Schumakers PH Dinger Keys Card Comeback, Sweep

Matt Capps entered early – with one out in the 8th – and promptly lost the game. He allowed a pinch hit homer to the first batter he faced – Skip Schumaker – as St. Louis scored five runs in the 8th to win 7-3 and sweep the series.

Zach Duke had pitched effectively for the first 7-1/3 inning. After hitting for himself in the bottom of the 7th, Duke was pulled one out and one on in the 8th. After Capps gave up the go ahead dinger, he plunked Albert Pujols and was ejected from the game. Pujols was visibly angry and in some pain as the result of taking one off his torso. Jesse Chavez relieved and threw some gas on the fire as St. Louis scored three more times.

The Pirates collected seven hits in the 2nd and 3rd innings combined to take a 3-0 lead off of Joel Pineiro. The big blow was a two run homer from Steve Pearce in the second. But Pineiro settled in and pitched seven innings. The Pirates would get just two more hits off him after the third – both by Ramon Vazquez.

The Pirates put two on with no one out in the 8th off the St. Louis bullpen, but could not draw closer.

Duke went 7-1/3 and gave up two earned runs to get the no decision. Capps was the loser. Pineiro won and Kyle McClellan retired the final five hitters for a long save.

The Good

Duke was good again. One of these games, he’ll get some run support.

Vazquez, Lastings Milledge and Delwyn Young each had two hits.

In the 4th Jason Jaramillo’s snap throw to first picked off Bengie Molina to end the inning.

The Bad

The bullpen.

The Pirates drew no walks.

The defense faltered. Each of St. Louis first two runs came on errant pick off attempts. Duke tossed one into left in the fourth inning. That allowed Julio Lugo to move to third and he scored on a sac fly. In the 7th, Duke picked off Matt Holliday, who broke for second. But Pearce’s throw went into left field. Holliday went to third as a very weak throw from Milledge – and I was surprised at how bad a throw it was – was late. He also scored on a sacrifice fly.

Bucs hit into three double plays.

The Rest

Tony LaRussa will pick a spot to retaliate against the Pirates for Pujols getting plunked. The Cards are back in town in early September. The question is who does he hit? Andrew McCutchen is liable to steal. Garrett Jones isn’t a big enough name. That would leave either Ryan Doumit or Lastings Milledge.

Pineiro came into the game with a 5.66 ERA against Pittsburgh. He picked up his 10th win of the season. This is the first time he hit double digits in wins since 2003.

Bizarre jersey of the weekend winner was a teenage guy wearing a ketchup Jeff Andrews jersey. Didn’t see that one coming at all. I figured that he must’ve won it as part of some promotional give away. I can’t imagine someone buying it. On the St. Louis side, someone had a Fernando Tatis jersey. I also saw someone wearing a Pat Neshek jersey t-shirt. But that doesn’t count because the Tigers weren’t in town. Plus he hasn’t pitched in over a year.

On the discount rack in the clubhouse store were an array of Freddy Sanchez, Jack Wilson and Adam LaRoche jersey t-shirts. Also some Zach Duke ketchup jersey tees. If the very poorly run Pirates marketing department would make jersey tees for the 1970s era Pirates (and even some guys from the 1980s), there would be another benefit, as my brother noted: they’d never have to discount the shirts as the result of a trade.  

I’m often critical of the Pirates marketing department, but I have to praise them for the free spin on the prize wheel promo. It isn’t too often that teams give something away for free. It’d be a good deal if it cost $1. But out of the four spins between my brother and I over the weekend, we collected two bobble heads and a hat (plus a coupon for discount tickets, which I pitched).

A new casino opened in Pittsburgh at noon. Attendance was 24,000 – not too shabby.

 

Snakes Pound Bucs Bullpen

The Diamondbacks scored seven times in their final two times up to pull away 11-4. With the game knotted at four, Evan Meek couldn’t hold back Arizona. Miguel Montero broke the tie with an RBI double and Chad Tracy cracked a pinch hit three run homer later in the inning – capping a five run 7th – off of John Grabow. Donnie Veal gave up a two run homer to Justin Upton in the 8th for the final scores of the game.

The Pirates did a lot against Dan Haren. They got to him for four runs in the fifth and he wouldn’t be out for the sixth. Garrett Jones had a two run double and Ryan Doumit followed with a two run homer.

That outburst put the Pirates up 4-1, but starter Charlie Morton couldn’t hold the lead. A run scoring triple from Stephen Drew was followed by a game tying homer from Gerardo Parra. Morton was pulled for Jeff Karstens after two more batters. Karstens retired four hitters without a run and he gave way to Meek to start the seventh.

