Series Preview: The Astros

Current record: 42-36, 2nd place in NL Central, 1.0 game back

Up Next: Houston Astros, 32-47, 6th place in NL Central, 11.5 games back

Season Series: 2-1

Notes: The last time the Pirates faced the Astros both teams were 14-17 and tied
for 3rd place. Now the two teams are separated by 10.5 games in the standings.
Firstbaseman Carlos Lee just turned down a trade to the Dodgers. 2B Jose Altuve
was chosen as Houston’s lone representative for the All Star Game.

Familiar Faces: Chris Snyder, Brian Bixler

Probable Pitchers
Monday: RH Jordan Lyles (2-4, 51.0 IP, 30 K, 4.59 ERA, 1.45 WHIP)
vs. RH James McDonald (7-3, 96.0 IP, 86 K, 2.44 ERA, 0.98 WHIP)

Tuesday: RH Lucas Harrell (7-6, 97.2 IP, 56 K, 4.33 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)
vs. RH A.J. Burnett (9-2, 81.2 IP, 69 K, 3.31 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)

Wednesday: LH Dallas Keuchel (1-0, 20.0 IP, 8 K, 1.35 ERA, 1.15 WHIP)
vs. RH Kevin Correia (4-6, 85.1 IP, 34 K, 4.32 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)

Thursday: RH Bud Norris (5-5, 79.0 IP, 82 K, 4.90 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)
vs. RH Jeff Karstens (1-2, 24.0 IP, 16 K, 5.25 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)

No lineups yet.

Cardinals Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 14-5 Win at St. Louis. Lots of late runs. Box score.
Saturday: 7-3 Win at St. Louis. Pedro smash. Box score.
Sunday: 5-4 Loss at St. Louis. Not enough to bail out Bedard. Box score.

Season Record: 42-36, 2nd place in NL Central, 1.0 game back

Notes: Two outstandings games and one disappointing one. Good to see the Jeff Karstens from last year show up. Erik Bedard has not been very good for a month. Jose Tabata scored four runs and was on base six times, which was good to see. Big weekend for Pedro Alvarez with eight RBI, including a grand slam. Andrew McCutchen injured his wrist on Saturday making a diving catch and got Sunday off. He’s expected to be fine.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
Tabata, RF 13 4 4 0 2 1 3 0.308 0.400
Walker, 2B 12 3 6 3 2 2 6 0.500 0.571
Presley, LF-CF 12 3 5 1 1 2 1 0.417 0.462
Alvarez, 3B 11 1 4 8 3 1 5 0.364 0.500
Barmes, SS 11 2 4 3 0 1 7 0.364 0.364
Jones, G, 1B 11 4 3 2 1 5 6 0.273 0.333
McCutchen, A, CF 9 5 6 3 1 0 2 0.667 0.700
Sutton, LF-2B 9 1 2 1 0 4 4 0.222 0.222
McKenry, C 8 1 2 3 0 4 9 0.250 0.250
McGehee, PH-1B 5 0 1 1 0 0 2 0.200 0.200
Barajas, C 5 0 0 0 0 2 4 0.000 0.000
Harrison, 2B-3B 3 0 0 0 0 0 5 0.000 0.000
Karstens, P 3 0 0 0 0 2 1 0.000 0.000
Correia, P 2 0 1 0 0 1 1 0.500 0.500
Lincoln, P, PH 2 1 1 0 0 1 1 0.500 0.500
Bedard, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
Fryer, PR-LF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 —- —-
  Totals 118 25 39 25 10 27 57 0.331 0.383

Batting
Doubles (6): McCutchen (16), Alvarez (14), McKenry (5), Tabata (13), Walker (15), Sutton (7)
Triple (1): Presley (2)
Home Runs (6): Barmes (4), Presley (6), Jones (10), McCutchen (15), Alvarez (15), McKenry (6)

BaseRunning
SB: Presley (8)
CS: Tabata (9)

