Series Preview: The Mets

Current record: 19-22, 3rd place in NL Central, 3.0 games back

Up Next: New York Mets, 22-19, 4th place in NL East, 5.5 games back

Season Series: 0-0, First time playing.

Notes: The Mets come to the ‘Burgh for the only time this season. New York features a decent offense and below average pitching staff. If the Pirates can get to the Mets’ bullpen early they stand a good chance to win some games.

Familiar Faces: Ronny Cedeno, Jason Bay (DL), Miguel Batista (DL).

Probable Pitchers
Monday: LH Johan Santana (1-2, 43.2 IP, 46 K, 2.89 ERA, 1.17 WHIP)
vs. LH Erik Bedard (2-5, 41.0 IP, 44 K, 3.07 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)

Santana has been very effective this year, but has not been able to go deep into games. Bedard’s numbers have been slowly creeping up after his stellar start.

Tuesday: RH R.A. Dickey (5-1, 50.1 IP, 40 K, 3.75 ERA, 1.23 WHIP)
vs. RH James McDonald (3-2, 50.1 IP, 50 K, 2.68 ERA, 1.01 WHIP)

Hopefully the knuckler won’t be knuckling, or the Pirates’ free-swing ways could doom them here. J-Mac took a no-no into the sixth inning in his last start.

Wednesday: LH Jon Niese (2-2, 42.2 IP, 39 K, 4.85 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)
vs. RH Charlie Morton (2-4, 39.1 IP, 24 K, 4.35 ERA, 1.47 WHIP)

I have nothing to say about Jon Niese. Totally non-descript pitcher. I guess he’s lefthanded though. That’s something.

No lineups yet.

Marlins & Nationals Wrap Up

Scores:
Monday: 3-2 Win at Miami. Lincoln efficient and effective. Box score.
Tuesday: 6-2 Loss at Miami. Correia falls apart in 4th. Box score.
Wednesday: 7-4 Loss at Washington. Old Bucs beating current Bucs. Box score.
Thursday: 5-3 Win at Washington. McDonald & McCutchen lead the way. Box score.

Season Record: 18-20, 3rd place in NL Central, 4.0 games back

Notes: The offense was all Andrew McCutchen, Rod Barajas and Josh Harrison. The trio had 16 of the team’s 28 hits with 3 doubles and 5 homers. The pitching staff was uncharacteristically porous so getting a spilt over the four games is pretty good. James McDonald took a no-hitter into the 6th and struck out a career high 11. Joel Hanrahan closed out both wins and looked better than he had last week.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh   AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO  LOB     AVG     OBP
Tabata, RF 16 2 3 0 1 4 4 0.188 0.235
Walker, 2B 16 0 2 1 0 4 3 0.125 0.125
McCutchen, A, CF 14 4 6 3 1 2 4 0.429 0.438
Alvarez, 3B 13 0 3 1 0 4 4 0.231 0.231
Barmes, SS 12 0 2 0 0 5 7 0.167 0.167
Barajas, C 10 3 6 3 1 2 2 0.600 0.636
McGehee, 1B 9 1 0 1 2 3 3 0.000 0.167
Jones, G, 1B, RF 8 0 1 1 0 1 1 0.125 0.125
Harrison, 3B-LF, SS 7 2 4 3 0 0 1 0.571 0.571
Presley, LF 6 0 0 0 1 1 2 0.000 0.143
McKenry, C 3 1 1 1 0 0 0 0.333 0.333
Navarro, LF 3 1 0 0 1 1 1 0.000 0.250
McLouth, PH 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
Bedard, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 2 0.000 0.000
Lincoln, P 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000
McDonald, J, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 0.000 0.000
Correia, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
Resop, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
  Totals 128 14 28 14 7 32 38 0.219 0.259

Batting
Doubles (4): Tabata (6), Alvarez (6), Barajas (5), Harrison (2)
HomeRuns (6): Barajas 2 (3), McKenry (2), Harrison (1), McCutchen 2 (5)

BaseRunning
SB: McCutchen (7), Tabata (5)
CS: Barmes (2), Presley (4)

