Cutch’s First Career Dinger Paces Pirates Offense

Andrew McCutchen, Andy LaRoche and Adam LaRoche each homered and drove in a pair of runs as Ian Snell won for just the second time all year.

McCutchen hit a two run homer in the third. After Joe Crede’s two RBI knock tied the score in the home half of the fourth, Andy LaRoche hit a two run blast in the fourth to give the Priates the lead for goo.

Adam LaRoche added a solo dinger and an sac fly later in the game and Robinzon Diaz drove in two with a double.

Snell went six innings. He gave up five hits, three walks and two runs. Francisco Liriano was touched for four runs on eight hits in seven innings. John Grabow pitched two innings and Steven Jackson mopped up.

The Good

Happy with Snell’s outing and would glady take more.

The brothers LaRoche share for the active roster lead in RBI

The Bad

Delwyn Young only had one hit. He is clearly slumping.

The Rest

This was Snell’s second win of the year. Win #2 last year came on 4/12 of 2008. But his third win of 2008 didn’t come until June 11. So, he’s not that far behind the pace.

Joe Mauer is hitting .425 but is 41 at bats away from qualifying for the leader boards.

Andrew McCutchen is the third Pirate rookie to record his first career dinger this year (Robinzon Diaz and Jason Jaramillo). He homered in his 13th game. Bucco rookies who have homered in the first 10 games this decade:

Robinzon Diaz – 7th game- 2009

Nate McLouth – 9th game – 2005

Ray Sadler – 3rd game – 2005

John Van Benschoten – 2nd game – 2004

Jose Castillo – 8th game – 2004

Andy Barkett – 9th game – 2001

Rob Mackowiak – 9th game – 2001

Craig Wilson – 4th game – 2001

Adam Hyzdu – 6th game – 2000

Alex Hernandez – 7th game – 2000

Tike Redman – 7th game – 2000






Hill added to coaching staff; Duffy, JVB among minor league free agents

I don’t have much time to write, but there are a couple pieces of interesting news today. First of all, the Pirates have added Perry Hill as their first base coach. Hill, a highly regarded infield instructor, was out of baseball last year due to personal issues. The Pirates have been trying to hire him for over a year. This is a very nice addition to the coaching staff.

Also, Baseball America has a list of minor league free agents available. I haven’t had a chance to search the list for familiar names, but I was able to glance over the Pirates’ free agents. There are a few notable names.

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JVB, Belisario removed from 40-man

The Pirates continued cleaning up the 40-man roster today, removing some additional spare parts. John Van Benschoten and Ronald Belisario were sent to Triple-A Indianapolis in a move that was not surprising by any means. We have all witnessed JVB’s struggles the past few years, as his return from injuries has gone anything but smoothly. His future as a starter is bleak, and there is little reason to keep him on the roster with the increased pitching depth in the system. Belisario has lost some velocity after injuries, and is not really a prospect at this point.

This leaves four open spots on the 40-man roster, two of which will go to Tom Gorzelanny and Phil Dumatrait when they come off the 60-day DL. Doug Mientkiewicz, Jason Michaels, Chris Gomez and Luis Rivas will soon become free agents, creating four additional openings. The Pirates must add several minor leaguers to protect them from the Rule V draft.

Posted in Chris Gomez, Doug Mientkiewicz, Jason Michaels, John Van Benschoten, Luis Rivas, Phil Dumatrait, Tom Gorzelanny, Transactions. Comments Off on JVB, Belisario removed from 40-man

The Pirates pitched poorly in 2008

We all know that the Pirates’ pitching was terrible in 2008, and many of you may be tired of the topic by now. But if you are interested in another reminder, here it is. R.J. Anderson is doing a project over at Beyond the Box Score in which he is converting FIP into the more convenient FIP+. It is similar to OPS+ or ERA+ in that it adjusts FIP for league and park, and translates it to a scale in which 100 equals league average.

He is going around the league, providing FIP+ for every pitcher and giving a brief synopsis of each team’s performance for the season. So far, each team has generally had a reasonable split of above and below average players. The highest numbers tend to belong to dominant relievers, such as Brian Fuentes’ mark of 208. There are also some starters that posted remarkable numbers, such as Tim Lincecum’s 158. Then we come to the Pirates.

