News: Volquez, who took a no-decision on the night, gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits in 5.2 innings pitched against the Diamondbacks on Friday
Impact: Over his last three starts, Volquez (3.91 ERA) has given up nine walks to opposing hitters while struggling in general to stay ahead. The Pirates' starter has never been known for his command or control, so be wary of just plugging Volquez into your lineup every fifth day.
News: Watson (8-1) picked up his eighth relief win of the season on Friday facing the Diamondbacks as he pitched a perfect eighth inning.
Impact: It's been an impressive season for the Pirates set-up man as he again put his team in a situation to net a win. Watson (1.58 ERA) now has 55 strikeouts in 51.1 innings pitched, while remaining a top option in leagues counting holds.
News: Cole has been scratched from his scheduled rehab start for Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday, but GM Neal Huntington said it was so he could throw another bullpen session "to refine some things," Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Impact: Huntington's words imply that Cole has not suffered any sort of setback, but the scratch will further delay the right-hander's return to the major league rotation. Cole tossed five scoreless innings in his first rehab start for Indy on Monday, but evidently he still has some mechanical kinks to work out.
Fri. Aug 1, 2014 | STATS
News: Walker was 2 for 4 with his 16th homer in a 7-4 loss at Arizona on Thursday.
Impact: Walker owns an OPS of .985 over his last 18 games while driving in 12 runs.
Fri. Aug 1, 2014 | STATS
News: Locke lost his second straight start in a 7-4 defeat at Arizona on Thursday.
Impact: Locke may not be worth investing in after allowing 10 runs over 12 innings in his last two starts.
News: Alvarez is out of the Pirates' lineup Friday against the Diamondbacks.
Impact: Brent Morel will draw the start at third base Friday, as Alvarez sits for the seventh time in the team's last nine games. The 27-year-old Alvarez possesses immense power but is coming off a month of July in which he just .206/.286/.333, so he's unlikely to return to an everyday role in the immediate future.
News: Cole (back) will make a rehab start for Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Impact: After tossing five scoreless innings in his first rehab outing Monday, Cole remains on track to rejoin the rotation either Aug. 7 or 8. The first date would mean a home outing against the Marlins, while the second would provide a dream matchup versus the pitiful San Diego offense.
News: Morton didn't pitch great Wednesday.
Impact: Morton gave up four runs in five innings and faces surging Miami next.
News: Mercer homered Wednesday.
Impact: Mercer showed no mercy on an offering from Tim Lincecum in the fourth.
News: Harrison homered again Wednesday.
Impact: Harrison went boom for the fourth straight game and looks to keep his amazing streak going in Arizona.
News: Snider went 1 for 4 on Wednesday.
Impact: Snider will be better remembered for a witless baserunning blunder that saw the Bucs run into a double play in the sixth inning. Pittsburgh had runners on second and third when Chris Stewart walked with one out. Snider had left second base, apparently thinking it was a bases-loaded walk. He got caught in a rundown and Gaby Sanchez broke for home with both runners being tagged out as the rally ended in a play that will be endlessly replayed in blooper reels forever.
News: Marte (concussion) will begin a four-game Triple-A rehab stint Saturday, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports.
Impact: If that timeline holds true, then Marte would return to the Bucs' starting lineup Wednesday in Pittsburgh. Marte hasn't played since coming back prematurely from his concussion on July 21.
News: Marte (concussion) will begin a four-game rehab assignment Saturday at Triple-A Indianapolis, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune reports.
Impact: Under the current timetable, Marte will have missed nearly double the minimum requirement of the 7-day concussion DL by the time he is activated near the middle of next week. He hasn't played since July 21, but should be ready to go at some point during the three-game homestand against the Marlins. Once he returns to the lineup, Travis Snider will return to primarily a bench role. Josh Harrison -- who had also been playing some left field -- will return to being a rotating utility player.
News: Watson ranks second in the majors with 25 holds, but he's cooled off in July, compiling a 3.55 ERA and .298 OBA in 12.2 innings for the month.
Impact: He has solidified his spot as the team's primary set-up man, but he hasn't been lights out lately. For the season, Watson (7-1) holds an impressive 1.61 ERA and 1.07 WHIP with a 54:11 K:BB ratio in 50.1 frames.
News: Snider is back on the bench Thursday, even though the Diamondbacks are starting the right-handed Josh Collmenter.
Impact: Snider committed a baserunning gaffe of epic proportions Wednesday and is likely paying the price for his brain-dead move. It was thought that he could lose playing time with an active Pirates team at the deadline, but the non-waiver deadline passed Thursday without the Bucs making any changes to their major-league roster.
News: After not starting for three straight games, Alvarez returns against Arizona on Thursday and will bat seventh against Josh Collmenter.
Impact: His league-worst 23 errors and the hot-hitting Josh Harrison have combined to keep Alvarez on the bench in recent days. He's hitless in two at-bats against Collmenter and has just eight hits (including three homers) in 63 career at-bats against the Diamondbacks.
Josh Wall - #35 - Pitcher - 6'6" - 220lbs
News: Wall was designated for assignment by the Pirates on Thursday, Bob Nightengale of the USA Today reports.
Impact: Wall appeared in 19 games at Triple-A Indianapolis, posting a 3.22 ERA and 22 strikeouts over 22.1 innings. He could warrant interest from a team looking to upgrade their bullpen depth on their 40-man roster, but seems best served from Triple-A duty at this juncture.
News: Snider, who homered in his third straight game Tuesday, will start in right field Wednesday afternoon and bat sixth against starter Tim Lincecum.
Impact: Snider is one of Pittsburgh's hottest hitters right now. He's 1-for-5 with two RBI and a walk against Lincecum in his career. The Pirates have stuck by the sometimes-beleaguered outfielder and their patience has been rewarded in recent weeks.
News: Harrison will bat leadoff and play third base Wednesday afternoon in San Francisco.
Impact: "It's pretty simple at the end of the day," Hurdle said in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "(Pedro Alvarez)'s not outplaying Harrison." It appears Harrison, who sat out a couple games right after the All-Star break when the Pirates had a healthy roster, is finally making a deeper impression on his manager.
News: Harrison homered for the fourth straight game in a 1-for-5 effort Wednesday against the Giants.
Impact: Harrison was leading off and playing third base for the Pirates on Wednesday. The long ball was his ninth of the season. Before this streak, Harrison was in a 29-game homerless drought. The 27-year-old is 8-for-17 (.470) over the four-game period.
News: Morton (5-10) allowed four runs on nine hits and three walks, with two strikeouts over five innings, in a 7-5 loss to the Giants on Wednesday.
Impact: Morton got in and out of trouble all day, but gave up only singles, limiting the damage. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 3.99 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 24:12 K:BB ratio in six July starts. Morton will take the hill Tuesday versus the Marlins.
Wed. July 30, 2014 | STATS
News: Harrison homered again in Tuesday's 3-1 win at San Francisco.
Impact: Harrison has homered in three straight games, going 7 for 12 with four RBIs and five runs scored.
Wed. July 30, 2014 | STATS
News: Liriano allowed one run and struck out a season-high 11 over seven innings to win 3-1 at San Francisco on Tuesday.
Impact: Liriano yielded four hits and just one walk, improving to 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA in his last three starts.
News: Alvarez will sit for the third straight game Wednesday vs. the Giants, Ken Laird of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Impact: The Pirates will stick with the hot bat of Josh Harrison at third base, with Alvarez spending some time on the bench yet again. It's hard to argue too much with the decision, as Alvarez is batting just 6-for-28 (.214) with two extra-base hits over the last two weeks.
News: Martin is out of the lineup Wednesday vs. the Giants.
Impact: Martin started the first two games of the series. He'll receive the day off on getaway day. Chris Stewart will form a battery with pitcher Charlie Morton.
News: Melancon gave up a hit and struck out two over a clean ninth inning to pick up his 20th save of the season Tuesday against the Giants.
Impact: Buster Posey led things off with a base hit, but Melancon would retire the next three, including the last two by strikeout, to put the game on ice. Melancon hasn't blown a save since June 13, and is now 20-for-23 in save situations this season. He continues to be one of the better options at closer, putting up a 2.12 ERA and 0.86 WHIP along with a 44:6 K:BB over 46.2 innings, and should figure to generate more save opportunities playing on a contending team.
News: Harrison went 1-for-3 with a walk and a solo home run in Tuesday's win over the Giants.
Impact: Harrison has homered in three straight games now after going 100 at-bats without one prior to this outburst. Tuesday's blast, his eighth of the year, came in his first at-bat to lead off the game. He's now gone 7-for-12 during this stretch with the aforementioned three homers, five runs scored, four RBI, and two stolen bases. This hot streak has raised his batting average from .286 to .299.
News: Snider went 1-for-3 with a two-run home run in Tuesday's win over the Giants.
