Series Preview: Pirates @ Phillies

Pirates vs Phillies

Pittsburgh Pirates (15-16)


Philadelphia Phillies (11-21)

Monday, May 11th — 7:05 pm
Tuesday, May 12th — 7:05 pm
Wednesday, May 13th — 7:05 pm
Thursday, May 14th — 1:05 pm

Citizens Bank Park — Philadelphia, PA


Follow us on Twitter @ForbesToFederal.

The Pirates finished a nice series win against the Cardinals at PNC, and now head to the other side of the state to face the 11-21 Phillies. No reason the Bucs shouldn’t be able to get a few W’s in Philly, and hopefully go to Chicago next weekend over the .500 mark.

Continue reading “Series Preview: Pirates @ Phillies”

Series Preview: Pirates @ Phillies

Pirates vs Phillies

Pittsburgh Pirates (74-68)


Philadelphia Phillies (66-76)

Monday, September 8th – 7:05 pm
Tuesday, September 9th – 7:05 pm
Wednesday, September 10th – 7:05 pm
Thursday, September 11th – 7:05 pm

Citizens Bank Park – Philadelphia, PA


Follow us on Twitter @ForbesToFederal.

The 2014 Pirates’ roller coaster ride continues. This long roadtrip got off to a bad start in St. Louis, where they were swept by the first place Cardinals… then did a complete 180 this past weekend as they swept the Cubs in Chicago. Those wins, paired with losses from the Braves and Brewers, put the Pirates back in the playoff picture with 20 games to go. Next up: a four-game series with the last place Phillies. Just keep winning.

wild card

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Probable Pitchers

Monday – Jeff Locke vs. Kyle Kendrick

Tuesday – Edinson Volquez vs. David Buchanan

Wednesday – Vance Worley vs. Jerome Williams

Thursday – Francisco Liriano vs. A.J. Burnett

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News, Notes, Storylines

– The Pirates control their own destiny. Just win, baby.

– Shots fired by Clint Hurdle:

– The 2015 schedule was released today.

– The Bucs released Ernesto Frieri.

– Happy birthday, Gerrit Cole. Turns 24 years old today.

Josh Harrison is out of the lineup again on Monday night.

Pedro Alvarez‘s foot injury isn’t getting much better.

Vote for Clint Barmes for the “Man of the Year” award.

– A.J. pitches on Thursday.

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Opponent Blogs

The Good Phight | Crashburn Alley | Phillies Nation

What they’re saying:

[quote_simple]”It’s that time of year when the Phillies stop being a piece of crap team and start -at best – being the team that’s gets off on ruining the season for everyone else.” – The Good Phight[/quote_simple]

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Players to Watch

This may be a lazy pick, but… all four Bucco starting pitchers. As we saw on Sunday (and have seen a lot this year), the Pirates can swing it (they’ve sneakily been one of the best hitting teams in baseball). If they want to make the postseason, the pitchers gotta be on their A-game.

Locke strung together some good starts in August, but wasn’t good last Tuesday in St. Louis as he walked five in three innings.

Volquez is shocking the world. 2.02 ERA over his last eight outings. But can he keep it up? Staying consistent has been a struggle for Volquez. So can he keep rolling into October?

Worley is turning heads as well, though he hasn’t been as sharp recently. Hopefully he’s looking for something to prove against his former team on Wednesday night.

The return of Good Liriano? He’s starting to look like the 2013 version — 2.51 ERA in the second half. Excluding the seven-run implosion vs. Atlanta: 1.58 ERA. He’s given up two runs or less in 9 of his last 10 starts.

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Prediction Time

This is a team the Pirates should beat — and need to beat. It’s hard to sweep any four-game series… I’ll take three of four for a solid end to the roadtrip. Need it.

