Series Preview: The Royals

Current record: 29-27, 2nd place in NL Central, 2.0 games back

Up Next: Kansas City Royals, 24-31, 4th place in AL Central, 7.0 games back

Season Series: 0-0, First time playing.

Notes: Interleague play is back for the next 15 games. For the Royals tonight, that means they lose the DH and their defense gets shifted around to keep their best hitters in the lineup. DH Billy Butler goes to first, 1B Eric Hosmer goes to RF, and RF Jeff Francoeur moves to CF. The Pirates have been playing well and should have no trouble with the weak Royals pitching.

Familiar Faces: Surpisingly, none.

Probable Pitchers
Friday: RH Luke Hochevar (3-6, 57.0 IP, 46 K, 6.63 ERA, 1.54 WHIP)
vs. LH Erik Bedard (3-6, 55.2 IP, 56 K, 3.72 ERA, 1.40 WHIP)

Saturday: LH Vin Mazzaro (2-0, 12.0 IP, 5 K, 2.25 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)
vs. RH James McDonald (5-2, 71.1 IP, 71 K, 2.14 ERA, 0.95 WHIP)

Sunday: LH Bruce Chen (5-5, 70.0 IP, 48 K, 4.37 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)
vs. RH A.J. Burnett (5-2, 55.0 IP, 50 K, 3.76 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)

Royals
Alex Gordon LF
Yuniesky Betancourt 2B
Billy Butler 1B
Mike Moustakas 3B
Jeff Francoeur CF
Eric Hosmer RF
Alcides Escobar SS
Humberto Quintero C
Luke Hochevar P

Alex Presley LF
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Garrett Jones RF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Jose Tabata RF
Rod Barajas C
Clint Barmes SS
Erik Bedard P

Mets Wrap Up

Scores:
Monday: 5-4 Win vs NY Mets. Three late runs win it. Box score.
Tuesday: 3-2 Loss vs NY Mets. Can’t solve the knuckler. Box score.
Wednesday: 3-1 Loss vs NY Mets. Only 1 run for the 9th time. Box score.

Season Record: 20-24, 4th place in NL Central, 5.0 games back

Notes: Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison were pretty much the whole show this series. I have nothing else good to say about the offense at this time. In two starts since his back spasms, Erik Bedard‘s totals are 11 IP, 8 ER, 12 H, 4 BB and 11 K’s. He hadn’t given up more than 2 ER in any of six pre-injury outings. If his next start continues the current trend the team may want to skip Bedard when his turn comes up again. The bullpen was stellar, allowing only 1 ER, 4 H and 3 BB with 11 K in 8 IP.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh  AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO  LOB     AVG     OBP
Harrison, RF-SS 12 3 4 0 0 1 3 0.333 0.333
Walker, 2B 12 1 2 0 0 5 3 0.167 0.167
McCutchen, A, CF 11 1 4 4 0 3 5 0.364 0.333
Barmes, SS 8 1 3 1 1 1 4 0.375 0.400
Alvarez, 3B 8 1 2 1 0 2 5 0.250 0.250
Tabata, LF-RF 8 1 1 0 1 2 2 0.125 0.222
Barajas, C 8 0 1 0 0 4 2 0.125 0.125
McGehee, 1B 6 0 0 0 1 2 3 0.000 0.143
Jones, G, 1B 5 0 0 0 0 3 1 0.000 0.000
McKenry, C 4 1 1 2 0 2 3 0.250 0.250
Navarro, 3B 4 0 1 0 0 1 0 0.250 0.250
Hernandez, Go, LF 4 0 0 0 1 2 1 0.000 0.200
McDonald, J, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 0.000 0.000
Morton, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
Bedard, P 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000
McLouth, LF 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
  Totals 96 9 20 8 4 31 34 0.208 0.235

Batting
Doubles (8): Harrison 3 (6), McCutchen, A (8), Alvarez (7), Walker (6), Barajas (6), Tabata (7)
Triples (1): Harrison (2)
HomeRuns (1): McKenry (3)