Impact: Snider's seventh home run of the year proved to be the difference, as it extended the Pirates lead to 3-0. He's now homered in three straight appearances, spanning across six days. He doesn't hold much fantasy value considering he's a reserve outfielder, but he has gone 6-for-11 over his last four appearances (July 22 July 29).
News: Liriano (3-7) turned in a gem on Tuesday, allowing one run on four hits while striking out 11 over seven innings to pick up the win against the Giants.
Impact: The only blemish was a Michael Morse solo home run in the second inning. Liriano was brilliant from there on out, retiring 18 of the final 21 batters he faced while racking up a new season-high in strikeouts with 11. Since returning from the disabled list, Liriano is 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA and a 27:12 K:BB over 23 innings, showing signs that we may be in store for a much better second-half from the left-hander. He's set to take on the Diamondbacks in his next start on Sunday.
News: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said he is "not optimistic" Marte (concussion) will come off the DL on Wednesday, Jenn Menendez of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Impact: Marte made his case for a Wednesday activation by taking batting practice on the field and running the bases prior to Tuesday's game, but apparently it wasn't quite enough to sway Hurdle. Perhaps Marte will need to complete a short minor league rehab assignment before returning to the active roster.
News: Worley tossed a four-hitter for his first shutout in a 5-0 win over the struggling Giants on Monday night.
Impact: Worley struck out three and walked one in an efficient 100-pitch outing. His only other complete game came in a 7-2 win over the Giants on July 26, 2011, in Philadelphia.
News: Mercer went 2 for 4 on Monday.
Impact: Mercer also flashed some leather by helping the Bucs turn two double plays.
News: Harrison is drawing closer to .300.
Impact: Harrison is at .298 after he went 2 for 3 on Monday.
News: Alvarez is out of the Pirates' lineup again Tuesday.
Impact: His absence from Monday's lineup came as no surprise, with the Giants starting a lefty in Madison Bumgarner, but Alvarez will ride the pine again Tuesday as Josh Harrison draws the start at third against right-hander Tim Hudson. The team hasn't indicated that the knee issue that hampered Alvarez last week is lingering, so it would seem the 27-year-old has been relegated to a part-time role with Pittsburgh. Through 99 games this season, Alvarez is batting .238/.326/.407.
News: Marte (concussion) took batting practice on the field and ran the bases prior to Tuesday's game, Jenn Menendez of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Impact: As of Sunday, the Pirates were still uncertain as to whether Marte would be able to return from the 7-day DL when first eligible Wednesday, but his ability to hit and run the bases should go a long way toward convincing the team he's ready. Marte, who's hit .255/.328/.385 with five homers and 21 steals this season, suffered a concussion after being hit by a pitch back on July 18.
News: McCutchen went 0-for-3 with a walk Monday against the Giants.
Impact: He's hitting just .167 (6-for-36) with seven walks in 10 games since the All-Star break. Not even a weekend series in Colorado was enough to break the MVP out of his slump. He has just three hits in 16 career at-bats against Tuesday starter Tim Hudson.
News: Harrison went 2-for-3 with his seventh home run of the season, a walk and two runs in a 5-0 win over the Giants on Monday.
Impact: The dinger was his second in as many games. With Starling Marte on the disabled list with a concussion, Harrison started in left field and led off Monday. He's slashing .298/.336/.460 with 34 RBI, 40 runs and 13 stolen bases in 285 at-bats while rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.
News: Worley threw his first career shutout in a 5-0 win over the Giants on Monday, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out three.
Impact: Worley, who tossed the second complete game of his career, faced just two batters over the minimum en route to his fourth win of the season. The right-hander has come up big for the Pirates, improving to 4-1 with a 2.54 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 18:5 K:BB ratio over 29 innings. Worley toes the rubber again Saturday in Arizona.
News: Cole (back) tossed five scoreless innings Monday in his first rehab start, and will likely rejoin the Pirates' rotation on either Aug. 7 or Aug. 8, the Pittsburgh Tribune's Rob Biertempfel reports.
Impact: He gave up four hits and three walks with seven strikeouts during Monday's start for Triple-A Indianapolis, and will make one more rehab start before returning to Pittsburgh's rotation, if everything goes according to plan.
Mon. July 28, 2014 | STATS
News: Harrison was 4 for 6 with his sixth homer of the season in Sunday's 7-5 win at Colorado.
Impact: Harrison is 7 for 18 over his last four games.
