Pirates demote Cruz, trade Andy Phillips

The Pirates demoted Luis Cruz from the 25-man roster to make room for Delwyn Young. I expected this move a few days ago, and as a result have already made the adjustment on the 25-man roster page.

In a move to make room for Cruz, the Pirates traded Andy Phillips to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Michael Dubee. Dubee is a 23 year old right handed pitcher. His highest level is high A, where he posted a 4.37 ERA last year, with some solid ratios (7.86 K/9, 2.43 K/BB, 1.05 HR/9). Also, in the spirit of yesterday’s article on ground ball ratios, Dubee had a 50.6% ground ball rate last season.

I don’t expect Dubee to be the next great Pirates pitching prospect. It’s more of an organizational depth move, as Dubee didn’t rank anywhere in Baseball America’s rundown of White Sox prospects. He will likely go to Lynchburg.

The Neal Huntington trade history page is updated with the move.

I didn’t do a game write up yesterday, mostly because I was out during the day when most of the game was on. However, here are the MVP tracker adjustments:

-One negative point for Jeff Karstens. 4 IP, 3 ER, and 5 walks.

-One negative point for Sean Burnett for his three run homer to Lance Berkman. The Pirates were in the game until this point.

-One negative point for Jason Jaramillo for grounding in to a double play with one out and runners at first and third. This was right after the first hit of the season by Andy LaRoche. Can’t waste an opportunity when LaRoche gets on base.

-One negative point for Freddy Sanchez for the 17 pitch at bat. I saw the at-bat on TV, then went back over it on Gameday to see the pitch location. The first five pitches were out of the strike zone, but Sanchez only took two for balls. Seven of the first ten pitches were out of the strike zone. After ball three (pitch 7), Sanchez fouled off ball four on three different occasions. A 17 pitch at bat is nice if you’re facing Tim Lincecum while he’s piping fastballs down the middle and the end result is that it removes him from the game. When you’re facing Chris Sampson, who just allowed a single and gave up a four pitch walk to Jack Wilson, a 17 pitch at bat is worthless.

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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    On this date in 1991…

    In arguably the most memorable regular season game of the 1990-92 NL East championship seasons, the Pirates twice rallied from five-run deficits to beat the Cubs 13-12 in eleven innings at Three Rivers Stadium.

    What had looked like an unremarkable Sunday afternoon through seven innings began its candidacy for “Strange But True Baseball Stories” when the Cubs parlayed a Jay Bell throwing error into a four-run eighth inning and a 7-2 lead.  The Bucs answered in the bottom of the eighth with four runs of their own off Paul Assenmacher, thanks to a two-run Orlando Merced triple and two-run Bobby Bonilla homer.

    A Gary Varsho pinch-hit double with two outs in the ninth drove in Jeff King to tie the game at 7-7, but the Cubs reasserted themselves in the top of the eleventh.  Doug Dascenzo’s bases-loaded single off Bob Patterson put Chicago back in the lead, and Andre Dawson’s second grand slam of the weekend then gave the Cubs a 12-7 advantage.

    Dawson’s prior grand slam had, in fact, triggered a walk-off Pirate victory; it turned a 3-0 ninth-inning Bucco lead during the Friday game into a 4-3 Chicago edge, but the Buccos had responded with two runs in the bottom of the ninth to win the game.  This time, Dawson’s slam led to even more dramatic results.  A walk and two singles off Heathcliff Slocumb loaded the bases, and the Cubs turned to former Pirate Mike Bielecki to put out the fire.

    Bell greeted Bielecki with a two-run double, and Andy Van Slyke’s sacrifice fly narrowed the margin to 12-10.  Bonilla then drew a walk, and Barry Bonds’ RBI single–Bonds had snapped an 0-for-22 slump earlier in the game–made it a one-run game again.

    Pinch-hitter Gary Redus walked to reload the bases, and Don Slaught drove a Bielecki pitch over centerfielder Jerome Walton’s head to score Bonilla and Bonds for the victory.  On the airwaves, Lanny Frattare gushed about how it was “Memorial Day all over again,” referrring to an equally-thrilling ninth-inning rally against the Dodgers during the previous May.

    The game did not escape national notice.  Writing an account of attending a St. Louis Cardinals game that day in Bill James’ “The Baseball Book 1992,” a young Rob Neyer observed that “[t]he scores of other games were constantly flashing on two auxiliary scoreboards . . . I was able to follow the wild Cubs-Pirates game . . . and I thought maybe the scoreboard guy was hanging out with the off-duty beer guys until I watched Sportscenter that night.”

    Here’s the box score and play-by-play:


    Here’s the Post-Gazette’s game story: