Sunday Notes

Late Friday night the Pirates acquired Jeff Larish from the Red Sox for cash considerations. Larish is a non-prospect at this point and will go to AAA, where the organization already has several 1B/DH types. Speculation around the internet seems to be that this move only makes since if one of Jake Fox or Matt Hague is going to be called up.

Erik Bedard has been scratched from Monday’s start. He had back spasms after one inning in his last start on Wednesday. Brad Lincoln will start Monday’s game and Bedard is no scheduled to go on Wednesday.

Heck of a game last night. The Pirates beat up on J.A. Happ like they should have and Charlie Morton was very effective after tweaking his sinker since his last start. The rubber game is today at 1:35pm, barring any rain delays.

Lineups:
Jose Tabata LF
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Casey McGehee 1B
Yamaico Navarro RF
Rod Barajas C
Josh Harrison SS
A.J. Burnett P

Astros:
Jordan Schafer CF
Jed Lowrie SS
J.D. Martinez LF
Carlos Lee 1B
Brian Bogusevic RF
Chris Johnson 3B
Jason Castro C
Marwin Gonzalez 2B
Wandy Rodriguez P

Late update:

Pirates

RHP Joel Hanrahan reinstated from Bereavement List…RHP Daniel McCutchen on D.L. with left oblique strain; suffered in BP Saturday.

Nationals Wrap Up

Scores:
Tuesday: 5-4 Win vs Washington. Burnett stellar, Barajas walk off HR. Box score.
Wednesday: 4-2 Win vs Washington. Cutch, bullpen great. Box score.
Thursday: 4-2 Loss vs Washington. Correia good but Strasburg rolls. Box score.

Season Record: 14-17, 3rd place (tie) in NL Central, 6.0 games back

Notes: Three very close games. A.J. Burnett shrugged off his blow up in St. Louis last week, looking every bit as good as he did in his first two starts. Andrew McCutchen (.667/.750/.1.333) played like one of the best players in the majors again after missing a few games due to the flu. McCutchen and Rod Barajas both got off the schneid, hitting their first homeruns of the season. Barajas did his in walk-off style. Erik Bedard had to leave his start due to back spasms. He is day-to-day for his next turn. The bullpen was excellent to pick up eight innings that game. The Pirates normally strike out a lot. Stephen Strasburg is a very good strikeout pitcher. Put those two things together and it means, unsurprisingly, that Strasburg K’s 13 in six innings. Kevin Correia was effective enough to keep the Bucs in the game.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh  AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO  LOB     AVG     OBP
Tabata, RF 12 2 3 0 0 1 1 0.250 0.250
Alvarez, 3B 11 0 0 0 1 4 9 0.000 0.083
Walker, 2B 10 0 3 3 1 2 0 0.300 0.333
McCutchen, A, CF 9 4 6 4 3 1 0 0.667 0.750
McGehee, 1B 9 0 1 1 0 1 3 0.111 0.111
Barajas, C 7 1 1 2 0 2 1 0.143 0.143
Jones, 1B, RF 7 1 1 1 0 3 4 0.143 0.143
Barmes, SS 7 0 0 0 0 4 0 0.000 0.000
Presley, LF 5 1 1 0 0 2 1 0.200 0.200
Navarro, LF 4 0 1 0 0 1 2 0.250 0.250
McKenry, C 3 0 1 0 0 1 0 0.333 0.333
Lincoln, P 2 1 0 0 0 2 0 0.000 0.000
Correia, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 0.000 0.000
Burnett, AJ, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
Harrison, SS 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
McLouth, PH-LF 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0.000 0.500
Bedard, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0     —–     —–
 Totals 93 11 18 11 6 28 22 0.194 0.242

Batting
Doubles (2): Walker (3), McKenry (2)
HomeRuns (4): McCutchen, A 2 (2), Jones (4), Barajas (1)

BaseRunning
CS: Navarro (1)

