Cardinals Wrap Up

Scores:
Tuesday: 10-7 Loss at St. Louis. Bad pitching, bad D, bad umpire? Box score.
Wednesday: 12-3 Loss at St. Louis. Worst game of the year. Box score.
Thursday: 6-3 Win at St. Louis. New team record for K’s. Box score.

Season Record: 11-14, 3rd place in NL Central, 5 games back

All the pitching the Bucs didn’t get in the first two games of the series was used in the finale. Erik Bedard struck out 11 (including seven in a row) in five innings and the bullpen added another six, setting a new team record for a nine inning game. Pedro Alvarez continued to set the world on fire with two more homers amoing his six hits. Andrew McCutchen missed one game and had to leave another one early with the flu.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh   AB    R    H  RBI  BB SO  LOB   AVG
Presley, LF 14 0 1 1 0 4 5 0.071
Tabata, RF 13 4 4 2 1 3 3 0.308
Alvarez, 3B 11 6 6 5 1 1 1 0.545
Walker, 2B 11 2 3 0 1 4 1 0.273
Jones, G, 1B 10 2 4 2 2 1 3 0.400
Barmes, SS 8 0 3 3 0 0 2 0.375
McLouth, CF 8 0 1 1 0 2 4 0.125
McKenry, C 7 0 0 0 0 3 7 0.000
Navarro, SS 5 0 2 0 0 1 2 0.400
McCutchen, A, CF 5 1 1 0 1 0 2 0.200
Barajas, C 5 1 1 0 0 0 2 0.200
Harrison, PH-2B 3 0 2 2 0 0 0 0.667
McGehee, 1B 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0.500
Bedard, P 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
Burnett, AJ, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000
Morton, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000
106 16 29 16 6 21 32 0.274

Batting
Doubles (7): Barajas (3), Barmes 3 (6), Tabata (4), Jones (4), McGehee (4)
Triples (1): McCutchen (1)
HomeRuns (2): Tabata (1), Alvarez 2 (7)

BaseRunning
SB: Tabata (4)

Fielding
Errors: Jones (1), Barmes 2 (6), Alvarez 2 (5), Barajas (1)
Double Plays: (Barmes-Walker-Jones), (Jones), (Harrison-Navarro-Jones)

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Bedard (W, 2-4) 5.0 5 2 2 2 11 0 3.60 1.40
Morton (L, 1-2) 4.3 8 6 5 2 5 1 10.38 2.31
Lincoln 3.3 3 0 0 1 3 0 0.00 1.20
Hughes, J (H, 2) 3.0 3 3 1 0 2 1 3.00 1.00
Burnett (L, 1-2) 2.7 12 12 12 1 2 2 40.50 4.88
Grilli (H, 5) 2.0 1 0 0 3 3 0 0.00 2.00
Cruz, J (H, 3) 2.0 2 0 0 3 2 0 0.00 2.50
Hanrahan 1.0 1 1 1 2 2 0 9.00 3.00
Resop 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Watson 0.7 2 1 1 0 1 1 13.50 3.00
25.0 37 25 22 14 32 5 7.92 2.04

Transactions: None

Braves Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 6-1 Loss at Atlanta. One bad inning from the bullpen. Box score.
Saturday: 4-2 Win at Atlanta. Score early and hang on late. Solid pitching. Box score.
Sunday: 4-3 Loss at Atlanta. Sloppy defense, 1 for 13 with RISP. Box score.
Monday: 9-3 Win at Atlanta. Finally, the bats break out. Box score.

Season Record: 10-12, 4th place in the NL Central

Splitting four games on the road versus a good team is a very acceptable result. Nice to see the bats come alive too.

Earlier I posted a little about Pedro Alvarez, but I want to reiterate that he was their best player this weekend. He looked loose and confident, which was a marked difference from how I saw him in March. Andrew McCutchen on the other hand looked to be pressing to get the big hit every time up. If both of those guys were hitting at the same time, watch out.

All four starters looked good. I watched James McDonald warm up in the bullpen and he was all over the place. When he started so shaky in the first and second it looked like it was going to be a long game. But as he sometimes does, he figured it out and shut the door on the Braves from that point on.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh   AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO  LOB   AVG
McCutchen, A, CF 16 2 3 1 1 7 4 0.188
Walker, 2B 14 2 7 1 3 0 3 0.500
Alvarez, 3B 14 2 5 3 2 5 10 0.357
Tabata, RF 14 3 5 3 1 1 4 0.357
Presley, LF 13 2 4 1 1 4 1 0.308
Jones, G, 1B 12 0 2 2 0 5 2 0.167
Barmes, SS 11 0 0 0 0 3 9 0.000
McGehee, 1B 9 1 2 0 2 5 3 0.222
Barajas, C 8 2 2 0 3 2 4 0.250
Navarro, LF 4 2 2 3 0 0 3 0.500
McKenry, C 3 1 1 0 1 0 0 0.333
McDonald, J, P 3 0 0 0 1 1 2 0.000
Bedard, P 2 0 0 0 0 0 5 0.000
McLouth, PH 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000
Burnett, AJ, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000
Correia, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
126 17 33 14 15 34 51 0.262

