Found September 30, 2012 on Pirates Prospects:

Kyle McPherson may have only thrown 20.1 innings in the Majors before taking the mound on Saturday night in Pittsburgh, but the 24-year-old looked nothing like a rookie against the National League Central best Cincinnati Reds.

Looking to make a lasting impression in his final start of the 2012 season, and to put himself into conversation for a spot in the Pirates rotation out of spring training next year, McPherson was impressive in just his third big league start with Pittsburgh, tossing six scoreless frames against a tough Reds lineup.

“It’s big,” McPherson said. “It’s definitely a huge step forward. I had some shaky starts, not getting through the fifth inning…I definitely got a boost of confidence from it. I’m looking forward to next year and hopefully turn some heads along the way.”

“I think there’s more there, but that’s the guy we’re talking about,” Manager Clint Hurdle said. “This is the guy that we’ve seen pitch downstairs. To pitch six complete up here after what he’s been through his first few starts, big step forward…He went six innings. He went through a Central Division Champions lineup. He’s got what you’re looking for. It’s just got to be added some sprinkled experience on with it. Tonight was a big step for him.”

McPherson worked himself into a jam to start the game, but was able to work himself out of it unscathed retiring the heart of Cincinnati’s lineup. Back-to-back singles from the Reds’ started the first frame, and a groundout from Joey Votto pushed both runners to second and third. But after getting a pop out to first base for the second out, McPherson got Jay Bruce to ground out to leave both runners stranded.

“He just came out there to slow the game a little bit and give me a little breather,” McPherson said of what pitching coach Ray Searage told McPherson after the jam in the first. “Just told me to continue to make some good pitches and you don’t have to be too fine with that guy in the box. Go out there and be me and keep attacking.”

McPherson went on to retire nine straight, which included three straight whiffs. The streak was snapped after Votto drew a leadoff walk to start the fourth. McPherson retired his next three straight, however, to leave him stranded and keep his scoreless outing intact.

McPherson didn’t allow another hit until two-outs in the fifth to pitcher Mike Leake, who doubled into the notch in left center field. McPherson’s fourth and final hit allowed in his third start of the season came in his final inning of work in the sixth. The out-out single from Votto was erased by an inning ending double play.

“I just tried to stay in there and do my job and fight for the team. Just go out there and attack every inning and go deep into the ballgame,” McPherson said. “I was establishing stuff early with the fastball, and the breaking ball was key for me tonight. Doing that, we were able to keep them off-balance and keep them in check.”

The rookie allowed just four hits over six frames with a walk and a career-high five strikeouts while throwing 94 pitches, 60 for strikes in his final outing on Saturday. McPherson finished his season in the Majors with a 2.73 ERA combined over his 26.2 innings (seven in relief) with seven strikeouts and 21 walks.

For what’s been a whirlwind season for McPherson, the right-hander proved at each level along the way this year that he has the talent to have success in the big leagues. After battling a right shoulder injury, which forced him to miss the first two months of the season and battle through rust in Double-A Altoona, McPherson needed just three starts at the Triple-A level before proving he was ready for the next step. McPherson allowed just two earned runs over those three starts (18.1 innings) while striking out 17 batters and limiting hitters to just a .172 clip.

“Quality pitches is always key for me,” McPherson said. “The ball tends to get up and get in the zone and that’s something I’ll continue to work on. But overall, after the injury and coming back, it was just focusing on the quality of each pitch.”

The season for the rookie was a challenge, but one that has ultimately made him a stronger pitcher.

“He pitched a very good ballgame,” Hurdle said. “Best outing for him in this trip. His fastball command improved. The curveball was in play. He used his changeup. He actually threw some nice two seam fastballs tonight and in some offensive counts…Very, very good job tonight. He’s got to feel good about himself after his performance.”

 

Marte Tightening Up Some Things

Starling Marte was out of the starting lineup against the Reds on Saturday after missing Friday as well. The rookie outfielder’s last start came on back-to-back games on Wednesday and Thursday when he went a combined 1-for-6 after missing four straight on the road.

“There’s a bunch of things that we’re working with, with Starling. Absolutely,” Hurdle said. “Base running, leads and breaks. Path, barrel to the ball, bunting — all three of those are probably at the top of the list. Just angles, paths, leads and breaks on the base.”

“He’s showed the defensive part of it. He can make it look easy. He made a throw at Citi Field the other day that took your breath away. He’s closed in on some balls that just make you go, ['wow']. When him and Andrew [McCutchen] are in left and center field, it’s like, ‘wow’. We cover a lot of ground on that side of the field…He’s still working to tighten some things up and improve things.”

On the season, Marte is hitting for a .250/.297/.408 line over 42 games in the Majors, and a .246 clip since coming off the disabled list with a right oblique injury. Marte has 10 stolen bases, five caught stealings over 152 at-bats. Six of those 10 have come in the month of September. The 23-year-old has the skill set that Hurdle believes makes it easier for him to improve in all those areas.

“A lot of it is confidence though,” Hurdle said. “A lot of it is the feel and the makeup that you see with different individuals up here that are even highly skilled. Base running, it’s a gambler’s mentality. It’s risk versus reward. And sometimes you get a player that puts more emphasis on the risk side than the reward side.”

“The skills obviously help because the kind of speed that he’s got is a game changing speed, but to make it productive and play out. We’ve seen some great jumps from him. We’ve seen some jumps that weren’t of the value that he can bring. Understating the difference in slide step and pickup. To make sure he’s watching some things and really focusing on something things. It’s all part of the experience factor that he’s got going on.”

