Rodriguez started the first inning by allowing a line drive single on the second pitch of the game. The next batter doubled on a ground ball down the left field line, putting two runners in scoring position. Rodriguez recorded the first out on a pop up to shortstop, then allowed a run on a sacrifice fly to center field. The second Salt River run scored on a double. Rodriguez stranded that runner on a three-pitch strikeout. He allowed as many earned runs in this inning as he did in his first six starts. He threw 14 pitches, 11 for strikes.

In the second inning, Rodriguez allowed his third double. The next batter singled, scoring the third run against Rodriguez. He got the first out via strikeout, but on the play the runner stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by Elias Diaz. A grounder to shortstop scored Salt River’s fourth run. Rodriguez ended the inning with his third strikeout. Through two innings, he threw 31 pitches, with 24 going for strikes. The fourth run he allowed ended up being unearned due to the error by Diaz.

In the third, Rodriguez walked the lead-off batter. That runner was picked off first base by Elias Diaz. Rodriguez quickly got out of the inning after that, with a ground out to third base and a line drive to right field. The fourth inning started off with the fourth extra-base hit Rodriguez allowed, this time a triple. The next batter his a sacrifice fly to make the score 5-3. The next batter reached on an infield single, then moved to second on a throwing error. Rodriguez got the next batter to fly out to center field for the second out. He was at 55 pitches, which ended his day. This one start saw his ERA go from 0.95 through 19 innings to 2.38 in 22.2 innings.

Josh Bell was the designated hitter, batting fifth on Thursday. In the second inning, he reached on an infield single. He hit again in the third, this time coming up with a man on second base. Bell grounded back softly to the pitcher, moving the runner up to third base. He came up with the score tied, bases loaded and one out in the fourth inning. Bell came up empty, striking out swinging. He came to the plate for the fourth time in the fifth inning and walked. Leading off the eighth inning, he flew out to center field, ending his day 1-for-4 with a walk.

Elias Diaz batted seventh and came into the game with a .255 average. He came up with two runners on in the second inning and drew a walk. In the third inning, he popped out to first base on the first pitch he saw, ending the inning. In the fifth, he came up with the bases loaded, two outs and Scottsdale up by one run. Diaz grounded out to shortstop, but reached on a throwing error, which scored one run. In the sixth, he led off with a line drive single to right field. Diaz walked for the second time in the eighth inning, giving him a 1-for-3 day, with two walks. On defense, Diaz made his third error, which was mentioned above, but he also picked a runner off first base.

]]>In the first inning, Glasnow needed eight pitches to retire the lead-off batter on a fly ball to right field. The next batter was first round pick Trea Turner, a former draft pick of the Pirates that didn’t sign in 2011. Turner lined a single into right field. Glasnow then walked the next batter to put two men on with one out. Two pitches later, both runners moved up on a double steal. They both came home two pitches later on a single. Glasnow got the second and third outs on swinging strikeouts. He needed 29 pitches in the inning, 16 went for strikes.

Facing the bottom of the order in the second inning, Glasnow started the inning just like the first, recording a fly out to right field. The next batter doubled on a line drive into center field on the first pitch he saw. Glasnow walked the next batter, so the second inning looked a lot like the first up to this point. He had an eight pitch battle with the next hitter, which ended in a ground ball and an out at second base. Glasnow kept Surprise off the board, getting Trea Turner to line out to second base for the final out. He needed 20 pitches in the inning, 13 went for strikes.

That was in for Glasnow, who threw too many pitches in the first two innings to continue. He finished his AFL season with 19.1 innings in seven starts, striking out 20 batters, while posting a 3.72 ERA.

Angel Sanchez followed Glasnow and got a fly ball to left field for the first out, then got the next batter to strikeout swinging. He gave up a two-out single, which was followed by another single that put runners on the corners. Sanchez allowed another single, bringing home the first earned run he allowed in the AFL. The three singles came on three consecutive pitches. He got another strikeout to end the inning and limit the damage to one run. Sanchez threw 17 pitches, 11 for strikes.