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

Pitching

Pittsburgh     IP    H    R   ER  BB  SO  HR    ERA   WHIP
Bedard (L, 2-5) 6.0 6 4 4 1 7 3 6.00 1.17
Lincoln (W, 3-0) 6.0 4 2 2 1 3 1 3.00 0.83
McDonald, J (W, 3-2) 5.7 4 3 3 1 11 0 4.76 0.88
Correia (L, 1-4) 3.7 8 6 6 4 1 0 14.73 3.27
Hughes, J (H, 3) 3.0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.67
Resop 2.3 3 0 0 1 2 0 0.00 1.71
Grilli (H, 8,9) 2.0 2 0 0 1 3 0 0.00 1.50
Hanrahan (S, 7,8) 2.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 1.00
Watson (H, 4) 1.3 0 0 0 2 2 0 0.00 1.50
Meek 1.0 1 3 3 2 2 0 27.00 3.00
Cruz, J (H, 6) 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 2.00
  Totals 34.0 32 18 18 15 33 4 4.76 1.38

Transactions: Optioned Alex Presley to AAA. Recalled Evan Meek from AAA.

Series Preview: The Nationals

Note: The series recap for the Marlins series will be combined with the series recap for this Nationals series so that the data will have a broader base.

Current record: 17-19, 3rd place in NL Central, 4.0 games back

Up Next: Washington Nationals, 22-14, 2nd place in NL East, 0.5 games back

Season Series: The Pirates took 2 out of 3 against the Nationals last week.

The top two pitching staffs in the NL face off tonight in Washington as the Pirates and Nationals conclude their season series. The Pirates go against the two starters they missed in the three game set last week. Bryce Harper hit his first two major league home runs in his last two games. Catcher Wilson Ramos was just lost for the season with a torn ACL. Closer Henry Rodriguez has been shaky and may be pulled from the role.

Probable Pitchers
Wednesday: LH Erik Bedard (2-4, 35.0 IP, 37 K, 2.57 ERA, 1.37 WHIP)
vs. LH Gio Gonzalez (4-1, 41.1 IP, 50 K, 1.94 ERA, 1.01 WHIP)

Bedard returns to action after only lasting one inning in his start against the Nationals last week. Gonzalez is finally showing consistancy to go along with his talent.

Thursday: RH James McDonald (2-2, 44.2 IP, 39 K, 2.42 ERA, 1.03 WHIP)
vs. RH Jordan Zimmermann (2-3, 46.1 IP, 32 K, 2.14 ERA, 0.97 WHIP)

Very similar lines for the two young righties.

Tonight’s lineup:
Jose Tabata RF
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Casey McGehee 1B
Yamaico Navarro LF
Rod Barajas C
Clint Barmes SS
Josh Harrison
Erik Bedard P

Astros Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 1-0 Loss vs Houston. Great pitching, no clutch hitting. Box score.
Saturday: 5-2 Win vs Houston. Good team win. Box score.
Sunday: 3-2 Win vs Houston. Tie in the ninth, win in extras. Box score.

Season Record: 16-18, 3rd place in NL Central, 4 games back

Notes: With any offensive execution at all on Friday this could have been a sweep. It has become commonplace to say that the pitching is carrying the team, but four earned runs in three games is excellent for any team in any league. Big kudos to James McDonald, Charlie Morton, A.J. Burnett and the entire bullpen. Two names carried the hitting: Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata. Both happen to be signed to long term deals. Neil Walker looks very nice in the two-hole. I think it suits his talents better than cleanup. Much-maligned Rod Barajas and Clint Barmes combined to go 5 for 14 (.294) this weekend. I used to love Nate McLouth, but I just don’t see what he has left as a hitter right now. Pinch hitting him for Casey McGehee in the ninth inning yesterday made no sense to me. Every position player got at least four at bats this weekend. The only players not used were Brad Lincoln, Kevin Correia and Erik Bedard, the next three starting pitchers.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh  AB  R    H  RBI  BB  SO  LOB    AVG     OBP
McCutchen, A, CF 12 1 5 2 1 3 4 0.417 0.462
Tabata, LF-RF 12 3 3 1 1 2 4 0.250 0.308
Walker, 2B 11 1 2 1 0 2 0 0.182 0.167
Alvarez, 3B 10 1 2 1 1 7 2 0.200 0.250
Barajas, C-1B 7 0 3 0 0 0 0 0.429 0.429
Barmes, SS 7 1 2 1 0 2 0 0.286 0.250
McLouth, LF 6 0 0 0 0 3 6 0.000 0.000
McGehee, 1B 5 1 0 0 3 2 3 0.000 0.375
Navarro, RF 5 0 0 0 0 1 5 0.000 0.000
Harrison, SS 4 0 1 1 0 0 0 0.250 0.250
McKenry, C 4 0 0 0 1 0 1 0.000 0.200
Presley, PH-LF 4 0 0 0 0 2 4 0.000 0.000
Jones, G, 1B 4 0 0 0 0 0 3 0.000 0.000
Morton, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
Burnett, AJ, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.000 0.000
McDonald, J, P, PH 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.000 0.000
 Totals 97 8 18 7 7 29 32 0.186 0.234

