-71, 1973) with a slash of 0-2-5/4.07 and was part of the Bucs triple entree of Moose, Veale and Lamb. It’s hard to tell where his career may have gone if he hadn’t suffered a brutal camp accident - in 1971, he fractured his skull when a Dave Cash liner found him during spring training.

7/20 From 1950 Through the 1980’s: Rallies & Gems; RIP John

  • 1950 - The Philadelphia Phillies banged out a double, triple, and three homers on their way to eight runs; the Bucs answered with six two-baggers and a long ball of their own to outlast the Brotherly Love gang by a 10-8 score at Forbes Field. Six Pirates had multi-hit games, with three collecting a trio of knocks (Ted Beard, Gus Bell and Danny O’Connell) while Ralph Kiner went long and doubled with Stan Rojek and Johnny Hopp joining the two-hit parade. Murry Dickson, who followed Cliff Chambers and Vern Law, tossed the final 2-⅔ frames scorelessly to get the win while the Phils used five hurlers, with the Buccos scoring off four of them. 
Preston Ward - 1955 Topps
  • 1955 - The bench to the rescue: the Bucs were down 3-0 in the seventh when pinch hitter Preston Ward smacked a three-run dinger off the Milwaukee Brave’s Ray Crone at Forbes Field. Another PH, Jack Shepard, singled off Dave Jolly with the bases loaded in the ninth to earn the Pirates and Dick Littlefield a 4-3 comeback win. 
  • 1961 - Joe Gibbon tossed a four-hitter with nine whiffs as the Bucs beat the Chicago Cubs 4-0 at Forbes Field. The big blow was Bill Mazeroski’s two-run single in the fourth. The Bucs had lost three games prior to the win, and would drop six more afterward.  
  • 1968 - Bob Veale spun a five-hitter and Matty Alou produced both runs as the Bucs eased by Phil Niekro and the Braves 2-1 at Atlanta Stadium. Alou tripled and scored the first run when the throw caromed off his leg, then singled home Maury Wills with the game winner with both hits coming with two strikes. Alou and Wills each had two hits to help snap Niekro’s four-game winning streak. 
  • 1973 - The Bucs tied the first game of a twinbill against San Diego in the eighth and went on to win 5-4 in 10 innings at TRS. Rennie Stennett went 4-for-5 with a walk-off homer in the extra frame. The Pirates had an easier time with the Padres in the second game, winning 7-0. Stennett had three more hits, including another homer, and Jim Rooker tossed a six-hit complete game whitewash with eight whiffs. 
  • 1974 - Willie Stargell homered in the 11th inning to give the Pirates a 7-6 win over the Braves at Atlanta Stadium. Pops also cranked out a double & single, scoring three times with two RBI. Richie Zisk came up big, too, with three hits and three runs chased home. Bruce Kison started and was chase in the second inning, but John Morlan, Ramon Hernandez and the eventual winner, Dave Giusti, tossed 9-1/3 IP of one-run, five-hit ball to take the contest. The game started off with plenty of fireworks - the Bucs scored four runs in the first frame and the Bravos answered with five in the second. 
Lee Lacy - 1980 Topps
  • 1980 - After scoring four times in the first, the Pirates had to plate a pair in the bottom of the ninth to salvage an 8-7 split against the Dodgers at TRS. Lee Lacy was 5-for-5 and a homer away from the cycle, while Bill Robinson homered and Ed Ott had the walk-off, bases loaded single to earn Grant Jackson the win. Pittsburgh lost the opener 4-2 as LA’s Burt Hooton and Steve Howe kept the Bucco bats under control. The double dipper was a big to-do in other ways, too. It was Willie Stargell Day with a ceremony between games, and was also the day that Dave Parker, fresh off the first $1M/year contract in sports, was had a Duracell battery tossed at him while in the outfield. 
  • 1988 - John Galbreath passed away at 90 years old in Galloway, Ohio. He owned the Pirates from 1946-85, buying them from the Barney Dreyfuss clan for $2.5M. Galbreath put a price tag of $35 million on the Pirates after the 1984 season, but accepted the $22M offer of a coalition put together by Mayor Richard Caliguiri to assure that the team remained in Pittsburgh. He made his fortune in construction & real estate, and besides baseball was an avid racing fan, owning the Darby Dan stables which produced Triple Crown winner Chateaugay and Kentucky Derby champ Proud Clarion.

