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.
Early this morning, the Pirates agreed to terms with 16-year-old pitching prospect Luis Heredia. He received a $2.6 million bonus, the biggest payout in franchise history for an international amateur.
Heredia did pass a team physical and all aspects of the agreement were completed. A formal signing ceremony has been planned for early next week in Mazatlan, Mexico, Heredia’s hometown.
That $2.6 million, plus the $8.75 million paid to top two draft picks Jameson Taillon ($6.5 million) and Stetson Allie ($2.25 million) earlier in the week, means the team will have paid a total of $11.35 million to add three elite teenaged right-handers to the system.
The previous high for the Pirates in the international amateur market was $400,000 for Venezuelan outfielder Exicardo Cayones in July 2008.
The 16-year old Heredia is 6 feet 6, 185 pounds, is considered by many scouts to be the best pitching prospect his country has produced in years.
The highlight of Heredia’s scouting report, according to Rene Gayo, the Pirates’ Latin American scouting director, is unusually high velocity for his age — 92-93 mph on his fastball — and equally uncommon coordination for someone who sprouted so tall at a young age. He throws four other pitches, all but the slider currently seen as above-average.
“We believe in the work that we’ve done, we believe in the commitment we’ve gotten from back in Pittsburgh, and we believe, most of all, in Luis,” Gayo said then. “The day it gets done will be a great day for the Pittsburgh Pirates.”
Asked how much he knew about the Pirates, Heredia laughed and replied, “Just Roberto Clemente.”
Gayo said at the time that, if Heredia were signed, he likely would report to the Pirates’ rookie fold in Bradenton, Fla., rather than the team’s new baseball academy in the Dominican Republic, as Heredia spent most of his amateur career competing against players 3-4 years older. That decision will be made by general manager Neal Huntington and director of player development Kyle Stark.
Ross Ohlendorf just can’t buy a win, can he? He has allowed three runs or fewer in nine of his last 10 starts. His ERA during that span is 2.35. Yet he’s 1-4 in those games and just 1-10 for the year. Ohlendorf was up against one of the best in the National League, Josh Johnson.
Both Johnson and Ohlendorf were nasty last night. It was a pitchers duel through eight innings. But the Bucs couldn’t manage to score runs in the ninth and the Fish won, 3-2.
Johnson gave up two runs on seven hits with with six strikeouts, Ohlendorf gave up three runs on four hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
“The game, I feel like, could have gone either way, and we were playing against a team with a great pitcher,” Ohlendorf said. “It showed we can hang right in there, and I think we’ll get to the point where we can win those games.”
“I was happy with how I pitched,” he added. “It was probably the best I’ve pitched, even though the results weren’t as good.”
One of Ohly’s best starts, it was. He needed just 103 pitches through the eight innings, his longest outing of his career.
Of the five runs scored in the game last night, three of them came from the long ball. The Pirates’ Doumit and McCutchen both went deep and the Marlins’ Dan Uggla hit a solo-homerun as well. (Doumit’s home run, by the way, was tourched. I didn’t even see it leave the ballpark. It went 445 feet, would have landed in the river if it didn’t hit a tree on the river walk.)
“Every time I go out, I’m just trying to get a win on that night,” Ohlendorf said. “I wish my record was better at this point, but it is what it is. I just have to worry about going forward and picking up wins for the rest of the year.”
“Josh Johnson had an outstanding game today,” Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “He felt in control of his pitches after the fifth inning, [and] he took control of the game. His breaking ball, he was throwing for strikes, and he had command of his fastball and that was the difference with him.”
The Pirates had a chance in the bottom of the ninth to win it. Garrett Jones reached first on a four pitch walk. Both Alvarez and Doumit striked out and Young out to end the game.
“They really want to get the hit, so they worry about the result a lot and don’t continue to stay within themselves,” Russell said of his scuffling offense. “It’s a battle that we’re fighting through. We are capable of swinging the bats. We’ve just had too many games where we don’t.”
News and Notes:
- Garrett Jones is batting just .145 in his last 19 games.
- The Pirates have 12 home runs in their last eight games at PNC Park.
- (Via @rocodemaro) Jeff Locke, 22: 7.0 ip, 3 h, bb, 8 k tonight. ERA at AA: 3.07.
- Zach Von Rosenberg, 19, last five starts in NYP: 1.08 ERA, 17:6 K:BB, 25 ip. ERA at 3.38 for the season.
- Drew Maggi was added to the State College roster. Andy Vasquez was promoted to West Virginia.
