Found May 31, 2013 on
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Thursday is podcast recording day, which means I spent most of my time today writing articles for the site, recording tomorrow’s show, and editing that show. Therefore, rather than a formal article, we’re going to do a Thursday thoughts article again.
**Put me down as someone who isn’t concerned with the bullpen usage. If we’re talking about the middle relievers, there’s plenty of depth in Indianapolis. That depth probably doesn’t include Vic Black (DL) or Duke Welker (struggling) right now, but it does include guys who are having success like Ryan Reid and Jared Hughes.
How can the Pirates reduce Jason Grilli’s workload? Photo credit: David Hague
If we’re talking about Jason Grilli or Mark Melancon, that’s a bit of a different story. Right now Melancon is on pace for 84 innings, while Grilli is on pace for 74 innings. It’s good that they’re being used so much, because that means the Pirates are winning. You’d also like to see their usage go down, at least to the 60-70 inning range. But if one of those guys goes down, the Pirates have other options who could step up, like Bryan Morris or Justin Wilson.
Ideally you’d like to have all four relievers in your bullpen at the same time. There are a few solutions to this problem.
1. Start winning by more than one run. The pitching has kept the team in the game long enough for the offense to take a lead. If the offense gets a few bigger leads, there will be no reason to turn to Melancon or Grilli.
2. No need for Melancon/Grilli during easy saves. The Pirates need to abandon the idea that they have to play to the save stat. A few weeks ago Grilli came on to get the final out when the Pirates were up by five and the tying run was on deck. That technically qualifies as a save opportunity, but do you need Grilli for that? Do you need Melancon pitching when there’s a six run lead? The answer is no. And I’d even say that you don’t need Melancon when there’s a three run lead in the eighth inning. You could even give Grilli a night off on those occasions too. Give a few of those outings to Morris, Wilson, or Tony Watson.
3. Losing. Yeah, the Pirates shouldn’t try to lose. But they’re going to lose. There will be a few stretches where they don’t win, and Grilli and Melancon won’t be used as much. When that happens, those projected innings counts will go down. And if it doesn’t happen? Then the Pirates would be on pace for an incredible record. It will happen. It’s baseball. Every team goes on losing streaks. You just want to make sure there are more winning streaks.
**Today was the second game in a row that Jordy Mercer started at shortstop, the third in the last five games, and the sixth in the 15 games that Mercer has been back. Is Mercer starting to take more and more playing time away from Clint Barmes? You be the judge:
@timwilliamsP2 Clint Hurdle said today, unprompted, that Mercer "has provided a punch." Take that for what you will. #Pirates
— James Santelli (@JamesSantelli) May 30, 2013
**Based on the stats you’d probably be more comfortable with Jameson Taillon than Gerrit Cole. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports had two interesting tweets today.
One scout on Jameson Taillon: "Plenty of talent, but not as close as I thought he might be. Up to 98-99, but straight at times."
— Danny Knobler (@DannyKnoblerCBS) May 30, 2013
Same scout on Gerrit Cole: "He could go up at any time. He's one of best I've seen this year."
— Danny Knobler (@DannyKnoblerCBS) May 30, 2013
The comment on Cole wasn’t just the scout Knobler talked to. David Todd of 970 ESPN talked to Jim Callis of Baseball America and got a good report.
From @jimcallisBA: Gerrit Cole's stuff is about as good as Strasburg's stuff, but he doesn't command it as well.""Best stuff in the minors."
— David Todd (@DTonPirates) May 30, 2013
Cole still has the stuff to eventually be that number one starter. He’s been dealing with command issues this year, and hasn’t been dominating. It would be great if he suddenly flipped a switch and became the Gerrit Cole people hoped for at the start of the year. That addition to the rotation would be better than any trade the Pirates could make for the rotation.
**As I’ve mentioned the last two days, the podcast will have some changes starting this week. Each week the podcast has been about 70 minutes, and has included minor league and major league talk. Starting this week we’ll be running two smaller shows per week. We will still have an episode each Friday, talking about the major league team. This show will consist of the segment with myself, Tom Bragg, and James Santelli. We will also have a second episode each week talking about the minor leagues. That will include input from our minor league writers, as well as draft and international signing discussions. Each episode will be about 30-35 minutes on average. So it will be the same content each week, just broken up throughout the week to make things easier for everyone. You don’t have to carve a little over an hour of time out of your day. I don’t have to spend an entire day editing one long podcast (instead editing over part of several days, which I think will be better).
**The big weekend series this weekend will be the Yankees and Red Sox…naturally. But the best weekend series will be the Pirates and Reds. The Yankees and Red Sox are at the top of the AL East right now, but the Pirates and Reds are at the top of baseball, with the second and third best records. The last time the two teams played, the Pirates swept the Reds in a three game series. It would be huge if that happened again.
Links and Notes
**The DraftStreet freeroll is back! One Day FREE Fantasy Contest – $300 in cash prizes. The contest is tonight, so join today!
**Save $8 On The Pirates Prospects Books With the MLB Draft Sale.
****The next Pirates Prospects Podcast episode will be available tomorrow. Here is last week’s show: P3 Episode 5: Polanco the Top Prospect? Can Pirates Keep Winning? Mark Melancon Interview.
