Series Preview: The Cardinals

Current record: 65-53, 2nd place in NL Central, 6.0 games back

Up Next: St. Louis Cardinals, 64-54, 3rd place in NL Central, 7.0 games back

Season Series: 4-5 (1-2, 1-2, 2-1)

Notes: The Pirates’ poor play in August has allowed the Cardinals to catch up to them in the races for the division and the Wild Card. Pittsburgh is coming off of its first losing homestand (4-7) of the season. St. Louis’ only trade dealine pick up was RHP Edward Mujica for the bullpen. The Cards feature a great lineup, even with 1B Lance Berkman on the DL. Corner outfielders Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday have been their usual stellar selves while sophomore Allen Craig has been even better at 1B than Berkman.

Familiar Faces: None

Probable Pitchers
Friday: RH James McDonald (10-5, 141.0 IP, 126 K, 3.77 ERA, 1.21 WHIP)
vs. RH Jake Westbrook (12-8, 146.2 IP, 92 K, 3.62 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)

Saturday: LH Erik Bedard (7-12, 116.1 IP, 111 K, 4.56 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)
vs. RH Lance Lynn (13-5, 138.0 IP, 135 K, 3.65 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)

Monday: RH Jeff Karstens (4-3, 69.0 IP, 50 K, 3.91 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
vs. RH Jaime Garcia (3-4, 66.1 IP, 51 K, 4.48 ERA, 1.46 WHIP)

No lineup yet.

Tonight’s Lineup
Starling Marte LF
Travis Snider RF
Andrew McCutchen CF
Garrett Jones 1B
Michael McKenry C
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Clint Barmes SS
Jordy Mercer 2B
James McDonald P

Dodgers Wrap Up

Scores:
Monday: 5-4 Loss vs. Los Angeles Dodgers. Jones’ 4 hits go for naught. Box score.
Tuesday: 11-0 Loss vs. Los Angeles Dodgers. Horrible game all around. Box score.
Wednesday: 9-3 Loss vs. Los Angeles Dodgers. Not much better. Box score.
Thursday: 10-6 Win vs. Los Angeles Dodgers. Jones’ 2 HR lead the Bucs. Box score.

Season Record: 65-53, 2nd place in NL Central, 6.0 games back

Notes: A third horrible series in a row is capped off by a win in the series finale. Garrett Jones was a beast with a four hit game and a two homer game. He knocked in 10 runs too. Andrew McCutchen was walked five times and scored five runs. Pedro Alvarez had eight strikeouts along with his three extra base hits. Neil Walker had to leave Wednesday’s game early after dislocating his right pinky. Pitching? Eh, let’s not talk about the pitching.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
Marte, S, LF 18 1 3 0 0 5 6 0.167 0.167
Alvarez, 3B 15 2 4 1 1 8 3 0.267 0.313
Jones, G, RF-1B 13 3 7 10 1 0 2 0.538 0.533
Barmes, SS 13 0 4 4 0 1 5 0.308 0.308
McCutchen, A, CF 12 5 3 1 5 2 3 0.250 0.471
Sanchez, G, 1B 12 2 2 0 0 2 7 0.167 0.167
Walker, 2B 9 0 1 0 0 1 4 0.111 0.111
Mercer, SS, 2B 7 2 1 0 0 2 1 0.143 0.143
Barajas, C 7 1 1 0 1 1 4 0.143 0.250
Snider, PH-RF 6 1 2 0 0 1 3 0.333 0.333
McKenry, C 6 0 1 1 2 2 2 0.167 0.375
Harrison, 3B-2B 4 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.000 0.200
Burnett, AJ, P 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
Correia, P 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0.500 0.500
Karstens, P 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000
Rodriguez, W, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
  Totals 130 17 30 17 11 26 42 0.231 0.291

Batting
Doubles (8): Jones 3 (20), Snider 2 (5), Sanchez 2 (12), Alvarez (17)
Triples (1): Barmes (1)
Home Runs (4): McCutchen (24), Jones 2 (19), Alvarez (22)

Baserunning
SB: Marte (4)
PO: McCutchen

Fielding
Errors: Walker (6), Qualls (2), Harrison (4), Alvarez 2 (20)
PB: Barajas (6)
DP: (Jones-Sanchez)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Karstens (L, 4-3) 7.0 7 4 4 1 4 1 5.14 1.14
Burnett, AJ (W, 15-4) 6.7 7 6 6 1 7 2 8.10 1.20
Correia (L, 9-7) 6.0 7 6 5 1 3 0 7.50 1.33
Rodriguez, W (L, 7-12) 5.7 10 5 5 1 1 0 7.94 1.94
Watson (H, 13) 2.3 2 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.86
Locke 2.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.50
Grilli 1.7 1 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.60
Resop 1.7 5 4 4 0 0 0 21.60 3.00
Cruz, J 1.3 0 1 1 2 0 0 6.75 1.50
Hanrahan 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
Qualls 0.7 5 5 4 1 0 0 54.00 9.00
  Totals 36.0 45 31 29 7 19 3 7.25 1.44

Transactions: Signed 3B Dallas McPherson and assigned him to AAA. Traded RHP Daniel Cabrera to Arizona. Placed RHP Chad Qualls on the bereavement list. Recalled RHP Jared Hughes from AAA. Optioned LHP Jeff Locke to AAA. Recalled IF Yamaico Navarro from AAA.

Walker Injured, Roster Moves

Late update today. Neil Walker dislocated his right pinky finger last night. X-rays came back negative for a fracture and he saw a hand specialist this morning. He has not been placed on the disabled list as of this writing. Yamaico Navarro has been recalled from AAA to provide infield depth and Jeff Locke was optioned to Indy.

In a separate move, Chad Qualls was placed on the bereavement list due to an illness in the family and Jared Hughes was called up from AAA.

Today’s game started at 4pm, as the Pirates try to salvage the series finale with the Dodgers.

More Changes To The Rotation

Today the Pirates announced that James McDonald and A.J. Burnett will switch scheduled starts on Thursday and Friday.  The move keeps Burnett on a regular five-day schedule and gives JMac an extra side session to figure out why he’s struggled so much since the All Star break.

Also today, Clint Hurdle said that the team will likely go back to a normal five man rotation once the current 20 games in 20 gays stretch is over. No word on who will be the odd man out, but the top candidates have to be McDonald or tonight’s starter Kevin Correia.

Tonight’s lineup vs. LA:
Starling Marte LF
Travis Snider RF
Andrew McCutchen CF
Garrett Jones 1B
Neil Walker 2B
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Rod Barajas C
Clint Barmes SS
Kevin Correia P

Series Preview: The Dodgers

Current record: 64-50, 2nd place in NL Central, 4.5 games back

Up Next: Los Angeles Dodgers, 62-53, 2nd place in NL West, 1.0 game back

Season Series: 0-3

Notes: The Pirates have decided to move Kevin Correia back into the starting rotation and will go with six starters for now. Los Angeles is the only NL team that the Bucs have not beaten this season. The Dodgers are 2.5 games back of Pittsburgh for the second Wild Card spot. CF Matt Kemp missed about two months but is still hitting like an MVP since his return. 3B Hanley Ramirez, LF Shane Victorino, RP Brandon League and SP Joe Blanton were added as trade dealine reinforcements.

Familiar Faces: None

Probable Pitchers
Monday: RH Aaron Harang (7-7, 130.1 IP, 100 K, 3.80 ERA, 1.40 WHIP)
vs. RH Jeff Karstens (4-2, 62.0 IP, 46 K, 3.77 ERA, 1.21 WHIP)

Tuesday: RH Chad Billingsley (8-9, 131.1 IP, 118 K, 3.84 ERA, 1.32 WHIP)
vs. RH Kevin Correia (9-6, 116.1 IP, 57 K, 4.49 ERA, 1.32 WHIP)

Wednesday: LH Clayton Kershaw (10-6, 162.2 IP, 157 K, 2.88 ERA, 1.03 WHIP)
vs. LH Wandy Rodriguez (7-11, 149.2 IP, 100 K, 3.91 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)

Thursday: RH Joe Blanton (8-10, 144.1 IP, 123 K, 4.61 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
vs. RH James McDonald (10-5, 141.0 IP, 126 K, 3.77 ERA, 1.21 WHIP)

Tonight’s Lineup
Starling Marte LF
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Garrett Jones RF
Gaby Sanchez 1B
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Michael McKenry C
Clint Barmes SS
Jeff Karstens P

Padres Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 9-8 Loss vs. San Diego. JMac keeps floundering. Box score.
Saturday: 5-0 Loss vs. San Diego. Bats can’t touch Jason Marquis. Box score.
Sunday: 11-5 Win vs. San Diego. Walker, Barmes lead big comeback. Box score.

