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Insider Only Pirates – Mets Takeaways: Joe Blanton latest example of Neal Huntington adding value to the roster

PIRATES 5 – METS 3 (14)

Win Joe Blanton (2-0)
Loss: Sean Gilmartin (1-1)
Save: Mark Melancon (37)

Despite the Pirates having the second best record in the National League, the narrative surrounding the Pirates seems to be Neal Huntington didn’t do enough at the deadline and when it comes to failing to acquire a proven No. 3 starter that criticism is warrant, but for Huntington dating back to the off-season, it’s been a year of adding value for little to no cost or risk. He looks to have hit again.
Reliever Joe Blanton is the latest example.
The Pirates liked Blanton in the past and he caught their eye again during a game with the Royals on July 21. The Pirates acquiring Blanton about a week later was basically making a waiver claim on him as it cost the Pirates nothing.
Blanton tonight struck out six and threw scoreless innings of relief in extra innings (11th, 12th, 13th Innings) as the Pirates defeated the New York Mets 5-3 in 14 innings.
Blanton in 9 innings pitched with the Pirates — 13/2 K/BB ratio — has allowed six hits and just one earned run.
Tonight Blanton walked just one, throwing 26 strikes on 41 pitches. Blanton had 8 swings and misses and his stuff was very lively.
The Pirates bullpen has now won it’s last 15 decisions.
With Soria in the mix to go with what Blanton is giving the Pirates right now along with Arquimedes Caminero looking to have his issues fixed, this bullpen is scary good right now with less than 50 games to go.
The bullpen tonight allowed 3 hits and no runs in 7 2/3 innings.

1. Talk about value, all you have to look at is the catcher position. Francisco Cervelli led off the 14th inning with a double and after Starling Marte reached base, putting runners at first and third, pinch-hitter Chris Stewart singled home the go-ahead run. Stewart has hits in 13 of his last 16 games. The Pirates have $2,237,500 invested into both Cervelli and Stewart this season.

2. Leading 3-0, the Pirates ran into a case of 7th Inning Woes as the Mets piled on three runs off Charlie Morton who had been dominant through six. Juan Uribe homered off Morton to cut the Pirates lead to 3-1 and with one out and none on, an Aramis Ramirez error put the tying run at the plate. The error was costly as Michael Conforto crushed a two-run homer to right off Morton tying the game at 3-3 and ending Morton’s night. For the second time this week the Pirates were slow to get the bullpen up.

3. Three Pitches – Three Hits for Gregory Polanco. Polanco had a single, home run and single in starting the game 3-for-3 in his first three at-bats, all first pitch hits. Polanco was 3-6 with a HR, RBI, R in the win.

4. Punch-Out Chuck. Charlie Morton went 6 1/3 innings, allowing 4 hits and 3 runs in a no decision. Morton had a season-high 9 K’s and walked just one batter, marking the second time in his last three starts to walk one batter or less. The stuff was excellent from Morton and even on the Conforto home run he had good location and movement on the 85 mph pitch. Morton had 20 swings and misses.

5. Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run homer off Jon Niese in the first inning, the first home run for Ramirez as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates since July 20, 2003. Ramirez play in the field in the seventh inning, though, would be costly. In the Mets three-run seventh, Travis d’Arnaud hit a grounder to third and Ramirez was forced to back up a few steps but after fielding the grounder, Ramirez took his time to plant his feet and he was too slow with the throw as d’Arnaud beat the throw to first. It was the 4th error Ramirez has had in less than a month with the Pirates. However, in the 11th Ramirez rebounded with a highlight reel play in the field.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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