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 Giants

Current record: 46-36, 1st place in NL Central, 2.0 games ahead

Up Next: San Francisco Giants, 45-38, 2nd place in NL West, 1.5 games back

Season Series: 1-2

Notes: The last time the Pirates faced the Giants they scored eight runs in three games. Two months later the Bucs are playing like a totally different team. These three games will close out the season series with the Giants. The Pirates are lucky to miss All Star Matt Cain, who could start the game on Tuesday. If so, he’ll be joining teammates Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Melky Cabrera.

Familiar Faces: Ryan Vogelsong, Javier Lopez

Probable Pitchers
Friday: LH Barry Zito (6-6, 93.2 IP, 52 K, 3.84 ERA, 1.40 WHIP)
vs. LH Erik Bedard (4-9, 82.2 IP, 77 K, 4.57 ERA, 1.48 WHIP)

A battle of struggling lefties.

Saturday: RH Ryan Vogelsong (7-3, 103.2 IP, 72 K, 2.26 ERA, 1.11 WHIP)
vs. RH James McDonald (8-3, 103.0 IP, 90 K, 2.45 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)

Against all odds, Vogelsong has become a good, consistent pitcher late in his career. He’s held opponents to 2 ER runs or less in 11 of his 15 starts and never more than 4 ER allowed.

Sunday: TBA (3-9, 93.2 IP, 101 K, 6.08 ERA, 1.55 WHIP)
vs. RH A.J. Burnett (9-2, 86.2 IP, 74 K, 3.74 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)

This is Tim Lincecum‘s turn to pitch, but as of last night he hasn’t been announced as the starter. Last time out he allowed 7 ER in only 3.1 IP, so the Giants may be considering resting him. I listed his numbers above.

No lineups yet.

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

Series Preview: The Cardinals

Current record: 40-35, 2nd place in NL Central, 1.0 game back

Up Next: St. Louis Cardinals, 40-36, 3rd place in NL Central, 1.5 games back

Season Series: 2-4

Notes: Even with Lance Berkman on the DL, the Cardinals have plenty of big bats. Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig all sport an OPS+ of 141 or better. St. Louis’ +69 run differential is the best in the league and second best in the majors. The Bucs are ninth at -6. Lance Lynn has been outstanding this season, but allowed 11 ER in his last two starts.

Familiar Faces: None

Probable Pitchers
Friday: RH Kevin Correia (3-6, 80.1 IP, 31 K, 4.03 ERA, 1.28 WHIP)
vs. RH Adam Wainwright (6-7, 91.2 IP, 84 K, 4.32 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)

Saturday: RH Jeff Karstens (0-2, 17.0 IP, 9 K, 6.35 ERA, 1.65 WHIP)
vs. RH Lance Lynn (10-3, 92.0 IP, 92 K, 3.23 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)

Sunday: LH Erik Bedard (4-8, 78.0 IP, 72 K, 4.27 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)
vs. RH Jake Westbrook (6-6, 93.0 IP, 59 K, 3.77 ERA, 1.32 WHIP)

No lineups yet.

Series Preview: The Phillies

Current record: 38-33, 2nd place in NL Central, 1.0 game back

Up Next: Philadelphia Phillies, 34-40, 5th place in NL East, 9.0 games back

Season Series: 2-1

Notes: The Phillies are not the powerhouse team that has won the NL East for the past five seasons. 1B Ryan Howard has not played yet after rupturing his Achilles in last year’s playoffs. 2B Chase Utley has been out all year with chronic knee issues, but may make his season debut this week. Fill-in second baseman Freddy Galvis is out for the season with a back injury and was just hit with a 50 game PED suspension too. Two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay is out until at least late July with a strain in the back of his shoulder. Still, the Phils have a few dangerous bats in Hunter Pence (.271/.334/.458) and Carlos Ruiz (.351/.420/.569).

Familiar Faces: Ty Wigginton, Erik Kratz

Probable Pitchers
Monday: RH Jeff Karstens (0-1, 12.0 IP, 5 K, 4.50 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)
vs. RH Joe Blanton (6-6, 91.0 IP, 74 K, 5.04 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)

Karstens makes his return to the rotaion after missing over two months with shoulder and hip injuries.