**Pirates Win 1-0 On Martin’s Walkoff, Another Combined Shutout.
**Latest Keith Law Mock Draft Has The Usual Names For Pirates, Surprise At The Top.
**Jonathan Mayo’s Second Mock Draft, More Reese McGuire.
**Links: Are the Pirates For Real?
**Pirates Notebook: Who Makes In-Game Hitting Adjustments?
**Prospect Watch: Allie and Lambo Homer; Pimentel Has Another Rough Outing.
**West Virginia Wins 8-3 In Lakewood, Allie Hits Monster Homer.
**Minor League Schedule: Cole Leads First Place Indianapolis Into Columbus.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The performance of the bullpen has played a role in the the Pirates’ winning ways, especially given the many close games they have won. Pittsburgh’s relievers are ranked 2nd in the National League in ERA, 3rd in strikeout percentage and 4th in FIP.
Justin Wilson may see more late-inning relief outings in place of Mark Melacon. (Photo credit: David Hague)
That success has not...
The 2013 Dominican Summer League begins play on Saturday, with both Pittsburgh Pirates affiliates in the league taking the field, one of them as the defending champions. The league has a 72 game schedule and runs through the end of August. While the Pirates have two different teams in the league, known as Pirates1 and Pirates2, the players they have in the Dominican Training Facility...
The Pirates pitched their 9th shutout of the season, and second 11-inning shutout against the Tigers, and Russell Martin hit a walkoff single off the wall to beat Detroit 1-0 Thursday night.
Russell Martin hit the walkoff single in the 11th, his second walkoff in two weeks. (Photo Credit: David Hague)
Russell Martin smacked a fastball 400 feet to the North Shore Notch to score Neil...
Top prospect Gerrit Cole takes the mound tonight for Indianapolis, coming off a start in which he allowed hits to the first three batters of the game, then followed that with six no-hit innings. He will face off against second place Columbus, who trail Indianapolis by 6.5 games in the standings. For a look at the possible starters over the next few weeks, please check out our Probable...
This is not a secret, but the way that relievers are used has changed quite a bit throughout baseball history. One of the first truly famous relievers was the Pirates' own ElRoy Face, who had a dominant run from 1957-1962. In that span, he averaged 61 appearances a season with 47 games finished. That doesn't sound terribly different from the way the Pirates used Joel Hanrahan...
James McDonald will be on the hill tonight for Altoona, hoping his second rehab start goes much better than his first. Two new teams on the schedule today as the Dominican Summer League season gets under way. For a look at the possible starters over the next few weeks, please check out our Probable Pitchers Chart. Check out the Recent Transactions section to the bottom of this page...
Russell Martin hit a bases-loaded single off the left-center wall in the bottom of the 11th inning to give the Pittsburgh Pirates a 1-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday night.
Neil Walker opened the inning with a sharp single to right off Luke Putkonen (1-1) and Andrew McCutchen walked. Gaby Sanchez loaded the bases by bouncing a single through the left side of the infield...
Keith Law has posted his second mock draft(subscription required) this morning and he has two names going to the Pittsburgh Pirates that we have heard often. With the #9 pick, he has High School catcher, Reese McGuire. At #14, he has the Pirates taking New Mexico first baseman DJ Peterson.
There has been a lot of talk with Peterson possibly going anywhere from sixth overall,...
Rob Biertempfel of the Trib reported tonight that Scott Boras would be open to a long-term deal involving Pedro Alvarez and the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the article, Biertempfel quoted Frank Coonelly and Scott Boras, who both said they’d be open to the discussions. That doesn’t mean much, since discussions are far from a deal. The more important thing is what is said during the...
Anibal Sanchez spent six innings toying with the Pittsburgh Pirates, his electric stuff rendering the Pirates innocent bystanders.
When the Detroit starter finally wobbled, Pittsburgh wasted little time knocking him over.
Pedro Alvarez's two-run double sparked a seventh-inning rally and the Pirates streaked by the Tigers 5-3 on Wednesday night. Travis Snider added an RBI double...
Reds (34-21) at Pirates (34-21)
7:15 PM–PNC Park, Pittsburgh
The Bucs look to bounce back tonight against the Reds in front of the first Saturday concert crowd of the season. Kool & the Gang will perform after the game and these things tend to draw huge crowds regardless of who’s playing, so expect a near sellout despite the Pens game across town tonight...
Neil Walker eyed Johnny Cueto's fastball and turned on it. Before the Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman could get the bat out of his hands, the ball was nestled into the glove of Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto.
In one motion, Walker flipped his bat in faux disgust, then turned back toward the dugout.
''You hit a ball hard and sometimes you see that it's the...
Johnny Cueto and the Reds dominated the Pirates on Friday night, as they cruised to a shutout victory that turned ugly in the late innings.
Cueto, as he almost always is against the Bucs, was phenomenal. Eight shutout innings, one hit. That’s all you need to know. The Bucs may have hit a few balls hard that didn’t drop, but it certainly wasn’t a smoke-and-mirrors type of outing...
Last night I realized something. Many Pirates fans are bloggers are really freaking annoying. Whenever anyone does anything good it’s not enough. Jeff Locke leaves em loaded it’s “well his strand rate is unsustainable”. It’s like you’re not allowed to enjoy what’s probably been the best series in the past 20 years. Some of you…
One of the best ways to figure out when (or if) a player is going to be promoted is by looking at what the organization has done with previous players. For the most part, each player is an individual circumstance and should be treated with an individual approach. However, there are usually a lot of trends you can find with an individual team which can be used to predict the path...