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An unofficial Pittsburgh Pirates blog

Updated: 2017-06-22T17:15:00-04:00


Travis Shaw drives in three, Brewers beat Bucs 4-2



Travis Shaw drove in three runs as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 and split the four-game series at Miller Park.

Shaw homered in the first inning and doubled in what became the winning run in the bottom of the sixth. The Brewers third baseman thought that he had a game-sealing three-run homer in the seventh, but an official review determined that the ball hit the top of the wall. While one run scored, Domingo Santana, who was jogging in anticipation of an easy run, was thrown out at home.

Ivan Nova, who has been exceptionally efficient this year, had an uncharacteristically difficult first inning, throwing 30 pitches and allowing two runs. Eric Sogard doubled to lead off the bottom of the first and scored on a single by Eric Thames. Following a nice double play started by Josh Harrison, Shaw blasted his homer to center field and gave the Brewers an early lead.

The Pirates righty settled down in the middle innings before allowing two more Shaw RBIs in the sixth and seventh innings. After all was said and done, Nova went seven innings and allowed four earned runs on 11 hits and two walks. Nova also struck out five.

Josh Bell gave the Pirates an early lead in the top of the first inning when he singled in Josh Harrison from second base. After the Brewers took a 2-1 lead, Gregory Polanco tied the game in the fifth inning with a solo shot to the opposite field. It was Polanco’s fifth home run of the season.

With the exception of those two runs, Brewers starter Chase Anderson shut the Pirates down on Thursday afternoon. Anderson allowed two runs on two hits in six innings of work. The righty struck out seven and walked two.

Former Pirate Jared Hughes pitched a scoreless seventh inning for the Brewers before giving way in the eighth inning to right-hander Jacob Barnes, who allowed two hits but escaped without a run after second baseman Sogard collected a weird bounce and threw pinch-hitter Adam Frazier out at the plate.

After the Pirates won the first two games of the four-game series, they lost the remaining two and are now sitting at 33-40 on the season, six games behind the Brewers.

The Pirates will now move on to St. Louis where they will start a three-game series against the Cardinals (33-38) on Friday at 8:15 PM EST.

Game Thread: Ivan Nova looks to lead Pirates to series win



Even after blowing a late-inning lead on Wednesday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates still have the opportunity to take three out of four games from the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday afternoon at Miller Park.

Ivan Nova (7-4, 2.91 ERA) looks to continue his masterful season against Milwaukee’s similarly impressive right-hander Chase Anderson (5-2, 2.92 ERA). First pitch will happen at 2:10 PM EST.



  1. John Jaso, LF
  2. Josh Harrison, 3B
  3. Gregory Polanco, RF
  4. Josh Bell, 1B
  5. Elias Diaz, C
  6. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  7. Max Moroff, 2B
  8. Jordy Mercer, SS
  9. Ivan Nova, P


  1. Eric Sogard, 2B
  2. Eric Thames, 1B
  3. Domingo Santana, RF
  4. Travis Shaw, 3B
  5. Hernan Perez, LF
  6. Jett Bandy, C
  7. Keon Broxton, CF
  8. Orlando Arcia, SS
  9. Chase Anderson, P

Cervelli still shaken up, returns to concussion list



The Pirates have announced that Francisco Cervelli has once again been placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list due to post-concussion symptoms.

Cervelli suffered a concussion on June 6th in a game against the Baltimore Orioles when a foul tip hit him in the head while he was crouched behind the plate.

The Pirates catcher went on the 7-day DL following that game and had just returned to action last week in the series against the Colorado Rockies.

Cervelli has suffered numerous concussions in his major league career and said last week that he returned to the field two days after his initial symptoms subsided. Before clearing him, Cervelli passed the Pirates’ physical tests and met both league and union requirements for reinstatement.

Catcher Jacob Stallings has been called up from Triple-A Indianapolis to replace Cervelli.

