MORNING PIRATES BUZZ
(Photo courtesy of Pirates)
— Starling Marte had a special Major League debut, taking the first pitch he saw deep, hitting a leadoff homer, becoming just the third player in franchise history to homer in his first at-bat and the first to do it since Don Leppert in 1961. Marte also became the first Pirate to homer on his first pitch since Walter Mueller did it in 1922.
When Marte went deep to left (392 feet) on his first at-bat, it made me think that something special might actually be happening with this team. The Pirates improved to 56-42 after last night’s 5-3 win, trailing the Cincinnati Reds (58-40) by two games in the NL Central. The Pirates currently hold the top spot in the Wild card race.
Marte in his debut was 2-4 with home run, RBI and 1 run scored.
BREAKING DOWN MARTE’S AT-BATS
Top of 1st: (Home Run, 1 pitch) Homered to left (392 feet), seeing one pitch
Top of 3rd: (Flied out to center, 8 pitches): Marte got into an 0-2 hole, taking two strikes, (strike looking), strike looking), but battled hard in the at-bat, taking a ball to get a 2-1 count, followed by foul, foul, Ball to get a 2-2 count, followed by another foul, before flying out to center on the 8th pitch he saw.
Top of 5th: (Single to left, 5 pitches) For the second straight at-bat, Marte got into an 0-2 hole, (strike looking), strike foul) but showed good patience again by taking two straight Balls, and hitting a single to left on the 5th pitch he saw in a 2-2 count.
Top of 7th: (Flied out to left, 2 pitches): With two outs, Marte took a ball on the first pitch he saw and flied out to left on the second pitch.
BURNETT ROLLS THROUGH ASTROS
A.J. Burnett (12-3, 3.52 ERA) improved to 12-3, shutting out the Astros for seven innings before Chris Johnson and Carlos Corporan hit solo homers in the eighth inning to cut the Pirates lead to 5-2. At times leading into the 8th inning, Burnett seemed to playing with the Astros, retiring 13 of the first 14 batters he faced. Burnett went 7 1/3 innings, allowing 4 hits and 2 runs in the victory.
CORREIA WANTS OUT
Kevin Correia has officially been moved to the bullpen and Correia and his agent are not happy about it. Correia has asked to be traded and the Pirates are looking to find a trade partner. There is some optimism that the Pirates will be able to move Correia.
CHOO TO STAY PUT?
According to John Perrotto who was covering the Indians – Tigers game last night, the Pirates had a scout in Cleveland as the Pirates continue to take a hard look at Indians right fielder Shin-Soo Choo.
The Indians (50-49) victory last night though moves them just 3.5 games out of first place in a winnable division, in addition to being just 3.5 games out of a wildcard spot. The sense around Cleveland is that if the Indians remain under five games out, they will keep Choo who leads the team in batting average (.297), home runs (12), runs (65) and OPS (.876). A decision on Choo is expected to go down to the wire.
Cleveland begins a three game set tonight in Minnesota.