Morning Report: Breaking Down Steven Brault’s Stretch of Strong Pitching

Below in the minor league daily write-up, I mentioned the streak that Steven Brault has been on recently, allowing six earned runs over his last seven starts. That streak started back on July 18th and I wanted to expand on it a little by looking at the rest of the pitchers in the organization over that same time frame.

Brault is fourth in innings pitched during that time, putting in 43.1 innings, though he is only 1.2 innings behind the leader. The top three are Stephen Tarpley, Frank Duncan and Chris Volstad.

Keeping in mind where he sits on the innings pitched list, there are 16 pitchers that have allowed more hits than the 31 given up by Brault.

With earned runs, you can find 57 pitchers that have allowed more than the six he’s surrendered.

For base on balls, he is tied for the 12th highest total. During his worst start over this seven-game stretch, he issued four walks, so that pushed him up the list a little, but it’s not bad. Just a side note with Duncan and Tarpley mentioned above. They have four walks each since July 18th, which is very impressive.

Brault is third in strikeouts with 42. He trails Tyler Glasnow with 56 and Tarpley with 49. So this is basically turning into how good Brault and Tarpley have been since July 18th.

Brault hasn’t allowed a home run over his last seven starts. He has actually only allowed four all season and nine over his three-year career. Taking it a little further, he’s never allowed a homer to a left-handed batter in his pro career, which covers 368 plate appearances against lefties.

He has a 1.25 ERA during this stretch, which ranks right behind Radhames Liz at 1.22 in 37 innings. If you include some long relievers, Dovydas Neverauskas has allowed one run(it came last night) in 20.2 innings. John Sever has given up two runs in 20.2 innings.

Brault has an 0.97 WHIP, which is real good, but it surprisingly only ranks 12th in the organization over that time frame.

The big thing with his upcoming starts, including tonight’s, is that Altoona is fighting for a playoff spot. There’s a little more pressure that goes along with these games. The team has 14 games left, played over a 14 day period, so Brault has three starts left. All three starts will likely be important towards the playoffs, as Altoona still has an outside chance at first place, but they also have a slim lead for the wild card spot.

I don’t expect him to have three strong starts left, but that’s only because you rarely see a run like the one he has been on for seven games. So saying that, it would be difficult to keep up the same pace over ten games. That means if he does have a bad start, I would base it more on the odds working against him, rather than saying he didn’t pitch well under pressure. Of course if he runs off three more outings similar to his current streak, then we are talking about a very special run, one which would cover more than 1/3 of the season.

Pirates Game Graph

Source: FanGraphs

Playoff Push

The Pirates trail by 3.5 games in the division to the Cardinals. They have a three game lead for the top wild card spot.

Indianapolis is 7-3 in their last ten games. They have a four game lead in the division.

Altoona is 6-4 in their last ten games. They are in second place, 4.5 games back of Bowie and they lead the wild card by two games.

Bradenton is 5-5 in their last ten games. They trail Palm Beach by three games in the standings.

West Virginia is 7-3 in their last ten games and they have a nine game lead in the division. Their magic number is six.

Morgantown is 7-3 in their last ten games. They are 1.5 games back in the wild card chase.

The Bristol Pirates are 5-5 in their last ten games. They are four games back in the division and 2.5 in the wild card.

The GCL Pirates have been eliminated from the postseason.

The DSL Pirates’ season is finished. They did not make the playoffs.

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates won 5-2 over the Marlins on Monday night. Charlie Morton will take the mound tonight, coming off 6.2 shutout innings against the Giants last week. His first start this year was against Miami back on May 25th when he allowed two runs over seven innings. The Marlins will go with Brad Hand, who has a 4.46 ERA in 68.2 innings. In his last outing, he gave up one earned run over six innings against the Phillies. He threw five shutout innings against the Pirates on May 27th.

In the minors, Steven Brault looks to continue his impressive run through Altoona. In his last seven starts combined, he has given up six earned runs over 43.1 innings. He has 114 strikeouts on the season in 133.1 innings. In his last start, Austin Coley allowed one run over seven innings. That matched his output during his start back on August 3rd. The DSL Pirates’ season is done. You can view the season recap here. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (75-48) @ Marlins (50-75) 7:10 PM
Probable starter: Charlie Morton (4.06 ERA, 30:71 BB/SO, 95.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (77-53) vs Louisville (60-70) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Brad Lincoln (3.40 ERA, 35:48 BB/SO, 53.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (68-60) vs Reading (73-54) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Steven Brault (2.51 ERA, 16:69 BB/SO, 68.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (67-60, 35-22 second half) @ Palm Beach (70-57) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Felipe Gonzalez (3.45 ERA, 25:66 BB/SO, 88.2 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (76-49, 39-17 second half) @ Augusta (61-63) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Austin Coley (3.99 ERA, 22:98 BB/SO, 128.2 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (32-30) vs Batavia (25-36) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

Rookie: Bristol (27-29) vs Kingsport (33-27) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

GCL: Pirates (27-27) vs  Blue Jays (35-18) 10:00 AM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates (30-42) (season recap)


Here is a video of Travis Snider’s home run from Sunday.