Cannonballs Coming: Meadows hurt


Indianapolis (40-31) lost 4-0 to Toledo Wednesday afternoon, but the big (and quite unfortunate) news is Austin Meadows was removed from the game early and is apparently undergoing an MRI for a possible hamstring injury. To my knowledge, Meadows has had issues with both hamstrings in the past. Nick Kingham was on the mound and allowed four runs (three earned) in 6 2-3 innings pitched. It was a decent outing for Kingham, who thew 75 of 107 pitches for strikes but saw damage done on two home runs. The Indy bats were quiet, only recording four hits. Nick Kingham 6 2-3 IP, 6 hits, 6 K, no walks, 2 home runs Altoona (38-31) lost 2-1 to Trenton. Recently-promoted Dario Agrazal went four innings and gave up two runs on three hits. He only threw 60 pitches, so I have to wonder if there was some sort of injury-related explanation for his removal from the game. Tate Scioneaux followed and threw four innings of scoreless relief. The Curve closed the gap to 2-1 in the fifth when Edwin Espinal drove home Kevin Newman with a double, but they would get no closer. Kevin Newman 1-4 Jordan Luplow 1-2, 2 walks Wyatt Mathisen 1-4 Dario Agrazal 4 IP, 3 hits, 2 K, 2 walks Bradenton (37-30) fell to Clearwater 5-4. Taylor Hearn started for the Marauders and went five scoreless innings with four strikeouts and four walks. Yunior Montero ran into trouble in the sixth, giving up a three-run homer. Jake Brentz, a hard-throwing lefty, followed and gave up another two runs in the seventh. Bradenton trailed 5-1 going into the bottom of the eighth, but mounted a rally on home runs by Logan Ratledge (1) and Jordan George (3) to close the gap to 5-4. However, the Marauders went quietly in the ninth. It was another big game for Logan Hill, who was 3-3 with a walk. Given his age and success this year, one has to wonder if a promotion will be coming soon for Hill. Taylor Hearn 5 IP, 4 K, 4 walks Logan Ratledge 2-4, home run (1), double Jordan George 1-4 , home run (3) Logan Hill 3-3, walk The West Virginia Power (30-36) did not play. The West Virginia Black Bears (2-1) defeated Williamsport 7-2. The Black Bears were leading 3-0 after two thanks to some generosity by the Crosscutters defense. But Williamsport scored runs in both the third and fourth innings to make it 3-2. It would remain 3-2 until the eighth, when West Virginia scored another four runs. Most of the damage was done by Matt Diorio, whose triple drove in three. Sergio Cubilete started for the Black Bears and lasted five innings, giving up two runs. Adam Oller followed with three scoreless innings and four strikeouts. Jose Barraza 2-4 Matt Diorio 2-4, triple The DSL Pirates (8-8) beat the DSL Cubs 7-3. Noe Toribio had a poor start, but the Pirates scored six in the the top of the fifth. Sherten Apostel was 1-4 with a double. [...]

Santana’s 7th inning homer sinks Pirates, 4-3



Domingo Santana’s two out, two run opposite field homer off Pirates’ reliever Daniel Hudson, just inside the foul pole, gave the Brewers a come from behind 4-3 victory Wednesday night at Miller Field in Milwaukee.

Pirates’ starter Trevor Williams had pitched a strong game through six, allowing a single run on four hits and two walks to go with seven strikeouts.

The Pirates scored first in the top of the third on back-to-back doubles by Adam Frazier, who had three hits in the game, and Josh Harrison, who had two.

The Brewers immediately tied the game at one in the bottom of the third. Orlando Arcia led off with a weak ground single to short left field, advanced to second on the pitcher Guerra’s sac bunt, then scored with two outs when Santana ground sharply into left, beating the throw from Frazier.

Milwaukee threatened again in the fourth. Hernan Perez doubled with one out and stole third as Keon Broxton drew ball four. After Broxton stole second, Arcia was intentionally walked to load the bases, but the pitcher Guerra lined out to Andrew McCutchen in deep left center field to end the inning.

The Pirates went up 2-1 in the fifth on doubles by Frazier’s (his second of the game) and John Jaso. An inning later they extended the lead to 3-1 when Josh Bell lined his 13th homer to deep right-center.

Williams entered the seventh having thrown only 89 pitches, but his night was over when Broxton lined a single to left and Arcia doubled inside the bag at third. Manager Clint Hurdle, playing the platoon, summoned former left-handed throwing closer Tony Watson from the pen, who proceed to retire the next two batters (both left-handed), pinch-hitter Eric Thames on an RBI grounder and Eric Sogard on a K. Satisfied with that, Hurdle chose right-hander Daniel to face the right handed batting Santana, who took a 2-0, 96 mph fastball off the outside part of the plate into the right field seats, giving the Brewers their first lead of the series.

Home plate umpire Jerry Layne seemed to want it to stay that way. Josh Bell led off the top of the eighth against hard throwing reliever Jacob Barnes, taking a 3-2 pitch that was 2.6 inches off the low-outside corner, but Layne rang Bell up for strike three. McCutchen struck out swing but Jorder Mercer singled to give the Pirates life. Gregory Polanco pinch-hit for Chris Stewart, but Layne proceeded to call two more low and away pitches to left-handed batters as strikes. Polanco then waved at a ball in the dirt to end the inning. Barnes struck out three of four batters while throwing three balls in the strike zone the whole inning.

