Series Preview: The Astros

Current record: 70-63, 3rd place in NL Central, 11.0 games back

Up Next: Houston Astros, 41-93, 6th place in NL Central, 40.5 games back

Season Series: 9-2 (2-1, 4-0, 3-1)

Notes: Bucs lost the first game and looked bad, but are in the process of winning game two and looking pretty good.

Familiar Faces: Chris Snyder

Monday: Bucs lose, 5-1
RH Edgar Gonzalez (1-0, 5.1 IP, 5 K, 1.69 ERA, 1.13 WHIP)
vs. LH Jeff Locke (0-1, 9.1 IP, 7 K, 4.82 ERA, 0.96 WHIP)

Probable Pitchers

Tuesday: RH Jordan Lyles (3-10, 113.2 IP, 76 K, 5.46 ERA, 1.48 WHIP)
vs. LH Wandy Rodriguez (9-13, 170.0 IP, 110 K, 3.86 ERA, 1.31 WHIP)

Wednesday: LH Fernando Abad (0-2, 31.2 IP, 25 K, 4.83 ERA, 1.64 WHIP)
vs. RH Kevin Correia (9-8, 135.0 IP, 64 K, 4.40 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)

Brewers Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 9-3 Loss at Milwaukee. Karstens hurt. Box score.
Saturday: 3-2 Loss at Milwaukee. So close. Very winnable game. Box score.
Sunday: 12-8 Loss at Milwaukee. Ugly. Box score.

Season Record: 70-63, 3rd place in NL Central, 11.0 games back

Notes: What a let down. Coming off two outstanding wins against the Cards, no one expected the Bucs to fall flat on their faces and get swept. That said, the hitters were still okay. Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones continue to do as much as they can to get the team out of this slump. Jeff Karstens reinjured his groin and will miss his next start. Kevin Correia put up four scoreless innings in relief and may get to fill in for him. A.J. Burnett was more than good enough to win his game. James McDonald was every bit as bad on Sunday as he was good against the St. Louis.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
Harrison, 2B, SS 13 1 2 0 0 4 8 0.154 0.154
Jones, G, 1B-RF 11 4 5 2 2 3 2 0.455 0.538
Alvarez, 3B 11 1 3 1 2 2 8 0.273 0.385
McCutchen, A, CF 9 1 3 1 0 1 5 0.333 0.333
Presley, LF, CF 9 0 3 2 1 4 3 0.333 0.400
Snider, RF-LF 9 0 1 0 1 4 2 0.111 0.200
McKenry, C 8 2 3 3 2 4 4 0.375 0.500
Tabata, LF 8 1 2 0 0 2 5 0.250 0.250
Barmes, SS 7 0 0 0 0 1 4 0.000 0.000
Sanchez, G, 1B 6 2 3 3 2 0 3 0.500 0.625
Holt, Br, 2B 5 1 2 1 1 2 0 0.400 0.500
Barajas, C 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0.250 0.250
Burnett, AJ, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.000 0.000
Correia, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
Leroux, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
McDonald, J, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
McPherson, K, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
Mercer, PH 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
Karstens, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 —- —-
  Totals 107 13 28 13 11 32 46 0.262 0.331

Batting
Doubles (5): Harrison (9), McKenry (12), Sanchez (14), McCutchen (25), Presley (10)
Home Runs (5): Jones 2 (23), Alvarez (27), McKenry (12), Sanchez (5)

Baserunning
SB: McCutchen (16)

Fielding
Errors: Presley (3), Barajas (3), Alvarez (22)
PB: McKenry (2)
DP: (Alvarez-Holt-Sanchez)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Burnett, AJ 6.7 2 2 2 4 9 0 2.70 0.90
Correia 4.0 4 0 0 1 2 0 0.00 1.25
McDonald, J (L, 12-7) 2.7 6 8 7 1 6 4 23.63 2.63
Resop 2.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
McPherson, K 1.7 1 1 1 2 3 0 5.40 1.80
Hughes, J 1.3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.75
Leroux 1.3 3 3 3 1 1 1 20.25 3.00
Watson 1.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.00 1.00
Grilli 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 2.00
Wilson 1.0 4 1 1 0 0 0 9.00 4.00
Takahashi 1.0 4 4 4 2 2 1 36.00 6.00
Karstens (L, 5-4) 0.3 5 4 4 0 1 1 108.00 15.00
Hanrahan (L, 4-1) 0.0 1 1 1 0 0 1 -.– -.–
  Totals 24 32 24 23 13 26 8 8.63 1.88

Transactions: Recalled RHP Kyle McPherson from AAA. Recalled OF Alex Presley from AAA. Optioned Chase d’Arnaud to High-A. Signed free agent 1B Hector Luna. Outrighted 1B Jeff Clement to High-A. Called up RHP Chris Leroux from AAA. Called up IF Brock Holt from AAA. Recalled C Eric Fryer from AAA. Recalled LHP Jeff Locke from AAA. Recalled LHP Justin Wilson from AAA. Designated LF Oscar Tejeda for assignment. Called up 1B Jeff Clement from High-A.

August Recap

An 11-17 August has many remembering last year’s swoon. The Bucs never won more than two games in a row, and had losing streaks of 3, 3 and 4 games. The offense was pretty average, scoring 4.32 runs per game. The pitchers had their worst month by far, allowing 4.82 runs per game.

