Pirates Drop Another To Padres, Sean Rod Back To Bucs

Pirates can’t overcome early deficit vs. Padres

| SaturdayAug. 5, 2017, 10:51 p.m.

Lulled to sleep by rookie right-hander Dinelson Lamet, the Pirates on Saturday spotted the San Diego Padres a six-inning head start.

By the time the Pirates woke up, it was too late.

Lament carried a one-hitter into the sixth inning and strong-armed the Padres to a 5-2 victory.


The Pirates sent 21 batters to the plate against Lamet. Only two of them hit a ball out of the infield. The lone hit was Josh Bell’s ground-ball single with two outs in the fourth inning.

Lamet (6-4) beat the Pirates for the second time in an eight-day span. Merely three years removed from his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League, Lamet, 25, has allowed three or fewer runs in eight of his 12 starts.

Over 52⁄3 innings, Lamet gave up one hit, walked three and struck out five. He also stroked his first big league hit in the sixth inning.

Lamet left the game with a 3-0 lead. The Padres then needed three relievers just to get through the seventh inning.

Phil Maton served up a solo homer to Josh Harrison and was removed after loading the bases with two outs.

Buddy Baumann gave up Adam Frazier’s RBI single, which was mashed too hard to left field for David Freese to be able to score from second base.

With the bases still loaded, Craig Stammen got Andrew McCutchen to pop up.

The Padres got those runs back quickly in the eighth. Dusty Coleman hit a two-run homer off reliever Daniel Hudson.

Pirates starter Gerrit Cole (9-8) went six innings, allowed three runs on eight hits, walked two and struck out five.

It was Cole’s first loss in six starts since June 30, when he was ripped for seven runs by the San Francisco Giants.

Cole scuffled a bit in the first inning. After two quick outs, the Padres loaded the bases on a walk, a single and a hit batter. The rally fizzled when Hector Sanchez took a 97 mph fastball down the pike for strike three.

cole cervelli

Sanchez didn’t even flinch as the ball screamed through the heart of the strike zone. It appeared he simply guessed wrong. There’s been a lot of that lately when Cole’s pitching.

“(Being) very aggressive, throwing strikes, challenging people and making pitches,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “(It’s) very hard to predict what he’s going to throw. That’s been one of his strengths, the unpredictability of what’s coming.”

The Padres came up with a two-out hit in the third to take a 1-0 lead.

Cory Spangenberg walked with one out, then went to second on a grounder. Will Myers looped an RBI double into left field — Starling Marte tried to make a sliding catch, but the ball ticked off his glove and rolled a couple of feet behind him.

Cole got out of another jam in the fourth after the Padres put runners on second and third with none out.

Lamet popped out, and Manuel Margot hit a sharp comebacker. Both outs came on two-seamers at the bottom of the strike zone.

Carlos Asuaje hit a weak fly ball to left to end the inning. Asuaje, a left-handed hitter, got tied up by an 96 mph fastball inside at chest level.

A little misfortune and a good piece of hitting by Myers helped the Padres make it 3-0 in the fifth.

With one out, Yangervis Solarte tapped the ball about 20 feet in front of the plate. Catcher Francisco Cervelli lost his footing on the wet grass as he threw, and Solarte got an infield single.

Cole wanted a double play, so he went back to his sinker. Myers smacked the first pitch over the center-field wall for his 21st homer.


Pirates acquire Sean Rodriguez from Braves

| SaturdayAug. 5, 2017, 2:40 p.m.

Sean Rodriguez had up to 72 hours to report after the Pirates reacquired him Saturday afternoon via trade with the Atlanta Braves. However, Rodriguez didn’t want to waste a minute.

“Hey, we’re only 41⁄2 games back,” Rodriguez said by phone from Atlanta. “I’ll be there, ready to play, (on Sunday) morning. I can’t wait to get back to Pittsburgh.”


The Pirates swapped former first-rounder Connor Joe for Rodriguez, who excelled as a super-utility player the past two seasons in Pittsburgh. Minor league outfielder Danny Ortiz was designated for assignment to open a spot on the 40-man roster.

“Sean was a good fit for us when he came here (in 2015), and he’s a good fit now,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He brings a unique energy and edge.”

Rodriguez last season set career highs with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs. In 2015, he became a social media sensation by punching out a cooler in the dugout after benches cleared during the National League wild-card game against the Chicago Cubs.

“What do I think about Sean coming back? All I’ve got to say is, somebody had better hide the water cooler,” shortstop Jordy Mercer joked.

The Pirates must make another roster move Sunday to get Rodriguez on the active roster. It’s likely that Max Moroff will be optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis.