Batting
Doubles (11): Presley (4), Alvarez 3 (4), Walker 2 (2), McCutchen (6), Jones (3), Tabata 2 (3), McGehee (3)
HomeRuns (2): Alvarez (5), Navarro (1)

BaseRunning
SB: McCutchen (5), Walker (1)
CS: Presley (3)

Fielding
Errors: Tabata (1), McCutchen (1), Alvarez (3), Resop (1)
Double Plays: (Walker-McGehee), (Barmes-Walker-Jones)

Pittsburgh     IP    H    R   ER   BB   SO  HR    ERA
McDonald, J(W, 1-1) 7.7 7 3 3 2 10 1 3.52
Burnett, A.J. (L, 1-1) 6.0 6 2 2 3 8 0 3.00
Bedard (W, 1-4) 5.0 5 1 1 2 9 0 1.80
Correia (L, 1-1) 4.3 4 3 2 5 0 0 4.15
Meek 2.7 4 1 1 0 1 0 3.38
Resop(H, 2) 2.3 3 1 1 0 1 0 3.86
Lincoln 2.0 2 1 1 1 2 1 4.50
Grilli (H, 4) 1.0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0.00
Hanrahan (S, 4) 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00
Cruz, J (H, 2) 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Watson 1.0 1 3 3 2 0 0 27.00
34.0 33 15 14 15 36 2 3.71

Transaction: After Sunday’s game Evan Meek was optioned to AAA. Jared Hughes was called back up.

Up Next:
Three games in St. Louis (14-8, 1st place in NL Central). Earlier in the year the Cards took two of three from the Pirates. Expected Matchups:
Charlie Morton (1-1, 2.65 ERA) vs. Adam Wainwright (0-3, 7.32 ERA)
A.J. Burnett (1-1, 1.38 ERA) vs Lance Lynn (4-0, 1.33 ERA)
Erik Bedard (1-4, 2.48 ERA) vs. Jake Westbrook (3-1, 1.30 ERA)

Cautious Optimism on Pedro

Baseball Nation’s Grant Brisbee has a good article on Pedro Alvarez and his current hot streak. Here’s the payoff:

The good news — the best news in almost a year — is that finally, finally, finally we can assign too much meaning to Alvarez’s performance in a positive way. That’s a year of looking for a sign, any sign, that would suggest an improvement. Now we have it. And we can read too much into it. It might not be the prudent thing, but it sure feels good.

That’s really the key; Pedro has looked so bad for so long that we, as Pirate fans, are all too eager to say he’s figured it out. Heck, he hit a homer off of a LEFTY yesterday, only his fourth in 182 career plate appearances against left handed pitchers. I say get excited. Enjoy it. Maybe it won’t last – he certainly won’t stay this hot – but he IS doing it right now. And like the run to first place last year, Pirates fans have to enjoy the good times while they last.

Looking For The Split

The Pirates wrap up their series with the Braves tonight. The Bucs hope to split the four game set after yesterday’s error-riddled 4-3 loss.

Clint Hurdle is going with a getaway-day lineup against the lefty Mike Minor. Nate McLouth is the only position player who won’t get a start this series, which totally surprises me. First pitch at 7:10.

Lineups:
Pirates:
Jose Tabata RF
Josh Harrison SS
Andrew McCutchen CF
Casey McGehee 1B
Neil Walker 2B
Yamaico Navarro LF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Rod Barajas C
James McDonald P

Braves:
Michael Bourn CF
Martin Prado LF
Freddie Freeman 1B
Brian McCann C
Dan Uggla 2B
Chipper Jones 3B
Eric Hinske RF
Tyler Pastornicky SS
Mike Minor P

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.

Same Story, Different Day

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The Pirates had strong starting pitching but failed in numerous opportunities to score some runs and lost the game late. Lather, rinse, repeat. Try to do better tonight.

I will add this before I move on: Pedro Alvarez looked good last night. He was patient and working the zone. Totally different from when I saw him this spring.

Elsewhere: Josh Bell, the Pirates’ second round draft choice last July, “tweaked his knee” earlier in the week and had meniscus surgury yesterday. He is expected to return later this season.

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