More Tough Matchups On The Horizon

The Pirates have scored 11 runs in six games. An average of 1.83 runs/game. The team batting average is .199. What do you expect when a team of average (at best) bats faces some of the best pitchers in the league? Here are the opponents’ starting pitchers for the Pirates’ first twelve games.

vs. Roy Halladay, 1-0 L

vs. Cliff Lee, 2-1 W
vs. Vance Worley, 5-4 W
vs. Clayton Kershaw, 2-1 L
vs. Chad Billingsley, 4-1 L
vs. Chris Capuano, 3-2 L
vs. Ian Kennedy
vs. Daniel Hudson (*not announced yet, my projection.)

And here are the results of last year’s NL Cy Young award voting (from baseball reference):

Rank Tm Vote Pts 1st Place Share WAR W L ERA SV IP ER BB SO WHIP
1 Clayton Kershaw LAD 207.0 27.0 92% 7.0 21 5 2.28 0 233.1 59 54 248 0.977
2 Roy Halladay PHI 133.0 4.0 59% 7.4 19 6 2.35 0 233.2 61 35 220 1.040
3 Cliff Lee PHI 90.0 0.0 40% 6.9 17 8 2.40 0 232.2 62 42 238 1.027
4 Ian Kennedy ARI 76.0 1.0 34% 5.5 21 4 2.88 0 222.0 71 55 198 1.086
5 Cole Hamels PHI 17.0 0.0 8% 5.4 14 9 2.79 0 216.0 67 44 194 0.986
6 Tim Lincecum SFG 7.0 0.0 3% 4.4 13 14 2.74 0 217.0 66 86 220 1.207
7 Yovani Gallardo MIL 5.0 0.0 2% 2.7 17 10 3.52 0 207.1 81 59 207 1.215
8 Matt Cain SFG 3.0 0.0 1% 3.9 12 11 2.88 0 221.2 71 63 179 1.083
9 John Axford MIL 2.0 0.0 1% 2.7 2 2 1.95 46 73.2 16 25 86 1.140
9 Craig Kimbrel ATL 2.0 0.0 1% 3.0 4 3 2.10 46 77.0 18 32 127 1.039
11 Madison Bumgarner SFG 1.0 0.0 0% 2.8 13 13 3.21 0 204.2 73 46 191 1.212
11 Ryan Vogelsong SFG 1.0 0.0 0% 3.7 13 7 2.71 0 179.2 54 61 139 1.252
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/11/2012.

The Pirates face six of the ten starting pitchers to get votes as the best pitcher in the National League last year. When does it get easier? Matt Cain‘s one of the best pitchers in the league, Daniel Hudson has nasty stuff. Ian Kennedy broke out in a big way. Last year Ryan Vogelsong struck out 8 in 5.2 innings against the Pirates in the first start of his comeback year. The much-maligned Barry Zito threw a complete game shutout in Colorado in his  last start. Joe Saunders threw seven shutout innings in his first start of the year.

Seriously, the Pirates could easilty be looking at a 4-8 record when this stretch is over. If they want to be better, then:

1) Their own pitching needs to keep up the good work. Allowing only 2.5 runs/game has kept the Pirates in every game so far.
2) The bats need to find a way to string some hits together. Also, take some more walks. You can be selective while still being aggressive. Seven walks in six games is woeful.

Let’s hope they pick it up this weekend in San Francisco. The Pirates starters are slated to be James McDonald, Charlie Morton (season debut) and Kevin Correia. I’ll see you Monday with the Weekend Wrapup.

Correia Does His Part, Bedard Tries Again.

Yesterday: 2-1 Loss at Los Angeles

Current Record: 2-2, 4th place in NL Central

Kevin Correia did everything that could be asked of him yesterday: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. Unfortunately the Bucs ran into another former Cy Young award winner (the third in four games) and the bats were again shutdown. It’s way too early for this game story to become a recurring theme, but it is familiar.

