Well, that didn't go well at all.no comments
The Marlins got shut out in three consecutive games after the All-Star Break, but then bounced back by taking three of four from the Rockies. They're not a very good team, but at this point they are a very young team and they will cause problems for the Pirates if the Pirates start looking ahead to the big Cardinal series looming at PNC Park next week.
Tonight, Jeff Locke starts for the Pirates and Henderson Alvarez starts for the Marlins. First pitch is at 7:10.no comments
We've finally got more concrete news on Jason Grilli's elbow. This is what the Post Gazette's Bill Brink just shared on Twitter:
#Pirates announce Jason Grilli saw Dr. James Andrews, has strained right flexor tendon. No surgery, but needs rest.— Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) July 26, 2013
Grilli will be re-evaluated in the next 10-14 days. Return date unclear, but four to eight weeks is typical timetable.— Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) July 26, 2013
This is pretty much the best news that the Pirates could've hoped for, I think. No surgery or torn ligaments, and a potential return for the end of the regular season and/or the playoffs.
That being said, I don't have a whole lot of faith in Bryan Morris or Vin Mazzaro pitching high-leverage innings right now. A month isn't the whole season, but it is still a month that the Pirates have to navigate with Mark Melancon, Justin Wilson, and crossed fingers. It seems pretty likely to me that the Pirates are going to go looking for bullpen help in the next week, if they weren't planning on it already.no comments
While going through Joel Sherman's twitter feed for the info in the post below this one, I found this;
I heard that if you ask Jeff Loria the same question three times in a row, he'll just give up and say yes.no comments
The Cubs and Yankees finalized a deal this morning/early afternoon in which Alfonso Soriano will be headed back to the Bronx for minor league pitcher Corey Black. This may seem like it's unrelated to the Pirates save that it's part of the Cub Fire Sale that could give the Pirates some wins down the stretch this year, but I think it's worth noting for a couple of reasons.
One is that Alfonso Soriano is a useful role player who's making a ton of money this year and next year, and Alex Rios is a useful role player who's making a ton of money this year and next year. Another reason is that Alfonso Soriano is a Cub, and Nate Schierholtz is also a Cub. These situations aren't perfect 1:1 analogies to Soriano since Soriano had a no-trade clause and seemingly wanted to go back to the Yankees, but it is worth at least paying attention to. Black is, according to Joel Sherman, a future "power reliever," who's put up some big strikeout numbers in the low minors, but not much else yet. Sherman also says that the Yankees will be paying less than a third of Soriano's remaining salary.
Not much else going on today. You can note that the Pirates were not one of the teams with scouts in attendance watching Jake Peavy pitch last night, which probably means that any scouting the White Sox have been doing in Altoona is limited to discussion of a Rios trade. Part of me wonders if the Pirates will treat Sunday like their own personal trade deadline, since the Cardinal series starting on Monday is so huge for them, but given the paucity of available options and the plethora of teams that fancy themselves contenders, that may not be up to the Pirates.no comments
Strange Human Being That You Either Love or Hate Brian Wilson (tm) is apparently close to returning to baseball after his second Tommy John surgery last year, and the Pirates were one of the teams that watched him pitch today. Michael Sanserino also said today that the Bucs hope to "gather all information" on Jason Grilli's injury by the end of the week.
You can connect these dots however you like. For now, I think it's fair to say that if Grilli is going to miss any significant amount of time, the Pirates will be interested in adding relief help in the near-to-immediate future. That's not an Earth-shattering conclusion, but it is what it is.
via MLBTR, as so many things are this time of yearno comments
Trying to follow along with this game via a radio broadcast and Gameday was more or less impossible. The Pirates played terrible defense in the first inning, the strike zone seemed unfathomabley complicated, both managers got ejected, Pedro Alvarez was apparently called out after a half-turn the wrong way after running through the first base bag (thus vindicating every jerk Little League coach in America), and the game was full of plenty of other strange twists and turns.
