Today we recap the two All-Star games from Wednesday, Pan Am action and a look ahead at what’s coming up. Yesterday I mentioned that Dan Gamache was an odd choice for the Eastern League Home Run Derby, but apparently he didn’t get the memo. Gamache won the derby, hitting four home runs on nine swings. He has five home runs this year and 22 in his career. Obviously he has been holding back on Pirates’ fans. So how about that EL All-Star game on Wednesday night?
Well the game ended in a 4-4 tie and the world didn’t end, so good thing nothing important was riding on there being a winner in the game. Gamache drew two walks, though he did strikeout and make the only error of the game. He didn’t have the worst day for a Curve player. That honor went to Jason Creasy, who allowed three of the four runs scored against the West in his only inning of work. He pitched the second inning and put the West squad down 4-0 early.
Second base was manned by two Curve players the entire game, with Max Moroff starting and Adam Frazier replacing him on defense in the bottom of the fifth inning. Moroff had a single and a walk in three trips to the plate. The single came off Shane Carle, who was in the Pirates’ organization until an off-season trade this winter. Frazier went 0-for-2 with a strikeout.
Josh Bell played the entire game at first base and went 1-for-4 with a walk. He doubled in the sixth inning, but immediately got doubled off on a fly ball to left field. In the seventh, Bell tied the game with a bases loaded walk.
That wasn’t the only All-Star game played on Wednesday though. Indianapolis also sent three players to the AAA All-Star game. The good guys won and two Pirates helped out. Alen Hanson didn’t start, but he did collect a ninth inning single and scored the game winning run. He came into the game in the sixth inning and struck out in his only other at-bat.
Elias Diaz caught the first six innings and he went 0-for-2 at the plate. No one tested him on the base paths. Closer Blake Wood leads the International League with 21 saves, so he was a good choice to try to finish out the 4-3 victory. Wood picked up the save, but made it interesting with two walks before striking out the final batter of the game.
In the Pan Am games on Wednesday, Colombia lost for the fifth straight time. Harold Ramirez went 1-for-4 and hit a two-run homer. Tito Polo didn’t play. They obviously won’t make the playoff round with an 0-for-5 record, so after an off-day today, they will wrap up their play on Friday against the Dominican Republic. I would expect them to return to their teams by Monday.
It’s the busy season now for minor league games. Nine games on the schedule today and there will be plenty of teams to follow as the playoffs approach. The DSL team is the only one right now that doesn’t have a shot at the playoffs. West Virginia has a three-game lead in their division for the second half title and Bradenton is just one game back. The DSL Pirates have 32 games left on their schedule, the GCL club has 39 and the rest all have between 45-53 games remaining, as the minor league season runs through September 7th. There is also that team in Pittsburgh to follow, the one with a 41-20 record in their last 61 games, which puts them five games better than anyone else in baseball since May 7th.
The Pirates trail by 2.5 games in the division to the Cardinals. They have a 5.5 game lead for the top wild card spot.
Indianapolis is 3-7 in their last ten games. They have a two game lead in their division.
Altoona is 5-5 in their last ten games and they are two games behind first place with Bowie.
Bradenton and West Virginia did not win their first half title. Their second half records are included below in the schedule.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates are now on their All-Star break until Friday night, when they start a three-game series in Milwaukee. Charlie Morton will be on the mound Friday night for the Pirates. The Brewers will counter with Mike Fiers.
In the minors, all eight teams are in action, including a doubleheader for Bristol. No starter has been named yet for Altoona, but it is Tyler Glasnow’s turn in the rotation. He last pitched on July 10th and threw one-hit ball over six shutout innings. Clay Holmes will make his second start for Bradenton tonight and fifth start since returning from Tommy John surgery. He threw five shutout innings last time out, giving up two hits and two walks. He also threw five shutout innings in his last GCL start. Bristol has had a rain out, an off day and another rain out over the last three days so Billy Roth will try again to make his fourth start of the season. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.
