Here are your This Week in Buccos Baseball Notes for 7/21/14 thru 7/27/14, the 17th week of the 2014 baseball season.
Weekly result: 3 wins and 3 Losses, 29 Runs Scored and 34 Runs Allowed
Hero of the week: Russell Martin. Martin played 5 games this week and only made 6 outs in total. He reached base in 14 of his 20 plate appearances this week. That is a .700 on base percentage. For the week Martin had 6 hits in 12 ABs, drew 6 walks, was hit by a pitch twice, and had 4 RBIs.
Zero of the week: Pedro Alvarez. Pedro’s case of the yips has gotten so bad that even when he is not on the field he is hurting the team. He made two more hideous throwing errors this week. Although those errors cost the Pirates runs they still ultimately managed to win both of those games. But the throwing issues combined with his career long inability to hit left-handed pitching led to Pedro being benched a pair of games in the weekend series against Colorado in favor of Brent Morel. Morel is terrible and offers nothing. The Pirates lost both those games 8-1.
How do you spell relief? J-U-S-T-I-N W-I-L-S-O-N. Justin Wilson didn’t have a particularly pretty week. He made three appearances and none of them were clean. But he did only allow 1 run and that run was the result of standing up for Andrew McCutchen. Wilson was ejected for throwing at Justin Turner of those Dodgers on Wednesday night in retaliation for Andrew McCutchen being hit with another high fastball. I don’t think the Dodgers were intentionally throwing at Cutch, but I don’t care. The Pirates did, and that is all that matters. They’ve seen this happen to McCutchen far too many times. If they felt retaliation was warranted then it was. Lest you disagree with me I suggest you read this Dejan Kovacevic article for a history lesson in how timid the Pirates have been at protecting their star and the repercussions of that.
#HURDLED: I guess I could rail on manager Clint Hurdle for his lineup construction if I wanted to. Every game the Pirates lost this week featured a lineup that included either Brent Morel or Michael Martinez. But with the way Pedro is throwing balls away, Starling Marte being injured, and Gregory Polanco struggling against lefties, I just can’t get too worked up over the lineup. From my vantage point Hurdle is suffering from bad options more than bad decisions.
The little things that matter: Sometimes the difference between a good start and a bad start for a pitcher is just surviving the first inning. Francisco Liriano continues to struggle out of the gate. Against the Dodgers on Wednesday he walked two batters in the 1st inning and hit a batter in the 2nd, but he avoided the big hit and eventually settled in.
It must be Hidden Vigorish: Backup catcher Chris Stewart made his major league debut in 2006. Since then he has played 289 games. On Sunday against the Rockies he finally collected a 3 hit game for the first time in his career.
Stats that blow my mind: This is kind of insane.
#Pirates Andrew McCutchen has never grounded into a double-play when facing a 2-0 or 3-0 count.
— Ace of MLB Stats (@AceballStats) July 27, 2014
Records and Milestones: Clint Hurdle earned his 300th winner as skipper of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He said what: Don Mattingly had this to say about Francisco Liriano after he stymied the Dodgers in a 6-1 Pirates victory on Wednesday”
He’s just all over the place and you know he doesn’t really throw strikes and that makes him a tough guy to get ready for, a tough guy to hit off of.
Tweet of the week: I’m tired of hearing about this being a sellers trade market. When was the last time you recall there being a buyers market? This is what the market has become at the trade deadline every year. Buster Olney has it right. Teams are getting the returns on established players because prospects have been overvalued for far too long and the market is correcting.
Samardzija, Street, Soria, Peavy deals also show another MLB trend: execs in agreement that prospects have been a overvalued market asset.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 26, 2014
Front Office Notes: Reports surfaced of varying levels of interest in the Pirates reacquiring A.J. Burnett.
On The Farm: Tony Sanchez has thrown out just 7 base stealers in 55 attempts at AAA Indianapolis. That is just a 13% caught stealing rate. In other words, Not Very Good!
Highlight of the week: Josh Harrison is Houdini. For the second time this year he escaped a run down. This is just an amazing play. Some NFL team needs to call JHay. Imagine him returning punts.