Welcome to 3 Up, 3 Down: a weekly recap and preview for the Pirates. This post refers to games from July 3-9: a seven game road trip where the Pirates took three of four against the Phillies (July 3-6) and winning two of three against the Cubs (July 7-9).
- Gregory Polanco’s bat finally started to pick up this week, slashing .375/.400/.625 with two home runs over 25 plate appearances. He also picked up an assist after starting a double-play on July 5. Speaking of assists, Jose Osuna picked up three assists from left in the Pirates’ 6-3 win Thursday.
- Chad Kuhl came through big for the Pirates twice this week. He went a career high seven innings Thursday, allowing just two earned runs. His week was not over though, as he made an emergency start Sunday in place of a sick Jameson Taillon. He went three innings and only allowed one run in the Pirates’ 14-3 victory.
- The 10 inning explosion in the first inning Sunday was a rare, rare occurrence. It was the first time the Pirates scored 10 runs in an inning since June 8, 1989 (courtesy of play-by-play announcer Joe Block). If that is too recent for you, it was the first time the Pirates scored 10 runs in the first and won since April 22, 1892 (courtesy of Elias Sports).
- The Antonio Bastardo era came to an end on July 8 when he was designated for assignment. He allowed 15 earned runs over nine innings this year, allowing 16 hits and nine walks. He was tagged for three earned runs in three outings since returning from the disabled list on June 27.
- The Pirates’ infield made three errors in the first two innings of Friday’s 6-1 loss to the Cubs. They also left 12 men on base.
- Though it’s not a traditional “down,” Felipe Rivero being robbed of an All-Star spot is a downer for all of major league baseball. Of pitchers who made as many appearances as him by the All-Star break (44), no one has an ERA lower than his (0.76). He broke Mark Melancon’s record, set in 2013: 45 games pitched with a 0.81 ERA. (again, a hat tip to Mr. Block).
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK
- The 88th All-Star Game will be this Tuesday at 8 p.m. on Fox. Josh Harrison is the Pirates’ only representative, serving as a reserve utilityman. It’s his second All-Star selection. He went 0-2 off the bench in 2014.
- The Pirates come out of the break with a three game set against the Cardinals Friday. Baserunning has been a problem for both teams this year. The Pirates have been caught stealing 25 times (third most in baseball), while the Cardinals have been caught 20 times (ninth most). The Pirates have a combined BsR of -3.8. The Cardinals’ team total is -1.7.
- Friday is also the start of the second half of the season. I wrote Sunday about five things the Pirates need to do differently in the second half to take advantage of a weak division.