Must Win to Win Me Back

I admit, I’ve checked out lately. I stayed up to watch the 14 inning loss on Monday and haven’t watched any baseball since. The way the Pirates are currently playing is too frustrating, too deflating to devote my time to. Today’s game is at 2:20 vs. the Cubs. Win that one and I might be tempted to watch again.

Cubs Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 12-2 Loss vs. Chicago. 7 errors. Box score.
Saturday: 4-3 Loss vs. Chicago. Nothing going vs Samardzija. Box score.
Sunday: 4-2 Loss vs. Chicago. Grilli falters 2nd day in a row. Box score.

Season Record: 72-67, 3rd place in NL Central, 11.0 games back
2.5 games back of a Wild Card spot

Notes: Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you. The promise of the playoffs is slipping away even though it’s still right in front of them. Seriously, one good week and the Bucs could be tied with the Cards again. The offense had serious problems this weekend. Brock Holt and Pedro Alvarez were the only players to record more than one hit. Yet the Bucs walked 14 times, including 4 from Gaby Sanchez. Jeff Locke was effective in his second start. Jason Grilli took back to back losses; unusual since he’s been a shutdown reliever all year.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
Holt, Br, 2B 13 2 5 0 0 3 3 0.385 0.385
Alvarez, 3B 12 0 4 2 1 1 9 0.333 0.385
Jones, G, RF, 1B 11 0 1 0 2 0 5 0.091 0.231
McCutchen, A, CF 9 2 1 1 2 3 6 0.111 0.333
Marte, S, LF-CF 9 0 0 1 2 4 3 0.000 0.167
Sanchez, G, 1B 6 0 0 0 4 3 3 0.000 0.400
Presley, RF 6 0 0 0 0 4 4 0.000 0.000
Harrison, SS 5 2 1 0 0 1 3 0.200 0.200
McKenry, C 5 1 1 1 1 2 2 0.200 0.333
Barajas, C 5 0 0 0 0 1 2 0.000 0.000
Barmes, SS 4 0 0 0 1 1 4 0.000 0.200
Clement, PH 2 0 1 1 1 0 1 0.500 0.667
Locke, P 2 0 1 0 0 1 1 0.500 0.500
Mercer, SS 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
McDonald, J, P 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
Burnett, AJ, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
  Totals 94 7 15 6 14 26 47 0.160 0.273

Batting

Doubles (3): Alvarez 2 (23), McKenry (13)
Triples (1): Holt (1)
Home Runs (1): McCutchen (25)

Fielding
E: Holt 3 (3), Marte 2 (2), Barajas (4), Sanchez (3), Harrison (5)
DP: (Alvarez-Holt-Sanchez), (Barmes-Jones), (Barmes-Sanchez)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Locke 6.0 7 2 2 0 6 2 3.00 1.17
McDonald, J 5.7 7 3 3 2 2 1 4.76 1.59
Burnett, AJ (L, 15-6) 5.0 8 7 3 1 4 0 5.40 1.80
McPherson, K 3.0 2 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.67
Leroux 1.7 0 2 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.00
Grilli (2 L, 1-6) 1.3 5 3 3 2 2 1 20.25 5.25
Resop 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
Hanrahan 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 2.00
Hughes, J 0.7 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Watson 0.7 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 3.00
Takahashi 0.3 2 3 3 2 0 0 81.00 12.00
Qualls 0.7 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Wilson 0.0 1 0 0 1 0 0 -.– -.–
  Totals 27.0 34 20 14 10 22 4 4.67 1.63

Transactions: Activated LF Starling Marte from the DL. Activated RHP Chad Qualls from the DL.

Series Preview: The Cubs

Current record: 72-64, 3rd place in NL Central, 10.0 games back; 1.5 games back of a Wild Card spot

Up Next: Chicago Cubs, 51-85, 5th place in NL Central, 31.0 games back

Season Series: 6-3 (3-0, 1-2, 2-1)

Notes: Seven of the Pirates next ten games are against the Cubs. This is the time to make a move. Taking any less than five of these games would be a setback. I’m going to stop short of say that they will take that many games; predictions like that have not worked out well for me this year. A lot of breaks went the Pirates direction in June and July – 2 out RBIs, a key strike out to get out of an inning. A lot of those breaks went the other way in August. I’ll just say that if you’re looking for a team to get some breaks against, the Cubs have historically always fit that bill.

Familiar Faces: None

Probable Pitchers
Friday: LH Travis Wood (4-11, 120.1 IP, 86 K, 4.64 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)
vs. RH A.J. Burnett (15-5, 163.2 IP, 145 K, 3.63 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)

Saturday: RH Jeff Samardzija (8-13, 165.2 IP, 171 K, 3.91 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)
vs. RH James McDonald (12-7, 161.2 IP, 147 K, 3.90 ERA, 1.21 WHIP)

Sunday: LH Chris Rusin (0-2, 6.0 IP, 5 K, 9.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP)
vs. LH Jeff Locke (0-1, 9.1 IP, 7 K, 4.82 ERA, 0.96 WHIP)

No lineup yet.

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 Cubs

It’s been a great week on the road for me- nine days of visiting family and friends, going to ballparks I’d never seen and spending lots of time with my exceedingly better half. As is usually the case after a long trip there’s a lot for me to catch up on. The Pirates went 6-3 while I was away, which I’ll wrap up in later posts. For now, here’s the Cubs Preview (abridged.)

Current Record: 54-40, 2nd place in NL Central, 0.5 games back

Cubs record: 38-56, 5th place in NL Central, 16.5 games back

Probable Pitchers
Monday: RH Jeff Samardzija (6-8, 4.57 ERA)
vs. LH Erik Bedard (5-10, 4.55)

Tuesday: LH Paul Maholm (8-6, 4.09)
vs. RH James McDonald (10-3, 2.93)

Maholm looked pretty good on Thursday against Miami. JMac has been shaky.

Wednesday: RH Ryan Dempster(???) (5-4, 2.11)
vs. RH Kevin Correia (7-6, 4.31)

Late breaking word had the Cubs and Braves agreeing on a trade of Dempster for Randall Delgado. Then, Dempster said he hadn’t been traded. Bottom line is that this matchup may change.

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