August 22: Reds (51-70) @ Pirates (50-70); Cedeno out with slight pinky fracture

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Not that it is headline-worthy news or anything, but I’ll throw it out there anyway — with a win on Saturday, the Pirates can (at least a night) climb out of the National League Central basement. The Pirates have held the division’s bottom spot since June 20 when the team was 31-37. That does include sharing last plce with Cincinnati for four days earlier this month.

Now of course, the Pirates would have to win both Saturday and Sunday’s contest to stay out of the basement when the Reds leave town… but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

As bad as it may seem the Pirates have been this month, the Reds have been as dismal offensively. Let’s do some August comparisons since I have the time and hopefully you have the interest:

  • Records: Pirates: 6-12; Reds: 6-13
  • Team batting average: Pirates: .234 (29th in Majors); Reds: .217 (30th)
  • Runs scored: Pirates: 70 (29th); Reds: 66 (30th)
  • Team OBP: Pirates: .302 (29th); Reds: .282 (30th)

As for today’s news, notes and randomness:

  • Shortstop Ronny Cedeno fractured the tip of his pinky finger on Friday night and is out of the lineup on Saturday and likely Sunday as well. The incident happened in the fourth when Cedeno fielded Micah Owings’ grounder up the middle. There is nothing that can be done to speed up the healing process, though Cedeno will be able to play once the swelling goes down. Even though it’s on his right hand, it shouldn’t affect his throwing too much since it’s just the pinky. However, there is concern that it could have a longer negative affect on his swing.
  • In his first 19 starts at shortstop for the Pirates, Cedeno hit .261 wih four homers and 12 RBIs.
  • Luis Cruz earned the start in place of Cedeno on Saturday despite manager John Russell also having Brian Bixler and Ramon Vazquez as options. When asked why he went with Cruz, Russell lauded Cruz’s hard work since being called up on July 10 and his play during a start last Saturday in Chicago.
  • Bixler has yet to make an appearance in a game since being called up from Triple-A a week ago. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for a player that Pirates management continues to insist has the chance to be a part of the organization’s future.
  • As noted on here yesterday, Evan Meek’s season has come to an end with his placement on the 60-day DL on Friday. Russell had this to say about Meek’s year: “He developed in a lot of different areas – maturity, confidence, a guy we started to rely on later in games. I think he progressed very nicely. I think he put himself in a very good position to have a very good opportunity to make our club next year. It was a chance for him to really grow as a pitcher, and I think he accomplished some really good things this year.”
  • Meek finished 1-1 with a 3.45 ERA in 41 relief apperances.
  • Catcher Ryan Doumit has just four hits in his last 34 at-bats, though he should have had two hits last night. Rather, he finished 0-for-3 after being robbed of an extra-base hit by a leaping grab at the wall and had another hit taken away by a diving catch in right. That’s kind of the story of the week for Doumit, who has looked better at the plate but with nothing to show for it. Russell continues to hit Doumit fifth, behind Andy LaRoche.
  • Triple-A Indianapolis got trounced 15-6 on Friday while calling on not one, but two position players to pitch in the game. Outfielder Larry Broadway allowed two hits and struck out one in 2/3 innings. Infielder/outfielder Chris Barnwell allowed one hit, one run and walked one in his one inning of relief.
  • Director of Player Development Kyle Stark said that he expects Draft picks Zackry Dodson (4th round), Zachary Von Rosenberg (6th round) and Colton Cain (8th round) to see limited game action in the Gulf Coast League before the season ends. The main objective, though, is to get the three high school pitchers focused for the upcoming fall instructional league. Each has been working out in Bradenton, Fla., since signing earlier this month.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Delwyn Young (2B)
  3. Garrett Jones (RF)
  4. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  7. Steve Pearce (1B)
  8. Luis Cruz (SS)
  9. Zach Duke (LHP)

Reds lineup:

  1. Drew Stubbs (CF)
  2. Adam Rosales (3B)
  3. Joey Votto (1B)
  4. Brandon Phillips (2B)
  5. Jonny Gomes (RF)
  6. Wladimir Balentien (LF)
  7. Ryan Hanigan (C)
  8. Paul Janish (SS)
  9. Justin Lehr (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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