Fielding
Errors: Alvarez (7), Barajas (2)
Double Plays: (Barmes-Walker-McGehee), (Alvarez-Walker-McGehee), (Walker-Barmes-Jones)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Burnett, AJ 8.0 6 2 2 1 10 1 2.25 0.875
Correia(L, 1-3) 7.0 6 3 3 2 1 2 3.86 1.143
Lincoln(W, 2-0) 3.0 1 1 0 1 4 0 0.00 0.667
Hughes, J 2.0 1 0 0 1 4 0 0.00 1.000
Hanrahan(BS, 1)(S, 6) 1.7 3 2 2 0 2 1 10.80 1.800
Watson(W, 2-0) 1.3 2 0 0 0 3 0 0.00 1.500
Bedard 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.000
Grilli(H, 7) 1.0 1 0 0 2 2 0 0.00 3.000
Cruz, J(H, 5) 1.0 1 1 1 1 0 0 9.00 2.000
Resop 1.0 2 1 1 0 0 1 9.00 2.000
 Totals 27.0 23 10 9 8 26 5 3.00 1.148

Transactions: Joel Hanrahan was placed on the Bereavement List. Daniel McCutchen was recalled from AAA.

Series Preview: The Nationals

Current record: 12-16, 4th place in NL Central, 5.5 games back

Up Next: Washington Nationals, 18-10, 1st place in NL East, 1.0 game lead

The Nats are playing great baseball right now. They have five solid starting pitchers and are allowing the fewest runs per game in the majors (2.9). Old friends Adam LaRoche, Xavier Nady, Tom Gorzelanny and Sean Burnett are on the team. LaRoche has avoided his usual April slump and been the best hitter on the Nats this year. RF Jayson Werth just went down with a broken wrist on Sunday. Phenom Bryce Harper will start in right while he’s out.

Probable Pitchers
Tuesday: RH Edwin Jackson (1-1, 32.2 IP, 29 K, 3.69 ERA, 1.11 WHIP)
vs. RH A.J. Burnett (1-2, 15.2 IP, 17 K, 8.04 ERA, 1.72 WHIP)

Wednesday: LH Ross Detwiler (3-1, 28.1 IP, 21 K, 1.59 ERA, 0.99 WHIP)
vs. LH Erik Bedard (2-4, 34.0 IP, 37 K, 2.65 ERA, 1.41 WHIP)

Thursday: RH Stephen Strasburg (2-0, 38.0 IP, 38 K, 1.66 ERA, 0.84 WHIP)
vs. RH Kevin Correia (1-2, 29.1 IP, 12 K, 3.38 ERA, 1.13 WHIP)

No lineup available yet.

Update 2:35pm: The lineup is posted. Cutch is back, Alex Presley sits.

Jose Tabata LF
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Casey McGehee 1B
Garrett Jones RF
Clint Barmes SS
Rod Barajas C
A.J. Burnett P

Cardinals Wrap Up

Scores:
Tuesday: 10-7 Loss at St. Louis. Bad pitching, bad D, bad umpire? Box score.
Wednesday: 12-3 Loss at St. Louis. Worst game of the year. Box score.
Thursday: 6-3 Win at St. Louis. New team record for K’s. Box score.

Season Record: 11-14, 3rd place in NL Central, 5 games back

All the pitching the Bucs didn’t get in the first two games of the series was used in the finale. Erik Bedard struck out 11 (including seven in a row) in five innings and the bullpen added another six, setting a new team record for a nine inning game. Pedro Alvarez continued to set the world on fire with two more homers amoing his six hits. Andrew McCutchen missed one game and had to leave another one early with the flu.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh   AB    R    H  RBI  BB SO  LOB   AVG
Presley, LF 14 0 1 1 0 4 5 0.071
Tabata, RF 13 4 4 2 1 3 3 0.308
Alvarez, 3B 11 6 6 5 1 1 1 0.545
Walker, 2B 11 2 3 0 1 4 1 0.273
Jones, G, 1B 10 2 4 2 2 1 3 0.400
Barmes, SS 8 0 3 3 0 0 2 0.375
McLouth, CF 8 0 1 1 0 2 4 0.125
McKenry, C 7 0 0 0 0 3 7 0.000
Navarro, SS 5 0 2 0 0 1 2 0.400
McCutchen, A, CF 5 1 1 0 1 0 2 0.200
Barajas, C 5 1 1 0 0 0 2 0.200
Harrison, PH-2B 3 0 2 2 0 0 0 0.667
McGehee, 1B 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0.500
Bedard, P 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
Burnett, AJ, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000
Morton, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000
106 16 29 16 6 21 32 0.274