Mon. July 28, 2014 | STATS
News: Volquez gave up four runs - though just two were earned - and six hits over 4 1-3 innings in a 7-5 win at Colorado on Sunday.
Impact: Volquez has thrown just 10 innings over his last two starts after totaling 30 in his previous four outings.
News: Alvarez is out of the lineup Monday.
Impact: Brent Morel will get the start at third base Monday, as Alvarez has become a part-time player due to his struggles this season. In addition to slashing just .238/.326/.407, he has 23 errors at third base, making him very replaceable in both aspects of the game.
News: Davis is out of the lineup Monday.
Impact: Gaby Sanchez will get the start at first base Monday, spelling Davis, who has been hot at the plate lately. Over his last five games Davis is 6-for-12 with two home runs and five RBI, and he should be back in the lineup soon.
Chris Stewart - #19 - Catcher - 6'4" - 210lbs
News: Stewart went 3-for-4 with two runs scored in Sunday's 7-5 loss to the Rockies.
Impact: The three hits marked a season-high for Stewart, illustrating just how beneficial playing at Coors Field can be for even the most marginal hitters. Stewart has a respectable .269 batting average and .355 OBP on the season, but he'll only see playing time on the occasions when Russell Martin needs a day off.
News: Snider delivered a pinch-hit, two-run homer Sunday in Colorado.
Impact: The Bucs see five right-handed starters in Week 18, making it likely Snider finds his way into the lineup -- provided his balky hamstring cooperates. The outfielder has two homers among five hits in his last eight at-bats.
News: Harrison went 4-for-6 with a homer and two stolen bases Sunday against the Rockies.
Impact: With Starling Marte (concussion) not guaranteed to return from the DL when first eligible Wednesday and Pedro Alvarez struggling defensively at third base, Harrison is set to continue receiving good playing time in Week 18.
News: Alvarez started for the first time in four games Sunday, going 1-for-4 with his major-league leading 23rd error.
Impact: The Pirates trust Alvarez less and less defensively. He's played only seven complete games in July while being removed early in 10 other contests. The third baseman has only two homers and five RBI since June with a .670 OPS. He's yet to go on one of his patented tears, but the Pirates' (and fantasy owners) patience is wearing thin.
News: Polanco went 1-for-4 with his fifth homer and two RBI against the Rockies on Sunday.
Impact: He struck out three times Sunday, but the home run came against a left-handed pitcher -- an area Polanco has struggled to a .148 batting average. The outfielder makes for a decent Week 18 play, with Pittsburgh facing right-handed starters in five of seven games. Polanco is hitting .296 with a .785 OPS against righties.
News: Melancon struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning Sunday, picking up his 19th save of the season.
Impact: Melancon showed little rust despite not pitching in a week. The Bucs are tied with Miami and Boston for the most one-run games (40), but played none in Week 17, giving Melancon plenty of free time.
News: Volquez lasted just 4.1 innings while taking a no-decision in Sunday's outing against the Rockies. He surrendered four runs (two earned) on six hits and four walks.
Impact: By and large this season, Volquez has found success by reigning in his always-concerning command, but his bouts of wildness have reemerged during his last two starts. Covering a total of 10 innings between those outings, Volquez has yielded seven walks, three wild pitches and one hit batsman, while providing only five strikeouts.
News: Martin, who was given Sunday off against the Rockies, has reached base 13 times in his last 16 at-bats.
Impact: It would appear he has a favorable matchup Monday against southpaw Madison Bumgarner, but Martin is batting .171/.386/.171 in 57 plate appearances against lefties. Backup Chris Stewart hit well over the weekend and it wouldn't be shocking to see manager Clint Hurdle write Stewart's name in the lineup one more time.
News: The Pirates are unsure whether Marte (concussion) will return from the DL on Wednesday, according to GM Neal Huntington.
Impact: Speaking during his weekly radio show, Huntington said that Marte really defines "day-by-day symptoms." The left fielder has had very good stretches, but hasn't felt quite right other times. The Pittsburgh GM added that the longer Marte remains out, the better the chance he will need a rehab assignment. Marte was hit by a Jamey Wright fastball July 18 and last played three days thereafter before heading to the disabled list.
News: Morel, who went 0-for-3 Saturday, is not in the starting lineup Sunday afternoon in Colorado.
Impact: Given a rare chance to start at third base, he struck out and grounded into a double play with runners on base Saturday. The Pirates would like to rest a struggling (and injured) Pedro Alvarez, but Morel has failed to impress during his short window of opportunity. Alvarez is back in the lineup Sunday.