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Game #104: Van Benschoten Rocked Again

PNC Park | 7:05 | Van Benschoten vs. Josh Banks | Box
It is fitting that as the Pirates continue their slide into history for being mediocre that they continue to start a pitcher whose ERA is among the worst ever for players who have thrown as many innings. Was this John Van Benschoten’s last start for 2008? Forever? Who knows. He was a number pick. So, he’ll always be given a look even if past performances dictates that he shouldn’t.
Tonight JVB retired just five hitter while giving up seven runs, four walks, two homers, two doubles and three singles. His career ERA is almost 10.50. Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff touched JVB for three run bombs.
The Pirates tried, but couldn’t dig themselves out of the massive whole that they were in early on. The Pirates hit three homers (almost matching the Padres four round trippers) in scoring six runs. But, it wasn’t nearly enough. Bucs homers came from Jason Michaels, Adam LaRoche and Jose Bautista.
No idea why, but John Russell pulled Jason Bay, Freddy Sanchez and Nate McLouth mid-game. I’m sure it wasn’t a trade, but I’m not at all sure what he was thinking. Steve Pearce was called up, started and had one hit. Freddy was 0-2 when he was pulled.
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Game #102: Herrera Wins His First

PNC Park | 7:05 | Herrera vs. Clay Hensley | Box
Don’t know if this game is a blip on the radar or the start of a beautiful relationship. If it is only a one night stand, it was a fantastic night. Yoslan Herrera allowed just six singles and one walk over six innings while holding San Diego scoreless. That effort earned him his first ML win.
The Pirates offense continued it’s recent frenetic activity. The Bucs clouted three dingers and scored nine runs. Clay Hensley was tagged for six runs in five innings. The Pirates scored a pair in the first. Jason Bay and Xavier Nady hit solo homers in the fourth to make it 4-0. Two more runs were tacked on in the sixth before San Diego got to reliever Denny Bautista for a run in the 8th. The Pirates got their final three runs in the bottom of the 8th. Two of those came from a two run blast from Nate McLouth.
Freddy Sanchez had two more hits. Herrera’s game score was 63. Combined in 62 starts last year, Tony Armas, Zach Duke, Matt Morris, Shane Youman and John Van Benschoten had just four starts that were better than 63.
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Game #99: Bucs Offense Comes to Life in the 9th

Minute Maid Park | 8:05 | Van Benschoten vs. Runelvys Hernandez | Box
The Pirates entered the 9th inning trailing 3-2. Against Runelvys Hernandez they had managed just two runs. They had amassed 12 hits, but only one went for extra bases. Then someone opened a crate of spinach and Popeye emerged. With one gone in the 9th, Jason Bay cracked a solo homer to tie the game. Extra innings perhaps? Nope. Xavier Nady singled and Adam LaRoche followed with a two run homer (note to self: propose that LaRoche be nicknamed “Mr. July”) to break the tie. Slim leading going into the bottom of the 9th? Nope. After a Jose Bautista single and a walk to PH Jason Michaels, Jack Wilsonsingled in another run. Not done yet. Freddy Sanchez drilled a pitch that took a weird bounce off the wall and went for an inside the park homer. A seven run 9th inning. Three homers. Come from behind. All good stuff. All much needed.
It was already a weird game before the offensive explosion. Neither Hernandez or John Van Benschoten were torched. Hernandez gave up two in 5-1/3. JVB went five and gave up three runs. Only two were earned thanks to a Bautista error.
The relief pitching was shaky. Sean Burnett relieved JVB and found himself yanked after loading the bases with one out in the sixth with the Astros up 3-2. John Grabow relieved Burnett and whiffed Lance Berkman before inducing an inning ending fly out from Carlos Lee. In the 9th it was Jose Valverde who was victimized for six of the Pirates seven runs.
Tyler Yates got the win with a scoreless 8th inning. For the offense, Bay had four hits and two runs knocked in. Sanchez drove in four with three hits. Nady and Nate McLouth each had three hits.
My pregame prediction of double digit runs for one team almost happened thanks to the Pirates 9th inning display.
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