September 22: Reds (69-81) @ Pirates (56-92)
So in an effort to find something positive to discuss these days, let’s (with the help of Elias Sports Bureau) take a closer look at what Garrett Jones has done in less than three months with the big-league club:
- With his home run in Monday’s loss, Jones became just the fourth rookie in franchise history to have 20 or more homers in a season. The company he joins: Ralph Kiner (23 in 1946), Johnny Rizzo (23 in 1938) and Jason Bay (26 in 2004).
- Those 20 season homers are also tops among all Major League rookies. Milwaukee’s Casey McGehee, Cardinals’ Colby Rasmus and Baltimore’s Nolan Reimold each have 15.
- Jones has become just one of two players to have a 20-homer season without hitting his first home run before July. Jones’ first long ball this year came in July 2, which was his third day with the club. The only other player to accomplish this feat was Yankees’ Kevin Maas, who hit his first of 21 homers in 1990 on July 4.
- Jones (age 28) is the oldest rookie to have a 20-homer season since Minnesota’s Bobby Darwin hit 22 as a 29-year-old in 1972.
- Jones has already set a club record for most homers by a left-handed hitting rookie.
For those curious about how Jones’ Rookie of the Year chances are shaping up, let me direct you here to the MLB.com rookie tracker. It sorts out the stats of the top candidates so that you can make the call.
As for today’s other news, notes and randomness…
- As was reported on the pirates.com site last night, Ramon Vazquez underwent an MRI on his right knee on Monday. GM Neal Huntington said that the MRI revealed no structural damage and that Vazquez can play as long as he feels good enough to. Vazquez said the knee hurts primarily when he runs, though it has also bothered him on a few swings recently.
- Right-hander Joel Hanrahan is iffy for Tuesday’s game. His pitching arm continues to be tender, though the Pirates don’t fear there is any structural damage. As a result, manager John Russell will be cautious on how and when he uses Hanrahan.
- Andy LaRoche is out of the starting lineup on Tuesday as he continues to recover from an illness. Though he is feeling better than he has been, Monday’s extra-inning game was taxing on him.
- Pirates prospect Brad Lincoln pitched 6 2/3 innings for Team USA in its game against Venezuela on Tuesday. Lincoln allowed two runs on six hits and three walks and picked up the win. He struck out three.
- Pirates prospect Pedro Alvarez went deep in that game, giving him five homers so far in the tournament.
- With the Pirates’ record sitting at 56-92 and 14 games remaining, the club would have to go 7-7 the rest of the way to avoid a 100-loss season. Considering the team has won just three of its last 23 games, the odds aren’t looking to good.
- The Pirates have six games remaining against the Reds, four against the Cubs and four against the Dodgers. They’ve gone 4-8 so far against Cincinnati this year, 2-9 against the Cubs and 0-3 against Los Angeles.
- The Pirates do have a chance to still finish above .500 at home this season, but need to win four of these last seven games at PNC Park to do so.
- Right-hander Jose Ascanio threw his first simulated game on Tuesday afternoon. He’ll throw one more this week before he is expected to be cleared to pitch in the final 7-10 days of the season.
- Andrew McCutchen (CF)
- Delwyn Young (2B)
- Garrett Jones (1B)
- Ryan Doumit (C)
- Brandon Moss (RF)
- Lastings Milledge (LF)
- Neil Walker (3B)
- Ronny Cedeno (SS)
- Zach Duke (LHP)
- Drew Stubbs (CF)
- Paul Janish (SS)
- Joey Votto (1B)
- Brandon Phillips (2B)
- Scott Rolen (3B)
- Jonny Gomes (RF)
- Darnell McDonald (LF)
- Ramon Hernandez (C)
- Johnny Cueto (RHP)
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