Series Preview: The Brewers

Current record: 48-37, 1st place in NL Central, 1.0 game ahead

Up Next: Milwaukee Brewers, 40-45, 4th place in NL Central, 8.0 games back

Season Series: 2-1

Notes: Finally, baseball is back from the All Star break. The last time the Pirates went to Milwaukee they had just gotten to .500 at 25-25. They’re record since then has been a lights out 23-12. Milwaukee was 5 games under then and is still 5 games under now. Ryan Braun leads his team in almost as many hitting categories as Andrew McCutchen leads the Pirates

Familiar Faces: Nyjer Morgan, Aramis Ramirez, Cesar Izturis, Jose Veras

Probable Pitchers
Friday: RH James McDonald (9-3, 110.0 IP, 100 K, 2.37 ERA, 0.97 WHIP)
vs. RH Zack Greinke (9-3, 111.0 IP, 111 K, 3.32 ERA, 1.23 WHIP)

Two aces go against each other. This could be one of Greinke’s last starts for the Brewers, as he’s been named in several trade rumors.

Saturday: RH Kevin Correia (5-6, 91.1 IP, 35 K, 4.34 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)
vs. Marco Estrada (0-3, 51.0 IP, 55 K, 4.06 ERA, 1.02 WHIP)

Underwhelming! Estrada’s actually pitched pretty well since returning from a quad injury. Correia’s been put in this spot so that his softer stuff can serve as a buffer between the similar repertoires of McDonald and…

Sunday: RH A.J. Burnett (10-2, 93.0 IP, 79 K, 3.68 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)
vs. Yovani Gallardo (7-6, 108.1 IP, 107 K, 3.74 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)

I’m looking forward to seeing this one live. That’s right! I’m road tripping to Milwaukee this weekend with my wife. We’ll be visiting the esteemable @Wezen_ball and his lovely fiance. After that we’re going to spend the rest of the week in Chicago, so postings may not fall on a regular schedule, if at all. Expect plenty of pictures when I can upload them.

2012 Home Run Derby Preview

Andrew McCutchen was selected Saturday night to participate in the 2012 Home Run Derby. McCutchen is replacing the injured Giancarlo Stanton, who underwent knee surgery and is out 4-6 weeks.

Cutch will have to buck a trend of poor Pirate performances. In 2005 Jason Bay hit zero home runs at Comerica Park. 1992 saw Barry Bonds hit a measly 2 homers out of Jack Murphy Stadium. And in 1990, Bobby Bonilla put up a goose egg in Wrigley. (It’s worth noting that there were only 5 home runs hit in that entire derby combined. Ryne Sandberg lead the way with 3.)

2012 Home Run Derby participants (Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City):

National League
Matt Kemp, OF, LAD
HR this season: 12
Career high: 39 (2011)
Prior HR Derby results: last in 2011, 2 total HRs

Carlos Beltran, OF, STL
HR this season: 20
Career high: 41 (2006)
Prior HR Derby results: None

Carlos Gonzalez, OF, COL
HR this season: 17
Career high: 34 (2010)
Prior HR Derby results: None

Andrew McCutchen, OF, PIT
HR this season: 18
Career high: 23 (2011)
Prior HR Derby results: None

American League
Robinson Cano, 2B, NYY
HR this season: 20
Career high: 29 (2010)
Prior HR Derby results: 2011 Champion, 32 total HRs

Mark Trumbo, 3B, LAA
HR this season: 22
Career high: 29 (2011)
Prior HR Derby results: None

Prince Fielder, 1B, DET
HR this season: 15
Career high: 50 (2007)
Prior HR Derby results: 2009 Champion, 23 total HRs, 2007 6th place, 3 total HRs

Jose Bautista, OF, TOR
HR this season: 27
Career high: 54 (2010)
Prior HR Derby results: 2011 6th place, 4 total HRs

Giants Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 6-5 Loss vs San Francisco. Bedard struggles again. Box score.
Saturday: 3-1 Win vs San Francisco. JMac dominates. Box score.
Sunday: 13-2 Win vs San Francisco. Pirates batter Lincecum. Box score.