MLB: Pittsburgh (53-35) @ Brewers (38-52) 8:10 PM 7/17
Probable starter: Charlie Morton (4.15 ERA, 16:30 BB/SO, 52.0 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (52-39) @ Toledo (40-51) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Chris Volstad (3.61 ERA, 29:54, 84.2 IP)
AA: Altoona (48-41) @ Richmond (45-43) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD
High-A: Bradenton (44-46, 12-8 second half) @vs Lakeland (39-49) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Clay Holmes (0.00 ERA, 2:3 BB/SO, 5.0 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (51-38, 14-6 second half) vs Hagerstown (45-43) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Colten Brewer (5.23 ERA, 18:59 BB/SO, 62.0 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (10-14) vs State College (12-12) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD
Rookie: Bristol (7-11) vs Bluefield (7-13) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Billy Roth (6.23 ERA, 6:15 BB/SO, 13.0 IP) and TBD
GCL: Pirates (13-8) vs Yankees2 (11-8) 12:00 PM (season preview)
DSL: Pirates (16-24) vs Red Sox2 (28-12) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here is a video of Willy Garcia hitting a two-run single on Sunday. Garcia has struggled with the promotion to AAA, hitting .221/.241/.286 in 21 games, with 22 strikeouts.
7/16: Hunter Morris placed on Indianapolis disabled list. Jose Tabata placed on temporary inactive list.
7/15: Pirates sign Ryan Nagle. Assigned to Morgantown.
7/15: Pirates sign Brandon Waddell and James Marvel. Waddell assigned to Morgantown.
7/15: Luis Paula sent to Morgantown.
7/13: Wilfredo Boscan sent to Indianapolis.
7/13: Seth McGarry assigned to Morgantown.
7/13: Omar Basulto assigned to GCL. Mike Wallace transferred from GCL to Bristol.
7/12: Wilfredo Boscan recalled. Steve Lombardozzi optioned to Indianapolis.
7/10: Pirates sign Ike Schlabach and assign him to GCL.
7/10: Pirates sign Tate Scioneaux and assign him to Morgantown.
7/10: Jesus Paredes promoted to Morgantown. Oderman Rocha sent to GCL.
7/9: Pirates sign Sherton Apostel.
7/9: Mike Wallace sent from Bristol to GCL.
7/7: Clay Holmes added to Bradenton roster. Harold Ramirez placed on temporary inactive list.
7/7: Trace Tam Sing added to West Virginia roster. Tito Polo placed on temporary inactive list.
7/6: Josh Harrison placed on disabled list. Travis Ishikawa added to active roster.
7/6: Justin Seller assigned to GCL on rehab.
7/5: Pirates claim Travis Ishikawa on waivers.
7/4: Pirates sign five international players.
7/3: Pirates sign Kevin Sanchez and Samuel Inoa.
7/3: Pirates trade Clayton Richard to Chicago Cubs for cash considerations.
7/2: Chris Volstad sent outright to Indianapolis.
7/2: Pirates sign Larry Alcime Jr and Kyle Simmons.
This Date in Pirates History
One former Pittsburgh Pirates player born on this date, and one trade of note that is tied into that player. On this date in 1918, the Pirates traded third baseman Gus Getz to Indianapolis, which was a minor league team at the time not affiliated with the Pirates. In exchange, they picked up shortstop Roy Ellam. He had played ten games for the 1909 Reds, then spent the next nine seasons in the minor leagues before this trade. Ellam replaced Howdy Caton at shortstop, who happens to be the player born on this date. Caton played for the Pirates from 1917 until 1920 and lost his shortstop job again to someone a little bit better than Ellam. At the end of the 1920 season, Caton took the bench, as the Pirates tried out rookie Pie Traynor at shortstop and he seemed to work out well.
I planned on doing an All-Star game section for the history, but surprisingly July 16th isn’t a popular date for the game to be played. It’s only happened twice and the last time was in 2013, so that hardly qualifies as history. The first time they played the All-Star game on July 16th was 1985 and Tony Pena was the only representative of the Pirates, and he didn’t start. Pena replaced Ozzie Virgil in the bottom of the seventh inning on defense. In his only at-bat, he struck out against Dan Petry. The NL won the game by a 6-1 score.