BaseRunning
SB: McCutchen (8)

Fielding
Errors: Alvarez (9)
Double Plays: (Barmes-Walker-McGehee)

Pitching

Pittsburgh     IP    H    R   ER  BB  SO  HR    ERA   WHIP
McDonald, J 7.0 4 1 1 2 8 0 1.29 0.86
Morton (L, 2-5) 7.0 8 3 3 0 1 0 3.86 1.14
Bedard 5.0 6 4 4 3 4 0 7.20 1.80
Resop 2.7 1 0 0 1 2 0 0.00 0.75
Grilli 1.0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0.00 0.00
Hanrahan (S, 10) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Lincoln 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Hughes, J (W, 1-0) 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 2.00
Watson 0.7 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Cruz, J (L, 1-1) 0.7 2 2 1 1 2 0 13.50 4.50
  Totals 27.0 22 10 9 8 24 0 3.00 1.11

Transactions: Traded Drew Sutton to Tampa Bay Rays for cash. Activated RHP Jason Grilli from the Bereavement List. Optioned LHP Jeff Locke to AAA.

Grilli Activated, Locke Optioned

Relief pitcher Jason Grilli has been activated from the Bereavement List. Jeff Locke was optioned back to AAA. Locke made no appearances in his three days with the big league club.

Today’s series finale against the Mets is at 12:30. The Pirates are off tomorrow.

Gorkys Hernandez gets his first start today. Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez have the day off versus lefty pitcher Jon Niese . Lineup:

Josh Harrison RF
Gorkys Hernandez LF
Andrew McCutchen CF
Neil Walker 2B
Casey McGehee 1B
Rod Barajas C
Yamaico Navarro 3B
Clint Barmes SS
Charlie Morton P

Tigers Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 6-0 Loss at Detroit. Verlander almost unhittable. Box score.
Saturday: 4-3 Win at Detroit. McCutchen leads the way again. Box score.
Sunday: 4-3 Loss at Detroit. 17 K’s, still almost won. Box score.

Season Record: 19-22, 3rd place in NL Central, 3.0 games back

Notes: Andrew McCutchen hits two more homeruns and the Pirates win. He gets no hits and they lose. Josh Harrison is hitting the ball well right now. I wouldn’t mind seeing him at shortstop a few games this week. Rod Barajas appears to have shaken off his early season slump. After a .143/.222/.184 April he’s hitting .310/.318/.667 in May. The writing is on the wall for Nate McLouth. He went 0-8 with 4 K’s over the weekend, including the game ender yesterday. All told he’s 0 for his last 20 with 9 K’s and 1 walk. Can we please get Gorkys Hernandez some at bats? It’s literally impossible that he could do worse. One of the biggest problems this team has on offense is strikeouts: 12 on Friday, 12 on Saturday, 17 on Sunday.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh   AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO  LOB     AVG     OBP
Harrison, 2B, 3B, DH 11 3 3 0 1 3 1 0.273 0.385
Walker, 2B, DH 11 1 3 1 1 4 4 0.273 0.333
McCutchen, A, CF 11 2 2 4 1 4 6 0.182 0.250
Barmes, SS 10 0 2 0 0 4 2 0.200 0.200
Tabata, RF 9 0 1 0 0 0 2 0.111 0.111
Alvarez, 3B, DH 9 0 0 0 2 8 4 0.000 0.182
McLouth, LF 8 0 0 0 0 4 2 0.000 0.000
Barajas, C 7 1 2 2 0 4 3 0.286 0.250
Jones, G, RF, 1B 7 0 1 0 0 5 2 0.143 0.143
McGehee, 1B 7 0 1 0 0 2 2 0.143 0.143
Navarro, LF 3 0 1 0 0 2 1 0.333 0.333
McKenry, C 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
  Totals 96 7 16 7 5 41 29 0.167 0.214

Batting
Doubles (2): Jones (6), Harrison (3)
HomeRuns (4): McCutchen 2 (7), Barajas (4), Walker (2)

