Results tagged ‘ cubs ’
- The Pirates will face the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:05 at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, FLA.
You can watch the game for free at home today MLB.tv.
ROOT Sports (formally FSN Pittsburgh) will air the game today –the first of four spring training games this year.
- James McDonald will start for the Bucs, followed by Joel Hanrahan, Chris Resop, Aaron Thompson, Daniel McCutchen, Justin Wilson, Jeff Locke, and Justin Thomas.
Ricky Romero will start for the Blue Jays.
- Dusty Brown, who the Pirates signed as a minor league free agent this offseason, has spent the past 10 years in the Red Sox organization. This spring, he has been getting familiar with his new pitching staff.
“The young guys in camp really have good stuff,” Brown said. “In comparison to the Red Sox, as far as the young pitchers go, there are better arms with a lot more velocity here. I’m excited to see where they all go and how things end up. I think there is potential to be a very good staff in a couple of years.”
- With a few weeks remaining in spring training, the Bucs season opener is on the road this year in Chicago. Manager Clint Hurdle is aware of the horrible road record (17-64) from last season and is preparing to change it this year.
“We’ve definitely had long conversations with the front office, and we’ve got some plans that we’ve just barely started scratching the surface on,” he said. “More talk will ramp up the last two weeks of spring training when we cut the club down to size. We’re going to approach things differently in some areas. One of the traps players can fall into, and it’s not their fault, but awareness can help, that at home you have a scheduled routine. Especially if you’re married and have kids, and if not you still have a routine. The luxuries on the road where you can roll out of bed and go to the park, you can eat. … We’re going to try to find ways to get them up a little earlier, get them moving a little earlier, get our preparation done a little more succinctly on the road, find more time for ourselves to prepare, maybe a workout pattern we’re going to implement on the road to make us more comfortable in visiting cities. We’ve got a plan in place.”
Lineup: Patterson CF, Escobar SS, Bautista 3B, Snider DH, Encarnacion 1B,Thames LF, Davis RF, Aprencibia C, McCoy 2B
Pitchers: Romero, Rauch, Francisco, Villanueva, Stewart
Lineup: Wimberly SS, Ciriaco 2B, McCutchen CF, Alvarez 3B, Diaz LF, Pearce RF, Fields 1B, Brown C, McDonald P
Pitchers: McDonald, Hanrahan, Resop, Thompson, D. McCutchen, Wilson, Locke, Thomas
**The Pirates will for the first time this spring will have the pitchers bat in the lineup. They have been using designated hitters up to this point.
- Scott Olsen is showing promising sings on his left hamstring strain. He threw long toss on Monday and didn’t have any discomfort during the session.
“We’re still working through Scott on a daily basis, and we’ll let you know in a couple days where he is,” general manager Neal Huntington said, when asked about how Olsen is progressing.
Olsen’s injury impacts Charlie Morton, who is now the favored fifth starter. Manager Clint Hurdle discussed Morton briefly on Monday.
“I don’t think there is any doubt he has learned some things. He’s another guy who has taken ownership of poor performance. He knows what he’s capable of. What I’m encouraged by in what I’ve seen from Charlie is he’s honestly self-evaluating. He has visited the places where he could maybe have done better in some situations. From here on in, it’s taking the actions.”
- The Pirates will be facing Ryan Depster on opening day against the Chicago. The Cubs announced on Monday that he would get the starting nod.
- Ex-Bucco Dick Groat will be inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Pirates owner Bob Nutting addressed the media on Monday. Here are a few things he said. You can read the full story here.
On the message he gave to the team: “The real message this year was that there is a change in level of expectations. It’s critically important that they understand, and we all understand, that 2011 is not going to be a year where small bits of incremental progress are adequate. I reminded them that the goal of the organization has been, since the day I got started, to build an organization that can compete and win a championship. Until we can win a National League Championship, we’re not going to be satisfied with incremental progress. It’s critically important that they understand that up front, that they understand I have faith in them. The level of expectation is very high.”
On initial observations from Spring Training: “There is no question that what you do see is a commitment to each other and the energy and enthusiasm and the belief that Clint and the rest of the team … combining to give every opportunity to these kids not only to perform up to their level, which we arguably did not do last year, but to exceed an achieve something great.”
On if he feels the outlook is better this year than when he’s addressed the team at Spring Training in the past: “I’m extremely enthusiastic about 2011. I really believe we significantly underperformed last year. And we know that. We’ve turned the page and it doesn’t do any good to go back and beat ourselves on that. But we’ve addressed the issues that most held us back and are ready to move forward, I think, in a much better position.”
