For a season preview of the Pittsburgh Pirates two Dominican Summer League teams, check out our article here. Throughout the year, we will provide the recaps of both teams, as well as highlight one player each day.
Result: Rockies 8, Pirates 2
Starting Pitcher: Ramon Rodriguez, RHP (2.57) – 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 0 HR
Top Hitter: Julio de la Cruz, DH (.222) – 1-for-3, HR, RBI
Other Notable Performers:
Arquimedes Lorenzo, RHP (6.06) – 2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 HR
Ramses Pena, 1B (.333) – 1-for-3
Johan De Jesus, SS (.182) – 0-for-4
Game Notes: The Pirates lost to the Rockies today, snapping a four game winning streak. They are now 16-13 on the season, trailing the first place Rangers by 5.5 games. The Pirates and Rangers will meet up on Saturday, then play again on Monday after an off day. The Pirates had a 2-0 through five innings, but the Rockies blew the game open with three runs in the sixth, three in the seventh and two more in the eighth. Starting pitcher Ramon Rodriguez gave up four baserunners over his five inning, two hits and two hit batters. Reliever Brayan Almonte came in and walked three straight batters. Those three runs scored when Arquimedes Lorenzo came in to try to get out of the jam. Lorenzo then allowed three unearned runs in the seventh. Oscar Calderin allowed the last two runs in his only inning of work. Rodriguez has now given up one earned run or less in five of his six starts. Top prospect Julio de la Cruz, hit his first career homer. After a slow start to the season, he is hitting .310 in his last eight games, with nine RBI’s.
Result: Orioles2 5, Pirates 2
Starting Pitcher: Jose Batista, LHP (4.12) – 4.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 0 HR
Top Hitter: Henrry Rosario, RF (.167) – 1-for-3, RBI, BB, SB
Other Notable Performers:
Edgar Figueroa, CF (.292) – 2-for-5
Michael de la Cruz, CF (.309) – DNP
Jhoan Herrera, 3B (.255) – 2-for-5
Carlos Munoz, 1B (.409) – 1-for-5
Francis Rodriguez, RHP (0-3, 6.35) – 3.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 HR
Yoel Gonzalez, C (.145) – 1-for-4, RBI
Game Notes: The Pirates snapped a mini three game win streak with a 5-2 loss to the Orioles2 today. Their record now stands at 15-13, tied for second place, four games out. The Pirates had a 2-1 lead going into the sixth inning, before allowing one run in each of the last four innings. Edgar Figueroa is batting .395 over his last nine games, with 17 hits. Carlos Munoz saw his average drop 11 points today, but he still maintains the league lead in average, OBP and OPS. Top prospect Michael de la Cruz injured his shoulder during the game on Tuesday and hasn’t played since. No word on how long he will be out. Infielder Jose Salazar is also injured and hasn’t played since June 14th.
Player Of The Day
As mentioned above, Ramon Rodriguez threw five shutout innings on Friday and he’s had a pretty good season, especially recently. So today, we focus on Rodriguez and how he got to this point. When the Pirates draft young pitchers, there seems to be a high amount of 6’4″ right-handers, possibly by coincidence, but maybe by preference. Rodriguez fits that mold exactly. In the Dominican, the standard seems to be a little shorter. Between the two Pirates affiliates, they have ten 6’2″ right-handed pitchers.
Rodriguez is 20-years-old and has been around for three seasons now. In 2011, he had an extremely impressive debut. In four starts and three relief appearances, he threw 22.1 innings, striking out 22 hitters and holding batters to a .195 BAA. He returned to the DSL last year and made ten starts, with drastically different results. Rodriguez had a 5.10 ERA and .314 BAA in 42.1 innings, striking out 33 batters. This season, he opened up with two poor starts, though one his defense really let him down. In eight innings, he allowed 14 hits and nine runs. In his next four starts combined, he has given up three earned runs over 20 innings. Rodriguez hasn’t walked a batter in his last five games, striking out 15 over that time.
He seems to be getting better each start at this point, a pace that will be hard to top after throwing five shutout innings, but the tall right-hander might be breaking out at this point. For now, he is a player to keep an eye on. As of right now, his next start is scheduled for next Thursday.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.