BaseRunning
CS: Navarro (2)
PO: Navarro

Fielding
Passed Ball: Barajas 2 (4)
Double Plays: (Barmes-Walker-McGehee), (McGehee)

Pitching

Pittsburgh     IP    H    R   ER  BB  SO  HR    ERA   WHIP
Morton (L, 2-4) 6.0 9 4 4 1 4 1 6.00 1.67
Burnett, AJ (W, 2-2) 6.0 7 2 2 3 2 1 3.00 1.67
Correia (L, 1-5) 6.0 4 3 3 0 2 1 4.50 0.67
Lincoln 1.7 2 0 0 0 4 0 0.00 1.20
Hanrahan (S, 9) 1.0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0.00 1.00
Hughes, J 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Cruz, J (H, 7) 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 1.00
Grilli (H, 10) 1.0 2 1 0 0 1 0 0.00 2.00
Resop 1.0 2 2 2 1 0 0 18.00 3.00
Watson 0.3 1 1 0 1 0 0 0.00 6.00
  Totals 25.0 28 13 11 7 17 3 3.96 1.40

Transactions: Optioned RHP Evan Meek to AAA. Recalled OF Gorkys Hernandez from AAA. Placed RHP Jason Grilli on the Bereavement List. Recalled LHP Jeff Locke from AAA. Acquired IF Drew Sutton from the Atlanta Braves for cash, assigned Sutton to AAA.

Grilli on Bereavement List, Locke Recalled

Relief pitcher Jason Grilli has been placed on the Bereavement List due to the death of his wife’s grandfather. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the extended Grilli family at this time.

To take his place on the roster, pitcher Jeff Locke has been called up from AAA. Locke was part of the 2009 Nate McLouth trade along with Charlie Morton and Gorkys Hernandez. All four pieces of that deal are currently on the Bucs’ big league roster.

Locke was called up for four starts at the end of last season and went 0-3 in 16.2 innings with 5 strikeouts, a 6.48 ERA and 1.86 WHIP. His AAA line for this season is 3-3, 47.2 IP, 36 K, 3.02 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. For now, Jeff is expected to pitch out of the bullpen in long relief.

Today’s game starts at 1:05. Lineup:

Jose Tabata RF
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Pedro Alvarez DH
Garrett Jones 1B
Josh Harrison 3B
Rod Barajas C
Nate McLouth LF
Clint Barmes SS

Kevin Correia SP

Tigers:
Don Kelly CF
Andy Dirks LF
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Prince Fielder 1B
Delmon Young DH
Brennan Boesch RF
Jhonny Peralta SS
Alex Avila C
Ryan Raburn 2B

Max Scherzer SP

Marlins & Nationals Wrap Up

Scores:
Monday: 3-2 Win at Miami. Lincoln efficient and effective. Box score.
Tuesday: 6-2 Loss at Miami. Correia falls apart in 4th. Box score.
Wednesday: 7-4 Loss at Washington. Old Bucs beating current Bucs. Box score.
Thursday: 5-3 Win at Washington. McDonald & McCutchen lead the way. Box score.

Season Record: 18-20, 3rd place in NL Central, 4.0 games back

Notes: The offense was all Andrew McCutchen, Rod Barajas and Josh Harrison. The trio had 16 of the team’s 28 hits with 3 doubles and 5 homers. The pitching staff was uncharacteristically porous so getting a spilt over the four games is pretty good. James McDonald took a no-hitter into the 6th and struck out a career high 11. Joel Hanrahan closed out both wins and looked better than he had last week.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh   AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO  LOB     AVG     OBP
Tabata, RF 16 2 3 0 1 4 4 0.188 0.235
Walker, 2B 16 0 2 1 0 4 3 0.125 0.125
McCutchen, A, CF 14 4 6 3 1 2 4 0.429 0.438
Alvarez, 3B 13 0 3 1 0 4 4 0.231 0.231
Barmes, SS 12 0 2 0 0 5 7 0.167 0.167
Barajas, C 10 3 6 3 1 2 2 0.600 0.636
McGehee, 1B 9 1 0 1 2 3 3 0.000 0.167
Jones, G, 1B, RF 8 0 1 1 0 1 1 0.125 0.125
Harrison, 3B-LF, SS 7 2 4 3 0 0 1 0.571 0.571
Presley, LF 6 0 0 0 1 1 2 0.000 0.143
McKenry, C 3 1 1 1 0 0 0 0.333 0.333
Navarro, LF 3 1 0 0 1 1 1 0.000 0.250
McLouth, PH 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
Bedard, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 2 0.000 0.000
Lincoln, P 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000
McDonald, J, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 0.000 0.000
Correia, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
Resop, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
  Totals 128 14 28 14 7 32 38 0.219 0.259