Season Record: 64-50, 2nd place in NL Central, 4.5 games back

Notes: The Pirates drop two of three to an inferior opponent in another bad series. James McDonald gave up a six run lead and couldn’t get out of the 5th. The offense was huge on Friday and Sunday but non existant on Saturday. Neil Walker was 5 for 5 with a homer on double Sunday. Clint Barmes had a couple good games including a grand slam.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
Marte, S, LF 14 0 3 1 1 4 7 0.214 0.267
Walker, 2B 13 2 5 2 1 1 6 0.385 0.429
McCutchen, A, CF 13 2 2 2 1 1 9 0.154 0.214
Alvarez, 3B 11 1 4 2 2 3 4 0.364 0.462
Jones, G, 1B-RF 11 5 3 2 2 1 7 0.273 0.385
Barmes, SS 9 3 4 4 0 2 4 0.444 0.444
Snider, RF 8 1 3 3 1 0 3 0.375 0.444
Barajas, C 8 0 1 1 0 1 2 0.125 0.125
McKenry, C, PH 5 1 1 2 1 1 3 0.200 0.429
Sanchez, G, 1B 4 1 0 0 2 0 1 0.000 0.333
Mercer, SS 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
Bedard, P 2 2 1 0 1 0 0 0.500 0.667
Harrison, SS 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
Burnett, AJ, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
Resop, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
McDonald, J, P 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 —- 1.000
  Totals 106 19 27 19 14 17 47 0.255 0.347

Batting
Doubles (3): Bedard (1), McCutchen (23), Walker (26)
Triples (1): Jones (3)
Home Runs (4): Jones (17), Snider (4), Barmes (6), Walker (14)

Baserunning
SB: Marte (3)

Fielding
Errors: Jones (6), Walker (5), Barmes 2 (11)
DP: (Walker-Sanchez)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Burnett, AJ (L, 14-4) 5.7 9 5 4 2 10 2 6.35 1.94
Bedard (W, 7-12) 5.0 5 5 3 4 6 1 5.40 1.80
McDonald, J 4.3 7 7 7 1 4 2 14.54 1.85
Resop 3.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.00
Hughes, J 2.3 1 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.43
Qualls 2.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Watson (BS, 2)(L, 5-2) 1.7 1 2 2 2 2 1 10.80 1.80
Grilli 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Hanrahan 1.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 1.00
Cruz, J 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 1.00
  Totals 27.0 24 19 16 10 29 6 5.33 1.26

Transactions: Activated RHP Juan Cruz from the DL. Optioned RHP Jared Hughes to AAA.

Series Preview: The Padres

Current record: 63-48, 2nd place in NL Central, 2.5 games back

Up Next: San Diego Padres, 49-64, 4th place in NL West, 12.5 games back

Season Series: First time playing

Notes: The Padres are the last team on the Bucs’ schedule that they have not previously faced this season. Carlos Quentin and Chase Headley lead the offense with OPS’s of .912 and .814. Hot hitting rookie catcher is Yasmani Grandal is injured and will miss the series. The Padres chose not to sell at the trade deadline and signed Quentin and closer Huston Street to contract extensions. One thing this Padres team does very well is steal bases. They have been successful on 99/132 attempts (80%).

Familiar Faces: Ross Ohlendorf

Probable Pitchers
Friday: RH Edinson Volquez (7-8, 135.0 IP, 125 K, 3.73 ERA, 1.36 WHIP)
vs. RH James McDonald (10-5, 136.2 IP, 122 K, 3.42 ERA, 1.19 WHIP)

Saturday: RH Jason Marquis (7-10, 108.2 IP, 78 K, 5.47 ERA, 1.50 WHIP)
vs. RH A.J. Burnett (14-3, 132.2 IP, 109 K, 3.19 ERA, 1.15 WHIP)

Sunday: LH Eric Stults (2-2, 43.0 IP, 21 K, 2.72 ERA, 1.28 WHIP)
vs. LH Erik Bedard (6-12, 111.1 IP, 105 K, 4.53 ERA, 1.40 WHIP)

No lineups yet.

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