Batting
Doubles (7): Barajas (3), Barmes 3 (6), Tabata (4), Jones (4), McGehee (4)
Triples (1): McCutchen (1)
HomeRuns (2): Tabata (1), Alvarez 2 (7)

BaseRunning
SB: Tabata (4)

Fielding
Errors: Jones (1), Barmes 2 (6), Alvarez 2 (5), Barajas (1)
Double Plays: (Barmes-Walker-Jones), (Jones), (Harrison-Navarro-Jones)

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Bedard (W, 2-4) 5.0 5 2 2 2 11 0 3.60 1.40
Morton (L, 1-2) 4.3 8 6 5 2 5 1 10.38 2.31
Lincoln 3.3 3 0 0 1 3 0 0.00 1.20
Hughes, J (H, 2) 3.0 3 3 1 0 2 1 3.00 1.00
Burnett (L, 1-2) 2.7 12 12 12 1 2 2 40.50 4.88
Grilli (H, 5) 2.0 1 0 0 3 3 0 0.00 2.00
Cruz, J (H, 3) 2.0 2 0 0 3 2 0 0.00 2.50
Hanrahan 1.0 1 1 1 2 2 0 9.00 3.00
Resop 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Watson 0.7 2 1 1 0 1 1 13.50 3.00
25.0 37 25 22 14 32 5 7.92 2.04

Transactions: None

April Recap

The Pirates finished April with a 10-12 record. They got there by winning two in a row twice, losing five in a row once and alternating wins and losses the rest of the time.

The story of the month was pitching, both for the Pirates and their opponents. Pirates pitchers held the Phillies, Dodgers, Giants, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Rockies and Braves to 66 runs in 22 games, or 3.0 runs per game. Similarly, the Pirates bats were also held in check. Pittsburgh hitters scored only 58 runs in the month: 2.64/game.

One place the pitching was noticibly better is in striking out opponents. Bucs’ pitchers struck out 7.1 batters per 9 innings in April. Last season they struck out 6.4/9 innings in March/April and had a high mark of 6.9 K/9 in July. Newcomers Erik Bedard (8.1 K/9) and A.J. Burnett (10.1) have a lot to do with the higher number, as does Jeff Karstens‘ injury keeping him off the mound (3.8).

Pirates’ April opponents had a combined .570 winning percentage (90-68). That’s like playing a playoff team every game for a month. The only team on the schedule under .500 was 11-12 Philadelphia. May’s schedule should be easier. The teams on the docket combined for only a 113-110 record (.507) in April.

Other Notes:

The Pirates won three series, lost three series and split one.

Record vs
NL East: 4-3, 24 RS, 21 RA (3.43 RS/G, 3.0 RA/G)
NL Central: 1-2, 4 RS, 9 RA (1.33 RS/G, 3.0 RA/G)
NL West: 5-7, 30 RS, 36 RA (2.50 RS/G, 3.0 RA/G)

Home: 5-4, 22 RS, 22 RA (2.44 RS/G, 2.44 RA/G)
Away: 5-8, 36 RS, 44 RA (2.77 RS/G, 3.38 RA/G)

1 Run games: 5-6
2 Run games: 2-0
3 Run games: 1-2
4 Run games: 1-2
5 Run games: 0-2
6 Run games: 1-0

Summary: The Pirates are probably an average team and in April they played like one; sometimes good, sometimes bad, usually somewhere in between. Theoretically, the upcoming easier schedule should allow them to get a few extra wins and go back above .500.

