McCutchen home run Padres at Pirates1715

Pirates Look For Success In September

McCutchen home run Padres at Pirates1715

To say that the Pittsburgh Pirates have hit a bump in the road this month would be a pretty big understatement. The Bucs are 12-13 during the month of August and are currently four games behind the first place Milwaukee Brewers in the race for the NL Central. Though they’ve hit a minor rough patch in their season, this next month of baseball could make or break this struggling ball club.

It’s been a dramatic couple of weeks for the Pirates, losing star players off the field to injuries and struggling to get wins on the field. Despite having an August record that is below .500, the Bucs trail the San Francisco Giants by a game and a half for the second wild card spot in the National League.

After struggling and going 1-5 in two key mid-August series against the Nationals and the Braves, the Pirates have stepped up their last two series against the top two teams in the NL Central, Milwaukee and St Louis. The Bucs went 4-2 against their division foes and have put themselves in good position to improve their playoff chances with their schedule in September. They finish off August with a three game set against a struggling Cincinnati Reds team that has fallen out of the race for the division, sitting ten games back.

The Bucs should also be helped by the roster expansion at the beginning of September, when all teams can increase the amount of players from 25 to 40. Center Fielder Gregory Polanco, who was sent down to AAA Indianapolis this week after struggling with the Bucs following a hot start, should be a vital asset to the Pirates quest for another postseason berth. Though some believe this wasn’t a smart move on the part of the Pirates front office, this does allow Polanco to be able to take some time in the minors to regroup, make some adjustments and get things back on track before he makes his return to the major league lineup.

With the lack of acquisitions made by the Pirates at the trade deadline this season, they will definitely look to some of their young talent in the minors to make an impact once the calendar hits September.

The Bucs boosted the bullpen with the addition to John Axford and will most likely get the services of relievers Casey Sadler and Bobby LaFromboise once the season is over for the Indianapolis Indians. Both of these pitchers could be vital assets to a fatigued bullpen that has struggled as of late.

Aside from the bullpen additions, the Pirates will also receive the services of other minor league players who are on the 40 man roster including Tony Sanchez, Michael Martinez, Chris McGuiness, Brent Morel, Jaff Decker, Andrew Lambo, and of course, Gregory Polanco. These players will serve a huge purpose for the Buccos as they wrap up the 2014 season and could have an impact on the way the division unfolds.

It’s been a season of ups and downs for a team that just made the postseason for the first time in 21 years, just one year ago. The main goal for this team is to get healthy for the final stretch. Reigning MVP Andrew McCutchen returned to the lineup yesterday against St. Louis after tweaking his injured ribs in Tuesday’s game, while Pedro Alvarez was held out of yesterday’s game with a sprained left foot. Both players have been red hot as of late and for the Bucs to be successful, they must get them feeling healthy for the stretch run.

With the health of some key players in question, the September call ups could have more of an impact than people may think. They’ll definitely be called upon to join the current brigade of Buccos as they look to repeat the magic that fans witnessed last fall.

A successful September is definitely on the horizons for this young Pirates team, who has experienced the highs and lows a 162 game season can bring. Now, only time will tell whether this team, and the new additions, can once again play competitive baseball in October.

PNC Park, Home of Pittsburgh Pirates

Pirates Take Rubber Match Against Cards

The Pittsburgh Pirates were looking for another win today after a dramatic victory last night.  A win today also meant a series win, and that would be huge for them at this point in the season.   And Win is exactly what the  Pirates  did today. Final score today, Pirates 3 -1 over the Cards. The win would draw  them closer to the Cardinals and Giants in the wild card chase.

Going into today’s game, most were expecting a typical lineup for a day game after a night game which would exclude Martin.  Not mention Andrew McCutchen left with an injury last night along with Pedro which would have today’s lineup looking a bit grim.   In the end though, Hurdle went against his typical ways as he  started Martin, Walker played(with his recent back issues) and McCutchen played sore.   The only player that did not play was Pedro and he has a sprained foot and they are not sure how long he will be out.  If anyone questioned Hurdle, his coaching and the players heart, I think they answered that today.

The Pirates played this game like it was a must win and that is what they did.  Last night, the difference in the game was a three run bomb by Ike Davis.   Today, in the second inning, with a runner on Ike Davis came to the plate.   And on the very first pitch, he hit a 450 foot two run home run to give the Pirates the early lead.

Jeff Locke, who was brilliant today, would give up a solo home run the following inning to cut the lead in half.    In the bottom of that third inning, the Pirates would get that run right back as Andrew McCutchen would hit a sac fly that would drive in the Pirates third and final run.