Season Record: 48-37, 1st place in NL Central, 1.0 game ahead

Notes: The Pirates enter the All Star break in first place for the first time since 1997. The Bucs are 11 games over .500 and sport the fourth best record in the majors. What a series for Neil Walker: 8 for 12 with 4 doubles and a homer. Andrew McCutchen was nearly as good with 2 homers among his 7 hits in 14 at bats. Cutch was named to participate in the Home Run Derby as a late replacement for Giancarlo Stanton. James McDonald continued his All Star-worthy campaign with 10 K’s in 7 innings. The bullpen was stellar once again, allowing only one run (by Juan Cruz) in 10 innings.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
McCutchen, A, CF 14 5 7 6 0 2 4 0.500 0.500
Sutton, LF-RF 13 0 2 1 0 3 5 0.154 0.143
Walker, 2B 12 4 8 4 1 1 3 0.667 0.692
McGehee, 1B 12 2 4 3 0 2 5 0.333 0.333
Alvarez, 3B 11 2 2 2 1 3 6 0.182 0.250
Jones, G, RF-1B 10 1 1 0 0 3 6 0.100 0.100
Barmes, SS 7 1 2 1 0 1 4 0.286 0.286
Barajas, C 6 1 1 0 2 0 3 0.167 0.444
Hernandez, Go, PR-LF 6 1 0 0 0 2 1 0.000 0.000
Mercer, PH-SS 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.000 0.000
McKenry, C 3 1 2 1 0 0 1 0.667 0.667
Burnett, AJ, P 3 0 1 1 0 1 3 0.333 0.333
Harrison, SS 2 2 2 0 1 0 0 1.000 1.000
McDonald, J, P 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 1.000 1.000
Lincoln, P 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000
Bedard, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
Fryer, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
  Totals 107 21 34 19 6 18 43 0.318 0.357

Batting
Doubles (9): Walker 4 (21), McKenry (7), Alvarez (15), Sutton (10), Barajas (8), McGehee (12)
Triples (1): McCutchen (5)
Home Runs (6): McGehee (6), Alvarez (16), McKenry (7), McCutchen 2 (18), Walker (6)

Baserunning
SB: Hernandez (2)

Fielding
Errors: Walker (4), Harrison (3), McKenry (1), Sutton (1)
Double Plays: (Bedard-Harrison-McGehee), (Mercer-Walker-McGehee), (Barmes-Walker- McGehee)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
McDonald, J(W, 9-3) 7.0 4 1 1 0 10 0 1.29 0.57
Burnett, AJ(W, 10-2) 6.3 4 2 2 2 5 1 2.84 0.95
Bedard(L, 4-10) 3.7 4 5 4 3 1 1 9.82 1.91
Lincoln 2.7 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.00
Resop 2.3 0 0 0 0 3 0 0.00 0.00
Hughes, J 2.0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 1.00
Grilli(H, 21) 1.0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0.00 0.00
Hanrahan(S, 23) 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 1.00
Cruz, J 1.0 2 1 1 0 0 0 9.00 2.00
  Totals 27.0 17 9 8 5 24 2 2.67 0.81

Transactions: Outrighted Chris Leroux and Doug Slaten to AAA. Optioned C Eric Fryer to AAA. Recalled 1B Matt Hague from AAA.

Slaten, Leroux Clear Waivers

Also this, from the “I was busy last night and missed it” file: Doug Slaten and Chris Leroux both cleared waivers and were outrighted to AAA. Either would have to be readded to the 40 man roster to be called back to the active major league roster.

Hague Recalled, Fryer Optioned

It’s a sign that Rod Barajas is finally healthy enough to catch normally: Eric Fryer has been optioned back down to AAA. Fryer went mostly unused in his 11 days on the roster, acting as an emergency catcher in case Michael McKenry was hurt. In four games he was 1 for 3 with a single.

Matt Hague was been called up. I don’t expect he’ll see many starts with Casey McGehee and Garrett Jones swinging well but he should serve as a good bat off the bench. As a pinch hitter this year he’s 4 for 12 with 1 strikeout, 2 runs scored and 2 RBIs.

Series Preview: The Giants

Current record: 46-36, 1st place in NL Central, 2.0 games ahead

Up Next: San Francisco Giants, 45-38, 2nd place in NL West, 1.5 games back

Season Series: 1-2

Notes: The last time the Pirates faced the Giants they scored eight runs in three games. Two months later the Bucs are playing like a totally different team. These three games will close out the season series with the Giants. The Pirates are lucky to miss All Star Matt Cain, who could start the game on Tuesday. If so, he’ll be joining teammates Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Melky Cabrera.

Familiar Faces: Ryan Vogelsong, Javier Lopez

Probable Pitchers
Friday: LH Barry Zito (6-6, 93.2 IP, 52 K, 3.84 ERA, 1.40 WHIP)
vs. LH Erik Bedard (4-9, 82.2 IP, 77 K, 4.57 ERA, 1.48 WHIP)

A battle of struggling lefties.

Saturday: RH Ryan Vogelsong (7-3, 103.2 IP, 72 K, 2.26 ERA, 1.11 WHIP)
vs. RH James McDonald (8-3, 103.0 IP, 90 K, 2.45 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)

Against all odds, Vogelsong has become a good, consistent pitcher late in his career. He’s held opponents to 2 ER runs or less in 11 of his 15 starts and never more than 4 ER allowed.

Sunday: TBA (3-9, 93.2 IP, 101 K, 6.08 ERA, 1.55 WHIP)
vs. RH A.J. Burnett (9-2, 86.2 IP, 74 K, 3.74 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)

This is Tim Lincecum‘s turn to pitch, but as of last night he hasn’t been announced as the starter. Last time out he allowed 7 ER in only 3.1 IP, so the Giants may be considering resting him. I listed his numbers above.

No lineups yet.

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