In the fourth inning, Sanchez started off by picking up his third strikeout. He walked the next batter, then got a force out at second for the second out. That was followed by a single and then a triple that scored two runs. He got the third out on a grounder to second base, but Sanchez ended his day with three runs allowed after coming into the game with an 0.00 ERA.

Adrian Sampson continued the line of Pirates pitchers, coming out for the fifth inning. He got two quick outs on a ground out to third base, then a fly ball to right field. He retired the side in order, getting the third hitter to ground out back to the mound on the eighth pitch he saw. That was the only inning of work for Sampson, who along with Sanchez, should be done for the season. Relievers rarely, if ever, work back-to-back days in the AFL.

Josh Bell started at first base and batted in the clean-up spot. He led off the second with a seven pitch at-bat that ended with a ground out to first base. He grounded out to first base again in the fourth, this time seeing only two pitches. In the sixth inning, Bell drew a walk to put runners on the corners with one out and Scottsdale trailing 8-0. He flew out to center field in the eighth, ending his day 0-for-3, with a walk. Bell is hitting .213 in 80 at-bats. On defense, he handled six chances(all putouts) cleanly.

Elias Diaz was batting sixth in the order, one place ahead of Dan Gamache. Diaz grounded out to third base during his first trip to the plate, then did the same for the final out in the fourth inning. Leading off the seventh, Diaz flew out to left field. In the ninth, he lined out to right field, leaving him 0-for-4 on the day. On defense, he allowed three stolen bases, though two came on a double steal.

Gamache drew a walk with two outs and a man on second in the second inning. Leading off the fifth inning, he lined out to third base. Two innings later, Gamache struck out swinging. In the ninth inning, he went down swinging again, leaving him 0-for-4.

]]>In the second inning, Bell had a nice seven pitch at-bat before flying out to right field. In the fourth inning, he hit a line drive into right field for an RBI single. Bell was then thrown out trying to steal second. In the sixth inning, he collected a ground-rule double, his eighth double of the season. In the eighth inning, Bell was called out on strikes on a full-count pitch. He finished the game 2-for-4 with his seventh run driven in. The two hits helped him raise his average to .221 through 77 at-bats. In 55 at-bats against right-handed pitchers, Bell is hitting .200 with four doubles and a 10:10 BB/SO ratio.

]]>Thomas Harlan gave up a single and a walk to the first two batters in the first inning, but no damage was done. He got a double play and a two-out grounder to third base to retire the side. Harlan threw 16 pitches in the frame, eight went for strikes.

In the second inning, he retired the first two batters, before giving up a double. Harlan gave up a single that brought home the first run of the game. The runner moved to second on the throw, then scored on a single from the next batter to make it 2-0 Salt River. Harlan got a ground out to end the inning. He needed 22 pitches in the inning, 13 went for strikes. The last two outs in the second inning were both ground balls that Josh Bell took unassisted.

Harlan gave up some hard hit balls in the third, allowing a run on two hits. There were also two line drives hit right at fielders. He picked up his first and only strikeout on the day. His command was better in the third, throwing 12 of 17 pitches for strikes. That ended his day with three runs allowed on six hits and a walk. Harlan finished his season with a 9.64 ERA in six starts. In 14 innings, he gave up 21 hits, eight walks and picked up 11 strikeouts.

Adrian Sampson followed Harlan and battled the first hitter, retiring him on a pop up to second base that took seven pitches. He got the next batter to strikeout swinging, then got a ground out to shortstop to end the inning. He set down the side in order, but still needed 17 pitches and just nine went for strikes. That was the end of his outing. Sampson has a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings.

Bell was batting fifth and playing first base on Monday. He grounded out to second base in the second inning. In the fifth inning, Bell led off with a fly out to center field. He had a chance to get a big hit in the seventh with his team down 4-1 and a runner at second. Bell hit the ball well, but it was a line drive caught in center field. In the ninth inning, he lined out to center again, giving him an 0-for-4 on the day. He is hitting .205 through 20 games, with no homers and a .611 OPS. He made an error on a catch in the third inning, though it didn’t end up hurting the team. Bell handled nine other chances in the field cleanly, three of them unassisted.