The Pirates had no more hits once Haren was out of the game. Juan Gutierrez picked up the win in relief.

The Good

Getting to Dan Haren.

Jones had three hits and two RBI. Swing for the fences, Garrett!

Steve Pearce had two hits and a double in his first action since the Adam LaRoche trade.

The Bad

The bullpen. Ugh.

The Rest

Karstens has thrown 10 stright hitless innings over four appearances.

The homer was Tracy’s fourth career as a pinch hitter and second of the month.

This was Haren’s worst outing of the year. He had previously gone at least six in every start. He allowed four earned runs or more just once and that was in a seven inning outing in which he allowed five.

Jones has nine homers, but just 13 RBI. Record for fewest RBI in a season with at least 10 HR is former Pirate Dave Ross’ 2003 season (with LA) in which he had 10 HR and just 18 knocked in.

Bucs Comeback and Take Series from Milwaukee

Paul Maholm didn’t have it today. Good news is that Jeff Suppan didn’t either. Neither started pitched five innings. Suppan went 3-1/3 and gave up five runs on four homers and three singles. Maholm went 4-2/3 and gave up seven runs, leaving the game with the Pirates behind.

It was an exciting fifth inning. Milwaukee trailed 5-2. But Ryan Braun hit a bases loaded double, scoring all three and then scored on a homer by Casey McGehee. After Bill Hall singled, Maholm was pulled for Joel Hanarahan who got the final out of the inning. The Pirates pulled even in their half off of Seth McClung. Delwyn Young walked and consecutive two out doubles from Andy LaRoche and Ramon Vazquez plated two runs.

It stayed that way until the 9th when Brandon Moss hit a walk off tater off Mitch Stetter with one gone. That made a winner out of Matt Capps, who pitched a scoreless ninth despite putting two runners on.

The Good

A win.

Winning a series.

Scoring 9 runs.

Garrett Jones hit a homer and had two doubles.

Ryan Doumit homered twice and drove in three.

The Bad

Maholm getting hammered.

The Rest

As Matt noted Andy LaRoche was traded. No surprise. Let’s see what Steve Pearce can do.

In the previous 31 games, the Pirates scored 9 runs or more just once (back on 6/24 vs. Cleveland). 13 hits was the most since that same game back on 6/24.

Last time the Bucs hit five round trippers in one game was 7/12/08. Damage was done then by Jason Michaels, Nate McLouth, Adam LaRoche and Jason Bay (2). None of them is still a Bucco. Last time anyone on the current roster was involved in a five or more homer game was 8/22/07 when both Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson went deep against Colorado.

This was the fourth time in 2009 that Maholm allowed six or more earned runs. He did that just three times in all of 2008.

This was Jones’ third career three hit game and his second in July.

Doumit homered twice in a game for the first time since 6/10/08 when he connected twice off of Tim Redding of the Nationals. Doumit came into the game hitting just .216 in his career against Milwaukee. He hadn’t homered against the Brewers since doing it in consecutive games on 7/4/07 and 7/5/07.

Braun has more career RBI against Pittsburgh than against any other club.

 

 

Adam LaRoche traded to Red Sox

Rumor has it that an Adam LaRoche trade is “imminent.”  Jen Langosch notes that Larry Corrigan, a special assistant to Neal Huntington, attended the Mariners-Tigers game last night.  Besides that nugget, no details are known.  LaRoche is not in today’s lineup.

Keep an eye on the PBC Blog and the Twitter feed for additional news.

UPDATE (12:00 PM): According to John Perrotto’s Twitter feed, LaRoche has indeed been traded.

UPDATE (12:06 PM): Dejan is hearing that he may have gone to the Giants. Still no confirmation.

UPATE (12:20 PM): According to Dejan, LaRoche to the Red Sox.

UPDATE (3:20 PM): I have been away from the computer for a while.  Final trade is Adam LaRoche to Red Sox for Double-A shortstop Argenis Diaz and Single-A pitcher Hunter Strickland.  I hope to take a more in-depth look at the trade later tonight.

Posted in Adam LaRoche. Comments Off on Adam LaRoche traded to Red Sox

Bucs Lose Rollercoaster

From up five early to a 9th inning comeback against Francisco Rodriguez to losing it in the 10th, this one had it all. All except a Pirates win, that is. This one was delayed by rain and it was a make up for an earlier rain out. Striking an irony chord somewhere.

The Pirates jumped on Tim Redding early for five runs. Garrett Jones and Robinzon Diaz each had three hits and two RBI. However, Paul Maholm couldn’t hold the lead as the Mets scored eight runs in the middle three frames.

