Here are your This Week in Buccos Baseball Notes for 6/23/14 thru 6/29/14, the 13th week of the 2014 baseball season.
Weekly result: 5 wins and 2 Losses, 31 Runs Scored and 22 Runs Allowed
Hero of the week: Edinson Volquez. Volquez made two terrific starts this week and picked up the Win in both games. He surrendered just 1 run in 14 innings. That is some pretty solid work.
Zero of the week: Gerrit Cole. Cole came off the DL and made his first start in more than three weeks against the Mets on Saturday. He looked rusty. The Mets hit him hard early, scoring three in 1st inning and two more in the 2nd inning. A high pitch count forced Cole out of the game after just 4 innings. The Pirates could never recover from the early hole that Cole dug them as they fell to the Mets by a score of 5-3.
How do you spell relief? Stolmy Pimentel. Stolmy made only one appearance this week, and it was in defeat, but it was one of the most impressive relief outings by a Pirate this season. Pimentel came on in relief of Gerrit Cole on Saturday and pitched 4 impressive scoreless innings. He racked up 7 strike outs and allowed just three base runners. The Pirates were never able to fully crawl out of an early 5-0 hole, but Pimentel’s outing did allow them to make a game of it and he saved manager Clint Hurdle from using the rest of the bullpen.
#HURDLED:The sacrifice bunt that takes the bat out of a Andrew McCutchen‘s hands made a return this week. In the 7th inning on Thursday night against the Mets Josh Harrison laid down a sacrifice to move runners to 2nd and 3rd. Predictably the Mets intentionally walked McCutchen. The Pirates would fail to score as Neil Walker followed by grounding into a double play.
The little things that matter: When the Pirates faced Bartolo Colon on May 28th he painted the outside corner all game long as 7 Pirates were struck out looking in a 5-0 Pirates’ loss. Things were different this time around against Colon on Sunday afternoon. Starling Marte, Ike Davis, and Pedro Alvarez all recorded 1st inning hits in 2 strike counts to help stake the Pirates to an early 3-0 lead. It seems so simple, but just being prepared to swing can make all the difference in the world. Bartolo Colon throws more fastballs than any pitcher in baseball. There is no reason he should fool hitters into taking a 2 strike pitch. The Pirates made a solid adjustment against pitcher they had recently faced and it made a big difference.
It must be Hidden Vigorish: After losing 7 straight road series through out April and May, the Pirates have rebounded to win their last 5 series on the road. The last time the Pirates won 5 straight road series was 1982.
Stats that blow my mind: Every stat that Josh Harrison has put up this season blows my mind. The .306 batting average, the .345 OBP, the .811 OPS… all of it is close to unfathomable.
Records and Milestones: Pat yourself on the backs Bucs’ fans. Over the weekend you set an attendance record for a four-game series at PNC Park. 150,819 came out to the ballpark to watch the Pirates take 3 of 4 from the Mets.
He said what: Neal Huntington on Ernesto Frieri, his newest acquisition:
Ernesto is a guy we have pursued for a couple of years and haven’t been able to get him. He’s been going through a rough stretch but there’s a lot of things our scouts like, that our analysts like. We feel like we’ve had some success with guys like this in the past.
Tweet of the week: Who was the last Pirates player that torched his reputation as quickly as Jason Grilli? Whatever goodwill the fans of his former team had for him went up in flames with this tweet:
Pumped to officially get my feet in the dirt today with my new @Angels teammates. Excited to play for a powerhouse team.
— Jason Grilli (@GrillCheese49) June 29, 2014
Front Office Notes: The big news early in the week was Jose Tabata being outrighted to AAA Indianapolis. That was trumped by the news that the Bucs and Angels swapped struggling former closers on Friday. Jason Grilli is out and Ernesto Frieri is in.
On The Farm: Nick Kingham has been terrific since being promoted to AAA Indianapolis. In 4 starts with the Indians he has allowed just 1 ER and struck out 20 in 26.2 inning of work.
Highlight of the week: Josh Harrison does it again! Another huge clutch hit as JHay doubles in Clint Barmes for another walk-off win on 6/27/14.