Miguel Montero puts down middle finger to signal Cutch retaliation

By now, you’ve seen/heard about/thought about the Andrew McCutchen retaliatory hit by pitch on Saturday night. Pirate color guy Bob Walk went off about the situation, McCutchen was infuriated and rightfully so: the Diamondbacks waited until they were losing 5-1 in the ninth to get back at the Pirates for accidentally plunking Paul Goldschmidt on Friday. Rather than get their machismo show over with in the first inning and move on, they waited until they were down and out of the contest. And, the deliverer of the plunking, Randall Delgado, really set Cutch up — after coming inside on the first pitch, he wasted a slider low and away to make it look like nothing was up. Next pitch? 95 mph in the back.

Oh, and now there’s this — John Wehner brought to attention on the broadcast today before the game that you can see Arizona catcher Miguel Montero “put down an inappropriate finger and point it towards McCutchen” right before the HBP. If you watch it through again, Montero calls time after ball two and signals out to Delgado that he is going to re-cycle through the signs. He puts five different ones down; here’s the third one:

miguel montero middle finger

click to enlarge

And here’s a zoomed-in look:

miguel montero middle finger zoom

Yep, that’s his middle finger being pointed straight at Cutch. And you know what happened next.

Here’s a GIF so you can see it in motion:

miguel montero middle finger0001

This wasn’t clear on the original broadcast. ROOT Sports had been showing zoomed-in shots of the players, so the catcher’s signs were out of view. Hat tip to Wehner for pointing this out, though he made it clear that ROOT wouldn’t zoom in.

So, yeah, if you need any more proof that the D-backs are a joke. Real classy, Montero. Cameras catch everything.

Go Bucs

Series Preview: Pirates @ D-backs

Pirates vs Dbacks

Pittsburgh Pirates (57-50)

@

Arizona Diamondbacks (47-61)

Thursday, July 31st – 9:40 pm
Friday, August 1st – 9:40 pm
Saturday, August 2nd – 8:10 pm
Sunday, August 3rd – 4:10 pm

Chase Field – Phoenix, AZ

BUY TICKETS

Follow us on Twitter @ForbesToFederal.

The Pirates take a 3-3 start to this roadtrip to Arizona for four games. They’re still in a favorable spot (0.5 back in Wild Card, 2.0 back in Central) and could make up some ground this weekend against a weak D-backs team.

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Probable Pitchers

Thursday – Jeff Locke vs. Josh Collmenter

Friday – Edinson Volquez vs. Vidal Nuno

Saturday – Vance Worley vs. Chase Anderson

Sunday – Francisco Liriano vs. Trevor Cahill

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News, Notes, Storylines

– D-backs at home: 21-33 … Bucs on the road: 23-29

– Can Josh Harrison keep the home run streak going? He’s at four straight games.

– The Pirates did absolutely nothing at the trade deadline.

– Arizona traded Gerardo Parra (Brewers) and Martin Prado (Yankees) today.

– Worth noting that catcher Kurt Suzuki signed a contract extension with the Twins today. That pertains to Russell Martin, who’s now the only worthy catcher on the 2015 free agent market.

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Opponent Blogs

AZ Snake Pit | Venom Strikes

What they’re saying:

[quote_simple]”I’d say Arizona takes one out of three games for this matchup, with the likeliest wins coming in the opener or the series finales. Both Locke and Collmenter are coming off of rough outings, but Collmenter typically turns things up at Chase Field. Volquez should out duel Nuno in the second game, but I think that the final game features two hot, young pitchers that nobody has been (and should be) talking about.” – Snake Pit Preview[/quote_simple]

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Player to Watch

pedro

Pedro Alvarez. I picked him for the Giants series, and he didn’t even play. So we’re going with El Toro again. He’s back in the lineup on Thursday.

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Prediction Time

Pirates win three of four because the D-backs are terrible. They’ll lose one because they don’t know how to run the bases like we saw on Wednesday. The world won’t end even though the Pirates didn’t make a trade. Please just keep winning.

Go Bucs

6/30-7/6 Week Recap

Man what a week for the Bucs.  The long homestand continued and eventually concluded with three games against the Diamondbacks and three against the Phillies over the 4th of July weekend.