News: Martin is out of the lineup Sunday against the Rockies.
Impact: Martin will yield the start Sunday for what appears to be a scheduled day of rest. Chris Stewart will start in his place and bat eighth for the Pirates.
News: Alvarez (knee) is back in the lineup for Sunday's game against the Rockies.
Impact: Alvarez will rejoin the lineup after exiting Tuesday with a knee injury. He did make a shortened appearance Friday, pinch hitting and finishing the final three innings of the game. Alvarez took the day off Saturday, but he appears to be healthy enough to make his return to the lineup.
News: Locke labored through 6.2 innings Saturday night versus the Rockies, allowing six earned runs, 10 hits and three walks while picking up a half-dozen strikeouts in a losing effort.
Impact: Locke had been enjoying a nice run on the mound over the past several weeks, but the hitter-friendly environment of Coors Field often gets the best of even the game's top pitchers. The 26-year-old southpaw put together an impressive 2.38 ERA and 0.99 WHIP across his previous 56.2 innings before heading out to Colorado, so there is no need for fantasy owners to make a knee-jerk reaction to this poor performance. Locke will look to rebound Friday against the Diamondbacks.
News: Snider will be available off the bench Saturday despite tweaking his hamstring earlier in the week, which ultimately left him unavailable for Friday's game, Jenn Menendez of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Impact: Snider seemed to have been in line for extended playing time with Starling Marte on the 7-day disabled list, but his own injuries have reduced that thought. However, his availability Saturday could mean that he's back on track to pick up some of Marte's time on the field.
News: Cole (lat) will throw an additional rehab outing following his scheduled start Monday for Triple-A Indianapolis, Jenn Menendez of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Impact: Cole will likely throw 80-to-85 pitches Monday, but the Pirates want to give him an additional rehab start, where he'll aim for roughly 100 throws. If all goes exactly as planned, Cole could be eligible to rejoin the Pirates' rotation as early as August 6.
News: Polanco will bat seventh in the order Saturday against the Rockies.
Impact: Polanco has hit leadoff in every game he's started so far for the Pirates, but manager Clint Hurdle will bump him down in the order Saturday. The 22-year-old is just 4-for-48 (.125) against southpaws this season, and the Rockies are sending lefty Tyler Matzek to the hill Saturday night. It wouldn't be surprising to see this move repeated moving forward, at least until Polanco is able to figure out left-handed pitching.
News: Alvarez (knee) remains out of the Pirates' lineup Saturday against the Rockies.
Impact: Left knee discomfort kept Alvarez out of the lineup once again Friday, but the 27-year-old ended up coming off the bench and playing three innings at third base. It seems manager Clint Hurdle is just not yet comfortable playing Alvarez for a full nine innings, but a DL stint does not seem to be on the table at this time. Brent Morel will draw the start at the hot corner Saturday.
News: Walker is batting .294 (20-for-68) against left-handed pitching in 2014, up from a .225 average a season ago.
Impact: Despite his .294 batting average, the second baseman's OPS against lefties is still just .736. He went 2-for-3 off Saturday starter, Tyler Matzek, last weekend, including a pair of singles. Walker is currently in the midst of his best month, hitting .329/.415/.600 in 70 July at-bats.
News: Polanco went hitless in five at-bats Friday and is batting .125 (6-for-48) against left-handed pitching.
Impact: Until he figures out southpaws, there's little reason to start the rookie against lefties - even erratic ones such as Saturday's starter, Tyler Matzek.
News: Alvarez (knee) entered Friday's game as a pinch hitter and ended up playing the final three innings of the game at third base.
Impact: He walked and struck out in two plate appearances. Alvarez was also unable to make a play which was generously ruled a double in the field. He went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts last weekend against starter Tyler Matzek, but could return to the starting lineup Saturday.
News: Morton (5-10) took the loss on Friday against the Rockies as he pitched six innings, giving up four runs on seven hits while striking out three batters.
Impact: It was a rough seventh inning for Morton as he pitched to three batters without recording an out. Prior to the seventh, Morton was going strong, only giving up one run until that point. His season record is not indicative of how he has pitched, as Morton's ERA sits at 3.40 with a sub-1.20 WHIP.
News: Mercer provided the only run for the Pirates on Friday as they faced the Rockies, going 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to drive in Gaby Sanchez.
Impact: It was a pathetic night for the Pirates hitters. Mercer is not someone you want to rely upon normally considering his .246/.287/.350 slash line, but he has been known to drive out a homer now and then with six on the season.