7/20 From 1990: Hyzdu Day; Williams Traded; Starg Stamp; Brewer Battles; Game Stories

  • 1993 - Randy Tomlin outdueled old Bucco ace Doug Drabek as the Pirates squeaked by the Astros 2-1 at TRS. Jeff King was the man of the hour; with two outs in the fourth, Al Martin blooped a double and King singled him home. He scored the insurance run when Don Slaught singled him home in the seventh. Tomlin gave up just four hits, with his only miscue a home run ball served to Jeff Bagwell in the ninth to add a bit of drama to the win. 
Randy Tomlin - 1993 Donruss
  • 1996 - In the opening game at the Olympics in Atlanta, the US team topped Nicaragua 4-1 behind future Pirate pitcher Kris Benson’s seven hitter. Benson was 2-1 during the games in three outings with 17 strikeouts in 17 IP as the US won the bronze medal. 
  • 2002 - OF Adam Hyzdu had a day to tell his grandkids about at PNC Park. He drove in seven runs on four hits‚ including a pair of HR, in a 15-6 pasting of the first-place St. Louis Cards. Hyzdu became the first Buc since Don Slaught nine years earlier with seven RBI, and the crowd of 35,101 called him out of the dugout after his second blast. The performance came on top of a four-RBI game the day before. It was the Pirates eighth win in ten games, attracting a walkup sale of 7,650, and Kris Benson’s third straight victory. 
  • 2003 - The Mike Williams era ended in Pittsburgh when he was sent to the Phils for LHP Frank Brooks, who had a cup of coffee in the show. Williams, a righty closer, went from setting the Pirate saves record in 2002 with 46 closeouts and back-to-back All Star appearances to a guy with 25 saves but a 6.27 ERA in 2003, which was his last MLB season. Williams saved 140 games in six seasons for Pittsburgh. 
  • 2009 - The Bucs finally broke a 17-game losing streak to the Brewers with an 8-5 victory at PNC Park. Cutch had three hits and Delwyn Young tacked on three RBI with a homer. Jesse Chavez had the fans on the edge of their seats by giving up three runs in the ninth, but struck out Prince Fielder to ice the win. 
  • 2010 - The Pirates scored nine runs in the first inning during their 11-9 victory over the Brewers at PNC Park. The scoring in the opening frame was highlighted by Pedro Alvarez’s first career grand slam, one of two Alvarez long balls smacked during the game. El Toro finished with five RBI and Neil Walker went 5-for-5 with a double against Milwaukee. They needed the quick start as the Brewers cut the lead to 10-9 by the sixth, but were blanked on two hits in the final three frames by Evan Meek, Joel Hanrahan and Octavio Dotel.


  • 2012 - The US Postal Service issued a set of four commemorative stamps depicting Willie Stargell along with Ted Williams, Larry Doby and Joe DiMaggio. The release was held in Cooperstown as part of the Hall's annual induction week-end. 
  • 2017 - The Pirates rallied to take a 4-2 win from the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park and sweep the four-game visit. For the Bucs, it was their 11th win in 13 games and 6-of-7 during a two-set homestand, pulling the club to .500 for the first time since mid-April and three games behind the front-running Brew Crew. Pittsburgh was adept at playing nine innings; all six of their victories on the Allegheny were after the foe had drawn first blood with three being walk-off wins. Jameson Taillon got the victory. Gregory Polanco homered while Chris Stewart went 3-for-3 (and threw out a wanna-be base stealer) to lead the attack.
  • Friday, July 19, 2019

    Wheels Come Off Late, Bucs Continue Spin With 6-1 Loss To Phils

    The Phils opened with a single and double around a whiff, followed by a 10-pitch walk. Another K got Jordan Lyles an out away from escaping, and a fly provided the key. Bryan Reynolds singled and stole second with an out against Jake Arrieta, for naught. The second was much quieter; the bottom of Philly's order struck out. Corey D singled with an out and stole second; with two outs and an open base, the Phils decided to work on eight-hitter Eli. Bad decision; he singled Corey home to give the Bucs first blood. There was no action by either gang in the third. With an out in the fourth, JT Realmuto doubled, but was caught in a rundown trying to go to third on an infield bleeder; so far, so good for Jordan. Redbeard singled with one gone; his happy feet got him thrown out at second in a close call trying to stretch it. Look like a challenge was in line (good throw, bad tag) but Clint didn't throw the flag. Corey then singled, making it a big out, and it all combined for another zero. In the fifth, Lyles fired an 0-2 heater down Broadway and Adam Haseley banged it out of the yard. An out, infield single and DP finished the frame. Three grounders, three down for the Bucs.

