August Recap

An 11-17 August has many remembering last year’s swoon. The Bucs never won more than two games in a row, and had losing streaks of 3, 3 and 4 games. The offense was pretty average, scoring 4.32 runs per game. The pitchers had their worst month by far, allowing 4.82 runs per game.

Really, the worst part was the 10 games against San Diego and Los Angeles. In those games the Pirates allowed 6.40 runs per, which makes it really hard to win. When you add in the split with Arizona in the previous series it gave the Bucs their first losing homestand of the season.

Other Notes:
The Pirates only won two series, both against the Cardinals. They lost five series and tied one.

Record vs
NL Central: 7-7, 59 RS, 49 RA (4.21 RS/G, 4.50 RA/G)
NL West: 4-10, 62 RS, 86 RA (4.43 RS/G, 6.14 RA/G)

Home: 7-10, 80 RS, 89 RA (4.71 RS/G, 5.24 RA/G)
Away: 4-7, 41 RS, 46 RA (3.73 RS/G, 4.18 RA/G)

1 Run games: 2-6
2 Run games: 0-3
3 Run games: 1-2
4 Run games: 5-0
5 Run games: 1-1
6 Run games: 1-3
7 Run games: 0-1
9 Run games: 1-0
11 Run games: 0-1

Summary: A horribly disappointing month saw the Bucs drop out of the division race. They do remain squarely in the race for one of the Wild Card spots. Here’s to hoping they pick up the pace.

July Recap

Editor’s Note: I went to look for this post when I wanted to start my August Recap and realized I not only never posted it; I never finished it. Here it is in its rough form, just to get the numbers out there.

The Pirates went 17-9 in July to bring their overall record to 59-44. At one point they were a season best 16 games over .500. They had winning streaks of 4, 5 and 4 games and never lost more than two in a row.

How do you follow up a 17-10 June? With a 17-9 July, of course.

Other Notes:
The Pirates won six series, including two sweeps, and lost two series. I include the just completed Chicago series in these numbers since the majority of the games occurred in July. All numbers below are just for games actually played in July.

Record vs
NL East: 3-0, 12 RS, 4 RA (4.00 RS/G, 1.33 RA/G)
NL Central: 10-7, 78 RS, 79 RA (4.59 RS/G, 4.65 RA/G)
NL West: 4-2, 40 RS, 22 RA (6.67 RS/G, 3.57 RA/G)

Home: 10-3, 64 RS, 35 RA (4.92 RS/G, 2.69 RA/G)
Away: 7-6, 66 RS, 70 RA (5.08 RS/G, 5.38 RA/G)

1 Run games: 5-3
2 Run games: 5-1
3 Run games: 2-2
4 Run games: 2-2
5 Run games: 1-0
9 Run games: 1-0
10 Run games: 0-1
11 Run games: 1-0

Summary: Another excellent month.

June Recap

The Pirates went 17-10 in June to bring their overall record to 42-35; a season best seven games over .500. They had two 4-game and two 3-game winning streaks along with one 3-game and one 4-game losing streak.

Wow, did the bats break out in a big way this month. The offense improved to 5.41 runs per game, way up from 2.64 r/g in April and 3.18 r/g in May. The pitching stayed close to the same as it was in May, increasing to 4.07 r/g from 3.93 rpg. Both numbers are well above the 3.00 r/g they allowed in April. Pedro Alvarez in June was the Pedro Alvarez Pirate fans have been looking for all along, hitting .262/.354/.571. Also waking up after a pitiful May was Casey McGehee. Casey took over most of the playing time at first base and hit .291/.360/.532. The best news is that neither player put up those stats by relying on a bunch of lucky hits. Pedro’s BABIP in June was .294 and McGehee’s was .305.

One of the best things that happened was the reduced the number of close games. April saw the Bucs win 8 games decided by three runs or less and only 2 by four or more. May had 14 close wins and 1 big win. In June the increased offense pushed those numbers to 8 close wins and 9 big wins. Good teams blow out their opponents more often than bad teams do.

Other Notes:

The Pirates won seven series, lost one series and split one. I am counting the still to be completed St. Louis series in these numbers since the Pirates have already won the set regardless of what happens in today’s game.

