Game 42 Lineup, Links

I’ve obviously had to cut down on my writing a bunch this season. Job requirements just haven’t left me with much spare time. More accurately, I haven’t wanted to spend the free time I’ve had sitting at the same desk where I work 8+ hours a day. I’m trying to update the standings (to the left <–) and roster (to the right –>) on a daily basis and that will be most of what I do here. Still, this Bucco team has been playing great baseball so far and deserves some praise.

The Pirates go into game 42 with the 5th best record in all of baseball and the 3rd best in the NL. They’re still flying under the radar because 1) the two better teams in the NL are in the same division, leaving the Bucs in third place and 2) the collapses of the last two seasons make people hesitant to believe they can continue the current success.

Here’s a few reasons not to worry and to jump on board with both feet:

The NL Central is the best division in baseball. (108-93, .538 Winning%)
The Pirates are 11-7 vs teams in the Central. (3-0 vs CIN, 3-2 vs STL and 4-3 vs MIL, 1-2 vs CHC)
The Pirates are winning on the road (11-9) as well as at home (13-8).

Still not convinced? Well, that’s very understandable. The Pirates have won more than their share of close game this season. Really good teams usually win more blowouts and are about even in close games.

1 Run games: 4-6
2 Run games: 11-2
3 Run games: 3-1
close games: 18-9

4 Run games: 1-5
5 Run games: 1-0
6 Run games: 2-1
8 Run games: 0-2
9 Run games: 2-0
blowouts: 6-8

My advise to you is to start drinking heavily sit back and enjoy the ride. Baseball is a lot of fun, especially if you don’t take it too seriously. Now go beat the Astros!

Links

Last month I went to a Georgia Tech baseball game with Mike Newman of Rotoscouting.com and Fangraphs. Mike had recently seen the West Virginia Power play and wrote up reports on Stetson Allie and Wyatt Mathisen.

Jason Grilli is striking out batters at previously unimaginable levels.

Russell Martin details pitch framing.

Joel Hanrahan Trade Tree

Three weeks ago the Pirates re-signed reliever Jason Grilli to a two year contract. Many observers expected that move to signal the impending trade of closer Joel Hanrahan. Last Tuesday, the other shoe finally fell and Hanrahan was shipped to the Red Sox with IF Brock Holt, for RP Mark Melancon, OF/1B Jerry Sands, IF Ivan De Jesus and AA pitcher Stolmy Pimentel.

Hanrahan will be missed, but Melancon should be able to step into a late inning role fairly easily. The other three pieces have their pros and cons as well: Sands has big time power but doubts as to whther he can adjust to major league pitching. Pimentel has a big fastball but major control issues. De Jesus is similar to Holt – decent bat but stretched defensively at any position but 2B.

All in all, I like this trade for the Bucs. They were able to buy low on Melancon and sell high-ish on Hanrahan. It’s almost an even trade right there; the other pieces just add the potential for this be a huge deal in the Pirates’ favor.

Joel  Hanrahan Pirates

If you’re interested in the Red Sox side of the deal, I’ve updated the trade tree of their blockbuster deal with the Dodgers from this past season, adding a Mark Melancon branch.

Adrian Gonzalez Red Sox

 

Cubs Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 12-2 Loss vs. Chicago. 7 errors. Box score.
Saturday: 4-3 Loss vs. Chicago. Nothing going vs Samardzija. Box score.
Sunday: 4-2 Loss vs. Chicago. Grilli falters 2nd day in a row. Box score.

