Spring Training 2012: Saturday 3/24 McKechnie Field Recap

Ed. note: Travel delays and prior commitments kept me from getting this posted sooner.

PirateFest was going on today, but I went to Pirate City instead. Luckily I arrived in time to get this shot:

Matt Hague (pirate ship hat) and Charlie Morton sign autographs.

Going inside I headed to the batting cages to see if anyone was hitting. Along the way I ran into club President Frank Coonelly and was able to ask him about the renovations that are going to happen at McKechnie Field. Specifically I asked if they considered making the outfield dimensions match those in PNC Park. Mr. Coonelly’s answers:

My thanks to Mr. Coonelly for his time. On to the game! Recap. Box Score.

Excellent: James McDonald. James was wild on the first two pitches of the game, causing me worry that it was going to be a long day. He would immediately right the ship and pitch 5 1/3 innings before giving up his first hit. Final line: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, and 3 K. McDonald also showed a good glove and was able to coax a walk out of Astros pitcher Kyle Weiland.

Good: Neil Walker‘s 2-run single and Garrett Jones‘ 2-run bomb accounted for all of the scoring. Walker’s hit came after Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen both failed to get a runner home from third with less than two out. Jones’ shot landed more than 90 feet past the right field wall.

Very Bad: Ryota Igarashi showed very little control and is looking at a steep hill to climb if he wants to make the team. The five batters he faced went walk, walk, homerun, ground out, infield hit.

Pictures:

Another beautiful day at McKechnie Field.

Lineups. (J.B. Shuck?)

Jose Tabata in the batting cage.

Garrett Jones followed.

A good day for autographs. Morton signed a lot on his way to the clubhouse after his appearance at PirateFest.

Rod Barajas signed after a turn in the batting cage. Someone asked him about possibly setting a new record for homeruns by a Pirates catcher.

Andrew McCutchen is good people. He signed every day that I saw him.

James McDonald does some long toss to get loose...

…and then warms up to Michael McKenry in the bullpen.
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Former Pirate outfielder and manager Bill Virdon watches.

Mini McGehee doesn't appear to like the mini-parrot.

When the gulls start landing on the field, you know the game will be over pretty soon.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a wrap up and final thoughts.

Exhausted (Jerry Meals redux)

Its been a long *two* nights now. I was only able to stay till the bottom of the 16th inning but I was home in time to see the ending. I’m actually glad my Dad and I had already left because he might have had a coronary over that call if we had seen it live. Kudos to the bullpen, especially Jason Grilli and Daniel McCutchen, for pitching 13 innings of scoreless relief. The offense missed so many chances to score, but McKenry, Walker and Paul did their part early.

A lot has already been written about this and I’m sure there will be more to come, so here are some links to the best stuff.

Video of the ending from MLB.com, and from Sports Grid.

Rob Neyer stretches his imagination and says the ump MIGHT be right.

Joe Posnanski says Rob Neyer is wrong.

Friend of the blog Larry Granillo imagines an alternate timeline where instant replay was in effect.

Pat Lackey has a quick, stunned take, a long ranting take and a more measured post too.

Via Rumbunter, a Benstonuim video of Jerry Meals calling bad things safe.

Brian McElhinney at Raise the Jolly Roger wasn’t so jolly.

Charlie Wilmoth is incredulous.

Jen Langosch has the inside scoop from the clubhouse, and the Pirates’ official statement.

I’m back at it tonight. I fully expect aliens to land at this point.

Post-Monday, pre-Tuesday thoughts

Whew, long night. It was worth it in the end though. As Pat Lackey said, the Pirates won a very 2011 Pirates game with pitching, defense and taking advantage of their opponents mistakes.

The rain made the air low and heavy which really kept a lot of balls in play. McCutchen and a few Braves crushed some pitches that would have gone out on other nights.

McDonald‘s ERA is now under 4 at 3.95. After a terrible April (5 starts, 7.66 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, 15 K in 24.2 IP) he’s been really good (15 starts, 2.87 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 79 K in 84.2 IP). If he could go deeper into games he’d be really amazing.

Michael McKenry is fun to watch. Not in a “he’s so talented” way but in a “I don’t know how he keeps doing this but I’m happy and amazed” way.

Karstens better be on his A game tonight because I think Tommy Hanson will give the Pirates hitters fits. I see a 2-1 win or a 7-1 loss.

Look me up if you’ll be at tonight’s game. I’ll be sitting around here:

 

Bonus Trade Tree: Michael McKenry

For the first time since I started doing these, the Pirates made an actual trade.

Nothing earth-shattering here. With Doumit, Snyder and Jaramillo on the DL the team was desperate for a serviceable catcher. Here’ hoping McKenry can fill that spot. Even if he can’t they didn’t give up anything of value (yet).

 

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