- The Pirates remove RHP Chris Jakubauskas from 60-day DL, outright him off 40-man roster.
- Stetson Allie re: Jameson Taillon: “We’ve both got some heat. He’s got better stuff than me. Hopefully, we can get (to majors) in 2-3 yrs.”
- Neil Walker hitting .387 w/ runners on base this season (43-111). Josh Hamilton only MLB player with higher avg in category (.390).
Stetson Allie was introduced at PNC Park yesterday.
Allie was joined with friends and family last night at the ballpark as he was introduced to the city in a press conference.
“It’s pretty exciting for me and the whole family,” Allie said. “It’s great to see a Major League jersey with my name on the back. I’d love to help change this club around as best as I can. I’ll do whatever I can on the field.”
“I think sometimes when you hear bullpen come out of his mouth, he knows that’s the fast track,” Smith said. “If you look at some of the young guns, if you want to go fast, bullpen is the way to go. But I know deep down he wants to start, and we think he has the traits and the overall package to start.”
“After coaching him for all these years, you dream about this day,” Danny Allie said. “It’s a reality now. He’s accomplished part of the dream. The other part of the dream is being at PNC Park pitching at the big league level. He’ll be there. He’s a hard worker. He’s smart. He’s talented.”
“We’re so excited to help get this organization where it deserves to be for the fans,” he added. “He’s excited for that part of it.”
“The arm strength started coming when he was a freshman,” said his dad, Dan, who coaches baseball at his son’s powerhouse high school. “He was throwing 85 to 87 (miles per hour) as a ninth grader. His senior year he was sitting at 94 to 96 and he’ll hit 98, 99. It’s crazy because velocity is what everyone’s amazed by and after games they’d come up and say, ‘He hit 100 twice and 99 four times.’ I don’t know how he does it. I ask him all time and he says, ‘Dad, you created the monster.”
Yesterday, as you know, would have been Roberto Clemente’s 76th birthday. In honor of “the great one” I took a picture with his statue before the game.
Today’s Pitching Matchup:
Alex Sanabia 1-1, 4.63 ERA
Paul Maholm 7-11, 4.86 ERA
Sean West was placed on the DL and the Marlins re-called Sanabia from Triple-A for the start. Alex is 6-1 with a 1.92 ERA in the minors this season.
Maholm pitched well in his last start against the Astros, 6.2 innings, three runs on nine hitsand struck out four. He picked up his 11th loss of the season due to lack of run support. (Pirates lost 3-2)
In honor of the great Clemente, who would have been 76 today, I’m dedicating a post full of pictures and quotes of one of the most loved Pirates in history.
Quotes from Roberto Clemente:
- “He gave the term ‘complete’ a new meaning. He made the word ‘superstar’ seem inadequate. He had about him the touch of royalty.” – Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn
- “I am convinced that God wanted me to be a baseball player. I was born to play baseball.” -Roberto Clemente
- ”Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth. -Roberto Clemente
- “I want to be remembered as a ballplayer who gave all he had to give.”
- “When I put on my uniform, I feel I am the proudest man on earth.”
- I will hit .450 if you give me Ralph Garr’s legs, Johnny Bench’s age and cut the travel schedule.
For a beautiful video on the life of Roberto Clemente, watch this one by PBS
I wasn’t alive when Clemente played for the Pirates. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to see him play live. I have to re-live his memories by videos and stories from family and friends. He was an incredible ballplayer and human being. Heaven is lucky to have him on their team. He may be gone, but he will never be forgotten. Happy birthday “The great one”
News and Notes:
AA-Altoona OF Andrew Lambo has a sprained AC joint in his shoulder and “probably will be impacted by it the rest of this season,” director of player development Kyle Stark said, though he should be able to play “sooner rather than later.”
(Via @RoccoDeMaro) Pirates rookie Pedro Alvarez now has team lead in OPS (.793)
12 of the World’s weirdest Stadiums -This Blog rules
(Via @Dejan_Kovacevic) SS Ronny Cedeno was scratched after an awkward BP session in which he one-armed almost everything to RF.
- In honor of Bobby Thomson and “The shot heard ’round the world” -ESPN Video
- As Pirates fans we are obviously very excited for the signings of Taillon and Allie, but what do some of the Pirates think of the young arms and what kind of advice do they have for them?
“There’s a lot to learn,” Alvarez said. “Just take it one day at a time and, obviously, work for the ultimate goal, which is to have a long, successful career up here. But if he takes it day by day and works on what he needs to work on and stays hungry, he should be OK.”