Season Record: 72-67, 3rd place in NL Central, 11.0 games back
2.5 games back of a Wild Card spot

Notes: Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you. The promise of the playoffs is slipping away even though it’s still right in front of them. Seriously, one good week and the Bucs could be tied with the Cards again. The offense had serious problems this weekend. Brock Holt and Pedro Alvarez were the only players to record more than one hit. Yet the Bucs walked 14 times, including 4 from Gaby Sanchez. Jeff Locke was effective in his second start. Jason Grilli took back to back losses; unusual since he’s been a shutdown reliever all year.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
Holt, Br, 2B 13 2 5 0 0 3 3 0.385 0.385
Alvarez, 3B 12 0 4 2 1 1 9 0.333 0.385
Jones, G, RF, 1B 11 0 1 0 2 0 5 0.091 0.231
McCutchen, A, CF 9 2 1 1 2 3 6 0.111 0.333
Marte, S, LF-CF 9 0 0 1 2 4 3 0.000 0.167
Sanchez, G, 1B 6 0 0 0 4 3 3 0.000 0.400
Presley, RF 6 0 0 0 0 4 4 0.000 0.000
Harrison, SS 5 2 1 0 0 1 3 0.200 0.200
McKenry, C 5 1 1 1 1 2 2 0.200 0.333
Barajas, C 5 0 0 0 0 1 2 0.000 0.000
Barmes, SS 4 0 0 0 1 1 4 0.000 0.200
Clement, PH 2 0 1 1 1 0 1 0.500 0.667
Locke, P 2 0 1 0 0 1 1 0.500 0.500
Mercer, SS 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
McDonald, J, P 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
Burnett, AJ, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
  Totals 94 7 15 6 14 26 47 0.160 0.273

Batting

Doubles (3): Alvarez 2 (23), McKenry (13)
Triples (1): Holt (1)
Home Runs (1): McCutchen (25)

Fielding
E: Holt 3 (3), Marte 2 (2), Barajas (4), Sanchez (3), Harrison (5)
DP: (Alvarez-Holt-Sanchez), (Barmes-Jones), (Barmes-Sanchez)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Locke 6.0 7 2 2 0 6 2 3.00 1.17
McDonald, J 5.7 7 3 3 2 2 1 4.76 1.59
Burnett, AJ (L, 15-6) 5.0 8 7 3 1 4 0 5.40 1.80
McPherson, K 3.0 2 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.67
Leroux 1.7 0 2 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.00
Grilli (2 L, 1-6) 1.3 5 3 3 2 2 1 20.25 5.25
Resop 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
Hanrahan 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 2.00
Hughes, J 0.7 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Watson 0.7 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 3.00
Takahashi 0.3 2 3 3 2 0 0 81.00 12.00
Qualls 0.7 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Wilson 0.0 1 0 0 1 0 0 -.– -.–
  Totals 27.0 34 20 14 10 22 4 4.67 1.63

Transactions: Activated LF Starling Marte from the DL. Activated RHP Chad Qualls from the DL.

Mets Wrap Up

Scores:
Monday: 5-4 Win vs NY Mets. Three late runs win it. Box score.
Tuesday: 3-2 Loss vs NY Mets. Can’t solve the knuckler. Box score.
Wednesday: 3-1 Loss vs NY Mets. Only 1 run for the 9th time. Box score.

Season Record: 20-24, 4th place in NL Central, 5.0 games back

Notes: Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison were pretty much the whole show this series. I have nothing else good to say about the offense at this time. In two starts since his back spasms, Erik Bedard‘s totals are 11 IP, 8 ER, 12 H, 4 BB and 11 K’s. He hadn’t given up more than 2 ER in any of six pre-injury outings. If his next start continues the current trend the team may want to skip Bedard when his turn comes up again. The bullpen was stellar, allowing only 1 ER, 4 H and 3 BB with 11 K in 8 IP.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh  AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO  LOB     AVG     OBP
Harrison, RF-SS 12 3 4 0 0 1 3 0.333 0.333
Walker, 2B 12 1 2 0 0 5 3 0.167 0.167
McCutchen, A, CF 11 1 4 4 0 3 5 0.364 0.333
Barmes, SS 8 1 3 1 1 1 4 0.375 0.400
Alvarez, 3B 8 1 2 1 0 2 5 0.250 0.250
Tabata, LF-RF 8 1 1 0 1 2 2 0.125 0.222
Barajas, C 8 0 1 0 0 4 2 0.125 0.125
McGehee, 1B 6 0 0 0 1 2 3 0.000 0.143
Jones, G, 1B 5 0 0 0 0 3 1 0.000 0.000
McKenry, C 4 1 1 2 0 2 3 0.250 0.250
Navarro, 3B 4 0 1 0 0 1 0 0.250 0.250
Hernandez, Go, LF 4 0 0 0 1 2 1 0.000 0.200
McDonald, J, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 0.000 0.000
Morton, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
Bedard, P 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000
McLouth, LF 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
  Totals 96 9 20 8 4 31 34 0.208 0.235

