Here are your This Week in Buccos Baseball Notes for 5/5/14 thru 5/11/14, the 6th week of the 2014 baseball season.
Weekly result: 4 wins and 2 Losses, 31 Runs Scored and 28 Runs Allowed
Hero of the week: Neil Walker delivered a huge 3-Run Homer in the bottom of the 7th inning on Friday night to erase a 4-3 Cardinals lead and put the Pirates ahead to stay. For the week Walker knocked in 6 runs.
Zero of the week: Bryan Morris. No player was more responsible for the two Pirates’ losses this week than Morris. He burped up multiple runs in relief outings this week in both of the Bucs’ losses. For the week Morris pitched just 2 innings, but gave up 5 hits, 2 walks, 3 earned runs, and allowed 2 inherited runners to score.
How do you spell relief? T-O-N-Y W-A-T-S-O-N. Tony Watson did get nicked for a blown save when he allowed a couple of inherited runners to score on Monday night against the Giants, but otherwise he was outstanding. And the Bucs have been leaning heavily on Mr. Watson. Watson made 4 appearances this week totaling 4.2 innings. He was credited with 0 earned runs and recorded 6 Ks. He picked up a victory and two holds.
#HURDLED: The dubious bunt calls from Clint Hurdle continue. In the 6th inning on Monday against the Giants, Hurdle called for the red hot Josh Harrison to sacrifice a runner to third base. So let’s talk about all the reasons this was a terrible play. First off, it was only 6th inning. Way too early to be playing for just 1 run. This game had all the makings of slugfest. The score was already 8-7. Why give up an out with the heart of order coming up? The runner was already in scoring position. Harrison has been hitting the cover off the ball. Prior to this AB he had 6 hits in his last 11 trips to the plate. A high scoring game like this called for a big inning. Finally, Harrison hasn’t proven to be a very good a bunter. How many times does Hurdle have to watch Harrison bunt two balls foul and be put into an 0-2 count before he realizes maybe it just isn’t a good idea to have that guy bunt?
The little things that matter: Ike Davis had a golden opportunity on Sunday Night to give the Pirates a series sweep over the Cards. He stepped into the box with the bases loaded and no outs and the Pirates trailing 6-5 in the bottom of the 9th inning. Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal had just walked Clint Barmes, one of the weakest hitters in all of baseball, on 4 straight pitches that weren’t even close to being strikes. So what did Ike do? He swung at this pitch.
In a no strike count hitters have to zero in on their pitch. Cut the plate in half and look for a pitch in your hot zone that you can drive. That is Hitting 101. A 98 mph fastball 3 inches above the strike zone is not a pitch that Davis can do much with. His anxiousness produced a weak popup and the Pirates would go on to completely squander an opportunity to steal another game from the Cards.
It must be Hidden Vigorish: Clint Hurdle had the Midas Touch with leadoff hitters this week. Josh Harrison, Travis Snider, and Jose Tabata all delivered multi-hit games from the leadoff spot in the order. I can’t explain it, so it much be Hidden Vigorish.
Stats that blow my mind: We are 37 games into the season and only two Pirate starting pitchers have recorded victories.
Records and Milestones: The Pirates’ 2-1 victory over the Giants on 5/6/14 marked the first ever MLB game to end on a play at the plate that was overturned by instant replay.
He said what: Clint Hurdle after allowing Gerrit Cole to pitch the 8th inning against teh Giants on Wednesday afternoon despite having already reached the 100 pitch mark.
Pushing through the eighth inning, the middle of the order, was very impressive. He’s capable of a lot of things out there. You saw the velocity stay at a much higher level today throughout the game, and actually his velocity played bigger later than it did earlier.
Tweet of the week: A new hashtag has been born!
Delayed reaction but definitely worth it! #walkoffreplay
Front Office Notes: Neal Huntington made the curious decision on Friday to add a player to the bench by recalling infielder Brent Morel from AAA Indianapolis. The entire Indianapolis outfield of Gregory Polanco, Chris Dickerson, and Jaff Decker was more deserving of a promotion, but Huntington went with Morel instead who was hitting just .215 with an .591 OPS at Indy. The decision went from bad to worse when the Pirates were forced to field an outfield of Josh Harrison in LF, Jose Tabata in CF, and Gaby Sanchez in RF due Travis Snider’s suspension and injuries to Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen.
On The Farm: This is an insane stat. Reese McGuire has played only 17 games behind the dish so far for the West Virginia Power. He already has thrown out 16 base stealers.
Highlight of the week: Starling Marte’s historic #walkoffreplay on 5/6/14