|HOUSTON ( HARRELL )|
PITTSBURGH ( LOCKE )
|929||HOUSTON||+180||Ov 9,-110||+155||Ov 8.5,+105|
|930||PITTSBURGH||-190||Un 9,-110||-165||Un 8.5,-125|
|vs Left-handed Starters||4-7||-0.8||9-2||5.0||0.276||0.336||6.5||0.282||0.375|
|Past 7 Games||2-5||+0||5-2||4.7||0.230||0.298||6.4||0.292||0.351|
|vs Right-handed Starters||20-12||+11.2||15-16||4.4||0.254||0.312||3.7||0.227||0.304|
|Past 7 Games||5-2||+2||1-5||3.6||0.232||0.297||2.9||0.219||0.287|
|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)||4-2||W||230||7.5 un||U||10||8||0||9||9||0|
|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)|| |
|5/26/2013|| ||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||GARZA(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||LOCKE(L)||@ MILWAUKEE||LOHSE(R)|| |
|5/26/2013|| ||@ 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 (12-31) at Pittsburgh (25-18), 1:35 p.m. EDT
Despite letting a potential victory slip away, the Pittsburgh Pirates hope to continue one of their best stretches of the season behind a starting rotation that's been one of the best in the major leagues this month.
Jeff Locke will try to pitch the Pirates to their eighth win in 10 games when they wrap up a three-game home series against the Houston Astros on Sunday.
Pittsburgh got another strong start Saturday with A.J. Burnett going seven innings, but the bullpen couldn't hold a one-run lead after six and the Pirates (25-18) lost 4-2 in 11, ending their five-game winning streak.
Pittsburgh relievers hadn't given up a run in 9 2-3 innings over the previous three games.
"You can talk about (the Astros') record, but they're all big leaguers, they're all up here for a reason," Burnett said.
Pittsburgh's starting rotation ranks second in the majors with a 2.59 ERA in May.
The Pirates (25-18) will look to bounce back behind Locke (3-1, 3.15 ERA), who seeks his fourth straight win. The left-hander has gone 2-0 with a 2.10 ERA in his past five starts.
He allowed three runs over six innings of a 4-3 victory over Milwaukee on Tuesday, though he didn't get a decision.
Locke yielded eight runs and 10 hits over 10 innings in a pair of losses to the Astros in September. This time, he faces a Houston team that's 12-31 but has been playing better, winning two of three after a six-game losing streak.
"Even though we've had our share of bumps and bruises, we're going to hit a stretch where we start playing well and put together a string of games like we played tonight," manager Bo Porter said. "It's a tremendous group of guys in that clubhouse. It's a resilient group. They have fun together. They love playing game. They play hard."
Houston is one of the most effective teams in the majors versus left-handers, batting .287 on the season and .389 against them in the last nine games.
Ronny Cedeno (.464), Brandon Barnes (.400) and Jose Altuve (.378) have been Houston's best hitters in those matchups. Altuve, who went 3 for 5 on Saturday in his first game since being activated from the bereavement list, is 3 for 6 lifetime against Locke.
Lucas Harrell (3-4, 5.11) has struggled since a three-start winning streak, going 0-2 with an 8.79 ERA and 13 walks in his past three outings.
In his only career start at PNC Park, the right-hander allowed five runs and nine hits over five innings before leaving without a decision in an 8-7 loss July 3.
Andrew McCutchen homered in that contest and is 2 for 3 against Harrell. The center fielder is swinging a hot bat, going 7 for 14 with a homer and three doubles in his last three games.
|Last Updated: 9/1/2014 8:19:07 AM EST|