Batting
Doubles (8): Harrison 3 (6), McCutchen, A (8), Alvarez (7), Walker (6), Barajas (6), Tabata (7)
Triples (1): Harrison (2)
HomeRuns (1): McKenry (3)

BaseRunning
SB: McCutchen (8)

Fielding
Errors: Alvarez (9)
Double Plays: (Barmes-Walker-McGehee)

Pitching

Pittsburgh     IP    H    R   ER  BB  SO  HR    ERA   WHIP
McDonald, J 7.0 4 1 1 2 8 0 1.29 0.86
Morton (L, 2-5) 7.0 8 3 3 0 1 0 3.86 1.14
Bedard 5.0 6 4 4 3 4 0 7.20 1.80
Resop 2.7 1 0 0 1 2 0 0.00 0.75
Grilli 1.0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0.00 0.00
Hanrahan (S, 10) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Lincoln 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Hughes, J (W, 1-0) 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 2.00
Watson 0.7 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Cruz, J (L, 1-1) 0.7 2 2 1 1 2 0 13.50 4.50
  Totals 27.0 22 10 9 8 24 0 3.00 1.11

Transactions: Traded Drew Sutton to Tampa Bay Rays for cash. Activated RHP Jason Grilli from the Bereavement List. Optioned LHP Jeff Locke to AAA.

Grilli Activated, Locke Optioned

Relief pitcher Jason Grilli has been activated from the Bereavement List. Jeff Locke was optioned back to AAA. Locke made no appearances in his three days with the big league club.

Today’s series finale against the Mets is at 12:30. The Pirates are off tomorrow.

Gorkys Hernandez gets his first start today. Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez have the day off versus lefty pitcher Jon Niese . Lineup:

Josh Harrison RF
Gorkys Hernandez LF
Andrew McCutchen CF
Neil Walker 2B
Casey McGehee 1B
Rod Barajas C
Yamaico Navarro 3B
Clint Barmes SS
Charlie Morton P

Grilli on Bereavement List, Locke Recalled

Relief pitcher Jason Grilli has been placed on the Bereavement List due to the death of his wife’s grandfather. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the extended Grilli family at this time.

To take his place on the roster, pitcher Jeff Locke has been called up from AAA. Locke was part of the 2009 Nate McLouth trade along with Charlie Morton and Gorkys Hernandez. All four pieces of that deal are currently on the Bucs’ big league roster.

Locke was called up for four starts at the end of last season and went 0-3 in 16.2 innings with 5 strikeouts, a 6.48 ERA and 1.86 WHIP. His AAA line for this season is 3-3, 47.2 IP, 36 K, 3.02 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. For now, Jeff is expected to pitch out of the bullpen in long relief.

Today’s game starts at 1:05. Lineup:

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

Kevin Correia SP

Tigers:
Don Kelly CF
Andy Dirks LF
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Prince Fielder 1B
Delmon Young DH
Brennan Boesch RF
Jhonny Peralta SS
Alex Avila C
Ryan Raburn 2B

Max Scherzer SP

Evened Up

A brief phone post. Time is short for me this morning.

The Pirates held on for a great win against the Braves last night, 4-2. Erik Bedard struck out 9 in 5 innings. Pedro Alvarez had 2 doubles. Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan struck 5 in two innings and Nate McLouth overcame resounding boos to make a leaping catch against the wall for the last out. Same two teams go again today at 1:35.

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