Series Preview: The Padres

Current record: 67-54, 2nd place in NL Central, 6.5 games back

Up Next: San Diego Padres, 53-70, 4th place in NL West, 14.5 games back

Season Series: 1-2

Notes: Not a lot new to say since the Bucs played the Padres last weekend and dropped two games. Carlos Quentin and Chase Headley are still their best hitters. The Pirates need to take two out of three to spilt the season series and sweep to win it.

Familiar Faces: None, since Ross Ohlendorf was optioned to AAA last week.

Probable Pitchers
Monday: TBA
vs. RH Edinson Volquez (7-9, 142.0 IP, 133 K, 4.31 ERA, 1.44 WHIP)

The Pirates had to use Wandy Rodriguez in yesterday’s 19 inning game so it remains to be seen who will start tonight. After the game, Kevin Correia volunteered to start even though he had pitched two innings.

Tuesday: RH A.J. Burnett (15-4, 145.0 IP, 126 K, 3.54 ERA, 1.19 WHIP)
vs. RH Jason Marquis (8-11, 122.1 IP, 86 K, 5.30 ERA, 1.46 WHIP)

Matchup-wise, this one is clearly in the Bucs’ favor. The mumbers above include his time in Minnesota, but Marquis has been much better since going to San Diego (6-7, 88.1 IP, 74 K, 4.08 ERA, 1.27 WHIP.)

Wednesday: RH James McDonald (11-5, 147.0 IP, 133 K, 3.61 ERA, 1.19 WHIP)
vs. TBA

McDonald goes out to prove that his last outing was no fluke. Petco Park is a great place to do just that.

No lineup yet.

Cardinals Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 2-1 Win at St Louis. JMac comes back. Box score.
Saturday: 5-4 Loss at St Louis. Lots of missed chances. Box score.
Sunday: 6-3 Win at St Louis. Pirates on the good side of 19 inning game. Box score.

Season Record: 67-54, 2nd place in NL Central, 6.5 games back

Notes: The Bucs had their best pitching of any series this month. Not coincidentally, they won their first series this month. James McDonald and Jeff Karstens were effective and efficient. The bullpen put up 12 scoreless innings in yesterday’s 19 inning affair. Stepping up big were Chris Resop (3.0 IP), Jared Hughes, Kevin Correia and Wandy Rodriguez (2.0 IP each.) Jose Tabata had a nice day at the plate after bring called up for the injured Starling Marte, but made outs on the basepaths all three times he reached. The Fort was finally cooled off, going 0 for 13. Pedro Alvarez had the big hit on Sunday, hitting a solo homer to give the Pirates the lead in the 19th inning. Andrew McCutchen would knock in two more insurance runs before the inning was over. Pittsburgh looked better than they had in weeks while taking two of three from their division rival.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
McCutchen, A, CF 15 1 3 4 3 7 9 0.200 0.368
Jones, G, 1B-RF 13 0 4 2 0 5 8 0.308 0.286
Barmes, SS 13 3 3 0 1 6 7 0.231 0.286
Alvarez, 3B 13 1 3 1 3 5 5 0.231 0.412
McKenry, C 13 0 0 0 0 3 8 0.000 0.000
Mercer, 2B-SS 11 1 4 2 0 1 4 0.364 0.417
Snider, RF 11 1 3 0 2 1 1 0.273 0.385
Harrison, 2B-RF 9 0 3 1 1 2 3 0.333 0.364
Tabata, LF 7 1 2 0 1 1 4 0.286 0.375
Marte, S, LF 6 1 2 0 0 0 0 0.333 0.429
Sanchez, G, 1B 6 1 2 0 0 2 2 0.333 0.333
Barajas, C 4 0 0 0 1 2 3 0.000 0.200
Navarro, LF, PH 4 0 0 0 0 0 3 0.000 0.000
McDonald, J, P, PH 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0.333 0.333
Bedard, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 4 0.000 0.000
Karstens, P 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
Walker, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.000 0.000
  Totals 132 12 30 10 12 38 63 0.227 0.307

Batting
Doubles (6): Alvarez (18), Mercer 2 (5), Sanchez (13), Jones (21), Tabata (14)
Triples (1): Harrison (4)
Home Runs (1): Alvarez (23)

Baserunning
CS: Tabata 2 (11)
PO: Marte, Tabata

Fielding
Errors: Karstens (1)
DP: (Mercer-Barmes-Jones), (Alvarez-Mercer-Jones), (Bedard-Barmes)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Karstens 7.0 2 2 2 1 4 0 2.57 0.43
McDonald, J (W, 11-5) 6.0 2 0 0 3 7 0 0.00 0.83
Bedard (L, 7-13) 4.7 9 5 5 3 4 0 9.64 2.57
Hughes, J 4.3 1 0 0 0 3 0 0.00 0.23
Resop (H, 8) 3.7 4 1 1 0 3 0 2.45 1.09
Cruz, J (H, 14) (BS, 1) 2.3 5 1 1 0 1 0 3.86 2.14
Grilli (H, 27) 2.0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0.00 0.00
Rodriguez, W (W, 8-12) 2.0 1 0 0 1 3 0 0.00 1.00
Hanrahan (S, 34) 2.0 0 0 0 3 2 0 0.00 1.50
Correia 2.0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 1.00
  Totals 36.0 26 9 9 11 31 0 2.25 1.03

Transactions: Placed LF Starling Marte on the 15 day DL. Recalled OF Jose Tabata from AAA.

