Series Preview: Pirates @ Tigers

Pirates vs Tigers

Pittsburgh Pirates (64-55)

@

Detroit Tigers (63-54)

Wednesday, August 13th – 7:08 pm
Thursday, August 14th – 1:08 pm

Comerica Park – Detroit, MI

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The Bucs & Tigers continue their home-and-home, now shifting the series up to Detroit. The Pirates were victorious the past two nights, improving to nine games over .500 (the high water mark of 2014 so far). They lead the first Wild Card by 1.5 games, and are just 1.5 out of first in the Central. The pennant race is heating up.

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Probable Pitchers

Wednesday – Vance Worley vs. Buck Farmer

Thursday – Francisco Liriano vs. Max Scherzer

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News, Notes, Storylines

– Pirates on the road: 25-31 … Tigers at home: 30-27

Josh Harrison now has enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting race… He currently has the third best batting average (.318) in the National League behind Justin Morneau (.324) and Troy Tulowitzki (.340) who will likely lose qualifying eligibility soon due to his current stay on the disabled list.

Russell Martin is one hit away from 1,000 in his career.

– Vance Worley: 0.96 ERA since the All-Star break. Tough test for him on Wednesday night.

– “Buck Farmer” will make his MLB debut on Wednesday night, replacing the injured Anibal Sanchez. Farmer has made just two starts above A-ball in his career:

Year Age Tm Lev W L ERA G IP ER BB SO WHIP BB9 SO9
2013 22 Connecticut A- 0 3 3.09 12 32.0 11 7 33 1.219 2.0 9.3
2014 23 2 Teams A-AA 11 5 2.65 20 115.2 34 28 127 1.115 2.2 9.9
2014 23 West Michigan A 10 5 2.60 18 103.2 30 24 116 1.109 2.1 10.1
2014 23 Erie AA 1 0 3.00 2 12.0 4 4 11 1.167 3.0 8.2
2 Seasons 11 8 2.74 32 147.2 45 35 160 1.138 2.1 9.8
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/13/2014.

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Opponent Blogs

Bless You Boys | Motor City Bengals | Walkoff Woodward

What they’re saying:

[quote_simple]”The Tigers have struggled at home this season, but Comerica Park will likely be a friendly sight for the club after a brutal 2-7 road trip. The team needs a win badly, and they don’t exactly have the edge on paper with Worley throwing as well as he has in 2014. That said, the Tigers have pounded much better pitchers at home in recent seasons, and Worley was far from perfect the last time he toed the rubber in Detroit.” – BYB [/quote_simple]

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Player to Watch

Pedro Alvarez. He hasn’t made a start since August 2nd, but returns to the lineup on Wednesday night as the designated hitter. Time for El Toro to turn things around.

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Prediction Time

I like the Pirates’ chances against Buck Farmer, though making a young guy look like Cy Young has happened plenty of times before. I don’t like their chances against Max Scherzer. But we’ll see what happens. I’d be happy with a two-game split, taking another one from the Tigers before heading to Washington this weekend.

Go Bucs

Series Preview: Pirates vs. Tigers

Pirates vs Tigers

Pittsburgh Pirates (62-55)

vs.

Detroit Tigers (63-52)

Monday, August 11th – 7:05 pm
Tuesday, August 12th – 7:05 pm

PNC Park – Pittsburgh, PA

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With the Padres’ annual series win at PNC Park out of the way, the Pirates start a home-and-home four-game series with the Detroit Tigers on Monday night. Cutch, Walker, and Alvarez all out of the lineup once again tonight…

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Probable Pitchers

Monday – Jeff Locke vs. Justin Verlander

Tuesday – Edinson Volquez vs. Robbie Ray

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News, Notes, Storylines

– For the Bucs, this begins a stretch of 22 straight games against teams with winning records.

– Pirates at home: 37-24 … Tigers on the road: 33-25

– The Tigers have won just two of their last seven games, and are 10-14 since the All-Star break.