Really, the worst part was the 10 games against San Diego and Los Angeles. In those games the Pirates allowed 6.40 runs per, which makes it really hard to win. When you add in the split with Arizona in the previous series it gave the Bucs their first losing homestand of the season.

Other Notes:
The Pirates only won two series, both against the Cardinals. They lost five series and tied one.

Record vs
NL Central: 7-7, 59 RS, 49 RA (4.21 RS/G, 4.50 RA/G)
NL West: 4-10, 62 RS, 86 RA (4.43 RS/G, 6.14 RA/G)

Home: 7-10, 80 RS, 89 RA (4.71 RS/G, 5.24 RA/G)
Away: 4-7, 41 RS, 46 RA (3.73 RS/G, 4.18 RA/G)

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

Summary: A horribly disappointing month saw the Bucs drop out of the division race. They do remain squarely in the race for one of the Wild Card spots. Here’s to hoping they pick up the pace.

July Recap

Editor’s Note: I went to look for this post when I wanted to start my August Recap and realized I not only never posted it; I never finished it. Here it is in its rough form, just to get the numbers out there.

The Pirates went 17-9 in July to bring their overall record to 59-44. At one point they were a season best 16 games over .500. They had winning streaks of 4, 5 and 4 games and never lost more than two in a row.

How do you follow up a 17-10 June? With a 17-9 July, of course.

Other Notes:
The Pirates won six series, including two sweeps, and lost two series. I include the just completed Chicago series in these numbers since the majority of the games occurred in July. All numbers below are just for games actually played in July.

Record vs
NL East: 3-0, 12 RS, 4 RA (4.00 RS/G, 1.33 RA/G)
NL Central: 10-7, 78 RS, 79 RA (4.59 RS/G, 4.65 RA/G)
NL West: 4-2, 40 RS, 22 RA (6.67 RS/G, 3.57 RA/G)

Home: 10-3, 64 RS, 35 RA (4.92 RS/G, 2.69 RA/G)
Away: 7-6, 66 RS, 70 RA (5.08 RS/G, 5.38 RA/G)

1 Run games: 5-3
2 Run games: 5-1
3 Run games: 2-2
4 Run games: 2-2
5 Run games: 1-0
9 Run games: 1-0
10 Run games: 0-1
11 Run games: 1-0

Summary: Another excellent month.

September Call Ups

Now that the rosters have expanded, the Pirates called up the following players:

Eric Fryer, C
Fryer will serve as the 3rd catcher, allowing Michael McKenry or Rod Barajas to pinch hit on the days they don’t start.

Justin Wilson, LHP
Wilson has been great as a starter in the minors but will serve as an additional lefty arm out of the bullpen.

Jeff Locke, LHP
Locke will take over for Erik Bedard in the starting rotation. Management wants to get a good look at him so he will presumably stay there for the rest of the regular season.

Chris Leroux, RHP
Leroux can start or relieve and will be an extra long man out of the pen.

Brock Holt, SS
Holt has been killing the ball to the tune of .344/.406/.453 at AA and AAA this year after a down year last season at Altoona. He might see some time at 2B while Neil Walker is hurt.

Bucs Make Roster Moves With An Eye Towards The Playoffs

Only players on the active roster on September 1* can be on a team’s postseason roster. With that in mind, the Pirates made two roster moves today.

Jeff Clement was outrighted to Class A Bradenton. Clement was 0-6 with 2 K’s in his brief time up. The fact that he was outrighted and not simply optioned opens a spot on the 40 man roster and likely shows that the team doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to contribute at the major league level.

Chase d”Arnaud was optioned to AAA. I expect Chase to be added back to the active roster once he is eligible to be called back up and resume his role as a… back up.

Kyle McPherson and Alex Presley were recalled from AAA. McPherson will pitch in the bullpen for now but should get a few starts in Erik Bedard‘s old spot. In 12 starts this year at AA and AAA he has a 3.22 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 8.5 K/9.

Presley will help cover for a banged up outfield. We’ve seen what he can do when he’s on top of his game, and we’ve seen how bad he can be too. Alex gets a start in CF tonight to give Andrew McCutchen an extra night off before the stretch run.

*There are a few exceptions that can be made for players who go on or are currently on the DL. For example: Charlie Morton on the 60-day DL allows the team to add any pitcher that is currently in the organization to the playoff roster.

Series Preview: The Brewers

Current record: 70-60, 3rd place in NL Central, 9.0 games back

Up Next: Milwaukee Brewers, 62-68, 4th place in NL Central, 17.0 games back

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

Notes: Since we last saw the Brewers on Sunday, they’ve taken three of four from the Cubs in Wrigley. Milwaukee is 8-2 in its last ten games. The Pirates will face three strikeout pitchers in this series, which usually gives them trouble.

Familiar Faces: Aramis Ramirez, Jose Veras, Nyjer Morgan

Probable Pitchers
Friday: RH Jeff Karstens (5-3, 83.0 IP, 58 K, 3.47 ERA, 1.12 WHIP)
vs. RH Mark Rogers (2-1, 33.2 IP, 36 K, 4.28 ERA, 1.28 WHIP)

Saturday: RH A.J. Burnett (15-5, 157.0 IP, 136 K, 3.67 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)
vs. RH Marco Estrada (2-5, 100.2 IP, 104 K, 4.02 ERA, 1.21 WHIP)

Sunday: RH James McDonald (12-6, 159.0 IP, 141 K, 3.57 ERA, 1.18 WHIP)
vs. RH Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 168.2 IP, 172 K, 3.52 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)

No lineup yet.

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