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 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.

Reds Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 3-0 Loss at Cincinnati. Wandy not bad, no support. Box score.
Saturday: 5-4 Loss at Cincinnati. Bucs battle back twice, lose late. Box score.
Sunday: 6-2 Win at Cincinnati. A.J. is the stopper. Box score.

Season Record: 61-46, 2nd place in NL Central, 4.5 games back

Notes: Losing two out of three is not the outcome the Bucs were looking for, but not a disaster either. Wandy Rodriguez, James McDonald and A.J. Burnett each turned in quality starts, with A.J.’s being the best by far. Gaby Sanchez had his first two hits as a Pirate; part of a 15 hit assault Sunday. Josh Harrison made the most of two spot starts by going 4 for 8 including a homer. The Fort continued his hot streak with a pinch hit on Friday and a homer Saturday.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
Jones, G, 1B, RF 13 2 4 0 0 5 8 0.308 0.308
McCutchen, A, CF 11 1 2 1 1 4 4 0.182 0.308
Marte, S, LF 10 0 2 2 0 3 2 0.200 0.273
Walker, 2B 9 2 3 3 2 2 3 0.333 0.417
Harrison, SS, 3B 8 1 4 1 0 0 2 0.500 0.556
Barmes, SS 7 1 2 0 0 3 8 0.286 0.286
Sanchez, G, 1B 7 1 2 0 0 1 5 0.286 0.286
Alvarez, 3B 7 0 1 0 0 3 2 0.143 0.143
Barajas, C 6 0 1 0 1 0 3 0.167 0.375
Snider, RF 6 0 0 1 1 1 0 0.000 0.125
McKenry, C 5 1 3 1 0 1 2 0.600 0.600
Presley, LF 4 1 2 0 0 1 0 0.500 0.500
Burnett, AJ, P 4 0 0 0 0 3 3 0.000 0.000
Rodriguez, W, P 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0.500 0.500
McDonald, J, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
  Totals 101 10 27 9 5 28 43 0.267 0.321

Batting
Doubles (1): Jones (17)
Triples (2): Presley (4), Marte (1)
Home Runs (4): McKenry (11), Harrison (3), Walker (12), McCutchen (23)

Baserunning
SB: Snider (1)
CS: McCutchen (8)

Fielding
Errors: Alvarez (16)
DP: (Walker-Jones)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Burnett, AJ(W, 14-3) 8.7 3 2 2 3 7 1 2.08 0.69
Rodriguez, W(L, 7-10) 7.0 7 3 3 0 4 2 3.86 1.00
McDonald, J 6.0 7 4 3 1 7 0 4.50 1.33
Hughes, J(L, 2-1) 2.0 2 1 1 1 0 0 4.50 1.50
Qualls 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Hanrahan(S, 32) 0.3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
  Totals 25.0 19 10 9 5 19 3 3.24 0.96

Transactions: None.

Series Preview: The Reds

Current record: 60-44, 2nd place in NL Central, 3.5 games back

Up Next: Cincinnati Reds, 64-41, 1st place in NL Central, 3.5 games ahead

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

Notes: Here’s the big series we’ve been waiting for. The Reds have won 13 of 14 and 20 of 23 to expand their lead to 3.5 games. Joey Votto is still out and Brandon Phillips is questionable. The only move the Reds made at the deadline was to add Jonathan Broxton as a setup man. No lefty starters mean we won’t see much of Gaby Sanchez except as a pinch hitter vs Sean Marshall and Aroldis Chapman.

Familiar Faces: Ryan Ludwick, Xavier Paul, Bronson Arroyo

Probable Pitchers

Friday: LH Wandy Rodriguez (7-9, 136.2 IP, 94 K, 3.82 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)
vs. RH Mat Latos (9-3, 127.1 IP, 117 K, 4.17 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)

Saturday: RH James McDonald (10-5, 130.2 IP, 115 K, 3.37 ERA, 1.18 WHIP)
vs. RH Mike Leake (4-7, 119.2 IP, 79 K, 4.44 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)

Sunday: RH A.J. Burnett (13-3, 124.0 IP, 102 K, 3.27 ERA, 1.19 WHIP)
vs. RH Homer Bailey (9-6, 131.0 IP, 97 K, 3.85 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)

No lineups yet.

