Here are your This Week in Buccos Baseball Notes for 9/8/14 thru 9/14/14, the 24th week of the Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 baseball season.
Weekly result: 5 wins and 2 Losses, 37 Runs Scored and 24 Runs Allowed
Hero of the week: Russell Martin. Martin knocked in 9 runs this week. He was 9 for 23 (.391 avg). Among Martin’s hits were his 9th homer of the season and 3 doubles.
Zero of the week: Ike Davis. Ike collected just 1 hit this week in 12 ABs. 7 of those ABs ended in strike outs. Ike’s September struggles are costing him playing time. He was benched on Sunday in favor Andrew Lambo. It was Lambo’s first MLB start at 1B.
How do you spell relief? M-A-R-K M-E-L-A-N-C-O-N. Mark Melancon had perhaps his best week of the season. He pitched 4 scoreless innings and allowed just 1 base runner on a single. Melancon struck out 6 and notched 3 saves this week in his 4 outings.
#HURDLED: Jordy Mercer has been swinging a very hot bad. His September OPS is .950. He has 3 homers and 4 doubles this month. Andrew Lambo spent most of the season on the Disabled List for the AAA Indianapolis Indians. He finally earned a call up to Pittsburgh in late August. He hasn’t done much yet to distinguish himself. On Tuesday against the Phillies Clint Hurdle elected to have Jordy Mercer sacrifice bunt in the 9th inning to set up Lambo for a pinch hit opportunity with a runner in scoring position. Mercer has been hot and he already had an extra base hit earlier in the game to drive in a run. Why on earth would Hurdle want to waste Mercer’s at bat?
The little things that matter: Most players learn the concept of protecting the plate with two strikes in Little League. Maybe Ike Davis didn’t play Little League. On Tuesday Ike twice watched strike three go by him. This is not a rare occurrence for Ike Davis. 43.5% of Ike’s strikeouts have been looking. League average is 24%. Ike has earned the reputation of being too passive of a hitter.
It must be Hidden Vigorish: Phillies backup SS Freddy Galvis entered Tuesday’s game against the Pirates with just 5 hits in 59 ABs this season. He had not stolen a base all season. With Jimmy Rollins injured Galvis got an opportunity to start. He was the difference maker in the game. Galvis was 3 for 3 with a home run and stole a key base in the 7th inning that let to the decisive go ahead run for the Phillies. The loss halted the Pirates 4 game winning streak. Sometimes you just can’t explain baseball. When a .085 hitter beats you during a playoff race you have to just chalk it up to hidden vigorish.
Stats that blow my mind: Russell Martin is batting .295 and has a .410 on base percentage. Those are both career highs.
Records and Milestones: We got to witness some rare occurrences this week. On Wednesday Andrew McCutchen hit his first inside the park home run. On Sunday something even rarer happened, the Pirates turned a 5-4-3 “Round the Horn” triple play. It was the first triple play the Pirates have turned at PNC Park. It was just the 4th “Round the Horn” triple play in team history, the last being on 7/23/1979 against Atlanta at Three Rivers Stadium. Also this week Neil Walker hit his 20th home run of the season. That is a career high for Walker and also marks the first time that a Pirates’ second basemen has hit 20 home runs in a season.
He said what: A series a quotes about the importance of that 5-4-3 Triple Play.
It was definitely the tipping point of the game – Clint Hurdle
It was huge. It fired up people. After that we were ready to go – Andrew Lambo
We were in a spot where we were playing just flat for the first several innings. All of a sudden, that kind of momentum carried over into the offensive side of things – Neil Walker
Tweet of the week: Fans are coming out in droves this season. Who said Pittsburgh isn’t a baseball town?
Attendance: 37,655, the 20th sellout here. That's a quarter of the home schedule.
— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) September 14, 2014
On The Farm: Minor leagues seasons are all wrapped up. Fall instructs commenced on September 12th.
Highlight of the week: A 5-4-3 “Round the Horn” Triple Play will always a big deal, but when it comes at such a big moment like it did on Sunday it is an even bigger deal. The Bucs were already trailing the Cubs 3-0. Edinson Volquez was on the ropes. The triple play changed the game. The Bucs would go on to win 7-3.