Pittsburgh Pirates News
8-31-15: The Pirates won the first two contests of their three-game series against the Colorado Rockies to extend their winning streak to four games, but Charlie Morton allowed five runs, three of which were earned, in six innings in Pittsburgh’s 5-0 loss. The Pirates had just four hits in the contest, and two came from Jordy Mercer.
8-28-15: The Pittsburgh Pirates are getting healthy at just the right time as the team continues to chase down the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central Division. Pittsburgh activated infielder Josh Harrison off the disabled list this week which forced the team to designate right-handed starting pitcher Josh Wall for assignment. Harrison had been on the disabled list after tearing the UCL in his left thumb, an injury that required surgery to correct, but worked his way back sooner than the Pirates expected. The problem for Pittsburgh and Harrison specifically is that the thumb injury forced the Pirates to acquire third baseman Aramis Ramirez before the July 31st trading deadline. Harrison is now expected to split time at third base and right field rather than being the everyday player that he was before the injury he suffered on July 6th. Speaking of right field an unreported team claimed the right fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies, Jeff Francoeur, and many around the league believe that the team was the Pirates. Whether Pittsburgh was that team or not is a moot point at this stage in the game since Philadelphia surprisingly pulled Francoeur back off revocable waivers and will likely hold onto him for the remainder of the 2015 season.
8-24-15: Francisco Liriano threw 5.1 innings and did not allow an earned run against the San Francisco Giants, as he won his ninth game of the season. Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez each homered in the 5-2 victory that won the series for the Pirates. Pittsburgh now goes on a quick road trip: four games in Miami.
8-21-15: The Pittsburgh Pirates began this week by continuing their journey to build a better team and potentially chase down the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central Division race. The Pirates have started this week by showing interest in former Baltimore Orioles outfielder Travis Snider who was recently designated for assignment. Snider spent time on the Pirates roster during the 2012 through the 2014 season before joining Baltimore for the 2015 season. Snider rejoined the Pirates team this week when the team signed him to a minor league deal. Snider will come with one more season of team control beyond the 2015 season and will likely command a raise over his $2.1 million in salary that Pittsburgh gave him this winter through the arbitration process. The team was not done adding talent to the team there though as the club also added right-handed pitcher Josh Wall to the club. To make room for Wall on the roster the team made the tough decision to designated infielder Pedro Florimon for assignment. Florimon was DFA’d less than a day after he delivered a clutch triple that helped the club win a game in walk off fashion against the Chicago Cubs. Florimon lasted just 15 games and 21 plate appearances with Pittsburgh before being designated for assignment.
8-19-15: Tuesday’s 9-8 Pittsburgh win in 15 innings gave the Pirates their fifth win in their last six games to move to 23 games above .500 in 2015. The Pirates take on the Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday night in attempt to avoid their first home series loss since losing two of three against the Cincinnati Reds in late June.
8-14-15: The Pittsburgh Pirates may be changing their direction for the second half of the season as the goal of winning the National League Central Division may be nothing more than a pipe dream in 2015. The St. Louis Cardinals are the best team in Major League Baseball in 2015 record wise and despite a strong season from the Pirates and many of their players the team sits seven games out of first place as the week comes to a close. Good news for Pittsburgh is that if the season ended today the team would win one of the two available Wild Card playoff spots in the National League and would host a one-game playoff series at PNC Park. If the Pirates are looking for good news here, not that the team seems to be giving up on the division whatsoever at this point, the team can take solace in the fact that both the American League and National League pennant winners in 2014 were Wild Card winners. If Pittsburgh can get AJ Burnett healthy and off the disabled list for the playoff run and maybe add a player or two in the August waiver wire this team can at least make things interesting for the St. Louis Cardinals for the remainder of the season.
8-7-15: The Pittsburgh Pirates began this week showing off their newest players on the roster JA Happ, Aramis Ramirez and Joakim Soria. Happ came over in a deal with the Seattle Mariners while Ramirez shored up the Pirates third base situation after a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers. Soria will solidify the back end of the bullpen for Pittsburgh after coming over in a trade with the Detroit Tigers. While the team added Soria to the pitching staff in the same week the team lost one of their best starting pitchers in AJ Burnett. Burnett was diagnosed with a strained flexor tendon in his right elbow and will miss at least the next four weeks with the injury. It was originally feared that the team would be without Burnett for the remainder of the season with the injury but Pittsburgh instead decided to treat Burnett’s elbow with a platelet-rich plasma injection to speed up the process. The original diagnosis was elbow inflammation and many feared that Burnett would have damage to his ulnar collateral ligament requiring season-ending, and possibly career-ending, Tommy John surgery.
8-7-15: On Wednesday, the Pirates continued to alternate wins and losses since the previous Wednesday. Andrew McCutchen and Gregory Polanco each homered in the contest, as the Pirates defeated the visiting Chicago Cubs, 7-5, to split the rain-shortened two-game series. Although Mark Melancon allowed a run in the ninth inning, he notched his 34th save of the season.
8-3-15: Sean Rodriguez was the only Pittsburgh Pirate ejected in the eighth inning after the benches cleared in Sunday’s 3-0 victory in Cincinnati. Then, Mark Melancon and manager Clint Hurdle were ejected after the closer hit Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart with a pitch in the ninth inning. Neil Walker homered in the win that moved the Pirates, who acquired Michael Morse, J.A. Happ and Joakim Soria last week, to 18 games above .500.
7-31-15: The Pittsburgh Pirates came into this final week before the July 31st trading deadline as big time buyers in the market. The Pirates shored up their weakest link last week when the team acquired third baseman Aramis Ramirez from the Milwaukee Brewers and this week turned their attention to middle relief and their bullpen. The Pirates are not said to be looking at the top relief pitching targets including the San Diego Padres closer Craig Kimbrel and the Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman and may instead look at lesser pieces like former Yankees pitcher Shawn Kelley. While Kelley may not be the big name that every team is seemingly making phone calls on but he has posted a quiet 10.9 K/9 ratio and respectable 3.09 ERA this season while pitching inside Petco Park. One player the team seems unwilling to part with in any trade this July is Pedro Alvarez who has had a nice bounce back season for Pittsburgh in 2015. Pittsburgh shopped him for several weeks this month to teams like the Milwaukee Brewers, the Chicago White Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays before sending him to Pittsburgh. The Pirates were not done there though as the team also acquired the former Detroit Tigers closer Joakim Soria. Soria will give the team the late inning right-handed help the club has needed for much of this season.