Tuesday:

Tuesday’s win looked like something out of 2013.  Jeff Locke ate up 8 innings and gave up just 2 runs, but Arizona starter Wade Miley was nearly perfect through 8 innings himself.  Miley came out for the 9th having given up just one hit – an infield single – and looked for the complete game shutout.  Neil Walker, batting lefty off the left-hander, led off with a single to centerfield.  Gregory Polanco followed with a pinch-hit single himself, bringing the potential-tying run to the plate and chasing Miley from the game.  Dbacks closer Addison Reed entered and after getting the first out, nearly gave up a walkoff homer to Starling Marte.  Instead, Marte settled with a game-tying double and advanced to third on the throw.  After Cutch was intentionally walked, Ike Davis lined a game-winning single to RF, completing the come-from-behind win.  Boom.  2013 magic.


Wednesday: 

Wednesday night was The Dream Outfield’s night to shine.  Polanco led off the game with a double and advanced to third on the throw, and Marte followed with an RBI-groundout.  Just like that, 1-0 Bucs.  Polanco later clubbed his second homer of the homestand.  Marte and Cutch each drove in runs in the 8th to add some insurance for the 5-1 victory.  Charlie Morton turned in an effective start, going 6 innings and giving up just 1 run on 5 hits.  He was far from perfect, but got some huge outs with runners on and kept the Dbacks off the board for the most part.  Justin Wilson, Tony Watson, and Mark Melancon pitched the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings for the all-around solid W.


Thursday:

“That escalated quickly” was the theme of Thursday’s contest.  Vance Worley held the Diamondbacks hitless until the 6th, but once they got going, the runs came in bunches.  Up until that point, the Bucs held a 2-0 lead thanks to Ike Davis and Gregory Polanco RBIs.  An RBI-single and two-run homer by Ender Inciarte gave Arizona the lead in the 6th, turning the direction of the game around 180 degrees.  They later went on to tee off on the Pirates bullpen for 7 runs in the 9th, making it a 10-2 blowout and avoiding the sweep.


Friday:

For the second straight year, the Bucs and Phillies squared off at PNC Park on the 4th of July and this time, it was the Pirates busting out the lumber.  After Gerrit Cole pitched a quick top of the 1st, the Bucs went to work against Roberto Hernandez.  Russell Martin and Josh Harrison each single home runs with two down, and Jordy Mercer‘s single brought home two.  4-0 Bucs early.  Jordy doubled home two more later in the game, setting a career-high for RBIs in a game with 4.  Cutch picked up the other two RBIs with doubles, the second of which came about 12 feet short of being a home run, which would have completed the cycle.  Cole was pitching well until he left after 5 innings due to a shoulder injury, which apparently wasn’t the same injury that put him on the DL.  Stolmy Pimentel was shaky, giving up two runs, but the Phillies were held hitless in the last three innings to close out the 8-2 win.


Saturday:

Cutch homered in his first at-bat of Saturday’s contest, just a day late for the cycle.  That gave the Bucs an early 2-0 lead, and Edinson Volquez grounded out with the bases loaded in the 3rd to make it 3-0.  That would be all Volquez needed, as he went 7 innings and allowed just one solo homer on his way to a win.  He did walk 4, but was able to dance around the big innings.  Mark Melancon gave up a leadoff homer to Marlon Byrd in the 9th to make things interesting, but retired the next three in order to earn yet another series win.


Sunday:

A.J. Burnett made his return to PNC Park on Sunday, sharing the mound with his old buddy Jeff Locke.  “Robin” got the best of “Batman” this time, although both had very nice outings.  The Phillies got a run in the 1st inning because of Pedro Alvarez airmailing what would have been the third out.  Jimmy Rollins, who was awarded second base on the throw, came around to score when Byrd singled him in.  That was one of just the 3 hits that Locke allowed in his 8 innings.  Byrd took him deep in the 8th, which actually put the Phillies within a run at the time.

As for the Bucs, Cutch and Walker each singled with two down in the 1st, and Russ Martin won the battle with his old battery mate with a huge two-run double.  Burnett was real sharp other than a few big hits that the Pirates got, including a Josh Harrison triple that opened the 3rd inning.  J-Hay raced home when Walker flew out to shallow CF.  Burnett finished the day with 7 strikeouts in 7 innings.  He gave up 3 runs on 5 hits, which was just too much as the Phillies couldn’t get anything going against Locke.

The 8th inning was a big one for the Bucs.  Cutch tripled home a run, and Marte and Mercer each picked up RBIs to make it a 6-2 game.  That meant Melancon wasn’t needed for the 9th, and Jared Hughes did a fine job finishing up the game and completing the Bucs’ first series sweep of the season.


