Tabata, Lincoln debut for the Pirates

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brad lincoln and jose tabata pirates.JPGThe Pirates had a front row seat to the debut of the Nationals savior on Tuesday, but last night it was Pittsburgh’s turn, with Brad Lincoln and Jose Tabata taking their opening bows.

Lincoln had much promise when he was drafted, but one Tommy John surgery and a few years later he’s a 25 year-old rookie who doesn’t project to be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. Not that being a middle-of-the-rotation guy is not valuable, of course. You gotta have those types of guys too, so he could definitely be a key part of the next good Pirates team.  As for his performance: He have up five earned runs on seven hits over six innings, striking out three and walking two. Meh, sure, but as we noted all over the place yesterday, baseball history is rotten with good pitchers who had less-than-stellar debuts.

As Aaron mentioned yesterday, Tabata has suffered a similar decline in his stock, but at age 21 he still has a lot of time to become a major contributor. His night was better: he went 2 for 4 out of the leadoff spot with two singles, a walk and a stolen base. Only downer: he had to leave the game in the eighth when his hammy started to cramp up.

The next big glimpse into the Pirates future: Pedro Alvarez.  He’s raking down at Indianapolis — he had three hits and two RBIs yesterday and leads the team with 12 homers and 50 RBIs — and I would expect that the Pirates will call him up sometime soon.

It may not feel like it sometimes, but there’s hope in Pittsburgh.

Rich Hill has a perfect game through seven innings

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Dodgers starter Rich Hill is facing off against the Pirates in Pittsburgh tonight. And he’s not having any trouble with them: he’s absolutely perfect though seven innings. He’s needed 73 pitches to get that far, so if he can keep the perfection up he certainly has enough in the tank to finish it.

Thing is: he may not even get the win. That’s because Pirates starter Trevor Williams has blanked the Dodgers through eight, scattering seven hits and four walks yet, somehow, not allowing a run to score.

The Pirates are coming to bat in the bottom of the eighth. We’ll keep you posted.

Zach Britton’s consecutive saves streak has ended at 60

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On September 20, 2015, Zach Britton blew a save against the Rays. Little did he know that he wouldn’t blow another save until August 23, 2017, converting 60 consecutive save opportunities.

Britton took the mound with a 7-5 lead in the top of the ninth inning of Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Athletics. He yielded a single to Jed Lowrie, a double to Boog Powell, an RBI single to Marcus Semien, and a sacrifice fly to Matt Joyce to allow the A’s to close the two-run deficit. In the next at-bat, he uncorked a wild pitch and then walked Khris Davis before being removed from the game. Miguel Castro relieved Britton, but walked Ryon Healy on four pitches to load the bases. Castro wriggled out of the jam by getting Matt Olson to pop up and striking out Matt Chapman, stranding two of Britton’s runners.

Britton entered Wednesday’s action 11-for-11 in save chances on the season with a 2.88 ERA and a 19/12 K/BB ratio in 25 innings. He missed two months earlier this season with a strained left forearm.