 

McCutchen Walks Off to Snap Recent Skid; Not Watching Posey

Andrew McCutchen has had an impressive 2012 season, but sitting on an 0-for-15 skid, the outfielder showed up big for the Pirates with a swing of the bat. With one-out in the bottom of the ninth inning in a tied 1-1 game against Cincinnati, McCutchen launched a 2-2 pitch from reliever Jonathan Broxton for the Pirates third walk off home run this season.

“It definitely felt good,” McCutchen said. “I started feeling better through the course of the game. Just wasn’t getting anything to show for it. To get a hit in that fashion definitely felt good.”

“Beautiful,” Hurdle said. “He’s been playing. All year long, his at-bats he takes personal. He doesn’t give many away. There are some stretches that are challenging. To get in that count 2-2 to Broxton and just to pound that ball to right center field the way he did…he pounded that ball. Big swing. He’s got to feel good.”

McCutchen went 1-for-5 against the Reds. He trails Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants .334 to .329 for the National League batting title. Although a tight race, McCutchen said he’s not watching Posey’s box score.

“We can look at that at the end of the season,” McCutchen said.

“It’s not that his confidence ever wavers,” Hurdle said. “But I do think there’s sparks that happens from his game from time to time. This could definitely be an igniter for him.”

 

– The Pirates drew 38,623 fans at PNC Park on Saturday night for their 17th sellout of the season. The attendance passed the two million mark for the first time since the 2001 season (when the ballpark opened) and just the fourth time in team history.


THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Minor Moves: Pirates Re-Sign Kris Johnson

The Pittsburgh Pirates have re-signed left-hander Kris Johnson, according to Baseball America’s minor league transactions. Johnson split time this year between Double-A and Triple-A, serving as an upper level organizational player whenever one team needed an extra starter. He combined for a 3.19 ERA in 101.2 innings, and made 13 starts, with four in Triple-A. Johnson would have...

Pirates Exploring How Karstens Fits in the Picture

After battling through several injuries this season — a right shoulder injury that sidelined him for nearly two months and a hip flexor injury twice — when Jeff Karstens finally got back healthy, his role with the club was moved into the bullpen. And that’s where the right-hander will finish the season as Manager Clint Hurdle’s final rotation to end the season had his name...

Something to smile about

After Friday night’s no-hitter capped off nearly two months of total misery for the Pirates, they came through – for one night, anyway – and earned a feel-good victory on Saturday. Kyle McPherson was excellent in his third and final start of the year. The young righty allowed just four hits (two after the first inning), struck out five, and walked just one. He made it through...

The biggest gut-punch yet

It’s been a while since the Pirates were no-hit. Somehow, during this unprecedented stretch of futility that reached 20 years tonight, it had never happened. The last no-hitter against the Bucs was by Bob Gibson in 1971. With all the terrible lineups, all the ace pitchers they’ve gone up against, and all the close calls they’ve had, I’m frankly amazed they managed to avoid...

Final: Pirates 2, Reds 1

Source: FanGraphs

Final: Reds 4, Pirates 3

Source: FanGraphs

Reds edged late by Pirates

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Andrew McCutchen hit a solo home run off Jonathan Broxton with one out in the ninth inning, lifting the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Cincinnati Reds 2-1 Saturday night. A day after getting no-hit by Cincinnati's Homer Bailey, the Pirates won with eight hits. McCutchen's 31st homer helped Pittsburgh keep a record 20th consecutive losing season at bay for...

Pirates 2, Reds 1

Andrew McCutchen hit a solo home run off Jonathan Broxton with one out in the ninth inning, lifting the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Cincinnati Reds 2-1 Saturday night. A day after getting no-hit by Cincinnati's Homer Bailey, the Pirates won with eight hits. McCutchen's 31st homer helped Pittsburgh keep a record 20th consecutive losing season at bay for at least a day. The...

Reds 4, Pirates 3

The Pittsburgh Pirates ensured they'd finish with a record 20th straight losing season Sunday when they blew a ninth-inning lead in a 4-3 defeat to the Cincinnati Reds. Pinch-hitter Xavier Paul led off the ninth with a home run off Joel Hanrahan (5-2) and Zack Cozart had a go-head double for Cincinnati, who clinched home-field advantage in the NL division series. They are competing...

Twenty

The Pirates certainly made their 81st loss about as painful as possible, and after one night of happiness, they followed it up by dropping number 82 in a different fashion–but just as agonizing. Coming into this game, the Bucs were 69-0 when leading after eight innings. Joel Hanrahan had blown a few saves, but each time the Pirates came back to win anyway. Now, they’re 69-1....

Reds clinch home field with victory over Bucs

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Pirates ensured they'd finish with a record 20th straight losing season Sunday when they blew a ninth-inning lead in a 4-3 defeat to the Cincinnati Reds. Pinch-hitter Xavier Paul led off the ninth with a home run off Joel Hanrahan (5-2) and Zack Cozart had a go-head double for Cincinnati, who clinched home-field advantage in the NL division...

Pittsburgh Pirates no hit by Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds, secure 20th straight non winning season.

Congratulations to Homer Bailey and the Cincinnati Reds, who defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 1-0.  The Pirates secured their 20th season without a winning record by banging out a total of zero hits. Zero. The Pirates were 60-44 on August 1st. Today, the Bucs are 76-81, hitless, and an organization that must be paying for the sins of a Pittsburgh Steeler franchise that...

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds – Game 159

The Pirates are going to take this freaking series aren’t they? Okay, this one is going to be tough. First Pitch:  1:35 PM EST Where To Watch:  Root Sports, MLB.TV, FS-O Johnny Cueto, RHP (26) Amazing that this guy didn’t make the All Star (joke) Team. He will probably be the second pitcher this year [...]
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.