    Jordan bounced back after a long MIA stint; hopefully he can build on tonight.
    photo - Dave Arrigo/Pittsburgh Pirates

    Jordan was facing the middle of the order for the third time in the sixth. After consecutive K's, he gave up back-to-singles to leave Phils on the corners (the second off of Fraze's mitt); Lyles was swapped out for Ric Rod after a 98-toss outing. RR did his job with a three-pitch punch out. J-Bell worked a two-out walk. Redbeard doubled him to third, and Corey was walked with first open. Ol' matey Juan Nicasio was waved in to face K-Man. Newman wasted the at bat, swinging at three balls and tapping back to Nicasio. Ric Rod gave up a knock and a walk with one gone in the seventh. He got a force, but Bryce Harper singled (even though first base was open and Harper's a lefty...). A walk loaded 'em up, and Clint stuck with Ric Rod v Realmuto, who flew out. Jose Alvarez took the bump and hurled a clean inning. Kyle Crick got the eighth. He gave up a one-out walk, then with two away, a walk and knock. It cost; an infield single to end a 13-pitch at bat put up another tally; it was a case of Jean Segura beating Crick to the bag by a hair after Josh went after a ball that was Fraze's to play. Clay Holmes came in to face Harper (Why no Frankie? Harper hits lefties better than righties this year). Clay fell behind 3-1, but eventually got him on a comebacker.

    Cole Irvin toed the slab and tossed a 1-2-3 frame. Clay stayed on in the ninth. Singles put runners on the corners; a throwing error by Holmes scored one while a wild pitch and double plated two more before the dance ended with a 6-1 count. Corey got a bleeder single and that was all she wrote for the Bucs.

    Colin was in the swing tonight - photo Joe Guzy/Pittsburgh Pirates

    Ultimately, the attack lost the game; they're in a slump that coincides with J-Bell's cold spell. But the Pirates need to do things cleanly to win. They got the starting pitching today (good to see Jordan feeling his oats after a rough opening frame) before walks and the fielding did the pen in; free runners are a Bucco bane. The team is competitive, but they have to not beat themselves so often. And of course, we have Clint's bullpen management; that's partially an issue because of his quirky usage, but also a reflection of what he's got to work with, which is the GM's problem.

    Notes:
    • Corey Dickerson had three raps and Redbeard added a pair; they accounted for five of the Pirates seven hits.
    • Ric Rod's streak of 19 consecutive scoreless outings was snapped tonight; it dated back to June 2nd.
    • Bryan Reynolds stole his first MLB base tonight on his third try. He swiped 15-of-24 in three-plus minor league campaigns. It took Corey 35 games, but he got his first steal of the year on his first try tonight - he was 8-of-11 in 2018.
    • There were 34,117 tickets out for tonight; seems like quite a few ended up in the hands of Philly fans.
    • Four of Pittsburgh's eight relievers give up 4.6 walks+ per game; the overall 4.3 walks per game by the bullpen is the second highest in MLB.
    • Hunt Auctions will sponsor an autograph session at PNC Park tomorrow with current and old Buccos from the '79 squad from 9:30-3. Info is at Pirates-Hunt Auctions.

    Jordan v Jake Arrieta, Lineup & Notes

    Game: The lidlifter starts at 7:05 and will be on AT&T SportsNet & 93.7 The Fan. It's a free-tee night, with tonight's offering being a 1979 Champs shirt as a lead-in into tomorrow's celebration of the '79 Buccos. It's also Dollar Doggie Night, pass the mustard, yum.

    Lineup: Adam Frazier 2B, Bryan Reynolds RF, Starling Marte CF, Josh Bell 1B, Colin Moran 3B, Corey Dickerson LF, Kevin Newman SS, Eli Diaz C, Jordan Lyles P. Hey, the A-Team, yay!

