Series Preview: The Tigers

Current record: 18-20, 3rd place in NL Central, 4.0 games back

Up Next: Detroit Tigers, 18-20, 2nd place in AL Central, 4.0 games back

Season Series: 0-0, First time playing.

Notes: The Pirates head to Detroit for the start of Interleague play. Miguel CabreraPrince Fielder and Austin Jackson lead an offense that has scored 167 runs in 38 games, 4.39 per game. Fortunately, the pitching and defense has yielded 4.66 r/g. Curious to see who’ll be DHing for the Pirates this weekend.

Familiar Faces: Jim Leyland, Octavio Dotel and Don Kelly.

Probable Pitchers
Friday: RH Charlie Morton (2-3, 33.1 IP, 20 K, 4.05 ERA, 1.44 WHIP)
vs. Rh Justin Verlander (4-1, 58.1 IP, 56 K, 2.47 ERA, 0.87 WHIP)

Morton’s mechanical adjustments were very effective in his last start. Just when you thought the Pirates had already faced every good pitcher in the league, they face last year’s AL Cy Young award winner and MVP.

Saturday: RH A.J. Burnett (1-2, 31.2 IP, 31 K, 5.12 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)
vs. LH Drew Smyly (1-0, 39.0 IP, 32 K, 2.31 ERA, 1.10 WHIP)

Burnett’s been amazing, save the one awful start. Smyly is the Tigers’ hot young rookie.

Sunday: RH Kevin Correia (1-4, 40.0 IP, 14 K, 4.50 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)
vs. RH Max Scherzer (2-3, 41.2 IP, 48 K, 6.26 ERA, 1.73 WHIP)

Really hoping that Brad Lincoln gets this start instead of Correia. If not, then you have to imagine that Kevin will be on a very short leash. Even with nothing else going his way Scherzer still strikes out a bunch of guys. He’s the kind of pitcher that always
seems to right himself against the Bucs.

No lineups yet.

4:58 Update: Lineups:
Josh Harrison DH
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Garrett Jones RF
Casey McGehee 1B
Nate McLouth LF
Clint Barmes SS
Michael McKenry C

Tigers
Don Kelly CF
Andy Dirks LF
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Prince Fielder 1B
Delmon Young DH
Alex Avila C
Brennan Boesch RF
Jhonny Peralta SS
Ryan Raburn 2B

Marlins & Nationals Wrap Up

Scores:
Monday: 3-2 Win at Miami. Lincoln efficient and effective. Box score.
Tuesday: 6-2 Loss at Miami. Correia falls apart in 4th. Box score.
Wednesday: 7-4 Loss at Washington. Old Bucs beating current Bucs. Box score.
Thursday: 5-3 Win at Washington. McDonald & McCutchen lead the way. Box score.

Season Record: 18-20, 3rd place in NL Central, 4.0 games back

Notes: The offense was all Andrew McCutchen, Rod Barajas and Josh Harrison. The trio had 16 of the team’s 28 hits with 3 doubles and 5 homers. The pitching staff was uncharacteristically porous so getting a spilt over the four games is pretty good. James McDonald took a no-hitter into the 6th and struck out a career high 11. Joel Hanrahan closed out both wins and looked better than he had last week.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh   AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO  LOB     AVG     OBP
Tabata, RF 16 2 3 0 1 4 4 0.188 0.235
Walker, 2B 16 0 2 1 0 4 3 0.125 0.125
McCutchen, A, CF 14 4 6 3 1 2 4 0.429 0.438
Alvarez, 3B 13 0 3 1 0 4 4 0.231 0.231
Barmes, SS 12 0 2 0 0 5 7 0.167 0.167
Barajas, C 10 3 6 3 1 2 2 0.600 0.636
McGehee, 1B 9 1 0 1 2 3 3 0.000 0.167
Jones, G, 1B, RF 8 0 1 1 0 1 1 0.125 0.125
Harrison, 3B-LF, SS 7 2 4 3 0 0 1 0.571 0.571
Presley, LF 6 0 0 0 1 1 2 0.000 0.143
McKenry, C 3 1 1 1 0 0 0 0.333 0.333
Navarro, LF 3 1 0 0 1 1 1 0.000 0.250
McLouth, PH 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
Bedard, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 2 0.000 0.000
Lincoln, P 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000
McDonald, J, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 0.000 0.000
Correia, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
Resop, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
  Totals 128 14 28 14 7 32 38 0.219 0.259

Batting
Doubles (4): Tabata (6), Alvarez (6), Barajas (5), Harrison (2)
HomeRuns (6): Barajas 2 (3), McKenry (2), Harrison (1), McCutchen 2 (5)

BaseRunning
SB: McCutchen (7), Tabata (5)
CS: Barmes (2), Presley (4)

Fielding
Errors: McGehee (2)
Double Plays: (Barmes-Walker), (Alvarez-Walker-Jones)

