|HOUSTON ( BEDARD )|
PITTSBURGH ( BURNETT )
|979||HOUSTON||+215||Ov 7.5,+105||+225||Ov 7.5,+120|
|980||PITTSBURGH||-235||Un 7.5,-125||-250||Un 7.5,-140|
|vs Right-handed Starters||7-24||-13||18-11||3.7||0.235||0.287||6.0||0.303||0.366|
|Past 7 Games||1-6||-3.2||5-2||4.4||0.213||0.278||6.7||0.300||0.364|
|vs Left-handed Starters||5-5||+1||5-5||3.3||0.224||0.285||3.4||0.226||0.300|
|Past 7 Games||6-1||+5.6||2-4||4.9||0.261||0.332||2.6||0.211||0.270|
|5/7/2013||LYLES(R)||LA ANGELS||WILSON(L)||7-6||W||+155||9 ov||O||7||3||0||8||5||3|
|5/8/2013||NORRIS(R)||LA ANGELS||BLANTON(R)||3-1||W||+130||9.5 un||U||9||6||0||9||5||0|
|5/9/2013||HARRELL(R)||LA ANGELS||VARGAS(L)||5-6||L||+140||9 un||O||13||7||3||8||16||0|
|5/13/2013||NORRIS(R)||@ DETROIT||SANCHEZ(R)||2-7||L||255||8 un||O||7||6||0||9||2||0|
|5/14/2013||HARRELL(R)||@ DETROIT||FISTER(R)||2-6||L||250||8.5 un||U||5||3||0||10||7||0|
|5/15/2013||KEUCHEL(L)||@ DETROIT||SCHERZER(R)||7-5||W||275||9 un||O||8||2||1||8||7||0|
|5/17/2013||LYLES(R)||@ PITTSBURGH||GOMEZ(R)||4-5||L||175||8.5 ov||O||7||6||3||10||11||2|
|5/18/2013||BEDARD(L)||@ PITTSBURGH||BURNETT(R)|| |
|5/19/2013||HARRELL(R)||@ PITTSBURGH||LOCKE(L)|| |
|5/20/2013||KEUCHEL(L)||KANSAS CITY||GUTHRIE(R)|| |
|5/21/2013||NORRIS(R)||KANSAS CITY||DAVIS(R)|| |
|5/22/2013||LYLES(R)||KANSAS CITY||SHIELDS(R)|| |
|5/25/2013|| ||OAKLAND|| || |
|5/9/2013||LOCKE(L)||@ NY METS||GEE(R)||2-3||L||110||8 ov||U||8||10||0||8||7||0|
|5/10/2013||RODRIGUEZ(L)||@ NY METS||MARCUM(R)||7-3||W||-110||7.5 ev||O||12||6||0||10||7||1|
|5/11/2013||LIRIANO(L)||@ NY METS||NIESE(L)||11-2||W||105||7.5 un||O||16||7||0||7||8||0|
|5/12/2013||GOMEZ(R)||@ NY METS||HARVEY(R)||3-2||W||190||7 un||U||7||9||0||4||6||1|
|5/21/2013||RODRIGUEZ(L)||CHICAGO CUBS||VILLANUEVA(R)|| |
|5/22/2013||LIRIANO(L)||CHICAGO CUBS||SAMARDZIJA(R)|| |
|5/23/2013||GOMEZ(R)||CHICAGO CUBS||JACKSON(R)|| |
|5/24/2013||BURNETT(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||ESTRADA(R)|| |
|5/25/2013|| ||@ MILWAUKEE|| || |
|HOUSTON: HITTING: This season will mark Houston's final year in the National League. Look away, children, as the Astros launch into what is sure to be the crappiest victory lap in baseball history. Tiny 2B JOSE ALTUVE's jump from High-A to MLB starter says more about Houston's pitiful state than anything. He belongs in Triple-A. CHRIS JOHNSON won the starting 3B job as JIMMY PAREDES was optioned to Triple-A. Johnson was thought to have 25-homer power, but last year he slugged just .378. 1B CARLOS LEE is in the twilight of a very productive career. Backup 1B BRETT WALLACE seems to be in the twilight of an unproductive one. OF BRIAN BOGUSEVIC has a low ceiling. But he's one of only a few recent draft picks who will even contribute. OF J.D. MARTINEZ doesn't blame you if you haven't heard of him, but he's the team's best player who hits third in the lineup. SS JED LOWRIE was a nice little pickup for a mid-tier closer. But his platoon split is intense. C JASON CASTRO will probably play ahead of CHRIS SNYDER. OF JORDAN SCHAFER has yet to put things together; but he'll be starting in center on Opening Day. Fourth OF J.B. SHUCK is only 24, but doesn't have a whole lot of upside. |
