Series Preview: The Royals

Current record: 29-27, 2nd place in NL Central, 2.0 games back

Up Next: Kansas City Royals, 24-31, 4th place in AL Central, 7.0 games back

Season Series: 0-0, First time playing.

Notes: Interleague play is back for the next 15 games. For the Royals tonight, that means they lose the DH and their defense gets shifted around to keep their best hitters in the lineup. DH Billy Butler goes to first, 1B Eric Hosmer goes to RF, and RF Jeff Francoeur moves to CF. The Pirates have been playing well and should have no trouble with the weak Royals pitching.

Familiar Faces: Surpisingly, none.

Probable Pitchers
Friday: RH Luke Hochevar (3-6, 57.0 IP, 46 K, 6.63 ERA, 1.54 WHIP)
vs. LH Erik Bedard (3-6, 55.2 IP, 56 K, 3.72 ERA, 1.40 WHIP)

Saturday: LH Vin Mazzaro (2-0, 12.0 IP, 5 K, 2.25 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)
vs. RH James McDonald (5-2, 71.1 IP, 71 K, 2.14 ERA, 0.95 WHIP)

Sunday: LH Bruce Chen (5-5, 70.0 IP, 48 K, 4.37 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)
vs. RH A.J. Burnett (5-2, 55.0 IP, 50 K, 3.76 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)

Royals
Alex Gordon LF
Yuniesky Betancourt 2B
Billy Butler 1B
Mike Moustakas 3B
Jeff Francoeur CF
Eric Hosmer RF
Alcides Escobar SS
Humberto Quintero C
Luke Hochevar P

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

May Recap

A week late with this, but here goes.

The Pirates went 15-13 in May to bring their overall record to 25-25. They had a three and a four game winning streak and never lost more than two in a row.

The offense improved more than half a run, from 2.64 runs per game to 3.18 rpg. Unfortunately the pitching regressed almost a whole run, going from an even 3.00 rpg to 3.93 rpg. The big star of the month was James McDonald. The tall righty was 3-1 with a 1.54 ERA, 10.0 K/9 and held opponents to a .509 OPS.

Remember that tough April schedule the Pirates had and how things were going to be easier in May? Well, easier is relative. Pirates opponents played .528 ball (149-133) in May compared to .570 in April.

Other Notes:

The Pirates won four series, lost four series and split two.

Record vs
NL East: 5-5, 33 RS, 38 RA (3.30 RS/G, 3.80 RA/G)
NL Central: 9-6, 49 RS, 59 RA (3.27 RS/G, 3.93 RA/G)
AL Central: 1-2, 7 RS, 13 RA (2.33 RS/G, 4.33 RA/G)

Home: 11-7, 52 RS, 54 RA (2.89 RS/G, 3.00 RA/G)
Away: 4-6, 37 RS, 56 RA (3.70 RS/G, 5.60 RA/G)

1 Run games: 9-3
2 Run games: 2-2
3 Run games: 3-2
4 Run games: 0-1
5 Run games: 0-2
6 Run games: 1-1
7 Run games: 0-1
9 Run games: 0-1

Summary: The Pirates were pretty lucky in May. They won way more than their share of one run games and gave up a good chunk of their total runs allowed in a few blowouts. The team as a whole is playing much better ball to end May than they did to start the month and that good play has carried over into June.

Series Preview: The Brewers

Current record: 25-25, 3rd place in NL Central, 3.0 games back

Up Next: Milwaukee Brewers, 23-28, 5th place in NL Central, 5.5 games back

Season Series: 0-0, First time playing.

Notes: If the Pirates have had a nemesis the last few years it’s been the Brewers, especially in Miller Park. Milwaukee is a shell of last year’s division winner. Prince Fielder left for the Tigers and his replacement Mat Gamel is out for the year. Starting SS Alex Gonzalez has also been lost for the season and C Jonathan Lucroy just broke his hand and is out for a few weeks. Ryan Braun is stil on the team and slugging as well as ever.

Familiar Faces: Nyjer Morgan, Jose Veras

Probable Pitchers
Friday: RH Kevin Correia (1-5, 52.1 IP, 18 K, 4.30 ERA, 1.22 WHIP)
vs. RH Randy Wolf (2-4, 55.0 IP, 30 K, 5.73 ERA, 1.67 WHIP)

Saturday: LH Erik Bedard (3-5, 52.0 IP, 51 K, 3.12 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)
vs. RH Shaun Marcum (3-3, 62.0 IP, 58 K, 3.63 ERA, 1.23 WHIP)

Sunday: RH James McDonald (4-2, 65.1 IP, 63 K, 2.20 ERA, 0.96 WHIP)
vs. RH Michael Fiers (1-0, 7.0 IP, 3 K, 1.29 ERA, 0.71 WHIP)

No lineups yet.

Series Preview: The Reds

Please forgive the lateness of this post. I hope you all enjoyed this Memorial Day weekend as much as I did. All numbers are from before Monday’s game. 

Current record: 23-24, 4th place in NL Central, 4.0 games back

Up Next: Cincinnati Reds, 27-20, 1st place in NL Central, 1.5 games ahead

Season Series: 1-2, Cutch was out with the flu and the Bucs only scored four runs in the three games.

Notes: The Reds are in first place, having won eight of their last nine games.

Familiar Faces: Ryan Ludwick, Bronson Arroyo,

Probable Pitchers
Monday: RH Bronson Arroyo (2-2, 58.2 IP, 44 K, 3.22 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)
vs. RH James McDonald (3-2, 57.2 IP, 58 K, 2.51 ERA, 0.99 WHIP)

Tuesday: RH Homer Bailey (3-3, 53.2 IP, 40 K, 4.19 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)
vs. RH Charlie Morton (2-5, 46.1 IP, 25 K, 4.27 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)

Wednesday: RH Johnny Cueto (5-2, 64.0 IP, 41 K, 2.53 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)
vs. RH A.J. Burnett (3-2, 43.0 IP, 39 K, 4.19 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)

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.

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