Tyler Glasnow makes his final regular season start tonight and just like his start this Tuesday, it’s another game that is big for the playoff race. Indianapolis has already made the playoffs, but they are fighting for the top spot(see below). For Glasnow, it gives him a chance to redeem himself after his dreadful outing last week in which he walked five batters and allowed a double off the wall, while recording just one out. He was missing the strike zone bad and even got a couple generous calls from the umpire, which only ended up increasing his pitch count because he still walked the batters.
Before his last start, I talked about the problems that Glasnow has had late in the season. His two playoff starts the last two years are both among his worst career outings. His last outing last year during the regular season wasn’t that good either. Then we have Tuesday’s disaster. If he can have a strong outing tonight, then that could help ease some of these late-season, pressure situation concerns that seem to be popping up. He has a lot of experience with playoffs and runs for the postseason for such a young player, making the playoffs for the fourth year in a row. It would be nice if the organization’s top pitching prospect could look like a top prospect in big games, because there will hopefully be plenty of big games during his time in Pittsburgh.
Adam Frazier has two games left to hold a five point lead in the Eastern League batting race. If he avoids going 0-for-6 he will win, and just one hit likely seals it. He is hitting .250 in his last ten games, so he is making it more interesting than it should be. The Prospect Watch from last night has the scenario laid out for Harold Ramirez winning the FSL batting title. He basically needs a real good day today, but it’s possible.
Speaking of Ramirez, I got word on Saturday that he would play winter ball in Mexico for Mazatlan this season. Two of his teammates this off-season will be Luis Heredia and Carlos Munoz. For those that have been following along, those are the three players we have talked the most about having conditioning issues this year and they’re all going to be together in winter ball. Ramirez at least had other issues, suffering a couple injuries in the off-season and dealing with a skin issue in Spring Training, but the other two were conditioning issues only. You would think you wouldn’t want them all together(bad habits?) but it could be that they want to make sure they are staying on top of their conditioning and putting them all together is the easiest way to do. Either way, it’s good that they will all be playing over the winter.
As for Ramirez, he makes the jump from Colombia to a more advanced league. The level of play in Colombia is equal to A-ball, probably closer to High-A. The level of play in Mexico is a lot closer to AAA, with plenty of veterans and players with Major League experience. The league goes heavy on breaking balls, so it’s a good place for a younger player like Ramirez to see more advanced pitching. The pitchers will definitely be attacking hitters different than the fastball-first approach of the lower levels. The Mazatlan team will be one of the more interesting teams to watch this off-season, and we could see the Pirates send more players there by the time the league starts in mid-October.
There are two days left in the minor league regular season, with Bradenton playing their last game this morning and the other four teams finishing up on Monday afternoon. Still two teams fighting for playoff spots, so we might go down to the last day before we know if Altoona or Morgantown will be in the playoffs. Indianapolis will make it, but they don’t know if they will win the division or get the wild card. They are tied with Columbus for first place and the Clippers hold the tiebreaker. The postseason starts on Tuesday for some leagues and Wednesday for others.
Pirates Game Graph
The Pirates trail by 6.5 games in the division to the Cardinals. They have a three game lead for the top wild card spot.
Indianapolis has clinched a playoff spot.
Altoona is 4-6 in their last ten games. They lead the wild card by two games over two teams, with two games left.
Bradenton was eliminated from the playoffs.
West Virginia has clinched a playoff spot.
Morgantown is 6-4 in their last ten games. They are tied for first in the wild card chase with two games left in the season. Two teams behind the two leaders are still in the chase.
The Bristol Pirates’ season is finished. They did not make the playoffs.
The GCL Pirates’ season is finished. They did not make the playoffs.
The DSL Pirates’ season is finished. They did not make the playoffs.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 4-1 to the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon. They now send Gerrit Cole to the mound tonight. In his last start, which was against the Brewers, he allowed five runs over four innings. He faced the Cardinals on August 12th and gave up four runs over 5.1 innings. John Lackey starts for St Louis tonight. He has a 2.87 ERA in 178.2 innings. He has given up one run in each of his last two starts.
In the minors, Yeudy Garcia gets his last start and it’s a big one for him. He has a 2.02 ERA, which is the best in the SAL. He only has an 11 point lead on the second place pitcher and that player is done for the season, so the title is his to lose/win. Garcia is sixth in the league in strikeouts, 14 behind the leader. Frank Duncan is tied for fourth in the FSL with 105 strikeouts. Jason Creasy makes his last start in what has been a strange season. Last year, he allowed 22 walks in 148.2 innings, giving him the lowest walk rate among starters. This year, he has issued 50 free passes, two away from the worst in the system, so he could end up with the most by the time today is done. Bradenton finishes their season this morning. Bristol, DSL and GCL Pirates are done. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.