Pitching

Pittsburgh     IP    H    R   ER  BB  SO  HR    ERA   WHIP
Bedard (L, 2-5) 6.0 6 4 4 1 7 3 6.00 1.17
Lincoln (W, 3-0) 6.0 4 2 2 1 3 1 3.00 0.83
McDonald, J (W, 3-2) 5.7 4 3 3 1 11 0 4.76 0.88
Correia (L, 1-4) 3.7 8 6 6 4 1 0 14.73 3.27
Hughes, J (H, 3) 3.0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.67
Resop 2.3 3 0 0 1 2 0 0.00 1.71
Grilli (H, 8,9) 2.0 2 0 0 1 3 0 0.00 1.50
Hanrahan (S, 7,8) 2.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 1.00
Watson (H, 4) 1.3 0 0 0 2 2 0 0.00 1.50
Meek 1.0 1 3 3 2 2 0 27.00 3.00
Cruz, J (H, 6) 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 2.00
  Totals 34.0 32 18 18 15 33 4 4.76 1.38

Transactions: Optioned Alex Presley to AAA. Recalled Evan Meek from AAA.

Presley Optioned, Meek Recalled

In a surprising move, OF Alex Presley was just optioned down to AAA. RHP Evan Meek has been recalled from AAA to take his place on the roster. Presley has been struggling at the plate and has spent much of the past week on the bench. The Pirates likely feel that some time in the minors may help him regain the form that got him to the majors last year.

The main impetus of the move however, is likely the need for another pitcher. The pitching staff has been taxed lately — going extra innings on Sunday, having Brad Lincoln fill in for Eric Bedard on Monday, and Kevin Correia not getting out of the fourth inning last night. The Pirates don’t have another off day until Thursday the 24th. I’d expect a bat to be brought up for this weekend’s Interleague series against Detroit.

Series Preview: The Nationals

Note: The series recap for the Marlins series will be combined with the series recap for this Nationals series so that the data will have a broader base.

Current record: 17-19, 3rd place in NL Central, 4.0 games back

Up Next: Washington Nationals, 22-14, 2nd place in NL East, 0.5 games back

Season Series: The Pirates took 2 out of 3 against the Nationals last week.

The top two pitching staffs in the NL face off tonight in Washington as the Pirates and Nationals conclude their season series. The Pirates go against the two starters they missed in the three game set last week. Bryce Harper hit his first two major league home runs in his last two games. Catcher Wilson Ramos was just lost for the season with a torn ACL. Closer Henry Rodriguez has been shaky and may be pulled from the role.

Probable Pitchers
Wednesday: LH Erik Bedard (2-4, 35.0 IP, 37 K, 2.57 ERA, 1.37 WHIP)
vs. LH Gio Gonzalez (4-1, 41.1 IP, 50 K, 1.94 ERA, 1.01 WHIP)

Bedard returns to action after only lasting one inning in his start against the Nationals last week. Gonzalez is finally showing consistancy to go along with his talent.

Thursday: RH James McDonald (2-2, 44.2 IP, 39 K, 2.42 ERA, 1.03 WHIP)
vs. RH Jordan Zimmermann (2-3, 46.1 IP, 32 K, 2.14 ERA, 0.97 WHIP)

Very similar lines for the two young righties.

Tonight’s lineup:
Jose Tabata RF
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Casey McGehee 1B
Yamaico Navarro LF
Rod Barajas C
Clint Barmes SS
Josh Harrison
Erik Bedard P

Series Preview: The Marlins

Current record: 16-18, 3rd place in NL Central, 4 games back

Up Next: Miami Marlins, 18-16, 4th place in NL East, 7.5 games back

The Pirates head down to Miami for a quick two game set against the newly orange-clad Marlins. The Fish have an 85 OPS+ and 117 ERA+ which means that the pitchers have been doing more than the bats to help the team win. For comparison, the Pirates are at 72 and 117. Marlins Stadium has been a hitters park thus far in its short history. Miami is scoring 4.5 runs and allowing 4.64 at home, vs 3.25 and 3.15 on the road. The Marlins spent a ton of money to bring in free agents Jose Reyes (started slow, heating up), Mark Buehrle (as good as expected), and Heath Bell (already removed from the closer role). Giancarlo Stanton (133 OPS+) and Omar Infante (153 OPS+) are leading the Marlins’ offense most nights.

Probable Pitchers
Monday: RH Brad Lincoln (2-0, 14.1 IP, 16 K, 0.63 ERA, 1.05 WHIP)
vs. RH Anibal Sanchez (2-0, 40.1 IP, 46 K, 2.01 ERA, 1.04 WHIP)

Lincoln fills in tonight for what would have been Erik Bedard‘s turn. Bedard will go on Wednesday. Sanchez is pitching like an ace this year and strikes out a ton of batters. The pitching will have to keep things close (again) for the Pirates to have a shot tonight.

