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Pirates pregame: Charlie Morton vs. Jorge De La Rosa

By Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 20 minutes ago


RHP Charlie Morton (Getty)

Game: Pirates (79-49) vs. Rockies (51-76)

Time: 1:05 p.m.

Site: PNC Park

TV, radio: ROOT Sports, KDKA-FM 93.7

Weather: 82 and hazy


Rockies

1. Charlie Blackmon CF

2. DJ LeMahieu 2B

3. Carlos Gonzalez RF

4. Nolan Arenado 3B

5. Ben Paulsen 1B

6. Kyle Parker LF

7. Daniel Descalso SS

8. Dustin Garneau C

9. Jorge De La Rosa LHP

Pirates

1. Gregory Polanco RF

2. Josh Harrison LF

3. Andrew McCutchen CF

4. Aramis Ramirez 3B

5. Francisco Cervelli C

6. Michael Morse 1B

7. Josh Harrison 2B

8. Jordy Mercer SS

9. Charlie Morton RHP


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Clint Hurdle not a fan of how September call-ups change games

By Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about 9 hours ago


Manager Clint Hurdle (Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

It’s Aug. 30 now, which means we are creeping steadily closer to September call-ups across the big leagues. Count Pirates manager Clint Hurdle among those who aren’t too keen expanding rosters late in the season. Which isn’t to say Hurdle hasn’t taken advantage of it in the past, it’s just that he recognizes the absurdity of it after all these years as a manager. 

"Never liked the rule,“ Hurdle said Saturday. ”Have absolutely abused it at times, to good use. Won a game in Colorado — that 13 of 14 [wins] down the stretch — and used 10 or 11 pitchers in one game. Crazy. Horrible. I don't get it. It's the way it's always been. You've heard me say that tradition is a wonderful thing, but it also can be a vision killer. Five months? Here's your rules, go play. Last month? Here, do it this way. Do whatever you want. It's like free play!"

Consider the Pirates’ 4-3 win Saturday night. They emptied the bench again to get a couple reserves — Starling MarteMichael MorseSean Rodriguez and Jordy Mercer — in the action. They used four pitchers. Are the Pirates really better off if they have even more options off the bench or out of the bullpen?

“You get to the point where you're never going to win a leverage,” Hurdle continued. “... There were times when we didn't have players to call up, and other teams would have players, on top of having a good team. You just keep getting pumped. You never win a leverage situation. You can't win a leverage situation. Your guys are in bad matchups throughout the end of the game. I've told you. I've seen it.

”Bring in a pitching change, OK, there's the pinch hitter, he gets on, there's the pinch-runner, he scores, another guy goes out to play defense. Uncle! That was it for me. That's when I checked out. That was like in the year 2003 or something. It happened, and we lost by one run. That was the run. I'm done! It makes no sense! You can't win!

Neal [Huntington] and I have talked about a taxi squad, you ramp the number down. Everybody is going to kick their other four starters to the curb, but you go with 30 maybe. But you pick a number that's operable and still it's a little different of a game, but it's not the game it is right now."

There certainly are a couple names Pirates fans would like to see brought into the mix in September — say, Tyler Glasnow or Alen Hanson — but how many players does Hurdle envision adding into the equation?

"Ummm, I know how many are going to be here,” Hurdle said, cautiously. “I'll wait until those guys get told.” He smiled, and added. “I guarantee you every guy we're going to ask to show up on the first will show up."


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Pirates minor league report 8/29

Post-Gazette staff about 12 hours ago

INDIANAPOLIS (78-57) lost to Toledo, 4-3. RHP Wilfredo Boscan (3.01) allowed 2 runs and 7 hits in 5 2/3 innings. RHP Frank Herrmann (0-1, 2.45) was the loser. DH Corey Hart (.167) had 2 RBIs. 3B Alen Hanson (.268) went 2 for 3.

ALTOONA (70-63) lost to Trenton, 3-1. RHP Matt Benedict (5-7, 6.03) was the loser, giving up 3 runs and 7 hits in 6 1/3 innings. SS Adam Frazier (.329) and 1B Jose Osuna (.294) both went 2 for 5.

BRADENTON (68-63) lost to Fort Myers, 7-3. RHP Luis Heredia (5.83) gave up 2 runs, 2 hits and 5 walks in 1 1/3 innings. RHP Isaac Sanchez (2-3, 2.77) was the loser. 3B Wyatt Mathisen (.266) went 2 for 4 with a 3-run homer. CF Austin Meadows (.305) went 2 for 5.

