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.

2012 Home Run Derby Preview

Andrew McCutchen was selected Saturday night to participate in the 2012 Home Run Derby. McCutchen is replacing the injured Giancarlo Stanton, who underwent knee surgery and is out 4-6 weeks.

Cutch will have to buck a trend of poor Pirate performances. In 2005 Jason Bay hit zero home runs at Comerica Park. 1992 saw Barry Bonds hit a measly 2 homers out of Jack Murphy Stadium. And in 1990, Bobby Bonilla put up a goose egg in Wrigley. (It’s worth noting that there were only 5 home runs hit in that entire derby combined. Ryne Sandberg lead the way with 3.)

2012 Home Run Derby participants (Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City):

National League
Matt Kemp, OF, LAD
HR this season: 12
Career high: 39 (2011)
Prior HR Derby results: last in 2011, 2 total HRs

Carlos Beltran, OF, STL
HR this season: 20
Career high: 41 (2006)
Prior HR Derby results: None

Carlos Gonzalez, OF, COL
HR this season: 17
Career high: 34 (2010)
Prior HR Derby results: None

Andrew McCutchen, OF, PIT
HR this season: 18
Career high: 23 (2011)
Prior HR Derby results: None

American League
Robinson Cano, 2B, NYY
HR this season: 20
Career high: 29 (2010)
Prior HR Derby results: 2011 Champion, 32 total HRs

Mark Trumbo, 3B, LAA
HR this season: 22
Career high: 29 (2011)
Prior HR Derby results: None

Prince Fielder, 1B, DET
HR this season: 15
Career high: 50 (2007)
Prior HR Derby results: 2009 Champion, 23 total HRs, 2007 6th place, 3 total HRs

Jose Bautista, OF, TOR
HR this season: 27
Career high: 54 (2010)
Prior HR Derby results: 2011 6th place, 4 total HRs

Giants Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 6-5 Loss vs San Francisco. Bedard struggles again. Box score.
Saturday: 3-1 Win vs San Francisco. JMac dominates. Box score.
Sunday: 13-2 Win vs San Francisco. Pirates batter Lincecum. Box score.

Season Record: 48-37, 1st place in NL Central, 1.0 game ahead

Notes: The Pirates enter the All Star break in first place for the first time since 1997. The Bucs are 11 games over .500 and sport the fourth best record in the majors. What a series for Neil Walker: 8 for 12 with 4 doubles and a homer. Andrew McCutchen was nearly as good with 2 homers among his 7 hits in 14 at bats. Cutch was named to participate in the Home Run Derby as a late replacement for Giancarlo Stanton. James McDonald continued his All Star-worthy campaign with 10 K’s in 7 innings. The bullpen was stellar once again, allowing only one run (by Juan Cruz) in 10 innings.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
McCutchen, A, CF 14 5 7 6 0 2 4 0.500 0.500
Sutton, LF-RF 13 0 2 1 0 3 5 0.154 0.143
Walker, 2B 12 4 8 4 1 1 3 0.667 0.692
McGehee, 1B 12 2 4 3 0 2 5 0.333 0.333
Alvarez, 3B 11 2 2 2 1 3 6 0.182 0.250
Jones, G, RF-1B 10 1 1 0 0 3 6 0.100 0.100
Barmes, SS 7 1 2 1 0 1 4 0.286 0.286
Barajas, C 6 1 1 0 2 0 3 0.167 0.444
Hernandez, Go, PR-LF 6 1 0 0 0 2 1 0.000 0.000
Mercer, PH-SS 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.000 0.000
McKenry, C 3 1 2 1 0 0 1 0.667 0.667
Burnett, AJ, P 3 0 1 1 0 1 3 0.333 0.333
Harrison, SS 2 2 2 0 1 0 0 1.000 1.000
McDonald, J, P 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 1.000 1.000
Lincoln, P 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000
Bedard, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
Fryer, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
  Totals 107 21 34 19 6 18 43 0.318 0.357

Batting
Doubles (9): Walker 4 (21), McKenry (7), Alvarez (15), Sutton (10), Barajas (8), McGehee (12)
Triples (1): McCutchen (5)
Home Runs (6): McGehee (6), Alvarez (16), McKenry (7), McCutchen 2 (18), Walker (6)

Baserunning
SB: Hernandez (2)

