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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An Early Look at Alen Hanson’s Defense

The biggest question surrounding Alen Hanson’s future is whether he can stick at shortstop for the long-term. He has all of the tools to be a shortstop in the majors, but is still a little raw at the position. There are questions about his arm strength, although it seems good enough to stay on the left side of the infield. He also has issues with his glove work, which led to a lot of errors last year, and led to some instruction...

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Martin’s Role Could Be A Key to Success

When the Pittsburgh Pirates signed Russell Martin after the 2012 season it was not for his bat — and with good reason. Martin, who turned 30 in February, owns a career batting average of .258 and an OPS of .748 — not terrible but certainly not great. What has been terrible, however, has been Martin’s offensive production. He is sitting on one hit this season. The fact that Martin isn’t lighting it up at the...

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The Book on Justin Wilson

Last night Justin Wilson came on in relief and pitched three perfect innings, striking out two. Wilson’s stuff looked great, with a fastball that was touching 97, and consistently in the mid-90s. He also was flashing a great curveball with a big break that finished consistently down in the zone. Wilson has only pitched nine innings in his major league career, spread out between last September and the start of this season. That...

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Can James McDonald Be More Like the First Half Pitcher From 2012?

Last night James McDonald got off to a great start for the 2013 season. The right-hander pitched seven innings, giving up one run on two hits, with two walks and four strikeouts. McDonald didn’t always look as good as the stat line. In the early innings he looked a bit shaky, but the Cubs didn’t capitalize on anything. Soon enough he settled down, taking away any opportunity for Chicago. Probably one of the biggest...

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