MLB: Pittsburgh (80-54) @ St Louis (87-48) 8:05 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (2.64 ERA, 39:168 BB/SO, 173.2 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (82-60) @ Louisville (63-79) 6:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Glasnow (2.41 ERA, 22:40 BB/SO, 33.2 IP)
AA: Altoona (73-67) @ Binghamton (76-63) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Jason Creasy (4.53 ERA, 50:69 BB/SO, 141.0 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (73-64, 40-26 second half) @ St Lucie (68-69) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Probable starter: Frank Duncan (4.38 ER, 18:105 BB/SO, 146.0 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (85-52, 48-20 second half) @Kannapolis (64-72) 5:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Yeudy Garcia (2.02 ERA, 39:108 BB/SO, 120.1 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (40-34) @ Mahoning Valley (31-42) 4:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD
Rookie: Bristol (29-36)
GCL: Pirates (28-31) (season recap)
DSL: Pirates (30-42) (season recap)
Here is video of Stetson Allie’s 17th homer of the season, which leads all Pirates’ minor league players. If he ends up with 17 homers, it will be the lowest total for the Pirates’ minor league leader since 1991.
9/5: Travis Ishikawa assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
9/3: Hunter Morris assigned to GCL Pirates
9/2: Austin Meadows, Tyler Eppler and Montana DuRapau sent to Altoona. Matt Benedict and Mel Rojas Jr sent to Indianapolis
9/2: Oderman Rocha assigned to Bradenton
9/2: Pedro Florimon added to 40-man roster. Deolis Guerra placed on 60-day DL.
9/1: Luis Escobar promoted to Morgantown
9/1: Casey Sadler placed on 60-day DL. Elias Diaz, Bobby LaFromboise, Jaff Decker recalled
9/1: Rob Scahill activated from DL. Travis Snider and Radhames Liz added to 40-man roster
8/31: Wilkin Castillo added to Indianapolis roster. John Bowker and Adam Miller activated from disabled list.
8/29: Alen Hanson activated from Temporary Inactive List. Wilkin Castillo assigned to GCL.
8/28: Carlos Munoz promoted to Morgantown.
8/28: Edwin Espinal activated from Bradenton disabled list. Clay Holmes placed on disabled list.
8/28: Kelson Brown placed on disabled list.
8/26: Stephan Meyer and Tanner Anderson promoted to Morgantown.
8/26: Cristian Mota promoted to Bristol.
8/25: Ke’Bryan Hayes promoted to Morgantown. Raul Siri promoted to Bristol.
8/25: Kevin Kramer promoted to West Virginia. Jordan Luplow placed on disabled list.
8/25: John Bowker placed on disabled list. Kelson Brown activated from disabled list.
8/25: Pedro Florimon sent outright to Indianapolis.
8/25: Alen Hanson placed on temporary inactive list.
This Date in Pirates History
Nine former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including a player that lost his job to one Hall of Famer, then replaced another at a different position.
Derrek Lee, first baseman for the 2011 Pirates. He was a late-season acquisition, who hit .337 with seven homers in 28 games before getting hurt.
Frank Brooks, 2004 pitcher acquired from Phillies for closer Mike Williams. Made one unsuccessful start, then posted a 2.76 ERA in 16.1 innings of relief.
Pat Meares, infielder for 1999-2001 Pirates. Signed a four-year deal worth $15M with Pirates and ended up putting in just one full season due to injuries.
Mike York, 1990 pitcher. Threw seven shutout innings in his pro debut as a spot starter. Made just three relief appearances for the Pirates after that.
Jack Phillips, 1949-52 first baseman. With the Pirates for four seasons, but only played 158 games. Was in the organization in the minors until the end of the 1954 season.
Johnny Lanning, 1940-43, 45-46 pitcher. Won 11 games during the 1941 season and finished 33-29, 3.44 in 530.2 innings with Pirates.
Vince DiMaggio, center fielder for the Pirates from 1940 until 1944. Two-time All-Star for Pittsburgh, DiMaggio was strong defensively with a big swing that occasionally brought homers, but resulted in a lot of strikeouts. Six times he led the league in strikeouts. Pirates traded Johnny Rizzo to the Reds to get him. At the time, Rizzo held the Pirates’ record for homers in a season(23 in 1938).
Tommy Thevenow, 1931-35, 38 infielder. He lost his shortstop job in 1932 to Arky Vaughan, then replaced Pie Traynor at third base in 1935. Hit just two homers in his 15-year career and they were hit five days apart, both inside-the-park homers.
Bill Gleason, 1916-17 second baseman. Played over 2000 minor league games and collected over 2000 hits. Hit .159 in 14 games over his two seasons in Pittsburgh.