On Friday night in the seventh inning, Indianapolis trailed by two runs, with a man on and Austin Meadows at the plate. He connected on his third homer since joining the team, and his ninth home run of the season. That put him one home run away from an impressive accomplishment, with 17 games left in the season.
Meadows has 24 doubles, 11 triples and 13 stolen bases to go along with those nine homers. If he reaches double figures in each category, he will be the fifth player from the Pirates to reach those totals in the last 11 seasons. Only one player has reached those numbers twice over that time, Alen Hanson, who accomplished it in 2012 and 2014. The other players to reach those marks are Keon Broxton last year, Starling Marte in 2012, and Alex Presley in 2010. No one reached those numbers in the four years before Presley.
The more impressive part, assuming Meadows hits one more homer over the last 17 games, is that he will do it in 89 games or less (he has played 72 now). Hanson played 118 and 124 in his two years. Broxton played 133 games last year. Marte was the lowest with 100 games, while Presley played 136 games.
If you think about it, 72 games is exactly half a season in the upper level of the minors. No one ever plays every game, so it’s hard to say he would be on pace for 88 extra-base hits, but that’s how the numbers would play out over a full season. To put that into perspective, Jordan Luplow led all Pirates with 51 extra-base hits last season. That’s a total no one has reached yet this season with less than three weeks left.
**If you missed the Bristol recap from last night, I’ll mention the crazy thing that happened in the seventh inning. Already four pitchers into their night, Bristol brought out Juan Diaz to pitch the inning and he allowed one run. That was his first appearance this season. If you don’t know who Juan Diaz is, I won’t blame you that much. He was a non-roster invitee to big league camp and he played nine games, going 5-for-13 at the plate. He played in the Major Leagues in 2012 and has never played anything except the four infield positions in his 11 years of pro ball…until last night.
Diaz has spent the season with Indianapolis, though he has literally just been with the team. If you blinked, you missed that he was active for five days in May and never got a chance to play. So they sent him down to Bristol yesterday, where he is getting into shape, for what I am assuming will be the chance to play for Indianapolis during the last week of the season. They will likely lose multiple position players on September 1st (most of them will be benched on August 31st) and they will be working with a skeleton crew for the final few games, with the season ending September 5th.
Usually I would say that some players from Altoona will just be called up, but they are likely going to the playoffs, so it looks like Diaz will get a chance to play. I’m assuming when he signed with the Pirates over the off-season, he didn’t think his first game of the season would be as a relief pitcher for a rookie level team.
One other note and it’s the odd mix-up on MiLB. They posted that Elias Diaz was assigned to Bristol instead of Juan. As of late last night, the boxscore still says that Elias Diaz not only caught for Indianapolis, he also pitched for Bristol. When the transaction was originally listed on Thursday morning, I inquired about it and was told Juan Diaz was there working out with the team and would play, so I wasn’t fooled by the MiLB mix-up, though I did confirm afterwards that it was actually Juan Diaz who pitched the seventh.
**Keep in mind when you look at the Playoff Push section that each of the top five affiliates have about 16-17 games left, while Bristol and the GCL both end on September 1st. We will likely see some of these teams eliminated in a few days, but everyone is safe today.
The Pirates trail the second wild card spot by two games.
Indianapolis is in second place in their division, trailing by nine games. They trail by 12 games for the lone wild card spot.
Altoona leads their division by four games. The top two teams in the division go to the playoffs, with the first place team getting the home field advantage in the first round.
Bradenton won the first half title. They have home field advantage in the playoffs.
West Virginia is tied for fourth place in their division, trailing first by four games.
Morgantown is tied for fourth place in their division, trailing first place by 12 games. They are 7.5 games back for the lone wild card spot.
Bristol is in fourth place, trailing by 9.5 games. The top two teams in each division go to the playoffs.
The GCL Pirates are 2.5 games back in their division. This is the only league where you have to win your division to make the playoffs.
The DSL Pirates have been eliminated from the playoffs. Their season ends August 27th.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 6-5 to the Marlins on Friday night. Chad Kuhl will get the ball tonight for his seventh Major League start. He has allowed two runs over six innings in each of his last two starts. Prior to that, he threw six shutout innings against the Nationals, allowing one hit. The Marlins will counter with David Phelps, who has a 2.48 ERA in 69 innings, with 86 strikeouts and a 1.14 WHIP. Phelps has made just three starts this season, to go along with 50 relief appearances. In those three starts, he has a 1.84 ERA in 14.2 innings.