Rodriguez, 32, signed a two-year, $11.5 million free-agent deal with the Braves in November. He will make $5.75 million again next season.

“It’s funny, we were just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, as far as unpacking in Atlanta, and now we have to pack it up again,” Rodriguez said with a laugh. “But I don’t mind at all.”


Three weeks before the start of spring training, Rodriguez sustained a serious shoulder injury when his car was T-boned by another driver who was fleeing police. Rodriguez’s wife and children also were injured.

Rodriguez had surgery Feb. 15 to repair a torn rotator cuff. He came off the disabled list July 17 and batted .162 with a .677 OPS in 15 games with the Braves.

“Most people coming back from as significant of a surgery as he had are not on the field as quickly as he was,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “Sean’s a good hitter. We see the same aggressiveness. We see the same impact. And we love the defensive versatility and the energy.”

Joe, 24, was a supplemental first-round pick (39th overall) in 2014. In 74 games with Double-A Altoona, he batted .240 with a .718 OPS, five home runs and 30 RBIs. He missed nearly the entire month of July due to a dislocated left middle finger.


Pirates notebook: Veteran reliever Kontos claimed off Giants

| SaturdayAug. 5, 2017, 6:21 p.m.

Veteran reliever George Kontos was claimed off waivers from the San Francisco Giants on Saturday.

Reliever Jhan Marinez was DFA’d to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.


“Jhan did a nice job, but was in more of a lower-leverage role,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “We think George can pitch in a little bit higher-leverage role for us.”

The Pirates will have to open a spot on the active roster when Kontos joins the team Monday. One option would be to send Dovydas Neverauskas back to Indianapolis.

Kontos is making $1.75 million this season and won’t become a free agent until after the 2019 season.

In 50 outings with the Giants this year, Kontos, 32, went 0-5 with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. He has made the eighth-most appearances among NL relievers.

“He’s taken the ball in different roles and he takes the ball a lot,” Huntington said.

“He’s a veteran reliever who’s pitched in some big situations and who’s been durable and resilient.”



64 thoughts on “Pirates Drop Another To Padres, Sean Rod Back To Bucs

    1. I was not tuned in to the game at this point, but here’s what I have deduced from looking at the box score and the play-by-play.
      Rodriguez entered the game as the second baseman at the same time Rivero entered to get the final out in the eighth. Harrison, who had been the second baseman, was batting second. By moving SRod into the ninth spot, the pitcher was batting second and now nine slots away from batting again. I can understand why the manager would make such a move.

      Feel free to correct if I have misinterpreted this situation.


      1. Understood, and you have the scenario right, but the pitcher was 7 spots away (batting ninth). Why remove Harrison for Rodriguez? Let Rodriguez pinch hit seven spots later. Is Rodriguez an upgrade defensively?

        Hurdle over managing and trying to get a fan favorite into what he thought was a game that was already over. Almost bit him in the ass.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I know nobody will believe me, but at the time I questioned to the old man why tinker took Nicasio out after striking out 2 and walking one. Let him face a little adversity.

    Rivero was gassed. Seriously, I can’t wait til this overmanaging, underperforming guy is outta here .


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think bringing in your best reliever for a four-out save is overmanaging. In fact, I know it’s not.

      I thought that after the last World Series that this was considered new-age managing. It did not work out, but as outstanding as Rivero has been this season I cannot imagine anyone being upset with such a move.


      1. I didn’t say I was upset. I questioned the move at the time. Nicasio had struck out the first two batters and walked the third. If he gives up a couple hits, I’m all for it.

        You can probably guess what I feel about “new age managing”.


  2. I see some talk about the pen next year. I have a couple of thoughts. I believe everyone has missed the boat on Schugel. I think he is much better than we all thought. I include the Pirates in that. I think some of the young guys will fill out the pen. I think the Pirates will have Santana, Neverauskas, Kingham, Brault, and Williams as possibilities. The key will be getting a reliable 8th inning person from that group or a holdover

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree he has been solid. My thinking is that the FO likes Kuhl better. I Know NH doesn’t like his own players, but I think he’s making an exception here. I also think Glasnow will be in the rotation next year

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I see almost no chance of the Pirates opening the season with any of the pitchers you mentioned in the eighth-inning role. They’d sooner give the job to Hudson than one of those pitchers. As for Schugel, if the Pirates thought as much of him as you do, they would not have traded for Benoit.