Gamache played third base and batted sixth. He came into the game with a .170 average. In the second inning, he singled on a line drive to left field. In the fifth, Gamache doubled, then came around to score Scottsdale’s first run. He came up after Bell in the seventh with a chance to drive in the Scorpions’ second run, but all he could do is move the runner from second up 90 feet with a ground out to second base. In the ninth, he drew a walk, leaving him 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. On defense, Gamache made an error in the eighth that allowed one run to score.

]]>Rodriguez gave up a walk and a single in the first inning, but managed to avoid any damage by getting a double play ground ball and a well-placed line drive that ended the inning. Rodriguez needed just nine pitches to get through the inning, four went for strikes. He had a strong second inning, though it did take 15 pitches to record two strikeouts and a fly out to left field. The batters went down swinging in both strikeouts.

In the third inning, Rodriguez worked his way out of trouble. He gave up a lead-off single, then picked up his third strikeout. He hit the next batter, before getting a line drive to center field for the second out. Rodriguez loaded the bases when he gave up a hard hit grounder that made it’s way into left field. He retired the side without damage by getting the sixth batter of the inning to ground out to third base.

Rodriguez struck out the lead-off batter in the fourth. He then gave up a line drive single to center field. Rodriguez got out of the inning quickly with two infield pop ups. That was the end of his day. He gave up six base runners in four innings, but kept Glendale off the board and lowered his ERA to 0.95, with 19 strikeouts in 19 innings. Rodriguez threw 56 pitches in the game, 33 for strikes.

Angel Sanchez came in to pitch the eighth inning with two outs and a man on first base. He had a seven pitch battle with the first batter he faced, getting him on a grounder back to the mound. Sanchez came back out for the ninth and struck out the first two batters swinging. After a two-out single to right field, he picked up the victory with an exciting play to end the game. The batter drove a line drive to left field that resulted in a double and a play at the plate for the final out. Sanchez has now pitched ten innings without allowing an earned run.

Josh Bell was the DH on Friday night. He came into the game with a .227/.338/.333 slash line through 66 at-bats. Facing former Pirate pitcher Wei-Chung Wang, Bell struck out swinging in his first at-bat. In the fourth inning, he popped up to second base. He grounded out to shortstop to end the sixth inning. He finished the game 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Leading off the third inning, Dan Gamache grounded out to second base. Two innings later, he flew out to center field. He ended the seventh inning with a ground out to second base. He finished 0-for-3 on the day.

In his first at-bat, Elias Diaz struck out swinging. In the fifth inning, he singled on a grounder up the middle. Diaz singled to lead-off the eighth, then came around to score the only run of the game two batters later after a sacrifice bunt and a fielding error. On defense, Diaz threw out the only runner that attempted to steal a base.

]]>Tyler Glasnow began the first inning with two fly balls to right field for the first two outs. He got the third out on a grounder to third base. He threw 11 pitches in the inning, six for strikes. Peoria has PITCHf/x available and Glasnow threw ten fastballs in the inning, sitting 94-96 MPH. He also threw one 80 MPH curve for a ball.

In the second inning, Glasnow gave up a lead-off single. He got out of the inning quickly, getting a fly ball to center field, followed by a 3-6-1 double play started by Josh Bell. Glasnow needed just nine pitches in the inning and after two inning, he had thrown ten strikes and ten balls. All nine pitches he threw were fastballs sitting 93-95 MPH.

In the third inning, Glasnow started using more of his pitches. He got a swinging strikeout on a curve to start the inning, then allowed a triple. He picked up another strikeout swinging on a curve and threw his first change-up of the game during the third at-bat of the inning. Glasnow ended the inning with a fly ball to right field. His fastball was 93-96 MPH and the curve was 77-80. He threw 16 pitches, nine for strikes and eight were curves, with just the one change-up.

