Weekend Wrap Up 4/15/12

Scores:
Friday: 5-0 Loss at San Francisco. Matt Cain dominates. Recap. Box score.
Saturday: 4-3 Loss at San Francisco. Close game falls apart in the ninth. Recap. Box score.
Sunday: 4-1 Win at San Francisco. Finally, a solid game. Recap. Box score.

Season Record: 3-6, 5th place in the NL Central.

Good: Another good start from Kevin Correia breaks the five game losing streak. Charlie Morton looks to be in good health in his season debut. Neil Walker with two two-hit days.
Bad: Two shaky outings from Joel Hanrahan. Chris Resop wasn’t sharp but the defense let him down. Jose Tabata went 0-9 and left 7 men on base.

Combined Box:

Pittsburgh      AB      R      H      RBI      BB      SO      LOB
Presley, LF 13 1 3 1 1 4 2
Walker, 2B 11 1 4 2 0 3 0
McCutchen, A, CF 11 2 2 0 1 1 2
McGehee, 1B 9 2 2 0 0 1 2
Tabata, RF 9 0 0 0 0 3 7
Jones, G, 1B, RF 7 1 2 1 0 4 0
Harrison, 3B, SS 7 0 1 1 0 0 3
Barmes, SS 7 0 1 0 0 1 3
Barajas, C 6 0 0 0 1 0 0
Alvarez, 3B 6 0 0 0 0 5 1
McDonald, J, P 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
Navarro, PH 2 0 0 0 0 1 4
Correia, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 3
Morton, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 0
McKenry, C 1 0 0 0 3 1 0
McLouth, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 2
Hague, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 97 7 16 5 6 26 29

Batting:
Triples: Harrison (1)
Homers: Jones (1)

Baserunning:
SB: Tabata (2), Jones (1)
CS: McCutchen (2)

Fielding:
Errors: Morton (1), Barmes 2 (2)

Pittsburgh      IP      H      R      ER      BB      SO      HR
Correia(W, 1-0) 6.0 3 1 1 1 2 0
McDonald, J (L, 0-1) 5.7 6 3 3 3 1 0
Morton 5.0 7 3 3 0 2 0
Hanrahan(S, 1) 2.0 2 2 2 2 1 1
Grilli(H, 1) 2.0 1 0 0 1 3 0
Watson 1.3 1 0 0 0 0 0
Hughes, J(H, 1) 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Cruz, J 1.0 0 0 0 2 1 0
Meek 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Resop (L, 0-1) 0.0 2 1 0 1 0 0
Totals 25.0 23 10 9 10 10 1

Transactions: Activated RHP Charlie Morton from the 15-day Disabled List. Optioned 1B Matt Hague to AAA Indianapolis.

Up Next: A three game set in Arizona ends the road trip. Expected matchups: Erik Bedard (0-2) vs. Joe Saunders (0-0), Jeff Karstens (0-1) vs. Ian Kennedy (2-0), and James McDonald (0-1) vs. Daniel Hudson (1-0).

More Tough Matchups On The Horizon

The Pirates have scored 11 runs in six games. An average of 1.83 runs/game. The team batting average is .199. What do you expect when a team of average (at best) bats faces some of the best pitchers in the league? Here are the opponents’ starting pitchers for the Pirates’ first twelve games.

vs. Roy Halladay, 1-0 L

vs. Cliff Lee, 2-1 W
vs. Vance Worley, 5-4 W
vs. Clayton Kershaw, 2-1 L
vs. Chad Billingsley, 4-1 L
vs. Chris Capuano, 3-2 L
vs. Ian Kennedy
vs. Daniel Hudson (*not announced yet, my projection.)

And here are the results of last year’s NL Cy Young award voting (from baseball reference):

Rank Tm Vote Pts 1st Place Share WAR W L ERA SV IP ER BB SO WHIP
1 Clayton Kershaw LAD 207.0 27.0 92% 7.0 21 5 2.28 0 233.1 59 54 248 0.977
2 Roy Halladay PHI 133.0 4.0 59% 7.4 19 6 2.35 0 233.2 61 35 220 1.040
3 Cliff Lee PHI 90.0 0.0 40% 6.9 17 8 2.40 0 232.2 62 42 238 1.027
4 Ian Kennedy ARI 76.0 1.0 34% 5.5 21 4 2.88 0 222.0 71 55 198 1.086
5 Cole Hamels PHI 17.0 0.0 8% 5.4 14 9 2.79 0 216.0 67 44 194 0.986
6 Tim Lincecum SFG 7.0 0.0 3% 4.4 13 14 2.74 0 217.0 66 86 220 1.207
7 Yovani Gallardo MIL 5.0 0.0 2% 2.7 17 10 3.52 0 207.1 81 59 207 1.215
8 Matt Cain SFG 3.0 0.0 1% 3.9 12 11 2.88 0 221.2 71 63 179 1.083
9 John Axford MIL 2.0 0.0 1% 2.7 2 2 1.95 46 73.2 16 25 86 1.140
9 Craig Kimbrel ATL 2.0 0.0 1% 3.0 4 3 2.10 46 77.0 18 32 127 1.039
11 Madison Bumgarner SFG 1.0 0.0 0% 2.8 13 13 3.21 0 204.2 73 46 191 1.212
11 Ryan Vogelsong SFG 1.0 0.0 0% 3.7 13 7 2.71 0 179.2 54 61 139 1.252
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/11/2012.