Anyway, the Pirates fell behind 4-0 in the first inning, thanks in no small part to errors by Pedro Alvarez and Gaby Sanchez (with a harmless error by Jordy Mercer tossed in for good measure). The Pirates then spent the next four innings putting tons of players on base against Gio Gonzalez, but repeatedly doing nothing at all, save an RBI groundout by AJ Burnett. Just as it seemed like the entire Pirate fanbase was going to explode with anger from the lack of hitting with runners on base, Josh Harrison blasted a two-run homer to make the score 4-3. It stayed that way for a while. At one point, I think Clint Hurdle tried to pull AJ Burnett but was forbidden by Burnett from doing so. Hurdle then got ejected after the weird play with Alvarez. Burnett pitched seven innings, then came out in favor of Vin Mazzaro. Mazzaro gave up some hits and allowed a run, but it looked like he was going to escape the inning without a ton of damage until Travis Snider dove for a sinking Adam LaRoche line drive that should've been an out, misplaying it into a two-run triple. With the Nationals seemingly safely ahead by a score of 7-3, the Pirates decided to start hitting with runners in scoring position in the top of the ninth. After Neil Walker and Starling Marte (!) walked to start the inning, Jordy Mercer singled Walker home. Two batters later, Russell Martin singled Marte home. Pedro Alvarez walked to load the bases up, but then Jose Tabata struck out for the inning's second out. Josh Harrison then singled home two more runners to tie the game, causing Greg Brown's brain to actually explode and possibly damage the speakers on my computer.
Then Garrett Jones struck out, Bryan Morris took the mound, and Bryce Harper hit a two-out, two-run walkoff home run and the Pirates lost anyway.
The Pirates got three out of four on the road from the Nats, they battled back from a big deficit, AJ Burnett looked pretty good on the mound, and they managed to not take 19 innings to lose, so it's hard to be hugely upset over this game. Still, between the errors, all of the squandered opportunities early on, and Snider's misplay in the eighth, it does feel like this one might've been a winnable game that the Pirates let slip away.no comments
The Pirates look for their first four-game sweep on the road since 1997 in DC today. Because Gio Gonzalez is on the mound, the Pirates have a crazy, righty-heavy lineup that includes Russell Martin batting cleanup and Josh Harrison in right field. AJ Burnett is starting for the Pirates, and he hasn't pitched to the end of the sixth inning since his return from the disabled list.
MLB Trade Rumors has a round-up of the Pirates' trade deadline wishlist today. At this point, it looks awfully predictable. They've got interest in Nate Schierholtz, who would presumably pick up Travis Snider's end of the right field platoon, and, of course, they're still looking in on Alex Rios. Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune says that Kenny Williams (formerly the White Sox GM, now a vice president) has been spotted in Altoona, but the Curve haven't been in Altoona since Sunday and so I don't know what to make of that. I haven't seen this rumored anywhere, but I'd be much more on board with Alex Rios if Jake Peavy came along with him. That would be awfully pricey, though.
First pitch today is at 12:35.no comments
Stephen Strasburg pitched a gem against the Pirates tonight, but Pedro Alvarez took him deep in the second inning. That was the main difference between Strasburg's great start and the great start that Francisco Liriano made for the Bucs. Liriano flirted with a no-hitter for a while, and ended up turning in 7 2/3 shutout innings, striking out eight, walking three, and only allowing two hits. Since his first start after the break against the Reds was a bit uneven, seeing him get back on track is a really positive sign.
Both bullpens faltered a bit after the great starts from Liriano and Strasburg; Drew Storen got into a ton of trouble in the ninth inning and Fernando Abad couldn't clean up his mess, while Justin Wilson served up a two-run homer to Jayson Werth that made things interesting before Mark Melancon closed the game down with what may or may not have been a phantom double play.
Of course, what's important is that the Pirates got a great start from Liriano, that they beat Stephen Strasburg, and that they have their three wins from the Nats regardless of what happens tomorrow afternoon. Four wins in a row makes those two frustrating losses in Cincinnati right after the break feel like they happened a million years ago.no comments