Fielding
Errors: Walker (4), Harrison (3), McKenry (1), Sutton (1)
Double Plays: (Bedard-Harrison-McGehee), (Mercer-Walker-McGehee), (Barmes-Walker- McGehee)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
McDonald, J(W, 9-3) 7.0 4 1 1 0 10 0 1.29 0.57
Burnett, AJ(W, 10-2) 6.3 4 2 2 2 5 1 2.84 0.95
Bedard(L, 4-10) 3.7 4 5 4 3 1 1 9.82 1.91
Lincoln 2.7 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.00
Resop 2.3 0 0 0 0 3 0 0.00 0.00
Hughes, J 2.0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 1.00
Grilli(H, 21) 1.0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0.00 0.00
Hanrahan(S, 23) 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 1.00
Cruz, J 1.0 2 1 1 0 0 0 9.00 2.00
  Totals 27.0 17 9 8 5 24 2 2.67 0.81

Transactions: Outrighted Chris Leroux and Doug Slaten to AAA. Optioned C Eric Fryer to AAA. Recalled 1B Matt Hague from AAA.

Cardinals Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 14-5 Win at St. Louis. Lots of late runs. Box score.
Saturday: 7-3 Win at St. Louis. Pedro smash. Box score.
Sunday: 5-4 Loss at St. Louis. Not enough to bail out Bedard. Box score.

Season Record: 42-36, 2nd place in NL Central, 1.0 game back

Notes: Two outstandings games and one disappointing one. Good to see the Jeff Karstens from last year show up. Erik Bedard has not been very good for a month. Jose Tabata scored four runs and was on base six times, which was good to see. Big weekend for Pedro Alvarez with eight RBI, including a grand slam. Andrew McCutchen injured his wrist on Saturday making a diving catch and got Sunday off. He’s expected to be fine.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
Tabata, RF 13 4 4 0 2 1 3 0.308 0.400
Walker, 2B 12 3 6 3 2 2 6 0.500 0.571
Presley, LF-CF 12 3 5 1 1 2 1 0.417 0.462
Alvarez, 3B 11 1 4 8 3 1 5 0.364 0.500
Barmes, SS 11 2 4 3 0 1 7 0.364 0.364
Jones, G, 1B 11 4 3 2 1 5 6 0.273 0.333
McCutchen, A, CF 9 5 6 3 1 0 2 0.667 0.700
Sutton, LF-2B 9 1 2 1 0 4 4 0.222 0.222
McKenry, C 8 1 2 3 0 4 9 0.250 0.250
McGehee, PH-1B 5 0 1 1 0 0 2 0.200 0.200
Barajas, C 5 0 0 0 0 2 4 0.000 0.000
Harrison, 2B-3B 3 0 0 0 0 0 5 0.000 0.000
Karstens, P 3 0 0 0 0 2 1 0.000 0.000
Correia, P 2 0 1 0 0 1 1 0.500 0.500
Lincoln, P, PH 2 1 1 0 0 1 1 0.500 0.500
Bedard, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
Fryer, PR-LF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 —- —-
  Totals 118 25 39 25 10 27 57 0.331 0.383

Batting
Doubles (6): McCutchen (16), Alvarez (14), McKenry (5), Tabata (13), Walker (15), Sutton (7)
Triple (1): Presley (2)
Home Runs (6): Barmes (4), Presley (6), Jones (10), McCutchen (15), Alvarez (15), McKenry (6)

BaseRunning
SB: Presley (8)
CS: Tabata (9)

Fielding
Double Plays: (Harrison-Sutton-Jones)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Karstens(W, 1-2) 7.0 4 2 2 2 7 0 2.57 0.86
Correia(W, 4-6) 5.0 6 5 5 2 3 1 9.00 1.60
Bedard(L, 4-9) 4.7 8 5 5 2 5 2 9.64 2.14
Lincoln 3.0 1 0 0 0 4 0 0.00 0.33
Resop 2.3 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.00
Watson 1.7 3 1 1 0 1 0 5.40 1.80
Hughes, J(S, 1) 1.3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
Cruz, J 1.0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0.00 1.00
  Totals 26.0 22 13 13 7 24 3 4.50 1.12

Transactions: None

Pirates All-Stars: McCutchen and Hanrahan

MLB just announced the teams for the 2012 All Star Game in Kansas City. The Pirates representatives are OF Andrew McCutchen and closer Joel Hanrahan.

McCutchen is not just the best player on the Pirates, he’s one of the best players in the National League. Cutch is currently leading the team in R, H, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, SB, Avg, OBP and SLG. Whew, that’s a heavy load. Andrew has a chance to start the game since elected starter Matt Kemp will not play because of a hamstring injury.

