Game 104: Pirates (54-49) @ Phillies (65-39)
After spending what seemed like weeks in Atlanta, I arrived in Philadelphia today wondering how lucid I was after my four-hour “nap” last night. I got on a plane heading to Philly wearing a Penguins t-shirt and carrying a Chipper Jones bobblehead (freebie from Thursday’s game). Really, could I have ticked off Philadelphians any more? I wish I could take credit for it all being intentional… but I promise it wasn’t.
As noted in the game story last night, the Pirates seemed generally pleased to finish 2-2 against the Braves. It’s definitely not a stretch to say the club had a chance to win all four games, but you are rarely going to find a team complain about splitting a road series against a club that, if the season ended today, would have a spot in the playoffs.
And now it’s time to take on the Phillies, who are going to send Roy Halladay (2.55 ERA), Cliff Lee (3.05 ERA) and Vance Worley (2.02 ERA) their way.
Some news and notes…
- As you can read here, Charlie Morton is not into the hoopla surrounding his meeting with Halladay tonight. He calls the comparisons of his motions to Halladay’s as overblown and reiterates that while some may see similarities between the two, he in no way is trying to be Halladay. As he said on Thursday, “I’m not delusional. I don’t think, ‘People are saying I look like Roy Halladay and I’m pitching like Roy Halladay so I am Roy Halladay.’”
- Still nothing all that new to report on the Trade Deadline front, other than that the Pirates remain persistent in their attempts to make some additions. The club still wants to add a bat (likely a corner outfielder or first baseman) and would take some bullpen help. Based on what the Astros are reportedly asking from the Phillies for Hunter Pence, I see no way Pence ends up in Pittsburgh.
- Many of you will remember this critical assist Matt Diaz gave the Citizens Bank Park security team last season when he helped trip a man who had rushed onto the field wearing a red body suit. Diaz was a member of the Braves then and this marked his first return trip to Philadelphia. Waiting upon him in his locker room stall today was a blue Citizens Bank Security shirt. He got a good laugh out of the gesture.
- Catcher Chris Snyder will go see a physical therapist in Pittsburgh on Tuesday to see if he is ready to begin sport-specific workouts. It’s still too early, Snyder said, to know whether he could be back before the end of August. His recovery is going well.
- Ryan Doumit continues his rehab work with Triple-A Indianapolis. He will serve as a designated hitter tonight and will catch nine innings tomorrow. There is still work to be done for Doumit, especially on the offensive end. He is 0-for-10 so far with Indy after having two hits in 13 at-bats with high-A Bradenton. The earliest his rehab assignment would end would be the middle of next week, though the Pirates very well could extent the rehab work longer so that he gets more at-bats. Also, runners are 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts against him.
- With the Pirates lacking production at first base and in right field, I was curious as to whether the club would consider putting Doumit out in the field when he returns and leaving Michael McKenry as the primary catcher. Manager Clint Hurdle said the discussion has been had and it’s not being ruled out. However, Doumit is only going to get work as a catcher during his rehab stint.
- The Pirates’ bullpen is getting closer to full strength. Daniel McCutchen is not available today, though Hurdle expects to have McCutchen available on Saturday. Joe Beimel was questionable.
- Hurdle did not indicate when the Pirates will consider going back to a seven-man bullpen. They have been playing one short on the bench since Wednesday.
- Diaz has not started a game on this road trip, but he confirmed that he is not hurt. I was a bit surprised not to see him in there given that he is hitting .301 since May 21. The Pirates should be trying to get offensive help from any source possible.
- If the Pirates can win at least one of these final three July games they will ensure themselves a winning record for the month. The club went 16-11 in June and is 13-10 so far in July. The last time the Pirates had back-to-back winning months was all the way back in 1997.
- With his save on Thursday, Joel Hanrahan is now one of just six pitchers in franchise history to save that many games in a season. The other five: Mike Williams, Jim Gott, Kent Tekulve, Dave Guisti, Jose Mesa.
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kevin Correia is the first Pirate to win 10 road games before the end of July since 1929 when Burleigh Grimes did so.
PIRATES: X. Paul (LF), G. Jones (RF), A. McCutchen (3B), N. Walker (2B), P. Alvarez (3B), L. Overbay (1B), B. Wood (SS), M. McKenry (C), C. Morton (RHP)
PHILLIES: J. Rollins (SS), D. Brown (RF), C. Utley (2B), R. Howard (1B), S. Victorino (CF), R. Ibanez (LF), C. Ruiz (C), W. Valdez (3B), R. Halladay (RHP)
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