Game 122: Cardinals (65-68) @ Pirates (58-63)
Last night’s win — the second to feature a Pirates walk-off homer this year — pushed the club past its win total from 2010. And the team did it with 41 games remaining on the schedule. As disappointed as you may be with how quickly the Pirates took themselves out of any chance for the postseason, keep such perspective in mind. It is certainly feasible that the Pirates can improve their win total by, say, 20 this year. That would be a remarkable step forward, even if .500 turns out to be unattainable.
For no, the Pirates sit five games under .500. The club would need to go 24-17 the rest of the way to finish above .500.
Anyways, some other news and notes…
- Ross Ohlendorf allowed two runs over seven innings in a Triple-A start on Tuesday. Obviously I didn’t see the effort, but the final line — six hits, one walk, five strikes, 94 pitches/60 strikes — looked decent. Remember, the Pirates have a doubleheader coming up on Monday, and by pitching Ohlendorf yesterday, he would be fresh if the Pirates opt to call him up to start against Milwaukee in one half of the doubleheader. Manager Clint Hurdle said on Wednesday that Ohlendorf is the likely choice to pitch one of the two games.
- Brad Lincoln, who has been pitching out of the Pirates’ bullpen, could have been another candidate for that spot start, but the concern with him is how stretched out he is. Lincoln has pitched just twice since being called up on Aug. 6 and isn’t getting stretched out extensively on the side. Since Aug. 7, he’s only thrown 14 pitches in a game.
- Lincoln would be a candidate to go back to Triple-A if Ohlendorf is indeed the one who pitches next Monday.
- State College catcher Samuel Gonzalez took home MiLB.com’s Top Star Award in last night’s New York-Penn League All-Star game. Gonzalez had a two-run double and scored once in the start. Spikes outfielder Wes Freeman also played in the game and went 1-for-3 with a double and run scored.
- Interesting to note that three players from the organization have earned All-Star MVP honors this year. Brock Holt (Double-A) and Aaron Baker (Class A Advanced) did so earlier this summer.
- Alex Presley (left hand contusion) and Chase d’Arnaud (fractured right pinky finger) continue their rehab work with Triple-A Indianapolis. I have to imagine that both are nearing the point of being ready to come off the DL. I’d expect Presley to be recalled to Pittsburgh immediately upon being reinstated, as he did nothing but hit when he was with the club earlier this year. d’Arnaud might not be as much of a shoo-in to come up immediately, though with Pedro Alvarez not here, d’Arnaud could get significant playing time at third if the Pirates wanted.
- Speaking of Alvarez, he did not play in Triple-A Indianapolis’ game on Wednesday. Matt Hague started at third base for the Indians.
- While Jose Tabata returned to playing left field on Tuesday, he was out in right on Wednesday. That’s not an official switch, but when Presley comes back, it would be natural to slide Tabata over to right. Know, too, that he’d be happy to stay there. It’s been well documented how much Tabata reveres Pirate Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, and it has always been Tabata’s dream to play the same position Clemente did in Pittsburgh.
- Garrett Jones’ walk-off blast last night traveled an estimated 440 feet and bounced into the Allegheny River. That marked the 30th time a ball has gone into the river and the third time Jones has done it. Interestingly, Jones also did it the first time he hit a walk-off homer.
- By giving up a run in the ninth on Tuesday, Joel Hanrahan saw his 15 inning scoreless streak snapped. Still, his 1.16 ERA ranks second lowest among all Major League relief pitchers. Mike Adams has a 1.12 mark. Hanrahan has allowed just four earned runs in his last 46 games (47 innings pitched).
- Jose Veras and Chris Resop have already made more appearances this season than in any other year in the Majors. Veras has appeared in 63 games (previous high was 60 in 2008) and Resop has been in 60.
- With his homer last night, Albert Pujols now has 28 at PNC Park. That is twice as many as Lance Berkman, who ranks second in homers here among all visiting players. Remarkably, Pujols ranks 10th on the PNC Park all-time list — which obviously includes all Pirates players. Atop that list is Jason Bay, who has 61 homers at PNC Park.
- And a final reminder that if you have a question you’d like me to consider for a Pirates INBOX tomorrow, send it to me at Jenifer.Langosch@MLB.com. Include your first name, last initial and hometown in the email.
PIRATES: J. Tabata (RF), G. Jones (1B), A. McCutchen (CF), R. Doumit (C), N. Walker (2B), R. Ludwick (LF), B. Wood (3B), R. Cedeno (SS), P. Maholm (LHP)
CARDINALS: R. Furcal (SS), A. Craig (RF), A. Pujols (1B), M. Holliday (LF), D. Freese (3B), Y. Molina (C), R. Theriot (2B), J. Jay (CF), K. Lohse (RHP)