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An unofficial Pittsburgh Pirates blog

Updated: 2017-05-22T23:24:52-04:00


Gerrit Cole, Pirates fall flat in 5-2 loss to Braves



Gerrit Cole got touched up for 10 hits, David Freese and Clint Hurdle got ejected and the Pirates fell to the Braves, 5-2, in a frustrating game Monday night.

Ender Inciarte went 5-for-5 to lead the Atlanta attack, and the Braves got 13 hits in total.

With a run already in, Brandon Phillips cracked a solo homer off Cole to put the Braves up, 2-1, in the third.

Cole ran into more trouble in the fifth, an inning he would not finish. Two hits opened the inning and an error followed for a third Braves run. Matt Kemp hit into a double play, but Matt Adams homered deep to right. (Adams, recently acquired from the Cardinals, has also played for teams at the academic institutions Slippery Rock University and Philipsburg-Osceola High School, FYI.) Atlanta had a 5-1 lead, Cole walked the next batter and his night was done.

Cole had two strikeouts, two walks and 10 hits for five runs in 4 2-3 innings, his shortest outing of the season.

The Pirates took a short-lived 1-0 lead in the top of the third when Jordy Mercer scored from second on Dansby Swanson’s wild throw to first.

Freese struck out looking on a wide pitch in the fourth. Shortly after, he said something from the dugout and was ejected. Hurdle followed suit.

The Bucs got their fake rally in the sixth, stringing three singles to start the inning. John Jaso’s hit scored Josh Bell. That chased Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz. With runners on the corners and no outs, journeyman Jason Motte fanned Francisco Cervelli and Jordy Mercer and got pinch hitter Jose Osuna to ground out.

Mercer was hit in the right hand by a grounder and later left the game.

Jhan Marinez made his Pirates debut and ate 2 2-3 innings before running into trouble in the eighth.

Jaso and Mercer each had two hits.

Cannonballs coming: Newman homers, Hearn struggles



Indianapolis had the evening off.

Altoona lost to the RubberDucks of Akron 4-3. Altoona received a strong performance from Austin Coley who went 7 innings allowing 6 hits and 2 runs. His command was good tonight as he threw 58 of 86 pitches for strikes and didn’t issue a walk. Coley induced 8 groundballs vs 5 flyouts and generally seemed to be getting weak contact. His offspeed and breaking pitches looked impressive getting a number of swinging strikes.

Kevin Newman (pictured, 539 OPS in last 10 games) led off the game with a line drive homerun to left field that got out in a hurry. Connor Joe also worked a very nice at bat before roping a single up the middle in the 1st and finished the night 2-3 with a walk.

Old friend Luis Heredia came into a 2-2 game in the top of the 8th inning. Unfortunately, there isn’t much positive to report. The broadcast reported his velocity at 95 mph but his command was unimpressive and Pablo Reyes made a running catch on ball drilled to deep center to end the 8th. Heredia started the 9th inning but allowed 3 walks before giving way to Montana DuRapau and 2 came across to score as the Curve went on to lose 4-3. A Wyatt Mathisen homer got the Curve within 1 in the bottom of the 9th.

Austin Coley 7 IP, 6Ks, 0 walks

Kevin Newman 1-3, homerun, 2 walks

Kevin Kramer 0-4, 3Ks

Wyatt Mathisen 2-4, homerun (851 OPS)

Bradenton lost an ugly game to St. Lucie 7-2. The night got off to a bad start as Taylor Hearn threw 40 pitches in the 1st inning allowing 3 hits, 2 walks and 4 runs before being removed. Will Craig went 2-4 with a double. Aside from Craig, it was a quiet night at the plate with the Marauders only recording 5 singles.

Taylor Hearn 1 IP, 3 hits, 2 walks, 3Ks

Yunior Montero 4 IP, 4 hits, 1 walk, 2Ks

Cole Tucker 1-4 with 1K

Ke’Bryan Hayes 1-4 with 1K

Casey Hughston 2-3

West Virginia was rained out.

Game Thread: Behind Gerrit Cole, Pirates seek third straight win



Shameless plug Public service announcement: Check out our series preview and make a pick. Here are the lineups for tonight’s 7:35 p.m. game:


  1. Adam Frazier, LF
  2. Josh Harrison, 2B
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Josh Bell, 1B
  5. David Freese, 3B
  6. John Jaso, RF
  7. Francisco Cervelli, C
  8. Jordy Mercer, SS
  9. Gerrit Cole, P

— — —


  1. Ender Inciarte, CF
  2. Brandon Phillips, 2B
  3. Nick Markakis, RF
  4. Matt Kemp, LF
  5. Matt Adams, 1B
  6. Tyler Flowers, C
  7. Rio Ruiz, 3B
  8. Dansby Swanson, SS
  9. Mike Foltynewicz, P

Series Preview: Pirates at Braves



The Pirates (20-24) will continue their attempts to make up ground with a soft spot in their schedule, heading to Atlanta’s Cobb County’s new SunTrust Park. The Bucs have yet to experience a generational gut-wrenching loss at this venue, which already elevates it above the Braves’ last two parks, in my book.

