Found April 05, 2013 on
Three games into the 2013 season the Pirates are 1-2 and for the most part have not been able to consistently put the ball into play.
Andrew McCutchen leads Major League Baseball with four stolen bases. Photo credit: David Hague
Andrew McCutchen, not surprisingly, has not been one of the players that hasn’t had that problem. Yesterday in the Pirates Pregame we talked about his commitment to being aggressive when he gets on base, and McCutchen promptly stole two more bases in the Pirates’ 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Those brought his total to four stolen bases in three games — the most in Major League Baseball entering the season’s first weekend and two more than any other player in either league.
At the plate, McCutchen has been the only Pittsburgh player that hit with any consistency in the first series. He leads the team in hits (3) and RBIs (4) and has helped spark near-comebacks in the ninth inning of each of Pittsburgh’s two losses.
Clint Barmes has also had a few bright spots at the plate. Barmes had two doubles against the Cubs and is the only Pirate not named McCutchen with an extra base hit.
When Jared Hughes surrendered a two-run home run to Chicago’s Nate Scheirholtz in the ninth inning on Thursday it was just the first hit allowed by a Pittsburgh relief pitcher this season.
Mark Melancon, Tony Watson, Justin Wilson and Jason Grilli combined to throw 5 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts and zero walks. Hughes also gave up the bullpen’s only walk so far, also in the ninth on Thursday.
In Wednesday’s win the bullpen took center stage in the late innings of the game. Watson came in with the bases loaded in the seventh inning and was able to get out of the jam before pitching a perfect eighth inning before Grilli came in (to much fanfare) for his first appearance as the Pirates’ closer and promptly struck out two Cubs and got his first save of the season.
As bad as the offense has been in this very young season, the pitching staff as a whole has performed at a level that will help the team win games.
As Tim noted in today’s First Pitch, the possibility of the designated hitter coming to the National League looks very real with the changes made to the MLB schedule associated with the Astros move to the American League.
Prior to Thursday’s game, a reporter asked Cubs manager Dale Sveum for his thoughts about bringing the DH to the senior circuit.
“I don’t know. I kind of like it the way it is,” he said. “Obviously it makes sense now with the new scheduling and all that. I enjoy the National League game and I enjoy managing the National League game.”
The Pirates first interleague series is May 7 and May 8 in Pittsburgh against Seattle, and the first time Pittsburgh will be forced to use a DH this season will be in late May when the Pirates travel to Detroit for a two-game series.
I’ve been asked a few times what I think about the lineups the Pirates have used so far, and all I’ll say at this point is this: we’re only three games into the season, so I’ll reserve judgement about Clint Hurdle’s lineup decisions until we get a broader picture of what he is trying to do. James Santelli will be at Dodger Stadium tonight while I will be following along at home (which is a long way from Los Angeles).
BEST OF MAXIM
Last season the Pittsburgh Pirates finished last in the National League with 73 stolen bases. Andrew McCutchen led the club with 20 stolen bases, but that was down from 23 in 2011. So far this season, McCutchen has two stolen bases in as many games and said being more aggressive while on base has been a point of emphasis for him entering the 2013 season.
Andrew McCutchen has two...
Can James McDonald be more like the first half pitcher from 2012? (Photo by Mark Olson)
Last night James McDonald got off to a great start for the 2013 season. The right-hander pitched seven innings, giving up one run on two hits, with two walks and four strikeouts. McDonald didn’t always look as good as the stat line. In the early innings he looked a bit shaky, but the Cubs didn’t...
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...
Today is Opening Day for the 2013 Minor League Baseball season. All four full-season Pirates affiliates play this evening, and the starting pitchers can be found on the daily schedule. This week we’ve been previewing the four affiliates who will be starting their season, along with some analysis for each level of the system. The links to all of those write-ups can be found below...
Charlie Morton is increasing his pitch count after being placed on the 15-day DL.
Greetings from Dodger Stadium, where it should be another beautiful Los Angeles night. Here’s a link to Friday’s recap if you missed it.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle provided updates on some of the team’s injured pitchers:
Charlie Morton (elbow) will throw two innings in an extended game Monday...
Russell Martin is one of three hitters who have hit second in the first four games. Photo credit: David Hague
At the end of Spring Training, the Pittsburgh Pirates started using Garrett Jones as a number two hitter. I wrote about the topic during the final week, and noted that Clint Hurdle said the team was also looking at Neil Walker, Russell Martin, and Travis Snider as other options...
Yesterday was Opening Day of the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates minor league season. All four full-season affiliates opened their schedule last night and all four ended up on the losing end. Tonight marks the season debut for top prospect Gerrit Cole, but he isn’t the only interesting pitcher going today. Nick Kingham and Clay Holmes will also get their first start today, they were...
Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes on the Pittsburgh Pirates' Brunch Burger: It is an egg, bacon and sausage sandwich with sprinkled donut buns, and it is glorious.
Jonathan Sanchez allowed only one walk in his Pirates debut, but gave up six hits.
Jonathan Sanchez could not close the strong opening act he provided in his Pirates, and with no help from the punchless offense, the Pirates lost 3-0 at Dodger Stadium on Friday night.
The Buccos’ left-handed starter surprisingly commanded the strike zone well, but was charged with all three runs...
Starling Marte was called up to the Pirates in July of 2012. The young outfielder finished the remainder of the season in Pittsburgh. Playing in 47 games, Marte hit .257, he smacked five home runs to pair with six triples, three doubles and 12 stolen bases. Marte told PiratesDugout.com's George Von Benko through an interpreter that he hopes an offseason of hard work pays off this season.
AJ Burnett pitched well and lost in the first game of 2013. Wandy Rodriguez pitched well in the second game and won. The most important pitcher in the rotation for the season's first two months is not Burnett, nor is it Rodriguez. It's today's starter, James McDonald. McDonald had a Jeckyll and Hyde 2012 season with an All-Star worthy first half and a brutal second half...
Jeff Locke will make his season debut Sunday at Dodger Stadium
The Pittsburgh Pirates finished their opening series against the Chicago Cubs in disappointing fashion losing the final game 3-2. The Pirates bats have yet to really wake up as they combined to score a total of 6 runs in the 3 games against the Cubs. However, the pitching has been there, as Pirates pitching only allowed...
Pirates (1-2) at Dodgers (1-2)
10:10 PM–Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
After yesterday’s deflating loss to the Cubs, the Bucs headed out west for a six-game swing that begins tonight in LA. The game is late, obviously, and will be televised by ROOT after the 7:00 Pens game ends (there shouldn’t be a conflict).
You are now looking at the new...
Pirates (1-3) at Dodgers (2-2)
9:10 PM–Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
The Bucs will look to right the ship tonight out in Los Angeles, but the timing couldn’t be much worse for a matchup against the best pitcher in the NL. The many struggles on offense have been well chronicled so far, but here’s a quick summary:
OK, official offensive slashes: 127/.195...
Last night was a good night to be a Pirates fan. Two hits! Shutout! Scoring more than a run! Frankly I can’t think of too many awful things from last night. As you guys know, when a Pirates fan has very few awful things to talk about it was a good game. One awful thing…