Game 69: Pirates (35-33) @ Indians (36-31)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

I rejoined the team in Cleveland today on the heels of the club’s three-game sweep over Houston. That sweep pushed the Pirates up to two games over .500 and to within three games of first place in the NL Central standings. Though this is the first time that the Pirates have been three games out of first this late in the season since 1997, I’m not ready to start scoreboard watching. Long ways to go, and these next 12 games could be an especially telling stretch for a team that is trying to put the past truly in the past.

The Pirates have not been good at all in Interleague Play. In fact, no club has worst numbers than the Pirates’ 75-124 record against the American League. The Pirates are 23-72 in AL parks and went 2-13 overall a year ago. The good news is, the Pirates already matched that win total by taking two of three from the Tigers back in May. But if this club is truly going to continue this turnaround past the midpoint of the season, the Pirates have to get through Interleague Play without a catastrophe.

This marks the Pirates’ first trip to Cleveland since 2006. The Pirates are 3-6 in Cleveland and 15-12 overall against the Indians in IL Play. The Indians are actually only one of two AL teams (the Rays are the other) against whom the Pirates have a winning record.

Other news and notes…

  • Garrett Jones will serve as the Pirates’ designated hitter tonight, though manager Clint Hurdle didn’t reveal how he plans to use that DH spot in the next five games.
  • Stetson Allie (2nd round pick, 2010) will make his pro debut for State College on Monday.
  • Michael Crotta (right elbow posterior inflammation) is beginning his rehab assignment with Double-A Altoona. Crotta last pitched on May 10.
  • Joe Beimel threw off flat ground this afternoon and plans to return to the mound on Monday. All felt good, he said.
  • The Pirates announced two more signings on Friday. The club has come to terms with 41st-round pick Jonathan Schwind, a catcher out of Marist College. The team has also signed Texas Tech lefty Robert Kilcrease as a non-drafted free agent.
  • In case you missed it, the Mets’ attempt to take away a hit and two RBIs from Andrew McCutchen worked, as McCutchen’s two-RBI double was changed to a two-base error after a review by an MLB committee. That story is here. There’s been another scoring change, too, this one from the Houston series. Astros third baseman Chris Johnson has been credited with a single in the third inning of Wednesday’s game. The ball was initially ruled an error on Brandon Wood.
  • Starter Kevin Correia has a 7-1 record and 2.42 ERA on the road this season. Since 1990, only three Pirates have won at least eight games on the road in a season (Doug Drabek, 11-3; John Smiley, 10-3; Tom Gorzelanny, 8-5). Safe to say Correia should be the fourth before the end of the year.

Lineups:

PIRATES: J. Tabata (LF), X. Paul (RF), A. McCutchen (CF), N. Walker (2B), G. Jones (DH), L. Overbay (1B), J. Harrison (3B), M. McKenry (C), R. Cedeno (SS)

INDIANS: G. Sizemore (CF), M. Brantley (LF), A. Cabrera (SS), T. Hafner (DH), S. Choo (RF), C. Santana (C), M. LaPorta (1B), O. Cabrera (2B), J. Hannahan (3B)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

1 Comment

I am a big fan of this blog. Welcome back! BUT you have recently said that you care not for standings at this time of year, nor will you watch the scoreboard. I am a VERY old Pirate fan and I have been watching nothing but Pirate standings and scoreboards since the fifties, especially in the Spring and early summer, when the impossible dreams leave hints of remote possibilities. Goodness, if not watching the ultimate baseball stat (GBL), what is the point of it all! Perhaps this is the difference in approach between an MLB reporter and a fan. You have your job and we have ours. Ours is simpler than yours: We Gotta Believe!

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