Braves Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 6-1 Loss at Atlanta. One bad inning from the bullpen. Box score.
Saturday: 4-2 Win at Atlanta. Score early and hang on late. Solid pitching. Box score.
Sunday: 4-3 Loss at Atlanta. Sloppy defense, 1 for 13 with RISP. Box score.
Monday: 9-3 Win at Atlanta. Finally, the bats break out. Box score.

Season Record: 10-12, 4th place in the NL Central

Splitting four games on the road versus a good team is a very acceptable result. Nice to see the bats come alive too.

Earlier I posted a little about Pedro Alvarez, but I want to reiterate that he was their best player this weekend. He looked loose and confident, which was a marked difference from how I saw him in March. Andrew McCutchen on the other hand looked to be pressing to get the big hit every time up. If both of those guys were hitting at the same time, watch out.

All four starters looked good. I watched James McDonald warm up in the bullpen and he was all over the place. When he started so shaky in the first and second it looked like it was going to be a long game. But as he sometimes does, he figured it out and shut the door on the Braves from that point on.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh   AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO  LOB   AVG
McCutchen, A, CF 16 2 3 1 1 7 4 0.188
Walker, 2B 14 2 7 1 3 0 3 0.500
Alvarez, 3B 14 2 5 3 2 5 10 0.357
Tabata, RF 14 3 5 3 1 1 4 0.357
Presley, LF 13 2 4 1 1 4 1 0.308
Jones, G, 1B 12 0 2 2 0 5 2 0.167
Barmes, SS 11 0 0 0 0 3 9 0.000
McGehee, 1B 9 1 2 0 2 5 3 0.222
Barajas, C 8 2 2 0 3 2 4 0.250
Navarro, LF 4 2 2 3 0 0 3 0.500
McKenry, C 3 1 1 0 1 0 0 0.333
McDonald, J, P 3 0 0 0 1 1 2 0.000
Bedard, P 2 0 0 0 0 0 5 0.000
McLouth, PH 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000
Burnett, AJ, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000
Correia, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
126 17 33 14 15 34 51 0.262

Batting
Doubles (11): Presley (4), Alvarez 3 (4), Walker 2 (2), McCutchen (6), Jones (3), Tabata 2 (3), McGehee (3)
HomeRuns (2): Alvarez (5), Navarro (1)

BaseRunning
SB: McCutchen (5), Walker (1)
CS: Presley (3)

Fielding
Errors: Tabata (1), McCutchen (1), Alvarez (3), Resop (1)
Double Plays: (Walker-McGehee), (Barmes-Walker-Jones)

Pittsburgh     IP    H    R   ER   BB   SO  HR    ERA
McDonald, J(W, 1-1) 7.7 7 3 3 2 10 1 3.52
Burnett, A.J. (L, 1-1) 6.0 6 2 2 3 8 0 3.00
Bedard (W, 1-4) 5.0 5 1 1 2 9 0 1.80
Correia (L, 1-1) 4.3 4 3 2 5 0 0 4.15
Meek 2.7 4 1 1 0 1 0 3.38
Resop(H, 2) 2.3 3 1 1 0 1 0 3.86
Lincoln 2.0 2 1 1 1 2 1 4.50
Grilli (H, 4) 1.0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0.00
Hanrahan (S, 4) 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00
Cruz, J (H, 2) 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Watson 1.0 1 3 3 2 0 0 27.00
34.0 33 15 14 15 36 2 3.71

Transaction: After Sunday’s game Evan Meek was optioned to AAA. Jared Hughes was called back up.

Up Next:
Three games in St. Louis (14-8, 1st place in NL Central). Earlier in the year the Cards took two of three from the Pirates. Expected Matchups:
Charlie Morton (1-1, 2.65 ERA) vs. Adam Wainwright (0-3, 7.32 ERA)
A.J. Burnett (1-1, 1.38 ERA) vs Lance Lynn (4-0, 1.33 ERA)
Erik Bedard (1-4, 2.48 ERA) vs. Jake Westbrook (3-1, 1.30 ERA)

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