Record vs
NL East: 2-2, 23 RS, 24 RA (5.75 RS/G, 6.00 RA/G)
NL Central: 6-2, 53 RS, 33 RA (6.63 RS/G, 4.13 RA/G)
ALE/ALC: 9-6, 70 RS, 53 RA (4.67 RS/G, 3.53 RA/G)

Home: 7-2, 39 RS, 17 RA (4.33 RS/G, 1.89 RA/G)
Away: 10-8, 107 RS, 93 RA (5.94 RS/G, 5.17 RA/G)

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

Summary: What a month. The Pirates played their best stretch of sustained good baseball in the last 20 years. The fruit of that good play has the Pirates holding the top Wild Card spot. Who would have thought that at the end of June the Bucs would be in position to host a playoff game? July really offers the team a chance to cement their place in the division. Opponents this month have a combined .433 winning percentage. 17 of 26 games come against NL Central opponents; 16 of those versus Houston, Milwaukee and Chicago. It’s a good time to be a Pirates fan.

May Recap

A week late with this, but here goes.

The Pirates went 15-13 in May to bring their overall record to 25-25. They had a three and a four game winning streak and never lost more than two in a row.

The offense improved more than half a run, from 2.64 runs per game to 3.18 rpg. Unfortunately the pitching regressed almost a whole run, going from an even 3.00 rpg to 3.93 rpg. The big star of the month was James McDonald. The tall righty was 3-1 with a 1.54 ERA, 10.0 K/9 and held opponents to a .509 OPS.

Remember that tough April schedule the Pirates had and how things were going to be easier in May? Well, easier is relative. Pirates opponents played .528 ball (149-133) in May compared to .570 in April.

Other Notes:

The Pirates won four series, lost four series and split two.

Record vs
NL East: 5-5, 33 RS, 38 RA (3.30 RS/G, 3.80 RA/G)
NL Central: 9-6, 49 RS, 59 RA (3.27 RS/G, 3.93 RA/G)
AL Central: 1-2, 7 RS, 13 RA (2.33 RS/G, 4.33 RA/G)

Home: 11-7, 52 RS, 54 RA (2.89 RS/G, 3.00 RA/G)
Away: 4-6, 37 RS, 56 RA (3.70 RS/G, 5.60 RA/G)

1 Run games: 9-3
2 Run games: 2-2
3 Run games: 3-2
4 Run games: 0-1
5 Run games: 0-2
6 Run games: 1-1
7 Run games: 0-1
9 Run games: 0-1

Summary: The Pirates were pretty lucky in May. They won way more than their share of one run games and gave up a good chunk of their total runs allowed in a few blowouts. The team as a whole is playing much better ball to end May than they did to start the month and that good play has carried over into June.

April Recap

The Pirates finished April with a 10-12 record. They got there by winning two in a row twice, losing five in a row once and alternating wins and losses the rest of the time.

The story of the month was pitching, both for the Pirates and their opponents. Pirates pitchers held the Phillies, Dodgers, Giants, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Rockies and Braves to 66 runs in 22 games, or 3.0 runs per game. Similarly, the Pirates bats were also held in check. Pittsburgh hitters scored only 58 runs in the month: 2.64/game.

One place the pitching was noticibly better is in striking out opponents. Bucs’ pitchers struck out 7.1 batters per 9 innings in April. Last season they struck out 6.4/9 innings in March/April and had a high mark of 6.9 K/9 in July. Newcomers Erik Bedard (8.1 K/9) and A.J. Burnett (10.1) have a lot to do with the higher number, as does Jeff Karstens‘ injury keeping him off the mound (3.8).

Pirates’ April opponents had a combined .570 winning percentage (90-68). That’s like playing a playoff team every game for a month. The only team on the schedule under .500 was 11-12 Philadelphia. May’s schedule should be easier. The teams on the docket combined for only a 113-110 record (.507) in April.

Other Notes:

The Pirates won three series, lost three series and split one.

Record vs
NL East: 4-3, 24 RS, 21 RA (3.43 RS/G, 3.0 RA/G)
NL Central: 1-2, 4 RS, 9 RA (1.33 RS/G, 3.0 RA/G)
NL West: 5-7, 30 RS, 36 RA (2.50 RS/G, 3.0 RA/G)

Home: 5-4, 22 RS, 22 RA (2.44 RS/G, 2.44 RA/G)
Away: 5-8, 36 RS, 44 RA (2.77 RS/G, 3.38 RA/G)

1 Run games: 5-6
2 Run games: 2-0
3 Run games: 1-2
4 Run games: 1-2
5 Run games: 0-2
6 Run games: 1-0

Summary: The Pirates are probably an average team and in April they played like one; sometimes good, sometimes bad, usually somewhere in between. Theoretically, the upcoming easier schedule should allow them to get a few extra wins and go back above .500.