7-28-15: On Sunday, Gerrit Cole threw 7.2 innings of one-run ball, as the Pirates defeated the Washington Nationals, 3-1. The Pirates had only five hits in the contest, but they made the most of them. In the third inning, Andrew McCutchen hit a single to give the Pirates the lead for good, and Neil Walker added a solo home run the next inning. However, Aramis Ramirez, who the Pirates acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers last week, went 0-for-7 in his first two games with Pittsburgh.
7-24-15: The Pittsburgh Pirates are in the middle of a dog fight in the National League Central Division with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs and the division may come down to which team does the best at the July 31st trading deadline. Pittsburgh had that mind when they jumped ahead of their competition as they quickly acquired third baseman Aramis Ramirez from the Milwaukee Brewers for minor league RHP Yhonathan Barrios and cash considerations. Pittsburgh will be on the hook for $3 million of Ramirez’s salary that remains on his $14 million salary for the 2015 season. The Pirates were not done there though as almost immediately after the team announced the trade with the Brewers the hot stove turned their attention to the middle relief market. No deal was struck before the week came to a close and no names were specifically mentioned for Pittsburgh to acquire but it seems obvious that the Pirates are open for business and the team will look to add to the team and improve the team by any means necessary in 2015.
7-22-15: After defeating the Kansas City Royals, 10-7, on Monday, the Pirates struggled to score the next day. Although Pittsburgh outhit Kansas City, 8-6, on Tuesday, none of the Pirates starters drove in a run. Gerrit Cole threw 7.1 innings and allowed just two earned runs, but they came in the eighth inning of the 3-1 loss.
7-17-15: The Pittsburgh Pirates made the most of this All-Star break by looking to improve the major league team’s outfield. The team has specifically been looking at Phillies outfielders Ben Revere and Jeff Francoeur as we inch closer and closer to the July 31st trading deadline. Pittsburgh may be forced into the trading market after losing Josh Harrison to a thumb injury for at least the next eight weeks. Revere looks to be available and cheap by the Phillies after the returns of Cody Asche and Domonic Brown sent Revere to the bench for the club. Revere could step in for Harrison in the leadoff role for the team while Francoeur could add some key defense to the club. Pittsburgh has also watched Miami Marlins RHP Dan Haren pitch in recent weeks and may make a run at solidifying their rotation with the veteran pitcher. Haren would prefer to head out to the West Coast but a potential playoff run and World Series berth could convince Haren to accept the trade and join AJ Burnett and Gerrit Cole in the rotation.
7-13-15: Pittsburgh entered its four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals on a five-game winning streak. Although the Pirates lost on Thursday, they bounced back to win the final three games of their series with the Cardinals. After Friday’s 5-2 win, the Pirates sent their home crowd happy with walk-off hits on both Saturday and Sunday.
7-8-15: All-star Andrew McCutchen, who will start in the Midsummer Classic for the injured Giancarlo Stanton, went 2-for-4 and knocked in his 52nd run of the season, as the Pirates defeated the visiting San Diego Padres, 3-2, on Tuesday without Starling Marte and Josh Harrison. Francisco Liriano threw six innings of two-run ball, as the Pirates won for the seventh time in their last eight games.
6-17-15: On Tuesday, Charlie Morton and the Pirates bullpen continued the team’s very strong pitching. During their current six-game winning streak, they shut out their opponents five times. In Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox, Sean Rodriguez and Francisco Cervelli each homered. Andrew McCutchen also singled in a run in the third inning.
6-9-15: With the exception of their losses on Saturday and Monday, the Pirates have been playing very well recently. Last week, Pittsburgh swept the San Francisco Giants in a three-game series to move five games above .500. Mark Melancon was very busy over the last week, as he saved five games total in the two three-game series.
6-5-15: The Pittsburgh Pirates are turning things around after a slow start to the 2015 season due to the additions of Jung-ho Kang, AJ Burnett, Francisco Cervelli, Rob Scahill and Arquimedes Caminero. Kang came from the Korean Baseball League while Burnett came over from the Philadelphia Phillies via free agency. Cervelli was acquired in a trade with the New York Yankees that sent Justin Wilson to New York while Scahill and Caminero came from the Pirates farm system. Speaking of the Pirates farm system the team designated RHP Radhames Liz for assignment last week and this week the team learned that Liz cleared waivers leading the team to outright the RHP to Triple-A. Liz will continue earning his $1 million salary down in the minor leagues for the club as the team had hoped when they designated him for assignment. Liz had a 3.63 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 17.1 innings in 2015 while offering up 10 free passes along the way.
6-1-15: Gerrit Cole continued his strong season on Monday, as he threw seven innings and gave
up two unearned runs, and the Pirates defeated the San Francisco Giants, 4-3, at AT&T Park. Of the Pirates’ six hits, four were doubles. Catcher Chris Stewart had three of the doubles. Coming into that contest, Stewart had three doubles in 17 games this season.
5-26-15: Although Charlie Morton allowed a home run to Giancarlo Stanton, it accounted for just one of the two runs that the 31-year-old righty gave up in his first start of 2015. Behind his strong performance along with home runs by Francisco Cervelli and Pedro Alvarez, the Pirates defeated the Miami Marlins, 4-2, and moved to 22-22 on the season.
