Here are your This Week in Buccos Baseball Notes for 5/11/15 thru 5/17/15, the 6th week of the Pittsburgh Pirates 2015 regular season.
Weekly result: 3 Wins and 4 Losses, 29 Runs Scored and 27 Runs Allowed
Hero of the week: A.J. Burnett notched two wins while allowing just 1 earned run in 14 innings and tallying 12 strikeouts. On Sunday against the Cubs, Burnett played the stopper. He shut out the Cubbies over 7 innings to put an end to the Pirates 4 game losing streak.
Zero of the week: Jeff Locke. I don’t like to single out starting pitchers when they only make 1 start in a given week, but Locke was so bad on Friday that it just can’t be ignored. Mr. Nibbles once against was too afraid to attack hitters in the strike zone. The result was a laborious 102 pitches before being lifted with 2 outs in the 4th inning. Yes, 102 pitches and couldn’t even get through 4 innings! Of those 102 pitches only 56 were strikes. Mr. Nibbles walked 5 hitters and gave up 5 runs. In the rare instances when Locke did put the ball over the dish the Cubs smacked him around for 6 hits including 2 Home Runs.
How do you spell relief? T-O-N-Y W-A-T-S-O-N. Tony Watson appeared twice this week and posted 3 more scoreless innings. Watson has not allowed a run in his last 13 innings.
#HURDLED: Clint Hurdle still has this crazy idea that Corey Hart can play right field. Hart’s lack of mobility probably cost the Pirate a win in Philadelphia when a catchable ball fell in front of the statue playing in RF to give the Phillies a lead. However, I can’t say for certain that Hart cost them this game as the usual right fielder is as clumsy as a drunk man trying to pass a sobriety field test.
The little things that matter: Starling Marte was a little too nonchalant throwing a ball back to the infield against Phillies on Wednesday and the result was the slow footed Carlos Ruiz taking second base. This mistake had a big impact on an inning that unravelled for the Pirates in a 3-2 loss. Had Ruiz been held at first and a double play been kept in order the Pirates probably would have escaped the inning with only 1 run scoring. Instead the Phillies plated 3 runs in a game the Pirates would lose 3-2.
It must be Hidden Vigorish: On 5/13/15 Andrew McCutchen got a hit with the bases loaded. Amazingly Cutch had not had a base knock with the bases loaded since 2012.
Stats that blow my mind: 1.38. That is A.J. Burnett’s ERA. But wait, there is more …
A.J. Burnett shut out Cubs through 7 innings Sun: 1st PIT pitcher since 1900 to allow 2 or fewer runs in 1st 8 starts of season @EliasSports
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 18, 2015
Records and Milestones: See Above.
He said what: Clint Hurdle discussing Gregory Polanco after he was tripped up the Wrigley Field turf monster.
I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s mentally strong enough. He’s going to have to be. You love this game, and this game will love you back. If you hate this game, it will hate you back.
Tweet of the week: This team might not be as complete as some folks originally thought. They do have some issues. The back end of the rotation looks very vulnerable right now.
Whether the Pirates want to admit it, they have issues that need addressed: #4 and 5 starter, SS, 3B and 1B
— mike vukovcan (@mvukovcan) May 15, 2015
Front Office Notes: The Bucs were forced to bring up a relief pitcher to bolster their depleted bullpen after two straight early exits by starting pitchers. Wilfredo Boscan was called up. To take his place utility player Steve Lombardozzi was optioned.
On The Farm: Altoona Curve second basemen Max Moroff has been the breakout player of the organization in 2015 so far. The 22 year old Moroff has an .844 OPS and has reached base in 31 of 33 games this season.
Highlight of the week: Gregory Polanco had a Little League moment when he tripped while trying to catch a routine ball in the 12th inning against the Cubs on 5/15. The play resulted in the Pirates absorbing another walk off loss to a division rival. This play will live on in baseball blooper reels forever.