Pirates Notebook: Tabata Getting Closer to Being Demoted

If Jose Tabata doesn’t get his act together, the outfielder could face a demotion to Triple-A. After Tabata made several throwing errors in right field in the Pirates 8-3 loss to Philadelphia on Monday, the outfielder saw himself get bumped down to seventh in the lineup, and on Thursday was benched.

Tabata has been very inconsistent this season. Coming out of spring training it was expected that Tabata and Alex Presley would split time batting leadoff for the Bucs depending on a right-hander/left-hander matchup on the bump. But Tabata has had a disappointing season so far. He’s endured a leg injury, something that Manager Clint Hurdle said he believes is afraid of re-injuring.

Tabata is batting just .226 on the season. Over his last 10 games, Tabata is hitting for just a .192 average with one home run and two RBI.  The leadoff spot was given to new Bucco Drew Sutton on Thursday as Tabata has posted just a .288 OBP batting leadoff this season.

Manager Clint Hurdle said prior to the game that if Tabata doesn’t figure it out, he could be sent to Triple-A to work on it at the Minor League level.

Presley was demoted to Triple-A in May after the outfielder went just  3-for-42 over a 15 game span. After spending several weeks regaining confidence and his swing, Presley saw improvements at the plate.

Tabata came in for defensive replacement on Thursday and had just one at-bat. He laid down a sac bunt to advance Michael McKenry to second base in the ninth inning.

If the club decided to demote Tabata, Gorkys Hernandez could be recalled to the Majors during that span. He appeared in nine games where he went 2-for-10 with two RBI and a stolen base.

 

Garrett Jones Needs to Maintain His Posture at the Plate

The biggest struggle for Garrett Jones since his huge 2009 season when he first joined Pittsburgh has been consistency.

Jones has gone deep twice in his last seven games, but is just 2-for-16 in his last six contests. Overall in June he’s hitting .267, and is coming off a rough May where he hit just .200.

Hurdle believes that if he holds his posture better and stands tall at the plate, he really can drive the ball, and he continues to have conversations with him in order to make the necessary adjustment.

“Flexing at the knees, staying tall and let his hands work out front,” Hurdle said. “You saw some swings where his front side would collapse. He’d get down in crouch position and chase a little bit. I just said, if you got to bend to hit it, it’s too low. If you’ve really got to adjust out of the posture, that good solid athletic posture you’ve got, that pitch probably isn’t a strike. Maintain that posture and let your hands work out in front.”

“Consistency is really what separates everybody at this level. That’s the one thing that Garrett has lacked. He’s trying hard to get his arms and head around it and do it.”

 

Burnett Wins His Eighth Straight 

After tossing an impressive six-inning shutout on Friday at PNC Park, A.J. Burnett did something no starting Pirates pitcher had done in a very long time. Not since Dock Ellis in 1974 has a Pittsburgh starting pitcher won more than six straight starts (Ellis won eight).

The veteran right-hander tied Ellis on Thursday in the Pirates 5-4 win at Citizens Bank Field by notching his eighth straight win. Burnett also became the third pitcher to go a perfect 5-0 in a month. Washington’s Gio Gonzalez and Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels both did it last month. Both the eight straight wins and five in a single month are career highs for Burnett.

After tossing a scoreless first inning, Burnett gave up a two-out home run to former Bucco Erik Kratz in the second inning. The catcher took an 0-2 fastball to center field for a two-run long ball. But after that, Burnett cruised over his next three frames. Since allowing the two runs in the second inning, Burnett allowed just one hit over three scoreless while striking out four.

The third and final run off Burnett came in the sixth inning. The right-hander gave up back-to-back one-out singles. Placido Polanco grounded out for the second out of the inning, but Shane Victorino scored. After allowing his first walk, Fontenot grounded out to end the inning.

Overall, Burnett allowed three runs on six hits over 6.2 innings. He walked two and struck out seven while throwing 101 pitches, 69 for strikes. Burnett allowed three earned runs on Thursday, but this season has held the opposing club to two earned runs or less in 10 of his 13 starts this season.

 

Alvarez Continues to Rake in the Daylight

Pedro Alvarez has posted some crazy day/night splits this season. Entering game action, Alvarez in the day has hit for a  .294/.342/.809 line with ten homers in 68 at-bats. That’s compared to hitting just .192/.266/.301 with three homers in 156 at-bats at night.

On Thursday afternoon, the third baseman went deep in his first at-bat for his 14th long ball of the season. Alvarez drilled a solo shot, and finished 1-for-3 on the day with an intentional walk.

In the at-bat prior, Casey McGehee went deep off Kyle Kendrick for a three run shot. All five home runs that McGehee has hit have been hit in June. The Pirates have homered in five straight games. The homers today were in part of a five run first inning — the first time the Pirates have driven in five to start a game since May 27, 2007 in Cincinnati.

Kristy Robinson

Author: Kristy Robinson

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  • http://twitter.com/jlease717 John Lease

    Alvarez=Wayne Gross? Oh no!

  • James S

    Incredibly amazing amount of slack given to Tabata. Had one good month in the big leagues, his first month in his first season two years ago, and has averaged about .220 since with no power whatsoever, and the inability to run the bases.

    Meanwhile supposed baseball know-it-alls continue to whine about two of the three most productive Pirates hitters in the same span of time that Tabata has played for the team, Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones.

    There is no doubt in my mind that most Pittsburghers are unable to comprehend basic offensive statistics, otherwise Tabata would have been run out of town long ago.

    • Lee Young

      I wonder who they’d bring up? Gorkys? Definitely not Marte. Too soon for him. Not much else down there. Maybe that’s why Jose has had that ‘long slack’?