5-18-15: The Pirates stopped their four-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday at Wrigley Field. Although A.J. Burnett gave up five walks, he threw seven shutout innings with seven strikeouts in the win. The team’s hitting was opportunistic, as it went 3-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
5-12-15: Starling Marte hit his eighth home run of the season with two runners on in the third
inning of Monday’s game in Philadelphia. Andrew McCutchen, who scored on Marte’s
home run, hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning, and the Pirates eventually won, 4-3, to
advance their winning streak to three games. In addition, on Saturday, Neil Walker started the first 4-5-4 triple play in Major League Baseball history.
5-5-15: On Monday, the Pirates had an off day, but Gerrit Cole was announced as the National League Pitcher of the Month. He posted a 1.76 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in April. Although the St. Louis Cardinals swept Pittsburgh over the weekend, Jung Ho Kang hit his first home run in the majors on Sunday.
4-29-15: Although Starlin Marte hit his sixth home run of the season on Tuesday at Wrigley Field, the home run accounted for all of the Pirates’ runs in their 6-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Jeff Locke threw 3.2 innings and gave up six runs, eight hits and three walks, but even with the loss, Pittsburgh remained above .500 on the season at 11-10.
4-21-15: On Sunday, Pedro Alvarez hit a go-ahead solo home run, and Gerrit Cole threw six innings of two-run ball, as the Pirates swept the visiting Milwaukee Brewers in their three-game weekend series. However, on Monday, the Pirates’ three-game winning streak ended with a 5-2 loss against the Chicago Cubs.
4-14-15: The Pirates hosted the Detroit Tigers on Monday at PNC Park in their 2015 home opener, and Gerrit Cole looked strong in front of the Pittsburgh crowd. He threw six innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts, as the Pirates won, 5-4. Josh Harrison, who signed a four-year, $27.3 million extension, hit one of Pittsburgh’s three home runs in the victory.
4-7-15: In Monday afternoon’s Opening Day game at Great American Ball Park, the Pirates lost to the Cincinnati Reds, 5-2, after scoring in only the eighth inning of the contest. Both of those runs came on an Andrew McCutchen home run. Francisco Liriano threw seven innings of two-run ball with seven strikeouts, but Pirates reliever Tony Watson allowed Todd Frazier’s go-ahead home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.
4-2-15: On Tuesday, Francisco Cervelli hit a two-run home run in the Pirates’ 7-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers. The day before, Pedro Alvarez hit two home runs, as Pittsburgh
destroyed the Philadelphia Phillies. Meanwhile, Jeff Locke surprisingly won the fifth spot
in the team’s rotation while Vance Worley is headed to the bullpen.
3-25-15: Pittsburgh’s starting pitchers had mixed results recently. On Monday, A.J. Burnett
allowed five runs in 4.2 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays. The day before, Charlie
Morton gave up seven runs in 4.1 innings, as the Pirates fell to the Houston Astros, 14-2.
However, Francisco Liriano threw four scoreless innings, and Gerrit Cole pitched five innings and allowed two runs.
3-3-14: Third baseman Pedro Alvarez won his arbitration hearing against the Pirates and will receive $5.75 million for the 2015 season. Meanwhile, the Pirates acquired left-handed pitcher Steven Brault from the Orioles as the player to be named later in a January trade that sent Travis Snider to Baltimore in exchange for another left-hander, Stephen Tarpley.
10-7-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates won the first National League Wild Card spot and secured a home game for the Wild Card Playoff round as they faced off with the San Francisco Giants. There was not a single Pirates ticket not sold for this game as the fans filed into PNC Park for what was scheduled to be a pitcher’s duel that was not void of controversy. This is a one game series in the Wild Card Playoff round so the Giants sent their best starter in Madison Bumgarner and his 18 victories up against the Pirates Edinson Volquez. The Pirates were criticized for pitching their best pitcher, Gerrit Cole, on the final day of the season as the team was still mathematically alive in the NL Central division race. Volquez and the Pirates pitching staff struggled to keep the Giants offense off the base paths and allowed a total of eight earned runs. Eight runs was more than enough for the 18 game winning Bumgarner as he pitched a complete game allowing just four hits, one walk, and striking out ten batters. The Pirates offense struggled all game long with Russell Martin batting cleanup in what may be his final game in a Pittsburgh uniform.
Pittsburgh announced that they would be willing to stretch their payroll to keep Martin in the black and gold, something the team was unwilling to do with AJ Burnett last winter, even though the bidding for the right hander is expected to get expensive. Volquez, who started the Wild Card Playoff game and ultimately took the loss in the game, is also a free agent and has expressed an interest in returning to Pittsburgh. The Pirates and their GM have a lot of work to do if the team wants to compete in 2015 and make the postseason for the third straight season next year. The Pirates have nothing left to do this season but wait on the NL Most Valuable Player Award voting to see if Andrew McCutchen can win consecutive MVP awards for the Buccos.
10-1-14: The Pirates are on fire heading into October. Pittsburgh reeled off a 17-9 record in September to claim the top spot in the NL wild card. It’s impressive considering the Pirates didn't make any high-profile additions during the offseason or at the trade deadline. Pittsburgh will host the Giants in the NL wildcard game Wednesday night. Winner will play the Nationals in the NLDS.
9-30-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates are unlikely to bring back free agent catcher Russell Martin this offseason as the team prefers to buy low on players. Martin was definitely bought low two seasons ago from the New York Yankees but goes into this offseason as one of the top hitters on the market and easily the best catcher on the field. Pittsburgh has announced that they are willing to stretch their payroll to retain Martin Another free agent that hopes to return to the club next season in starting pitcher Edinson Volquez. Volquez will be entering his age 31 season and has been public about his wishes for a multi-year deal this winter, whether it be in Pittsburgh or elsewhere. One player that looks likely to be a part of the 2015 Pirates team is relief pitcher Chaz Roe who was claimed off waivers this week from the New York Yankees. The Yankees designated Roe for assignment when they activated Masahiro Tanaka off the 60 day DL and Pittsburgh snatched up the right hander who posted a 3.66 ERA with a 10.1 K/9 ratio in 2014. Pittsburgh will be without starting pitcher Charlie Morton for the remainder of the season and the postseason as he underwent surgery to repair a torn hip labrum. The surgery will keep Morton off a mound for at least six to eight months. Pittsburgh finished the 2014 season with a 88-74 record and took home the first Wild Card spot. Pittsburgh will host the San Francisco Giants in the NL Wild Card Playoff game this week.