- Pitchers will resume throwing live batting practice sessions on Tuesday (Group 1) and Wednesday (Group 2) after having Monday off from throwing.
- All of the position players worked on relay throws and cut offs on Monday.
- The players and coaches attended a Major League Baseball Umpires Meeting following the day’s workouts.
- The catchers had to deal with strong winds during the pop up drills on Monday. All seven of the catchers participated and despite mother nature, not many balls dropped. Minor League manager Tom Prince was pleased with the results.
Where is it? Jason Jaramillo does popup drills on windy day @ Pirates ST camp (photo via @RobBiertempfel)
listen to the best Pirates talk here
The 2010 season for Brad Lincoln was a difficult road.
After making his major league debut on June 9th, he went 1-2 in five starts (31 innings) allowing 16 earned runs, striking out 14 and walked nine.
He best start came against the Chicago Cubs in which he pitched a seven inning shutout striking out a career high six –picking up his first major league win.
Then pitching coach, Joe Kerrigan, tinkered with Lincoln’s mechanic’s and things started to spiral. Lincoln only made four more starts before being sent back to Triple-A Indy.
“Last year made me realize, ‘Hey, this is my career,’” Lincoln said. “I am the determiner of my career. That’s the way I have to look at it. That’s what I took most out of last year — just be who you are and don’t let anybody dictate how you go about your business.”
Since Ray Searage took over as pitching coach, he has been working with Lincoln, trying to get his mechanic’s back to the way he was before.
“Mechanically, he’s there,” pitching coach Ray Searage said. “He’s back to where he was and we’re not going to fiddle around with him. Here is the ball. Go get him.”
“I don’t want [Searage] to go and not say anything to me,” Lincoln said. “But in the same sense, he’s going to let me be who I am and get that aggressiveness back and be a more physical pitcher. Last year, I felt like I was using a lot of my upper body instead of using what God gave me, and that’s big legs.”
Lincoln has been working hard this offseason, focusing on his core and his lower half during his conditioning programs.
Lincoln may have a check list of things to accomplish before the Pirates will give him a chance back in the starting rotation: consistency, his changeup has to develop and a better mindset on the mound, but that doesn’t stop him from believing he can make the Pirates team as a starter by the end of camp.
“I’m going to take the approach that I’m going to make the team out of spring,” Lincoln said. “I don’t want to go to Triple-A. I want to be at the top. That’s the way I’m going to approach it. The cards may fall as they do, but I’m going to have the attitude that I’m going to make this team and I’m going to be the guy to help out this team.”
Pirates second baseman Neil Walker was named to the Topp’s Major League Rookie All-star Team.
It is the second straight year a Bucs player has been named to the starting roster. (Andrew McCutchen was chosen in 2009)
Walker is the 17th Pirates player to earn a spot on the team since 1959 when Topp’s starting handing out the award.
In 110 games with the Bucs, Walker hit .296 with 12 homers, 29 doubles, 66 RBIs and 57 runs scored.
The complete roster for the Topp’s Major league Rookie All-Star team is: 1B Gaby Sanchez, 3B Danny Valencia, SS Starlin Castro, OF Austin Jackson, OF Mike Stanton, OF Jason Heyward, C Buster Posey, RHP Stephen Strasburg, LHP Jaime Garcia and RP Neftali Perez.
The Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall league has played five games so far this season. Since the prospects are such an important part of the Pirates future, I wanted to post on how some of the Pirates’ players have done thus far.
- Pitcher Brian Leach in two games: 2.0 IP, 2H, 0R, 2K (0.00 ERA)
- Pitcher Aaron Pribanic in one game: 2.1 IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 3K (0.00 ERA)
- Pitcher Justin Wilson in one game: 2.0 IP, 2H, 1BB, 3K (0.00 ERA) According to Keith Law, Wilson hit 95 on the gun in the first and several 93 and 94′s.
- Catcher Tony Sanchez in three games: 12 AB, 3R, 4H, 1R, 1BB, 4K (.333 AVG, .385 OBP)
- Third Baseman Josh Harrison in three games: 15 AB, 1R, 2H, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1BB, 5K (.133 AVG)
- Short Stop Jordy Mercer in three games: 14 AB, 2R, 6H, 1 2B, 5 RBI, 2K (.429 AVG, .429 OBP)
- Outfielder Andrew Lambo in five games: 24 AB, 7R, 7H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI (.292 AVG, .458 SLG)
The Mesa Solar Sox –which also has players from the Angels, Phillies, Cubs, and Mets organizations– are 4-1 and are tied in first in the AFL East with Scottsdale.
Arizona Fall league started on October 12th and runs through November 18th.
Lastings Milledge is still having problems in right field. Nearly three months ago, Milledge made the switch to right field after the Pirates called-up Jose Tabata to play left.
“We’re working him hard, hitting him balls during [batting practice], but he’s having a hard time making the adjustment [from] left to right,” Russell said. “A lot of times people think it’s tougher to go from right to left, but he’s not seeing the ball well. It’s just getting that first step to be a little bit better.”
Milledge has continued to take horrible routes and misjudges the ball becoming a less-than average fielder. The gaffes he had made are starting to be of concern and he is splitting playing time in right field with Ryan Doumit.
Lastings needs to improve his defense drastically if he wants to be a starter in 2011.
- Jeff Clement was cleared to take batting pratice and took part in the team workout on Tuesday afternoon. He will head to Indianapolis on Wenesday to begin rehab. He still has irritation while running but needs to determine if surgery is needed on his left-knee.
Wednesday’s Pitching Matchup:
James McDonald 2-3, 4.97 ERA
Tom Gorzelanny 7-8, 3.98 ERA
J-Mac got the loss his last start against the Brewers. He pitched 6.1 innings, gave up six runs on seven hits, walked two and struck out seven. Kosuke Fukudome is the only Cubs starter to have faced McDonald. (0-1, .000 AVG)
Gorzelanny had a rough month of August going 1-3 with a 5.46 ERA. He lost against the Reds on 8/27, giving up six runs on seven hits through five innings.
Andrew McCutchen CF
Jose Tabata LF
Neil Walker 2B
Garrett Jones 1B
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Ryan Doumit RF
Ronny Cedeno SS
Chris Snyder C
James McDonald P
Blake Dewitt 2B
Starlin Castro SS
Kosuke Fukudome RF
Micah Hoffpauir 1B
Tyler Colvin CF
Alfonso Soriano LF
Jeff Baker 3B Darwin Barney 3B
Koyie Hill C
Tom Gorzelanny P
Apparently, the Pirates team all got together for breakfast and had a bowl of this:
The Pirates made a complete 180 from Monday’s 14-2 loss and beat up on the Cubbies for the 14-7 win at Wrigley Field.
The Pirates’ 14 runs is a season high on the road. –Not since May 31, 2008, when the Pirates won 14-4 in St. Louis, had they scored that many runs in a road game.
Having played a very horrible game the night before, the Pirates had a bit of fire in them when they headed to the field.
Ryan Dempster –who had a 1.36 ERA in the month of August– was chased after throwing 70 pitches in just three innings. He allowed seven runs; a season high, on seven hits, walked three and struck out four. Dempster also pitched his shortest outing of the season as well.
That wasn’t a good job, a good performance by me,” Dempster said afterward. “We should’ve won that game. We scored seven runs, but it’s hard when your starting pitcher, being me, puts us in a hole and it’s 7-0. That’s a lot to overcome. I didn’t execute pitches, didn’t get ahead of hitters. No explanation, I just didn’t get it done.”
“That felt pretty good,” said Andrew McCutchen. “We hit balls hard, they found holes, hit some out. Things are actually starting to go our way. We had just an all-around great game.”
”We had a tough night last night and we evened it out,” Ronny Cedeno said. “Offensively, defensively, pitching — we put everything together. We’ve got so much talent here. We can do some things.”
The Pirates combined to score 14 runs off 15 hits. They didn’t just have one or two good innings, they continued to put runs on the board inning after inning. (Four runs in the first, one in the second, two in the third, two in the sixth, and three in the seventh)
Andrew McCutchen went 3-for-5 with two runs, two RBI and one walk.
Jose Tabata went 3-for-5 with three runs, two RBI and a walk.
Neil Walker went 4-for-5, including a home run (8), with three runs, and four RBI. Walker was also only a triple away from the Cycle.
Garrett Jones went 1-for-4, including a home run (20), with one run, three RBI and a walk.
Pedro Alvarez went 1-for-5 with a run and a RBI.
We can take a lot of confidence from this game,” Walker said. “We knew with the elements here and type of ballpark it is that scoring runs early is nice, but at the same time that you have to make sure you’re adding on. We did that. It was a great team effort.”
