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)

2012 Opening Day Roster with Trade Tree

The Pirates made their final roster moves yesterday, putting Chris Leroux, Charlie Morton and A.J. Burnett on the Disabled List and adding Juan Cruz to the 40-man roster. Here’s the to current roster for today’s 1:35 game vs. the Phillies.

LINEUP

LF Alex Presley
RF Jose Tabata
CF Andrew McCutchen
2B Neil Walker
1B Garrett Jones
C   Rod Barajas
3B Pedro Alvarez
SS Clint Barmes

BENCH

C Michael McKenry
IF Matt Hague
IF Josh Harrison
IF Casey McGehee
IF Yamaico Navarro
OF Nate McLouth

STARTING PITCHERS

Erik Bedard
Jeff Karstens
James McDonald
Kevin Correia

BULLPEN

Juan Cruz
Jason Grilli
Joel Hanrahan
Jared Hughes
Evan Meek
Chris Resop
Tony Watson

DISABLED LIST

A.J. Burnett (15 day)
Charlie Morton (15 day)
Gustavo Nunez (60 day)
Chris Leroux (60 day)

In honor of the best day of the year, I updated last year’s Whole Team Trade Tree to show how this current squad was built. (Click to embiggen.) Now play ball!

Jason Bay’s ex-mates

Listening to the Pirates game last night I head the announcer say that this was Jason Bay‘s first appearance versus his old teammates. Certainly it was his first time facing the Pirates since the July 31, 2008 trade, but how many current Pirates were on that team that he left behind?

Just three*: Paul Maholm, Evan Meek and Ryan Doumit.

Meek pitched the 7th inning last night but didn’t face Bay. Doumit is on the DL and out for a month. Maholm is scheduled to pitch Thursday’s day game. Unless there’s a Meek/Bay matchup tonight, that will be Jason’s first appearance against an “ex-mate.”

*Jeff Karstens was acquired five days earlier but didn’t make his Pirates debut until August 1. Karstens won’t pitch in this series.

2010 Pirates: What Went Right

For a 105 loss team, the easy joke would be to leave this post blank. But that would do a disservice to the players  who put forth the efforts and achieved positive results this year. I won’t do a What Went Wrong post; it would be too long and too depressing. So in the interest of positive thinking here is my list of What Went Right:

Pedro Alvarez – Debuted on June 16. Hit .256/.326/.461 over 95 games and 386 PA. Streaky, but made good adjustments and showed all of the potential he has to be a dominant hitter.

Neil Walker – After being written off as a prospect over the last year, finally showed the promise he had as a first round draft pick. Called up in May and held down second base admirably despite having little experience at the position. Hit .296/.349/.462 in 469 PA.

Jose Tabata – Debuted June 9. Hit .299/.346/.400 in 441 PA with a solid glove in left field. Only 21 years old so the power may still develop. If not, he’d remain a very good top of the order hitter.

Andrew McCutchen – Followed up breakout 2009 (.286/.365/.471) with an almost identical 2010 (.286/.365/.449). Still only 23 this season with plenty of upside.

James McDonald – Was the Pirates’ ace after being acquired at the trade deadline. 11 starts, 64 IP, 3.52 ERA (116 ERA+), 1.297 WHIP, 8.6 K/9, 2.54 K/BB. Has better than league average swing-and-miss percentages on all three of his pitches. I look forward to seeing what he can do with a full year in the rotation.

Evan Meek & Joel Hanrahan – Held down the back of the bullpen all season. Meek made the All-Star team as a middle reliever, Hanrahan was the main closer after Dotel was traded.

The Draft – The organization added lots of top level talent again this year. Most notably Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie, rated as the top two high school pitchers available in the draft. They also signed 16 year old international free agent, Luis Heredia, rated by some to be as as good a prospect as Allie.

That’s my list.  There were some other nice things that happened but I tried to hit the biggest and brightest points. Piratesprospects.com has details on all of the minor leaguers who made strides this year as well.

Notes from Last Night

The Pirates got their eighth 1-run win last night, scratching out just enough runs against one of the best pitchers around, Roy Halladay. Most of the credit should go to Zach Duke, Evan Meek, Joel Hanrahan and Octavio Dotel who held the Phillies to one run.

Unfortunately I missed this game, instead going to see Ironman 2. My short review from twitter: Fun popcorn movie. Turn off your brain, ignore the plot holes and enjoy the ride.

Elsewhere:

In Atlanta, Bobby Cox was ejected from a game for the 155th time, extending his own all-time major league record. I hope he ends up with exactly 162, which would mean that for his 29 seasons managing he was essentially tossed out for an entire year. Alas, his current rate of 155/4385 means he’s only likely to be thrown out 4-5 more times. Time to pick up the pace Bobby!

From the always over-hyped NYY/BOS series: Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera blew the lead, Jonathan Papelbon came back from a terrible outing the day before to record a shaky save. I only care about this because I need Papelbon to rebuild some value in my AL only league.

Milwaukee: You got one good year out of Trevor Hoffman. Be happy with that.

Florida: Much has been written already about Hanley Ramirez’s lollygagging and subsequent benching. My favorite take come from Craig Calcaterra: “I have never won the “you can’t come out of your room until you apologize” game with my son. It’s way easier to be bad than it is to be good. I wish that weren’t true, but it is.”

I’ve always hoped in the back of my head that the Blue Jays’ third baseman would start a rally of people trying to effect change by staying in their automobiles for an extended period of time. This movement would of course be called the Edwin In-Car-Nation.

Programming note: I’m headed out to the Grand Canyon tomorrow for a long weekend. I don’t expect to post any new blogs while I’m gone, but I may post some pictures to twitter. You should be able to catch those on the left sidebar, or you can just follow me.

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