“I look forward to meeting them and seeing them play,” Alvarez said. “Hopefully, they can have a quick development and help us right away.”
“They were highly touted for a reason and I hope they’re as advertised,” said second baseman Neil Walker, the Pirates’ top pick and 11th overall selection in 2004. “I’m looking forward to them getting to work and looking forward to getting a chance to meet them. I hope they’re everything (people) think they’ll be.”
“Big guy, he has some stuff on his fastball” Andrew McCutchen said. “It’s good to see a power arm like that in the draft that we were able to pick up.”
“Velocity makes everything better” Chris Synder said. ”If you can control it and learn how to pitch, learn how to use your other stuff to go with it then it’s something that you don’t see a lot of. And to be able to have that is huge.”
- The Pirates spent a franchise-record $11.9 million on the draft, second in Major League Baseball only to the Washington Nationals’ $13.7 million. First-rounder Jameson Taillon received a franchise-record bonus of $6.5 million and second-rounder Stetson Allie received $2.25 million.
Allie’s bonus ranks sixth in franchise history, behind Taillon, Alvarez, Bryan Bullington ($4 million), Brad Lincoln ($2.75 million), Tony Sanchez ($2.5 million) and Daniel Moskos ($2.475 million).
Chris Resop lowered his ERA to 1.23 after pitching a scoreless inning Monday night. Since the Pirates claimed him off waivers from the Atlanta Braves on Aug. 4, he’s allowed three hits in 24 at-bats, struck out 10 in 71/3 innings and has been scored on just once. “He’s a guy who we feel has gotten very consistent his last few outings,” manager John Russell said. “I like the fact that his velocity has gotten up to what he was throwing a couple years ago when he was with Atlanta when he was out of the bullpen. He’s at the 94-to-96 range occasionally, and the thing about that is he’s got command. The 14-pitch at-bat (Monday) kind of hurt him, but he kept throwing strikes. If he can keep his breaking ball going, that’s going to be a big key for him.”
- Interesting article in the NY times: Study says brain trauma can mimic A.L.S – Is it possible Lou Gehrig didn’t have A.L.S? -New York Times
- After last night’s loss to the Marlins, the Pirates are only three games away from the 18th consecutive losing season.
Today’s pitching Matchup:
Josh Johnson 10-5, 2.27 ERA
Ross Ohlendorf 1-9, 3.25 ERA
Johnson had a 1.72 ERA through the month of July. His last outing however, was not very JJ like. He lasted only 3 2/3 innings to the Reds. He allowed a season-high six runs and a career-high 10 hits. In his last three starts, 17.1 innings pitched, he is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA.
Ohlendorf pitched one of his best outings of the season. He pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings, striking out seven. Ross got the No-decision after the bullpen allowed the Astros to take the lead. In Ohly’s last three starts, he is 0-1 with an 2.04 ERA. Ross has yet to pick up his second win on the season due to lack of run support.
I love to go to the ballpark early. I love to watch the Pirates and the visiting team take batting pratice, grab something to eat and chat with the other season ticket holders around me, or other fans in general.
Yesterday I got a rather cool suprise. I was approached by one of the FSN camera guys. ”What’s your story?” Apparently, a few of them have noticed me all season long at the games by myself and wondered if I was dating a player. He said “I heard you were just a big baseball fan” I proceded to tell him my story. “No, not dating a player. I just really love baseball and enjoy being at the ballpark. I’m studying broadcasting and aspiring to be a sideline reporter.” We chatted a while. Very nice guy. Anyways, he took my camera down into the Pirates dugout and took a bunch of pictures for me. How sweet is that! I was so excited to share them with you guys.
Not technically in the dugout, but cool nonetheless.
Andrew McCutchen’s bats
Neil Walker’s helmet.
The Pirates’ players helmets.
Chris Snyder’s bats.
Snyder’s bag full of goodies.
This is an area where the Pirates can warm-up, hit, etc. before going on deck.
Pirates fans rejoice! Yesterday was a great day in the Pirates organization. Sure, they are losing for the soon to be 18th season, but I promise you, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The Pirates signed first round pick– Jameson Taillon and second round pick– Stetson Allie. (Both deals worth $8.5M) If my estimations are correct, they spent a total of $12M in bonuses in the 2010 draft. In the past three years, a total of almost $30 M has been spent in the draft. They were both signed to minor league contracts, despite rumors saying they would be a part of the 40-man roster. GM Neal Huntington said that neither will pitch until the Florida Instructional League in October.
“The last thing we want to do is rush these guys into competition,” Huntington said.