Like the Pirates did midweek, the Braves took two of three from the Nationals over the weekend. Atlanta just missed a sweep, dropping Sunday’s game, 3-2. The Braves have won seven of their last 10 — they took three of four from lowly Toronto last week.

Season Series: 3-0 Pirates


Monday, 7:35 p.m. - Gerrit Cole (2-4, 2.84 ERA) vs. Mike Foltynewicz (2-4, 4.10)

Tuesday, 7:35 p.m. - Tyler Glasnow (2-3, 7.34) vs. R.A. Dickey (3-3, 4.13)

Wednesday, 7:35 p.m. - Trevor Williams (2-3, 6.04) vs. Julio Teheran (3-4, 5.47)

Thursday, 12:10 p.m. - Ivan Nova (4-3, 2.63) vs. Bartolo Colon (2-4, 6.38)


18-23 (18-23 Pythag, 4.59 RS/G, 5.15 RA/G)


The Braves’ position players have overachieved a little bit, posting 5.8 fWAR as a group, 11th-best in the majors. Freddie Freeman (14 HRs, 2.6 fWAR — more than twice that of any teammate) had a lot to do with that, though, and he’s out 10-12 weeks with a fractured wrist. Matt Kemp (.346/.385/.630) has regained some of his past production, in 135 plate appearances. Tyler Flowers (.349/.465/.458) is doing unsustainable things (.443 batting average on balls in play). Dansby Swanson (.206/.292/.312) is looking more like a 23-year-old.

EDIT: You may also want to know Atlanta traded for Matt Adams recently.


Braves pitchers have amassed a whole 0.7 fWAR, besting only the Marlins across MLB. Colon has limited walks (5.2 percent), but for the most part he and Dickey have eaten innings, and, really, that’s what they were brought in to do. Teheran has not been particularly good, whichever way you want to look at it, especially considering expectations. Arodys Vizcaino (30.4 K%, 5.8 BB%) is quite good. Jose Ramirez and, strangely, Jim Johnson have been productive in the pen as well.


The Braves aren’t complete pushovers, which is a success for them at this point. These are the games the Pirates should be winning if they want to make something of themselves this season, though. It’s baseball (I say that every time; I plan on continuing to do so), but the Bucs need to make some hay down south.

MLB draft 2017: Are the Pirates focused on college bats?



Mock drafts keep rolling in and the latest ones mostly seem to see the Pirates going for college bats. Of course, nobody really has a clue what the Pirates will do with the 12th pick, as they’re notoriously discrete about their leanings, but this does make a certain amount of sense.

Among several new mocks, Jonathan Mayo of MLB Pipeline has probably the most radical projection, with the Pirates taking Vanderbilt outfielder Jeren Kendall. Mayo’s idea is that, apart from Will Craig, the Pirates have typically gone for up-the-middle players with athleticism with their first round picks in recent drafts. I’m very skeptical. Kendall is a revved-up version of Keon Broxton, with great foot and bat speed, and a lot of raw power, but he has major swing-and-miss issues. Apart from later-round lottery tickets like Casey Hughston, the Pirates just don’t go for hitters with contact issues. Kendall doesn’t seem terribly similar to Austin Meadows, Cole Tucker and Kevin Newman.

Baseball America a few days ago had the Pirates taking Keston Hiura of UC Irvine. Hiura doesn’t actually have a position right now, as he’s been a DH since early last season due to elbow problems. He’s had a PRP injection that may or may not be helping, so a team selecting him would probably need to assume he’ll have surgery immediately after the draft. Hiura does have one of the best bats in the draft. He hits for average and power, and scouts seem to like everything about his swing. He could end up as a corner outfielder or possibly a second baseman. He seems a much more plausible pick for the Pirates than Kendall.

D1 Baseball (sub. req’d) has the Pirates taking Missouri State third baseman Jake Burger. Perhaps ominously, Baseball America compares (sub. req’d) Burger to Craig as a “bad-bodied but big-hitting third baseman.” Burger is putting up big numbers this year, along with showing good plate discipline. As far as I know his power isn’t heavily dependent on his home park, as Craig’s was. As with Craig, there seems to be some doubt whether he’ll stick at third. D1 Baseball adds that the Pirates would really like University of Virginia outfielder Adam Haseley, who might not last until the 12th pick.

