Series Preview: The Astros

Current record: 42-36, 2nd place in NL Central, 1.0 game back

Up Next: Houston Astros, 32-47, 6th place in NL Central, 11.5 games back

Season Series: 2-1

Notes: The last time the Pirates faced the Astros both teams were 14-17 and tied
for 3rd place. Now the two teams are separated by 10.5 games in the standings.
Firstbaseman Carlos Lee just turned down a trade to the Dodgers. 2B Jose Altuve
was chosen as Houston’s lone representative for the All Star Game.

Familiar Faces: Chris Snyder, Brian Bixler

Probable Pitchers
Monday: RH Jordan Lyles (2-4, 51.0 IP, 30 K, 4.59 ERA, 1.45 WHIP)
vs. RH James McDonald (7-3, 96.0 IP, 86 K, 2.44 ERA, 0.98 WHIP)

Tuesday: RH Lucas Harrell (7-6, 97.2 IP, 56 K, 4.33 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)
vs. RH A.J. Burnett (9-2, 81.2 IP, 69 K, 3.31 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)

Wednesday: LH Dallas Keuchel (1-0, 20.0 IP, 8 K, 1.35 ERA, 1.15 WHIP)
vs. RH Kevin Correia (4-6, 85.1 IP, 34 K, 4.32 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)

Thursday: RH Bud Norris (5-5, 79.0 IP, 82 K, 4.90 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)
vs. RH Jeff Karstens (1-2, 24.0 IP, 16 K, 5.25 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)

No lineups yet.

Pirates All-Stars: McCutchen and Hanrahan

MLB just announced the teams for the 2012 All Star Game in Kansas City. The Pirates representatives are OF Andrew McCutchen and closer Joel Hanrahan.

McCutchen is not just the best player on the Pirates, he’s one of the best players in the National League. Cutch is currently leading the team in R, H, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, SB, Avg, OBP and SLG. Whew, that’s a heavy load. Andrew has a chance to start the game since elected starter Matt Kemp will not play because of a hamstring injury.

Hanrahan has nailed down 20 saves this year on the back of a 2.10 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 10.5 K/9

Not being named to the team were starters James McDonald and A.J. Burnett. JMac is a real surprise. He has become the ace of the Pirates staff with a 2.44 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 8.1 K/9. Burnett’s numbers don’t stand out in the same way (3.31, 1.24, 7.6) but it was thought that his comeback story this year might help get him some votes. Both players could be named to the team if other players bow out due to injury or rest requirements.

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.

Twins Wrap Up

Scores:
Tuesday: 7-2 Win vs Minnesota. Solid effort all around. Box score.
Wednesday: 2-1 Loss vs Minnesota. No support for Bedard. Box score.
Thursday: 9-1 Win vs Minnesota. 3 HR back up a CG from JMac. Box score.

Season Record: 36-32, 2nd place in NL Central, 2.0 games back

Notes: Pedro Alvarez continued his hot streak and was joined by Andrew McCutchen, Josh Harrison and Clint Barmes. The Pirates are scoring 5.11 runs per game in June. The pitching was good enough to win all three games, but special mention goes to James McDonald for notching the first complete game of his career. He’s come a long way from the guy who couldn’t get out of the 7th last year.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh   AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO  LOB     AVG     OBP
Harrison, RF, SS 12 3 5 1 0 1 4 0.417 0.417
McGehee, 1B 12 0 3 1 0 3 6 0.250 0.250
Walker, 2B 12 2 0 0 1 1 8 0.000 0.077
McCutchen, A, CF 11 3 7 5 2 2 1 0.636 0.692
Alvarez, 3B 9 4 4 1 2 2 2 0.444 0.545
Barmes, SS 8 1 4 1 0 2 2 0.500 0.500
Tabata, LF-RF 8 0 0 0 0 1 4 0.000 0.000
Barajas, C 6 1 1 4 0 1 4 0.167 0.167
Presley, PH-LF 6 1 2 0 0 0 0 0.333 0.333
Jones, G, RF, PH 5 1 2 3 0 1 2 0.400 0.400
McDonald, J, P 4 1 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
McKenry, C 3 0 0 0 1 1 1 0.000 0.250
Hague, PH 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 0.500 0.500
Bedard, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
Correia, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000
Resop, P 0 0 0 0 1 0 0      —- 1.000
Mercer, PR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0      —-      —-
  Totals 100 17 29 17 7 16 36 0.290 0.336

Batting
Doubles (5): Barmes (11), Alvarez (12), McCutchen 2 (13), Harrison (7)
Triples (1): McCutchen (4)
Home Runs (5): Harrison (2), McCutchen (12), Barajas (7), Jones (8), Alvarez (13)

BaseRunning
SB: Harrison 2 (5), McCutchen (14), Presley (7)

Fielding
Errors: Harrison (2)
Double Plays: (Harrison-Walker-McGehee)

Pitching

Pittsburgh     IP    H    R   ER  BB  SO  HR    ERA   WHIP
McDonald, J (W, 6-3) 9.0 6 1 1 0 5 0 1.00 0.67
Bedard 6.0 4 1 1 2 7 0 1.50 1.00
Correia (W, 3-6) 5.3 4 0 0 1 2 0 0.00 0.94
Resop 2.0 2 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 1.50
Slaten 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
Hughes, J 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 1.00
Grilli (L, 1-2) 1.0 2 1 1 0 0 1 9.00 2.00
Cruz, J 1.0 2 2 2 0 1 1 18.00 2.00
Watson (H, 7) 0.7 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 1.50
  Totals 27.0 21 5 5 5 17 2 1.67 0.96

Transactions: In a paper move, RHP Daniel McCutchen was activated from the 15-day DL and optioned to AAA where he had been rehabbing.

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.

Series Preview: The Indians

Current record: 32-31, 3rd place in NL Central, 4.0 games back

Up Next: Cleveland Indians, 33-30, 2nd place in AL Central, 1.0 game back

Season Series: 0-1, First time playing.

Notes: Like the Orioles, the Indians are over .500 despite a negative run differential. Like the Orioles, their pitching is weak and they need to out hit their opponent to win. Like the Orioles, they have one of the best young catchers in the game: Carlos Santana. Like the Orioles, they haven’t lost to the Pirates this season. Hopefully, the similarities end there and the Bucs can take the next two games.

Familiar Faces: None

Probable Pitchers
Friday: RH James McDonald (2-6, 81.1 IP, 59 K, 4.76 ERA, 1.44 WHIP)
vs. RH Justin Masterson (5-2, 67.0 IP, 51 K, 3.49 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)

Saturday: RH A.J. Burnett (6-2, 62.1 IP, 56 K, 3.61 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)
vs. RH Ubaldo Jimenez (6-4, 69.2 IP, 44 K, 4.91 ERA, 1.59 WHIP)

Sunday: RH Brad Lincoln (3-2, 34.1 IP, 34 K, 3.15 ERA, 1.22 WHIP)
vs. RH Jeanmar Gomez (4-5, 63.0 IP, 31 K, 4.71 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)

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