“We’ve got a vision,” Huntington said. “We’ve got a plan. We’re in the midst of executing it.”
There is obviously a lot more work to do. Going into the 2010 season I figured it to be more of a trial and audition season, rather than a fight for the .500 mark. The Pirates need to figure out which players they want to move forward with and which ones will be cut. Is Garrett Jones the real deal? Can Lastings show enough power to play right? Is Doumit the guy we want to continue to be our catcher? Which starters will make it? Who will be the new closer? Etc. Etc. A few of these have been figured out, a lot of them have not. The last 44 games will be the time to figure out who will be a part of the 2011 season.
I believe this year will be rock bottom for the Pirates. They are on pace to lose at least 100 games. But, as you know, you can’t climb back up until you have reached the bottom. I believe 2011 is the turning point. The organization will start to play much, much better and by 2013 (of course, if all goes well) they will be a legitmate team.
I know, your probally thinking, same old story that we hear every year but things are finally being done properly. It’s not a quick fix and it’s not something that will be a result over night. Neil Huntington has done a good job turning this franchise around.
If that wasn’t exciting enough, the Pirates beat the Marlins 7-1. (What is it about PNC Park? The Pirates play extremely well there. The record at home this season is 27-30 where as on the road they are just 13-48.)
“There are certain intangibles there, maybe even things you don’t think about,” Alvarez said. “It’s nice to have the fans behind you, always good to have support like that. But we also need to find a way to feel that comfort level on the road.”
“We’re young, and guys aren’t as comfortable on the road with each ballpark,” Russell said. “They’re used to their home ballpark and how they see the ball. We didn’t hit very well at all on this road trip. Some of it’s youth, some of it’s pitching. We’ve just got to get better. We don’t drive the ball on the road, as far as extra-base hits. You’re just not going to win too many games with three or four singles.”
“We seem to get the key hits more often at home,” said Garrett Jones. “We play good baseball at home and just need to carry it on when we go on the road. It’s something that we’re capable of doing. It’s just a matter of doing it.”
J-Mac continued to be nasty. He needed just eight pitches for a 1-2-3 first inning. It didn’t stop there. McDonald pitched seven innings, gave up just one run on three hits and struck out six.
“As you saw in the last start, when I get a guy 0-2, 1-2, even 2-2, put him away right there, regardless of whether it’s a strikeout or bad contact,” McDonald said. “This was a lot better.”
“I love this guy,” Russell said. “I hated him when he pitched against us. I knew what he could bring. He’s a guy that, when he goes out there, you know he’s going to give you a pretty good start.
“When he got ahead of people, he put them away early — as opposed to them taking a few pitches. In turn, he was able to go a lot deeper in the game.”
The bats were alive as well. The Pirates scored two runs in the first inning, and four times in the sixth inning. Andrew McCutchen hit his 10th home run of the season in the seventh inning. Garrett Jones and Pedro Alvarez each drove in three runs.
News and Notes:
Pirates also signed 15th Round Selection Drew Maggi and 23rd Round Selection Jared Lakind. 27 picks were signed from this year’s draft.
The Pirates are 19-9 all-time against the Marlins at PNC Park, they have outscored the fish 140-107 since 2007.
The Fish currently have a 5-game losing streak here in the Steel City.
Ronny Cedeno received a cortisone shot on Monday. He was fielding grounders and hopes to start swinging the bad again on Tuesday.
Altoona’s Justin Wilson was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week on Monday. He went 1-0 with 8 scoreless IP and 11 K’s in one start last week.
Paul Maholm (@Maholm28) tweeted this last night regarding the draft signings:
Great job buccos looks as though we have added some quality arms to the system. Good luck everyone it should be the time of ur life. Go Bucs
Evan Meek’s contusion in his left calf has disappeared after two days of rest and treatment.
“In Houston, it was real tender,” he said, pointing out that the muscle cramps in his landing leg did not allow him to follow through with his delivery. “I just needed a few days for the swelling to go down. I got treatment on it (Monday), and (trainers) said it was night-and-day better.”
Zach Duke’s future -MLBTradeRumors
Today’s Pitching Matchup:
Ricky Nolacso 13-8, 4.39 ERA
Zach Duke 5-11, 5.20 ERA
Nolasco pitched well in his last start against the Nationals going six innings giving up six hits, no runs and struck out eight. He was won four of his last five starts. However, his start against the Cardinals he gave up seven earned on 10 hits through five innings pitched.