Batting
Doubles (6): Barajas (4), Alvarez (5), Walker 2 (5), McCutchen, A (7), Barmes (8)
Triples (2): Tabata 2 (2)
HomeRuns (2): McCutchen, A (3), Tabata (2)

BaseRunning
SB: McCutchen, A (6), McGehee (1)
CS: McCutchen, A (3)
PO: Harrison

Fielding
Errors: Alvarez (8), Burnett (1)
Double Plays: (Alvarez-Walker-Jones), (Navarro-McGehee), (Barmes-Walker-McGehee), (McGehee-Harrison-Burnett), (McGehee)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Burnett, AJ 8.0 6 2 2 0 4 0 2.25 0.750
McDonald, J (L, 2-2) 8.0 4 1 1 2 8 0 1.13 0.750
Morton (W, 2-3) 6.0 7 2 1 1 0 0 1.50 1.333
Watson (H, 3)(W, 3-0) 2.7 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.000
Cruz, J (S, 3) 2.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.500
Grilli 1.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 1.000
Hanrahan 1.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.00 1.000
Hughes, J 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.000
Resop (H, 3) 0.3 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 3.000
 Totals 30.0 19 5 4 5 16 0 1.20 0.800

 

Transaction: Activated Joel Hanrahan from the Bereavement List. Placed Daniel McCutchen on the 15-day DL with a left oblique strain suffered in batting practice.

Where’s the Scoring?

Strong pitching and missed opportunities were the story of last night’s game. The Pirates had a runner on third and no outs in the fourth AND bases loaded with no outs in the sixth and failed to score each time. There’s no excuse for not scoring in both situations. Even worse, they completely wasted a top notch start from James McDonald.

No one’s out of the prediction contest yet though. The Pirates highest scoring games this year have been 9, 7 and 6 runs, plus 5 runs five times. Predictions came in between 2 and 16 runs, although last night’s shutout lowers the “sweet spot,” which should have been in the 9-11 range, down to 5-8.

Back at it tonight. The lineup:
Jose Tabata LF
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Casey McGehee 1B
Yamaico Navarro RF
Clint Barmes SS
Michael McKenry C
Charlie Morton P

Series Preview: The Astros

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

Up Next: Houston Astros, 14-17, 3rd place (tie) in NL Central, 6.0 games back

The battle for 3rd place begins tonight! What, not exciting enough? Then tune in to see 22-yr old Jose Altuve, who’s really fast and has been the surprise best player on Houston. Old pals Brian Bixler and Chris Snyder plus one time almost-a-Pirate Brandon Lyon are in town too. This is the first of three times Houston comes to town before they switch to the American League next season.

Probable Pitchers
Friday: RH Bud Norris (2-1, 37.1 IP, 33 K, 4.58 ERA, 1.39 WHIP)
vs. RH James McDonald (2-1, 36.2 IP, 31 K, 2.70 ERA, 1.09 WHIP)

Norris has the tools but has yet to acheive consistancy, something that was always said about McDonald before this season.