9-25-14: The Pirates are now 14-6 in September. Dating back to mid-August, they are on an impressive 21-9 hot streak that has seen them pull ahead of the Giants atop the NL wild-card standings. Francisco Liriano has gone 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA in his last five starts, and it looks like he'll be taking the ball in the Wild Card Game for the second straight season, if Pittsburgh doesn’t win the NL Central crown as they’re only 1.5 games back of St. Louis.
9-23-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates announced this week that they will do everything they can to re-sign impending free agent catcher Russell Martin this offseason. If worse comes to worse the Pirates have stated that they are going to offer Martin a qualifying offer this winter. Pittsburgh would be ecstatic if he accepted the offer. If Martin rejected the offer and signed elsewhere the Pirates would receive a draft pick in the first round as compensation for Martin. The only issue with Martin accepting a qualifying offer is he would be making roughly 20% of the entire Pirates payroll in 2015. Pittsburgh may also reach into their pockets this offseason to extend infield Josh Harrison. The 27 year old infielder has impressed the club this season enough that numbers as high as three seasons and $16 million have been floated around. Pittsburgh is undecided on whether they will offer starting pitcher Francisco Liriano a qualifying offer this offseason but all signs point towards Pittsburgh declining to offer Liriano a one year deal worth $15 million annually.
9-18-14: The Pirates have been playing some real good baseball as of late going 10-2 in their last 12 games to climb into the second NL wild-card slot. They’re only 2.5 games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central division standings. Francisco Liriano is looking like a bona fide ace, going 2-0 with a 0.67 ERA in his last four starts. He could again take the ball in the Wild Card Game after registering the win a year ago.
9-16-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates have expressed an interest in retaining catcher Russell Martin’s services past the 2014 season but with a weak free agent class for the catcher position Martin may become too expensive for the Pirates. The 31 year old catcher will be the youngest and easily the best catcher on the market this offseason and could garner up to a four year deal on the open market. Pittsburgh could always offer Martin a qualifying offer and either keep him around for one more season at $15 million or get a first round draft pick as compensation if he signs elsewhere around the league. Pittsburgh also got dealt a crushing blow to their playoff chances this week when the team learned that Pedro Alvarez would likely miss the rest of the 2014 season with a stress reaction in his left foot. The Pirates are still in the thick of the second Wild Card race even without Alvarez as the team has a 79-70 record. Pittsburgh leads the second wild card spot by 1.5 games over the Milwaukee Brewers in the race and would travel to San Francisco to take on the Giants if the season ended today.
9-12-14: The Pirates bounced back from a sweep against the Cardinals in St. Louis last week, turning the tables to sweep the Cubs in Chicago this past weekend. With their win Sunday, the Pirates moved into the No. 2 wild-card spot in the NL, 1.5 games ahead of the Braves and Brewers. With eight straight games against non-contenders in the Phillies, Cubs and Red Sox, Pittsburgh has a good chance to widen that gap.
9-9-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates started the week by designating utility infielder Michael Martinez for assignment to make room on the expanded active roster for Chase d’Arnaud. Pittsburgh has played well of late with September call ups like d’Arnaud and have clawed their way all the way to second place in the NL Central division. The Milwaukee Brewers have gone 1-9 in their last 10 games as the team collapses and Pittsburgh has taken advantage of the slippage with a 6-4 record in that same 10 game span. Even with the good week and a half Pittsburgh has actually lost ground to the St. Louis Cardinals who are leading the division as Mike Matheny’s team has gone 8-2 in their last 10. The Pirates are now pushing toward a playoff spot but they will have to do it without relief pitcher Ernesto Frieri as the righty was released from the team this week. Frieri was designated for assignment last week after struggling since the trade with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim that brought him to the Steel City.
9-4-14: Pittsburgh is currently in midst of a three game losing streak, two of which have come against
NL Central leading St. Louis. They’re two games back of the second wildcard spot in the NL.
Keeping the starting rotation healthy and having the offense perform at a high level down the
stretch will be key if Pittsburgh wants to make the postseason again this season.
9-2-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates designated utility infielder Jayson Nix for assignment to start this week and the 31 year old was claimed by the Kansas City Royals. The Pirates did not feel that Nix was part of their immediate future or a serious September call up candidate and let the right hander go for nothing in return. The Pirates also announced this week that they would be moving third baseman Pedro Alvarez across the diamond to play first base after struggling to make routine throws across the field. Pittsburgh also has another one of their outfielders Josh Bell learning the position since the Pirates have Gregory Polanco, Jose Tabata, Andrew McCutchen, and Starling Marte roaming the outfielder for the foreseeable future.
8-27-14: The Pirates picked up a series win against the NL Central-leading Brewers on the road over the weekend. They have also split the first two games of their series this week versus the Cardinals. That leaves them just 1.5 games out for a wild-card berth. This past week was a huge week for injury returns. Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole both came off the disabled list. Cole went seven innings and allowed five hits and two runs in his first start since July 4. He's capable of giving the staff a huge boost down the stretch.
8-26-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates may be without Charlie Morton for the rest of the 2014 season after suffering a sports hernia. Morton seems likely to avoid surgery for now but may have to have an offseason surgery to correct the problem. The Pirates also lost Jayson Nix this week after the team designated him for assignment to make room for outfielder Jose Tabata. Nix did not exactly tear the cover off the ball for the Pirates batting a meager .111/.158/.111 in 39 plate appearances for Pittsburgh this season. Pittsburgh also lost top prospect Gregory Polanco this week as they sent him back down to Triple-A until rosters expand on September 1st. Polanco will be playoff eligible so this is more of a procedural move than anything and makes room on the active roster for Tabata now that he is off the disabled list.