Duke has had four quality starts in his last six outings but has only gotten two wins due to lack of run support. Zach has given up just 11 runs in five of them combined. Duke pitched well against the first place NL-Padres his last time out going six innings, gave up two earned on six hits but got the loss.
Lucky for us baseball fans, that excited feeling of Christmas Morning comes mulitple times a year. (Well, atleast it does for me!) The first day of Spring Training, Opening Day, the draft, the draft deadline (although, this could be a nightmare if your organization doesn’t sign the top picks) the playoffs (if your team is fortunate to go) and of course, actual Christmas morning. Now, I know all these days have a little bit of a different feeling but nonetheless you still get that, I can’t sleep, excitedness that you just want the day to get here.
Today, is one of those days for me. If you are a Pirates fan you know exactly what I mean. Or if your team finished in the bottom five, you know what I mean as well. The players selected in the draft must be signed by midnight tonight. For small market teams like the Pirates, this day is very important. We can’t afford to dish out $25 M a year for a player, so we have to draft and grow our own talent.
The Pirates selected Jameson Taillon second overall in the first round. The Right Hander is from Woodlands High School in Texas. Taillon has hit 99 mph with his fastball, and his curveball and slider are considered to be “plus” pitches. He also has a decent changeup. Not many high school pitchers have this kind of “stuff”. Jameson has been compared to Red Sox’s Josh Beckett. He is a true ACE, something the Pirates have not had in a very long time.
Stetson Allie, a Cleveland native was selected the second round from the draft, 52nd overall. This RHP has a fastball that has hit triple digits on numerous occasions. Allie also has a nasty slider that hits the high 80′s.
The Pirates have the oppurtunity to sign two ACE type pitchers. If they do so, they will be dishing out anywhere from $8-$10 M for them both alone. The Pirates have already signed 24 of their draft picks. For all the Ignorant fans out there saying they don’t spend money have no reason to complain if they ink these two. (The Buccos have spent more many in the draft in the past two years then any other team in baseball. They could easily make it three years in a row with signing these big arms)
So, Why am I so happy this morning? Well, before midnight tonight, the Pirates orgnanization could possibly have two ace like arms. From what I have heard and read, it’s looking like the Pirates will sign BOTH.
- The Houston Chronicle had this to say about the Pirates and signing Taillon:
The gem of the signing class, The Woodlands righthander Jameson Taillon, appears set to sign after being selected No. 2 overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Efforts to reach Taillon or his agents have been unsuccessful, but one person close to the Owls program said there’s virtually no chance he attends school. That should come as no surprise.
As the No. 2 pick, Taillon would have nothing to gain (in terms of draft position) by attending college. The only way he would come to Rice is if contract negotiations break down, but reports are leaking out of Pittsburgh that a deal may already be done and the sides are waiting until Monday to make a formal announcement.
Asked if the deal should take that long to consummate, father Michael Taillon said tonight: “I hope not. There’s really no need to. To me, the hard work’s already been done.”
There also existed “optimism” — the description invoked by all parties — about completing a deal with second-round pick Stetson Allie.
If the Pirates could land both, it would be a win-win for power right-handed pitchers, with one more in the works: They remain favored to land Mexican 16-year-old Luis Heredia once his Veracruz club is allowed by the Mexican Baseball League to begin entertaining offers Thursday.
“He’s itching to get going here,” Michael Taillon said of Jameson. “I’m excited for him, and I’m also excited for the Pirates. They’re going to get someone who definitely will be an asset to the ballclub and the city. He’ll represent the city well.”
@Kevin_Goldstein Gut tells me Pirates fans will be happy in 24 hours.
@keithlaw From a front office exec not with the Pirates: “Also hearing PIT will ink both Taillon and Allie.”
Less than 17 hours and we will find out for sure.
Other News and Notes:
Ronny Cedeno was out of the lineup for the fourth consecutive game on Sunday. He is continuing to battle a left shoulder impingement. :
“We’re still optimistic,” Huntington said. “But if we’re not seeing the progress we’re going to see, [the DL] could be an option.”
Rudy Owens has allowed just 3ER over his last 29IP over 5 starts at AA Altoona.
The Pirates scored just 11 runs on their six game road trip in which they went 0-6. The Pirates are home for 10 games facing the Marlins, Mets and Cardinals.
Today’s Pitching Matchup:
Chris Volstad 6-8, 4.74 ERA
James McDonald 1-1, 3.38 ERA
Voslstad will be pitching for the first time in his career at PNC Park. In his last three starts, Chris has one two of them. Last time out he pitched five innings giving up four runs on nine hits, striking out two, walking just one.