STARTING PITCHING: WANDY RODRIGUEZ has been a durable, above-average starter for five years, yet every season his real-world team limits his wins. He'll be traded at some point this year. Don't shortchange BUD NORRIS. He's an underrated source of strikeouts, and has improved his command. J.A. HAPP really needs to cut down on his walk total. JORDAN LYLES couldn't legally drink until the second-to-last week of the season. He's in the big leagues way too soon. He's yet another young Astro who isn't terrible, but won't ever set the world on fire. KYLE WEILAND came from Boston with Jed Lowrie and should earn the final spot in the rotation. Texas-bred fireballer JARRED COSART, 21, is a legitimately exciting (but risky) prospect who Houston will probably rush up to the majors at some point this year.
RELIEF PITCHING: BRETT MYERS flummoxed the Astros' front office with a stinker of a season. He's probably closer to that pitcher than to the one who posted a career-best 3.14 ERA in 2010 at age 29, but he'll move the bullpen this year to get the rare opportunities to close out a game when this awful team is actually leading. WILTON LOPEZ was good in 2011, but was much better the previous season, when he may have been the most underrated reliever in the National League. Houston will go with him in the ninth if they want Myers to return to the rotation. BRANDON LYON has seen better days. He bombed early, then was shut down for good with a bicep injury. He intimidates nobody now.
|PITTSBURGH: HITTING: The Pirates' two-month casual flirtation with competitiveness was cute while it lasted, before this team fizzled to a 72-win season. This team is still years away. But don't blame OF ANDREW McCUTCHEN, who might be the best all-around player in the division. Of all the ballyhooed outfielders from the 2005 draft, he's the one GMs would most want to build around. OF JOSE TABATA, not so much. He's serviceable and has plus speed, but the six-year extension the Pirates gave him was absurd. 2B NEIL WALKER has settled into a respectable place short of stardom. 3B PEDRO ALVAREZ has a lot of uphill climbing to do if he wants to wake up old expectations. He'll compete with 3B CASEY MCGEHEE for a starting role, but it's most likely that Alvarez moves to first base to back up 1B GARRETT JONES. OFs NATE McLOUTH and ALEX PRESLEY are underwhelming choices for the starting left-field spot. SS CLINT BARMES and C ROD BARAJAS would like to thank the Pirates for wildly overpaying them. |
STARTING PITCHING: JEFF KARSTENS looked pretty decent for much of last year. But that's what happens when you get to log 14 percent of your innings against the lowly Astros. Better teams exposed him for the replacement-level guy he is. Contrary to what a lot of bored, lazy sportswriters wanted you to believe last year, CHARLIE MORTON doesn't pitch like Roy Halladay. At all. JAMES McDONALD could still be special if he cut down his walk rate. ERIK BEDARD was a respectable signing. Even if his shoulder acts up, he cost only $4.5 million for a year. If he's healthy, he's still well above-average. KEVIN CORREIA may only be slightly more effective at striking out hitters than a batting tee, but the Pirates are grateful for the innings he eats. BRAD LINCOLN is the designated fill-in if any of the other starters get hurt (cough, Bedard). In the meantime, he's a swing man.
