Here are your This Week in Buccos Baseball Notes for 4/6/15 thru 4/12/115, the 1st week of the Pittsburgh Pirates 2015 regular season.
Weekly result: 2 Wins and 4 Loss, 24 Runs Scored and 23 Runs Allowed
Hero of the week: Andrew McCutchen did not have the best of weeks statistically, but he did hammer two huge home runs at critical junctures in ball games. On Opening Day he blasted a game tying opposite 2-run homer in the 8th inning against the Reds. On Sunday Cutch erased a 2-1 deficit with a three-run bomb in the 6th inning against the Brewers.
Zero of the week: Starling Marte would probably like to take a mulligan on the first week of the season. In 22 ABs this week Marte struck out 12 times. Ouch.
How do you spell relief? A-R-Q-U-I-M-D-E-S C-A-M-I-N-E-R-O. Arquimedes Caminero came out guns-a-blazin’ this week. Caminero reached triple digits with his fastball 6 different times. He was summoned from the pen on four different occasions this week working 2.2 scoreless innings. He allowed 1 hit, 1 walk, and struck out 3.
#HURDLED: Some people want to complain about the bullpen management in the Cincinnati series, but not me. I do question why Hurdle would not pinch hit for Gregory Polanco late in the game when he was matched up against a LOOGY on 4/12. He struck out on a slider a foot off of the plate and in the dirt. Polanco is clearly struggling against southpaws. I do not want Polanco to become a platoon player, but shielding him from lefties makes sense in the near term.
The little things that matter: Relief pitchers that can not find the strike zone immediately when entering the game put themselves at a huge disadvantage. Rob Scahill fell behind the red hot Todd Frazier and then grooved a 2-0 pitch that Frazier drilled for a leadoff double in the 9th inning on 4/9. Frazier would later score the winning run when Gregory Polanco short line drive.
It must be Hidden Vigorish: The Pirates acquired Antonio Bastardo because the southpaw is so damn tough on left handed hitters. In his career lefties are hitting just .187 against him. On 4/8 Bastardo was summoned from the pen to make his first appearance with the Pirates. He was tasked with getting Joey Votto out. Votto delivered a game tying single and the Pirates eventually lost the game 5-4 in extra innings.
Stats that blow my mind: Starling Marte is on a pace to strike out 324 times this season (Yes, I am aware pace is meaningless this early in the season).
Records and Milestones: On 4/12 Casey Sadler recorded his first major league win and Jung-ho Kang recorded his first major league hit.
He said what: After a long rain delay on Wednesday that pushed the start of the game back to 9:45 PM Clint Hurdle asked A.J. Burnett if he wanted to go back to the hotel to rest up for his Thursday afternoon scheduled start. Burnett refused. His rationale was he wouldn’t be able to get any rest anyway.
All I’d do is lay in bed and watch the game.
Tweet of the week: The Pirates dropped the first three games of the season, but there is no need to jump off the Clemente Bridge just yet.
Worth remembering about the 0-3 teams: One club that started 0-3 went 125-47 the rest of the way. 1998 Yankees, arguably the best team ever.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) April 10, 2015
Front Office Notes: Josh Harrison was signed to contract extension that guarantees him at least $27.3 million. With two team options the Pirates control JHay thru the 2020 season.
On The Farm: The full season minor league affiliates kicked off on 4/9. Cole Tucker led the way in the opener for West Virginia by going 3 for 5 with 3 RBIs and 2 SBs. The Power won the game 7-6.
Highlight of the week: Cutch’s three-run bomb off of Kyle Lohse that sparked the Pirates’ in a 10-2 victory over the Brewers on Sunday.