      1. I think you’re right about Schugel and the 8th inning. My point about Schugel is he was probably good enough to have been up all year. The team needs someone to step into that 8th inning role. I currently don’t like any of the options. I did say a holdover


  3. I’m perplexed 2.0 about Connor Joe.

    Objectively, sentiment aside about Sean Rodriguez, does it add up that a former first round (compensation) draft pick gets traded for a bench player? How is it that Joe did not develop into a player held in higher regard? Did the Pirates miss on selecting him and/or fail at developing him? Or maybe the Pirates just see more in the former Gatorade dispenser puncher than I do.


    1. I would say it falls under the “miss on selecting him/fail at developing him” category. For a corner infielder/outfielder he has no power and a low OPS. Highest OPS was at Bradenton last year, at .743. Hundreds of A-ball players hit better than that. He had a .718 OPS at Altoona this year, and the Eastern League average is .729. Case closed.

      The Braves wanted rid of Rodriguez’s contract and the Pirates assumed it and threw in what will end up being organizational filler.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I cannot speak specifically to COnner Joe however in general:
      There is a 66 2/3rd chance that a first round pick in the MLB draft makes a major league roster.
      so he is obviously part of the 33% that does not
      Not horrible and not unbelievable in that light.

      The real and more strategic question, for another day and time and blog post, is your second question:

      “Did the Pirates miss on selecting him and/or fail at developing him?”

      Probably partly “yes” to both. And in general as well given their track record.

      Given the Pirates strategy, they must get much batter at these two aspects especially with regards to position players and generating offense.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bucco Baseball @BUCNbaseball
    Today’s Lineup vs the #Padres:

    Marte LF
    Harrison 2B
    McCutchen CF
    Freese 3B
    Osuna 1B
    Polanco RF
    Mercer SS
    Stewart C
    Taillon RHP
    8:04 AM · Aug 6, 2017


    1. I like it. With Osuna a natural first baseman, platooning or spelling Bell is not a bad option.

      What I am surprised about though is Taillon getting the start. Would have bet my frozen chocolate Easterc bunny that Hurdle would have somehow skipped his start after last Tuesday’s poor outing.


  5. I’m a little perplexed that the Giants DFA’d Kontos. The Times just yesterday posted an article on how teams are looking to bolster bullpens. He appears to be a decent addition.


  6. Is Rodriguez going to take away his at bats?

    Joe Block @joe_block
    #Pirates rookie Jose Osuna batting .407, slugging .667 vs lefties since June 28
    (.296 BA, .493 SLG vs LHP, overall)


    1. Or his?

      Joe Block
      Joe Block @joe_block
      #Pirates David Freese has 10th-highest BA in #MLB vs LHP from 2016-17 (his time as a Pirate): .329/.429/.522

      Qualified, via @STATS_MLB


      1. Block’s numbers scream to Freese deficiencies vs. RHP.

        His OPS vs RHP this year is .735. Last year it was .710. His slugging percentages are .361 and .377.

        That simply is not good enough for a third baseman who bats in the middle of the lineup. If Kang does not return next year, the Pirates need a better bat at 3B.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Hopefullly he’ll take at bats away from jaso. With any luck we’ll never see jaso in the field again. Srod is a better 1b option as well as a better of option.


  7. I find it amusing that so many are pleased with the return of Rodriguez to the Pirates and feel he could be a benefit to the team. He might be and I certainly hope so.

    However I would remind you that prior to a productive August/September 2015 many were saying the same then as they say about John Jaso now. Specifically that he should be released and has no place on a MLB roster.

    I would point out that Jaso has consistently outperformed Rodriguez throughout their respective careers, even in SLG. With the exception of last season Jaso has been the far better hitter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Agreed Don. Additionally, as I said above, they now have $11 or so million tied up next year in two aging bench player, neither a lefty bat. Not exactly ideal for 3rd base.

      Better get somebody working on greasing some palms in the INS.


      1. Yes, I’m interested to see what happens going forward.

        I like Rodriguez and last year was a blast to watch but if that’s the Plan B for Kang, let’s just say I’d be very disappointed.

        Nor is Jaso an answer to anything other than what he was supposed to be this season. A decent bat off the bench.


  8. Bob, you make a good point about next year, but I think both players can help THIS year. Is it too little, too late? Probably, but until the Cubs find 3rd gear, they have a shot.

    I am interested to see how they use SROD. He was targeted to be the starting 2nd basemen for the Braves before the car wreck. He showed last year that he could produce playing nearly every day. But is he healthy? What did the car wreck cost him in terms of speed and power? Vision?


    1. It is tough to see this year’s team as having much of a shot by the way their playing, but you’re right that 5.5 back isn’t insurmountable, yet.
      I’m really not sure how much Rodriguez will help them, especially this year. But Knotos should help some.