Starling Marte LF
Travis Snider RF
Andrew McCutchen CF
Garrett Jones 1B
Neil Walker 2B
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Rod Barajas C
Clint Barmes SS
Wandy Rodriguez P

Cubs Wrap Up

Scores:
Monday: 14-4 Loss at Chicago Cubs. Bedard, Resop stink it up. Box score.
Tuesday: 5-0 Win at Chicago Cubs. Burnett CG, SHO, 1 hitter. Box score.
Wednesday: 8-4 Win at Chicago Cubs. Seven straight hits score 5. Box score.

Season Record: 60-44, 2nd place in NL Central, 3.0 games back

Notes: A busy series that saw of lots highs and lows. Erik Bedard and Chris Resop had horrible innings on Monday. A.J. Burnett took a no-hitter into the 8th on Tuesday. Casey McGehee grounded into a double play in what turned out to be his final at bat as a Pirate. Neil Walker knocked in five runs – including a grand slam – on Tuesday. Joel Hanrahan pitched for the first time in a week and gave up a cycle to the first four betters he faced, then struck out the side. In their Pirate debuts, Gaby Sanchez had no hits but saw a lot of pitches and took a walk, and Travis Snider had three hits and scored three runs.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
Marte, S, LF 14 1 4 2 0 5 3 0.286 0.286
McCutchen, A, CF 11 5 6 0 3 2 1 0.545 0.643
Alvarez, 3B 10 0 4 0 3 4 3 0.400 0.538
Barmes, SS 10 1 2 1 2 1 7 0.200 0.333
Jones, G, 1B 9 3 4 3 2 1 4 0.444 0.545
McKenry, C 9 1 3 5 0 2 4 0.333 0.333
Snider, RF 9 3 3 0 1 2 3 0.333 0.400
Walker, 2B 6 2 2 5 0 0 5 0.333 0.333
Harrison, 2B-3B 6 1 1 0 0 1 2 0.167 0.167
Presley, RF, PH 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 0.000 0.000
Burnett, AJ, P 4 0 0 0 0 4 0 0.000 0.000
Barajas, C 3 0 0 0 1 1 3 0.000 0.250
Karstens, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 2 0.000 0.000
Sanchez, G, 1B 2 0 0 0 1 1 2 0.000 0.333
Bedard, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
McGehee, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 0.000 0.000
Sutton, 2B 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
Watson, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
  Totals 104 17 29 16 13 28 48 0.279 0.359

Batting
Doubles (4): Alvarez (16), McCutchen 2 (21), Jones (16)
Home Runs (3): Walker (11), Marte (2), McKenry (10)

Baserunning
SB: Marte (2), Alvarez (1)
CS: Presley (5)

Fielding
Errors: Alvarez (15)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Burnett, AJ(W, 13-3) 9.0 1 0 0 2 8 0 0.00 0.33
Karstens(W, 4-2) 5.0 3 1 1 1 4 1 1.80 0.80
Bedard(L, 5-12) 4.3 7 9 8 2 7 2 16.62 2.08
Watson(H, 11) 3.0 3 1 1 0 4 0 3.00 1.00
Hughes, J(H, 10) 1.3 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 1.50
Resop(H, 6) 1.3 5 4 4 0 0 1 27.00 3.75
Grilli 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 1.00
Hanrahan 1.0 5 3 3 0 3 1 27.00 5.00
  Totals 26.0 26 18 17 6 29 5 5.88 1.23

Transactions: Traded RHP Brad Lincoln to Toronto for RF Travis Snider. Recalled RHP Daniel McCutchen from AAA. Designated OF/IF Drew Sutton for assignment. Traded OF Gorkys Hernandez to Miami for 1B Gaby Sanchez and minor league RHP Kyle Kaminska. Traded 1B Casey McGehee to New York Yankees for RHP Chad Qualls. Optioned RHP Daniel McCutchen to AAA.