Saturday: LH J.A. Happ (2-2, 34.1 IP, 34 K, 5.24 ERA, 1.57 WHIP)
vs. RH Charlie Morton (1-3, 27.1 IP, 20 K, 4.61 ERA, 1.46 WHIP)

Morton is tinkering with his sinker, trying to get it to drop like it did last year when he was a ground ball machine. Despite how it’s written, Happ pronounces his name “Jay.”

Sunday: LH Wandy Rodriguez (3-3, 46.1 IP, 29 K, 2.14 ERA, 1.08 WHIP)
vs. RH A.J. Burnett (1-2, 23.2 IP, 27 K, 6.08 ERA, 1.44 WHIP)

A matchup of each team’s ace, which usually means lots of runs will be scored.

Pirates Lineup: McLouth in for Alex Presley again. Looks to me like Clint Hurdle is playing the “hot” hand, since Presley has been slumping and Hurdle says he’s seen Nate make strides in his approach lately. Expect to see Casey McGehee play vs lefties the next two games.

Jose Tabata RF
Nate McLouth LF
Andrew McCutchen CF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Neil Walker 2B
Garrett Jones 1B
Rod Barajas C
Clint Barmes SS
James McDonald P

Don’t forget to enter the ticket giveaway contest before the end of the first inning tonight!

Reds Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 6-1 Loss vs Cincinnati. No bats. Box score.
Saturday: 3-2 Win vs Cincinnati. James McDonald is on. Box score.
Sunday: 5-0 Loss vs Cincinnati. No bats again. Box score.

Season Record: 12-16, 4th place (tie) in NL Central, 5 games back

Notes: Well, I was wrong about this one. I thought the Reds’ pitching was weak enough for the Pirates to score some runs. Four runs in three games is horrible. Andrew McCutchen missed two more games with the flu. Nate McLouth did okay in his place. Pedro Alvarez‘s hot hitting has resulted in being moved up to the cleanup spot.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
Walker, 2B 11 1 4 2 1 1 5 0.364 0.417
Tabata, RF 10 1 2 0 1 2 1 0.200 0.333
Barmes, SS 10 0 1 0 0 5 7 0.100 0.100
Presley, LF 9 1 1 1 0 3 3 0.111 0.111
McLouth, CF 8 1 3 0 1 2 3 0.375 0.444
Alvarez, 3B 7 0 1 1 4 2 2 0.143 0.417
McGehee, 1B 7 0 1 0 1 3 7 0.143 0.250
Jones, G, RF, 1B 6 0 1 0 0 1 5 0.167 0.167
Barajas, C 6 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.000 0.000
McKenry, C 4 0 0 0 0 3 1 0.000 0.000
McCutchen, A, CF 3 0 1 0 1 1 1 0.333 0.500
Navarro, PH-LF, SS 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
Correia, P 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0.500 0.500
Morton, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
McDonald, J, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
Harrison, PH 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
91 4 16 4 9 27 39 0.176 0.250

Batting
Doubles (3): Barmes (7), Jones (5), Tabata (5)
HomeRuns (2): Walker (1), Presley (2)

BaseRunning
CS: Tabata (4)
PO: Tabata, McCutchen

Fielding
Errors: Morton (3), Alvarez (6)
Double Plays: McGehee-Barajas, Barmes-Walker-McGehee, Barmes-McGehee, McCutchen-Walker, Alvarez-Walker-McGehee (2)

Pitching

Pittsburgh     IP    H    R  ER  BB  SO  HR   ERA   WHIP
Correia(L, 1-2) 7.0 9 5 5 1 3 2 6.43 1.43
McDonald, J(W, 2-1) 6.3 6 1 1 2 7 0 1.42 1.26
Morton(L, 1-3) 6.0 7 5 4 2 5 2 6.00 1.50
Hughes, J 2.0 1 0 0 2 0 0 0.00 1.50
Resop 2.0 3 1 1 3 1 1 4.50 3.00
Hanrahan(S, 5) 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
Lincoln 1.0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 2.00
Grilli(H, 6) 1.0 2 1 1 1 2 0 9.00 3.00
Cruz, J(H, 4) 0.7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
27.0 30 13 12 11 19 5 4.00 1.52

Transactions: None

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