“There’s definitely no relaxing. We know we’ve got to win.” – Cutch

Go Bucs

Pirates Trade Target: A.J. Burnett

A few weeks back, John Perrotto reported that former Buc A.J. Burnett was possibly on the Pirates’ radar once again. While I figured it was just speculation at the time, now there’s this from Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

[quote_simple]”A Pittsburgh scout — not on his normal coverage — watched Burnett’s start Friday at Turner Field. The Pirates could use a boost to a rotation of Francisco Liriano, Charlie Morton, Edinson Volquez, Jeff Locke and Vance Worley.”[/quote_simple]

While it’s funny to me that they even scouted him (I think they know what he has to offer by now), it does show that there may be some serious interest there (especially if said scout truly did go out of his way).

Of course, everyone remembers the apparent fallout between Burnett and the Pirates, though Perrotto’s piece offered this:

[quote_simple]”But Burnett has said since he has good memories about his time with the Pirates. A team source said Thursday that the Pirates believe any remaining ill feelings can be smoothed over.”[/quote_simple]

Pirate fans seem torn on the thought of bringing Burnett back (as far as what I’m reading on social media). A.J. was greeted warmly when he pitched at PNC two weeks ago, for which he seemed grateful.

aj burnett returns to pnc park

Rather than show his career numbers, here is what he’s done in 21 starts with Philadelphia this year:

Rk Date Opp Rslt IP H R ER BB SO ERA Pit
1 Apr 1 TEX L,2-3 6.0 7 1 1 2 3 1.50 97
2 Apr 6 CHC L,3-8 5.2 5 8 4 6 3 3.86 109
3 Apr 11 MIA W,6-3 4.1 5 2 2 6 4 3.94 106
4 Apr 17 ATL W,1-0 7.0 3 0 0 2 5 2.74 101
5 Apr 22 LAD W,3-2 6.2 6 2 2 1 5 2.73 105
6 Apr 27 ARI W,2-0 8.0 5 0 0 0 8 2.15 102
May Opp Rslt IP H R ER BB SO ERA Pit
7 May 3 WSN W,7-2 6.0 3 1 1 2 7 2.06 93
8 May 8 TOR L,6-12 6.0 9 7 6 2 4 2.90 103
9 May 14 LAA L,0-3 5.0 7 3 3 5 6 3.13 113
10 May 20 MIA W,6-5 5.0 3 3 3 4 5 3.32 96
11 May 25 LAD L,0-6 7.0 11 6 4 1 3 3.51 108
12 May 30 NYM W,6-5 7.0 5 5 5 6 11 3.79 116
June Opp Rslt IP H R ER BB SO ERA Pit
13 Jun 4 WSN L,4-8 6.0 10 8 8 4 3 4.41 104
14 Jun 10 SDP W,5-2 7.1 3 2 2 2 3 4.24 89
15 Jun 15 CHC L,0-3 8.0 8 3 3 0 4 4.17 104
16 Jun 20 STL W,5-1 9.0 7 1 1 1 3 3.89 111
17 Jun 25 MIA L,2-3 7.0 5 3 3 3 8 3.89 107
July Opp Rslt IP H R ER BB SO ERA Pit
18 Jul 1 MIA L,4-5 6.0 6 4 3 4 10 3.92 116
19 Jul 6 PIT L,2-6 7.0 5 3 3 2 7 3.92 100
20 Jul 11 WSN W,6-2 7.2 5 2 2 4 6 3.83 108
21 Jul 18 ATL L,4-6 5.0 10 6 6 1 5 4.08 77
136.2 128 70 62 58 113 4.08
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 7/20/2014.

He’s had a couple of bumps along the way (including Friday’s outing), but pitched some of his best baseball of the year over the past month — 2.94 ERA in seven starts from June 10th to July 11th. Overall, it hasn’t been a great year on the eastern side of the state for A.J.

Burnett was impressive (especially for his age) with the Bucs, but he’s now a year older, his strikeout numbers are down, he leads the league in walks, and he’s dealt with an inguinal hernia since April. That injury is a red flag, although he’s been pitching through it to this point.

I liked Burnett when he was here and think it’d be sweet to see him back in black and gold. On the other hand, I think the Pirates should shoot higher than this. The next 10 days will be interesting.