The Pirates face six of the ten starting pitchers to get votes as the best pitcher in the National League last year. When does it get easier? Matt Cain‘s one of the best pitchers in the league, Daniel Hudson has nasty stuff. Ian Kennedy broke out in a big way. Last year Ryan Vogelsong struck out 8 in 5.2 innings against the Pirates in the first start of his comeback year. The much-maligned Barry Zito threw a complete game shutout in Colorado in his  last start. Joe Saunders threw seven shutout innings in his first start of the year.

Seriously, the Pirates could easilty be looking at a 4-8 record when this stretch is over. If they want to be better, then:

1) Their own pitching needs to keep up the good work. Allowing only 2.5 runs/game has kept the Pirates in every game so far.
2) The bats need to find a way to string some hits together. Also, take some more walks. You can be selective while still being aggressive. Seven walks in six games is woeful.

Let’s hope they pick it up this weekend in San Francisco. The Pirates starters are slated to be James McDonald, Charlie Morton (season debut) and Kevin Correia. I’ll see you Monday with the Weekend Wrapup.

Correia Does His Part, Bedard Tries Again.

Yesterday: 2-1 Loss at Los Angeles

Current Record: 2-2, 4th place in NL Central

Kevin Correia did everything that could be asked of him yesterday: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. Unfortunately the Bucs ran into another former Cy Young award winner (the third in four games) and the bats were again shutdown. It’s way too early for this game story to become a recurring theme, but it is familiar.

Tonight, Erik Bedard tries a second time to get his first win as a Pirate and goes up against the inconsistent Chad Billingsley, lovingly profiled today at the excellent Dodgers blog Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness. Game time is 10:10pm, which means you can watch without missing any of tonight’s Penguins playoff game versus the Flyers.

Transaction: Pirates sign RHP Rick VandenHurk after he declined his minor league assignment from the Indians. This is a minor league depth signing. Cool trivia: Vandenhurk is from the Netherlands and his actual first name is Henricus.

Correia Pitching For His Rotation Spot

With word that both Charlie Morton and A.J. Burnett will be back before the end of the month, the Pirates will be looking at six starting pitchers for five spots. Erik Bedard, Jeff Karstens and James McDonald all did their part in the season’s first three games. Now Kevin Correia, widely viewed as the weakest member of the starting rotation, gets to pitch in Dodger Stadium today to start making his case. How has Correia peformed in Los Angeles over his career?

Year G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA WHIP K/9 OPS
2003 1 1 4.0 6 5 5 4 1 2 11.25 1.75 4.50 1.448
2004 2 0 5.0 6 2 2 1 1 5 3.60 1.40 9.00 0.747
2005   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –
2006 1 0 0.0 1 0 0 0 1 0   –   –   – 2.000
2007 4 1 10.0 8 5 5 1 1 10 4.50 0.90 9.00 0.663
2008 2 1 6.3 8 6 4 0 1 5 5.68 1.42 7.10 0.667
2009 1 1 6.0 4 1 1 0 0 4 1.50 0.67 6.00 0.381
2010 2 2 11.7 11 4 4 0 3 4 3.09 1.20 3.10 0.584
2011   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –
in LA 13 6 43.0 44 23 21 6 8 30 4.40 1.21 6.30 0.712
career 258 131 895.0 947 484 458 111 335 623 4.61 1.43 6.30 0.770

Correia has performed slightly better in LA when compared to his career numbers, but that could be because Dodger Stadium is a park that is kind to pitchers or it could be simple noise in the data. Either way, 43 innings over nine seasons is nowhere near enough evidence to draw conclusions. Yet, his continued presence in the rotation will depend on how well he does over these first few starts. Let’s hope he continues the trend and gives a good performance tonight.

Weekend Wrapup

Weekend scores:
Thursday: 1-0 Loss vs Philadelphia. Boxscore.
Saturday: 2-1 Win vs Philadelphia. Boxscore.
Sunday: 5-4 Win vs Philadelphia. Boxscore.

Season Record: 2-1, tied for 2nd in the Central.

Pretty easy to do the combined box this week, since it’s just the season totals.

Player Pos     G      AB      R      H   RBI    BB    SO      AVG
Tabata, J LF 3 14 0 3 0 0 1 0.214
Presley, A LF 3 13 0 4 2 0 2 0.308
McCutchen, A CF 3 11 1 4 1 1 2 0.364
Walker, N 2B 3 10 0 1 0 1 1 0.100
Barmes, C SS 3 9 0 0 0 0 2 0.000
Barajas, R C 2 7 0 1 0 0 2 0.143
McGehee, C 3B 2 6 1 2 1 0 0 0.333
Alvarez, P 3B 2 6 2 1 1 0 3 0.167
Jones, G 1B 2 6 0 0 0 0 1 0.000
Hague, M 1B 2 4 0 1 1 0 0 0.250
McKenry, M C 2 4 1 1 0 0 1 0.250
McDonald, J P 1 2 0 0 0 0 2 0.000
Bedard, E P 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 0.000
Harrison, J 3B 2 1 1 1 0 0 0 1.000
McLouth, N LF 3 1 0 0 0 1 1 0.000
Karstens, J P 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0.000
Navarro, Y 3B 2 0 1 0 0 2 0         —
97 7 19 6 5 20 0.196

Batting:
Doubles: McGehee 2 (2), McCutchen (1), Barajas (1), Harrison (1)
Homers: Alvarez (1)

Baserunning:
SB: McCutchen 2 (2), Tabata (1), Presley (1)

Fielding:
Errors: McGehee (1), Alvarez (1), Walker (1)
DP: 4 (Barmes-Walker-Jones, Alvarez-Walker-Jones, Barmes-Walker Hague, McDonald-Barmes-Jones)

Player G GS IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA GF TBF NP
Bedard (L, 0-1) 1 1 7.0 6 1 1 1 4 0 1.29 0 26 81
Karstens 1 1 6.0 5 1 1 1 2 0 1.50 0 23 85
McDonald 1 1 6.0 4 2 2 2 3 1 3.00 0 23 82
Cruz (W, 1-0) 2 0 2.0 3 0 0 0 3 0 0.00 2 9 33
Hanrahan (W, 1-0) 2 0 2.0 0 0 0 2 4 0 0.00 1 8 39
Grilli 1 0 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0 4 21
Hughes 1 0 1.0 1 2 0 2 1 0 0.00 0 7 30
Meek 1 0 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0 3 17
Resop 1 0 1.0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0.00 0 5 18
Watson 1 0 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0 3 12


Good:
Three solid starts from Erik Bedard, Jeff Karstens and James McDonald. Pedro Alvarez getting hold of one. Matt Hague‘s first major league hit and RBI.
Exciting: Two late inning comebacks  and walk-off hits from Alex Presley and Andrew McCutchen.
Bad: The bats, but Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee can do that to any team.

Transactions: Traded Brian Tallet to San Diego for a PTBNL or cash. A quick trade tree for this one:

Up Next:

Today: Off
Tuesday: 4:10p at Los Angeles Dodgers (Probable pitchers: Kevin Correia vs Clayton Kershaw)
Wednesday: 10:10p at Los Angeles Dodgers (Erik Bedard vs Chad Billingsley)
Thursday: 10:10p at Los Angeles Dodgers (Jeff Karstens vs TBA)

2012 Opening Day Roster with Trade Tree

The Pirates made their final roster moves yesterday, putting Chris Leroux, Charlie Morton and A.J. Burnett on the Disabled List and adding Juan Cruz to the 40-man roster. Here’s the to current roster for today’s 1:35 game vs. the Phillies.

LINEUP

LF Alex Presley
RF Jose Tabata
CF Andrew McCutchen
2B Neil Walker
1B Garrett Jones
C   Rod Barajas
3B Pedro Alvarez
SS Clint Barmes

BENCH

C Michael McKenry
IF Matt Hague
IF Josh Harrison
IF Casey McGehee
IF Yamaico Navarro
OF Nate McLouth

STARTING PITCHERS

Erik Bedard
Jeff Karstens
James McDonald
Kevin Correia

BULLPEN

Juan Cruz
Jason Grilli
Joel Hanrahan
Jared Hughes
Evan Meek
Chris Resop
Tony Watson

DISABLED LIST

A.J. Burnett (15 day)
Charlie Morton (15 day)
Gustavo Nunez (60 day)
Chris Leroux (60 day)

In honor of the best day of the year, I updated last year’s Whole Team Trade Tree to show how this current squad was built. (Click to embiggen.) Now play ball!

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