Tuesday: LH Erik Bedard (4-7, 72.0 IP, 69 K, 4.13 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)
vs. RH Vance Worley (3-4, 68.0 IP, 61 K, 2.78 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)

Wednesday: RH James McDonald (6-3, 90.1 IP, 83 K, 2.19 ERA, 0.95 WHIP)
vs. TBA

The Phillies played a doubleheader yesterday and haven’t announced their starters for Wednesday or Thursday yet. Both Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels pitched on Sunday, so expect a spot start from a minor leaguer.

Thursday: RH A.J. Burnett (8-2, 75.0 IP, 62 K, 3.24 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)
vs. TBA RH Kyle Kendrick (2-7, 67.0 IP, 46 K, 5.24 ERA, 1.58 WHIP)

Kendrick pitched on Saturday so he’s my best guess for this spot.

No lineups yet.

Series Preview: The Twins

Current record: 34-31, 2nd place in NL Central, 3.5 games back

Up Next: Minnesota Twins, 26-39, 5th place in AL Central, 8.0 games back

Season Series: 0-0, First time playing.

Notes: Minnesota is having a really rough year. The pitching is giving up 5.4 runs per game, highest in the majors outside of Colorado. They can still put some runs up on the board, however. Trevor Plouffe is astonishingly the hottest hitter in the majors this month and is up to 14 homers on the year. Joe Mauer still hits like Joe Mauer when he’s in the lineup and not making shampoo commericals. Justin Morneau looked like he had recovered from his concussion in May but has slumped in June. Simply put, these are game the Bucs should win.

Familiar Faces: Ryan Doumit, Matt Capps

Probable Pitchers
Tuesday: LH Scott Diamond (5-2, 50.2 IP, 29 K, 2.13 ERA, 1.18 WHIP)
vs. RH Kevin Correia (2-6, 69.0 IP, 25 K, 4.43 ERA, 1.32 WHIP)

Diamond’s been the only bright spot on a horrible Twins staff this year. Correia hasn’t won at PNC since last June 22.

Wednesday: LH Francisco Liriano (1-7, 57.2 IP, 59 K, 6.24 ERA, 1.60 WHIP)
vs. LH Erik Bedard (4-7, 66.0 IP, 62 K, 4.36 ERA, 1.45 WHIP)

In four starts since moving back into the roatation, Liriano’s been okay: almost 6 IP per start and has lowered his ERA by over two runs. He still walks too many on most days, but if he’s on he could carve up this Pirates team. Bedard looks to bounce back from a rough outing.

Thursday: RH Liam Hendriks (0-3, 23.0 IP, 14 K, 7.83 ERA, 1.87 WHIP)
vs. RH James McDonald (5-3, 81.1 IP, 78 K, 2.32 ERA, 0.98 WHIP)

The young Aussie will get plenty of chances to see if he can stick around with Minnesota out of the race already. JMac continues to build his resume for an All-Star bid.

No lineups yet.

Trade Tree: Erik Bedard

Erik Bedard has been a big part of the Pirates’ pitching renaissance this season. Tonight, he starts for against the Orioles, the team that drafted and developed him.

Bedard broke out in 2007 as an ace pitcher for the 4th place O’s. Instead of building around him, Baltimore decided to trade in in what turned out to be a franchise changing deal.

Bedard (and David Hernandez) became seven players, five of whom are still are still with the organization. The key to this being a good trade for Baltimore is Adam Jones – a good player the last four seasons who is putting up MVP caliber numbers this year.

So what did Seattle get on their end? Bedard has always been an effective pitcher when healthy, he just has trouble staying healthy. In his first three seasons in Seattle Erik made only 30 total starts. 2011 was his first injury-free season in Seattle, but it was also the last year of his contract. The Mariners decided to trade him to a contender at the deadline before another malady could put him on the shelf.

The M’s are left with two toolsy outfield prospects and the visions of what Bedard might have been. It’s going to take one of Chih-Hsien Chiang or Trayvon Robinson turning into a major league regular for Seattle to recoup the value they sent away.

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