Pirates Quietly Hanging Around and Getting Better

Despite having a ton of things go against them, we’re a day away from the start of July and the Pirates are still in contention for the NL Central Division.

Yes, Clint Hurdle’s team is still five games under .500 (37-42) but because of how mediocre the NL Central is this year, the Pirates are just four games behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers. Despite their current position in the standings, the Cubs are the team to beat in the division and the Pirates are only 3 games behind them.

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3 Up, 3 Down: June 5th-June 11th

Welcome to 3 Up, 3 Down: a weekly recap and preview for the Pirates. This post refers to games from June 5th-11th: a stretch where the Pirates lost two extra inning games in Baltimore (6/6-6/7) and split a four game set at home against the Marlins (6/8-6/11).

3 UP

Andrew McCutchen is continuing to clobber the baseball, recording a .417/.462/.542 line in his six games last week. He is 23 hits over his last 57 at-bats (.404), racking up 38 total bases in that stretch (a .667 slugging percentage). Elias Diaz has reached base safely in all four of his starts since taking over for the injured Francisco Cervelli. Diaz has a 1.050 OPS on the year, including a .500/.563/.643 line in his first look as a starter. I opined Thursday that giving him a look as a starter was long overdue.

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Hurdle Changes His Mind, Plus News on Taillon

During his pre-game gathering with the media, manager Clint Hurdle dropped a few pieces of interesting information regarding the current roster.

First thing, Hurdle says that Jameson Taillon will return to the starting rotation next week. At this point, no public decision was announced as to who Taillon will replace in the starting five. Barring either Ivan Nova or Gerrit Cole going to the disabled list, the decision will come down to either Tyler Glasnow or Chad Kuhl.

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Perrotto’s 3 Thoughts: Could Pirates Be Deadline Buyers?

Three thoughts on the Pirates:

  1. Hold off on that trade

It has been suggested in various corners — including this one — that the Pirates would be wise to gauge interest in right-hander Gerrit Cole when the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.

The Pirates would seemingly get a bundle in a trade for a 27-year-old pitcher who won 19 games two years ago — though he is suppressing his trade value with a recent stretch of rough outings — and cannot become a free agent until following the 2019 season.

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Pirates-Diamondbacks Preview Capsule

Pirates (23-28) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (31-21)

Monday: RHP Trevor Williams (2-3, 5.93) vs. RHP Randall Delgado (1-0, 3.82), 4:05 p.m.

Tuesday: RHP Ivan Nova (5-3, 2.83) vs. LHP Robbie Ray (4-3, 3.45), 7:05 p.m.

Wednesday: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-5, 6.29) vs. RHP Zack Godley (1-1, 1.99), 12:35 p.m.

NOTES: The Pirates are in last place in the National League Central, 4 ½ games behind the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers. … The Diamondbacks are in the third place in the NL West, two games behind the division-leading Colorado Rockies. … The Pirates lost two of three to the New York Mets over the weekend. … The Diamondbacks have lost two games in a row following a five-game winning streak. … Pirates 2B Josh Harrison is on a 10-game hitting streak, going 17-for-44 (.386) with two doubles, four walks and five strikeouts. … Diamondbacks C Chris Iannetta is 8-for-28 (.286) in his last eight games with two doubles, three home runs, one walk and eight strikeouts. … Williams and Nova are both 1-0 against the Diamondbacks in their careers while Kuhl has never faced them. … Delgado is 0-1 against the Pirates in his career while Ray is 0-2 and Godley has no decisions.

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Taillon to Make Rehab Start Tomorrow

Finally, the Pirates have received some good news.

Doctors have determined that Jameson Taillon is healthy enough to get back on the mound.

The team announced this evening Taillon will make a rehab start tomorrow for the Altoona Curve at Erie.

Earlier this month, Taillon underwent surgery for testicular cancer. If all goes well, the right-hander could rejoin the team sometime in June.

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Perrotto: Mentally Strong Taillon Faces Toughest Test

The 2017 season has seemingly been nothing but one major blast of bad news after another for the Pirates.

Third baseman Jung Ho Kang is still stuck in his native South Korea. He continues to try to secure a work visa after receiving a two-year suspended sentence in March for his third DUI conviction.

Starling Marte is playing in extended spring training games in Bradenton rather than patrolling center field in the major leagues. He is on the restricted list until mid-July after getting suspended 80 games last month for violating Major League Baseball’s performance enhancing drug policy.

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