Morning Report: The Aces Didn’t Show Up Friday Night

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ affiliates sent three staff aces to the mound on Friday night and none of them pitched like aces. That put two of those clubs in trouble, while Indianapolis bailed out Tyler Glasnow with four runs in the ninth. Steven Brault and Stephen Tarpley had poor outings, which is very surprising from both of them. Brault was probably due for a bad outing, but I don’t think anyone expected him to allow six earned runs in 4.2 innings. After all, he gave up just seven earned runs in his last ten starts combined. Tarpley pitched much like he did in his last start of the season, so wasn’t exactly on a roll going into the playoffs. He did have a 2.48 ERA this season, so you hoped for better results from your ace in a big spot.

Speaking of hoping for better results from your ace, Tyler Glasnow’s start on Friday night was hard to watch. He has a fastball/curve combo that can be devastating when he is on, but Friday was not one of those nights. He missed his spots a lot, getting a lot of help from impatient hitters. Just in general, he looked uncomfortable on the mound. We knew he wouldn’t be up this September no matter what he did, but if you watched his Friday night, you know he isn’t ready. That is especially true if you watched him ten days earlier when he was pulled after recording just one out in his worst pro start ever.

That brings me to some games that will seem innocent next year, but they will be important to see how he reacts. We have noted how he has trouble in big games, with last night providing another example. He got hit hard in the playoffs last year with Bradenton and the year before with West Virginia. So when the calendar turns to June next year, Glasnow will have a couple starts where it is in his head, that he is about to be called up to the majors. We all know that if he pitches like he can, he will be up in the majors around June 10th(usual super 2 cutoff). The Pirates won’t be calling him up next June though if we see the pitcher we have seen in the playoffs for three straight years. So the question is, can he treat them like normal games and pitch like he is capable of pitching? They will be interesting starts to watch. It’s a good test to see if he’s mentally ready to take the next step.

The good part is that he just turned 22, so it isn’t surprising to see a young kid have some nerves in big games. He’s going to have to overcome that though, because every game is big when you’re pitching for a team in a pennant race. I couldn’t imagine him on the mound in Pittsburgh right now with the body language we see from him when things go wrong in AAA. Major League hitters aren’t going to help him out like Scranton hitters did on Friday, so his command and composure are going to have to get a lot better. That makes me think we are going to have some growing pains in the majors before we see what he is capable of on a consistent basis.

We have been saying that we will see him next June, but what we will really see is how he handles next June, because that will be his next big test unless Indianapolis gets around to him again these playoffs. That’s a definite possibility even if they don’t play five games next series, as they would likely move Glasnow up to make another start five days from now instead of five games.

We talked yesterday about Yeudy Garcia and Stephen Tarpley looking like the best pair of starters for any team in the Pirates’ system. They haven’t lost back-to-back since mid-June. That’s good news for West Virginia, as they are in the deciding game of the best-of-three series. Morgantown is in the same spot now, win or go home. They also have a pretty good pitcher listed as their probable. Brandon Waddell was on the big stage back in June, pitching Virginia to the College World Series, where he started and won the final game. While he didn’t have a great pro debut, posting a 5.75 ERA in six starts, can you think of another starter for Morgantown that you’d rather have pitching in a deciding game? (Edited to add that Morgantown was rained out on Saturday, so the last game has been moved to Sunday evening)

Altoona is in a real tough spot, down 2-1 and needing to win the last two games on the road. Jason Creasy starts tonight for the fourth time against Bowie this year. He’s had two good starts, allowing three runs over 11 innings in those games. In the other, he allowed five runs over three innings. Bowie has hit well in the series, scoring 25 runs, and that’s with three really good starters going for Altoona. Creasy has a 5.30 ERA in his last ten starts, so along with the hot hitting from Bowie, that’s a bad combo.

Indianapolis won their series last night, so now they await the winner of the Norfolk/Columbus series. Indianapolis tied for the division lead with Columbus, but lost the tiebreaker, dropping the season series against the Clippers. That other series is tied 1-1 now. The Morning Report and Prospect Watch will both continue until the day the last playoff game is played. You can find last night’s Prospect Watch here.