  • Drew

    Tabata is a AAAA player at best. I’m not a scout, but judging by the eye test, hes no where near close to what the scouts expected him to be.

    • James S

      Scouts are not so smart. They did the same thing with Lastings Milledge and thousands of other players throughout history.
      The Nationals and Mets (and many fans) were able to see for themselves that the scouts were full of bull about Milledge long before any of the scouts picked up on it.

  • John Russell Skinner

    Garrett Jones decent player and good power numbers considering the low # of at bats. I would like to see if he can hit lefties and see if this posture work is working with southpaws.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NIKZL7VVAUC2TN3MIIG6JJP7LU aaron s

    Tabata has been given slack due to his 6 year $14.5 million contract… obviously.

    • Todd Smith

      Well, that and the fact that the options to replace him are playing worse than Tabata right now.

      Harrison is hitting .222 with a .293 OBP this month. Presley is hitting .244 with a .289 OBP this month. Tabata is hitting .250 with a .338 OBP this month.

  • http://twitter.com/jamesmvargo James Vargo

    Tabata is AAA, Not AAAA. It’s not like he tore up Indianapolis either. As for Marte, what more does he need to do? He’s tearing up AAA right now. Hanson deserves a promotion too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fred.langford.9 Fred Langford

    Does this year’s Tabata remind anyone else of Lastings Milledge?

    • http://twitter.com/foxsharky Luke

      No, not at all. Milledge was a much better hitter and didn’t have a leash nearly as long as Tabata.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_46YTB5OO4O7UM2OVB44UZSTXNA Nate

    This will all be fixed when we trade for Curtis Granderson. :)

  • Todd Smith

    Presley was sent back to AAA, and he still isn’t playing better than Tabata at this point. Not sure what this would really accomplish, other than appeasing the handful of fans that seem to want to bench and demote half the roster. Seems even more odd to bench him after he had a nice night at the plate on Wednesday.

    • http://twitter.com/foxsharky Luke

      Yet another one under the unexplainable and strange spell that a total no talent seems to have over this organization and some of its fans. Fascinating and scary all at the same time.

      • Todd Smith

        There’s no question that Tabata is struggling this year. My point is, sending him down to AAA and replacing him in the outfield with guys like Presley or Harrison who are struggling even worse than Tabata does nothing to help this team. The whole, “we need to get rid of him because I don’t like the look on his face” argument just doesn’t impress me much.

    • Dave Parker’s Unfiltered Camel

      Maybe Tabata needs an attitude adjustment. It feels like he’s using injury as an excuse for subpar performance.

    • James S

      If you think Presley has not played better than Tabata, you prove my point that the fans cannot comprehend basic offensive statistics. That, and you are watching a different ‘Pirates’ than me.

      • Todd Smith

        …and you prove the point that some fans are willing to ignore stats and facts in favor of personal biases.

        Presley is hitting .244 with a .289 OBP this month. Tabata is hitting .250 with a .338 OBP this month. Which part of that basic offensive statistic do you not comprehend?

        • Todd Smith

          …of course, those numbers are coming into the game tonight. With his two hits tonight, Tabata is now hitting .271 on the month.

        • James S

          Your idea of basic offensive statistic is comical, and the fact that the only thing you could dig up that could make Tabata’s stats seem barely better than Presley’s was batting average for this month alone and on base percentage. Yeah, those Tabata stats for this month are really winning lots of games for the Pirates.
          The reality is that they have been able to win DESPITE his rally killing non-hitting, clueless base running, and aimless throws from the outfield.

          • Todd Smith

            LOL, you seem awfully upset that the stats don’t support your nonsensical whine-fest. Including tonight’s game, Tabata is now hitting .230/.297/.342 on the season. Presley is hitting .236/.269/.382 on the season. I would be interested as to why you believe On Base Percentage is a “comical” stat for a top of the lineup hitter….you know, other than the fact that it doesn’t support your argument.

            I never said Tabata wasn’t struggling, all I said is that his likely replacements are struggling even worse. The facts clearly show that. Tabata has been playing better than Presley and Harrison lately. I’m sorry if you are not able capable of understanding facts and statistics. However, I’m sure your anecdotal evidence of watching a few games on TV will get you pretty far with somebody.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Dimmick/100000318490900 Steve Dimmick

    they need to have bunting practice like little leaguers do….seriously…i’ll give burnett a break, atleaste he put it down….but i do think he could give a little more hustle than my 80 year old grandma!

  • http://twitter.com/foxsharky Luke

    Do you think it might have been a hint when he married an insane woman over twice his age that was crazy enough to steal someone’s baby and try to pass it off as his? Nah!

  • http://twitter.com/joegoodman_1 Joe Goodman

    Who else would fit in for Tabata? Brandon Moss? All joking aside we really don’t have anyone that would be an immediate improvement unless we got – who else? Vlad Guerrero. I’d say its a least worth a flier. And come on guys- I don’t think Jose was ever intended to be a leadoff guy. When he succeeds maybe #2 but stuggling a 7 or 8. We should be having one of our best contact guys there or if Jose is leading off then I want to see bunt attempts. Not just sacrifices either. Jose, keep your chin up and just hustle. Luck is the residue of design. Only worry about what you can control.

  • Scott Tidlund

    It seems to me that Marte has done more in the minors at this point than Tabata did in the minors. If the FO thought Jose was ready, not sure why they aren’t sure Marte is ready. I realize the contract plays a part, but putting the best available players on the field is the most important priority. I also think Leroux and Morris would really help the bullpen. To me, Cruz and Resop would be the guys I would like to replace.

    • VtTom

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who wants to cut ties with Cruz. I think I’d keep Resop over him if there was only one who had to go. In addition to Leroux and Morris I’d include Evan Meek in the mix when he’s ready.