McDonald will be making his second start at PNC Park, his debut was a beauty. He pitched six scoreless innings, giving up just four hits and struck out eight. J-Mac struck out the first six of seven batters he faced. His last outing, however, wasn’t as pretty. McDonald lasted just 4.2 innings giving up seven hits and four runs, striking out six.
The Steel City has not been kind to the Florida Marlins. They have lost four straight at PNC Park and are 6-16 since 2003.
I’m sure by now, everyone has heard about what a big idiot Rob Dibble (Washington Nationals’ Analyst) is. If you didn’t hear about what he said about “Female Fans” here is exactly what he said on-air during the Nationals vs Marlins game on August 12th.
Those ladies right behind there, they haven’t stopped talking the whole game,” Rob Dibble said in the sixth inning of Wednesday night’s Nats broadcast. “They have some conversation going on. Right here,” he said, circling the offenders. “There must be a sale tomorrow going on here or something….Their husbands are going man, don’t bring your wife next time.”
“All right Bob, now they’re back there, they’re eating ice cream and talking at the same time,” Dibble noted in the top of the eighth.
“I just got an e-mail that said there’s a lot of women who come to the games — while their husbands are the ones at home — because they love this game,” Carpenter noted, briefly touching base with the 21st century. “Tread carefully, Mr. Dibble.”
“My wife loves to come to the game, but they’re right there, still talking,” Dibble countered.
This. Makes. Me. So. Angry!
After outrage from female fans and females that work in the business, Dibble did “apologize” saying this:
My mother was and continues to be my biggest fan. She has been there since I was eight years old playing Little League in Southington, Connecticut, shouting encouragement from the stands.
I’ll never forget 20 years ago during the NCLS; I thought I was on the top of my game, having played in my first All-Star game earlier that summer. But my mom said to me, “Rob you’ve got a good arsenal, but you still need a strikeout pitch.”
Mom was right, of course, and she remains as insightful a student of the game as I have ever known.
Likewise, my wife not only comes to every Nats game, but also scores every pitch, and genuinely feels it when her team makes an error or loses the game.
My 21-year-old daughter, who against my wishes, wears her Coco Crisp Red Sox Jersey to Yankee Stadium, does it to show pride and respect for her team.
That’s the great thing about baseball. No matter who you are or where you’re from, you can – and should – have a passion for the game and for the celebration of the game by its legions of fans in the stands. Those are the values I learned in Southington, and they are part of who I am today.
The game of baseball transcends race, sex, ethnicity, and economic status. Everyone can be a fan of this game and that’s why it remains our national pastime.
As a former player and a current broadcaster, I love baseball. Encouraging new fans and building upon our audience is essential to the future of the game. That’s why I host a national baseball radio show five days a week.
And it’s why I volunteer my time at various clinics and seminars throughout the year, to help bring baseball into the lives of new fans.
The other night I made an off-handed comment, the meaning of which may have been misconstrued beyond what was said. If any fan of this great game took offense, then he or she should know that this was neither my intention nor my history in the game.
I have had the privilege of knowing a great many fans of all backgrounds who are students of the game. Many of baseball’s most insightful fans, television viewers, and callers to my radio show are women.
And just like my mom in 1990, they know what they’re talking about.
I can’t help but bring this issue up and put my two sense in. Guys just don’t understand the issue woman have in the sports world. I have been a sports gal my whole entire life. Growing up I played softball and soccer year round. I also tried other sports but failed. (Gymnastics, Tennis, Track, Volleyball, etc.)
More importantly, I have LOVED watching Baseball, (my passion) football, hockey, soccer, tennis, golf. You name it, I watch it. Nothing compares to my love and passion for the game of baseball though. The most frustrating thing is that Rob Dibble said what most guys think. I know there are some guys out there that respect women in the industry. But sadly, a lot don’t.
I have a season ticket to the Pirates. I have only missed a handfull of games this season. I go early and watch both teams take batting pratice and warm-up. Out of 162 games, I’m at 150 of them. (That’s not even including road trips to other stadiums) I go to the game by myself. Most of my friends don’t really love baseball the way I do and to be honest I hate more than anything sitting next to someone who is talking and playing on their phone and not paying attention to the game. If I didn’t love this game, why on earth would I spend and arm and a leg for my seat? Why would I make it to at least 150 games a year? Why would I go to games alone if I didn’t understand the game of baseball?