Series Preview: The Diamondbacks

Current record: 61-46, 2nd place in NL Central, 4.5 games back

Up Next: Arizona Diamondbacks, 55-53, 3rd place in NL West, 4.0 games back

Season Series: 2-1

Notes: The D-backs are hanging in the NL West race and have the best run differential (+32) in their division. Their moves at the deadline were trading 3B Ryan Roberts to Tampa Bay, acquiring 3B Chris Johnson from Houston and trading RP Craig Breslow to Boston for RP Matt Albers. They also recently got SS Stephen Drew back from injury. LF Jason Kubel and 1B Paul Goldschmidt have led the offense with OPS’s of .913 and .902.

Familiar Faces: None

Probable Pitchers
Monday: LH Wade Miley (12-6, 126.2 IP, 95 K, 2.98 ERA, 1.08 WHIP)
vs. LH Erik Bedard (5-12, 104.1 IP, 100 K, 4.83 ERA, 1.48 WHIP)

Miley was an All Star this year and has the numbers to back it up. Bedard starts for the second Monday in a row after having his turn pushed back again.

Tuesday: LH Patrick Corbin (3-4, 45.0 IP, 35 K, 3.60 ERA, 1.27 WHIP)
vs. RH Jeff Karstens (4-2, 56.0 IP, 42 K, 3.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)

Karstens pitched very well in his last start, but wasn’t very efficient and only went 5 innings. He’ll look to stretch that out farther this time.

Wednesday: RH Ian Kennedy (10-8, 141.0 IP, 123 K, 4.15 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)
vs. RH Kevin Correia (8-6, 110.1 IP, 52 K, 4.49 ERA, 1.31 WHIP)

Well, look who’s back. Correia gets a spot start after being bumped from the rotation for Wandy Rodriguez. Kennedy was a Cy Young candidate last year but has returned to his expected level of production this season.

Thursday: LH Joe Saunders (5-8, 113.1 IP, 79 K, 3.57 ERA, 1.32 WHIP)
vs. LH Wandy Rodriguez (7-10, 143.2 IP, 98 K, 3.82 ERA, 1.28 WHIP)

Wandy was okay Friday vs Cincinnati, but Pirate fans are looking for him to step it up and dominate in his third start for the club.

No lineups yet.

Reds Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 3-0 Loss at Cincinnati. Wandy not bad, no support. Box score.
Saturday: 5-4 Loss at Cincinnati. Bucs battle back twice, lose late. Box score.
Sunday: 6-2 Win at Cincinnati. A.J. is the stopper. Box score.

Season Record: 61-46, 2nd place in NL Central, 4.5 games back

Notes: Losing two out of three is not the outcome the Bucs were looking for, but not a disaster either. Wandy Rodriguez, James McDonald and A.J. Burnett each turned in quality starts, with A.J.’s being the best by far. Gaby Sanchez had his first two hits as a Pirate; part of a 15 hit assault Sunday. Josh Harrison made the most of two spot starts by going 4 for 8 including a homer. The Fort continued his hot streak with a pinch hit on Friday and a homer Saturday.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
Jones, G, 1B, RF 13 2 4 0 0 5 8 0.308 0.308
McCutchen, A, CF 11 1 2 1 1 4 4 0.182 0.308
Marte, S, LF 10 0 2 2 0 3 2 0.200 0.273
Walker, 2B 9 2 3 3 2 2 3 0.333 0.417
Harrison, SS, 3B 8 1 4 1 0 0 2 0.500 0.556
Barmes, SS 7 1 2 0 0 3 8 0.286 0.286
Sanchez, G, 1B 7 1 2 0 0 1 5 0.286 0.286
Alvarez, 3B 7 0 1 0 0 3 2 0.143 0.143
Barajas, C 6 0 1 0 1 0 3 0.167 0.375
Snider, RF 6 0 0 1 1 1 0 0.000 0.125
McKenry, C 5 1 3 1 0 1 2 0.600 0.600
Presley, LF 4 1 2 0 0 1 0 0.500 0.500
Burnett, AJ, P 4 0 0 0 0 3 3 0.000 0.000
Rodriguez, W, P 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0.500 0.500
McDonald, J, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
  Totals 101 10 27 9 5 28 43 0.267 0.321

Batting
Doubles (1): Jones (17)
Triples (2): Presley (4), Marte (1)
Home Runs (4): McKenry (11), Harrison (3), Walker (12), McCutchen (23)

Baserunning
SB: Snider (1)
CS: McCutchen (8)

Fielding
Errors: Alvarez (16)
DP: (Walker-Jones)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Burnett, AJ(W, 14-3) 8.7 3 2 2 3 7 1 2.08 0.69
Rodriguez, W(L, 7-10) 7.0 7 3 3 0 4 2 3.86 1.00
McDonald, J 6.0 7 4 3 1 7 0 4.50 1.33
Hughes, J(L, 2-1) 2.0 2 1 1 1 0 0 4.50 1.50
Qualls 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Hanrahan(S, 32) 0.3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
  Totals 25.0 19 10 9 5 19 3 3.24 0.96

Transactions: None.