– Detroit lost a tough one in Toronto yesterday, a game that went 19 innings. They were forced to use Rick Porcello in relief — he was slated to start on Tuesday, so Robbie Ray will get that start instead.

Anibal Sanchez, originally set to face the Bucs in Detroit on Wednesday, has landed on the disabled list (right pectoral muscled strain). New Tiger Joakim Soria was also placed on the DL (oblique).

– The weather looks pretty iffy for the next two days, but they’ll try to get these two in.

– Tuesday is Honus Wagner bobblehead night at PNC.

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Opponent Blogs

Bless You Boys | Motor City Bengals | Walkoff Woodward

What they’re saying:

[quote_simple]”The Pirates have the best home record in the National League, where they are allowing just 3.8 runs per game. If the bats don’t get going against Locke early, it could be another disappointing night for a Tigers fanbase already on edge.” – BYB [/quote_simple]

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Player to Watch

Russell Martin. Milestone alert: Russ is three hits from 1,000 in his career.

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Prediction Time

Both teams are banged up right now and the Tigers gotta be tired after yesterday’s 19-inning affair. It sucks to see the Cutch/Walker/Alvarez trio missing from the lineup once again, and this past weekend really showed a weakened offense: in all three games, the Pirates scored in the first inning then went silent the rest of the way, crossing the plate just five times against the Padres. With both of these teams in a tough spot, I think winning one game apiece before going to Detroit is reasonable.

Go Bucs

Game #53: Pirates 5, Tigers 3

After Tuesday’s pitcher’s duel between Gomez and Porcello, a matchup between A.J. Burnett and Anibal Sanchez had no-hitter written all over it.  Sanchez was spinning a gem until he ran into a roadblock in the seventh, and the Bucs made quite an impressive comeback.

A.J. worked around an error in the first and stranded runners on the corners.  He walked two batters in the second inning, and already had a high pitch count by the time the fifth inning came around.  A leadoff walk to Don Kelly in the fifth came back to bite him after a wild pitch moved Kelly up to second.  Andy Dirks doubled, scoring Kelly, and was followed by Miguel Cabrera two batters later, who stroked a two-run home run to right field that made the game 3-1 at the time.

After six innings, the Pirates had collected just two hits off of Anibal Sanchez, both of which belonged to Neil Walker.  The first was a single in the bottom of the first inning, and the second was a leadoff home run on the first pitch of the bottom of the fourth.  Other than that, Sanchez baffled the Pirates lineup.  A.J. was replaced by Bryan Morris in the seventh, and he plunked the first batter he faced.  He then got Cabrera to ground into a weak double play, and retired Prince Fielder to end the inning.  Cue the comeback.

Cutch smoked a ball right to the right fielder to being the seventh against Anibal.  GI Jones notched just the third team hit of the game, which was followed by a Russell Martin walk.  Pedro, who looked lost at the plate in his two previous at-bats, followed with a first-pitch double into the North Side Notch that tied the game.  Before the crowd even sat back down, Travis Snider doubled off the RF wall on the first pitch he saw, allowing Pedro to just beat the throw home and score the go-ahead run.  As if that was enough craziness in the span of two pitches, a wild pitch snuck to the backstop and allowed Snider to reach third.  Clint Hurdle, being the bunt-lover that he is, called for Jordy Mercer to lay down a suicide squeeze, and that he did.  The bunt was perfectly placed between the battery, and Snider slid in safely to make the score 5-3.  Keep in mind that all of this happened in about five minutes, making for a crazy inning.

With the lead now in hand, Tony Watson‘s number was called for the eighth.  Despite getting two very hard-hit outs, he retired the side without much trouble, setting up Jason Grilli for the ninth.  On the day that an actual shark tank was put the Pirates clubhouse, the shark tank in the bullpen came out once again, improving the team to 25-1 when leading after seven innings.  Grilli ended the game by inducing a deep flyout off the bat of Cabrera, guaranteeing at least a split of this four-game series.