In Case You Missed It: What to make of Andrew McCutchen


Check out some important information and interesting reads from the last week or so: Pirates The case for optimism for Andrew McCutchen can only get so optimistic. The case for pessimism rings a little too true. McCutchen was pulled in a double switch on Tuesday. He was upset — with himself for underperforming. Jameson Taillon wants to be an advocate for early detection of testicular cancer. Stephen J. Nesbitt penned a perfectly enjoyable piece on Francisco Cervelli’s pitch framing. Around the NL Central Paul Sullivan wondered whether anyone could hit Wrigley Field’s center-field scoreboard in a game. This got me to these pieces from Bleed Cubbie Blue touching on Roberto Clemente’s legendary homer there. (What’s that? Those FanPosts are pretty neat? Well, try your hand here.) The Brewers are hitting few pop-ups and many home runs. The Brewers and Cubs had a rainless rainout in Chicago. The Cubs will likely need starting-pitching help, reminding Derrick Goold of the (non-playoff) 2016 Cardinals. Meanwhile, the Reds staff is operating in emergency mode. Elsewhere Old friend Charlie Morton found a little more in Philadelphia and Houston, and he’s been (what’s the word I’m looking for) electric for the Astros. I keep meaning to make time to read this; to be honest, I’ve yet to do so, but I wanted to pass it on. MLB Trade Rumors has a three-part series on the 1992 expansion draft, which just sounds like all kinds of fun. [...]

Huntington says Pirates will put savings back into payroll



Pirates general Neal Huntington said Sunday that he “will gladly” put the team’s savings from absent players back into the team.

The Pirates are estimated to save $5.3 million this year due to the absences of Starling Marte (PED suspension) and Jung-Ho Kang (DUI arrest in South Korea) and the release of Jared Hughes.

This is good, I guess.

It’s certainly a worthwhile question to ask and report on, and Huntington answered the question honestly. What I find a little troublesome about these kinds of comments is that the Pirates are in a position of needing a relatively small amount of money to open up in order to spend that amount on the ballclub, even if the team stands to benefit greatly beyond the initial expense (i.e. a pennant race or playoff appearance). And this isn’t a huge amount of money for a major league baseball team we’re talking about.

If your significant other found a quarter on the ground and was like, “Oh good, now I can get you a nicer birthday present,” you wouldn’t expect to get a very nice present at all. That’s how I feel when $5.3 million dollars become available to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Cannonballs coming: Ke’Bryan Hayes drives in four



— Indianapolis (24-18) beat Toledo, 3-2, in 11 innings. Steven Brault continued to make progress on his problem with running up high pitch counts, going seven shutout innings on 98 pitches. He allowed just three hits and a walk, and fanned four. He left Dovydas Neverauskas with a 1-0 lead, courtesy of Eric Wood’s sixth HR, but Neverauskas gave up two runs in the eighth, driven in by ex-Pirates JaCoby Jones and Argenis Diaz. Jason Rogers tied the game with his sixth HR and Barrett Barnes drove in the winner with a walkoff sacrifice fly in the 11th. Wood finished 2-5 and is now batting 279/382/574 in May after a very slow start.

Max Moroff: 1-4, BB
Phil Gosselin: 1-5, 2B
Chris Bostick: 0-2
Barnes: 1-4
Edgar Santana: 2 IP, H, 3 K (now has an ERA of 0.36, WHIP of 0.67 and K/IP of 0.99)

— Altoona (24-16) got blanked by Erie, 2-0. Tanner Anderson gave up a run in five innings. He allowed four hits and three walks, and struck out five. The Curve had just seven singles, with Pablo Reyes and Jordan Luplow each going 2-3.

Kevin Newman: 0-4 (3-for-27 in last six games, no walks in last 12 games)
Connor Joe: 0-4
Edwin Espinal: 1-4
Jin-De Jhang: 0-4
Wyatt Mathisen: 1-4

— Ke’Bryan Hayes had four RBIs as Bradenton (27-17) edged Fort Myers, 6-5. Hayes went 3-5, including a bases-loaded triple. He’s not hitting for much power, which isn’t surprising given that he wasn’t able to work out in the off-season due to his recovery from a cracked rib. He is, however, hitting 328/431/379 in May and 291/370/358 overall. Bret Helton made a spot start for the Marauders and gave up five runs in the first two innings, but threw three scoreless innings after that. Casey Sadler followed with another three scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk, and fanning three. Logan Ratledge and Jordan George each went 2-5 with a double.

Logan Hill: 1-5, 2B
Casey Hughston: 1-3, BB
Seth McGarry: IP, H, Sv

— West Virginia (21-21), which started the season with six straight losses, evened its record with a 6-3 win over Columbia. Starter Matt Anderson came out after three scoreless innings. He gave up just a hit and fanned three. I’m not sure why he came out, as he’d thrown only 43 pitches. Trae Arbet and Adrian Valerio each went 3-4, with Valerio getting two doubles. That’s two straight 3-4 games for Valerio.

Ty Moore: 0-5
Brent Gibbs: 2-3