Pirates Fan Guide to the 2014 World Series

2014 Major League Baseball World Series

American League Champion: Kansas City Royals


National League Champion: San Francisco Giants

The schedule:

Game 1: Tuesday, October 21 — Kansas City, MO
Game 2: Wednesday, October 22 — Kansas City, MO
Game 3: Friday, October 24 –San Francisco, CA
Game 4: Saturday, October 25 — San Francisco, CA
Game 5: Sunday, October 26 — San Francisco, CA (if necessary) 
Game 6: Tuesday, October 28 — Kansas City, MO (if necessary) 
Game 7: Wednesday, October 29 — Kansas City, MO (if necessary) 

All games at 8:00 pm and televised on FOX.

Series previews: ESPN, Grantland, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, Sporting News, FOX Sports

Former Pirates on the Kansas City Royals (40-man roster):

1. Erik Kratz, 2010 (.118/.167/.118 in 9 games)

He once took on Prince Fielder


(Javier Lopez was on the mound for that play… More on him in a minute)

2. Jayson Nix, 2014 (.111/.158/.111 in 16 games)  LOL


Former Pirates on the San Francisco Giants (40-man roster):

1. Travis Ishikawa, 2014 (.206/.263/.382 in 15 games)

2. Ryan Vogelsong, 2001-2006 (6.00 ERA in 103 appearances/33 starts)

3. Javier Lopez, 2010 (2.79 ERA in 50 appearances)

javier lopez pirates

4. Hunter Strickland, Minors 2010-2012 (West Virginia, Bradenton, Altoona)


5. Erik Cordier, Minors 2013 (Indianapolis)

6. Jean Machi, Minors 2009-2010 (Altoona & Indianapolis)

Why you should root for the Royals: The ultimate underdog, representing the small markets… Like the Bucs did a year ago, KC finally snapped their multi-decade playoff drought. How can you not like how the Royals are playing right now? They haven’t even lost a game in this postseason. It’d be nice to see some new blood take the title, especially a team like the Royals.

Why you should root for the Giants: Representing the National League, with a bunch of former Bucs. At least it’s not the Cardinals, right? It hurts to know these guys knocked out the Pirates, but at the same time, a San Fran win would make it seem like the Bucs fell at the hands of a very worthy opponent.

Why it doesn’t matter: Neither team is the Pirates.

Why should this matchup give you hope as a Pirate fan?

The Bucs were on an even playing field with the Giants. Both 88-74 in the regular season (PIT 4-2 vs. SF), they faced off in that one-game Wild Card… Unfortunately, things didn’t go the Pirates’ way — but they had a chance to knock out the eventual NL champs.

A Royals win would make me pretty jealous; they’ve felt like the Pirates of the American League for years, but now they’ve made it back to the grand stage. They’re in a similar market as the Bucs, with a similar TV deal and lower attendance, but their payroll was still about $15 million higher this year. A Kansas City title would give hope to all small market teams.

Let’s just hope for a good series.

No more baseball after this (ugh), but a very important offseason for the Pirates awaits.

Go Bucs Baseball

GAMEDAY: Pirates vs. Giants | NL Wild Card Game

pirates giants wild card game 2014

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. San Francisco Giants

2014 National League Wild Card Game

October 1st, 2014 — 8:07 pm

PNC Park — Pittsburgh, PA



Here we go. After 162 games — a year filled with up and downs, adversity and resiliency — the 2014 Pirates’ season comes down to one game. Win and move on; lose and go home. The San Francisco Giants find themselves in the same position, as they roll into PNC Park on Wednesday night for the 2014 NL Wild Card game. On the surface, these teams are about as even as it gets — they both finished with an 88-74 record and an identical +51 run differential.

pirates vs giants breakdown

The Bucs have been here before. You might remember what happened one year ago today. Yeah, let’s do that again tonight. #PNCBLACKOUT