Unreal homestand for the Pirates.  8-2, including sweeping the Phils.  Just what they needed heading out on the road for 4 games against the Cardinals and 3 against the Reds.  Gotta keep it rolling against some tough division foes.


Pic of the week has to go to A.J. Burnett, who got a nice ovation from the PNC Park crowd before taking the mound in the 1st inning of Sunday’s game.  As he walked out of the dugout, a highlight video was played on the scoreboard.  Burnett stopped, watched the video, and tipped his cap to the fans and the home dugout.  There was some controversy surrounding his departure, but it’s hard not to like the guy after that scene.  ROOT caught it here.

BurnettCapTip

Photo via AP

A.J. tweeted after the game:

Go Bucs

Series Preview: Pirates vs. D-backs

Pirates vs Dbacks

Pittsburgh Pirates (42-40)

vs.

Arizona Diamondbacks (35-49)

Tuesday, July 1st – 7:05 pm
Wednesday, July 2nd – 7:05 pm
Thursday, July 3rd -7:05 pm

PNC Park – Pittsburgh, PA

BUY TICKETS

Follow us on Twitter @ForbesToFederal.

The Pirates are on a roll, winners of 7 of their last 9 games. Tonight they welcome the Arizona Diamondbacks to PNC Park, owners of the worst record in Major League Baseball.

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Probable Pitchers

Tuesday – Jeff Locke vs. Wade Miley

Wednesday – Charlie Morton vs. Chase Anderson

Thursday – Vance Worley vs. Brandon McCarthy

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News, Notes, Storylines

– The Pirates have improved to 24-19 at home this season.

– The D-backs have actually played winning baseball on the road (20-19) and have been just terrible back home at Chase Field (15-30).

– ICYMI on FFTF: the Pirates’ best & worst of June and last week’s recap.

HarrisonRundown

Andrew McCutchen hit the ball hard most often in June:

Josh Harrison 12th. Let’s hope they keep it up in July.

Gregory Polanco is expected to get a night off on Tuesday.

– Polanco turned down another contract extension, this one in the neighborhood of $75 million for eight years & three options.

Austin Meadows, first round pick in 2013, finally made his season debut on Monday. He went 2-for-2 with two doubles in Gulf Coast League action.

Today’s the day that Bobby Bonilla gets his annual $1.2 million from the Mets.

– D-backs GM Kevin Towers expects to be busy at the trade deadline this year. The Pirates are rumored to have interest in RHP Brandon McCarthy, who will pitch at PNC on Thursday night. Other pieces the Snakes could move, according to the article: Oliver Perez (!), Joe Thatcher, Aaron Hill, Martin Prado.

– Arizona acquired former Buc Ronny Cedeno on Sunday and sent him to AAA.

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Opponent Blogs

AZ Snake Pit | Venom Strikes

What they’re saying:

[quote_simple]”Outside of the rubber match, I think this series is a toss-up. I think Arizona takes one of three games here, as Wade Miley is simply due against a pitcher in Locke who may be shaking off some rust. Chase Anderson has shown he can be a better pitcher than his last three starts have shown, and should put together a solid outing. Worley has been solid and a secure bet for a decent outing throughout his career, while McCarthy has struggled with consistency this season.” – Snake Pit Preview[/quote_simple]

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Player to Watch

goldy

We don’t get to see the Diamondbacks too often. But when we do, you gotta keep an eye on Paul Goldschmidt. One of baseball’s best first basemen, Goldy is having another great season, hitting .296/.387/.529 with 15 HR while appearing in 83 of Arizona’s 84 games. He finished second to Cutch in NL MVP voting last year.

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Prediction Time

Pirates pick up their first sweep of 2014. Make it happen.

Go Bucs

Pirates-Diamondbacks Series Recap

After a disappointing series in St. Louis, the Bucs made a short trip home for a three-game homestand against the Dbacks.

Gerrit Cole took the bump on Friday night, very much needing to be the “stopper.”  His five innings of two-run ball were just what the Bucs needed, along with two perfect innings from Jeanmar Gomez and one from Mark Melancon.  Cole worked himself into a jam in the fourth after walking two batters and uncorking a wild pitch, but was able to keep the damage to just two runs and keep his composure.  Arizona starter Brandon McCarthy wasn’t terrible, but the Pirates’ offense was able to piece together just enough offense to knock him out of the game after just 5.2 innings.  The 1-4 batters in the lineup combined to go 6-14, with Pedro Alvarez bringing home two runs in the third and Cutch and Neil Walker picking up an RBI each in the fifth.  Jose Tabata sealed the win when he poked a two-run homer just over the RF wall in the eighth.  Melancon wasn’t necessarily needed for the ninth, but pitched a 1-2-3 inning to close out a nice bounce-back win.