The Pirates tied it up in the 9th off of Rodriguez when Adam LaRoche stroked a two run dinger. But, the Mets countered with a run in the 10th off Matt Capps as Ryan Church singled in Fernando Tatis, who had homered earlier in the game. Rodriguez tossed a perfect 10th to lock it down.

Maholm went 4-1/3 and gave up six runs and 11 hits. Redding gave up five runs and got just seven outs.

The Good

Garrett Jones was single short of the cycle.

The Bad

Delwyn Young was held hitless again and was tossed for arguing balls and strikes.

The Rest

Former Bucco Elmer Dessens made his 4th appearance of the year in relief for NYM.

This was the first time all year that Maholm gave up more than four runs in a home start. He has never been touched for more than six runs in a start at PNC.

The last Pirate to have a double, triple and homer in the same game before his 50th career game was Richie Hebner way back on 5-4-69. Garrett Jones did it today.

Tatis scored four times, establishing a single game high for his career.

Welcome Jeff Salazar. Bucs most recent recall from Louisville was 0-1 in a pinch hitting role in his Bucco debut.

 

Wells, Lee Lead Cubbie Charge

Randy Wells continued his solid pitching effort and Derrek Lee hit a two run first inning homer as the Cubs took two of three at PNC.

Wells evened his record at 3-3 (he’s won his last three starts) and lowered his ERA below 2.50. He went seven and allowed one run on six hits (five singles and a double) and one walk.

Lee’s homer was all Wells would need. The Pirates only run came in the home half of the first as Andrew McCutchen came around on a Brandon Moss single.

Virgil Vasquez didn’t do himself much disservice. He went six and gave up three runs – a Kosuke Fukudome tater in the sixth was the final tally off him. He gave up seven hits and three walks. He struck out a pair.

Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg finished up, with Gregg getting a save.

The Good

McCutchen had two hits.

As did Jason Jaramillo.

The Bad

Where did the offense go? Traded, perhaps? This will be an interesting month as I expect Jack Wilson to be practically given away. There is no chance the Pirates will pick up his 2010 option. So, why keep him? Adam LaRoche might also be gone.

The Rest

Garrett Jones made his Bucco debut and was hitless in four at bats. His last appearance in the Show was 9/30/07. Bet that seemed like an eternity for him.

Also making his debut for the Steel City Nine was Joel Hanrahan. He tossed one scoreless inning as the first man out of the pen.

This was Wells first appearance against the Pirates and Vasquez’ first appearance against the Wriglies.

Coming into the night, Moss was one of 22 players with 200 PAs in 2009 with fewer than 20 RBIs. Of the other 21 players, 10 of them had double digits in steals. So, yes, the club has been getting leadoff hitter-like RBI production from the middle of the order.

Wells, Lee Lead Cubbie Charge

Randy Wells continued his solid pitching effort and Derrek Lee hit a two run first inning homer as the Cubs took two of three at PNC.

Wells evened his record at 3-3 (he’s won his last three starts) and lowered his ERA below 2.50. He went seven and allowed one run on six hits (five singles and a double) and one walk.

Lee’s homer was all Wells would need. The Pirates only run came in the home half of the first as Andrew McCutchen came around on a Brandon Moss single.

Virgil Vasquez didn’t do himself much disservice. He went six and gave up three runs – a Kosuke Fukudome tater in the sixth was the final tally off him. He gave up seven hits and three walks. He struck out a pair.

Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg finished up, with Gregg getting a save.

The Good

McCutchen had two hits.

As did Jason Jaramillo.

The Bad

Where did the offense go? Traded, perhaps? This will be an interesting month as I expect Jack Wilson to be practically given away. There is no chance the Pirates will pick up his 2010 option. So, why keep him? Adam LaRoche might also be gone.

The Rest

Garrett Jones made his Bucco debut and was hitless in four at bats. His last appearance in the Show was 9/30/07. Bet that seemed like an eternity for him.

Also making his debut for the Steel City Nine was Joel Hanrahan. He tossed one scoreless inning as the first man out of the pen.

This was Wells first appearance against the Pirates and Vasquez’ first appearance against the Wriglies.

Coming into the night, Moss was one of 22 players with 200 PAs in 2009 with fewer than 20 RBIs. Of the other 21 players, 10 of them had double digits in steals. So, yes, the club has been getting leadoff hitter-like RBI production from the middle of the order.

Greinke Prevents Sweep

Zach Greinke was once again tough, allowing just two runs – split apart by an hour long rain delay – in 6-1/3 innings of work. The Bucs were trailing 2-0 heading into the bottom of the 7th. Adam LaRoche singled and after Andy LaRoche tripled him in, play was stopped. Jamey Wright took the thill following the delay. He allowed an RBI groundout to Jason Jaramillo as the Royals bullpen retired the final eight Pirate hitters to seal the deal.