    Trying to get the good times rollin' again - image Positively Pittsburgh

    Pitchers: RHP Jordan Lyles (5-6, 5.16) vs. RHP Jake Arrieta (8-7, 4.54). As good as Lyles was to start the campaign, well, that's how bad he's been lately. His line is 1-5/10.13 in his last seven games. Jordan hasn't started against Philly since 2015 and hasn't taken the hill against them since he tossed an inning in 2017; he's 1-1-1/3.22 v the Phils in 10 career appearances.  Arrieta hasn't exactly been a ball of fire himself; since May 31st, he's 3-3/6.07 in eight starts. In justice, he's pitching hurt - he has a bone spur in his elbow but is trying to get through the season before surgery. Jake owned the Bucs, then lost his vintage mojo for a couple of years, just to have it return last season when he went 2-0/1.29 against them, giving up two runs on seven hits in 14 IP w/18 K.

    Notes:
    • The Phils went 3-4 at home after the break, but they did take 2-of-3 from the Dodgers in the last set and have won six of the last seven matches against the Pirates.
    • A name that's kinda bubbled around the edges in trade talks has been that of Indy 1B Will Craig. He's prob not ready for prime time, but when he gets there, he has a big block in front of him in J-Bell. He can play the position and shows some power, so Will could be an interesting piece for someone.
    • Keone Kela bounced back strong; after getting banged in his prior rehab outing, he struck out the side on 11 pitches last night. The Pirates hope to use him again tonight to see if he's ok for back-to-back outings.

    7/19 Through the 1900’s: Hans Debut; Giant Clashes; Early Shades; HBD Jasper, Jim, Bill, Jeff, Earl & Clint

    • 1865 - RHP Bill Hart was born in Louisville. He played for Pittsburgh in 1895 and again in 1898, going 19-26/4.77. He also played some OF during his eight-year career, but was strictly a hurler for the Bucs. Bill hit .237, marking him as journeyman both on the rubber and at the dish. Hart was twice traded by the Pirates and landed a pair of very good players, IF Bones Ely in 1896 and then OF Ginger Beaumont after the ‘98 campaign, making him the tap root of a solid trade tree. 
    Bill Hart (minors) 1909-11 - Sweet Caporal
    • 1865 - 3B Jim Donnelly was born in New Haven, Connecticut. The son of immigrants, Jim played pro ball at some level from the time he was 18 in 1884 until 1902 when he was 36. He spent parts of 11 seasons in the show, split into two eras: 1884-91, when he was a regular for a while, and then after a run in the minors, he returned as purely a bench guy from 1896-98. Jim spent part of that second stay with the Pirates in 1897, hitting just .193 before being shipped to the NY Giants in mid-season. He arrived in town with Steve Brodie from Baltimore as the O’s return for the Jake Stenzel trade. Neither Donnelly and Brodie made it to 1898 with the Bucs while Stenzel played on for three more seasons, batting .309 over that span.
    • 1873 - OF/1B Harry “Jasper” Davis was born in Philadelphia. Jasper played early in his 22 year MLB stint for the Bucs, from 1896-98, and hit .278. His long career, mainly with his hometown Philadelphia A’s, had one break - in 1900, he quit baseball after five years to take a RR job. Apparently the call of the rails faded quickly; he returned to baseball a year later and played for 17 more years. Fun fact: Jasper had a four year string of leading MLB in long balls from 1904-07, yet hit just 75 homers between 1895-1917. He never had more than 12 in a single season, and in fact finished with double-figure dingers only twice. His nickname dates back to his Girard College days, given to him by his schoolmates for reasons unknown. 