Playoff Schedule

Indianapolis vs Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Best-of-five series. Indianapolis won the series 3-0

9/9: Indianapolis 7, Scranton/WB 3

9/10: Indianapolis 6, Scranton/WB 1

9/11: Indianapolis 4, Scranton/WB 2

Altoona vs Bowie. Best-of-five series. Altoona trails 2-1 in the series.

9/9: Altoona 8, Bowie 7

9/10: Bowie 7, Altoona 0

9/11: Bowie 11, Altoona 3

9/12: @Bowie 6:05

9/13: @Bowie 1:05 if necessary

West Virginia Power vs Hickory. Best-of-three series. The series is tied 1-1

9/9: West Virginia 4, Hickory 2

9/11: Hickory 6, West Virginia 3

9/12: @Hickory 7:00

Morgantown vs Williamsport. Best-of-three series. The series is tied 1-1

9/9: @Morgantown 7:05 postponed until 9/10

9/10: Morgantown 2, Williamsport 1

9/11: @Williamsport 3, Morgantown 1

9/12: @Williamsport 12:00 postponed until 9/13

9/13: @Williamsport 5:05

Pirates Game Graph

Source: FanGraphs

Playoff Push

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

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates won 6-3 over the Brewers on Friday night. Jeff Locke gets the start today, his fifth game against the Brewers. He has a 3.96 ERA in 25 innings against Milwaukee this year. Zach Davis will get the ball for the Brewers, making his third career start. He faced the Pirates on September 2nd and allowed four runs over 4.1  innings.

MLB: Pittsburgh (84-56) vs Brewers (62-79) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Jeff Locke (4.56 ERA, 54:113 BB/SO, 150.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (83-61) vs TBD
Probable starter:  TBD

AA: Altoona (74-68) @ Bowie (79-63) 6:05 PM
Probable starter: Jason Creasy (4.41 ERA, 52:71 BB/SO, 147.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (74-64)

Low-A: West Virginia (87-52, 50-20 second half) @ Hickory (81-57) 7:00 PM
Probable starter: Yeudy Garcia (2.10 ERA, 41:112 BB/SO, 124.1 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (42-34) @ Williamsport (46-30) 5:05 PM 9/13
Probable Starter: Brandon Waddell (5.75 ERA, 7:18 BB/SO, 20.1 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (29-36)

GCL: Pirates (28-31) (season recap)

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


Here are two defensive gems from Gorkys Hernandez in the same game. #1


Recent Transactions

9/10: A.J. Burnett activated from disabled list.

9/9: Zack Dodson promoted to Indianapolis.

9/9: Felipe Gonzalez and Hunter Morris promoted to Altoona. Robert Stock assigned to GCL Pirates.

9/7: Travis Ishikawa activated from disabled list.

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.

This Date in Pirates History

Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, starting with the most recent first. Franquelis Osoria pitched for the 2007-08 clubs. He had very little success with the Pirates, or even before in two years with the Dodgers. In 68 games for Pittsburgh, he had a 5.66 ERA in 89 innings. For the Dodgers, he had a 5.13 ERA in 38 appearances.

Mike Roesler pitched for the 1990 NL East champs. He made five relief appearances for the Pirates in the beginning of the season. That 1990 season was unique, as clubs were allowed to carry 27 players during the first three weeks due to the lockout, which shortened Spring Training. When the rosters were reduced, Roesler was sent down and never played in the majors again.

Trench Davis, 1985-86 center fielder. Pirates signed him as an undrafted free agent in 1980. He hit .133 in 17 games with the Pirates, getting into two mid-season games in 1985 and 15 games the following May.

George Freese, third baseman for the 1955 Pirates.  George’s teammate that season, who also played third base, was his brother Gene. George hit .257 in 51 games for the Pirates. His only other big league time was one game for the Tigers in 1953 and nine games for the Cubs in 1961.