Series Preview: The Cubs

Current record: 58-43, 2nd place in NL Central, 3.0 games back

Up Next: Chicago Cubs, 42-58, 5th place in NL Central, 14.5 games back

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

Notes: After taking 3 of 4 from the last place team in the Central, the Bucs climb one rung up the ladder to face the Cubs. Chicago is known to be looking to make trades, so the make up of their team could chage in a big way before Tuesday night’s game. Rookie 1B Anthony Rizzo has an .884 OPS since his call up.

Familiar Faces: Paul Maholm

Probable Pitchers
Monday: LH Erik Bedard (5-11, 100.0 IP, 93 K, 4.32 ERA, 1.45 WHIP)
vs. RH Justin Germano (0-1, 8.2 IP, 8 K, 1.04 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)

Germano will be making his first start of the season. Bedard had his turn pushed back two days so that Wandy Rodriguez could take his normal turn on Saturday.

Tuesday: RH A.J. Burnett (12-3, 115.0 IP, 94 K, 3.52 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)
vs. RH Ryan Dempster (5-5, 104.0 IP, 83 K, 2.25 ERA, 1.04 WHIP)

Tuesday is the trade deadline, so it’s possible that Dempster could be gone before he pitches against the Pirates. The word is that he’ll only accept a trade to the Dodgers.

Wednesday: RH Jeff Karstens (3-2, 51.0 IP, 38 K, 3.88 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)
vs. LH Travis Wood (4-6, 77.2 IP, 54 K, 4.98 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)

No lineups yet.

Series Preview: The Brewers

Current record: 48-37, 1st place in NL Central, 1.0 game ahead

Up Next: Milwaukee Brewers, 40-45, 4th place in NL Central, 8.0 games back

Season Series: 2-1

Notes: Finally, baseball is back from the All Star break. The last time the Pirates went to Milwaukee they had just gotten to .500 at 25-25. They’re record since then has been a lights out 23-12. Milwaukee was 5 games under then and is still 5 games under now. Ryan Braun leads his team in almost as many hitting categories as Andrew McCutchen leads the Pirates

Familiar Faces: Nyjer Morgan, Aramis Ramirez, Cesar Izturis, Jose Veras

Probable Pitchers
Friday: RH James McDonald (9-3, 110.0 IP, 100 K, 2.37 ERA, 0.97 WHIP)
vs. RH Zack Greinke (9-3, 111.0 IP, 111 K, 3.32 ERA, 1.23 WHIP)

Two aces go against each other. This could be one of Greinke’s last starts for the Brewers, as he’s been named in several trade rumors.

Saturday: RH Kevin Correia (5-6, 91.1 IP, 35 K, 4.34 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)
vs. Marco Estrada (0-3, 51.0 IP, 55 K, 4.06 ERA, 1.02 WHIP)

Underwhelming! Estrada’s actually pitched pretty well since returning from a quad injury. Correia’s been put in this spot so that his softer stuff can serve as a buffer between the similar repertoires of McDonald and…

Sunday: RH A.J. Burnett (10-2, 93.0 IP, 79 K, 3.68 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)
vs. Yovani Gallardo (7-6, 108.1 IP, 107 K, 3.74 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)

I’m looking forward to seeing this one live. That’s right! I’m road tripping to Milwaukee this weekend with my wife. We’ll be visiting the esteemable @Wezen_ball and his lovely fiance. After that we’re going to spend the rest of the week in Chicago, so postings may not fall on a regular schedule, if at all. Expect plenty of pictures when I can upload them.

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