Probable Pitching Matchup

Edinson Volquez vs. Madison Bumgarner

What a year it has been for Edinson Volquez. Neal Huntington & Co. cashed in once again, as a controversial $5 million signing turned into one of baseball’s best bargains. A new and improved Volquez posted a 3.04 ERA over 32 starts, the only Pirate to stay healthy & in the rotation for the whole season. While some of his peripherals make you nervous for a win-or-go-home game (6.5 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, .263 BABIP, 4.15 FIP), Eddie V has certainly been the Bucs’ hottest pitcher as of late. His last 17 starts, dating back to mid-June: 1.85 ERA, allowing more than two earned runs just three times. His ERA was just north of 1.00 in September, and he was lights out in his final outing of the regular season (7 innings, 0 runs, 4 hits, 10 K, 1 BB). Never thought we’d see him pitching an elimination game for the Pirates, yet here we are. Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’ with Volquez tonight.

Madison Bumgarner is quietly one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. His stellar 2.98 ERA is backed up by a 3.05 FIP and a 2.99 xFIP. He racks up the strikeouts (25.1% K-rate) and limits the free passes (4.9% BB-rate), leading to the third-best K-BB% in the National League (20.2%). He’s been excellent in the second half (2.29 ERA), and just dominant on the road all year (2.22 ERA). MadBum allowed more than four earned runs twice this year — one of those outings came against these same Pittsburgh Pirates. They roughed him up on July 28th in San Fran, scoring five in four innings of work. Let’s hope they can do it again and jump on him early.

News & Notes

– Pirates roster for tonight…

Pitchers: John Holdzkom, Jared Hughes, Bobby LaFromboise, Jeff Locke, Mark Melancon, Edinson Volquez, Tony Watson, Justin Wilson, Vance Worley

Catchers: Russell Martin, Tony Sanchez, Chris Stewart

Infielders: Clint Barmes, Ike Davis, Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer, Brent Morel, Gaby Sanchez, Neil Walker

Outfielders: Andrew Lambo, Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen, Gregory Polanco, Travis Snider, Jose Tabata

– Volquez is calm and ready to go:

Gerrit Cole on Eddie V:

gerrit cole on edinson volquez

– Remember Travis Ishikawa? The Bucs’ Opening Day first baseman will be playing left field for the Giants tonight.

– Pirate legend Kent Tekulve has been absent from ROOT Sports’ postgame show for a few months now, as he’s been recovering from a heart transplant. Teke will be on hand to throw out the first pitch tonight. Should be a great moment.

– The Clemente Bridge & Federal Street shut down at 10:00 am. Festivities will start out there around 4:30 pm.

– Gates open at 6:00 pm.

– Be in your seats by 7:30 or so. Intros start at 7:37.

– WEAR BLACK TONIGHT and support the PNC Blackout. All fans will be given a black rally towel.

Opponent Blog

The only Giants blog you need — McCovey Chronicles 

What they’re saying:


“The Giants should try to win the Wild Card Game because they’re playing with house money. The silver dollar is already in the slot machine. Why wouldn’t they pull the damned handle? Because it would feel too awful if it came up cherry-7-cherry? That’s weenie talk.

And you’re no weenie. Bryan is, but you’re not.

The Giants have a chance to play better than we expect and annoy people. That’s a beautiful dream. We should root for it.”


Keys to Victory

Get to Bum early: Don’t let Bumgarner settle into a groove. Jump on him early and keep the crowd in the game.

Accurate Eddie: Above all, limit the walks — they’re a killer, especially in a game like this. Throw strikes and get ahead of these hitters — opponents have hit .295/.500/.486 vs. Volquez when the batter is ahead in the count; .182/.192/.254 when Volquez is ahead in the count.

Don’t panic: They’ve certainly lived up to the “Battlin’ Bucs” moniker, with more than 40 come-from-behind wins this season. At the same time, we’ve seen the Pirates get overanxious and overaggressive at the plate when they blow a lead or fall behind — lots of first pitch swings and bad at-bats. Stick to the game plan; this thing lasts 9 innings.

