82

Finally, a winning season. Raise the jolly roger for the rest of the year.

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Marlon Byrd Trade Tree

Finally, the Pirates make a move to upgrade their offense, acquiring Marlon Byrd and John Buck from the Mets.

Marlon  Byrd Trade Tree

Byrd is having the best season of his 12 year career and should go to the playoffs for the first time. He slots in at RF and will push Jose Tabata to the bench when Starling Marte is healthy.

I don’t see Tony Sanchez being sent down, so Buck looks like he’ll be a 3rd catcher. His presence will give Clint Hurdle the peace of mind to use Russell Martin or Tony off of the bench when they aren’t starting.

The team hasn’t announced a corresponding roster move and I wouldn’t expect them to before tomorrow. I’d probably send down Pie and a pitcher. You don’t need as many pitchers in the playoffs and they have plenty of DL spots to play with to get whoever they want active.

Ian Kennedy Trade Tree

In the course of last week’s trade deadline, a simple question came across my twitter feed:

This was referring to the Diamondbacks trading Ian Kennedy to San Diego for reliever Joe Thatcher and a minor league reliever. Let’s see if it’s true. (click to embiggen)

Ian Kennedy Diamondbacks

Arizona still has some hope to come out okay in these deals if Daniel Hudson can come back from his second torn UCL to be the same pitcher he was before. He’s only 26 this year so time is on his side. But for now, @BigMike05 is right. Joe Thatcher is the only active piece the Diamondbacks have from trading Max Scherzer to Detroit.

How the 2013 Pirates Were Built

Grant Brisbee has a great post over at SBNation about how this team was put together. Which reminded me that I made a whole-team trade tree for an Opening Day article that I never got around to writing. This seems like a good a time as any to post it. Go read Grant’s article, then come back here for the visual aid. (click to embiggen)

 

2013 Opening Day Team Trade Tree

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Winning three out of five games isn’t very hard. Winning three of five twenty times in a row is very hard. That’s where the Pirates find themselves after 100 games: 60-40, second best record in baseball. If the team can keep up this pace through the rest of the season they’ll win 97 games. If they only win half their games they’ll finish with 91 wins. Six wins isn’t much of a difference of the course of a baseball season, but it could mean the difference between winning the division or playing in the wild card game. The inescapable truth here is that these Pirates are a very good team this season.  Better than we hoped, almost as good as we dreamed.

Jeff Locke takes the mound tonight in Miami. 100 games down, 62 to go. Enjoy the ride.

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.

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