The Pirates put up a fight in the ninth. Adam Frazier slapped a single to left with one out and went to second on a wild pitch, but on the ninth pitch he faced Josh Harrison struck out on a 96 mph fastball away. John Jaso then ground a 2-2 pitch up the middle, but Arcia ranged far behind the bag, grabbed the ball and made a spin throw to first that was scooped by Thames, getting the slow footed Jaso by half a step to end the game.

Thursday afternoon at 2:10 p.m. Eastern both team’s best starters in terms of ERA, Ivan Nova (7-4, 2.91) for the Pirates and Chase Anderson (5-2, 2.92) will face off as the Pirates try to take three of four.

MLB Draft 2017: Pirates make eight more signings



The Pirates announced Wednesday night the signing of eight more players from the 2017 draft: Alex Manasa (11th round), Hunter Stratton (16th), Will Reed (20th), Robbie Glendinning (21st), Brett Pope (22nd), Benjamin Bengtson (23rd), Lucas Tancas (26th) and Matt Seelinger (28th).

All eight players come from the college or junior college ranks.

Manasa, Stratton, Reed and Bengtson will be assigned to rookie-level Bristol. Glendinning, Pope, Tancas and Seellinger will head to the short-season-A West Virginia Black Bears.

The Pirates have signed 20 players out of the 40-player class. Their highest-picked unsigned players are second-round pitcher Steven Jennings, who has tweeted he is headed to Pittsburgh, and third-round third baseman Dylan Busby, who is playing in the College World Series with Florida State.

MLB Draft 2017: Pirates announce two more signings



The Pirates announced two additional draft-pick signings from Tuesday, second-round pick Calvin Mitchell and Compensation Round B pick Conner Uselton.

MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis reports Mitchell signed for $1,357,300, which is slot value for the pick (50th overall), and Uselton inked for $900,000, $96,000 over his slot (72nd).

Callis also reported eighth-rounder Blake Weiman’s bonus was $150,000, which is $10,700 under slot.

Pirates Prospects’ draft tracker (sub) estimates the Pirates are $360,600 under their total bonus pool, with that money available for further over-slot bonuses.

Second-round pick (42nd overall) Steven Jennings appears to be headed to Pittsburgh, presumably to sign:

Outside of Jennings, the Pirates’ only unsigned picks from the first 10 rounds are third-rounder Dylan Busby, who is playing in the College World Series with Florida State, and sixth-rounder Cody Bolton, who is reported to be signing.

Gamethread: Trevor Williams vs Junior Guerra



The Pirates and Brewers face off in game three of their four game series Wednesday night at 7:40 p.m. Eastern. Trevor Williams (3-3, 5.16) opposes Junior Guerra (1-1, 2.84)

Guerra, who has a 1.50 ERA in three career starts vs the Pirates, was last year’s feel-good story, appearing in his first full season in the majors at age 31, after the White Sox signed him out of Italy in 2014, which had been preceded by two years in the independent American Association.

Guerra doesn’t strike out a lot of batters (7.1/9), walks too many (3.5/9) and gives up his fair share of homers (1.0/9) - but he avoids giving up many hits, allowing only 7.1 per every 9 innings in his career, en route to a 2.92 ERA in 26 starts. Injured at the beginning of the year, Guerra is making only his seventh start of 2017.

Another hope for the Pirates is that Guerra has been losing speed on his fastball, down from 94.1 in limited action in 2015 to 93.1 last year and now 91.9 this year. He throws that fastball 57% of the time, followed by a splitter (19%), curve (12%), slider (6%) and sinker (5%). In his short major league career, Guerra has shown a reverse split, as right-handers have batted 238/308/395 off him, compared to 185/279/315 by left-handers.

The Pirates will start only three left-handed bats, as John Jaso spells Gregory Polanco tonight, playing right field and batting third, while Chris Stewart subs for Francisco Cervelli at catcher. Josh Bell returns to first base after a day out of the starting lineup.

For the Brewers, Eric Thames takes a breather after striking out seven times in nine plate appearances in the first two games of the series. Facing the Pirates’ right-handed starter Williams, the Brewers only have two left-handed batters in their lineup.


1 L Frazier LF

2 R Harrison 2B

3 L Jaso RF

4 R Freese 3B

5 S Bell 1B

6 R McCutchen CF

7 R Mercer SS

8 R Stewart C

9 R Williams RHP


1 L Sogard 2B

2 R Santana RF

3 R Aguilar 1B

4 L Shaw 3B

5 R Perez LF

6 R Pina C

7 R Broxton CF

8 R Arcia SS

9 R Guerra P