In the minors, Steven Brault gets the start for Indianapolis, coming off a game in which he allowed one run over seven innings. In his prior two starts, he allowed a total of nine runs over 7.2 innings. Bradenton had their game postponed due to rain yesterday, so Stephen Tarpley will make his start today. He has a 6.35 ERA in 17 innings this month. Bristol has a noon start time with Matt Eckelman scheduled to pitch.
MLB: Pittsburgh (62-57) vs Marlins (63-59) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Chad Kuhl (3.73 ERA, 9:22 BB/SO, 31.1 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (64-63) @ Louisville (61-66) 6:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Steven Brault (3.05 ERA, 31:74 BB/SO, 65.0 IP)
AA: Altoona (68-56) @ New Hampshire (60-65) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: John Kuchno (3.94 ERA, 7:13 BB/SO, 16.0 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (63-59) @ Charlotte (61-60) 4:35 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: Stephen Tarpley (4.60 ERA, 35:81 BB/SO, 88.0 IP) and Buddy Borden (7.82 ERA, 20:22 BB/SO, 38.0 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (62-61) @ Kannapolis (53-71) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Dario Agrazal (4.57 ERA, 15:72 BB/SO, 124.0 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (27-32) @ Batavia (15-42) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Stephan Meyer (4.81 ERA, 19:35 BB/SO, 58.0 IP)
Rookie: Bristol (22-32) vs Johnson City (32-23) 12:00 PM (season preview)
GCL: Pirates (20-27) vs Blue Jays (35-12) 10:00 AM (season preview)
DSL: Pirates (26-39) vs Cubs1 (25-40) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here is the eighth home run of the season from Mitchell Tolman. He didn’t hit any last year in 63 games with Morgantown.
8/20: Stephen Alemais promoted to West Virginia. Alfredo Reyes placed on disabled list.
8/18: Pirates release Josh Outman.
8/18: Juan Diaz assigned to Bristol.
8/18: Jeremias Portorreal and Gabriel Brito promoted to GCL Pirates.
8/17: Josh Smith assigned to Indianapolis.
8/15: Yeudy Garcia and Chase Simpson placed on disabled list.
8/15: Hector Garcia assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.
8/15: Nick Kingham and Justin Topa assigned to Bradenton.
8/14: Tyler Glasnow assigned to Altoona on rehab.
8/14: Jason Creasy assigned to Altoona.
8/12: Chris Stewart assigned to Altoona on rehab.
8/10: Christian Kelley promoted to Bradenton. Raul Hernandez assigned to West Virginia.
8/10: John Kuchno assigned to Altoona.
8/9: Chad Kuhl promoted to Pirates. Curtis Partch optioned to Indianapolis.
8/9: Erik Lunde retired.
8/9: Kyle Lobstein placed on disabled list. Kelvin Marte activated from disabled list.
8/9: Raul Hernandez assigned to Bradenton.
8/8: Delvin Hiciano assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.
8/8: Josh Outman assigned to Indianapolis.
8/7: Austin Meadows activated from Indianapolis disabled list.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus two trades of note. We start with the trades and the first happened in 1913, involving two key members from the 1909 club. The Pirates traded away third baseman Bobby Byrne and pitcher Howie Camnitz for third baseman Cozy Dolan and cash. Before 1913, Camnitz had a 110-67 record for the Pirates, but he was 6-17 at the time of the trade. Byrne was covered yesterday, when he was acquired almost exactly four years before he was traded away. This deal was more of a financial deal for the Pirates, who got rid of two higher salaries and got money back. Dolan hit .203 in 35 games for the Pirates, then was traded away over the off-season.
On this date in 1981, the Pirates and Expos swapped first baseman, with John Milner going to Montreal and Willie Montanez coming back to Pittsburgh. The Pirates ended up getting Milner back in 1982, after they released Montanez, and Milner was released by Montreal.
Former players born on this date include:
Al Lopez, Hall of Fame manager, who was also an All-Star catcher. He played seven seasons in Pittsburgh from 1940 until 1946, making the All-Star team in 1941. Lopez is better known for his managerial career, but his 52.2% caught stealing rate behind the plate is the fourth best all-time. His 1,918 games caught stood as a record for over 40 years.
Matt Hague, The Hit Collector collected 16 hits for the 2012 Pirates and none for the 2014 squad.
Bull Smith, outfielder for the 1904 Pirates. Played 13 late season games as a rookie for the Pirates that 1904 season, then played just two more Major League games in his career, one in 1906 and another five years later.
Robert Gibson, pitcher for the 1890 Alleghenys. He was 0-3, 17.25 in three starts for the team. In one game, he couldn’t finish the outing even with the Alleghenys putting 17 runs on the board for him. They ended up losing 23-17 that day.