    • 1887 - Honus Wagner made his NL debut with the Louisville Colonels, owned by Barney Dreyfuss. He got a hit and stole a base in a 12-2 win over the Brooklyn Grays. In 1900, Dreyfuss bought the Pittsburgh franchise and maneuvered most of the Louisville club onto the roster, including the Flying Dutchman. 
    • 1888 - C Ed “Jeff” Sweeney was born in Chicago. The defensive specialist spent eight years with the NY Highlanders/Yankees, two more in the minors, time in the Navy during WW1 and then finished his nine-year MLB run with the Pirates in 1919, getting into 17 games and hitting .095 before being sent to the PCL. He spent one more year in pro ball before doffing the tools of ignorance. 
    • 1889 - RHP Francis Clinton “Clint” Rogge was born in Memphis, Michigan.The long-time minor league twirler (he beat the bushes from 1909-23) got his first big league (albeit in the Federal League) taste during the 1915 campaign when he was part of the Pittsburgh Rebels’ rotation. He held up fairly well against FL batters, slashing 17-11/2.55 with 31 starts and 254-1/3 IP. After that year, he started a long run with the Indianapolis Indians of the now minor-league American Association, getting one brief return to the show in 1921 with the Reds. 
    Earl Hamilton 1922 - American Caramel
    • 1891 - LHP Earl Hamilton was born in Gibson, Illinois. The little southpaw spent six of his 14 big league seasons (1918-23) as a Pirate, putting up a line of 55-55/3.35. He won 115 MLB games overall, tossing for four clubs. Earl had a couple moments in the sun - he spun a no-hitter for the St. Louis Browns in 1912 and went 16 scoreless frames for the Bucs in a 1920 start, only to run out of gas in the 17th. 
    • 1893 - From Charlton’s Baseball Chronology: “Pittsburgh used 19 hits –all singles– to win in Cleveland 10-6. Pittsburgh was further aided by the defense of LF Elmer Smith, whose use of green glasses to fend off the sun greatly helped him in his fielding.” It was a noteworthy win in that the game may be the first time that an outfielder donned shades. 
    • 1904 - The Pirates rallied for a pair of runs in the ninth off Giants ace Christy Mathewson to take a 2-1 victory at the Polo Grounds. Shut out on five hits going into the final frame, Honus Wagner tripled to left to ignite the Pirates, and an out later Jimmy Sebring banged out another three-bagger, rapping a shot off the first base bag that rolled into the corner. Pinch hitter Claude Ritchey followed with an RBI knock, and Mike Lynch made it stand up in the bottom half, tossing a complete game four hitter against NY. The series featured manager John “Mugsy” McGraw and Mathewson getting into a jawing match with the crowd the day before, a verbal (and profane) sparring session that lasted until they got back to their hotel. The Pittsburgh Press had a couple of juicy lines regarding the affair: “McGraw is not liked here...Some day he will carry things too far, and some husky Pittsburger will thump him” and then threw some shade at Christy: “ Matty... has to buy a cap a size larger after every victory…” 
    Giant-Killer Otis Clymer 1905 - photo Chicago Daily News/Chicago History Museum
    • 1905 - Pittsburgh pulled to within five games of New York by overcoming a 5-2 deficit at the Polo Grounds to rally past the Giants, 8-5. It was Pittsburgh’s third straight win against the defending champions. Umpire Bill Klem was the target of a barrage of tossed garbage from the New York fans after ejecting Dan McGann and “Turkey Mike” Donlin from the game. They yapped their way into Klem’s bad graces as the Pittsburgh Press game story explained: “Umpire baiting was plentiful, with Taylor (the pitcher), McGann and Donlin the chief offenders of this style of play.” Sam Leever got the win, coming in as a second-inning reliever, while the offense was led by Otis Clymer’s three hits. The Bucs pounded out 15 knocks; five Pirates had multi-hit outings.

