Posted August 23, 2012 on AP on Fox
The Pittsburgh Pirates' push for their first playoff appearance in 20 years has slowed considerably. Given the Pirates' recent history against the Milwaukee Brewers, it's far from a guarantee that will change over the weekend. Exactly one year after their last meeting at PNC Park, Pittsburgh will try to end a three-game losing streak Friday night when the Brewers go for their fourth win in a row. Back from a 2-4 trip, the Pirates (67-57) open a six-game homestand with 15 losses in 24 games. They've fallen to third in the NL Central and are in a tight battle with Atlanta, St. Louis and Los Angeles in the wild-card race. "We know what's at stake every single game," catcher Rod Barajas told the Pirates' official website following Wednesday's 4-2 loss to San Diego. "We're not going to sit here and put extra pressure on ourselves and try to do more than we're capable of doing." Andrew McCutchen is capable of far more than what he's shown lately. His NL-leading batting average dropped to .349 after going 6 for 29 on the trip. "I'm a lot better than where I am right now," he said. "... I know it'll change." Facing the Brewers, who have lost 14 of 15 on the road, could help. The All-Star center fielder is 12 for 24 with four homers and nine RBIs against Milwaukee this season. The Brewers, though, have held a significant edge in this divisional matchup since 2008, winning 51 of 68 after splitting six games at Miller Park this season. Starting Friday, these teams will play nine times in 28 days, including three more in Pittsburgh from Sept. 18-20. "We haven't been there at all this year, which is weird," Brewers slugger Ryan Braun, the NL leader with 34 homers, told the team's official website. "We played them to start the second half, so it doesn't feel too long ago, but it's weird we haven't been to one of the teams in our division yet." Friday's scheduled starter Mike Fiers (6-6, 2.90 ERA) will get his second look at the Pirates after giving up four runs over five innings in a 6-5 loss June 3. The rookie right-hander needs a bounce-back performance after posting a 15.43 ERA while losing his last two starts. Fiers had a 1.33 ERA while winning his previous three outings. "I've heard rumors about limiting my innings (a career-high 142 including the minors) and getting shut down, but I try not to worry about that," Fiers said after walking a season high-tying four in Saturday's 4-3 loss to Philadelphia. "I'm looking forward to my next start. I need to be better." So does Wandy Rodriguez (8-12, 4.00), who will try to avoid losing a career-high fourth consecutive start. The left-hander is 1-3 with a 5.06 ERA in five appearances since being acquired from Houston on July 24. He threw two innings out of the bullpen Sunday in a 6-3, 19-inning win over the Cardinals. Rodriguez is 0-6 with a 5.98 ERA in seven starts since his last win, 6-3 over Milwaukee on July 7. Braun, whose 36 RBIs at PNC Park are his most at any opposing ballpark, is 14 for 36 (.389) with four homers versus Rodriguez. Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez are both batting .370 (17 for 46) against him. McCutchen has two hits - including a homer - in three at-bats against Fiers.

Juan Cruz Cleared Waivers and Released by Pirates

Juan Cruz cleared outright waivers, and refused his assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis. The right-hander has been released by the organization. Cruz, 33, signed as a minor league free agent in February, and broke camp out of spring training with the club. The veteran posted a 2.78 ERA over 35.2 innings in relief this season with Pittsburgh. Cruz also spent some time on the disabled...

Pirates call up Jeff Clement

The Pirates have called up Jeff Clement from Triple-A Indianapolis and swapped Yamaico Navarro to Indy to clear his spot. Clement will be back in the majors for the first time since 2010. This isn’t a very big move by any means; just a bench swap. Clement provides some power from the left side, and has had a pretty solid and consistent season in Indianapolis. He hit 16 homers with...

Indians Sweep Bats, Behind Locke’s 6 Shut Out Innings And McPherson’s Homer

Indianapolis Indians  4,  Louisville Bats  2 (Box)   Jeff Locke earned his 10th win of the season. The Indianapolis Indians made a sweep of the Louisville Bats tonight at Victory Field, taking all three games of this short series.  Tribe starter Jeff Locke earned his 10th win of the season, pitching 6 shut out innings.  RF Dallas McPherson had two key hits in the game, including...

