Pirates Pregame: McDonald Still Searching for Consistency

James McDonald makes his third start of the 2013 season tonight with the St. Louis Cardinals visiting PNC Park, and one has to wonder which McDonald will be on the mound tonight for the Pirates. Will it be the James McDonald that was perhaps the best pitcher on the Pittsburgh staff during the first half of 2012? Or will it be the James McDonald that went through a full-on meltdown in the second half of 2012? So far in 2013 McDonald...

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Analysis: Teams Should Shift Their Infield More Against Garrett Jones

The Pirates did not need much help to hit into outs over the first week of the season, they were doing a good job all by themselves. Cubs manager Dale Sveum decided to make life a little more difficult for one of the Bucs’ best hitters, Garrett Jones. On Opening Day, Sveum shifted his infield to have three of his infielders on the right side. Jones hit into the shift in his first three at-bats, only reaching on a first-inning...

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Pirates Pregame: Irwin’s Debut, Inge Update, Phillips Returns for Reds

Phil Irwin will make his major league debut today for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the club announced this morning. Irwin won 29 games in five seasons of minor league competition, and while wins and losses are not necessarily a good barometer for the developmental process in the minors, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Irwin’s presence made his teammates better which translated to success on the field. “There comes a point in...

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The Book on Phil Irwin

Phil Irwin is set to make his major league debut today, getting the spot start in place of Wandy Rodriguez. Irwin hasn’t been talked about as much as top guys like Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon, mostly because he was a 21st round pick and has kind of flown under the radar in the minors. His numbers last year were excellent, but were over-shadowed by Gerrit Cole, who put up almost identical numbers at the same levels. Irwin has...

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Pirates Pregame: Lineups, Pitchers and Beanballs (oh my)

Just a few quick things before we get started at PNC Park (since I planned poorly for traffic and arrived later than I would have liked): First, tonight’s lineups – Cincinnati (5-4, tied for 1st National League Central) 1. Choo cf 2. Heisey lf 3. Votto 1b 4. Phillips 2b 5. Bruce rf 6. Hannahan 3b 7. Cozart ss 8. Mesoraco c 9. Leake p Pittsburgh (3-6, tied for 3rd National League Central) 1. Marte lf 2. Walker 2b 3....

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The Tricky Rules Surrounding the Morris and Leroux Transactions

Earlier today the Pirates called up Bryan Morris and designated Chris Leroux for assignment. It seems like a simple process for each player. Usually when a player is DFAd, he is placed on waivers and outrighted to Triple-A. With Morris, he had been optioned to start the year, and was just recalled. But there are some stipulations surrounding each player that make these transactions a little different than the norm. First there’s...

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