Fielding
Double Plays: (Harrison-Sutton-Jones)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Karstens(W, 1-2) 7.0 4 2 2 2 7 0 2.57 0.86
Correia(W, 4-6) 5.0 6 5 5 2 3 1 9.00 1.60
Bedard(L, 4-9) 4.7 8 5 5 2 5 2 9.64 2.14
Lincoln 3.0 1 0 0 0 4 0 0.00 0.33
Resop 2.3 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.00
Watson 1.7 3 1 1 0 1 0 5.40 1.80
Hughes, J(S, 1) 1.3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
Cruz, J 1.0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0.00 1.00
  Totals 26.0 22 13 13 7 24 3 4.50 1.12

Transactions: None

Pirates All-Stars: McCutchen and Hanrahan

MLB just announced the teams for the 2012 All Star Game in Kansas City. The Pirates representatives are OF Andrew McCutchen and closer Joel Hanrahan.

McCutchen is not just the best player on the Pirates, he’s one of the best players in the National League. Cutch is currently leading the team in R, H, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, SB, Avg, OBP and SLG. Whew, that’s a heavy load. Andrew has a chance to start the game since elected starter Matt Kemp will not play because of a hamstring injury.

Hanrahan has nailed down 20 saves this year on the back of a 2.10 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 10.5 K/9

Not being named to the team were starters James McDonald and A.J. Burnett. JMac is a real surprise. He has become the ace of the Pirates staff with a 2.44 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 8.1 K/9. Burnett’s numbers don’t stand out in the same way (3.31, 1.24, 7.6) but it was thought that his comeback story this year might help get him some votes. Both players could be named to the team if other players bow out due to injury or rest requirements.

June Recap

The Pirates went 17-10 in June to bring their overall record to 42-35; a season best seven games over .500. They had two 4-game and two 3-game winning streaks along with one 3-game and one 4-game losing streak.

Wow, did the bats break out in a big way this month. The offense improved to 5.41 runs per game, way up from 2.64 r/g in April and 3.18 r/g in May. The pitching stayed close to the same as it was in May, increasing to 4.07 r/g from 3.93 rpg. Both numbers are well above the 3.00 r/g they allowed in April. Pedro Alvarez in June was the Pedro Alvarez Pirate fans have been looking for all along, hitting .262/.354/.571. Also waking up after a pitiful May was Casey McGehee. Casey took over most of the playing time at first base and hit .291/.360/.532. The best news is that neither player put up those stats by relying on a bunch of lucky hits. Pedro’s BABIP in June was .294 and McGehee’s was .305.

One of the best things that happened was the reduced the number of close games. April saw the Bucs win 8 games decided by three runs or less and only 2 by four or more. May had 14 close wins and 1 big win. In June the increased offense pushed those numbers to 8 close wins and 9 big wins. Good teams blow out their opponents more often than bad teams do.

Other Notes:

The Pirates won seven series, lost one series and split one. I am counting the still to be completed St. Louis series in these numbers since the Pirates have already won the set regardless of what happens in today’s game.

Record vs
NL East: 2-2, 23 RS, 24 RA (5.75 RS/G, 6.00 RA/G)
NL Central: 6-2, 53 RS, 33 RA (6.63 RS/G, 4.13 RA/G)
ALE/ALC: 9-6, 70 RS, 53 RA (4.67 RS/G, 3.53 RA/G)

Home: 7-2, 39 RS, 17 RA (4.33 RS/G, 1.89 RA/G)
Away: 10-8, 107 RS, 93 RA (5.94 RS/G, 5.17 RA/G)

1 Run games: 4-4
2 Run games: 2-2
3 Run games: 2-0
4 Run games: 4-1
5 Run games: 1-1
6 Run games: 1-2
7 Run games: 1-0
8 Run games: 1-0
9 Run games: 1-0

Summary: What a month. The Pirates played their best stretch of sustained good baseball in the last 20 years. The fruit of that good play has the Pirates holding the top Wild Card spot. Who would have thought that at the end of June the Bucs would be in position to host a playoff game? July really offers the team a chance to cement their place in the division. Opponents this month have a combined .433 winning percentage. 17 of 26 games come against NL Central opponents; 16 of those versus Houston, Milwaukee and Chicago. It’s a good time to be a Pirates fan.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 285 other followers