8-20-14: Losing superstar Andrew McCutchen has been a significant blow, but Travis Snider has done a superb job stepping into the everyday outfield job. The Pirates biggest concern at this point is the pitching staff. The bullpen has been hit around hard, and Charlie Morton landed on the DL. They’re 2.5 games back of San Francisco for the final wildcard spot in the NL.
8-19-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired relief pitcher John Axford off revocable waivers from the Cleveland Indians this week as the team continues to look at solidifying their bullpen. The Pirates designated Ernesto Frieri for assignment after that experiment failed and have since assigned the right hander to Triple-A. Axford was acquired as a straight waiver claim meaning that the Indians will receive nothing in return for the right hander but the $1.1 million in salary relief that Axford is owed this season. Axford had a 3.92 ERA and 4.71 FIP in 43.2 innings at the time of the trade.
8-13-14: The Pirates currently hold the top wild-card spot in the NL and are eyeing the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers at just 1.5 games back. However, they do have a tough road ahead.
They don't play a team with a losing record until they take on the Cubs in Chicago from Sept. 5-7. So far they have faired well taking the first two games against the slumping Detroit Tigers. Don’t be shocked if the Pirates end up as the NL Central winners at season’s end.
8-12-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost
their star center fielder and reigning MVP Andrew McCutchen late last week with what was originally described as an oblique injury but this week we learned the true diagnosis. McCutchen suffered a rib fracture and will be out for an undisclosed amount of time. In the meantime McCutchen has been placed on the 15 day DL with the injury. Pittsburgh designated Dean Anna for assignment last week and signed Jayson Nix to a minor league deal and this week Anna was sent to Triple-A after clearing waivers. The Pirates also designated Ernesto Frieri for assignment this week after trading Jason Grili for him last month. Grili has excelled in Los Angeles while Frieri has allowed 12 runs in less than 11 innings with Pittsburgh this season. Frieri is likely to clear waivers and end up in Triple-A or claimed and allowed to leave for his contract.
8-6-14: Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton gave up only one run and six hits in seven innings of work, but it wasn’t enough as the Pirates fell to Marlins 6-3 Tuesday night. Jared Hughes took the loss for the Pirates, although he could have gotten out of the eighth inning without allowing a run if not for Josh Harrison booting a potential double play grounder with one out. The Pirates sits 2.5 games back of Milwaukee in the NL Central and 1.5 games back in the NL wildcard.
8-5-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates flirted with the idea of bringing back AJ Burnett for the rest of the season but ultimately passed on the deal. Pittsburgh wanted an assurance that Burnett would decline his player option for 2015 as his salary would create a lot of uncertainty in Pittsburgh next season. The Pirates are wishing they did more at the trading deadline as Andrew McCutchen left a game at the end of the week with a strained oblique muscle. At the time of this writing McCutchen had yet to be added to the 15 day disabled list but that move seems inevitable.
7-30-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates are listed as AJ Burnett’s preferred landing spot if the Philadelphia Phillies decide to move the right hander this month in a trade. Burnett spent the last few seasons in Pittsburgh after being traded to the Pirates by the New York Yankees and was a huge part of the playoff team in 2013. It is also worth mentioning that Burnett has a 20 team no trade clause list and Pittsburgh is not listed on it making a potential deal a little easier to make. The Pirates have more of a need for a relief pitcher than a starter through and have been linked to the Colorado Rockies closer LaTroy Hawkins. Surprisingly Colorado has seem reluctant to trade their closer since he has a very team friendly option for the 2015 season and has been mentoring the younger pitchers in the Colorado bullpen.
7-28-14: On Wednesday, the Pirates placed Starling Marte on the seven-day concussion disabled list. That day, Francisco Liriano threw seven innings of one-run baseball to double his win total for the season. With that victory, the Pirates won their second series since the All-Star break, as they moved up the National League Central standings. However, they dropped Friday’s contest at Colorado, 8-1.
7-24-14: Gregory Polanco hit a solo home run and delivered a tiebreaking two-run single in the sixth inning, lifting the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 12-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Polanco entered the game hitting .133 since July 5 but hit a bases-loaded single with two outs in the sixth inning to put the Pirates in front for good. Neil Walker went 2 for 4 with his 15th homer and three RBI for Pittsburgh. The Pirates improved to 33-21 at PNC Park, which is the best home record in the National League. They’re just 2 ½ games back of NL Central leading Milwaukee.
7-21-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates recently sent scouts to watch the Padres Ian Kennedy as their search for starting pitching continues. Pittsburgh was also seen scouting an old friend in AJ Burnett in his most recent start with the Phillies. The Pirates have made up some ground recently on the first place Milwaukee Brewers as they have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games while Milwaukee has struggled. Milwaukee has gone 2-8 in their last 10 games and the Pirates only trail the first place Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals by 1.5 games.
7-19-14: On Friday, the Pirates won their 50th game of the season. Francisco Liriano threw five innings and only gave up one unearned run while striking out eight Colorado Rockies. Liriano was activated from the disabled list on Sunday, and he hopes to be an important part of Pittsburgh’s starting rotation for the rest of the season.
7-17-14: Despite a rough week that saw them lose two big series to the Cardinals and Reds on the road, the Pirates are still trending upwards right now. After stumbling to a 12-20 start, they've gone 37-26 since, putting them just three games back in the NL wild-card race. Andrew McCutchen is having another MVP-caliber season, but the rest of the Pirate offense has struggled to support him. On the pitching side of things, the rotation has rounded into form thanks to Jeff Locke and Vance Worley.
7-15-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates are in a dog fight in a stacked National League Central division and find themselves with a 49-46 record as they trail the first place Milwaukee Brewers by 3.5 games. The Pirates have had an up and down season which started out with a well under .500 record but the team has rallied behind Andrew McCutchen and have gone on a run in the last month. Pittsburgh is looking at adding the Padres Huston Street to solidify their bullpen as they look to make a serious run at the division and one of the wild cards in the National League.