Pirates (33-20) – Tigers (29-22)

Win: Morris (2-2)
Loss: Sanchez (5-5)
Save: Grilli (22)

BOX SCORE

carlton-banks

Go Bucs

 

Series Preview: Pirates vs. Tigers

preview DET

Pittsburgh Pirates (32-20) vs. Detroit Tigers (29-21)

May 29, 2013 – 7:05 pm
May 30, 2013 – 7:05 pm

PNC Park – Pittsburgh, PA

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Resources: Pirates Depth Chart | Bullpen Workload | Statistics

After splitting the two-game set in Detroit, the Pirates and Tigers shift the series to PNC Park to complete “rivalry week.” A couple of good pitching matchups await, which should make for two more solid contests.

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Probable Starters:

Game 1 – A.J. Burnett (3-5, 2.57) vs. Anibal Sanchez (5-4, 2.38)

Game 2 – Jeff Locke (5-1, 2.45) vs. Doug Fister (5-2, 3.65)

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Batting Leaders (Among Qualifiers):

Pirates

Tigers

AVG

Starling Marte (.297)

Miguel Cabrera (.373)

HR

Pedro Alvarez (10)

Cabrera (14)

RBI

Alvarez, McCutchen (27)

Cabrera (57)

SB

Andrew McCutchen (14)

Dirks, Jackson (5)

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Pitching Leaders (Among Qualifiers):

Pirates

Tigers

Wins

Wandy Rodriguez (6)

Max Scherzer (7)

SO

A.J. Burnett (85)

Justin Verlander (82)

ERA

Jeff Locke (2.45)

Anibal Sanchez (2.38)

Saves

Jason Grilli (21)

Jose Valverde (6)

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Opponent Blogs: Bless You Boys, Motor City Bengals, Walkoff Woodward

Neil Walker

Player to Watch: Neil Walker, who won Tuesday night’s contest with a solo home run in the 11th inning. On the five-game roadtrip, the Pittsburgh Kid hit .429 (9-for-21) with five extra-base hits and four runs batted in. Walker’s been much better from the left-side of the plate this season (.286 avg, .852 OPS vs. .167 avg, .385 OPS) so hopefully he can stay hot against two right-handed pitchers, Sanchez and Fister.

Go Bucs

Game #52: Pirates 1, Tigers 0

A matchup between Jeanmar Gomez (due for regression, facing tough Tigers lineup) vs. Rick Porcello (entering with a 6.28 ERA) would result in a high scoring affair, right? Wrong.

Both starters were lights-out on Tuesday night at Comerica Park; their final lines:

Gomez: 7.0 IP, 0 runs, 3 hits, 2 K, 1 BB
Porcello: 8.0 IP, 0 runs, 3 hits, 11 K, 1 BB

Jeanmar with yet another impressive outing, and get this – Porcello struck out more people last night (11) than he did in all of April (8). These two made it look easy on the mound.

While those two initiated the pitchers’ duel, both bullpens kept it up. Justin Wilson and Mark Melancon offered three innings of solid relief to keep Detroit’s bats in check.

After ten innings of scoreless action, Neil Walker finally put the Bucs on the board by drilling a solo home run off of Jose Ortega.

Jason Grilli came in to finish it off, striking out Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, and Prince Fielder. It wasn’t an easy task for the 36-year-old closer to punch out one of the top 2-3-4 combinations in the game, but Grilli just keeps getting the job done. He’s now 21-for-21 in save opportunities, leading Major League Baseball in that department.

“Rivalry Week” shifts to PNC Park for two games. A.J. Burnett gets the ball on Wednesday night; he’ll square off against Anibal Sanchez.

Pirates (32-20) – Tigers (29-21)

Win: Melancon (1-0)
Loss: Ortega (0-2)
Save: Grilli (21)

BOX SCORE

carlton-banks

Go Bucs