Hidden Vigorish

Detailed Analysis of The Pittsburgh Pirates

TWIBB Notes for Week of 6-16-14 thru 6-22-14

Here are your This Week in Buccos Baseball Notes for 6/16/14 thru 6/22/14, the 12th week of the 2014 baseball season.

Weekly result: 3 wins and 3 Losses, 23 Runs Scored and 30 Runs Allowed

Hero of the week: Brandon Cumpton. Cumpton posted two quality starts this week. On Tuesday against the Reds he pitched in and out of trouble and gutted out 6 innings allowing 3 earned runs for a no decision. On Sunday Cumpton pitched a gem against the Cubs. He threw 7 scoreless innings allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4 to earn the Win.

Zero of the week: Jason Grilli. Grilli lost his job as closer after once again getting bombed in the 9th inning. Grilli was tagged with the loss on Tuesday after allowing a home run to Todd Frazier that broke a 5-5 tie. On Thursday he blew a save against the Reds when Devin Mesoraco took him deep for a game tying home run.

How do you spell relief? Tony Watson. Watson made three appearances this week and earned three holds. He got two huge strikeouts to pitch his way out of a jam on Sunday against the Cubs. For the week he pitched 3 scoreless innings allowing 3 hits, 1 walk, and 3 strikeouts.

#HURDLED: Clint Hurdle is loyal to a fault. That loyalty is biting him now. He stuck with Jason Grilli as his closer for far too long. There is probably not a single person other than Clint Hurdle that wouldn’t have pulled Grilli from the closer role long before now. Grilli is simply not the same pitcher and everyone saw that except Clint Hurdle.

Cannonballs: Jordy Mercer (2), Josh Harrison, Travis Snider

The little things that matter: Base running issues continue to haunt the Pirates. The 6th inning on Tuesday against the Reds was an absolute abortion. Josh Harrison got himself thrown out at 3rd base on a ground out to the SS. Then Jose Tabata got caught stealing. What looked like a promising inning with the red hot hitters at top of the order hitters due up was destroyed by TOOTBLANs. Lost opportunities from bad base running often loom large. The Pirates would go on to lose the game 6-5.

It must be Hidden Vigorish: This is something I never expected to see. On Thursday Clint Barmes had a 4 hit game. The last time Barmes had a 4 hit game was in 2009 while playing for the Colorado Rockies.

Stats that blow my mind: Yes, it is true. Billy Hamilton (.396) is out slugging Pedro Alvarez (.392)

Records and Milestones: Gregory Polanco‘s hitting streak was finally snapped on Sunday. The 11 game hit streak to start his career was the longest in Pirates history. The previous record was 8 games by Spencer Adams in 1923. Roberto Clemente hit in 7 straight games to begin his Hall of Fame career in 1955.


He said what: Clint Hurdle on his decision to stick with Jason Grilli as the closer:

The velocity is there. I don’t think there is a heightened uneasiness for me, by any means. Sometimes, I think it bodes well to give players an opportunity to push through some challenging times rather than to run to their aid or, in an overreaction [say], ‘We need to make a change right now’. I do believe we’ll make decisions that need to be made at the time they need to be made in the best interest of the ballclub.


Tweet of the week:


Front Office Notes: With Neil Walker set to return from disabled list on Tuesday I have to assume GM Neal Huntington is looking at how to deal with the impending roster crunch.


On The Farm: I went to Lakewood, NJ on Friday Night to checkout the West Virginia Power play the Lakewood Blueclaws. The Power won the game 4-2. LHP Cody Dickson pitched 6 strong innings allowed just 1 run to pick up the W. He surrendered 6 hits, 0 walks, and struck out 3. Reese McGuire picked a runner off of second base. JaCoby Jones flashed a lot of tools. He made a great defensive play on a pop up, hit laser to CF for a sac fly, and beat out an infield single. Here is a little video I took of him hitting the line drive to CF:

Highlight of the week: Shrimp Alert! Russell Martin with a 12th inning walk-off walk on 6/19/14



  1. Actually, if you look at number of appearances as well as performance, Joe Maddon hung with the Rays’ offseason closer acquisition for longer than Hurdle hung with Grilli (28 performances v. 20 performances), Ausmus has hung with Nathan through miserable outings and Scoscia continues to hang with his closer in Anaheim.

    1. Balfour and Nathan have much longer track records than Grilli of being dominate closers. And those guys weren’t leaking oil the last two months of 2013. I don’t think those team have second options as good as the Pirates either.

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