Here are your This Week in Buccos Baseball Notes for 5/25/15 thru 5/31/15, the 8th week of the Pittsburgh Pirates 2015 regular season.
Weekly result: 5 Wins and 2 Losses, 33 Runs Scored and 25 Runs Allowed.
Hero of the week: Charlie Morton. Morton returned from the DL by giving the Pirates two wins in a pair of solid starts this week in which he pitched a full 7 innings both times. Morton issued just 1 free pass and allowed only 3 earned runs. The addition of a healthy Charlie Morton has stabilized the back of the rotation which had been a sore spot for this team through the first 6 weeks of the season.
Zero of the week: I have had enough of Jeff Locke. Even when he has what some would consider a good start it comes with a thousand pitches and a boatload of walks. Mr. Nibbles did actually win a game this week. But throwing 104 pitches, allowing 4 walks, and not finishing 6 full innings is not what I consider good work for a starting pitcher. Sunday night was more of the same from Locke. Nibbled at the corners, walked a bunch of hitters, threw way too many pitches, and then exited the game early. This time he couldn’t avoid being tagged with the loss. For the week it took 193 pitches for Mr. Nibbles to labor through 9.2 innings. He gave up 6 earned runs, 7 walks, and 12 hits.
How do you spell relief? T-O-N-Y W-A-T-S-O-N. Tony Watson took the ball and did his job flawlessly 4 times this week. He pitched 4 scoreless innings, whiffed 5 hitters, and recored 3 Holds in the process. Watson has not allowed a run since April 21st.
#HURDLED: Did Hurdle lift Francisco Liriano too quickly on Friday night? I dunno. These late West Coast games kill me. I fell asleep with the game on. When I woke up I found that the bullpen imploded, killing the Pirates 7 game win steak. Liriano was dominating the Padres through 6 innings. He was under 100 pitches, albeit barely.
The little things that matter: This week Pedro Alvarez beat the shift with three routine ground balls through a vacated hole at shortstop. Pedro is showing more situational awareness at the plate this season than at any point of his career.
It must be Hidden Vigorish: Here is a quick recap of A.J. Burnett‘s season.
First 5 Starts: 0-1 with 1.45 ERA
Last 5 Starts: 5-0 with a 2.14 ERA
The difference is the Pirates have scored 36 runs in his last 5 starts while totaling just 7 runs in first 5 outings.
Stats that blow my mind: Jeff Locke has never had a season in which he posted a FIP below 4.00.Vance Worley has posted a FIP under 4.00 every season with the exception of his injury riddled 2013 campaign. Why do the Pirates continue to favor Locke over Worley?
Records and Milestones:
He said what: Christian Yelich crushed two balls off of Gerrit Cole on Wednesday afternoon. Starling Marte robbed Yelich of a homer on the first one. The second hit found the seats. Cole had this to say about Yelich after the game:
As far as I’m concerned, we’re even.
Tweet of the week: Pedro Alvarez has made a lot strides as a hitter this year, but as David Todd points out he looks horrible defensively at first base.
Alvarez's lack of instincts at first is actually amazing. #Pirates
— David Todd (@DTonPirates) May 26, 2015
Front Office Notes: Radhames Liz was DFA’d to make room Charlie Morton
On The Farm: The bad news is that Nick Kingham is officially done for the year. TJ Surgery on his elbow will sideline him for 12+ months. The good news is that Jameson Taillon has progressed to throwing simulated games. He should begin a rehab assignment in competitive minor league games soon.
Highlight of the week: Jung Ho Kang crushed this majestic home run into the second deck at Petco Park.