Tuesday: RH Kevin Correia (1-3, 36.1 IP, 13 K, 3.47 ERA, 1.13 WHIP)
vs. RH Josh Johnson (0-3, 38.1 IP, 32 K, 5.87 ERA, 1.70 WHIP)

Correia hopes to continue getting  good results from his smoke-and-mirrors show. Johnson has yet to regain his Cy Young candidate form after injuring his shoulder last year but he still strikes out a lot of hitters.

Lineups:
Jose Tabata RF
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Casey McGehee 1B
Alex Presley LF
Rod Barajas C
Clint Barmes SS
Brad Lincoln P

Marlins
Jose Reyes SS
Omar Infante 2B
Hanley Ramirez 3B
Logan Morrison LF
Giancarlo Stanton RF
Gaby Sanchez 1B
Emilio Bonifacio CF
John Buck C
Anibal Sanchez P

Contest Results: 8 Runs Scored

With those six short characters, Matthew Peaslee guessed the correct number of runs the Pirates scored against the Astros this weekend. Matt wins the prediction contest and will be going to see the Pirates take on the Cubs on Social Media Night.

Thanks to everyone who entered. The response was good enough that I may have another contest later this season.

Mr. Peaslee is a sportswriter for The Youngstown Vindicator and has a MLBlog called The Pittsburgh Peas.

Astros Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 1-0 Loss vs Houston. Great pitching, no clutch hitting. Box score.
Saturday: 5-2 Win vs Houston. Good team win. Box score.
Sunday: 3-2 Win vs Houston. Tie in the ninth, win in extras. Box score.

Season Record: 16-18, 3rd place in NL Central, 4 games back

Notes: With any offensive execution at all on Friday this could have been a sweep. It has become commonplace to say that the pitching is carrying the team, but four earned runs in three games is excellent for any team in any league. Big kudos to James McDonald, Charlie Morton, A.J. Burnett and the entire bullpen. Two names carried the hitting: Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata. Both happen to be signed to long term deals. Neil Walker looks very nice in the two-hole. I think it suits his talents better than cleanup. Much-maligned Rod Barajas and Clint Barmes combined to go 5 for 14 (.294) this weekend. I used to love Nate McLouth, but I just don’t see what he has left as a hitter right now. Pinch hitting him for Casey McGehee in the ninth inning yesterday made no sense to me. Every position player got at least four at bats this weekend. The only players not used were Brad Lincoln, Kevin Correia and Erik Bedard, the next three starting pitchers.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh  AB  R    H  RBI  BB  SO  LOB    AVG     OBP
McCutchen, A, CF 12 1 5 2 1 3 4 0.417 0.462
Tabata, LF-RF 12 3 3 1 1 2 4 0.250 0.308
Walker, 2B 11 1 2 1 0 2 0 0.182 0.167
Alvarez, 3B 10 1 2 1 1 7 2 0.200 0.250
Barajas, C-1B 7 0 3 0 0 0 0 0.429 0.429
Barmes, SS 7 1 2 1 0 2 0 0.286 0.250
McLouth, LF 6 0 0 0 0 3 6 0.000 0.000
McGehee, 1B 5 1 0 0 3 2 3 0.000 0.375
Navarro, RF 5 0 0 0 0 1 5 0.000 0.000
Harrison, SS 4 0 1 1 0 0 0 0.250 0.250
McKenry, C 4 0 0 0 1 0 1 0.000 0.200
Presley, PH-LF 4 0 0 0 0 2 4 0.000 0.000
Jones, G, 1B 4 0 0 0 0 0 3 0.000 0.000
Morton, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
Burnett, AJ, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.000 0.000
McDonald, J, P, PH 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.000 0.000
 Totals 97 8 18 7 7 29 32 0.186 0.234

Batting
Doubles (6): Barajas (4), Alvarez (5), Walker 2 (5), McCutchen, A (7), Barmes (8)
Triples (2): Tabata 2 (2)
HomeRuns (2): McCutchen, A (3), Tabata (2)

BaseRunning
SB: McCutchen, A (6), McGehee (1)
CS: McCutchen, A (3)
PO: Harrison

Fielding
Errors: Alvarez (8), Burnett (1)
Double Plays: (Alvarez-Walker-Jones), (Navarro-McGehee), (Barmes-Walker-McGehee), (McGehee-Harrison-Burnett), (McGehee)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Burnett, AJ 8.0 6 2 2 0 4 0 2.25 0.750
McDonald, J (L, 2-2) 8.0 4 1 1 2 8 0 1.13 0.750
Morton (W, 2-3) 6.0 7 2 1 1 0 0 1.50 1.333
Watson (H, 3)(W, 3-0) 2.7 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.000
Cruz, J (S, 3) 2.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.500
Grilli 1.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 1.000
Hanrahan 1.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.00 1.000
Hughes, J 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.000
Resop (H, 3) 0.3 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 3.000
 Totals 30.0 19 5 4 5 16 0 1.20 0.800

 

Transaction: Activated Joel Hanrahan from the Bereavement List. Placed Daniel McCutchen on the 15-day DL with a left oblique strain suffered in batting practice.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 280 other followers