Found April 20, 2013 on
Figuring James McDonald out is not easy. McDonald was so bad on Monday that it seemed like either a trip to the disabled list or removal from the rotation was unavoidable. On Monday, his fastball averaged a little over 90 mph and he never hit 92. His curveball seemed flat, and he got one swinging strike all night. Tonight, he was an entirely different pitcher. He still battled some command issues, but his four walks were more than offset by nine strikeouts. His fastball was much better, averaging about 91.5 mph and topping out at 94. His curveball was ridiculous and when the Braves weren't flailing after it, they were frozen in place by it. He even worked in nine sliders, by PitchFX's count, and I think some of his early strikeouts were on the slider. He looked like James McDonald -- a little wild, but with good enough stuff to overwhelm that problem.
It's worth noting that he got some help from his fielders tonight, particularly in the fifth inning. To open the inn...
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
James McDonald struck out nine batters tonight. Photo by Mark Olson
Tonight wasn’t the type of game you’d normally expect the Pirates to win. It’s not the type of matchup you’d expect any team to win. On one side you had the best team in baseball, with a pitcher who entered the game with 20.1 shutout innings to start the season. On the other side you had a team that has been...
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. If a player is in the majors, he will be removed, everyone below him will be shifted up a spot, and a new player will be added to the bottom of the list. Rankings are from the pre-season rankings, and links to each prospect writeup can be...
Starling Marte’s 10-game hit streak came to an emphatic end last night, with the 22-year old Pirates outfielder striking out five times in Pittsburgh’s 6-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves at PNC Park.
Starling Marte was given the night off by Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. Photo Credit: David Hague
Marte is not in the lineup today against the Braves with manager Clint Hurdle electing...
Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Wandy Rodriguez speaks to the media (through Heberto Andrade, who is usually a bullpen catcher for the club but serves as an interpreter here) about what made him successful in Pittsburgh’s 6-0 win against Atlanta on Friday.
In tonight’s game story, James Santelli broke down the great homestand the Pirates just had, and how impressive it was that they beat three teams who look like they’ll be heading to the playoffs this year. I thought about following up on that by looking back at what I’ve said over the last two years when the Pirates started to look promising.
There have been times in each of...
The Pirates have released Alex Valdez.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have released infielder Alex Valdez, Pirates Prospects has learned. Valdez was signed over the off-season as a minor league free agent after spending a year in the Mexican league. He played a lot of shortstop in Spring Training, playing for the Triple-A squad. Valdez showed off a great glove, but didn’t hit a lot, and...
The Pirates are on the good side of .500 for the first time this season thanks to another rock-solid win over the Atlanta Braves. Saturday night’s victory featured more fantastic pitching and just enough offense to get the job done.
James McDonald remains impossible to understand. One start after completely imploding and looking like he had no business starting in the major leagues...
Top prospect Gerrit Cole will get his fourth start of the season today, hoping to build off his first solid outing of the 2013 season. Altoona played a doubleheader last night, making up a Friday rainout. Francisco Liriano made his second rehab start in the first game. For a look at the possible starters over the next few weeks, please check out our Probable Pitchers Chart. We have...
Braves (13-3) at Pirates (8-8)
7:05 PM–PNC Park, Pittsburgh
The Bucs go for two in a row against the Braves tonight at PNC. It’s Andrew McCutchen bobblehead night, so there should be a solid crowd (which is good, since there haven’t been any good crowds since the opener). A win would clinch a series split for the Bucs, which would be a very strong result...
Pedro Alvarez scored the first of four Pirates’ runs in the victory. Photo credit: David Hague
The Pittsburgh Pirates getting out to a 10-8 record to start 2013 would be far less impressive if half of those games were against, say, the Marlins, Padres and Astros. Strength of schedule plays a larger part in early-season stats and records than many of us want to recognize. Yes, the...
On Saturday, April 20, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be giving out an Andrew McCutcheon bobblehead — referred to as “Clutch Bobblehead” in a nod to McCutcheon’s nickname — to the first 25,000 fans through the gates at PNC Park for the team’s game against the Atlanta Braves. The Andrew McCutcheon bobblehead features Rawlings Gold Glove and Louisville Silver Slugger awards...
Braves (13-2) at Pirates (7-8)
7:05 PM–PNC Park, Pittsburgh
The Bucs look to even this weekend’s series with the red-hot Braves tonight after a tough defeat late in last night’s game.
Programming note: This was originally scheduled to be another MLB Network telecast, but the Pens game has been postponed tonight due to the events in Boston. As a...
What a homestand! The Pirates were somehow able to patch together a victory on Sunday afternoon, wrapping up an excellent series win over Atlanta. It was certainly a messy game, but that won’t stop any Bucco fan from being thrilled with the outcome.
The main reason today’s win was so big was the pitching matchup. It was Jonathan Sanchez (ERA north of 12) against Kris Medlen ...
When the Pirates play games like they did last night, with Wandy Rodriguez cruising on the mound and the defense clicking behind him and all sorts of guys coming up with big hit after big hit, it's actually sort of easy to watch them and think, "Seriously, this team could contend for a playoff spot." It's obviously early to talk about things like that when the team...
After slowing down one of the hottest teams in the majors, the Pittsburgh Pirates are on the verge of their longest win streak of the season.
A.J. Burnett will try to deliver that fourth straight victory while building on a superb outing Monday night against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Pittsburgh has won nine of 12 since its 1-5 start and took three of four over Atlanta to wrap...