Game 42 Lineup, Links

I’ve obviously had to cut down on my writing a bunch this season. Job requirements just haven’t left me with much spare time. More accurately, I haven’t wanted to spend the free time I’ve had sitting at the same desk where I work 8+ hours a day. I’m trying to update the standings (to the left <–) and roster (to the right –>) on a daily basis and that will be most of what I do here. Still, this Bucco team has been playing great baseball so far and deserves some praise.

The Pirates go into game 42 with the 5th best record in all of baseball and the 3rd best in the NL. They’re still flying under the radar because 1) the two better teams in the NL are in the same division, leaving the Bucs in third place and 2) the collapses of the last two seasons make people hesitant to believe they can continue the current success.

Here’s a few reasons not to worry and to jump on board with both feet:

The NL Central is the best division in baseball. (108-93, .538 Winning%)
The Pirates are 11-7 vs teams in the Central. (3-0 vs CIN, 3-2 vs STL and 4-3 vs MIL, 1-2 vs CHC)
The Pirates are winning on the road (11-9) as well as at home (13-8).

Still not convinced? Well, that’s very understandable. The Pirates have won more than their share of close game this season. Really good teams usually win more blowouts and are about even in close games.

1 Run games: 4-6
2 Run games: 11-2
3 Run games: 3-1
close games: 18-9

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

My advise to you is to start drinking heavily sit back and enjoy the ride. Baseball is a lot of fun, especially if you don’t take it too seriously. Now go beat the Astros!

Links

Last month I went to a Georgia Tech baseball game with Mike Newman of Rotoscouting.com and Fangraphs. Mike had recently seen the West Virginia Power play and wrote up reports on Stetson Allie and Wyatt Mathisen.

Jason Grilli is striking out batters at previously unimaginable levels.

Russell Martin details pitch framing.

Game 12 Lineup, Roster Moves

Here’s your twelve word season recap: The Pirates had a bad week, then had a pretty good week. Today they go for the sweep against the Reds and try to even up their record at 6-6. Today’s lineup can be found on the sidebar to the right.

Recent moves:
Chris Leroux was Designated for Assignment and Bryan Morris called up from AAA.

Phil Irwin was called up today to take a turn for Wandy Rodriguez and his gimpy hamstring. Josh Harrison was optioned to AAA to make room. If I’m reading the tea leaves correctly, this move portends the activation of Brandon Inge from the DL when Irwin is sent back down.

Opening Day

Let’s have a great year. Game one is underway.

Spring Training 2013: Saturday 3/23 Recap

Quick thoughts from today…

Jeff Locke appeared to be nibbling a lot. Either that or he was just wild. It was kind of hard to tell from my seats. Speaking of which…

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It was an absolutely gorgeous day today. jetBlue park is pretty nice.

Mark Melancon looked much stronger, striking out two.

Tony Watson showed no ill effects from his injury earlier in camp.

Vin Mazzaro was the big surprise of the day with five Ks in two innings.

On the offensive side, Garrett Jones hit a mammoth HR to center but everything else was quiet until the 8th. Somehow the Bucs scored four runs even though the only well-struck ball was a Pedro Alvarez homer that went over the bullpens and a grassy area in right field. A classic El Toro bomb.

It should also be noted that Russell Martin hit three hard line drives today but each one managed to find a glove.

Tomorrow it’s back to McKechnie to put the wraps on my trip. Look for a closing post on Monday or Tuesday.

Spring Training 2013: Friday 3/22 Recap

Quick thoughts from today…

Jeanmar Gomez may actually be useful as the #9 starter.

Mike Zagursky pitched his way to the minors.

Jason Grilli looked as good as last year. He’ll be fine as closer.

Mark Melancon appeared to be guiding his pitches instead if just throwing and trusting his stuff.

The bench has a better batting eye than the starters. Three walks and only five Ks today vs two and nine yesterday.

I took a lot of pictures of McKechnie Field and all of the renovations but those will wait till next week when I have full use of the internet. But here are a few to whet your appetite:

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Spring Training 2013: Thursday 3/21 Recap

Editor’s note: I can’t connect to the hotel wifi, so it looks like it will be phone posts all weekend. Please forgive the lack of links and poor formatting.

Jonathan Sanchez took the mound tonight looking to stake a claim to a spot in the rotation. 5 shutout innings with 4 Ks and only 3 baserunners should do it. Other than a two batters in the third, when he walked Lew Ford, then sent him to second on a wild pitch, Sanchez was in control the whole time. This wasn’t against minor leaguers either, as Baltimore had 7 regulars in the lineup.

Chris Leroux and Justin Wilson both solid in their relief stints.

The offense looked a lot like last year. Eight hits, but never more than one in an inning, and nine Ks. Starling Marte and Neil Walker both reached base twice. Travis Snider had two hits and two walks, plus made some tricky plays against the twilight sky.

On the bad side, Brad Hawpe had a hat trick and clearly disagreed with the umpire on both of his called strikeouts. Jose Tabata pinch hit for Hawpe in the ninth when the Pirates were trying to rally but missed a bunt sign and left pinch runner Alex Presley out to dry at second.

It would have been nice to win, but all-in-all there were a lot if positive things to take away from the game. I also got to meet Pat Lackey from Whygavs.com, who seemed to be having a good time. Which is really what it’s all about.

Some pictures:

Jonathan Sanchez warms up.

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Pedro Alvarez watches Andrew McCutchen at bat.

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Swing and a miss.

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A great night for baseball.

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