Here are your This Week in Buccos Baseball Notes for 8/11/14 thru 8/17/14, the 20th week of the Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 baseball season.
Weekly result: 2 wins and 5 Losses, 33 Runs Scored and 36 Runs Allowed
Hero of the week: Travis Snider. Lunch Box hit safely in every game this week going 11 for 26. Snider found his power stroke against the Detroit pitching staff. He took the Tigers deep three times and knocked in 7 runs.
Zero of the week: Jayson Nix. Nix was a dreadful 1 for 17 this week. I should probably look up how many runners he left on base but I’m depressed enough.
How do you spell relief? J-A-R-E-D H-U-G-H-E-S. Right now Jared Hughes may be the best reliever on the staff. This week he pitched 4.2 innings without allowing a run. He did get tabbed with a blown save on Sunday when two inherited runners scored because Ike Davis and Pedro Alvarez can’t make 75 foot throws to home plate. 8 pitches, 3 routine ground balls, and you get hung with a blown save? Baseball stats can be really weird and misleading some times.
#HURDLED: The Pirates are facing Max Scherzer, the reigning Cy Young Award Winner. Chris Stewart is on 1st base with no outs. Michael Martinez is batting. What could possibly go wrong with having Stewart run on the 3-2 count?
The little things that matter: The way the Pirates played on Sunday was an abomination. The physical errors are bad enough. Errors happen. Hitters fail. Pitchers give up hits. Sometimes they even lose the strike zone at the most unfortunate of times. All those things were contributing factors in the Pirates 6-5 loss to the Nationals. But all those failures are at least some what forgivable. Baseball is a tough game and a high degree of individual failure is woven into the fabric of the game. What is not forgivable is absent minded stupidity that continues to plague this team. On Sunday that cost the Pirates several runs. In the 7th inning Ike Davis made a terrible throw to the plate that cost the Pirates a run. An awful play for sure, but excusable. What is not excusable is what Ike Davis did after the throw. He stood in the middle of the infield feeling sorry for himself instead of following the play and covering home. What should have cost the Pirates one run ended up costing them two because no one covered home. In the 9th inning Gregory Polanco inexplicably put on the breaks rounding 3rd base when he almost surely would have scored. On the same play Josh Harrison failed to allow the throw to clear the cut off man and was thrown out at second base. This stuff is completely unacceptable.
It must be Hidden Vigorish: Hidden Vigorish transpired against the Pirates in the most unfortunate of ways this week. The Pirates current losing streak marks the first time they have lost five straight games since 9/18 – 9/22 of 2012. The game tying home run that Tony Watson served up to Adam LaRoche on Saturday night was the first homer that Watson has surrendered to a left-handed hitter since 6/13/2012.
Stats that blow my mind: Michael Martinez has a .482 career OPS. That is the lowest mark of any non-pitcher with at least 400 plate appearances in the last 30 years. If you were born after 1984 you can honestly say Michael Martinez is the worst hitter in your lifetime.
Records and Milestones: Russell Martin recorded his 1000th career hit on 8/13/14. Also I would be remiss if I did not mention the passing of former Pittsburgh mayor Sophie Masloff. The Pirates might not call Pittsburgh home today if not for her efforts to build support for a new stadium.
He said what: This quote by Clint Hurdle detailing what went wrong at the end of the game on Sunday against the Nationals is sad on so many levels. How much must it kill Hurdle to commend another team for making a nice infielder acquisition like the Nats did to get Asdrubal Cabrera while he has play guys like Jayson Nix and Brent Morel?
Again, a late walk, And then a big at-bat from Span, a battle at-bat. He’s able to work a ball into the outfield. Cabrera, who’s been a nice addition for their club, the ball’s maybe elevated a little bit more. They found holes. Basically that’s it.
Tweet of the week:
This is what happens when you do nothing at the deadline, Pirates. YOU RUIN CHILDHOODS! pic.twitter.com/Y8DUN3phbr
— DJ Gallo (@DJGalloEtc) August 18, 2014
Front Office Notes: The Pirates acquired relief pitcher John Axford off of waivers from the Cleveland Indians. The rest of the week was spent concocting reasons to place pitchers on the disabled list.
On The Farm: Buddy Borden has been the breakout pitcher at the A Ball level for the Pirates this season. He has been good most of year with the West Virginia Power, but since the beginning of July he has been exceptional. In Borden’s last 9 starts he has a 2.03 ERA with 54 strikeouts in 48.2 innings pitched.
Highlight of the week: This play by Edinson Volquez on a come backer was just ridiculous. It turned out to be a very big play too. The Tigers were threatening to put up a crooked number in the 1st inning. Volquez settled down after making this play and the Pirates would go on to win the game 4-2.