    7/19 From 1930 Through the 1970’s: 18-Inning No Decision For Law; McKinney Sells; Duke Deal; Gems; HBD Nick & Vincentes

    • 1935 - C Nick Koback was born in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1953, at the age of 17, Koback signed with Pittsburgh as a bonus baby out of Hartford HS. He made his MLB debut before playing in the minors as the youngest player in the league and as you might imagine, he wasn’t quite ready for showtime. He got some quick sips of coffee with the Bucs from 1953-55 and went 4-for-33 (.121). It was his only big league time; most of his career was spent in the minors and Mexico. He earned a reputation of a good hitter - of Titleists, not baseballs (his minor league lifetime BA was .243), and he became a golf pro after he left baseball. 
    Arky Vaughan 1939 - photo Leslie Jones/Boston Public Library
    • 1939 - Arky Vaughan went 5-for-5 and hit for his second career cycle against the Giants at the Polo Grounds, scoring four times and driving home a pair of runs. Fern Bell added three RBI in the 10-3 Pirate win. Mace Brown went the distance for the victory, supported by a hearty 19 hit Bucco attack. 
    • 1950 - Frank E. McKinney resigned as president of the Pirates. He sold his interests in the club to partners John Galbreath and Tom Johnson‚ with Galbreath assuming the presidency. Vice President Bing Crosby retained his minority interest. McKinney and the group had bought the Bucs in 1946 from Barney Dreyfuss’ family. 
    • 1950 - The Pirates purchased 3B Bob “Duke” Dillinger from the Philadelphia Athletics for $35,000. The 31-year-old slap-hitter played 70 games from 1950-51 for the Bucs, batting .279. An All-Star (1949) and league hits leader (1948) for the St Louis Browns, Bob had also claimed the AL stolen base crown from 1947-49, but his wheels were wearing thin and he only swiped six sacks as a Bucco. The Pirates sold him to the White Sox in 1951, and that was his last hurrah after six MLB seasons. Two things conspired against Dillinger - he got to the show late, spending three years in the service, and toward the end he developed an early case of “Steve Sax” disease, often unable to make the throw across the infield, and he wasn’t very much of a fielder even before the yips hit. He spent his final four years in the PCL with Sacramento before becoming an inspector for Los Angeles.
    • 1952 - It wasn’t a very good day for Pittsburgh as the Brooklyn Dodgers routed them at Forbes Field by a 9-1 score. But it was another good day for Ralph Kiner. The Pirates slugger homered for the fourth time in four games and the seventh time in his past dozen outings. He would claim the HR title for a seventh straight year with 37 bombs and make his fifth consecutive All-Star appearance playing for a horrible Bucco club that won just 42 games and finished 54-½ games behind the Dodgers. 
    The Deacon 1955 - Bowman
    • 1955 - Vern Law pitched 18 innings against the Milwaukee Braves in front of 10,000 Forbes Field fans. And he didn’t even get the win; Bob Friend worked the 19th frame of the 4-3 victory. Law left giving up two runs - one was unearned - on nine hits with two walks and 12 whiffs. Friend came in and gave up a score, but the Bucs came back with a pair of tallies on Gene Freese’s single, Dale Long’s double that plated Freese and the game winning knock by Frank Thomas. Law took the hill on just two days rest; he got the start when the scheduled hurler, Joe Gibbon, became ill. 
    • 1963 - RHP Vincente Palacios was born in Manlio Fabio Altamirano, Mexico. He tossed five years (1987-88, 1990-92) for the Bucs as a spot starter and long man while a member of the powerhouse 1990-92 teams of Jimmy Leyland. Palacios went 12-8-6/4.03 during his time in Pittsburgh. His career was hampered by a pair of shoulder surgeries, and after his Pirate days he yo-yoed between MLB and the Mexican League, mostly working south of the border. 
    • 1967 - The Pirates Dennis Ribant and the Giants Mike McCormack hooked up in an epic Forbes Field pitchers duel that wasn’t decided until the 11th frame. Pittsburgh scored in the first inning on a passed ball and the G-Men got a homer from Tom Haller in the second frame; it was a long line of zeroes after that. Ribant scattered nine hits while his teammates left the bases loaded three times after plating that first run. The fourth try proved the charm when Jerry May led off the 11th with a triple and a pair of intentional walks jammed the sacks again. Frank Linzy took McCormack’s spot to face Gene Alley, who singled home the game winner.  
    • 1968 - Rookie Bob Moose tossed a four-hitter as the Bucs dropped the Braves 2-0 at Atlanta Stadium. Moose also issued four walks but was never in trouble; no Brave reached third base. It was the 20-year-old’s third whitewash of the season. The Bravos’ Ron Reed was tough, too, as he scattered eight hits, allowing Donn Clendenon (who had two knocks) to score on a Bill Mazeroski single and later giving up an insurance run when Willie Stargell went deep. 
    Bob Moose 1968 - KDKA promo
    • 1974 - Ken Brett worked 8-⅓ frames while leading the Pirates to a 2-0 shutout against the Braves at Atlanta Stadium. The Pirates scored first in the fifth inning when Frank Taveras led off with a triple and scored on Brett’s sacrifice fly, adding an insurance marker in the ninth on Bob Robertson’s two-out double that plated Ed Kirkpatrick. The five-hit win upped Brett’s record to 12-6 as Dave Giusti picked up his fifth save. 
    • 1977 - The NL outslugged the AL 7-5 at Yankee Stadium during the All Star game. Dave Parker went 1-for-3, while Bucco closer Goose Gossage made it interesting by giving up a two-run homer in the ninth. John Candelaria was also on the squad, but didn’t see any action.