RELIEF PITCHING: Closer JOEL HANRAHAN has been outstanding since first donning a Pirates uniform in 2009, converting 40-of-44 saves with a 1.83 ERA last season. It makes sense for the rebuilding Pirates to move him, but they'll probably keep the hand they were dealt. There isn't another qualified ninth-inning pitcher in this bullpen though. EVAN MEEK was bit by the shoulder bug. His early season was an unqualified disaster, but he turned it around and regained his form once he came back in September. He should be fully healthy again, and a quiet source of a few saves. CHRIS RESOP is another primary set-up man, but he posted a 4.39 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 2011. DANIEL McCUTCHEN won't be so lucky with his ERA this year if he doesn't lower his walk rate. He's just not a guy to put much faith in.
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER NL PREVIEW (HOUSTON-PITTSBURGH) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
*Astros-Pirates Preview* ========================
By TAYLOR BECHTOLD STATS Writer
Houston (11-30) at Pittsburgh (24-17), 7:05 p.m. EDT
Following a stunning late-inning rally, the Pittsburgh Pirates send the NL strikeout leader to the mound against the most strikeout-prone team in the majors.
A.J. Burnett will try to lead the surging Pirates to their season-high fifth straight win Saturday night when they take on the AL-worst Houston Astros at PNC Park.
After Pedro Alvarez hit a game-tying homer in the eighth, the Pirates were gifted a 5-4 victory Friday night when Houston's Jimmy Paredes and Jake Elmore collided and dropped a pop-up with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth.
The Pirates (25-17) won for the seventh time in eight games to move a season-high eight games over .500.
"I like the direction we're headed, the effort and the attitude," manager Clint Hurdle said.
Now Hurdle turns to Burnett (3-4, 2.73 ERA), who could be in line for a big day against a Houston offense that has already amassed 417 strikeouts.
The right-hander has fanned 72 and hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in each of his nine starts.
The Pirates, though, have given him only two runs over his four defeats, including a 5-1 loss at Milwaukee on Monday. He matched a season low with six strikeouts and allowed three earned runs over seven innings.
While he's 4-5 with a 4.54 ERA in 11 career meetings versus the Astros, Burnett has won his last two against them, yielding three runs and striking out 16 over 15 1-3 innings.
Burnett, though, has had trouble keeping runners close. Milwaukee stole six bases, and the 13 steals he's allowed rank among the most in the league. Pittsburgh's catchers have yielded 39 stolen bases, also among the league's worst totals.
The Astros (11-31), however, have only 21 steals and rank in the bottom third of the majors in stolen base percentage (61.8).
Jose Altuve, who is expected to be activated from the bereavement list Saturday following the death of his grandmother, Brandon Barnes and Marwin Gonzalez lead Houston with four stolen bases apiece.
Carlos Pena has hit safely in six straight games, but he's 6 for 37 (.162) with two homers and 14 strikeouts in this matchup.
Scheduled starter Erik Bedard (0-2, 6.67) showed some signs of improvement by reaching the fifth inning for the first time in his last start on Saturday, giving up two runs and striking out seven versus Texas, but Houston's bullpen blew a two-run lead in an 8-7 loss. That's been a common theme for a relief corps that is last in the majors with 30 home runs allowed and a 4.99 ERA.
Bedard, who went 7-14 with a 4.15 ERA for Pittsburgh last season, is 4-5 with a 3.26 ERA in 12 career starts at PNC Park and facing the Pirates for the first time.
Although the Pirates are hitting just .231 against left-handers, they're hitting .297 against them over their last 16 games.
Starling Marte leads Pittsburgh with a .417 (15 for 36) batting average, while Gaby Sanchez is 11 for 32 (.344) with three homers when facing left-handers.
Andrew McCutchen went 3 for 5 with a homer Friday and is hitting .388 with five homers and 21 RBIs in 26 career games against the Astros at PNC Park.
|Last Updated: 9/21/2014 9:04:16 AM EST|