Glasnow gave up two runs in the fourth inning, throwing a total of 19 pitches in the frame. He allowed a lead-off walk, then gave up a double that scored the first run. The next batter reached on a fielder’s choice on a ball hit back to Glasnow. He then got a strikeout swinging on a curve before giving up a sacrifice fly that brought home the second run. The next batter popped out to second base to end the inning. He threw 12 fastballs and seven curves and just like in his last game, Glasnow saw a dip in his velocity in the fourth, hitting 91-92 with a few of the slower pitches.

His final line was two runs on three hits and a walk in four innings. He had three strikeouts, all of them coming on curves and in all of the at-bats, the batter went down swinging. Glasnow threw 55 pitches total, 30 for strikes. This outing was disappointing in the sense that the AFL seemed like it was going to be a chance for Glasnow to work on his change-up and he rarely breaks out his third pitch. In the four games I’ve seen data for, he has gone to the pitch 5-6 times total. You need a third pitch to be successful as a starter at the upper levels and need the confidence and ability to throw it in any situation. The velocity dip and control issues(when you’re throwing 69% fastballs) are minor concerns this late in the season, especially since he is well ahead of his inning total from last year. He still flashed two plus pitches early and he has had some outstanding starts in the AFL. So the only real concern at this point should be his lack of change-ups each game, because this is when he should be working on the pitch.

As for the Pirates in the lineup, Josh Bell walked to lead-off the second inning. He drew three walks on Tuesday and had two hits on Wednesday. Bell stole second base, then scored the first run for Scottsdale. Leading off the fourth inning, he struck out swinging. In the sixth, he popped out to shortstop. In his last plate appearance, he singled on a line drive to center field. His average is sitting at .227, but he is getting on base at a decent clip recently. He also reached base four times during the Fall-Stars game on Saturday. On defense, he handled all eight plays cleanly, including a pop up, a ground ball in the the seventh and the double play he started in the second inning.

Dan Gamache drove in the first run for Scottsdale, scoring Bell on a sacrifice fly in the second. In the fourth, he grounded out with a runner on first, resulting in an out at second base. Gamache flew out to center field in the seventh. He finished with a ground out to shortstop, ending his day 0-for-3 with an RBI. He is hitting .180 in 50 at-bats.

In the third inning, Elias Diaz lined out to third base. He was batting ninth in the lineup and catching his second game this week. In the fifth inning, Diaz grounded into a double play. He came up with a big hit in the seventh inning, driving in two runs on a triple that deflected off the center fielder’s glove. Diaz struck out to end the game.

]]>Bell had a bases loaded single in the first inning, driving in two runs. He came around to score two batters later. Prior to Wednesday, Bell was 1-for-19 in his previous six games, though he did draw three walks on Tuesday. In the third inning, he collected his seventh double. In the fifth, Bell grounded out to third base to end the inning. In the eighth, he struck out swinging, giving him a 2-for-4 day at the plate.

Adrian Sampson pitched the ninth inning. He got the first batter to ground out to second base, then gave up an infield single to the second hitter. Three pitches later, that runner was thrown out trying to steal second base. Sampson walked the next batter on six pitches. The fourth hitter grounded out to shortstop on the first pitch, ending the inning. Sampson threw 15 pitches total, seven for strikes.

Tyler Glasnow is scheduled to make his sixth start on Thursday afternoon.

]]>Harlan struck out seven batters in his last outing, but he faced just eight batters on Tuesday before leaving the game. He allowed three runs on three hits and two walks, with one strikeout. Harlan needed 38 pitches to get through the inning, throwing exactly half of them for strikes. It’s one of the higher single-inning pitch totals you will see from a Pirates minor league pitcher, as they usually don’t go more than 30 in an inning, except to finish off an at-bat in progress. Harlan now has a 9.82 ERA in five starts.

Angel Sanchez followed Harlan and had a much easier day. In his first inning of work, he retired the first two batters on grounders, before issuing a walk. That runner was quickly erased by Elias Diaz on an attempted stolen base. In the third inning, Sanchez retired the side in order by getting three fly balls, one to each outfielder. He threw a total of 28 pitches, 18 for strikes. Sanchez has thrown 8.2 innings in the AFL without allowing an earned run and he is holding batters to a .129 average.