    7/19 From 1980: Comebacks; Game Stories; HBD Phil & Ernesto

    • 1982 - LHP Phil Coke was born in Sonora, California. Phil was a Bucco target early in his career as a Yankee in 2008, but remained in pinstripes when a medical question went unresolved. After bouncing around the league for nine years, he ended up back with NY, and they sold him to the Pirates in 2016. Better late than never? Eh, probably not - the 33-year-old tossed four scoreless innings in three outings, but walked four to go with three hits, and that ended his MLB days. He toiled in Japan the following year and in Mexico in 2018. 
    Phil Coke - photo Pittsburgh Pirates
    • 1983 - The Pirates won their eighth in a row in workmanlike fashion over the Dodgers 4-1 at TRS. Brian Harper went 2-for-3 with a homer to lead the attack while John Candelaria notched the win with relief help from Rod Scurry. The streak ended later that night when Alejandro Pena and the LA bullpen edged the Bucs in 11 innings 3-2 in the nitecap of a twilight twin bill. 
    • 1985 - RHP Ernesto Frieri was born in Arjona, Colombia. He was the Angels closer who hit on hard times and in June, 2014, Frieri was traded to Pittsburgh for another change-of-scenery candidate, Jason Grilli. Frieri gave up 12 runs in 10-2/3 innings for the Pirates and was DFA’ed & outrighted to AAA Indianapolis in August, then released three weeks later. Frieri has bounced around since then, making a couple of big league stops, and was last spinning in Mexico. 
    • 1988 - Rafael Belliard enjoyed the last day of an eight game hitting streak that started on July 8th. In true Raffy style, his first eight hits were infield singles. He went 13-for-31 during that span, with two grounder-through-the-infield knocks, a bloop, a liner, and his only extra base hit, a triple following his eight leg hits. It didn’t help a whole lot; he still hit just .213 during the season. The Bucs split a doubleheader with San Diego, and Raffy’s string ended in the second game. 
    • 2001 - The Pirates overcame a 2-0 deficit by scoring three times in the sixth and seventh innings to end a five game losing streak by defeating the Chicago Cubs 3-2 at PNC Park. The key blow was a two-out, two-run single by Aramis Ramirez off a 1-2 pitch from Julian Taveras. It came with the bases loaded in the sixth following an intentional walk to John Vander Wal. 
    • 2002 - Adam Hyzdu went 3-for-5 with a homer, four RBI and three runs to lead the Bucs to a 12-9 slugfest win over St. Louis at PNC Park. After the Cards tied the game with five runs in the seventh, Rob Mackowiak put Pittsburgh back in control by countering with a two run pinch hit homer in the Pirate half. 
    Dewey 2005 - Bowman Prospects
    • 2005 - The sad sack Pirates were swept by the Astros 9-3 and 6-4 in a PNC Park twin bill, but it was a coming out day for 24-year-old rookie C Ryan Doumit, who slugged his first two MLB homers in the lidlifter (MLB nĂºmero uno was off Ezequiel Astacio). Dewey would spend seven campaigns with Pittsburgh, though he never became a big bopper despite that promising start, swatting just 67 long flies as a Bucco. 
    • 2011 - The Bucs shut out the Reds for the second straight game, beating Mike Leake 1-0 at PNC Park to claim sole possession of first place in the NL Central for the last time. James McDonald, with help from Joe Beimel, Chris Resop and Joel Hanrahan, got the win when a soft roller to short by Cutch in the first inning cashed in Josh Harrison, on third after Neil Walker doubled. Charlie Morton and Joel Hanrahan teamed up to take a 2-0 victory the game before. 
    • 2014 - It took 11 innings, but the Bucs finally topped the Colorado Rockies 3-2 at PNC Park on Jordy Mercer’s walk-off double. Charlie Morton and Brett Anderson were hooked up in a duel, both lasting seven innings with the Rox up 2-1. The Bucs tied it in the eighth when Gaby Sanchez’s double plated Neil Walker and the bullpen took over. Ernesto Frieri, Mark Melancon, Justin Wilson and Jared Hughes needed just 33 pitches to cover the last four frames. Hughes got the win, but had the baseball gods on his side when with runners on the corners, a one-hop bullet back to the box stuck in his mitt and he turned it into an inning-ending DP. 
    • 2016 - Josh Harrison scored on a throwing error in the ninth inning to collect his sixth career walk off hit as the Pirates beat the Brewers 3-2 at PNC Park. Harrison led off the ninth with a triple to center field off Milwaukee’s Tyler Thornburg. Second baseman Scooter Gennett’s relay throw skipped into the Pittsburgh dugout as J-Hay slid into third, sending him home for the club’s second walk off of the year. Mark Melancon got the blown save/win combo after giving up a run in the ninth (he was dinged by a two-out, two-strike rap by Hernan Perez). The Shark had followed Tony Watson, Neftali Feliz and rookie starter Jameson Taillon on the bump.