Cardinals On Deck

The Pirates emerged from their nine game west coast trip with a 5-7 record; good for third place in the Central and a game better than I feared they would be after all the tough pitchers they’ve faced so far this year. This weekend, the first place (and Albert Pujols-less) Cardinals bring their 9-4 record to Pittsburgh for a three game set.

Pitching matchups:
Friday: Lance Lynn (2-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Charlie Morton (0-0, 5.40 ERA)
Saturday: Jake Westbrook (2-0, 0.64 ERA) vs. Kevin Correia (1-0, 1.50 ERA)
Sunday: Kyle Lohse (2-0, 0.89 ERA) vs. Erik Bedard (0-3, 2.65 ERA)

Lance Berkman will miss the series with an injury and Jon Jay was recently injured as well. The real key for the Pirates will be, as always, trying to score some runs against pitchers who have been very effective this season. Hopefully a little home cooking will help.

Tonight’s lineup:
Alex Presley LF
Jose Tabata RF
Andrew McCutchen CF
Neil Walker 2B
Garrett Jones 1B
Rod Barajas C
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Clint Barmes SS
Charlie Morton P

I’d rather see Casey McGehee at 3B, but Pedro’s gotta play to get better I guess.

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!

Spring Training 2012: Saturday 3/24 McKechnie Field Recap

Ed. note: Travel delays and prior commitments kept me from getting this posted sooner.

PirateFest was going on today, but I went to Pirate City instead. Luckily I arrived in time to get this shot:

Matt Hague (pirate ship hat) and Charlie Morton sign autographs.

Going inside I headed to the batting cages to see if anyone was hitting. Along the way I ran into club President Frank Coonelly and was able to ask him about the renovations that are going to happen at McKechnie Field. Specifically I asked if they considered making the outfield dimensions match those in PNC Park. Mr. Coonelly’s answers:

My thanks to Mr. Coonelly for his time. On to the game! Recap. Box Score.

Excellent: James McDonald. James was wild on the first two pitches of the game, causing me worry that it was going to be a long day. He would immediately right the ship and pitch 5 1/3 innings before giving up his first hit. Final line: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, and 3 K. McDonald also showed a good glove and was able to coax a walk out of Astros pitcher Kyle Weiland.

Good: Neil Walker‘s 2-run single and Garrett Jones‘ 2-run bomb accounted for all of the scoring. Walker’s hit came after Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen both failed to get a runner home from third with less than two out. Jones’ shot landed more than 90 feet past the right field wall.

Very Bad: Ryota Igarashi showed very little control and is looking at a steep hill to climb if he wants to make the team. The five batters he faced went walk, walk, homerun, ground out, infield hit.

Pictures:

Another beautiful day at McKechnie Field.

Lineups. (J.B. Shuck?)

Jose Tabata in the batting cage.

Garrett Jones followed.

A good day for autographs. Morton signed a lot on his way to the clubhouse after his appearance at PirateFest.

Rod Barajas signed after a turn in the batting cage. Someone asked him about possibly setting a new record for homeruns by a Pirates catcher.

Andrew McCutchen is good people. He signed every day that I saw him.

James McDonald does some long toss to get loose...

…and then warms up to Michael McKenry in the bullpen.
create an animated gif
Create an animated gif

Former Pirate outfielder and manager Bill Virdon watches.

Mini McGehee doesn't appear to like the mini-parrot.

When the gulls start landing on the field, you know the game will be over pretty soon.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a wrap up and final thoughts.

Bonus Trade Tree – Matt Diaz

Apparently today is “ship off your spare outfielders” day in Pittsburgh.

Diaz will be seen as a disappointment for his five months in the ‘burgh but he was mostly his normal self after an ice cold April. The biggest problem was the team played him too often against righthanded pitchers.

Its just as well that he’s gone because I didn’t see him playing much the rest of the year. McCutchen, Tabata, Presley, Ludwick and Jones were all ahead of him on the depth chart.

Update 9/21/11: The Pirates acquired AA RHP Eliecer Cardenas from the Braves to complete the deal. The tree above has been updated.

Meet the new Bucs

The Winter Meetings have been busy so far for the Pirates. There has been a lot of speculation on trades, but let’s stick to the confirmed deals:

SP Kevin Correia. 2 years, $8M
Correia has been a good starting pitcher since signing with San Diego two seasons ago. His ERA took a huge jump last year but his K/9 and BB/9 rates stay pretty consistent to the year before. I see him as Zach Duke’s replacement.

SP  Scott Olsen. 1 year, $1M UPDATE: $500k + up to $3M in incentives based on starts, plus a $4M team option for 2012
A lottery ticket. Olsen’s had his run ins with teammates and the law. He’s also had trouble staying healthy. It would surprise me if he pitched enough to make a difference.

OF Matt Diaz. 2 years, $4.25M
Lefty masher. Diaz should be a good platoon partner this year for either Garrett Jones, John Bowker or (should he still be on the team) Ryan Doumit.

New Friends

James McDonald had an impressive Pirates debut last night: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, and 8 K’s/ Exactly the sort of thing Neal Huntington had in mind when he acquired him. Garret Jones and Ronny Cedeno hit homeruns and Chris Resop pitched a scoreless ninth in his Pirates debut. Pirates won 5-1.

And I didn’t see a pitch of it.

The 2010 SABR convention is in town and I was out at dinner with Larry from Wezen-ball and his fantastic girlfriend. Larry presented earlier in the day about Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang’s lifetime baseball stats. Its worth a watch if you’ve ever read the comic.

I’m looking forward to seeing them again tonight at the Braves/Giants game along with whoever else is around from SABR. If you’re in town come on out and say hi!

Bad Breaks

Not a good night for the Pirates or some of their top prospects.

Ross Ohlendorf, still searching for his first win or the season, was perfect through 10 outs, but then got knocked around the second time through the order as the Pirates lost 6-3. Ryan Church was inexplicably the DH while Lastings Milledge played RF. Garrett Jones extended his hit streak to twelve games with a first inning RBI single.

Zach Duke could go on the DL if he can’t make his scheduled side session today.

Last year’s #1 draft pick Tony Sanchez was hit in the face by a pitch and had his jaw broken in two places. Surgery will be required to set the bone. He was also hit in the head by a pitch earlier in the month and missed a week then. Best of luck to Tony on the journey back to solid food.

After conflicting reports on the severity of the injury earlier in the week, it does appear now that Class A infielder Brock Holt will miss the rest of the season with a sprained MCL and a torn meniscus.

Akinori Iwamura and cleared waivers and been optioned to AAA. He has said he will report on Friday.

Last night’s loss also guaranteed that the Pirates will have a losing record in interleague play this year. If memory serves they’ve only had a winning record twice. Still, it would be nice to take this series and the next.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 280 other followers