After being a late scratch on Monday, Josh Bell was back in the lineup at first base on Tuesday. He had a six-pitch at-bat in the first inning that ended with a ground out to first base. In the third, Bell walked on four pitches. In the fifth inning, he drew his second straight walk. Bell made it 3-for-3 in the seventh inning, drawing his third base on balls. Between the three plate appearances, he saw 14 total pitches. In the bottom of the ninth, he grounded out to third base, finishing his day 0-for-2 with three walks. Bell had his best day on defense, handling all four grounders hit his way. He also had five other chances without an error.

Elias Diaz singled to right field to begin the second inning. He came up in the third with the bases loaded, two outs and his team down 3-0. He drew a walk to score Scottsdale’s first run. Diaz saw six pitches in each of his first two plate appearances. In the fifth inning, Diaz struck out swinging. In the seventh, he lined out to center field to end the inning. In the ninth, he drew a four-pitch walk, ending his day by going 1-for-3 with two walks. On defense, Diaz was 2-for-3 in throwing out runners attempting to steal.

]]>The rest of the week will have Thomas Harlan starting on Tuesday afternoon, followed by Tyler Glasnow on Thursday and Joely Rodriguez goes up against Wei-Chung Wang on Friday. Wang was take from the Pirates in the Rule V draft last December by the Milwaukee Brewers. Harlan struck out seven batters in his last start.

An interesting note on the struggles of Josh Bell at the plate in the AFL. Coming into Monday, he had a .613 OPS in 57 at-bats. It ranked him 50th in the league, which is obviously extremely low in a league that has six teams. In the same amount of at-bats, Bell’s OPS is three points ahead of Byron Buxton, who many consider the best prospect in baseball(he left the AFL recently due to a finger injury), so the small sample size of the league can be deceiving. Bell still hasn’t hit a home run in a very long time, 264 plate appearances if you count the regular season and the AFL. Even more if you count the Fall-Stars game from Saturday, the FSL All-Star game and the Futures Game, which all took place since his last homer. So the Buxton comparison gives you some hope, even if the homerless drought doesn’t.

Tyler Glasnow might have a surprising stat if you’ve been following the daily recaps. He had three straight shutout appearances, so it might be hard to believe that he has a 1.73 WHIP. Only 16 of the 74 qualified pitchers in the AFL have a worse WHIP. All four Pirates pitchers are in the bottom half in WHIP, with Adrian Sampson and Joely Rodriguez tied at 1.33 for the best mark. Glasnow and Rodriguez are tied for sixth in the league in strikeouts with 15 apiece.

Gamache’s tough day at the plate dropped his average to .191 on the season. He had just seven strikeouts coming into the game. He is 0-for-13 in his last three games.

]]>Bell came up to the plate in the second inning with a man on first(moved to second on a wild pitch) and two outs. He drew a six-pitch walk and then scored on a triple from the next batter. Two innings later, Bell drew his second six-pitch walk. His third time up was a little better than the previous two, he walked on seven pitches. Bell went up swinging his fourth plate appearance, fouling off a couple pitches before lining a single into right field. He came around to score his second run two batters later. He reached base all four plate appearances.

While he was the DH on Saturday, Bell has been working on his play at first base daily. Jim Callis did this piece on his progress and Bell’s struggles at the plate.

Elias Diaz came in on defense in the fifth inning and almost immediately had a passed ball that allowed a run to score. He came up to bat in the bottom of the inning and walked on six pitches, though he did swing and miss two off-speed pitches with the count 3-0 and 3-1. In the seventh, Diaz sent a 2-0 pitch up the middle for a solid line drive single.

Adrian Sampson started the top of the ninth inning. He got a long fly ball to center field on his second pitch, which ended up being his only batter faced.

Scottsdale plays their next game on Monday afternoon. They have ten games left on the schedule and they trail first place Salt River by 5.5 games in the standings.

]]>