Latest Pirates Buzz

Pirates at the All-Star Break: 2nd Half Division Race; Injury Updates; Stats Watch & More

The Latest Pirates Buzz

1 GB at the All-Star Break
Following today’s 9-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs, the Pittsburgh Pirates enter the All-Star Break at 47-43, one game out of first place in the National League Central.
NL Central Standings
1. Milwaukee Brewers (49-43)
2. St. Louis Cardinals (49-43)
3. Pittsburgh Pirates (47-43, 1GB)
4. Cincinnati Reds (45-47, 4 GB)
5. Chicago Cubs (37-55, 12 GB)
6. Houston Astros (30-62, 19 GB)
2nd Half Divisional Play
In the NL Central, the Pirates feasted on the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs (13-5 combined record) in the first half but also performed well against the rest of the division, aside from their struggles against the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Pirates have gone 20-12 in divisional play and they are going to need the same kind of success in the second half, if they want to earn their first trip to the playoffs since 1992.
The Pirates have 48 of their remaining 72 games against divisional opponents.
From August 12th through September 7th, the Pirates play 26 of 27 games against divisional opponents, including 20 straight from 8/12 through 8/31.
7-2 vs Astros
9 Games Remaining (3 Home – 6 Away) | @ 7/15, 7/16, 7/17 | @ 8/29, 8/30, 8/31 | VS 9/5, 9/6, 9/7 |
6-3 vs Cubs
7 Games Remaining (4Home – 3 Away): | VS 8/1, 8/2, 8/3, 8/4 | @ 9/2, 9/3, 9/4 |
5-1 vs Cincinnati Reds
9 Games Remaining (9 Home – 0 Away): | VS 7/18, 7/19, 7/20 | VS 8/19, 8/20, 8/21 | VS 9/23, 9/24, 9/25 |
2-1 vs Cardinals
13 Games Remaining (9 Home – 4 Away) | VS 7/22, 7/23, 7/24 | VS 8/15, 8/16, 8/17 | @ 8/25, 8/26, 8/27, 8/28 | VS 9/12, 9/13, 9/14 |
0-5 vs Milwaukee Brewers
10 Games Remaining (4 Home – 6 Away): | @ 8/12, 8/13, 8/14 | VS 8/22, 8/22 *Double Header*, 8/23, 8/24 | 9/26, 9/27, 9/28 *Season ending Series*
17 Game Improvement
The Pirates have posted a 17-game improvement through 90 games from where they were last season.
Mindset away from finishing .500
The Pirates are in a position that no one could have predicted them to be in. There is finally a winning feeling following the club and the mindset from the players and the front office (intend to be buyers) has turned away from the .500 talk to now competing for a playoff spot during the second half of the season.
Injury Updates going into All-Star Break
The Pirates have three players in Jose Tabata, Joe Beimel and Ronny Cedeno who are getting closer to returning to the lineup following the All-Star Break.
It means tough roster decisions are going to have to be made.
“We’ve already started the process of thinking through it,” manager Clint Hurdle said today. “We’ve had an entire first half to evaluate the talent that is here. I think we’re in a pretty good place, ” Hurdle said.
The closest of the three is Joe Beimel who threw for a second straight day. Tabata (quad strain), Cedeno (concussion) aren’t far behind but not as close as Beimel is.
“He’s supposed to pitch his second game today, ” Hurdle said earlier today during his pregame media session as Beimel threw on back to back days for Double-A Altoona. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow {Monday}and we will make a decision where we go with that.”
Beimel (14 pitched, 7 strikes) pitched one inning, allowing zero hits and zero runs, while walking one batter for Altoona today. Overall, in 3 1/3 innings for Altoona this week, Beimel has allowed 2 hits and 0 runs.
*Ronny Cedeno whose recovering from a concussion, will travel with the club to Houston but Hurdle tried to downplay that his return to the club is imminent.
“He {Ronny Cedeno} will go with us to Houston to run around. That’s down the road, ” Hurdle said.
*Jose Tabata said this week that he was hopeful to return following the break. Hurdle said today that Tabata has a few more days of workouts to go through but the feeling around the team is that he could be ready at somepoint during next week’s series in Houston.“{Jose} Tabata’s {actually} got a couple of days of working out and then he’s going to get in play {Bradenton}. We’ll see where that takes him, ” Hurdle said.
Tabata will be in Bradenton for the next couple days and arrived this weekend
*Ryan Doumit’s (Left ankle fracture) return is still weeks away.
*Earlier this week we reported that Pirate officials believe Evan Meek (shoulder tendinitis) was at least 4-6 weeks away, with a possible return in mid-August being a very optimistic view.
GM Neal Huntington said today that Meek remains a ways away and that he still isn’t throwing as he hasn’t progressed past the “strengthening phase”.
*Where does Steve Pearce (calf) fit when he gets back to full health? That decision could be coming soon.
“Pearce is in play today, Hurdle said indicating that Pearce was scheduled to play in a rehab game. “He’s actually going to start playing in the Gulf Coast League today and get some DH at bats and then he’ll play in Bradenton.”
Pearce has been out of the lineup since May 28th. He was hitting .291 with 1 home run and 10 RBI’s, prior to his injury.
Players Stats Watch
*Andrew McCutchen(.291 – 14 HR – 54 RBI) goes into the All-Star Break hitting .382 (13-for-34) with 3 home runs, 14 RBI’s, 5 doubles, 1 triple and 7 runs scored in his last 10 games.
McCutchen had a big day on Sunday, hitting a 3-run homer and driving in 5 runs for Pittsburgh in their 9-1 victory.
McCutchen vs the Cubs this season: 4 home runs – 11 RBI’s.
*Neil Walker (.264 – 8 HR – 59 RBI) goes into the All-Star Break with an 8 game hitting streak, hitting .438 during the streak.
Walker had a dominant game against the Cubs on Sunday, going 3-for-4 with an RBI, 2 doubles, triple and 2 runs scored.
Walker’s 59 RBI’s rank 7th in the National League.
Walker vs the Cubs this season: 1 home run – 10 RBI’s
He is batting .406 in 18 career games against Chicago.
*Alex Presley (.365 – 1 HR – 6 RBI) continues to make his mark, at least in the short-term at the MLB level.
He goes into the All-Star break on a four game hitting streak, batting .467 with 5 runs scored during that span.
Presley has multi-hit games in three straight and six of his last nine games.
Presley is batting .341 in his last 10 games, with 2 doubles, 2 triples and 7 runs scored.
*Paul Maholm (6-9, 2.96 ERA) has been lights at home in his past five starts.
Maholm (7 2/3 innings pitched) who allowed 4 hits and 1 run, while striking out a season high eight batters versus Chicago today, has won his last five starts at home, allowing 1 run or less in all five starts.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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