Here are your This Week in Buccos Baseball Notes for 7/14/14 thru 7/20/14, the 16th week of the 2014 baseball season.
Weekly result: 3 wins and 0 Losses, 12 Runs Scored and 7 Runs Allowed
Hero of the week: Neil Walker. The Pittsburgh Kid roughed up the Rockies’ pitching staff over the weekend by going 7 for 12. He drove in the game tying run in the 8th inning on Saturday night and then blasted a homer on Sunday afternoon. Walker scored 5 of the Pirates’ 12 runs this week.
Zero of the week: Gregory Polanco. Polanco’s first prolonged slump in the major leagues continues. Polanco is finding southpaws at the major league level to be especially tough, and drawing three straight lefty starters out of the all-star break proved to be a difficult challenge. Polanco had just 2 hits in 15 ABs and left 7 runners on base in the weekend series against the Rockies.
How do you spell relief? M-A-R-K M-E-L-A-N-C-O-N. Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless inning in each game this weekend and picking up two saves in the process.
#HURDLED: What an odd piece of managing on Friday night. Manager Clint Hurdle allowed pitcher Francisco Liriano to hit in the bottom of the 5th inning with the Pirates trailing 1-0. The Pirates would end up tying the score later in the 5th. Hurdle then went to his bullpen to start the 6th inning. Hurdle indicated in post game interviews that had the Pirates not tied the game he would have stuck with Liriano. Whatever Clint.
Cannonballs: Neil Walker
The little things that matter: The Pirates scored a game tying run in the 8th inning on Saturday night thanks in large part to an infield single by Russell Martin that never would have happened if not for base runners Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen running on the 3-2 pitch. This was not a two out situation. A double steal attempt was a risk, but Russell Martin is the right kind of hitter at the plate to execute that play. Russ generally puts the bat on the ball. Martin got just enough of the 3-2 breaking ball to pull a slow roller to the hole between SS and 3B. If the runners weren’t in motion the Colorado Rockies would have gotten a force out.
It must be Hidden Vigorish: Andrew McCutchen was a perfect 15 for 15 on stolen base attempts this season. Base stealers had successfully swiped 21 bases on 22 attempts against Rockies catcher Michael McKenry. So of course McKenry nabbed McCutchen stealing on Sunday. I can’t explain it so it must be Hidden Vigorish.
Stats that blow my mind: Travis Snider ranks second in the league with 11 pinch hits this season.
Records and Milestones: Nothing Noteworthy.
He said what: In a downright terrifying moment Starling Marte got drilled in the head with a 93 mph fastball on Friday night. Neal Huntington went out of his way to not label it a concussion. Did Neal get tips from Roger Goodell before he opened his mouth on this incident?
“It’s not technically classified as a concussion. It’s more head trauma and a contusion. From a concussion standpoint, we’ll see where he goes. We’re not through the process of definitely not going on the 7-day concussion DL because it is a head trauma, but at this point in time he’s going through the concussion protocol and making great progress.
Tweet of the week: With each ball that Pedro Alvarez hurls into the stands the cries to move him to 1B get louder.
The Pedro to first base is now a full on offseason discussion topic. #Pirates
— David Todd (@DTonPirates) July 19, 2014
Front Office Notes: The trade deadline is getting close. The rumor mill is starting to churn vigorously. The Pirates seem to have their target set on a starting pitcher. This week they have been scouting Jake Peavy and Ian Kennedy.
On The Farm: JaCoby Jones is “En Fuego”. The shortstop of the West Virginia Power has hammered 8 home runs with a 1.213 OPS in July.
Highlight of the week: I should just rename the Highlight of the week as the Walk-Off of the week. It has been a regular occurrence on every home stand for the Pittsburgh Pirates. This time the hero was Jordy Mercer who delivered the game winning hit in the bottom of the 11th on 7/19/14.