Pirates Notebook: Two-Out Hits Hurt Bedard

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After starting the first two months of the season off well, Erik Bedard has struggled in the month of June. Over five starts in each of April and May, Bedard posted a 2.48 and 3.91 ERA, respectively. However, after giving up four runs in the Pirates 5-4 loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday, Bedard has sported a 6.58 ERA over 26.0 innings in June.

The left-hander entered game action just five strikeouts shy of 1,000 in his career. The lefty would have been one of just 13 active southpaws with at least 1,000 career strikeouts. Bedard, however, only struck out two Phillies.

Bedard allowed a run in each of his first three innings before settling down over his final three. All the damage off Bedard came with two outs.

Bedard retired his first two batters to start the bottom of the first, then Hunter Pence ripped a triple off the scoreboard in right-center field. Carlos Ruiz came through by hitting a grounder up the left side to plate the first run. A third straight hit from Shane Victorino followed, but Bedard was able to escape the inning with a ground out.

The two-out hits continued to hurt Bedard in the second frame. Placido Polanco connected for one up to left side to score Mike Fontenot, who hit a single in the frame.

In the third inning, for the third straight inning, Bedard allowed the Phillies to put a run on the board with two outs. Ty Wigginton took a 3-2 pitch to deep left field for a two-run homer in the third inning.

After that Bedard settled in. He retired nine of his final 11 batters. The only two base runners came off a single and a walk over the final three innings. Overall, Bedard allowed four runs on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts. His ERA on the season sits at 4.27.

The Pirates are just 5-20 at Citizens Bank Park over their last 25 while averaging just 3.4 runs and posting a staff 5.35 ERA.   With the 5-4 loss, they drop three straight and fall to 38-35 on the season.


McKenry Making Most of Starts With Barajas Injured

With the Bucs primary catcher Rod Barajas currently day-to-day with a bone bruise, Michael McKenry is making the most of his starts. McKenry pinch-hit for Barajas in the top of the second inning in Monday’s loss to Philly and caught the final seven innings while recording his first two hit game since August 25, 2011 at St. Louis. McKenry singled in his first at-bat off Joe Blanton, and also picked up a base knock to leadoff the bottom of the ninth.

On Tuesday, McKenry drove in the tying run in the second inning with a sac fly to left field, on his way to going 3-for-3 on the night with a double and a solo-homer.

The Pirates selected the contract of Eric Fryer from Triple-A Indy prior to the game to serve as the club’s emergency catcher while Barajas recovers the next few days. Barajas is not expected to go on the disabled list.


Sutton Makes Good First Impression

Utility man Drew Sutton made a good first impression with the Pirates on Tuesday night. The veteran ripped a RBI double off the Phillies Vance Worley in a pinch-hit at-bat in the seventh inning in his Pirates debut.

Sutton was reclaimed off waivers from Tampa Bay on Sunday. He was added to the Pirates active roster this afternoon after the club optioned left-handed pitcher Doug Slaten to Triple-A.

Sutton hit .271 with four doubles and six RBI in 18 games with the Rays before being designated for assignment on Friday.


McCutchen Moves up Among Outfielders in All-Star Votes

Center fielder Andrew McCutchen went from 1,151,403 votes to 1,685,403 votes from the past week (June 19-24) adding a total of 534,000 votes during that span. He jumped three spots in the voting among outfielders as he was 10th on the 19th and is currently No. 7. Voting for sending McCutchen to the All-Star game ends at Midnight on Thursday.

McCutchen definitely has numbers this season worthy of it.  McCutchen entered game action ranked fifth in the league with a .339 batting average and sixth with 147 total bases. In addition to leading all N.L. center fielders in home runs (13) and RBI (46), McCutchen ranks fifth among National League hitters in slugging percentage (.572) and sixth in on-base percentage (.396).

Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle, who managed the National League All-Star game in 2008, talked about the process of what goes into selecting the right players after the voting is over.

“I don’t know what goes into Tony [LaRussa’s] process, I just can tell you what I did,” Hurdle said. “Six weeks out, I had meetings with my Major League staff. Just had certain guys covering certain areas so they were keeping their finger on the pulse of what was going on because you can get overwhelmed with information. I talked to about three or four managers before I even came up with my game plan, how they prepare.”

“Obviously with the home field advantage, this game has taken on significant meaning so I wanted to make sure we were prepared. Then, when I knew of the coaches we were going to have, I put them in charge of specific responsibilities, asking their input to go ahead and throw in on the pitching pool. I kept just acquiring information and templates and also made a couple calls to some mentors I had within the game. That’s how I went about it. I didn’t try and play ‘you can only grab one pitcher from one team’. If the numbers were the numbers…I took it about as far as I could take it to make the best decisions that we could make that we could try and put the best team together that would win the game.”

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