It never fails, every game I get asked at least once what player I’m dating. Okay, maybe I get it a little. I sit a few rows behind the Pirates dugout, I’m alone, I’m a girl. And don’t get me wrong, it’s a compliment to be considered a ”baseball wife” but I’m not! Nor would I ever be! (No offense to the players.) Why can’t I just be a baseball fan, watching the game I love? I’m assumed to be either a wife/girlfriend or a Pro-Ho. (which I would never be either)
Normally, it’s men that ask the question. Then its followed by a few quiz style questions. ”Oh Yeah? Well, then who is the best hitter on the Padres? or, how long has Pedro been a Pirate? or, Who’s pitching against the Pirates tonight?” These are just a few of the questions I have to answer every single game. (Which I do, correctly. Then they feel like an idiot and I walk away.)
Then there are woman at games, that can be just as rude. (Aren’t we suppose to support each other?) Just because I’m an attractive girl doesn’t mean i’m going after your ballplayer or that I go to games just to try to snag one up. I know there are girls out there like that. Call me crazy but I want more out of my life than that.
To the women who are girlfriends, or wives. I hope to not have offended you. Some of the players are really great guys. Some of the ones I have gotten the oppurtunity to talk to and meet were really cool. And yes, I will admit that some of the players are very handsome and look very good in their uniform. But I’m not that kind of gal and I don’t want that kind of life. Some of the wives do great things with charity events and I have nothing but respect for that.
I just get so frustrated because I want to work in the industry. I want to be a part of this great, great game that I love. I hope that one day women like myself won’t be quizzed or assumed to be a girlfriend or a pro-ho.
Metsgrrl sums it up perfectly:
I wonder if Rob Dibble knows how many times women get looked at funny for keeping score. I wonder if Rob Dibble wonders how hard it is for female fans to have to continually defend their love of baseball as being about the game, and not about cute guys in tight uniforms. I wonder if Rob Dibble thought about what any teenage girls who were watching the game… and heard that. He just gave fuel to the fire of every sexist clod out there who thinks that women are dumb and can’t understand baseball and can’t possibly be at the game because they want to be. No one ever looks at a man and thinks “he must be here with his girlfriend”. It is hard enough to have a conversation with a guy at a game who assumes you are there because you are with a guy.
Here are some more comments:
Did you hear that, guys? Don’t bring your wife to baseball games! She might talk through the whole thing, which she probably doesn’t understand anyway, and like, spend all your money and stuff!
Thanks for the warning, Rob. It’s a good thing all the MALE corporate jerkoffs I see at Wrigley yakking on their Blackberries talk about nothing but OBP and the minor league draft, right? Hey, it’s a good thing they don’t let women work outside the home or drive cars or anything-imagine how much they’d have to talk about then.
Ultimately, though, I couldn’t ignore it. The fact is that this is my life. I am a woman who is a baseball fan. No, wait. I’m more than that. I am a woman who is a baseball writer. I’m a woman who is a baseball writer who runs the best and most successful Orioles blog on the internet. I am recognized by both local and out-of-town sports media as a knowledgeable source on the Baltimore Orioles.I am a woman who, if seated behind home plate at a Nationals game, would get circled by Rob Dibble and called out for gossiping about an upcoming sale while the men were trying to watch baseball.
Manager John Russell decided to give the lineup a shake-up on Saturday. The Pirates offense has been struggling; being held to just three runs or less in the last 16 of 27 games. But even with the new face lift, the Buccos weren’t able to pull a win and lost 3-2 to the Astros.
JR on the lineup shake-up:
“Looks good, doesn’t it? The five guys (at the top) are still the five guys; they’re just in a little different order. Left/Right, pretty much all the way through with a couple switch-hitters in there. It gives us a little more punch, a little bit higher, and aslo keeps the speed up top.”
The Pirates started the game off on a postive note. Andrew McCutchen hit a lead-off triple. Garrett Jones, who was hitting in the second spot for the first time in his carreer, followed up with a two-run home run quickly giving the Bucs a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Unfortunately, that would be the only runs the Pirates would score the remainder of the game.
Paul Maholm pitched 6.2 innings, three runs on nine hits, one walk and four strike-outs. Maholm pitched six strong innings but ran into trouble in the seventh. Paul gave off a lead-off single to Humberto Quintero then Bud Norris hit a sacrifice bunt moving pinch-runner Jason Bourgeois to second base. Angel Sanchez singled to tie the game at two. Hunter Pence gave the Astros the lead with a solo home run.
“To me I made three bad pitches and it cost us three bad runs,” Maholm said. “You wish we could have gotten a bigger lead, but I had a lead and I wish I could have made a pitch.”