WEST VIRGINIA POWER (80-50) beat Lexington, 8-1. RHP Colten Brewer (5-9, 4.81) was the winner, allowing 1 run and 4 hits in 6 2/3 innings. CF Tito Polo (.248) went 4 for 5 with an RBI. 2B Kevin Kramer (.176) went 3 for 6 with 2 RBIs.

WEST VIRGINIA BLACK BEARS (36-31) beat Mahoning Valley, 7-3. RHP Bret Helton (5.36) gave up 3 runs and 3 hits in 4 innings. RHP Nick Hibbing (2-1, 1.24) was the winner. 2B Mitchell Tolman (.280) went 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs. LF Ty Moore (.282) went 3 for 5 with 2 RBIs.

GCL PIRATES (28-31) lost to GCL Yankees1, 5-0. LHP Nestor Oronel (0-6, 5.12) was the loser, allowing 5 runs and 5 hits in 3 innings. LF Edison Lantigua (.207) went 2 for 4.

BRISTOL (28-33) lost to Pulaski, 6-1. RHP Scooter Hightower (4-2, 3.31) was the loser, giving up 4 runs and 7 hits in 5 innings. C Tomas Morales (.304) went 2 for 4.


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Pirates pregame: J.A. Happ vs. Chris Rusin

By Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about 21 hours ago


LHP J.A. Happ (Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

Game: Pirates (78-49) vs. Rockies (51-75)

Time: 7:05 p.m.

Site: PNC Park

TV, radio: ROOT Sports, KDKA-FM 93.7

Weather: 82 and mostly sunny


Rockies

1. Charlie Blackmon CF

2. Jose Reyes SS

3. Carlos Gonzalez RF

4. Nolan Arenado 3B

5. DJ LeMahieu 2B

6. Ben Paulsen 1B

7. Nick Hundley C

8. Brandon Barnes LF

9. Chris Rusin LHP

Pirates

1. Gregory Polanco RF

2. Josh Harrison LF

3. Andrew McCutchen CF

4. Aramis Ramirez 3B

5. Jung Ho Kang SS

6. Francisco Cervelli C

7. Pedro Alvarez 1B

8. Neil Walker 2B

9. J.A. Happ LHP


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Polanco, Gonzalez put on a show in series opener

By Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 1 day ago


C Francisco Cervelli (John Heller/Post-Gazette)

Gregory Polanco and Carlos Gonzalez, the Pirates and Colorado Rockies right fielders, were sensational Friday night. The Pirates won, 5-3, but Polanco and Gonzalez both played pivotal roles in keeping the series opener close.

(MLB.com didn’t enable embedding for any of these videos, so click the underlined links to watch the plays.)



Polanco continued his second-half surge with a 3 for 5 night. He singled twice, got a hustle double — in just ahead of Gonzalez’s bull’s-eye throw — scored twice, stole a base and drove in an insurance run.

Oh, and got two outfield assists — his eighth and ninth this season. The first came after a veteran read on Nick Hundley’s hard line drive off the Clemente Wall. Polanco turned and gunned the ball in so quickly Jordy Mercer had time to throw back to first to catch Hundley retreating.

We’ll get to Polanco’s second throw later.

To Gonzalez …

His 31st homer of the year was a moonshot to center, and it tied the game 3-3 in the sixth. Francisco Liriano laughed afterward and said, yeah, that’s not a guy you want to leave a slider up in the zone against.

In the sixth, after Polanco nailed Hundley, Polanco came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs, ready to break it back open. He got ahold of a fastball, ripping it to right, but Gonzalez made a diving catch to save extra bases, and extra runs.

The Pirates were in trouble in the eighth. Jose Reyes singled, took second on a sacrifice and stole third without a throw. He was 90 feet away with one out. Nolan Arenado lunged and got a ball in the air to right. Polanco came in to catch it, saw Reyes on the move and threw a perfect strike just out front of the plate. Francisco Cervelli caught the delivery and dived back toward the plate to nab Reyes, a guy who’s not used to getting thrown out anywhere, much less at the plate.

In the home half of the inning, Josh Harrison came off the bench to put the Pirates ahead with a pinch-hit single through the open right side, and Polanco followed with a full-count single to center. Good, solid swing. Great contact for the fourth time in the game.

All four balls Polanco put in play Friday night were fastballs. We’ve always known him to be an excellent fastball hitter. But he’s gotten much, much better at working to get into fastball counts. That’s a critical improvement. In five at-bats against the Rockies, he saw 25 pitches.

That’s the sort of number that helps explain why he’s batted .326 since taking over as leadoff man. He knows when to jump at the first pitch, and he knows how to waste a few.

The outfield assists don’t hurt, either. Earlier in his career, and earlier in this season, we saw Polanco look lost in right field, particularly at PNC Park — his arm action was too long, and his routes were messy. Now, he looks right at home.


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