Pirates (72-49) – Diamondbacks (62-58)

Win: Cole (6-5)
Loss: McCarthy (2-7)

BOX SCORE

carlton-banks

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Saturday afternoon’s game bled into Saturday night, and not because of extra innings.  The Dbacks tee’d off first against Jeff Locke, and later against Jeanmar Gomez and Bryan Morris.  Locke got absolutely blasted on the hill, giving up eight runs on ten hits in just 2.2 innings.  Jared Hughes, Vin Mazzaro, and Justin Wilson actually restored order through the middle innings and gave the Bucs a chance to comeback, which they almost did.  They responded to the Dbacks’ six-run third by putting a four-spot on the board and cutting the lead in half.  After two quick outs, Starling Marte crushed a solo home run, and Cutch and Walker both singled.  After a mound visit, Pedro nearly put one out of the stadium on the first pitch he saw.  Unreal way to respond after Locke was boo’d off the field, but unfortunately they couldn’t keep it going.  It looked like they would come all the way back in the sixth when Russell Martin led off with a double and Tabata singled him home, but Walker ended up striking out swinging with the bases loaded to end the inning.

Gomez allowed four more runs to come across in just a third of an inning, which really put the game back out of reach.  Morris was kind of thrown into the game just to get it over with, and ended up giving up a three-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt that made it 15-5.

Pirates (72-50) – Diamondbacks (63-58)

Win: Trevor Cahill (4-10)
Loss: Locke (9-4)

BOX SCORE

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Sunday afternoon’s game may have been even more disappointing than Saturday’s.  After jumping out to a 2-0 lead thanks to RBI-doubles by Russ Martin and Jordy Mercer, the Bucs were shut down by Wade Miley in eight innings of work.  Charlie Morton just quite couldn’t make that small lead hold up, and allowed two runs after the Dbacks loaded the bases with none out.  Chuck got a huge lineout and strikeout to work out of a bases-loaded-one-out jam, ending his day after seven strong innings.

The game ended up going 16 innings before the snakes finally untied it, but not before the Pirates had a few great chances to win it.  Marte led off the eighth with a single.  While “the book” would tell you to bunt him over into scoring position, the next batter up was Jordy Mercer, who had already picked up two hits off of Miley.  Clint Hurdle of course went with a bunt, and, you guessed it, the Dbacks walked McCutchen intentionally.  Hurdle took the bat out of the hands of a hot hitter and the Pirates’ best hitter, but hey, “the book.”  Marte ended up getting caught trying to steal third on a strike ‘em out throw ‘em out DP.

The Bucs left two runners on in the ninth because Tony Sanchez wouldn’t swing the bat and then left the bases loaded a few innings later in the 12th.  Earlier in the day, Andrew Lambo was sent down to Indy so that an extra arm could be added to the depleted bullpen, and Kris Johnson was that arm.  After Tony Watson pitched two scoreless innings and Melancon one, Johnson made his major league debut in the 11th inning.  The rookie essentially made a start, going six innings.  The offense did nothing despite his bullpen-saving performance, and he ended up taking the loss after giving up a cheap two-run bloop single that was just out of the reach of Cutch in CF.  Two walks in the bottom of the 16th actually brought up the winning-run, but because of the shortened bench, Johnson had to hit with two outs.  Tough situation, but Hurdle may as well have pinch-hit Gerrit Cole, right?  Instead, he let Johnson make the final out as the winning-run and take the rough loss.

Pirates (72-51) – Diamondbacks (64-58)

Win: Brad Ziegler (7-1)
Loss: Kris Johnson (0-1)
Save: JJ Putz

BOX SCORE

The Dbacks entered this series needing to at least win two now that the Dodgers have steamrolled into first place in the West, and the Pirates had a chance to really put them in a hole in the wildcard race.  Instead, Arizona is very much in the running for the second wildcard spot, and the Bucs’ lead is down to just one in the Central.  At this point, it’s could really be anyone taking the NLC and the remaining two will have to fight with the Diamondbacks for the two wildcard spots.  Should be an interesting trip to California against two weak teams.

Go Bucs