A.J. claims that he would want to stay in Philadelphia, but… the Phillies aren’t close to contending and are looking to deal any number of their overpaid veterans. It’s not surprising that Burnett is on the block, but it may be tough for the Phils to deal him — he has a limited no trade clause, presumably wants to stay close to home (like he did in free agency), and a contender would have to want him. The two logical fits are Baltimore (who had “very preliminary” talks with Philly about Burnett) and Pittsburgh.

Philadelphia is paying him a lot of cash this year (more than the Pirates wanted to pay him, obviously). If the two teams were to match up on a deal, I think the Pirates would like to see some money eaten by Philly if they tossed in a prospect (or maybe the Pirates could unload Jose Tabata and his contract on the Phillies?) Either way, Philadelphia doesn’t have much leverage because of his NTC, plus they just want to unload, so the price shouldn’t be crazy.

There’s also a 2015 option on his contract, which is interesting — it’s a $15 million mutual option, but if the team turns it down, Burnett can trigger a $7.5 million player option. That figure could increase based on how many starts he makes this season:

24 starts = $8.5 million
27 starts = $10 million
30 starts = $11.75 million
32 starts = $12.75 million

Considering he’s already leading the league at 21 starts, that possible player option will likely wind up being much more than just $7.5 million, barring an injury. But still plenty affordable for whatever team he ends up with.

It would be kinda weird to see the Bucs get him back after the two parted ways last winter. But the club’s apparently over it, enough so that they’re scouting him and possibly interested in acquiring him once again. I think Burnett would be up for coming back as well. It’d be cool to see A.J. get a chance to pitch for a contender — Pirates or otherwise — one more time before he calls it quits.

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’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 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.


“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.


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.


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.


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.


Photo via AP

A.J. tweeted after the game:

Go Bucs

Series Preview: Pirates vs. Phillies

Pirates vs Phillies

Pittsburgh Pirates (44-41)


Philadelphia Phillies (37-48)

Friday, July 4th – 5:05 pm
Saturday, July 5th – 4:05 pm
Sunday, July 6th – 1:35 pm

PNC Park – Pittsburgh, PA


Follow us on Twitter @ForbesToFederal.

The Phillies are in town for the Fourth of July weekend, as the Bucs look to win their fifth consecutive series.

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Probable Pitchers

Friday – Gerrit Cole vs. Roberto Hernandez (formerly Fausto Carmona)

Saturday – Edinson Volquez vs. David Buchanan

Sunday – Jeff Locke vs. A.J. Burnett

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News, Notes, Storylines

– At 37-48, the Phillies are tied with the Mets for last place in the NL East, 10 games behind the first place Braves.

– Philadelphia is 19-21 on the road this season … Pirates are 26-20 at home.

– The Phillies snapped a six-game losing streak last night. They’ve lost 10 of their last 13 games.

– Welcome back to Pittsburgh, Marlon Byrd and A.J. Burnett…

– Bucs are 15-8 in their last 23 games.

– The Pirates will sport special 4th of July hats on Friday:

pirates fourth of july hat

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Opponent Blogs

The Good Phight | Crashburn Alley | Phillies Nation

What they’re saying:


Wins, the most important stat on earth.

So, for one night at least, the Phillies sent the faithful to bed with a smile on their faces and a spring in their sleepy-eyed steps, content in the knowledge that the hometown 25 had a good night.

Good Phight on last night’s W


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Player to Watch

aj burnett phillies

A.J. Burnett, of course … The former Bucco will face his old team on Sunday afternoon. His mound opponent? None other than Jeff Locke, the man A.J. took under his wing last season. Burnett has made 18 starts for the Phils this season, posting a 3.92 ERA. He’s been affected by a few bad outings (6 runs vs. Toronto, 5 vs. Mets, 8 vs. Nationals), but has done better recently — 2.89 ERA in his last five starts, averaging over seven innings per. He’s found his strikeout touch over his last two outings, striking out 18 batters in 13 innings. It’ll be interesting to watch him take the mound in a different uniform at PNC Park, where he owns a career 2.73 ERA in 224.1 IP.

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Prediction Time

Do it again … Pirates take two of three.

Go Bucs