Series Preview: The Brewers

Current record: 48-37, 1st place in NL Central, 1.0 game ahead

Up Next: Milwaukee Brewers, 40-45, 4th place in NL Central, 8.0 games back

Season Series: 2-1

Notes: Finally, baseball is back from the All Star break. The last time the Pirates went to Milwaukee they had just gotten to .500 at 25-25. They’re record since then has been a lights out 23-12. Milwaukee was 5 games under then and is still 5 games under now. Ryan Braun leads his team in almost as many hitting categories as Andrew McCutchen leads the Pirates

Familiar Faces: Nyjer Morgan, Aramis Ramirez, Cesar Izturis, Jose Veras

Probable Pitchers
Friday: RH James McDonald (9-3, 110.0 IP, 100 K, 2.37 ERA, 0.97 WHIP)
vs. RH Zack Greinke (9-3, 111.0 IP, 111 K, 3.32 ERA, 1.23 WHIP)

Two aces go against each other. This could be one of Greinke’s last starts for the Brewers, as he’s been named in several trade rumors.

Saturday: RH Kevin Correia (5-6, 91.1 IP, 35 K, 4.34 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)
vs. Marco Estrada (0-3, 51.0 IP, 55 K, 4.06 ERA, 1.02 WHIP)

Underwhelming! Estrada’s actually pitched pretty well since returning from a quad injury. Correia’s been put in this spot so that his softer stuff can serve as a buffer between the similar repertoires of McDonald and…

Sunday: RH A.J. Burnett (10-2, 93.0 IP, 79 K, 3.68 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)
vs. Yovani Gallardo (7-6, 108.1 IP, 107 K, 3.74 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)

I’m looking forward to seeing this one live. That’s right! I’m road tripping to Milwaukee this weekend with my wife. We’ll be visiting the esteemable @Wezen_ball and his lovely fiance. After that we’re going to spend the rest of the week in Chicago, so postings may not fall on a regular schedule, if at all. Expect plenty of pictures when I can upload them.

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.

Tuesday Trade Tree – Casey McGehee

Last night the Pirates traded Jose Veras – who was a candidate to be non-tendered and released – for Casey McGehee.

There’s nothing but upside to this deal. McGehee hit .223/.280/.346 last year but the two seasons prior were .285/.337/.464 and .301/.360/.499 for his age 27 and 26 seasons.

Where does his true talent level lie? Casey’s batting average on balls in play (BABIP) the last three years was .330, .306, .249. The league average is usually in the neighborhood of .300, so the easy conclusion is that he was lucky in 2009, unlucky in 2011 and that his true ability is around his 2010 output.

Personally, I think that would be asking a bit much. If the Brewers believed he could still hit .280 consistently with 23 HR’s they wouldn’t have traded him for a relief pitcher who is prone to meltdowns. On the Pirates he’ll be Pedro Alvarez insurance and in the mix at first base. I’m not sure how he would fit in a platoon situation; after being slightly better against LHP in 2009 and much better against them in 2010 he was horrid against lefties in 2011.

The most likely scenario that I see (assuming Pedro doesn’t go in the tank): he hits .270/.330/.410 and forces the team to find him 300 PAs. That would make this a good trade.

Big Night: Pirates win game, win draft.

Great win last night for the Bucs. Ryan Doumit was 4-4 including a three run bomb. Jose Veras came into a tough spot and froze Albert Pujols looking with the game on the line. James McDonald got the win (number 8 on the year) but I won’t be able to update the Searage Shaves Standings for a few days. Hopefully there will be a few others to add by then too.

The excitement didn’t end there as the Pirates signed the #1 pick in the draft Gerrit Cole but also signed their #2 pick Josh Bell. Cole’s signing was expected but Bell was a first round talent who fell because it was believed he would follow through on his commitment to the University of Texas. Superb job by Neal Huntington to get both guys in the fold.

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