Welcome to 3 Up, 3 Down: a weekly recap and preview for the Pirates. This post refers to games from June 12-18: a stretch where the Pirates took two of three against the Colorado Rockies (6/12-14) and lost two of three to the Chicago Cubs (6/16-18).
- Jameson Taillon returned to the Pirates Monday, going five shutout innings and picking up the win against the Colorado Rockies. While he had a much worse outing against the Cubs Sunday (5 IP, 4 ER), Taillon’s return is a big one for the rotation and team morale. Pirates Talk Now’s John Perrotto wrote about his return Tuesday.
- The First year Draft was Monday-Wednesday. The Pirates’ top pick was high school right-hander Shane Baz, who has already signed with the team. I recapped all three days of the draft for PTN. Day 1 can be found here. Day 2 here. Day 3 here.
- Gregory Polanco’s bat finally showed some signs of life against the Cubs this weekend. He hit long foul balls that would have been easy home runs Friday and Sunday, and Saturday he recorded a home run and a double. It was his first homer since May 28 (13 games) and his first double since May 12 (19 games).
- It was another tough week for Tony Watson. In four outings and 3.2 innings of work, he allowed three runs (7.36 ERA) and eight hits. The lowlight came Friday, when he inherited an admittedly messy bases loaded, no outs jam and let five runs score before being pulled.
- Speaking of Friday’s bullpen meltdown, Juan Nicasio had a very poor outing in his first chance as the closer, allowing all four batters he faced on base. They all came around to score and he took the loss. He was then shut down for Saturday for fatigue and was not a guarantee to pitch Sunday either. He threw a total of 23 pitches over two outings last week.
- Wade LeBlanc was yet another reliever who had a rough week, allowing runs in two of his three outings (3.2 IP, 3 ER). He has allowed 10 earned runs in seven innings over his last six appearances (12.86 ERA).
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK
- Jordy Mercer has been one of the hottest bats in the league, raising his average from .203 to .279 over the course of one month and four days. He has struggled in Miller Park and Busch Stadium, though (an OPS of .652 and .579 over his career, respectively). The Pirates will play four in Milwaukee and three in St. Louis this week.
- The Brewers’ Eric Thames is heating up for the Brewers again, homering four times in his last five games. The Pirates will throw Cole and Chad Kuhl in the first two games of the series. Both have struggled against southpaws this year (lefties have an .895 OPS against Cole and 1.036 against Kuhl).
- The Pirates’ short-A affiliate West Virginia Black Bears starts their season June 19. Mitch Keller– one of the organization’s top prospects- will pitch their opening day as part of a rehab assignment.