Recent Transactions

8/22: Jordy Mercer activated from disabled list. Travis Ishikawa placed on disabled list.

8/22: Josh Wall sent outright to Indianapolis.

8/22: Pirates release Jesus Ronco and Luis Brun

8/21: Josh Harrison activated from disabled list. Josh Wall designated for assignment.

8/20: Corey Hart assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

8/20: Travis Snider signed to minor league deal.

8/19: Josh Wall added to Pirates. Pedro Florimon designated for assignment.

8/18: Edwin Espinal placed on disabled list. Junior Sosa activated from Bradenton disabled list.

8/18: Adam Miller placed on disabled list. Jeremy Bleich activated from temporary inactive list.

8/16: Jose Salazar retired.

8/16: Pirates sign Frank Herrmann. Jeremy Bleich placed on temporary inactive list.

8/16: Rob Scahill sent to Indianapolis on rehab.

8/14: Edward Salcedo traded to Royals. Robert Stock assigned to Altoona.

8/13: Angel Sanchez placed on disabled list. Andy Vasquez sent to Altoona.

8/11: Rob Scahill sent to Altoona on rehab.

8/11: Wilfredo Boscan sent outright to Indianapolis. Jeff Inman placed on disabled list..

This Date in Pirates History

Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus two transactions of note. We start with the acquisition of Wilbur Cooper in 1912. He was 20 years old and pitching in the minors when the Pirates traded two players to be named later to get him. Cooper would stick around until 1924 and collect 202 wins with the Pirates, which is a franchise record. He led the NL with 22 wins and 327 innings pitched in 1921. From 1918 until 1922, he won at least 19 games every season. You can read more on Cooper here.

On this date in 1959, the Pirates traded away outfielder Ted Kluszewski for veteran outfielder Harry Simpson and a minor league third baseman named Bob Sagers. The Pirates got nine games out of Simpson and Sagers never made the majors. Kluszewski was once a feared power hitter, but a back injury really limited his power and the Pirates obviously didn’t miss him too much, since they won the World Series the next year.

The former players born on this date include:

Gary Mathews Jr, center fielder for the 2001 Pirates. He was a waiver pickup of the Pirates in August and became the regular center fielder the rest of the season.

Jim Suchecki, 1952 pitcher. He originally signed with the Red Sox at the age of 15 in 1943, but he didn’t make it to the majors until 1950. Suchecki made five relief appearances for Pirates before the lost him on waivers.

Tony Boeckel, third baseman in 1917 and 1919. Hit .259 in 109 games for the Pirates. Missed 1918 due to the war. Boeckel is unfortunately known as the first active Major League player to die in a car accident, which happened in 1923 at the age of thirty.

  • I’m amazed at the lack of statistical knowledge broadcasters have in general. Football is the same way. Sometimes they are way off. On the other hand, I love Greg Brown’s unbridled enthusiasm. I’ll watch highlights and here other team’s announcers call big plays and it’s like they are trying to sound cool. Greg Brown, on the other hand, completely loses his shit and falls into hyperbole and other crazy superlatives. I love it.

    • That’s a great description of how Greg Brown calls big plays. I’m always afraid for his heart when the Pirates walk a game off. (Although Steve Blass just shouting “Oh my God” over and over again might have been my favorite ever.)

      • Seriously though, does any team have a better home run call than “Clear the deck, cannonball comin”… I think not.

  • Is that right that Brad Lincoln will be starting? I think that switch back to the starting rotation is a good move as he seemed to totally lose his edge in the pen over the past few years. I wonder if this switch will reignite his capability?

    • That’s what it says, but it seems like it was out of necessity. They moved Liz to the bullpen to get used to the role before calling him up, plus all the injuries, means they have very few starting options

  • I’m not sure that our fearless broadcasting team knows anything about our minor league system. Greg Brown stated last night that we got “Joe Connor” for Bryan Morris. And Walk did not correct him…nor did anyone ‘in the truck’.

    So when Steve Blass says that Glasnow could be brought up, take it with a HUGE grain of salt.

    • Technically we did. I was pretty sure he said competitive balance pick because of Bryan Morris, but I could have misheard.

      • His name is Connor Joe, thats the point foo was making. If the crew cant get a name right, or be bothered to correct it, they might not be the most trusted authority on all things minor league.

    • I caught that too and hoped it was just a brain cramp. Sometimes the Brown/Walk interplay goes from amusing to irritating….particularly when they keep it up because they think it’s funny. Last night there were some differing opinions between the radio and TV teams about whether the Bucs were being thrown at intentionally by Miami and should retaliate.

  • I remember somebody named Rudy Owens who was lights out in the minors. Same type of pitcher.

    Now, Tarpley excites me. He could be special.

  • rodcobrakeith
    August 25, 2015 9:48 am

    Interesting that Brad Lincoln’s best value to the Bucs has been the acquisition of Travis Snider, who was flipped for Brault and Tarpley. With Lincoln and Snider back in the organization, that means drafting Lincoln has turned into four players. I’m not sure I’ve seen this before, but it has been manipulated wonderfully by Huntington. Now I just wonder when we sell Brault and Tarpley high for other help just to reacquire them in a year or tow later.