David DeJesus homered and drove in two off of Charlie Morton who suffered his first setback on the year. He gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings.

The Good

The bullpen tossed four scoreless innings, giving up just one hit.

Jeff Karstens tossed another scoreless inning in relief.

The Bad

Andrew McCutchen was once again hitless, dropping his average below .300.

Offense still can’t get going.

The Rest

Greinke picked up his 10th win.

The Pirates won consecutive series for the first time since taking 2 of 3 from Colorado and then 3 of 4 from Washington (5-15 to 5-20).

Adam LaRoche is hitting .365 for June.

Through 75 games last year, the Buccos were 36-39 and 11 games out. This year they are one game worse at 35-40 yet remain in striking distance, entering today’s game at 5 out.

 

Ryan Doumit’s future position, Part 1

While Ryan Doumit has missed much of the season due to wrist surgery, Jason Jaramillo has stepped in and provided above average offensive production and good defense. Because of this, many are questioning Doumit’s future position with the club. Doumit was in the process of transitioning to a first baseman/outfielder a couple of years ago before winning the starting catcher spot in 2008. As Adam LaRoche approaches free agency and the Pirates undoubtedly shop him in the trade market, first base is a major question mark in the near future. So I figured I would take a look at what a position switch would do to Doumit’s overall value.

I used Doumit’s 2008 value from FanGraphs as a starting point.

Batting Fielding Replacement  Positional RAR WAR
2008 15.8 15.5  8.6 39.9 4.0

As you can see, FanGraphs ignores the fielding section for catchers due to the uncertainty in quantifying their effect on the game. Assuming that Doumit is a slightly below average defensive catcher, let’s knock off five runs and call him a 3.5 win player.

For simplicity, let’s also assume that he would be worth -5 defensive runs at first base. As a catcher, Doumit accumulated 465 plate appearances in 2008. As a first baseman, let’s estimate that he would amass 500 plate appearances in a generally healthy season. With the same 2008 offensive production, that would bump him up to about 17 offensive runs.

We have now accounted for the first two columns; 17 batting runs and -5 fielding runs. Let’s move to the positional adjustment column, the most important in this situation. A catcher receives +12.5 runs per 162 games, while a first baseman receives -12.5 runs per 162 games. After accounting for playing time in 2008, Doumit received an additional 8.6 runs. If he played 143 games at first base (500 PA at 3.5 PA/game), he would lose about 11 runs in the positional adjustment.

To account for playing time and to convert the value to replacement level, each player receives 20 runs per 600 plate appearances. At 500 plate appearances, Doumit would be rewarded with 16.7 runs. We have now filled all of our columns.

Batting Fielding Replacement  Positional RAR WAR
2008 (catcher) 15.8 -5 15.5  8.6 34.9 3.5
Expected (first base) 17 -5 16.7  -11 17.7 1.8

As you can see, assuming equal offensive production and accounting for some increased playing time at first base, Doumit would see his value cut in half. That is a dramatic decrease, one that shows just how valuable it is to have good offensive production coming from behind the plate. Jaramillo would have to greatly outperform the next best option at first base to make this move worthwhile.

Coming up in Part 2, I will take a look at Doumit’s expected value in right field.

 

For details on calculating individual player value, see the FanGraphs glossary.

Bucs Win Comedy of Errors

Zach Duke allowed just one run in six innings to get his 8th win. He was supported by Adam LaRoche who homered and drove in three runs. But the defense committed three errors. That helped Cleveland score five runs in the 9th (just two earned) off of Steven Jackson to make the final 10-6.

The Pirates had been the beneficiaries of a Cleveland miscue earlier in the game. With two out and nothing happening, rookie SS Luis Valbuena committed a throwing error allowing Freddy Sanchez to reach base and allowing the floodgates to open. The Pirates piled on six runs, with a Jason Jaramillo homer capping the scoring.

Carl Pavano took the loss. He gave up 11 hits in 3-2/3 innings. He was charged with eight runs, with just three being earned. Duke struck out four, walked two and allowed a double and four singles.

The Good

Mark it down – Zach Duke will be an All-Star this year.

Andew McCutchen has a 12 game hitting streak.

With three RBI, Adam LaRoche passed the departed Nate McLouth for the team lead in RBI with 36.

The Bad

The defense. Andy LaRoche had a couple of errors, giving him 8 on the season.

The Rest

Zach Duke set a career high with wins in a half a season with 8. He won seven in the second half of his rookie year way back in 2005.

LaRoche is hitting .357 in June.