7-14-14: The Pirates struggled this past week as the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds moved up the National League Central standings. Although Pittsburgh dropped four of its last five games, Edinson Volquez was the bright spot for the Pirates. He threw a six-hit complete game in their 9-1 win over the Cardinals on Thursday. Volquez will have to keep up this performance with Gerrit Cole back on the disabled list.
7-10-14: Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen hit two-run homers off Carlos Martinez, in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, but that wasn’t enough Tuesday night as the Pirates fell to the Cardinals, 11-9, in walk-off fashion. Kolten Wong’s walk off homer proved to be the difference. Pittsburgh Rookie Gregory Polanco singled his first three at-bats for the Pirates. Pittsburgh is expected to recall Brandon Cumpton from Triple-A Indianapolis on Wednesday to start in place of Gerrit Cole. Cole will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a tight latissimus muscle.
7-7-14: With their win on Friday against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies, the Pirates moved back to a season-best four games above .500. Although Gerrit Cole left the game with right lat soreness, he got his seventh win of the season. Pittsburgh lost on Thursday to the Arizona Diamondbacks, but still took the series from them with help from Gregory Polanco and Charlie Morton.
7-3-14: Starling Marte hit a game-tying, two-run double in the ninth inning and then scored on pinch-hitter Ike Davis' single two batters later as the Pirates rallied for a 3-2 victory Tuesday night over the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks. Pittsburgh was shut out for eight innings by Arizona starter Wade Miley before rallying in the ninth. Neil Walker and pinch-hitter Gregory Polanco started the inning with singles against Miley. Marte’s hit came off of Arizona closer Addison Reed. With the win, the Pirates are now tied with Cincinnati for third place in the NL Central.
7-2-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Los Angeles Angels have swapped struggling relief pitchers when the Pirates acquired Ernesto Frieri and the Angels acquired Jason Grilli. The Pirates have long sought Frieri and have been unable to acquire him until now due to his down season, although his peripherals and strikeout numbers tell a very different story for the closer. Frieri is excited to be joining a new league and chalked up his struggles to the league getting to know him and his stuff. The Pirates are also still looking at another extension for Gregory Polanco but are far apart in talks, as you remember the Pirates tried to lock up Polanco for seven years before he had a MLB at bat before Polanco rejected the deal.
6-30-14: The Pirates, who have been looking very good recently, are on their way to winning their third consecutive series. Although they lost to Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, they won the first two games of their series with the New York Mets. On Thursday, Gregory Polanco hit a home run and drove in four runs for Pittsburgh in the 5-2 victory. On Friday, Josh Harrison hit a walkoff double. The Pirates had a busy week as they traded Jason Grilli to the Los Angeles Angels for Ernesto Frieri.
6-26-14: Andrew McCutchen drove in two runs and Jeff Locke pitched into the eighth inning, as the Pirates beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-5 on Tuesday night. Pittsburgh holds the NL's best record (27-18) since May 6, and moved above .500 for the first time since starting the season 7-6. McCutchen had an RBI single during a three-run third inning that put the Pirates ahead 4-0. The 2013 NL MVP also had two RBI’s in Pittsburgh's 8-1 win Monday night over the Rays. The Pirates have won five straight road series after losing seven in a row.
6-24-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates have won two games in a row and six of their last ten but still find themselves buried in the National League Central division. The Pirates still have the best bargain in baseball in Andrew McCutchen who is only the 158th highest paid player in Major League Baseball. McCutchen is the heart and soul of the Pirates and is following up his NL MVP season by hitting 11 home runs and leading the league with 52 walks. The Pirates also made waves by waiting until after the June 10th deadline to call up top prospects Gregory Polanco to avoid Super Two status. The Pirates state they delayed the call up due to developmental issues but many around the league beg to differ.
6-18-14: The Pirates used a three-run seventh inning to tie the score at 5 Tuesday night on RBI singles by Ike Davis, Russell Martin and Josh Harrison. Unfortunately, Todd Frazier’s leadoff ninth inning homerun of Jason Grilli proved to be the difference as the Pirates fell to the Reds 6-5. Josh Harrison matched a career high with four hits and he also drove in two runs. A bit of history was made for Pirates as Gregory Polanco became the first Pirates player to have a hit in each of his first seven MLB games since Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente in 1955. Pittsburgh trails first-place Milwaukee by eight games.
6-17-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates may be giving up on this season and have called up top prospect Gregory Polanco from Triple-A. Neil Walker was added to the 15 day DL to make room for Polanco on the roster with an appendectomy surgery. The Pirates finally completed the Ike Davis for a player to be named later trade with the New York Mets as they sent Blake Taylor to the Mets. Taylor was the 51st overall pick in the 2013 MLB First Year Players Draft and the new collective bargaining agreement prevents draft picks from being traded within their first year with the organization which explains the delay in completing the trade.
6-10-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Cole Tucker, a High School shortstop, with their first pick in the 2014 MLB First Year Players Draft on Thursday. Tucker is committed to Arizona so he may be a tough sign but this was somewhat of a surprise from the Pirates with their first round pick. The Pirates lost another pitcher to Tommy John surgery this week when Duke Welker went under the knife. The 28 year old pitcher was the “player to be named later” in the deal for Justin Morneau but was traded right back to Pittsburgh in the deal that gave the Twins Kris Johnson. The Pirates designated Vin Mazzaro for assignment for the second time this season last week and this week, again for the second time, Mazzaro accepted a Triple-A assignment to stay with the organization.
6-3-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates designated Wandy Rodriguez for assignment last week and this week placed him on unconditional release waivers so the Wandy era will surprisingly end in Pittsburgh by the end of the week. The Pirates are not far enough out of the National League Central division to start thinking about selling just yet but with a poor road record and a negative run differential it may come sooner rather than later. The Pirates are chasing strong teams in the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers most notably and may not have enough to compete this season after making the playoffs for the first time in 20 seasons last year. The Pirates are selling off players though and traded relief pitcher Bryan Morris to the Miami Marlins this week to clear space for Triple-A relief pitcher Wirfin Obispo, who was recently picked off waivers from the Atlanta Braves. The Pirates acquired the 39th pick in the Competitive Balance Round A part of the MLB First Year Player’s Draft next week. The pick is worth $1.58 million in cap space to spend on the draft.