Not only were the Pirates hitting and scoring runs, Jeff Karstens pitched a great game as well. Throwing 87pitches through six innings, gave up just two runs on four hits and struck out six –a career high for Karstens.
“Fourteen runs, my job is easy,” Karstens said. “For the most part, missing that start made my arm feel a lot better. Now it’s just a matter of grinding it out and getting through the season.”
“We might not be winning the games that we think we should be winning, but the approach at the plate and the pitching, I think the confidence is coming,” Karstens said. “It’s a matter of turning the corner.”
The Pirates were leading 14-2 (the exact same score they lost to the previous night) until Sean Gallagher surrendered five runs off five hits through 1.2 innings.
Chris Resop pitched a perfect ninth inning, quickly proving to the staff that he would be a great seventh inning man for the 2011 season.
Other News and Notes:
- The Pirates won the first and only road win in the month of August on Tuesday.
- The Cubs have 101 errors so far this season, the most in the major leagues. Starlin Castro has 21.
- Ryan Dempster has a 99 career wins, when he hits the 100th mark he would be only the fourth canadian born pitcher to do so.
- Andrew McCutchen stole his 50th career base in the second inning, his 28th on the season.
- May 16th, against the Cubbies was the last time the Pirates scored 9 runs on the road this season.
- The Pirates snapped a streak of 204 innings without scoring more than three runs, dating back to Aug. 16.
- Andrew McCutchen is hitting 458 (22-48) vs. the Cubs in 2010. Only two NL players have at least 40 AB vs. any team this year with a higher avg. (Via @bucsinsider)
- The Altoona Curve won the EL Western Division title, the second regular-season division title in franchise history.
- The Pirates sending C Tony Sanchez, OF Andrew Lambo, INF Jordy Mercer as well as 3 pitchers TBA to Arizona Fall League.
Tuesday’s Pitching Matchup:
Jeff Karstens 2-10, 4.98 ERA
Ryan Dempster 12-8, 3.42 ERA
Karstens missed his last start due to arm fatigue, Daniel McCutchen took his start in the rotation. Karstens has passed his total innings pitched from 2009 already so the Pirates will be careful with Jeff the remainder of the season. Karstens surrendered seven runs off 11 hits against the Mets his last trip to the mound on 8/20. In his last three starts, Jeff is 0-3 with a 8.40 ERA.
Dempster has a 1.66 ERA in his last 21.2 innings pitched. Ryan won against the Nationals his last time out, pitching seven scoreless innings, gave up just two hits and struck out eight. Dempster is having a great month of August with a stingy 1.31 ERA.
Andrew McCutchen CF
Jose Tabata LF
Neil Walker 2B
Garrett Jones 1B
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Ryan Doumit RF
Ronny Cedeno SS
Chris Synder C
Jeff Karstens P
Blake Dewitt 2B
Starlin Castro SS
Marlon Byrd CF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Xavier Nady 1B
Alfonso Soriano LF
Tyler Colvin RF
Koyie Hill C
Ryan Dempster P
- As of right now, Charlie Morton will remain in the Pirates lineup –atleast until his start on Saturday.
One of the primary issues in Morton’s troublesome 3 1/3-innings return from the Minors on Sunday was the degree to which the righty relied on his offspeed pitches. For a guy who has overpowering ability, Morton’s dependency on his secondary pitches has been baffling.
Though Morton’s problems have been much more pronounced this year, his use of his fastball has actually decreased in each of the past two seasons. In 2008, 64.6 percent of Morton’s pitches were two-seam or four-seam fastballs. In 2009, that percentage dipped to 56.7. This year, it’s at 52.2 percent, meaning that Morton is going away from the fastball on about every other pitch he throws.
Morton’s lack of aggressiveness on Sunday was mostly his own doing. He shook off catcher Ryan Doumit repeatedly early on, before Doumit began playing into Morton’s less aggressive game plan later in the outing.
“As a catcher, it’s tough when you’re being shaken off by the pitcher,” Russell said. “You’re trying to get what he wants to do because you don’t want him to shake, but you also know what you want to do, so it’s a battle.
“[Doumit] kind of wanted Charlie to throw a game and see what he’s doing, and let him kind of take the game and see where he took it. Now we have a pretty good indication of what we need to focus on, not only with his pitches, but also with the mental part.”
They say you can’t turn things around or make a change until you’ve reached rock bottom.
If last night, er, scratch that. If this year for the Pirates isn’t rock bottom, then I don’t want to know what is.
