Pittsburgh Pirates Quick Hits

Aug 2, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle (13) in the dugout against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 2, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle (13) in the dugout against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Pirates are off today, Monday, August 8th. They are coming off a week in which they went 3-3 against two teams in the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds who are now a combined 86-135, a winning percentage of 0.389.

To only go .500 against these two ball clubs is a disappointment, especially when the Pirates gifted Jeff Locke a four run lead in the first inning of one game and Ryan Vogelsong pitched a gem in his return. After taking the first two against the Reds, Gerrit Cole pitched his typical game against the Reds, as the Pirates are now 0-8 in games Cole started against Cincinnati. So lets take a look at nine quick hits in reference of this last week.

Turner Field was opened in 1997, with its first game at the park occurring on April 4th. It’s now in its final season, as the Braves are set to move into SunTrust Park starting next year. The Pirates should be glad that Turner is finally coming to an end, as the team is 26-46 in Turner. For reference, the Pirates are 35-38 at both Three Rivers Stadium and PNC Park against the Atlanta Braves since the beginning of 1997. Even in the Pirates new era of winning, the team is 6-7 at Turner Field since 2013. With the Braves now in a rebuild mode and the Pirates having a stable and winning franchise, hopefully SunTrust Park won’t be such a hassle for the Pirates.

Juan Nicasio

pitched twice this week, going four innings and allowing three runs, but only two earned. All three of the runs that Nicasio allowed came in the game on August 3rd, which marks the first time that he has allowed more than one run in a game since becoming a full-time reliever on June 26th. In fact, since becoming a full-time reliever, Nicasio has posted a 2.49 ERA, 2.34 FIP, and 2.88 xFIP in 15 games and 25.1 innings.

Jun 12, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) in the field against the St. Louis Cardinals during the ninth inning at PNC Park. St. Louis won 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
  • Andrew McCutchen was given three days of rest against the Atlanta Braves. He came back against the Cincinnati Reds and looked rejuvenated. He only had two hits in nine at bats, but he walked three times and posted a .417 on-base percentage. Furthermore, he had a stolen base attempt nullified due to a foul ball, but you could see the extra spring in his step as he swiped a bag later on in the game. A good sign was in his average exit velocity, as it was 91.15 miles per hour, using Baseball Savant’s stat cast search.
  • John Jaso had an egregious base running mistake on August 4th when he did not move from the batters box on a double play. He had an interesting series against the Reds, after many wanted him benched. He went 2-8, but posted a strong .400 on-base percentage. Jaso was also responsible for two bigs runs. The first being the run he scored in the first game of the series on Jordy Mercer’s squeeze play, as that run gave the team a 2-1 lead. The second run that he was responsible for came on a hit by pitch, which tied the game at two in the bottom of the third. Jaso is now hitting .197/.293/.272 in his last 50 games and 41 starts. He also, in the game yesterday afternoon, had a throw home that may or may not have gotten Billy Hamilton out at the plate, but the throw in itself was a disaster.
  • Jeff Locke is no longer starting for the Pittsburgh Pirates, which has been every fans dream. He was gifted a four run lead in the top of the first inning, and in fact he struck out to end that inning. He later coughed that game up and the Pirates lost 8-4. Locke only lasted 4.1 innings and he faced 24 batters. Locke allowed nine hits, five runs, walked two, and struck out only one batter. This start continues Locke’s string of bad starts, as his last four starts he has not gone more than five innings and has posted a 9.92 ERA in those starts. In fairness to Locke, he has been consistent…. In his last three starts, Locke has allowed five runs in each of them.
  • Starling Marte

    had a bad week in terms of batting average last week, hitting only .250 in 20 at bats, but he did post a .375 on-base percentage due to two hit by pitches and two walks. Marte stole three bags, but was caught once. His 39 stolen bases ranks third in the game, behind National League Central foes

    Billy Hamilton


    Jonathan Villar

    . Marte did have a seven game streak going in which he did not have a run batted in, but that streak was snapped on August 6th when Marte brought in Ivan Nova and

    Josh Harrison

    on a single up the middle in the bottom of the forth inning.

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  • Speaking of Ivan Nova, he pitched well in his Bucco debut. He allowed three runs over seven innings, and he was very efficient. Nova struck out five and walked zero. Hs FIP of 5.42 indicates that Nova had some luck, but his xFIP of 2.89 shows he should be good in the future, but even advanced stats are not very useful in small samples such as seven innings. A concern for Nova should be his 20 home runs allowed in his last 16 starts. He’s allowed at least one home run in 15 of those last 16 starts, and over his last five starts, he has allowed two home runs three times.
  • Sean Rodriguez played in five games, but he only received four plate appearances and three at bats. He did make his one at bat in Friday night’s game against the Cincinnati Reds worthwhile. His walk-off home run was his 11th of the season, his career high is 12, which he hit with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2014. Over the course of the last 365 days, Sean Rodriguez is hitting .265/.343/.498 in 282 plate appearances.
  • Jung Ho Kang’s streak of coldness has continued both defensively and offensively this last week. In five games with the glove, four of which he started, Kang had four errors and a fielding percentage of 0.773. The double play he turned in Saturday’s game was an incredible play, diving to his right, and turning the 5-4 double play. With the bat, Kang hit .200/.294/.333 in 17 plate appearances and 15 at bats. From June 8th and on, Kang is hitting .192/.266/.315 with a 26.6 percent strikeout rate.
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    The club had an interesting week, both in trades and in play, and the Pirates record now sits at 55-54. They host the San Diego Padres in a three game set starting tomorrow night, and the odds are in the favor of the Pirates winning that series with plenty of ease. The Pirates are 15-33 all time at PNC Park against the Friars, but the Pirates have the advantage in all three of the starting pitching matchups. After this series the Pirates go out west and play the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team that currently holds the top spot of the National League wild card. It’s a big week for the club, as they need to ramp up the winning rate. With only 53 games left, the Pirates remain three games out of a playoff position.

    *Numbers from baseball-reference and fangraphs