This Date in Pirates History: August 24

Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players have been born on this date, one of them went on to later manage the team. In his Jolly Roger Rewind, John Fredland recaps a game that turned the 1987 season around, allowing the Pirates to finish on a strong note. Before we get to the former players, we have a current player celebrating a birthday. Pitcher Kevin Correia turns 32 today. He...

Prospect Watch: Nine Strikeouts From Irwin, Avila Homers Again

TOP OF THE SYSTEM A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today.  Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. Rankings are from the post trade deadline update. 1. Gerrit Cole, RHP, Altoona (3-5, 3.25) - DNP 2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Altoona (1-0, 0.00) - DNP 3. Luis Heredia, RHP, State College (2-1, 2.28) - DNP 4. Alen Hanson, SS, West Virginia...

Prospect Watch: Cole Has Trouble in Trenton

TOP OF THE SYSTEM A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today.  Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. Rankings are from the post trade deadline update. 1. Gerrit Cole, RHP, Altoona (3-5, 3.25) - 4.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO, 0 HR 2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Altoona (1-0, 0.00) - DNP 3. Luis Heredia, RHP, State College (2-1, 2.28) - DNP...

Pirates Notebook: First Inning Runs off Bucs Unfortunate Trend

  Photo by Mark Olson The Pittsburgh Pirates first inning woes continued on Wednesday after James McDonald allowed San Diego to plate three runs in the opening frame. The first inning struggle has been somewhat of a trend for the Bucs as of late. In each of the opening frames against the Padres over the three game set, the starters have allowed at least two runs to touch home...

Prospect Watch: Locke Pitches Six Shutout Innings; Avila Extends Streak

TOP OF THE SYSTEM A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today.  Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. Rankings are from the post trade deadline update. 1. Gerrit Cole, RHP, Altoona (3-5, 3.25) - DNP 2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Altoona (1-0, 0.00) - DNP 3. Luis Heredia, RHP, State College (3-2, 2.86) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0...

Game 124 Live Chat: Pirates at Padres

Pittsburgh Pirates Live Game Chat

Don't Panic Yet, Pirates Fans

The Pirates are currently 8-13 in the month of August, losers of three straight, and 11 of their last 16 games.  They've fallen out of the wild card for the first time since June, one game back from the St. Louis Cardinals. Here we go again?  Not yet.Despite a multitude of issues -Andrew McCutchen in a slump, the starting pitching struggling, the bullpen melting down- the season...

Zack Von Rosenberg Still Dealing With Fastball Inconsistency

Von Rosenberg has struggled as of late, after a strong July. Instead of heading to the minors after spring training ended, the Pirates organization decided to keep Zack Von Rosenberg in extended Spring Training to focus on two things: keeping the ball down and repeating his delivery. The right-hander worked hard and joined Low-A West Virginia on June 4th. “Just being consistent...

Leroux Struggles But Strikes Out 9, Indians Win See-Saw Game

Indianapolis Indians  7,  Louisville Bats  5 (Box)   Chase d’Arnaud went 4-for-5 with an RBI. The lead changed hands 5 times as the Indians and Bats battled back and forth at Victory Field tonight.  In the end, though, it was the Indianapolis Indians who came out on top of the Louisville Bats for the win.  Tribe starter Chris Leroux struggled in his 5.1 innings, but as the...

This Date in Pirates History: August 23

Just one former Pittsburgh Pirates player born on this date, and no major transactions, so we go with two game recaps today. In the first, we go back to 1907 for a no-hitter by one of the better pitchers in Pirates history. Then in his Jolly Roger Rewind, John Fredland covers a big game, for the second day in a row, by Roberto Clemente. The No-Hitter On this date in 1907, Howie Camnitz...

The Pirates are playing at 6:35 and that's weird

The Pirates and Padres will blessedly wrap up this accursed series this afternoon at 6:35 at Petco Park, which seems like a very strange time to play a getaway game for an East Coast team in San Diego, but then the Pirates actually have an off-day tomorrow so maybe it doesn't matter. The Padres are starting a young gentleman by the name of Andrew Werner tonight; he actually...

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Milwaukee Brewers – Game 125

Just what the doctor ordered.  A team that has no problem pushing around the Charmin Soft Pirates after they got swept by the Padres. Not sure if you noticed but I took the day off yesterday.  Nothing to do with the Pirates.  Twitter blackout, no message boards.  And this is basically where I’m at. This [...]
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