Tag: Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher J.A. Happ throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

J.A. Happ is thriving with the Pirates


While the move largely went ignored amid perhaps the craziest trade deadline ever, the Pirates’ acquisition of J.A. Happ continues to pay off big.

Happ struck out eight batters and allowed just three hits and no walks over seven scoreless innings last night in a 4-1 victory over the first-place Cardinals. The southpaw gave up four runs over 4 1/3 innings in his first start with Pittsburgh on August 4 before getting an extended break. He has posted a 0.60 ERA in five starts since and hasn’t allowed more than one earned run in any of them. His secondary numbers back up his success, as he has a 26/5 K/BB ratio in 30 innings during that span.

Happ actually got off to a strong start this year with the Mariners before hitting a rough patch. According to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the southpaw said that the focus has been on getting him back to what made him successful in the past.

“I felt like as we broke this year I felt real good about kind of where I was at overall,” Happ said. “Over time things change slowly. You maybe form a bad habit or two. So it’s just trying to get back to that kind of pitcher.”

Returning to the National League for a team in a playoff race has surely helped matters, but we could be looking at the next major success story for Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage.

A.J. Burnett: “I expect to be throwing soon for the Pirates, because I feel great.”

A.J. Burnett

Pirates starter A.J. Burnett threw a simulated game on Friday, and will throw a bullpen session on Sunday, MLB.com’s Tom Singer reports. The right-hander said, “I expect to be throwing soon for the Pirates, because I feel great.”

Burnett hasn’t pitched since late July due to inflammation in his right elbow. There was some concern that the 38-year-old veteran might have thrown his last pitch in the majors, as he plans to retire after the season. However, it sounds as if a mid-September return is in the cards, which would give him three or four starts.

Burnett currently holds a 3.06 ERA with a 114/36 K/BB ratio over 135 1/3 innings.

Andrew McCutchen is battling some Achilles tightness

Pittsburgh Pirates' Andrew McCutchen hits a solo-home run off Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Dan Haren during the third inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

This probably isn’t what Pirates fans want to hear with a big weekend series against the first-place Cardinals coming up, but Andrew McCutchen is out of tonight’s lineup with what he describes as a “tight Achilles.”

McCutchen dealt with a left knee injury earlier this year, but he made sure to point out that it isn’t an issue right now. According to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the All-Star center fielder said that he’s just “been a little sore” and “hobbling around a little bit.” Barring something unexpected, it sounds like he will play in the series opener in St. Louis:

McCutchen was just named the National League Player of the Month after hitting .348 with a 1.079 OPS in August. The 28-year-old is batting .303/.404/.517 with 20 home runs, 85 RBI, and seven steals over 128 games on the year.

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

Jake Arrieta

Cubs 2, Dodgers 0: The second no-hitter against the Dodgers in 10 days, this one courtesy of Jake Arrieta. The best part of this is that the final inning required him to strike out two past-their-prime former Phillies stars. No, wait, the best part of this was not having to listen to Curt Schilling weigh in on it as it was happening. Arrieta, for what it is worth, is now 17-6 with a 2.11 ERA on the year. The only two guys in the NL who have as good or better a shot at him for the Cy Young Award this year were watching this from the opposing team’s dugout. Our coverage of the no-no can be read here and here.

And yes, he’s wearing pajamas in this pic. Joe Maddon had one of his crazy-Joe Maddon getaway dressup days he’s famous for, which is why Arrieta had to give interviews about the biggest moment of his professional life while wearing longjohns with mustaches on them.

Blue Jays 9, Tigers 2: Four more homers for the Blue Jays including another one from the on-fire Edwin Encarnacion. That gives the Jays 184 homers on the year. That’s seven more than they had as a team all last year and it ain’t even September yet. Russell Martin after the game:

“If this isn’t the feel of a championship team, I don’t know what is. I feel like we’re great offensively, we’re great on defense, we’re pitching great, our bullpen has depth. I like what we have going right now.”

If the baseball was a 19th century melodrama, now would be the time someone would contract a case of dreaded consumption. Or maybe a dark figure would emerge from the Blue Jays’ collective past to bring shame upon them in the community, forcing them to retire to a dark room in their mansion as recluses.

Mets 5, Red Sox 4: The Mets avert a sweep. Michael Cuddyer was 3-for-3 with a walk and singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh. Juan Uribe had a big hit too. If you knew nothing else about the Mets season and I told you a year ago that Uribe and Cuddyer would be big Mets offensive weapons in the second half of 2015 you’d probably assume they were 23 games out of first place or something, yet here they are.

