Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pirates Game 106 Preview - @ San Francisco Giants

Pittsburgh Pirates at San Francisco Giants - 10:15 p.m.
Francisco Liriano (2-7, 4.18) vs. Tim Hudson (8-7, 2.65)

Season Series (Pirates lead 3-1)
May 5, 2014 - San Francisco 11, Pittsburgh 10 (13 inn.) [Recap]
May 6, 2014 - Pittsburgh 2, San Francisco 1 [Recap]
May 7, 2014 - Pittsburgh 4, San Francisco 3 [Recap]
July 28, 2014 - Pittsburgh 5, San Francisco 0 [Recap]


Lineups

Pittsburgh (56-49)
1. Harrison 5
2. Polanco 9
3. McCutchen 8
4. Walker 4
5. Martin 2
6. Davis 3
7. Snider 7
8. Mercer 6
9. Liriano 1

San Francisco (57-49)
1. Pence 9
2. Blanco 8
3. Posey 3
4. Sandoval 5
5. Morse 7
6. Susac 2
7. Uggla 4
8. Crawford 6
9. Hudson 1

Pirates Game 105 Recap - Pirates 5, Giants 0

In 2014 the Pirates haven't been overly good against left handed pitching. That is somewhat weird because in 2013 anytime a southpaw was on the bump the Pirates beat them down pretty well but for some reason that hasn't carried over to this year. Well, until last night.

They were facing Madison Bumgarner last night and to be honest I didn't have a good feeling about that at all. That was until after the first inning when the Pirates got all over Bumgarner for four runs on three hits and two walks and had him throw 42 pitches. Bumgarner didn't have his best stuff and that was pretty obvious but the Pirates put together some really outstanding plate appearances and when they got a pitch to hit they laced it. Two of the three outs in the inning were sacrifice flies and Brent Morel grounded out to end the inning as the eighth batter. Just great stuff.

The real story thought might have been Vance Worley. He and Edison Volquez are the two guys that are probably fighting for one spot once Gerrit Cole comes back and while Volquez struggled in his last start Worley nearly pulled off a Maddux (complete game shutout in fewer than 100 pitches). Worley threw exactly 100 pitches and faced two batters over the minimum thanks in part to a pair of double plays and a caught stealing. 71 of his pitches went for strikes and he threw less than 15 pitches in every inning excluding the seventh (17 pitches) and threw 10 or less in each of the third through sixth innings. He was crazy efficient.

The Pirates offense really didn't do a whole lot after the first inning. Josh Harrison tacked on the fifth run in the second inning with a home run but the Pirates had only three other hits after that. I guess it really doesn't matter since Worley was so good and they were able to knock out Bumgarner after only four innings but putting up eight or nine runs would have been nice.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Pirates Game 105 Preview - @ San Francisco Giants

Pittsburgh Pirates at San Francisco Giants - 10:15 p.m.
Vance Worley (3-1, 3.10) vs. Madison Bumgarner (12-7, 3.19)

Season Series (Pirates lead 2-1)
May 5, 2014 - San Francisco 11, Pittsburgh 10 (13 inn.) [Recap]
May 6, 2014 - Pittsburgh 2, San Francisco 1 [Recap]
May 7, 2014 - Pittsburgh 4, San Francisco 3 [Recap]


Lineups

Pittsburgh (55-49)
1. Harrison 7
2. Mercer 6
3. McCutchen 8
4. Sanchez 3
5. Walker 4
6. Martin 2
7. Polanco 9
8. Morel 5
9. Worley 1

San Francisco (57-48)
1. Pence 9
2. Panik 4
3. Posey 2
4. Sandoval 5
5. Morse 3
6. Colvin 7
7. Blanco 8
8. Crawford 6
9. Bumgarner 1

Pirates Game 104 Recap - Pirates 7, Rockies 5

The Pirates can be a frustrating team to watch. The first two games of this series were both 8-1 losses and even with the win yesterday you can say that the Pirates haven't yet played a good game against the Rockies this year but somehow are 4-2 against them.

The offense broke out with seven runs and 16 hits but still left 12 guys on base and only went 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position. They had chances early to put the Rockies away and they couldn't do it. It allowed the Rockies to take the lead in the fourth inning and tie the game in the seventh inning. Luckily for the Pirates Josh Harrison and Gregory Polanco went back-to-back in the eighth inning and the Pirates got it done. Salvaged a win in the series and while that is way less than ideal it is better than getting swept by a bad team.

Edison Volquez wasn't overly good. He walked four hitters in only 4.1 innings and gave up six hits. For the most part this year Volquez has really done good job this year of throwing strikes but it really looked like he was overthrowing his pitches yesterday and it caused him to work from behind in the count on a lot of batters. He threw 99 pitches in less than five innings of work and only 56 of those went for strikes. Not good, but it was good enough and in baseball games good enough counts just the same in the win column. Volquez certainly wasn't getting help from Pedro Alvarez's defense but what is new?