      I really have no idea why the Pirates are willing to give that kind of money to Rodriguez, and lose a prospect in the deal. Not that Joe is a huge loss, but….. I can’t help feel like this will be another misfire, unfortunately


  9. Interesting bit of trivia regarding George Kontos. The Giants acquired Kontos in the first week of 2012 in a trade with the New York Yankees. The other price? Chris Stewart who the Yankees wanted so they could have a reliable catcher to back up Martin, after which they optioned Cervelli to AAA.

    Kontos was a rookie, had one rough season and then was a fairly reliable arm out of the Pen for 4 seasons and 2 World Series (though he was terrible in the 2012 postseason and injured for the 2014 run).

    Now the Pirates have both parts of that trade on the same roster.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I need help understanding the Sean Rodriguez trade. First off…I like him, always thought he was a gamer who came ready to play with intensity. What I don’t understand is why didn’t they make an effort to resign him in the off season? I know he was a free agent, who could sign with anyone, but I would think he would have preferred to stay in Pittsburgh. I don’t know how it goes in free agency but I would guess his agent would have contacted the Pirates and said “hey Sean really wants to stay in Pittsburgh but the Braves are offering 11.5 for two years. Can you match it?”

    Now he is back with the same 11.5 two year deal, albeit prorated, and the Pirates gave up someone to get him. Doesn’t make much sense to me.


    1. Back then, the belief was that Kang would be back and Freese would back him up off the bench. With that, and already having Jaso umder contract for help at 1B and RF, and then Frazier ready to call up Rodriguez was expendable. He certainly wasn’t worth $5+ million.

      Of course, now, things are a lot different.


    2. I think, Rox, the two things are completely unrelated.

      I think SRod became available and he will be next year’s Jaso at slightly higher wages but more fexibilityin the field.

      Plus, the Pirates really inherited a 1 year deal of 5.25 mil plus the Mil or so owed this year.

      The two scenarios are coincidental


    3. I am certain the Pirates attempted to retain SRod and Huntington has said as much. It was a matter of finances, I’m sure. I think you are being a bit naive when you say you think Rodriguez would have preferred to play in Pittsburgh. My guess is he preferred to play with the team that paid him the most money.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Naive? Good grief! He basically said it’s taken him all year to unpack. I’d think all things being equal(money certainly at the top of the list), athletes would prefer to stay put and not have to uproot their families.

        They had him. My guess is he wanted to stay. They didn’t think he was worth 11.5 million. Now they get him back and give up Conner Joe.

        Still doesn’t make sense to me.


  11. I was surprised about the Kontos deal. I’m not sure why the Giants soured on him so much to the point they just gave him away. In 4 2/3 innings this year he’s let up 8 runs, the other 47 innings over 16 games he’s let up a total of 2 runs. And the Pirates are only on the hook for 400k this year and $1.75 next season. He sounds like a great value pickup, one of Huntington’s trademark pickups.

    I hope Sean Rodriguez is able to recapture a little of his magic from last year. He’s been on a downward trajectory. But he certainly sounded happy to be coming back. Sometimes just being in the right place with the right fit can lead better performance. I certainly hope that’s the case here. Part of me also thinks this speaks some to the Pirates belief that Kang is never coming back and that Freese needs to be less exposed.


      1. I wouldn’t think so either, but they aren’t instilling a lot of confidence that they will be looking anywhere else, and the free agent market is going to be pretty slim this off season.


  12. The acquisitions yesterday of utilityman Sean Rodriguez and reliever George Kontos are clearly much more about 2018 than they are about 2017. I trust everyone understands they are a just teensy-weensy part of 2018.

    Rodriguez understandably is a fan favorite Pittsburgh. But let’s not forget that from his 2008 rookie season through the 2014 season, he was just another backup with a career BA of .225 and not the ‘super utilityman’ he has become to the Pittsburgh media and fans. Kontos has a better resume than Rodriguez, which leads me to wonder why the Giants so casually gave him away for nothing. We can only hope that Huntington (or his successor) makes hefties additions to the bullpen for 2018.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hope your right, Bob, but I don’t see where the money is coming from. Raises are due to Mercer, Harrison, Marte, Cole, Polanco, Nova, Cervelli and Rivero hitting arbitration.

      So I don’t see anything being used on the bullpen and I’m struggling to see how they are planning on having Cutch back.

      I don’t see much, if anything being spent on the bullpen. Subtract Nicasio, add Kontos and maybe a reclamation/dumpster dive.


        1. To that point, 2018, when looking at what best served 2017 I would have much preferred acquiring Walker, the better LH bat.

          I understand that wouldn’t help next year but is Rodriguez such a valuable add anyway? I doubt the cost of Walker given the salary and pending free agency would have been prohibitive.


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