Bucs lose 4-2 to the Fish, Taillon and Heredia visit PNC
Before the game yesterday, I was invited to a Q&A session with John Russell, Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker (Group one) and another that had Neil Huntington, Bob Nutting and Frank Coonley. I thought it started at 5:30, but apparently it started at five so I was late and had to sit in the back. I was a little bummed because it was hard to see and I couldn’t use my flip to record some of the questions.
My favorite part of the session was when a gentleman asked Pedro Alvarez “how it felt to hit the walk-off three-run home run in the 10th inning?” Pedro teared up then said: it was one of the greatest feelings he’s ever had in his life and that he felt like he was floating around the bases.
The reporter in me wanted to ask a few questions, but since I was stuck in the back I never got the oppurtunity to do so.
Jameson Taillon was at PNC Park yesterday. I didn’t get a chance to take a picture like I did with Allie on Wed since I was in the Press Room.
“I’m closing the chapter on my high school book and am ready to get going,” Taillon said on Thursday. “Since I was 5 or 6 years old, this has been a dream to me. The signing bonus and the signing is great, but my goal is to be back here at PNC Park in a few years and help this team.”
“I feel like I’m a pretty advanced pitcher, but I know there is a ton I can learn — pitch sequence, fastball command, all that,” Taillon said. “I’m ready to get out there and work on it. Hopefully I can be back here in three to four years. That’d be great.”
“When you get picked so high, there’s not really much else you can do,” Taillon said. “I think going back and getting a college degree is something I want to do eventually. But right now, I’m taking my dream and running with it.”
- You can watch Taillon’s interview with Steve Blass and Tim Neverette in the booth here
- and Taillon’s press conference video here
News and Notes:
- Pirates with/without Neil Walker:
With Walker Without
GAMES 67 53
RUNS/GAME 3.6 3.2
BATTING AVG .247 .232
AVG W/ RISP .269 .224
OBP .302 .304
SLG% .376 .346
- The Pirates skipped Charlie Morton’s start Thursday for Triple-A Indianapolis.
Morton has what general manager Neal Huntington described as “very, very minor” discomfort in his right elbow. The Pirates don’t believe that this is the sign of anything serious but wanted to give Morton a few extra days to rest.
Jenifer Langosh chatted with scouting director, Greg Smith:
On overall Draft: “It’s hard to say [if it's the best of the three in Pittsburgh], but it was definitely youth driven. We were also able to get some nice position players up top like Mel Rojas (third round) and Matt Curry (16th round). We think it was a nice balance. It was obviously driven by the youth and the pitching, but there are also some position players we feel really good about.
“As we continue to grow as a scouting staff, I challenge our guys that no matter how good we think Pedro [Alvarez] and that ’08 class is, or the ’09 class, or this class, we want to continue to raise the bar so that [director of player development] Kyle [Stark] and his staff keep getting more and more confidence that we’re bringing in better players each year.”
On bringing so much young talent into the organization: “One thing that I expressed to Stetson and his family at lunch is that without our confidence in Kyle and his [development] group, we can’t Draft like this. We can’t give him a slew of high school pitchers without the trust in the program that they’re going to maximize the return.
“It’s fun for both sides. Obviously, our instructors like working with good players and our scouts like signing good players. It’s a happy relationship.”
On the financial resources (approx. $12 million was spent on this Draft class) made available by owner Bob Nutting: “The amount of support and resources for our scouting department has been tremendous. Understandably, what happens at the Major League level means a great deal to everyone, as it should. But we reap the initial benefits from where Bob and [president] Frank [Coonelly] are coming from. For three years now, we’ve been able to Draft and sign the players who we feel like are going to make us better. Now that doesn’t make everybody here feel the same way because that takes time.”
With the Pirates 4-2 loss to the Marlins last night, they are just one loss shy of the ignominy of the 18th consecutive losing season.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” first baseman Garrett Jones said of all the losing, three of four in this series, 10 of the past 11. “You’re just looking for something to go your way.”
“This is tough if you make it tough,” center fielder Andrew McCutchen said. “Thing is, you’ve got to be winning mentally, even if it’s not showing up on the board … and it didn’t again tonight. You have to get positive things in your head. It keeps you positive every time you come to the field. You go out there thinking like a winner.”
Paul Maholm pitched five strong innings then had a rough sixth. 10 Marlins came to the plate, four runs scored, including a three-run homerun by Gaby Sanchez.
“The other guy is putting up zeros. You have to put up zeros,” Maholm said. “That’s how it is right now. Would you love for the offense to bust out and put up eight? Sure. But it’s not happening right now, and unfortunately, I needed to make some pitches, and I didn’t do it.”
“He was throwing all his pitches for strikes. That made him effective,” Russell said. “He had his sinker working. He threw his slider for a strike and his changeup. He kept us off balance, and we didn’t ever really figure him out.”
Maholm was pulled after 5.2 innings pitched, eight hits, four runs, two walks and two strikeouts.
The most frustrating part to me was the fact that the Pirates were not facing Josh Johnson, like the day before. I understand that the Bucs would have a rough time against an ace like him. The Pirates faced an “emergency starter”. Alex Sanabia replaced an injured Sean West. Sanabia has been in AA most of the 2010 season and he barley worked up a sweat pitching against the Buccos throwing just 85 pitches through 7.2 innings. He gave up one run on four hits and struck out five. It was only his fifth career start.
Maholm’s career numbers when pitching six innings: 44-30, 3.11 ERA
Paul’s career numbers when failing to reach six innings: 1-26, 9.76 ERA
Luis Heredia was also at PNC Park last night.
“Luis has a very natural feel to pitching with above-average movement on his ball,” director of international scouting Rene Gayo said. “It’s very rare to see a young man with this type of character, athletic ability and pitching potential.”
Heredia will be sent to the Florida Instructional League this fall and then to an instructional league in the Dominican Republic.
Heredia will not be old enough to play in the minors until next summer. He will attend minor league spring training camp in 2011, then get more tutoring in extended spring training. When he’s old enough, Heredia could begin his pro career in rookie ball in Bradenton, Fla.
- According to the Post-Gazette who spoke with President Frank Coonely this morning, the Pirates payroll will have a “meaningful” increase for 2011.
“We have the capacity to add to payroll in a meaningful way,” Coonelly said in an interview with the Post-Gazette. “We’ll be evaluating the trade market and free agency and, if we see a player or players we like, we’ll be aggressive in pursuing that player.”
The Pirates current payroll is last in the majors at just $39 Million.
“We’re not going to be in the market for Cliff Lee,” the Texas Rangers’ ace with the $9 million salary expected to escalate. “When we bring in players at that level, they have to be the Jameson Taillon and Pedro Alvarez types through the draft.”
Today’s Pitching Matchup:
Mike Pelfrey 11-7, 3.95 ERA
Jeff Karstens 2-9, 4.57 ERA
Pelfrey is 1-2 with an 2.89 ERA in his last three starts. In his last start Mike pitched seven innings giving up three runs on seven hits but got the loss due to lack of run support.
Karstens gave up five runs on seven hits through 5.2 innings against the Astros in his last start. Jeff is winless since June 19th. However, Karstens continues to be the least run supported pitcher in the Pirates roation.