Indians 9, Angels 2: Abraham Almonte hit a grand slam and Josh Tomlin was solid, leading the Indians to their fifth straight win. The Angels, meanwhile, have dropped three in a row, are at .500 and stand three and a half out of the second wild card position. On any other team people would be talking about Mike Scioscia being fired after the season, but I’d sooner expect Arte Moreno to force a Mike Trout trade than to see that happen.

Rays 3, Royals 2: The Rays salvage one against K.C. thanks in part to Brandon Guyer and Kevin Kiermaier homers. That was the first win by Tampa Bay over the Royals in the seven games they’ve played them this season.

Yankees 20, Braves 6: Well that was an ugly slaughter. You may think that this bothers me, but nah. I’m all-in on the Braves tanking the rest of year. They’re only two and a half games “behind” in the race for the number one pick next year. Yes, there are four teams “ahead” of them and it’s always hard to “climb” over that many teams in the season’s final month, but I have “confidence” in this “baseball team.”

Nationals 7, Marlins 4: Jayson Werth homered and drove in three and the Nats came back after being down by three to in by three. Three three three three.

Padres 9, Phillies 4: James Shields got the win. It was his first road win since May. Hey, I wouldn’t want to leave San Diego if I lived there either, so it’s hard to blame him. Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Yangervis Solarte all hit homers as the Padres avoid a season sweep by the Phillies. Which would’ve been a somewhat more dubious proposition than the Rays being swept for the season by the Royals.

Rockies 5, Pirates 0: Jorge De La Rosa tossed six shutout innings and struck out seven. The Rockies scored their runs on a double, a triple and a two-run throwing error by Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton. That’s a homer, a single and a bases-loaded walk short of the dubious outing cycle.

White Sox 6, Mariners 5: The White Sox tied it in the ninth thanks in part to to a Brad Miller throwing error and than walked it off in the eleventh inning with a Tyler Saladino RBI single. David Robertson tossed two scoreless innings in relief and got the win. That’ll be the upper right hand story in the Closer Newsletter this week. Subscribers will be thrilled with that tale of transgression, adventure and the limits of human endurance.

Brewers 4, Reds 1: Wily Peralta pitched seven strong innings. Of course these days your aunt Tilly could pitch seven strong innings against the Reds. Do people have aunt Tillys anymore? Did they ever?

Twins 7, Astros 5: Ervin Santana struck out ten Astros in seven shutout innings and got the win even though his bullpen tried to sabotage him in the ninth, allowing a five-run Astros rally. Eduardo Nunez and Miguel Sano homered. Sano is hitting .287/.398/.591 on the year with 13 homers in only 49 games. That’s something like a 42 homer pace for a full season. Sano is 22-years-old.

Rangers 6, Orioles 0:Derek Holland is giving the Rangers exactly what they need as they push for the wild card. Here he struck out 11 in a three-hit complete game shutout. Baltimore is now closer to Boston and Detroit in the AL standings than they are to the second wild card.

Cardinals 7, Giants 5: Brandon Moss, Matt Carpenter and Mark Reynolds all hit homers as the Giants drop two of three to the Cardinals. A lot of people are talking about how the Dodgers are a struggling mess, and they sort of are, but the Giants aren’t exactly taking advantage of it.

Athletics 7, Diamondbacks 4: Marcus Semien hit a two-run bases loaded single with two outs in the top of the 11th. Pat Venditte, the switch-pitcher, got his first ever major league win.

A.J. Burnett throws 70-pitch bullpen session, aims to return to Pirates rotation in two weeks

A.J. Burnett
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A.J. Burnett has been out since late July with a strained flexor tendon in his right arm. There was some thought initially that the injury would be a season-ender (and thus career-ender) for the 38-year-old, but he’s beginning to make significant progress.

Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette tweets that Burnett threw around 70 pitches in a bullpen workout Sunday and reported feeling great. The veteran starter is aiming to return for a big four-game series against the Cubs on September 15-17.

Burnett was sporting a cool 3.06 ERA in 21 starts with the Bucs before landing on the disabled list. J.A Happ has been filling his rotation spot and is actually pitching quite well, but that’s doubtful to last.

Pittsburgh entered play Sunday with a firm hold on the first National League Wild Card.

And the Bucs only trail the Cardinals by 3 1/2 games in the National League Central.