Bud Norris held the Pirates to just five hits through seven innings and struck out a career high 14.
“(Norris) had some good stuff today,” said Alvarez, who struck out in each of his four at-bats. “We swung at some stuff out of the zone. Maybe we were too anxious.”
“He was throwing everything hard,” McCutchen said. “He turned into somebody else after the first inning. We got on his fastball, so he changed sequence and started throwing his slider. He had it working for him.”
- The Pirates have lost six straight and are 0-8 at Minute Maid Park this season.
- Garrett Jones’ home run was the first Pirates home run in the first inning since May 17 (Delywn Young)
- Pedro Alvarez is tied with Pat Burrel and Adam Dunn with 11 RBI in the last 10 games (NL Leaders)
- Ross Ohlendorf (Since June 23rd) 9 starts, 45.2 IP, 2.19 ERA, 16/BB, 40/K, Record 1-3
- Bud Norris’ 14 Strike-outs are the most by an Astros pitcher since Wade Miller had 14 on May 30, 2003 at Chicago. Norris’s 14 Strike-outs are also second most in the Majors this year.
- John Bowker since Joining AAA-Indy: 10 games, .417 AVG, 5 2B, 5 RBI, 1 HR, .447 OBP
- Justin Wilson pitched a GEM for AA Altoona 8IP, 0ER, 2H, 0BB, 11K, WIN. ERA down to 3.13.
- Mike Crotta tonight 6IP 0R 6H 2BB 6K, 4th straight solid start by the 25 year-old who was hitting 96 more than a few times. (via@ScottDMcCauley)
Sunday’s Pitching Matchup:
Jeff Karstens 2-8, 4.39 ERA
J.A. Happ 2-1, 3.45 ERA
Karstens is just 0-6 since June 19 but that is not entirely Jeff’s fault. The Pirates have averaged 2.8 runs per game during that span. In Karstens’ last three starts he has an 2.65 ERA in 17 innings pitched.
Happ has been inconsistent for the Astros since being traded by the Phillies in part of the Roy Oswalt deal. Happ tossed six shutout innings to beat the Brewers 2-0 in his debut game for Houston. His second start was a whole different story. He gave up seven earned runs on six hits and three walks in one inning of work against the Cardinals. Happ is 1-1 with an 2.40 ERA against the Pirates.
I’m going to start a FREE JEFF CLEMENT tracker. In my opinion, Clement has much more upside than Lastings Milledge. Now, I know, Clement doesn’t play right field. My ideal situation would be to move Garrett Jones to Right, and to give Jeff another shot as the Pirates first baseman. Here’s why:
- Since being re-called from AAA-Indy Clement is batting .385 with two home runs, and three RBI. This is a pretty small sample size considering he has only gotten 13 at-bats. Since he got demoted, Jeff has been working on a whole new approach, read the interview here Clement also is power guy, and the Pirates don’t have many of those on the team. We need a guy that can hit for power and score us some runs.
- I like Lastings Milledge as a person. He always seems to be smiling and having fun, staying postive even though the Bucs have only 39 wins this year. As a player? I hate to say it, but the Pirates can do much better. Milledge is batting .272 on the season, which isn’t bad at all. League average for a right fielder is .267. Lastings is a very unpredictable hitter. He hits .361 with RISP but when bases are empty he is batting .240. This is a huge difference which is alarming. Milledge lacks power, BADLY. He has only three home runs on the season, very low for a right fielder. His OBP (.331) SLG (.374) and OPS (.705) are all very low for right fielder.
- Garrett Jones is a natural first baseman but struggles with making throws to second base. Jones also seems to bat better when he plays right, compared to first base. (7 Errors at first base this year)
RF: .275 AVG, .351 OBP, .491 SLG, .842 OPS (71 games)
1B: .245 AVG, .297 OBP, .381 SLG, .679 OPS (47 games)
- To be honest, if I’m starting a Clement tracker, I should also start a BRING UP MOSS & BOWKER one as well. Both Moss and Bowker have power and can play OF/IB and are tearing it up in AAA-Indy.
Brandon Moss: .268 AVG, 20 HR, 81 RBI, .330 OBP, .477 SLG, .807 OPS
John Bowker since joining AAA-Indy (Part of the Javier Lopez trade from the Giants) .417 AVG, 5 2B, 5 RBI, 1 HR, .447 OBP
- JEFF CLEMENT: Saturday night VS Astros:
- Brandon Moss: 1-for-4, 2K
- John Bowker: 1-for-4, 2K