Jeff Locke got stronger as the game went on as he pitched into the 8th inning.   He would put a runner on base and get one out in the 8th inning when the Pirates went back to Tony Watson.  Watson would shut the door on the Cards 8th inning which would bring Mark Melancon into the game during the 9th.   After giving up a single, he would get the next three batters to end the game.   The final score today was 3-1.

Notes: Jeff Locke pitched 7.1 innings, 6 hits, 1 run and 2 walks to go with his 3 strike outs.   Josh Harrison finished the game going 2-4.  Travis Snyder would get a hit in 2 at bats before leaving with an apparent injury.   Russell Martin grabbed two more hits as he continues to raise his average near .300.   Jeff Locke not only pitched well today, but he also had 2 base hits.   Jose Tabata came in to play the remainder of the game for Snyder and looked really bad at the plate.

The Pirates will now face the Reds over the weekend at home with Edinson Volquez taking the mound against Mike Leake.   Leake pitched well his last time out yielding no runs, though the three previous games he gave up 11 in three starts.   Volquez  had a so so outing his last time taking the mound giving up only 2 runs in nearly 6 innings.   In those 6 innings though, he gave up 11 hits.   That will need to change on Friday if the Bucs are going to be successful.

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Wild Thing Matt Sergey Named Pitcher Of The Week

Washington, PA-Washington Wild Things pitcher Matt Sergey became the first pitcher in the 22 years of the Frontier League to throw a perfect game as he retired all 27 Gateway Grizzlies he faced in the Wild Things 6-0 win on Sunday. After the two hours and fifteen minutes of pure perfection on the hill, Sergey was awarded co-Frontier League Pitcher of the Week Monday sharing the honor with Rockford Aviators pitcher Kyle Bruggerman.

Sergey completed the perfect game with a groundout from the shortstop to the first baseman in the top of the ninth inning. Sergey was quickly mobbed by teammates after he knelt down to the mound batting his glove to the turf. He received a standing ovation by fans as he walked off the field and proceeded over to the dugout to give congratulatory hugs to his two aunts, uncle and 92-year-old grandmother who were in the stands.

“I’m still walking on air. What a surreal moment in my life,” Sergey said in his postgame interview. “Many people don’t have an opportunity like that and I feel so blessed to be sitting here where I am right now talking about it. It really began to seep into my head in the eighth inning in the dugout and I just had to tell myself to keep breathing. I’ll never forget this moment forever.”

Not only did Sergey toss the first perfect game in the history of the league but, in his fourth start of the season, he also threw the league’s first nine-inning no hitter. In just 100 pitches, he retired all 27 Grizzlies, striking out nine in the process. Following the perfecto, Sergey, who spent the 2013 season between the Southern Illinois Miners and the Grizzlies, who released the Florida native after spring training, ERA has dropped to 1.91.

The Wild Things return to action Tuesday against the first-place team in the West, the River City Rascals at 8:05 p.m. EDT. To listen to the game, tune into WJPA 95.3 FM with Randy Gore.

wild things

Wild Things Fall To Rascals 13-7

The Rascals scored seven runs in the first two innings and the Washington Wild Things, presented by Washington Financial, were unable to recover in a 13-7 loss to River City Tuesday evening at TR Hughes Ballpark.

Washington shortstop Ryan Kresky (1-4), second baseman Garrett Rau (2-4) and Carter Bell (3-5) led a 12-hit Wild Things offensive attack in the loss. In the top of the first, Kresky took a 0-1 pitch deep for his fourth homerun of the year (1-0). But in the bottom of the first, River City broke the bats open pushing across three runs for an early 4-1 lead.

Designated hitter Maxx Garrett cut the Rascals lead in half as he led off the second with his eighth homerun of the season and second in as many games to make it a 4-2 ballgame, but the Rascals poured on four more runs off Washington’s starter Zac Fuesser to go ahead 7-2. In the third, an RBI double by Scott Kalamar and a wild pitch by Fuesser’s mound opponent Joe Cuda, made it a two-run Rascals advantage, 7-5, but the Rascals pounded on three more runs in the bottom of the fourth and one score in the sixth for a comfortable 11-5 lead.

A two-run jack in the top of the seventh by first baseman William Beckwith, his seventh, gave way for an 11-7 River City lead, however, the Rascals scored two more runs and ended any more Washington threat in the eighth and ninth as they secured their league-tying 54th win of the season.

For the official box score visit: http://frontier.bbstats.pointstreak.com/boxscoretext.html?gameid=177372

Despite the loss, the Wild Things remain in sole possession of first-place in the Frontier League East Division by a ½ game over the Evansville Otters and Southern Illinois Miners. The Miners were defeated by the Traverse City Beach Bums earlier this evening. The Wild Things and Rascals meet for game two of their three game set Wednesday at 8:05 p.m. EDT. To listen, turn the radio dial to WJPA 95.3 FM or follow live game updates on Twitter @washwildthings.

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