Series Preview: The Reds

Current record: 60-44, 2nd place in NL Central, 3.5 games back

Up Next: Cincinnati Reds, 64-41, 1st place in NL Central, 3.5 games ahead

Season Series: 5-4 (1-2, 2-1, 2-1)

Notes: Here’s the big series we’ve been waiting for. The Reds have won 13 of 14 and 20 of 23 to expand their lead to 3.5 games. Joey Votto is still out and Brandon Phillips is questionable. The only move the Reds made at the deadline was to add Jonathan Broxton as a setup man. No lefty starters mean we won’t see much of Gaby Sanchez except as a pinch hitter vs Sean Marshall and Aroldis Chapman.

Familiar Faces: Ryan Ludwick, Xavier Paul, Bronson Arroyo

Probable Pitchers

Friday: LH Wandy Rodriguez (7-9, 136.2 IP, 94 K, 3.82 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)
vs. RH Mat Latos (9-3, 127.1 IP, 117 K, 4.17 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)

Saturday: RH James McDonald (10-5, 130.2 IP, 115 K, 3.37 ERA, 1.18 WHIP)
vs. RH Mike Leake (4-7, 119.2 IP, 79 K, 4.44 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)

Sunday: RH A.J. Burnett (13-3, 124.0 IP, 102 K, 3.27 ERA, 1.19 WHIP)
vs. RH Homer Bailey (9-6, 131.0 IP, 97 K, 3.85 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)

No lineups yet.

Starling Marte LF
Travis Snider RF
Andrew McCutchen CF
Garrett Jones 1B
Neil Walker 2B
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Rod Barajas C
Clint Barmes SS
Wandy Rodriguez P

Trade Deadline Recap

All told, the Pirates made four deals leading up to yesterday’s 4pm trade deadline.

Traded CF Robbie Grossman, LHP Rudy Owens and LHP Colton Cain to the Houston Astros for LHP Wandy Rodriguez

Traded RHP Brad Lincoln to the Toronto Blue Jays for RF Travis Snider

Traded CF Gorkys Hernandez and a draft pick to the Miami Marlins for 1B Gaby Sanchez and RHP Kyle Kaminska

Traded 1B/3B Casey McGehee to the New York Yankees for RHP Chad Qualls

They also made two moves to balance the roster:
Recalled Daniel McCutchen from Indianapolis Indians.
Designated LF Drew Sutton for assignment.

The new lineup looks like this:

Starling Marte LF
Travis Snider RF
Andrew McCutchen CF
Garrett Jones 1B
Neil Walker 2B
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Rod Barajas C
Clint Barmes SS

Bench:
Gaby Sanchez will platoon at first base.
Michael McKenry play 2-3 times a week at catcher
Alex Presley becomes the 4th OFer.
Josh Harrison
Jordy Mercer

New rotation:
A.J. Burnett
Jeff Karstens
Wandy Rodriguez
James McDonald
Erik Bedard

and the Bullpen:
Joel Hanrahan – closer
Jason Grilli – setup man
Jared Hughes
Tony Watson
Chris Resop
Kevin Correia – long relief/spot starter
Daniel McCutchen
*Chad Qualls – hasn’t joined the team yet, one of the above will need to go make room.

Overall the Pirates improved at RF, 1B, bench and the rotation and lost one good arm in the bullpen. Here’s what the other contenders did:

NL Central
Reds: Traded two minor league pitchers to Kansas City for RHP Jonathan Broxton.
Cardinals: Traded minor league 3B Zack Cox to Miami for RHP Edward Mujica

No huge improvements to either of the Bucs’ main opponents. Mujica is a nice piece that the Cards can use. Broxton doesn’t have a clear role in what was already a strond Reds bullpen. Both are still really good teams.

Wild Card:
Braves: Traded two minor league pitchers to the Chicago Cubs for Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson

Dodgers: Traded two minor league pitchers to Philadelphia for Shane Victorino, araded a minor league pitcher and outfielder to Seattle for RHP Brandon League, traded two minor league pitchers to Miami for 3B Hanley Ramirez and LHP Randy Choate

Giants: Traded OF Nate Schierholtz and 2 minor leaguers to Philadelphia for RF Hunter Pence, traded minor league IF Charlie Culberson to Colorado for IF Marco Scutaro

All three of these teams made big upgrades and addressed clear needs. The Bucs clearest path to the playoffs is to win the division and avoid what could be a four team race for a single elimination game.

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