Manage like there’s no tomorrow: Everything is on the line tonight; Hurdle and staff must use all their weapons. These moves can literally cost you the season… trust that Hurdle can make the right calls tonight.

russ blackout

The 10th Man: We saw the home field advantage last year. Let’s do it again. This could be the last time we get to cheer on the Buccos in 2014… but if we give them enough energy, maybe they’ll be back for the division series. PNC should be rocking tonight. Wear your black. Bring the noise.



Series Preview: Pirates @ Giants

Pirates vs Giants

Pittsburgh Pirates (55-49)


San Francisco Giants (57-48)

Monday, July 28th – 10:15 pm
Tuesday, July 29th – 10:15 pm
Wednesday, July 30th – 3:45 pm

AT&T Park – San Francisco, CA


Follow us on Twitter @ForbesToFederal.

After narrowly avoiding a sweep in Colorado, the Pirates head out to the west coast to visit the Wild Card-leading San Francisco Giants.

[divider type=””]

Probable Pitchers

Monday – Vance Worley vs. Madison Bumgarner

Tuesday – Francisco Liriano vs. Tim Hudson

Wednesday – Charlie Morton vs. Tim Lincecum

[divider type=””]

News, Notes, Storylines

– The Giants are only 28-28 at AT&T Park this season.

– Pirates on the road: 21-28 … yikes.

– The Bucs face Madison Bumgarner on Monday, the eighth left-handed starter they’ve seen in 10 games since the All-Star break.

Gerrit Cole‘s rehab went well tonight: 5 innings (81 pitches), 0 runs, 5 hits, 7 K, 3 BB.

– The Pirates are interested in acquiring Marlon Byrd (again) apparently.

– The “You Score as the Bucs Score” promotion is returning this week — each run the Pirates score in San Francisco = $1 off Outfield Box seats for next week’s Marlins series.

[divider type=””]

Opponent Blogs

McCovey Chronicles | The Giants Cove

What they’re saying:

[quote_simple]”You’re feeling down about that series. The Dodgers swept the Giants, outscoring them 17-4, yet it never felt that close. Everything is ruined, everything is awful.” – McCovey Chron[/quote_simple]

[divider type=””]

Player to Watch

cutch hbp

Andrew McCutchen, who had a forgettable weekend in Colorado, going just 1-for-11. He’s only collected six hits in 33 at-bats since the All-Star break (.182), with only one of extra-base variety (a late-game double last Wednesday). The offense still goes as McCutchen goes — he’s the catalyst, and it’d be nice to see him get back to doing Cutch things this week.

[divider type=””]

Prediction Time

Pirates didn’t look good in Colorado over the weekend, and I’m not liking the pitching matchups for this series (particularly the first two). It’s a very important series for both these teams, but I’m gonna say Giants take two of three.

Go Bucs

Pirates-Giants Series Recap

After taking two of three from the Blue Jays, the Bucs returned to National League action with a series against the San Francisco Giants.  Sunday was a disappointment and Monday was absolutely atrocious, but the Bucs finished the series on a high note and look to be back on track.

Jeff Locke made his season debut on Monday night and after getting touched up a bit in the 1st inning, he settled down for a couple innings before getting knocked around again in the middle innings.  The Giants collected four hits in the 1st, jumping out to a 2-0 lead.  That lead didn’t last long, however, as Neil Walker drove in a run and Pedro Alvarez put a ball in the bullpen for a three-run shot to make it 4-2.  4 more runs came around to score in the 5th as the Bucs knocked Yusmiero Petit out of the game and took a 8-2 lead.

Despite getting a ton of offensive support, the pitching staff couldn’t hold up and surrendered the lead right back to San Francisco.  The teams traded leads a couple times, and the 9th inning began with the Bucs up 10-9.  After allowing a single to Hunter Pence, Mark Melancon uncorked a wild pitch that moved the runner into scoring position.  Buster Posey knocked a single into RF, and the game was once again knotted up.  It stayed that way until the 13th, when SF reliever Jean Machi plated the winning run on a sacrifice bunt that was thrown away.  Beyond ugly game.


