Found August 03, 2012 on
The Sports Jags:
Tonight’s the night. According to the Trib’s John Grupp, the last time the Pirates played such a meaningful series this late in a season, we were more worried about if Cory and Topanga were finally going to get down to business on TGIF than what the Buccos were going to do on a trip to Cincinnati. The three-game tilt against the Reds that kicks off tonight is definitely the biggest series the Buccos have played this year.
The Buccos are just one of six teams with 60 wins right now, they’re 16 game over .500 and they control the No. 1 wild card spot. Did we mention it’s August? Cincy’s got a 3.5-gmae lead on first place in the NL Central, and the only way this series could have been any bigger would have been if the Reds lost to the Padres yesterday (we’re screwed by Ross ohlendorf again) to leave just 3 games separating the two teams that are about to play three games against each other.
The Bucs MUST win this series to gain some ground on the Reds. It’d be a miracle for them to sweep it seeing as how in the three series the Bucs and Reds have played so far, no one has swept…and because the Reds have been far and away the best team in baseball since the break. Cincy is 17-3 the second half thanks to a 10-game win streak – insane. It could also have something to do with the fact that their last 13 games (MIL, HOU, COL, SD) have come against teams with a combined record of 165-255. The Pirates’ schedule has been just as easy but their pitching still hasn’t gotten back to first-half form. But the Buccos do hold the edge in the season series so far. They’ve won the last two series and are 5-4 against the Reds this year.
Clint Hurdle knows how big this weekend is, that’s why he moved AJ Burnett’s start to Sunday to get him in on the action. The Pirates are sending their three best, Wandy Rodriguez, James McDonald and Burnett to see the tail end of Cincy’s rotation of Latos, Leake and Bailey. But even if Wandy settles in with his new team and J-Mac is back to being J-Mac, the Buccos still have to get the bats going at Great American Ball Park. Latos K’d 11 in just 6 innings against the Bucs and Bailey through a complete-game 4-hitter his first start against the Pirates this year. Hell, Neil Walker is the only Bucco hitting over .270 against the Reds this year – he’s 11 for 35 with 2 homers, 7 RBI and 6 runs.
The best news for the Pirates though is their lineup is 100% healthy while the Reds will be without their two best players in Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips this weekend – the pitchers need to take advantage of that. The Pirates need to take advantage of knowing that they can close the game to as little as half a game this series with a season-high 11-game home stand waiting for them.
If the Pirates are serious, we’re about to find.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
@mbandi Right, because J-Mac buzzing someone is going to make them see the error of their ways. That has a good track record.
— Ed Giles (@InClementeWthr) August 4, 2012
It is an argument that has been had numerous times. Should you retaliate if your opposition drills your best player?
Friday night, Andrew McCutchen faced off against Reds’ closer Aroldis Chapman with two outs...
Every year, following the trade deadline, I take a look at the future payroll for the upcoming year. In previous years, the Pirates’ season was all but over following the deadline. Today they sit with 60 wins, three games out of first place, all in early August. So the approach is a bit different. The primary focus is contending this year, not the payroll next year. But the Pirates...
Catching up on some roster moves that took place yesterday in the farm system:
**2012 compensation pick Barrett Barnes was placed on the 7-day disabled list. No reason was given in the press release, but I’ve learned that he’s out with a lower leg stress related injury. He’ll be out for a few days, and then the Pirates will reevaluate him and determine what type of return to...
On July 25, 2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates' record stood at 53-47, good for a tie for first in the National League Central. Optimism around Pittsburgh was higher than it had been in almost two decades. Even if they didn't make the playoffs, at least the Pirates had a good chance at finishing with the team's first winning record since 1992. But the team faltered badly down...
A lot has changed since we last updated the top 20 prospects rankings after the draft. Mark Appel didn’t sign. Starling Marte was promoted, and will most likely lose his prospect eligibility by the end of the year. The Pirates traded Robbie Grossman, Rudy Owens, and Colton Cain. The short-season leagues started, giving us a look at what the younger prospects were working on in...
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 mid-season update.
1. Gerrit Cole, RHP, Altoona (2-4, 3.94) - DNP
2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Bradenton (5-7, 4.09) - DNP
3. Alen Hanson, SS, West Virginia (.316) - 3-for-4, 3B, BB
4. Josh Bell, RF, West Virginia (...
Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen has been voted the National
League Player of the Month for July.
1B/OF Garrett Jones had his nine game hitting streak snapped in Friday night's 3-0 loss to the Reds. Jones had been on a tear, knocking in 15 runs in his last 14 games and 21 RBI in his last 26 games. Prior to Friday's game he had gone 28-for-89 (.315) with five doubles, a triple, six home runs and 21 RBI in his last 25 games. PiratesDugout.com's George Von Benko caught...
The Pirates take on the Cincinnati Reds this weekend in what could be the biggest series of the year. The two teams meet two more times this year — in Cincinnati in early September, and in Pittsburgh in late September — but considering the current standings, this is a key weekend for the Pirates to stay in the race.
Cincinnati has a 3.5 game lead over the Pirates. Best case scenario...
The Reds found unusual ways to score runs tonight. The Pirates found zero ways to score runs tonight. Wandy Rodriguez had more than a quality start tonight, pitching 7 innings and giving up just 3 runs on 7 hits. After dealing with control issues in his last start, Wandy walked no one tonight and struck [...]
When the Pirates acquired Mike McKenry last June, I was a little bit puzzled. The Pirates really needed a catcher at that point in the season and McKenry seemed like a decent acquisition. He hit for some power in the low minors, though he was old for his levels, and he showed pretty decent patience through his whole minor league career and his defensive reputation was good. I didn...
Indianapolis Indians 13, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees 1
Daniel Cabrera gave up one run in 6 innings.
The Indianapolis Indians rolled into Frontier Field in Rochester, NY and got the party started. They cracked out 21 hits and 13 runs to overwhelm the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees tonight. Every member of the Indians’ line-up had at least one hit, and CF Jose...
Rod only played in 2 games in the past week, but he was a crucial part of both games. He caught Wandy Rodriguez’s Pirates debut on Saturday night and also had the winning hit, and he caught AJ Burnett’s one-hitter on Tuesday. Rod caught Wandy’s debut for one reason, according to Rob Biertempfel: Wandy had [...]
This weekend's three-game series between the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates is probably the most important one between these teams since the 1990 NL championship series.
The Reds have won 13 of 14 to establish baseball's best record as they host the team chasing them in the NL Central - the wild card-leading Pirates - on Friday night.
Cincinnati (64-41) and Pittsburgh...