Tonight, Erik Bedard tries a second time to get his first win as a Pirate and goes up against the inconsistent Chad Billingsley, lovingly profiled today at the excellent Dodgers blog Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness. Game time is 10:10pm, which means you can watch without missing any of tonight’s Penguins playoff game versus the Flyers.

Transaction: Pirates sign RHP Rick VandenHurk after he declined his minor league assignment from the Indians. This is a minor league depth signing. Cool trivia: Vandenhurk is from the Netherlands and his actual first name is Henricus.

Weekend Wrapup

Weekend scores:
Thursday: 1-0 Loss vs Philadelphia. Boxscore.
Saturday: 2-1 Win vs Philadelphia. Boxscore.
Sunday: 5-4 Win vs Philadelphia. Boxscore.

Season Record: 2-1, tied for 2nd in the Central.

Pretty easy to do the combined box this week, since it’s just the season totals.

Player Pos     G      AB      R      H   RBI    BB    SO      AVG
Tabata, J LF 3 14 0 3 0 0 1 0.214
Presley, A LF 3 13 0 4 2 0 2 0.308
McCutchen, A CF 3 11 1 4 1 1 2 0.364
Walker, N 2B 3 10 0 1 0 1 1 0.100
Barmes, C SS 3 9 0 0 0 0 2 0.000
Barajas, R C 2 7 0 1 0 0 2 0.143
McGehee, C 3B 2 6 1 2 1 0 0 0.333
Alvarez, P 3B 2 6 2 1 1 0 3 0.167
Jones, G 1B 2 6 0 0 0 0 1 0.000
Hague, M 1B 2 4 0 1 1 0 0 0.250
McKenry, M C 2 4 1 1 0 0 1 0.250
McDonald, J P 1 2 0 0 0 0 2 0.000
Bedard, E P 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 0.000
Harrison, J 3B 2 1 1 1 0 0 0 1.000
McLouth, N LF 3 1 0 0 0 1 1 0.000
Karstens, J P 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0.000
Navarro, Y 3B 2 0 1 0 0 2 0         —
97 7 19 6 5 20 0.196

Batting:
Doubles: McGehee 2 (2), McCutchen (1), Barajas (1), Harrison (1)
Homers: Alvarez (1)

Baserunning:
SB: McCutchen 2 (2), Tabata (1), Presley (1)

Fielding:
Errors: McGehee (1), Alvarez (1), Walker (1)
DP: 4 (Barmes-Walker-Jones, Alvarez-Walker-Jones, Barmes-Walker Hague, McDonald-Barmes-Jones)

Player G GS IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA GF TBF NP
Bedard (L, 0-1) 1 1 7.0 6 1 1 1 4 0 1.29 0 26 81
Karstens 1 1 6.0 5 1 1 1 2 0 1.50 0 23 85
McDonald 1 1 6.0 4 2 2 2 3 1 3.00 0 23 82
Cruz (W, 1-0) 2 0 2.0 3 0 0 0 3 0 0.00 2 9 33
Hanrahan (W, 1-0) 2 0 2.0 0 0 0 2 4 0 0.00 1 8 39
Grilli 1 0 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0 4 21
Hughes 1 0 1.0 1 2 0 2 1 0 0.00 0 7 30
Meek 1 0 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0 3 17
Resop 1 0 1.0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0.00 0 5 18
Watson 1 0 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0 3 12


Good:
Three solid starts from Erik Bedard, Jeff Karstens and James McDonald. Pedro Alvarez getting hold of one. Matt Hague‘s first major league hit and RBI.
Exciting: Two late inning comebacks  and walk-off hits from Alex Presley and Andrew McCutchen.
Bad: The bats, but Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee can do that to any team.

Transactions: Traded Brian Tallet to San Diego for a PTBNL or cash. A quick trade tree for this one:

Up Next:

Today: Off
Tuesday: 4:10p at Los Angeles Dodgers (Probable pitchers: Kevin Correia vs Clayton Kershaw)
Wednesday: 10:10p at Los Angeles Dodgers (Erik Bedard vs Chad Billingsley)
Thursday: 10:10p at Los Angeles Dodgers (Jeff Karstens vs TBA)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 285 other followers