5-28-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates continue to struggle this season and are beginning to clear some veterans off the roster to make room for more prospects. The Pirates started this process by designating Wandy Rodriguez and 6.75 ERA and 3.36 HR/9 ratio for assignment. Pittsburgh, a small market club, is eating roughly $5.3 million to rid themselves of Wandy as all signs begin to point to this season being given up on. The Pirates also designated relief pitcher Vin Mazzaro for assignment for the second time this season. Mazzaro had a 3.48 ERA this season with the Pirates and 0.00 ERA in Triple-A for Pittburgh but the roster crunch in Pittsburgh is hurting Mazzaro and others. Mazzaro accepted an assignment to the minor leagues last time and fought his way back onto the 25 man roster but I cannot see him clearing waivers and doing so again this time around.
5-21-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates may be struggling but things are looking up as they may have finally found some production at first base with the acquisition of Ike Davis from the Mets. Davis has regained his form in Pittsburgh hitting .286/.383/.414 in 81 plate appearances in the black and gold, a far cry from his struggles to stay above the Mendoza line in New York. Davis has yet to get a hit off a left handed pitcher this season but has enjoyed being part of a platoon while in Pittsburgh. Speaking of New York the Pirates recently played a traditional double header with the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium recently where two games were played back to back on Sunday with only a 30 minute break in between the 18 innings of baseball. The Pirates split the double header but ultimately lost the series to the Yankees two games to one.
5-15-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates contin
ue to struggle this season after enjoying such a successful season in 2013 and find themselves in fourth place in the National League Central division. The Pirates are 8.5 games behind the first place Milwaukee Brewers as of 5/14 and are struggling from top to bottom. The Pirates acquired first basemen Ike Davis from the New York Mets earlier this season and the change of scenery has not translated into production for Davis as he continues to struggle in Pittsburgh. The Pirates also failed to sign top prospects Gregory Polanco to a long term deal recently after offering somewhere in the neighborhood of $25 million guaranteed over the life of the contract. The Pirates will likely be active at the July, 31 trading deadline this year but it is looking more and more likely that it is as sellers and not as buyers.
5-7-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates are fresh off their first playoff appearance in 20 seasons and are right back to their losing ways as they sport one of the worst records in the National League Central division and in all of baseball after 30 games in 2014. The Pirates recently tried to lock up another one of their top rated prospects by offering Gregory Polanco a seven year deal with just under $25 million in guaranteed money that the outfielder turned down. The extension included three club options at the end of the deal and would have given Polanco a ton of security, something unheard of for a guy that does not have an at bat in the Major Leagues yet. Also be sure to check out the movie "Million Dollar Arm' that showcases the search for the first Indian Major League player. That player is Rinku Singh and he is in the Pirates farm system. Singh makes a cameo in the movie, as he recovers from Tommy John surgery this season, and tells the story of how he went from a javelin thrower to a reality show winner to a Pirates farm hand.
4-28-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates spent the entire offseason looking for a first basemen and finally may have found one after trading for the Mets Ike Davis, who fell out of grace in New York. The Pirates need all the help that they can get as they are well under .500 to start the 2014 season and are near the bottom of the National League Central division after a month of the year. This is a far cry from Andrew McCutchen led 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates team that broke their 20 season drought of playoff appearances and won a Wild Card berth. It's still early thankfully for the Pirates and their fans but the lack of spending in the infield and in the rotation may come back to haunt Pittsburgh. Voting has opened up for the 2014 MLB All Star Game for this July so remember to vote your favorite Pittsburgh Pirates into the game.
4-14-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates have
done a solid job through the first couple of weeks of the 2014 MLB season, splitting their first 12 games with a 6-6 record. Pittsburgh got the week started off with a nice 2-1 series win over the Chicago Cubs, but couldn’t get the bats going in a rough three game sweep to the Milwaukee Brewers. The offense hasn’t been there lately, but the Pirates are still in solid shape overall, with Pedro Alvarez leading the way with five homers and 10 RBI’s.
4-7-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates picked up right where they left off in 2013, as they took two of three games against the Chicago Cubs, and two of three games against the St. Louis Cardinals. Pittsburgh’s best game was easily a 12-2 shallacking of the Cards, where Pedro Alvarez smashed two homers and the Pirates smacked around 16 hits as a team. Starling Matre paced the Pirates with a solid .308 batting average through the first week, while Francisco Liriano had the pitching mound mostly locked down with 14 strikeouts.
4-1-14: Building off their momentum from a crazy playoff ride in 2013, the Pittsburgh Pirates got off to a great start on opening day with a solid 1-0 shutout win over the divisional rival Chicago Cubs. The game was a pitching duel until the 10th inning, where Pittsburgh’s Neil Walker belted a homer off of Carlos Villanueva to go up 1-0. Relief pitcher Bryan Morris would end up earning the win at the bottom of the inning thanks to an overturned pickoff call.
3-27-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed Starling Marte to a six year extension worth $31 million which includes two option years. The deal will kick in after the 2014 season so the Pirates bought an additional three years at an absolute bargain. Marte was playing hard to get and had even reportedly turned down a six year deal that would have bought out all of his arbitration years and two free agency years spanning from 2015-2020. With the news breaking of Marte willing to sign an extension the Pirates have quietly made fellow top prospect and long term signed outfielder Jose Tabata, former New York Yankees farm hand, available in the right kind of trade. The Pirates are looking to open a roster spot for top prospect Gregory Polanco. The Pirates did not stop there as they acquired pitcher Vance Worley from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for cash after Worley was outrighted. Now the black and gold will look for their second consecutive winning season and playoff berth after snapping a 20 season streak last year in 2013.
