Here are your This Week in Buccos Baseball Notes for 7/27/15 thru 8/2/15, the 17th week of the Pittsburgh Pirates 2015 regular season.
Weekly result: 4 Wins and 2 Losses, 34 Runs Scored and 34 Runs Allowed.
Hero of the week: Jung Ho Kang. There is no hotter hitter in baseball right now than Jung Ho. The rookie Korean SS mashed 3 homers and 3 doubles on the way to a 9 for 24 week at the plate. His biggest blast was a 9th inning bomb that broke a 7-7 tie against the Twins on Tuesday. Kang has been an absolute godsend to the middle of the Pirates batting order.
Zero of the week: A.J. Burnett. It appears that Burnett’s arm is finally failing him. The 38 year old grizzled vet got shelled by the Reds on Thursday night. The Reds tagged him for 10 hits and 7 ER in 4.1 innings. It was the 3rd straight poor start for Burnett. After the game Burnett admitted his elbow was barking. The Pirates placed him on the DL.
How do you spell relief? J-O-A-K-I-M S-O-R-I-A. New acquisition Joakim Soria barely escaped disaster when he loaded the bases in the 7th inning on Friday Night against the Reds, but he managed to get through the appearance without allowing a run. On Sunday Soria was pressed into duty for an unlikely save opportunity after Mark Melancon was ejected from the game. Soria nailed down the save with ease.
#HURDLED: Against the Twins on Tuesday Night the Pirates’ skipper allowed Tony Watson to burp up a 4 run lead. He then summoned closer Mark Melancon into a tied game. If Hurdle was considering using Melancon in the 8th inning he needed to do it BEFORE the lead had evaporated.
The little things that matter: It is time to give Jaff Decker and Travis Ishikawa some props for their tremendous plate discipline. Neither of these guys are great hitters, but they know the zone and have a great approach on every AB. They have been giving the team professional ABs off the bench. That was never more apparent than when they drew back to back walks in the Pirates 5 run 6th inning on Wednesday against the Twins.
It must be Hidden Vigorish: Aramis Ramirez finally got off the schneid in his return to the Bucs when he doubled off of Ervin Santana in the 5th inning Wednesday. The hit snapped an 0 of 14 streak for ARam.
Stats that blow my mind: A.J. Burnett has thrown 2177.2 innings since undergoing Tommy John Surgery in 2003 – more than any active pitcher. That is more than 600 innings more than the next closest pitcher.
Records and Milestones: Nothing of note
He said what: A.J. Burnett gave a classic answer when asked when his elbow first started hurting him.
About 10 years ago
I sure hope we have not seen the last of AJ, but things don’t sound good.
It was just a little more than I expected and a little more than I could tolerate. The soreness is a lot better (Sunday). The stiffness is a lot better. But I don’t expect it to go away and I don’t expect it to get better. (Surgery) No chance. I’ll probably get it fixed when I’m retired, but there is no point in getting it fixed right now. I’m here to pitch, and I’m going to do whatever I can to get back on that mound in two weeks.
Tweet of the week: Should the Pirates be retaliating because pitchers are plunking Cutch? Does retaliating prevent it from happening further? This is a complex problem.
Here’s my other thing. People say the Pirates need to retaliate to protect McCutchen. THEY HAVE BEEN DOING THAT. It still hasn’t stopped.
— Brian McElhinny (@rtjr) August 2, 2015
By the way, neither Reds nor Pirates are innocent in these beanball wars.
— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) August 2, 2015
Front Office Notes: Neal Huntington was a busy man this year at the trade deadline. The Pirates added Joakim Soria, Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ, and Michael Morse. Do a lot of a little moves add up to one big one? Probably not, but at the very least the bullpen will be better with Soria. I even consider the acquisition of Happ to be a pretty good move given the late developing issues with Burnett’s arm. But the Pirates could have done more. I just hope at the end of the season there are no regrets that Pirates didn’t get a front line starting pitcher.
Highlight of the week: The box score will show that Mark Melancon recorded a save a against the Reds on Friday Night, but in reality it was Starling Marte that saved the game….twice.