Batting
Doubles (4): Tabata (6), Alvarez (6), Barajas (5), Harrison (2)
HomeRuns (6): Barajas 2 (3), McKenry (2), Harrison (1), McCutchen 2 (5)

BaseRunning
SB: McCutchen (7), Tabata (5)
CS: Barmes (2), Presley (4)

Fielding
Errors: McGehee (2)
Double Plays: (Barmes-Walker), (Alvarez-Walker-Jones)

Pitching

Pittsburgh     IP    H    R   ER  BB  SO  HR    ERA   WHIP
Bedard (L, 2-5) 6.0 6 4 4 1 7 3 6.00 1.17
Lincoln (W, 3-0) 6.0 4 2 2 1 3 1 3.00 0.83
McDonald, J (W, 3-2) 5.7 4 3 3 1 11 0 4.76 0.88
Correia (L, 1-4) 3.7 8 6 6 4 1 0 14.73 3.27
Hughes, J (H, 3) 3.0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.67
Resop 2.3 3 0 0 1 2 0 0.00 1.71
Grilli (H, 8,9) 2.0 2 0 0 1 3 0 0.00 1.50
Hanrahan (S, 7,8) 2.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 1.00
Watson (H, 4) 1.3 0 0 0 2 2 0 0.00 1.50
Meek 1.0 1 3 3 2 2 0 27.00 3.00
Cruz, J (H, 6) 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 2.00
  Totals 34.0 32 18 18 15 33 4 4.76 1.38

Transactions: Optioned Alex Presley to AAA. Recalled Evan Meek from AAA.

Series Preview: The Nationals

Note: The series recap for the Marlins series will be combined with the series recap for this Nationals series so that the data will have a broader base.

Current record: 17-19, 3rd place in NL Central, 4.0 games back

Up Next: Washington Nationals, 22-14, 2nd place in NL East, 0.5 games back

Season Series: The Pirates took 2 out of 3 against the Nationals last week.

The top two pitching staffs in the NL face off tonight in Washington as the Pirates and Nationals conclude their season series. The Pirates go against the two starters they missed in the three game set last week. Bryce Harper hit his first two major league home runs in his last two games. Catcher Wilson Ramos was just lost for the season with a torn ACL. Closer Henry Rodriguez has been shaky and may be pulled from the role.

Probable Pitchers
Wednesday: LH Erik Bedard (2-4, 35.0 IP, 37 K, 2.57 ERA, 1.37 WHIP)
vs. LH Gio Gonzalez (4-1, 41.1 IP, 50 K, 1.94 ERA, 1.01 WHIP)

Bedard returns to action after only lasting one inning in his start against the Nationals last week. Gonzalez is finally showing consistancy to go along with his talent.

Thursday: RH James McDonald (2-2, 44.2 IP, 39 K, 2.42 ERA, 1.03 WHIP)
vs. RH Jordan Zimmermann (2-3, 46.1 IP, 32 K, 2.14 ERA, 0.97 WHIP)

Very similar lines for the two young righties.

Tonight’s lineup:
Jose Tabata RF
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Casey McGehee 1B
Yamaico Navarro LF
Rod Barajas C
Clint Barmes SS
Josh Harrison
Erik Bedard P

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