On this date in 1883, the Pittsburgh Alleghenys allowed 27 runs in a loss to the Cincinnati Red Stockings(modern day Reds). That run total has only been topped once in franchise history, when the Alleghenys gave up 28 runs to the Boston Beaneaters(now the Braves) on August 28, 1887.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    September 12, 2015 11:39 pm

    Glasnow gives up 1 ER and that is considered a bad start? I would take those kind of bad starts every time. Did he struggle with control at times and did he labor at times? Yes, bottom-line he kept his team in the game so they could rally and win it late. There is no comparison between his start and results with those of Tarpley and Brault.

    There seems to be recent campaign to minimize Glasnow’s performances and to highlight the negative, as to justify him not being called up. The last time I checked, combined with this playoff start, Glasnow’s ERA is sub 2.00 in AAA. He still has some development to do, but we tolerate extremely flawed veteran pitchers – I don’t get the difference?

  • I’m not worried about Glasnow. He’ll get it. Cole is really ahead of the curve too. Guys like Jose Fernandez and Clayton Kershaw are an anomaly. If you look at most guys considered “Aces”, they had nowhere near the success Cole has had at such an early age. You don’t see a 2.54 ERA at 24 years old. Hopefully it comes all together for Glasnow next year but most pitchers really don’t peak until their late 20’s. It may take Glasnow a year or 2 but I have no doubts that he’s gonna be one hell of a pitcher.

  • Glasnow has great stuff but lacks control and command. If he does not improve in these areas he will be very hittable in Bigs. He needs to calm down and make his pitches. He has not shown that he is a big game pitcher in important games at this or lower levels of the minors. What is he going to do when he has to face major league hitters that are not going to swing at his pitchers out of the strike zone? I hope he improves but at this point, I don’t see a number one starter. Maybe he will make it as a relief pitcher? Sorry to be so down on him and he has time to improve but he seems to get rattled in big games, losses his concentration and starts hitting batters and walking them. That is a receipt for disaster.

    • Glasnow is just young and immature. To generalize about his situation (not knowing him specifically), in terms of sports psychology he doesn’t fully believe in himself yet. He knows what he can do, but doesn’t fully believe in what he will do. Your expectation become reality in the moment of performance. There is a subtle, but huge divide there which is only crossed by accumulating successful experience. I’m not really worried about him, he’ll get there, as long as the Pirates don’t rush him. Promoting him prematurely would be the worst thing the Pirates could do to him (think Pedro on the hitting side).

  • That game in ’83 would’ve been ‘hell’ on us current day fans…

  • I remember the Freese Bros well, unfortunately. 🙂

    • Gene Freese was my neighbors Dads cousin. I met him a couple times when he visited. I was always awestruck because he was a real life mob player and he visited our little Milltown .

  • Hey, Clay Kershaw pitched like crap in last year’s playoffs, so there’s hope?

    🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Kershaw pitched bad in 2009 as well, the last time the Dodgers were in the playoffs. I’m not going to put a Kershaw comp on Glasnow, but once he is a finished product, I could see him being a perennial Cy Young candidate. When he is on, he has no-hitter stuff. When he isn’t on, he can still get by if the hitters are impatient. I have a feeling his first big league season will have 2-3 starts where people question why he’s in the majors and plenty where he just gets by with his stuff. That will eventually change though. I will say that the first time he pitches in the playoffs for the Pirates(hopefully making the playoffs during his time happens a few times), I will not have any confidence in him going into the game.

      • I hope you are right, John.

        Cole was far from a finished product when we first brought him up.

        I give Glasnow half a season in 2016 until he is up, or a full season? It’s going to be interesting.

        • I wouldn’t mind seeing him spend the full season in AAA.

          • as long as it isn’t Locke who has his position in the rotation?

            🙂 🙂 🙂

            • I understand and share your frustration with Locke. But depending on how they respond to their surgeries the Pirtaes will have Taillon, Kingham and Cumpton to look at for 2H2016 callups. I’d rather see one of them move into Locke’s spot than Glasnow, even though Glasnow has the higher ceiling long term. I’d much rather see Glasnow in AAA for his age 22 season learning better command and how to control his adrenaline, keeping his expiration of contract control until his age 29 season, rather than bringing him up now to learn these things at the MLB level (think early Charlie Morton). A year of a fully mature Glasnow in 2022 is worth much more than a year of immature Glasnow in 2016.