Hanrahan has nailed down 20 saves this year on the back of a 2.10 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 10.5 K/9

Not being named to the team were starters James McDonald and A.J. Burnett. JMac is a real surprise. He has become the ace of the Pirates staff with a 2.44 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 8.1 K/9. Burnett’s numbers don’t stand out in the same way (3.31, 1.24, 7.6) but it was thought that his comeback story this year might help get him some votes. Both players could be named to the team if other players bow out due to injury or rest requirements.

Phillies Wrap Up

Scores:
Monday: 8-3 Loss at Philadelphia. Nothing worked. Box score.
Tuesday: 5-4 Loss at Philadelphia. There were chances to win this one. Box score.
Wednesday: 11-7 Win at Philadelphia. The bats save a win. Box score.
Thursday: 5-4 Win at Philadelphia. Score 5 early, hang on late. Box score.

Season Record: 40-35, 2nd place in NL Central, 1.0 game back

Notes: Rough, rough series. The Pirates didn’t play very well at all and still came away with a split on the road. Michael McKenry stepped up in a huge way. The Fort caught all 33 innings after Rod Barajas was injured in the first game while going 8 for 14 with a double and two homers. Drew Sutton made a good first impression by going 4 for 8. Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez continued to rake, with Neil Walker joining in too. In fact, the only player who had a bad offensive series was Clint Barmes, to noone’s surprise. Apart from Brad Lincoln and Joel Hanrahan the pitching was pretty bad. As my grandfather used to say, they gave up a lot of “crooked numbers.”

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
McCutchen, A, CF 18 3 5 3 0 5 9 0.278 0.278
Alvarez, 3B 16 2 4 1 1 8 9 0.250 0.294
Walker, 2B 15 5 5 1 3 3 11 0.333 0.444
McKenry, C 14 2 8 6 2 3 2 0.571 0.625
Tabata, RF 13 3 3 2 0 4 4 0.231 0.231
Barmes, SS 13 1 1 1 1 4 10 0.077 0.143
McGehee, 1B 12 2 3 5 2 0 8 0.250 0.357
Sutton, LF, PH 8 3 4 2 2 1 1 0.500 0.600
Jones, G, RF,1B 5 1 2 1 2 1 4 0.400 0.571
Harrison, PH-RF, SS 5 0 1 0 0 0 3 0.200 0.200
Presley, PH-LF 5 1 0 0 3 1 0 0.000 0.375
McDonald, J, P 3 0 1 1 0 1 2 0.333 0.333
Burnett, AJ, P 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
Karstens, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 2 0.000 0.000
Hague, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000
Bedard, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
Barajas, C 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 —- —-
  Totals 134 23 37 23 16 35 67 0.276 0.353

Batting
Doubles (8): Walker 2 (14), Alvarez (13), McKenry (4), McCutchen 2 (15), Sutton (6), Jones (10)
Home Runs (7): Tabata (3), McKenry 2 (5), McGehee 2 (5), McCutchen (14), Alvarez (14)

BaseRunning
CS: McGehee (1), Harrison (3)
PO: Harrison

Fielding
Errors: Alvarez 2 (13), Tabata 2 (3), Barmes (9), Jones (2)
Double Plays: (Barmes-Walker-McGehee)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Burnett, AJ(W, 9-2) 5.7 6 3 3 2 7 1 4.76 1.41
Bedard(L, 4-8) 6.0 8 4 4 2 3 1 6.00 1.67
McDonald, J(W, 7-3) 5.7 6 4 4 2 3 2 6.35 1.41
Karstens(L, 0-2) 5.0 11 7 6 0 4 1 10.80 2.20
Hanrahan(S, 20) 2.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 1.00
Grilli(H, 18) 2.0 2 1 1 0 3 1 4.50 1.00
Slaten 2.0 1 1 1 3 3 0 4.50 2.00
Hughes, J 1.3 1 2 1 1 1 0 6.75 1.50
Cruz, J(H, 13) 1.3 2 1 1 2 1 1 6.75 3.00
Lincoln(H, 1) 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.00
Watson 1.0 3 1 1 0 1 0 9.00 3.00
  Totals 33.0 41 24 22 13 29 7 6.00 1.64

Transactions: Activated RHP Jeff Karstens from the 15-day DL. Optioned RHP Bryan Morris to AAA. Activated IF Drew Sutton. Called up C Eric Fryer from AAA. Optioned 1B Matt Hague to AAA. Designated LHP Daniel Moskos for assignment. Traded RHP Shairon Martis to Minnesota. Claimed 2B Oscar Tejeda of waivers from Boston and optioned him to AA. Designated LHP Doug Slaten for assignment.

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