For two nights in a row, the Pirates starting pitcher lasted just 3.1 innings. (As Rob Biertempfel, Pirates beat writer for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review pointed out last night;) It’ spooky how similar both Maholm and Morton’s starts ended.
Morton: 3.1 IP, 8 R, 9 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP
Maholm: 3.1 IP, 8 R, 9 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP
The Pirates just can’t find a way to win on the road this season. They are 13-52, the only team in the majors to not have atleast 21 road wins. The 14 straight losses on the road is quickly catching up to the record they set earlier in the season, with 17.
If we just keep playing hard and playing our game, things will turn around and we’ll start winning some ballgames,” Garrett Jones said. “We haven’t been getting the wins, but we’re playing hard-nosed baseball, hard all the way until the end.”
Paul Maholm has had a very rollercoaster season and last night was one of the worst starts this year. It didn’t start off well for Paul, giving up two runs in the first inning on three hits, a hit-batter; six men came to the plate and he threw 25 pitches. Maholm calmed down and pitched well until he hit a brick wall in the fourth inning. Seven runs scored on seven hits, 11 Cubs came to the plate and Maholm was pulled after 3.1 innings.
Overthrowing, not getting into rhythm, trying to do too much with it, it hurt,” said Maholm. “You look back at every game that’s kind of gone like this, and it’s been the exact same thing. I wish in the middle of it I can fix it, but you’ve got to take a step back and look at it and figure it out from there.”
The bleeding continued for Burres and Gallagher as they came in for relief. Combined they pitched 3.2 innings, gave up six runs on nine hits. The Pirates lost 14-2.
Carlos Zambrano went 5.1 innings, gave up one run, zero earned on four hits, walked four and struck out seven. Zambrano also hit a home run off Burress in the fifth inning, his 21st career homer –the most by a cubs pitcher and the most in the National League since Bob Gibson had 24.
The losses are not only effecting the players, but also the manager as well. After the game ended JR was spotted sitting in silence for a few minutes before heading to the clubhouse.
“They’re not the ones throwing the pitches,” said Paul Maholm, defending the team’s coaching staff. “It’s our job to go out there and win games and do what we’re supposed to. That can’t be on your mind. We go out there and play hard every day, and that’s all you can do.”
News and Notes:
- Pedro Alvarez last RBI (before last night’s) was on August 16th.
- The Cubs hit eight doubles during last night’s game.
- The Pirates have now allowed 10 + runs for the 13th time this season.
- Brad Lincoln –a hopefull Septemeber call-up– is still being bothered by neck spasms. He is currently on the minor league DL and hasn’t pitched since August 18th. Before the DL stint, Lincoln gave up just one run in his past 12 innings.
- Not since 1952 — when Pittsburgh pulled out just 19 wins away from home — has the club not reached the 20-win road benchmark (Via Pirates.com)
- The Pirates are on pace for a 53-109 record.
- In Major League baseball, no team hase lost more than 106 games since the 2004 Arizona Diamondbacks went 51-111. (Via Pittsburgh-Post Gazette)
- For some happy news: Rookies on the rise:
Jose Tabata .312 AVG, 17 2B, 21 RBI –Since All-Star break .362 AVG, 3 HR, 15 RBI
Neil Walker .298 AVG, 20 2B, 44 RBI –Since All-Star break .319 AVG 4 HR, 32 RBI
- Evan Meek’s swelling on his right hand is continuing to subside and he should be able to pitch again within a few days. Meek said he doesn’t feel pain in his hand and can almost close his fist fully. On sunday, he couldn’t close his hand at all so he is making great progress.
“I’m waiting for the swelling to go down, and then to be able to grip the ball without having any pain, “ Meek said. Hopefully it’s going to be only a few days, and then I should be able to get back on the mound. It shouldn’t be that long.”
The Pirates don’t expect to put Evan Meek on the DL, the bullpen will have to make by with one man short.
- The Pirates will have Chris Snyder catch Charlie Morton’s next start on Saturday. John Russell said he repeatedly shook off Ryan Doumit during his start on Sunday.
- Chris Synder is out of the lineup for the second straight game.
- Indian LHP Rinku Singh has been promoted to State College.
- State College’s Adalberto Santos named the New York-Penn League Hitter of the Week.
- (Via @Dejan_Kovacevic) Pirates RHP Evan Meek says hand “feeling good,” gripping baseball by his stall. Expects to throw after couple days. Meek has some swelling on hand, but not much, and bruising minimal. “I got really lucky.”