Tuesday night’s game was the polar opposite of Monday: the two teams combined for three runs and both pitchers breezed through 8 innings of work.  Each team manufactured a run in the 2nd inning, but that would be all either starter allowed until the 9th.  Charlie Morton was done after 8 very impressive innings in which he allowed only 3 runs and 2 walks.  Tony Watson took over for him in the 9th, and stranded two runners to give the Bucs a chance to walk it off in the bottom of the inning.  Tim Hudson remained in the game looking to send the game to extras, and it looked like he would after rolling a double play ball to negate a leadoff single by Cutch.  Starling Marte came up with two down and smacked a triple to right field.  The throw to third got away, and Marte broke for home.  He slid headfirst and was originally called out, but after the umpires reviewed it, he was ruled safe for the first ever replay-review-walkoff.


Gerrit Cole was the story of Wednesday’s matinee rubber match.  The sophomore grinded through 8 innings to secure the series win.  He struck out 7 on his way to the win, and allowed only 3 earned runs.  His counterpart, Tim Lincecum, was knocked out after giving up 4 runs in 4 innings.  Travis Snider drove in two runs while Cutch and Starling each picked one RBI up to supply the offense.  Mark Melancon converted his second save of the season with a 1-2-3 9th, and the Bucs will head into a weekend series with the Cardinals having won two straight series against tough teams.  If the final two games against the Giants are any indication of what’s to come for the Pirates, they’ll likely right the ship and start playing competitive baseball night in and night out.

Go Bucs

Series Preview: Pirates vs. Giants

Pirates vs Giants

Pittsburgh Pirates (12-19)


San Francisco Giants (20-11)

Monday, May 5th – 7:05 pm
Tuesday, May 6th – 7:05 pm
Wednesday, May 7th – 12:35 pm

PNC Park – Pittsburgh, PA


Follow us on Twitter @ForbesToFederal.

The Bucs are coming off a series win, though it wasn’t exactly an inspiring one. Both victories were comeback efforts due to weak pitching, and Sunday’s drubbing felt deflating. Now they play host to the red hot San Francisco Giants, winners of five straight games and nine of their last ten.

[divider type=””]

Probable Pitchers

Monday – Jeff Locke (0-0, -.–) vs. Yusmeiro Petit (2-1, 2.61)

Tuesday – Charlie Morton (0-4, 4.21) vs. Tim Hudson (4-1, 2.17)

Wednesday – Gerrit Cole (2-2, 3.69) vs. Tim Lincecum (2-1, 5.12)

[divider type=””]

News, Notes, Storylines

– The Bucs’ .387 winning percentage is fourth-worst in MLB (ahead of Cubs, D-backs, Astros).

Casey Sadler was sent back to Indy to make room for Jeff Locke.

– Updates from the DL: Jason Grilli is playing catch; Russell Martin might start doing baseball stuff on Friday.

Matt Cain, scratched from his previous start, was penciled in to return on Monday night. However, the finger lacerated while making a sandwich hasn’t healed, and he’s headed to the DL.

[divider type=””]

Opponent Blogs

McCovey Chronicles

What they’re saying:

[quote_simple]”Sweeps are magnificent. Sweeps on the road are doubly so. Sweeps on the road against a first-place team are exponentially so. But there’s nothing quite like a sweep on the road against a first-place team whose fans have the most annoying tradition in professional sports.” – McCovey Chron. on the Giants sweep of Atlanta [/quote_simple]

[divider type=””]

Player to Watch

Going with Locke here. The 2013 All-Star is back, albeit just for one outing (most likely). Last Thursday’s doubleheader made this spot start possible for Locke, as Brandon Cumpton or Charlie Morton would have been pitching on just three days rest. He’s surrendered 12 earned runs over 19 innings at Triple-A since returning from an injury that sidelined him during spring training. Can we get a first half 2013 kind of start from Locke? Hope for the best.

[divider type=””]

Prediction Time

Just as I wrote in the Blue Jays preview: “Pirates take two of three because why not?” The losing is getting old. 

Go Bucs