Here are your This Week in Buccos Baseball Notes for 8/3/15 thru 8/2915, the 18th week of the Pittsburgh Pirates 2015 regular season.
Weekly result: 4 Wins and 1 Loss, 31 Runs Scored and 25 Runs Allowed.
Hero of the week: Andrew McCutchen. Cutch caught fire this week picking up 8 RBIs while going 9 for 16. Among his hits were two 2 long balls and 2 doubles. He also drew 6 walks. If you are keeping track that means he reached base safely 15 times in the 5 games the Bucs played this week. He also had a key swipe of third base and scored 7 runs. It is August now and Cutch is red hot. Opposing pitchers would be insane to pitch to him.
Zero of the week: J.A. Happ. The new guy in the rotation stepped into a playoff race and left a turd on the mound in his first game with the Pirates. The hard charging Chicago Cubs smacked Happ around to the tune of 8 hits and 4 runs in 4.1 innings. Happ was tagged with the loss. It was the only game the Pirates dropped this week.
How do you spell relief? T-O-N-Y W-A-T-S-O-N. Tony Watson added three more scoreless innings to his resume this week. He picked up his 26th and 27th Holds of the season.
#HURDLED: The Pirates had a terrific scoring chance in the 6th inning on Sunday Night sabotaged by a poor double switch. The Pirates were stuck with Sean Rodriguez at the plate hitting in the pitcher’s spot with a runner on third base and 1 out. I have some questions for Clint Hurdle:
Question Number 1 – Why are you switching out for defense in a game you are trailing?
Question Number 2 – Why are you boxing yourself in to using a poor hitter who will be due up 3rd in the inning?
If Hurdle leaves Michael Morse in the game just one more inning he can choose whichever bat off the bench that makes the most sense to hit for the pitcher when that spot comes up. Instead he was basically stuck with using a lesser option. Luckily this gaffe didn’t cost the Pirates as the offense exploded in the next inning. But these sort of managerial mistakes are perplexing. A major league manager really should have better foresight than to plan on using Sean Rodriguez to hit third in a crucial inning.
The little things that matter: Michael Morse cost the Pirates a run by trying to sell a call to the umpire on a play at first base in which his foot was pulled off the bag. The hustling Jimmy Rollins took advantage to score all the way from second base on the infield single.
It must be Hidden Vigorish: Where do we start? My head is spinning from all the Hidden Vigorish this week. The Pirates had not one, not two, but three calls overturned on replay in their favor in a 6-5 win over the Dodgers on Saturday. Of course all the good fortune from the Replay Gods (and let’s be honest, this is divine intervention not umpire competence in the replay booth) would have been for nil if not for a three run blast from…. Francisco Liriano?!?!?!? Then on Sunday night Jung Ho Kang was hit by a pitch and hit a home run in the same inning! The Pirates exploded to score 9 times in that 7th inning. It was almost three years to the day since the Pirates last 9 run inning – Aug. 12, 2012 against the Padres. But all of these quirky acts of Hidden Vigorish take a back seat to the thunderbolt hit by Gregory Polanco on the first pitch from Clayton Kershaw on Friday Night. There might not be a single AB all season that cashes in on so much Hidden Vigorish. Not only did it end Kershaw’s streak of 37 consecutive scoreless innings, but it also was the second straight game that Polanco led off with a home run. The last Pirate to hit a lead off home in two straight games was Nate McClouth on April 27th and April 29th of 2008.
Stats that blow my mind: Where does Andrew McCutchen rank as a Pirate at this point of his career? Let’s just say he is keeping really great company.
— Ace of MLB Stats (@AceballStats) August 9, 2015
Records and Milestones: Cutch drew his 500th career walk on 8/5/2015.
He said what: Clint Hurdle noted how infectious the Pirates offense was on Sunday night.
Everybody kind of followed suit. We’ve talked about contagions in this game. The hitting part of it got real contagious after the fourth inning.
Tweet of the week: You know a hitter is locked in when he swings at a pitch at his chin and drives it 425 feet over the CF wall. Buster Olney described it best:
That was like a Wiffleball swing from McCutchen. Good lord…
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) August 10, 2015
Front Office Notes: crickets
On The Farm: Altoona LHP Steven Brault tossed 7 scoreless innings with 7 strikeouts in a win over the Richmond Flying Squirrels on Saturday. Brault was acquired in the off season as part of the Travis Snider trade.
Highlight of the week: Pedro Alvarez delivered this walk off pinch hit single in the 10th inning on Friday Night.