3-20-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates started the week by announcing that their backup catcher Chris Stewart would need knee surgery paving the way for Bucs’ prospect Tony Sanchez. The Pirates are also looking to deal outfielder Jose Tabata and are also willing to listen to offers for RHP Vin Mazzaro and outfielder Travis Snider. Who says the hot stove is over with less than two weeks before Opening Day. The Pirates, even with all the injuries and trade rumors swirling around, are still over .500 in the Grapefruit League. Speaking of the Grapefruit League tempers flared recently between the Pirates and the Philadelphia Phillies as multiple batters, including reigning NL MVP Andrew McCutchen, were hit by pitches. Save it for when the games count boys.
3-13-14: The Pittsburgh Pirates are coming off their first playoff appearance in 20 seasons and are still reeling from losing outfielder Marlon Byrd and ace starting pitcher AJ Burnett but have still had success this spring in the Grapefruit League. The Pirates have a winning record and are showing off their young talent in Starling Marte, reigning MVP Andrew McCutchen, and Gerrit Cole. The Pirates fans showed so much energy last season and so far this spring and it's worth buying a ticket just to experience that, whether you are a casual fan or a hardcore fan. The Pirates play in a tough division but should enjoy another winning, and hopefully playoff bound, season in 2014.
3-5-14: The young Pittsburgh Pirates will look to build off their success of last year when they send Francisco Liriano to the hill for opening day. In other news the Pirates avoided arbitration with their third baseman Pedro Alvarez agreeing to a one year deal worth 4.25 million. Earlier in December the Pirates also bolstered their pitching staff by signing Ednson Volquez to a one year deal worth $5 million.
1-24-14: Last season was the Pittsburgh Pirates most successful in over two decades as they finally ended the longest playoff drought in North American sports earning a Wild Card berth before eventually being bounced by the St. Louis Cardinals. The Pirates look to build upon this next season even though they will more than likely be without starting pitcher AJ Burnett who is widely suspected of retiring this offseason.
1-7-14: Starting picture Ednson Volquez has agreed to a one-year deal worth $5 million with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Okay as will join a young staff that had a lot of success and surprised a lot of people last season. Even though both of us had a poor year last year in San Diego and LA. The Pirates of also agreed to a three-year extension worth $21 million with Charlie Morton.
12-9-13: It is been a while since the Pittsburgh Pirates had made the playoffs but last year they did so and also possessed the National League MVP in Andrew McCutchen. The young third baseman Pedro Alvarez from New York also in merged as a big-time power hitter. The Pirates made it all the way to the National League championship series losing to the St. Louis Cardinals. But after getting their feet wet in the division series and beating Cincinnati look for the Pirates to improve on the success. Starting pitcher AJ Burnett is still unsigned and has mauled retirement but most of the Pirates nucleus is returning for another year.
10-8-13: The Pittsburgh Pirates will have one more chance to extend their best season in 20 years when they head back to St. Louis to play the Cardinals in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series. With his home run in the eighth inning, third baseman Pedro Alvarez became the second Pirate in franchise history to homer in three separate games of a postseason series.
10-1-13: After winning 94 game is here the Pittsburgh Pirates finally returned to the postseason. After finishing only three games out of first place behind the Cardinals the Pirates will face the Cincinnati Reds in the National League wildcard game. Center-fielder Andrew McCutcheon scored 97 runs and stole 27 basis this year and is a viable candidate for the MVP. Veteran right-handed pitcher AJ Burnett led the team and strikeouts with 209 while Francisco Liriano led the team in wins with 16. The NL Central will send three teams into the postseason, with the Pirates being one of them it is fair to say that their division was the toughest and baseball this season.
9-4-13: Thanks to Travis Snider's pinch-hit home run in the 9th inning last night, the Pirates were able to win 4-3 and secure their first winning season in 20 years.
8/21/13 - The Pittsburgh Pirates remain in first place and have a two game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals for the division. The Pirates have won two straight and have 42 overall wins at home. Last night in the win against the San Diego Padres starting pitcher AJ Burnett picked up his sixth win of the season. Despite the low WinTOTAL AJ Burnett has pitched to a 3.09 ERA last night Burnett went seven innings gave up four hits and only one run while striking out seven batters. The only run he gave up came on a solo homerun. Next on the schedule for the Pirates is a four-game wraparound weekend series against the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco.
8/6/13 - The Pirates have had a great season so far and are in first place in the National League Central division. They've won two straight and have a two-game lead on the St. Louis Cardinals. This week they will host the Miami Marlins.
7/19/13 - The Pirates finally seem poised to make a run and enter the post season for the first time in a long while. At 19 games over the .500 mark, the Pirates lead the NL wild card race and are only 1 game behind the first place Cardinals for the division. After the break, they will travel to Cincinnati for a series against the Reds. Francisco Liriano has been a great help for the Pirates rotation. He is 9-2 with an ERA of just 2.00. Offensively they are led by the Washington Heights product, Pedro Alvarez who leads the team in both home runs and RBI. Despite the strong first half for the Pirates, they are only 4-6 in their last 10 games.
7/7/13 - Four Pittsburgh Pirates were selected for the 2013 National League All-Star team. RHP Jason Grilli, 3B Pedro Alvarez, and LHP Jeff Locke will all be making their first ASG appearance. Outfielder Andrew McCutchen made the squad for the 3rd time in his career.
7-1-13 - The Pirates defeated the Brewers in extra innings for their 9th straight win. They now have a 51-30 record, the best in baseball. 35,351 fans poured into PNC Park to watch the win. However, they were about 3000 fans short of a sellout snapping the PNC-Park record sellout streak, which had been five games.
6-12-13 - Over the past couple of years the Pittsburgh Pirates have found themselves in the mix of the playoff race early on in the season. Unfortunately none of their early success has become a playoff berth. Currently four games out of first place The Pirates are led by the young duo Of Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez. Alvarez has struggled at the plate what is put up good power numbers With 14 home runs and 37 RBIs. Leading the team in strikeouts is veteran right-hander AJ Burnett. Burnett has struck out 99 batters in 89 1/3 innings. This week the Pirates will take on the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers.