Series Preview: The Cubs

Current record: 20-24, 4th place in NL Central, 5.0 games back

Up Next: Chicago Cubs, 15-29, 6th place in NL Central, 10.0 games back

Season Series: 0-0, First time playing.

Notes: First baseman Bryan LaHair is making the most of his first chance at regular playing time. He leads the team with 10 HR and a 1.020 OPS. Speedster Tony Campana and his twelve stolen bases have taken over CF since Marlon Byrd was traded to Boston. Carlos Marmol was almost removed from the closer role before going on the DL with a hamstring strain. The Cubs top three catchers (Geovany Soto, Steve Clevenger and Welington Castillo) are all hurt right now.

Familiar Faces: Paul Maholm

Probable Pitchers
Friday: RH Ryan Dempster (0-2, 47.1 IP, 44 K, 2.28 ERA, 1.06 WHIP)
vs. RH A.J. Burnett (2-2, 37.2 IP, 33 K, 4.78 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)

Dempster has pitched much better than his 0-2 record. He’s in line to be the Cubs’ All-Star and then traded at the deadline. The trade for A.J. Burnett keeps looking better and better.

Saturday: LH Paul Maholm (4-3, 45.2 IP, 27 K, 4.73 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
vs. RH Kevin Correia (1-5, 46.0 IP, 16 K, 4.50 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)

In his first season for the Cubs, Maholm is pitching as well as he usually did for the Pirates. Correia’s WHIP is pretty good, but that’s the only stat of his that looks nice.

Sunday: RH Matt Garza (2-2, 48.1 IP, 43 K, 3.72 ERA, 1.12 WHIP)
vs. LH Erik Bedard (2-5, 46.0 IP, 48 K, 3.52 ERA, 1.39 WHIP)

Garza has also been the subject of trade rumors but he’s likely to be kept around unless someone gives the Cubs a real sweetheart deal. Bedard tries to right himself after two shaky starts since his back spasms.

No lineups yet.

Mets Wrap Up

Scores:
Monday: 5-4 Win vs NY Mets. Three late runs win it. Box score.
Tuesday: 3-2 Loss vs NY Mets. Can’t solve the knuckler. Box score.
Wednesday: 3-1 Loss vs NY Mets. Only 1 run for the 9th time. Box score.

Season Record: 20-24, 4th place in NL Central, 5.0 games back

Notes: Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison were pretty much the whole show this series. I have nothing else good to say about the offense at this time. In two starts since his back spasms, Erik Bedard‘s totals are 11 IP, 8 ER, 12 H, 4 BB and 11 K’s. He hadn’t given up more than 2 ER in any of six pre-injury outings. If his next start continues the current trend the team may want to skip Bedard when his turn comes up again. The bullpen was stellar, allowing only 1 ER, 4 H and 3 BB with 11 K in 8 IP.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh  AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO  LOB     AVG     OBP
Harrison, RF-SS 12 3 4 0 0 1 3 0.333 0.333
Walker, 2B 12 1 2 0 0 5 3 0.167 0.167
McCutchen, A, CF 11 1 4 4 0 3 5 0.364 0.333
Barmes, SS 8 1 3 1 1 1 4 0.375 0.400
Alvarez, 3B 8 1 2 1 0 2 5 0.250 0.250
Tabata, LF-RF 8 1 1 0 1 2 2 0.125 0.222
Barajas, C 8 0 1 0 0 4 2 0.125 0.125
McGehee, 1B 6 0 0 0 1 2 3 0.000 0.143
Jones, G, 1B 5 0 0 0 0 3 1 0.000 0.000
McKenry, C 4 1 1 2 0 2 3 0.250 0.250
Navarro, 3B 4 0 1 0 0 1 0 0.250 0.250
Hernandez, Go, LF 4 0 0 0 1 2 1 0.000 0.200
McDonald, J, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 0.000 0.000
Morton, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
Bedard, P 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000
McLouth, LF 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
  Totals 96 9 20 8 4 31 34 0.208 0.235

Batting
Doubles (8): Harrison 3 (6), McCutchen, A (8), Alvarez (7), Walker (6), Barajas (6), Tabata (7)
Triples (1): Harrison (2)
HomeRuns (1): McKenry (3)

BaseRunning
SB: McCutchen (8)

Fielding
Errors: Alvarez (9)
Double Plays: (Barmes-Walker-McGehee)

Pitching

Pittsburgh     IP    H    R   ER  BB  SO  HR    ERA   WHIP
McDonald, J 7.0 4 1 1 2 8 0 1.29 0.86
Morton (L, 2-5) 7.0 8 3 3 0 1 0 3.86 1.14
Bedard 5.0 6 4 4 3 4 0 7.20 1.80
Resop 2.7 1 0 0 1 2 0 0.00 0.75
Grilli 1.0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0.00 0.00
Hanrahan (S, 10) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Lincoln 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Hughes, J (W, 1-0) 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 2.00
Watson 0.7 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Cruz, J (L, 1-1) 0.7 2 2 1 1 2 0 13.50 4.50
  Totals 27.0 22 10 9 8 24 0 3.00 1.11

Transactions: Traded Drew Sutton to Tampa Bay Rays for cash. Activated RHP Jason Grilli from the Bereavement List. Optioned LHP Jeff Locke to AAA.

Grilli Activated, Locke Optioned

Relief pitcher Jason Grilli has been activated from the Bereavement List. Jeff Locke was optioned back to AAA. Locke made no appearances in his three days with the big league club.

Today’s series finale against the Mets is at 12:30. The Pirates are off tomorrow.

Gorkys Hernandez gets his first start today. Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez have the day off versus lefty pitcher Jon Niese . Lineup:

Josh Harrison RF
Gorkys Hernandez LF
Andrew McCutchen CF
Neil Walker 2B
Casey McGehee 1B
Rod Barajas C
Yamaico Navarro 3B
Clint Barmes SS
Charlie Morton P

Trade Tree: Johan Santana

I started throwing this together after Philip Humber‘s perfect game a few weeks ago and since the Pirates faced Johan Santana last night it seemed like a good time to bring it out. If people like it I can keep doing Trade Trees for players and teams other than the Pirates.

The 2007 Twins were at a crossroads, one several teams had known before and others would see again. Their ace pitcher, the best pitcher in baseball at the time, was going to be a free agent after the next season. They had been unable to agree with him on a contract extension. It was time to talk trade. The Yankees offered Melky Cabrera, Phil Hughes and other prospects. The Red Sox offered Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, and Justin Masterson. The Mets were able to get the deal done with this offer:

A sturdy pack of prospects, but nothing too exciting. What have the Twins done with those players though? That’s an interesting tale to be sure:

Branden Harris ties Johan’s trade tree to that of Chuck Knoblauch, meaning a good chunk of the last two decades of Twins history is listed here. All told, The Twins started with four players (three draft picks and one Rule 5 pick) and turned them into twenty-two players, four of which are still in their organization. In between they had six outstanding season of Johan, seven good years from Knoblauch, and several seasons of supporting work from the other 24 players listed. It’s a mixed bag of results in all of the individual deals, but you can say that about any team’s transactions. These deals helped the Twins to nine winning seasons and six playoff appearances.

Series Preview: The Mets

Current record: 19-22, 3rd place in NL Central, 3.0 games back

Up Next: New York Mets, 22-19, 4th place in NL East, 5.5 games back

Season Series: 0-0, First time playing.

Notes: The Mets come to the ‘Burgh for the only time this season. New York features a decent offense and below average pitching staff. If the Pirates can get to the Mets’ bullpen early they stand a good chance to win some games.

Familiar Faces: Ronny Cedeno, Jason Bay (DL), Miguel Batista (DL).

Probable Pitchers
Monday: LH Johan Santana (1-2, 43.2 IP, 46 K, 2.89 ERA, 1.17 WHIP)
vs. LH Erik Bedard (2-5, 41.0 IP, 44 K, 3.07 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)

Santana has been very effective this year, but has not been able to go deep into games. Bedard’s numbers have been slowly creeping up after his stellar start.

Tuesday: RH R.A. Dickey (5-1, 50.1 IP, 40 K, 3.75 ERA, 1.23 WHIP)
vs. RH James McDonald (3-2, 50.1 IP, 50 K, 2.68 ERA, 1.01 WHIP)

Hopefully the knuckler won’t be knuckling, or the Pirates’ free-swing ways could doom them here. J-Mac took a no-no into the sixth inning in his last start.

Wednesday: LH Jon Niese (2-2, 42.2 IP, 39 K, 4.85 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)
vs. RH Charlie Morton (2-4, 39.1 IP, 24 K, 4.35 ERA, 1.47 WHIP)

I have nothing to say about Jon Niese. Totally non-descript pitcher. I guess he’s lefthanded though. That’s something.

No lineups yet.

Tigers Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 6-0 Loss at Detroit. Verlander almost unhittable. Box score.
Saturday: 4-3 Win at Detroit. McCutchen leads the way again. Box score.
Sunday: 4-3 Loss at Detroit. 17 K’s, still almost won. Box score.

Season Record: 19-22, 3rd place in NL Central, 3.0 games back

Notes: Andrew McCutchen hits two more homeruns and the Pirates win. He gets no hits and they lose. Josh Harrison is hitting the ball well right now. I wouldn’t mind seeing him at shortstop a few games this week. Rod Barajas appears to have shaken off his early season slump. After a .143/.222/.184 April he’s hitting .310/.318/.667 in May. The writing is on the wall for Nate McLouth. He went 0-8 with 4 K’s over the weekend, including the game ender yesterday. All told he’s 0 for his last 20 with 9 K’s and 1 walk. Can we please get Gorkys Hernandez some at bats? It’s literally impossible that he could do worse. One of the biggest problems this team has on offense is strikeouts: 12 on Friday, 12 on Saturday, 17 on Sunday.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh   AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO  LOB     AVG     OBP
Harrison, 2B, 3B, DH 11 3 3 0 1 3 1 0.273 0.385
Walker, 2B, DH 11 1 3 1 1 4 4 0.273 0.333
McCutchen, A, CF 11 2 2 4 1 4 6 0.182 0.250
Barmes, SS 10 0 2 0 0 4 2 0.200 0.200
Tabata, RF 9 0 1 0 0 0 2 0.111 0.111
Alvarez, 3B, DH 9 0 0 0 2 8 4 0.000 0.182
McLouth, LF 8 0 0 0 0 4 2 0.000 0.000
Barajas, C 7 1 2 2 0 4 3 0.286 0.250
Jones, G, RF, 1B 7 0 1 0 0 5 2 0.143 0.143
McGehee, 1B 7 0 1 0 0 2 2 0.143 0.143
Navarro, LF 3 0 1 0 0 2 1 0.333 0.333
McKenry, C 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
  Totals 96 7 16 7 5 41 29 0.167 0.214

Batting
Doubles (2): Jones (6), Harrison (3)
HomeRuns (4): McCutchen 2 (7), Barajas (4), Walker (2)

BaseRunning
CS: Navarro (2)
PO: Navarro

Fielding
Passed Ball: Barajas 2 (4)
Double Plays: (Barmes-Walker-McGehee), (McGehee)

Pitching

Pittsburgh     IP    H    R   ER  BB  SO  HR    ERA   WHIP
Morton (L, 2-4) 6.0 9 4 4 1 4 1 6.00 1.67
Burnett, AJ (W, 2-2) 6.0 7 2 2 3 2 1 3.00 1.67
Correia (L, 1-5) 6.0 4 3 3 0 2 1 4.50 0.67
Lincoln 1.7 2 0 0 0 4 0 0.00 1.20
Hanrahan (S, 9) 1.0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0.00 1.00
Hughes, J 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Cruz, J (H, 7) 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 1.00
Grilli (H, 10) 1.0 2 1 0 0 1 0 0.00 2.00
Resop 1.0 2 2 2 1 0 0 18.00 3.00
Watson 0.3 1 1 0 1 0 0 0.00 6.00
  Totals 25.0 28 13 11 7 17 3 3.96 1.40

Transactions: Optioned RHP Evan Meek to AAA. Recalled OF Gorkys Hernandez from AAA. Placed RHP Jason Grilli on the Bereavement List. Recalled LHP Jeff Locke from AAA. Acquired IF Drew Sutton from the Atlanta Braves for cash, assigned Sutton to AAA.

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