All-Star Josh Harrison was the star of the game. He had four hits, drove in a pair, and scored two runs. He also did this for the second time this year. I still don't think Harrison is a viable option as an everyday player but he still is a valuable asset especially with the injury problems the Pirates have had.

You know who hasn't been bad? Travis Snider. I was all for Snider being DFA'd when Polanco came up but instead it was Jose Tabata that got the ax. I thought it was the wrong call but up until this point I have been dead wrong. All Snider has done since June 1 is hitting .333/.385/.533 with three doubles and three home runs. He leads the entire league in pinch hits and has actually been good. Granted those numbers are in only 65 plate appearances but when the Pirates need someone to come off the bench Snider has been as good as anyone else on the team. After how he played the first few months of the year it is really nice to see him coming through even when he isn't getting everyday at bats. It's not easy to come off the bench and hit when you have been sitting all game.

Chris Stewart had three hits and is now hitting .269/.355/.301 and while I don't think he is good that is a pretty decent line for a backup catcher than is going to play once a week. I think the lack of extra base hits is alarming but when you aren't playing a whole ton of games you can get by. If you backup catcher can get a hit or so per game and get on base then you will take it.

The best thing that happened all day was that the Pirates were able to get to the Rockies bullpen by the fifth inning thanks to Franklin Morales throwing nearly 100 pitches (walking five). The Rockies bullpen is really awful and once the Pirates got to it and had it throw more than one or two innings you pretty much knew the Pirates were going to win the game. The Pirates got 10 hits and five runs over the final five innings off the bullpen and thus a win.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Pirates Game 104 Preview - @ Colorado Rockies

Pittsburgh Pirates at Colorado Rockies - 4:10 p.m.
Edinson Volquez (8-7, 3.86) vs. Franklin Morales (5-5, 5.21)

Season Series (Pittsburgh leads 3-2)
July 18, 2014 - Pittsburgh 4, Colorado 2 [Recap]
July 19, 2014 - Pittsburgh 3, Colorado 2 (11 inn.)
July 20, 2014 - Pittsburgh 5, Colorado 3 [Recap]
July 25, 2014 - Colorado 8, Pittsburgh 1
July 26, 2014 - Colorado 8, Pittsburgh 1


Lineups

Pittsburgh (54-49)
1. Harrison 7
2. Polanco 9
3. McCutchen 8
4. Sanchez 3
5. Walker 4
6. Mercer 6
7. Alvarez 5
8. Stewart 2
9. Volquez 1

Colorado (43-60)
1. Blackmon 8
2. Rutledge 6
3. Dickerson 7
4. Arenado 5
5. Paulsen 3
6. Rosario 2
7. Barnes 9
8. LeMahieu 4
9. Morales 1

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Pirates Game 103 Preview - @ Colorado Rockies

Pittsburgh Pirates at Colorado Rockies - 8:10 p.m.
Jeff Locke (2-1, 3.05) vs. Tyler Matzek (1-4, 4.91)

Season Series (Pittsburgh leads 3-1)
July 18, 2014 - Pittsburgh 4, Colorado 2 [Recap]
July 19, 2014 - Pittsburgh 3, Colorado 2 (11 inn.)
July 20, 2014 - Pittsburgh 5, Colorado 3 [Recap]
July 25, 2014 - Colorado 8, Pittsburgh 1


Lineups

Pittsburgh (54-48)
1. Harrison 7
2. Mercer 6
3. McCutchen 8
4. Sanchez 3
5. Walker 4
6. Martin 2
7. Polanco 9
8. Morel 5
9. Locke 1

Colorado (42-60)
1. Blackmon 7
2. Rutledge 6
3. Arenado 5
4. Gonzalez 9
5. Rosario 3
6. Stubbs 8
7. McKenry 2
8. LeMahieu 4
9. Matzek 1

Friday, July 25, 2014

Pirates Game 102 Preview - @ Colorado Rockies

Pittsburgh Pirates at Colorado Rockies - 8:40 p.m.
Charlie Morton (5-9, 3.28) vs. Brett Anderson (0-3, 4.00)

Season Series (Pittsburgh leads 3-0)
July 18, 2014 - Pittsburgh 4, Colorado 2 [Recap]
July 19, 2014 - Pittsburgh 3, Colorado 2 (11 inn.)
July 20, 2014 - Pittsburgh 5, Colorado 3 [Recap]


Lineups

Pittsburgh (54-47)
1. Polanco 9
2. Harrison 7
3. McCutchen 8
4. Sanchez 3
5. Walker 4
6. Martin 2
7. Mercer 6
8. Morel 5
9. Morton 1

Colorado (41-60)
1. Blackmon 8
2. Rutledge 6
3. Dickerson 7
4. Gonzalez 9
5. Arenado 5
6. Paulsen 3
7. Rosario 2
8. LeMahieu 4
9. Anderson 1