Pittsburgh Pirates Wake Up call: Two out of Three Ain’t Bad


Welcome to the Pittsburgh Pirates Wake-Up Call, a daily feature here at RumBunter.com. Every morning at 9 AM, one of us will give you our random thoughts on the goings-on around the Pirates’ organization, and we’ll throw out a few links to some good Pirates-related items from around the web.

How does the song go?

One of the great poets of our time, Meatloaf, once told us “Two out of three ain’t bad.” And that is especially true for the Pirates, who have developed a habit of taking two out of three this year. After the bloodbath that was the Brewers series, the Bucs have taken 2/3 from both the Cardinals and the Reds. With the Chicago Cubs tight on their heels, this win was a much-needed one. I don’t have to tell everyone that if the Pirates can keep winning these important series’ towards the end of the season, they will end up in a great spot at the end. 

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The game last night had many story lines. J.A. Happ did it again, allowing two earned runs to, well to Todd Frazier. Frazier connected on a solo home run in the second inning and later added a sac fly. That was all the damage Happ would allow as he showed excellent command in ringing up 10 strikeouts on the day. In my opinion, this start has solidified Happ’s place in the rotation over Jeff Locke provided A.J. Burnett proves capable tonight. I’m not sure what else can be said about Happ at this point.

But a lot more can be said about another highlight from last night.

Is Kang the best off-season signing in recent history?

In case you missed it, Jung Ho Kang followed up his tape-measure home run from Tuesday in ho-hum fashion, launching his first career MLB Grand Slam.

The slam was the first for the Pittsburgh Pirates since April 21 of 2014. Kang’s swing is so locked in right now. For the year he has an astounding 20.5% strikeout rate. While the league average is 20%, Kang’s figure is impressive as he faces better pitchers than he has previously and has quickly made the needed adjustments. With his struggles at the beginning of the year, it is even more impressive that he has rebounded in such fashion.

Is it too early to proclaim that the Kang signing is the best free-agent signing in recent Pirates history? Or, at the very least, the best of the Neal Huntington era?  If we look at this purely through a ‘free agent acquisition’ lens then absolutely. At a $16 million total cost over 4 years, the initial return on that investment is already there. I for one am salivating at the thought of what Kang will do over the next three years as his comfort level just continues to increase.

If we expand this scenario to include all transactions, the waters get a bit murkier. I still feel the Andrew McCutchen extension was the single best front office move in Pirates history. A perennial MVP candidate only comes around once a lifetime, and kudos to the staff for recognizing that.

Still, as the Kang signing indicates, this front office remains the most creative and forward thinking in all of baseball.

Pirates talk on the web

The Trib’s Bill West has the wrap-up from last night, including some great quotes regarding Kang.

Not pictured here, but perhaps you saw Joey Votto absolutely lose his mind last night. Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Post-Gazette tweets the pitch that Votto flipped his you-know-what about:

Speaking of the front-office, has the time finally arrived when teams look to raid the Pirates’s staffers? Bob Nightengale of the USA today reported that the Brewers are set to interview Pirates director of player personnel Tyrone Brooks for their GM job. Here is an older piece on Brooks by Jennifer Langosch from 2011 in which Brooks details his rise.

Next: As Liriano Goes, so do the Pirates