News: Cole (back) will shoot for 80-85 pitches in his rehab start Monday at Triple-A Indianapolis, Jenn Menendez of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Impact: Previous reports pointed to a minimum of 60 pitches for Cole, but a heavier workload (as outlined by Bucs manager Clint Hurdle) might enable Cole to return after one rehab start if everything goes well Monday. Nevertheless, he's making gradual progress toward an activation in August.
News: Harrison will start in left field Friday and bat second against the Rockies.
Impact: With Colorado throwing three southpaws over the weekend, Harrison could see steady playing time. His batting average likely peaked at .319 on June 17th. Since then, he's hit .250/.287/.352 with one homer, 13 RBI and eight stolen bases in 117 plate appearances.
News: Sanchez will hit cleanup Friday against the Rockies.
Impact: He went 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI against starter Brett Anderson on Saturday in Pittsburgh. Sanchez owns a .790 OPS on the road in 2014, as opposed to a .627 mark at PNC Park.
News: Morel will start at third base and bat eighth Friday night in Colorado.
Impact: Morel is hitless with one RBI in four career at-bats against Friday starter Brett Anderson. He'll start in place of the injured Pedro Alvarez (knee).
News: Alvarez (knee) remains out of the starting lineup Friday.
Impact: Brent Morel will get a start at third base, while Alvarez takes a seat for the second straight game. For now, his availability off the bench and status beyond Friday are uncertain, leaving the Bucs' third baseman with a day-to-day tag, though it's possible that Alvarez is simply sitting again with lefty Brett Anderson on the hill for Colorado.
News: Liriano turned in perhaps his best start of the season Wednesday, limiting the Dodgers to one run and four hits over seven innings in a 6-1 victory.
Impact: Liriano appears to have turned a corner, posting a 2.43 ERA over his last six starts, though Wednesday marked the first time in eight outings in which he completed at least six innings.
News: Martin was 2 for 3 and drove in a run in Wednesday's 6-1 win over the Dodgers.
Impact: Martin is batting .333 over his last 18 games and has 12 RBIs in his last 14.
News: McCutchen went 1-for-4 with an RBI double Wednesday against the Dodgers.
Impact: The double -- which hit halfway up the wall in right-center -- was Cutch's first extra-base hit since the All-Star break. He's 5-for-22 in the last six games, with two RBI and a stolen base. An upcoming weekend series in Colorado figures to help him get back on track.
News: Martin reached base three times Wednesday, going 2-for-3 with a walk against the Dodgers.
Impact: The catcher is batting .282/.407/.392 and has been plunked an NL-leading 13 times. Martin has shown a tendency to wear down over the second half, so it might be unwise for fantasy owners to count on him to maintain his .799 OPS going forward.
News: Morel roped a pinch-hit single to left field Wednesday night.
Impact: He could find himself starting a game or two in Colorado this weekend, depending upon the condition of Pedro Alvarez's knee. Morel struck out in his only other big league appearance in 2014.
News: With starting left fielder Starling Marte placed on the 7-day disabled list Wednesday, Snider figures to see increased playing time over the next week or so.
Impact: The Bucs travel to Colorado for a three-game set beginning Friday. Snider's time might be somewhat limited with the Rockies starting three lefties, but he's swinging the bat better than he has at any point in 2014. The team travels to San Francisco following its series in Colorado.
News: Cole (lat) will start for Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday and then throw a bullpen session Wednesday.
Impact: Speaking on the Pirates' post-game radio show Wednesday, pitching coach Ray Searage announced that Cole will throw a minimum of 60 pitches Monday. Searage said that he likely made a mistake rushing Cole back into the rotation several weeks ago and the team will be careful to make sure Cole regains pinpoint command before he returns to the big leagues.
News: Pittsburgh placed Marte on the seven-day concussion disabled list and recalled INF Brent Morel from Triple-A Indianapolis.
Impact: Marte is hitting just .255 on the season.
News: Though the Pirates haven't addressed any sort of injury for Marte, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports the outfielder will be placed on the disabled list prior to Wednesday's game against the Dodgers.
Impact: Manager Clint Hurdle indicated just a day earlier that Marte was fine despite not being used in the lineup, attributing the absence to a manager's decision. While no reason has been given for a possible DL move, it's likely that Marte could be suffering from late-emerging concussion symptoms as the result of taking a fastball to the head Friday. He ended up being held out of the final two games of the weekend series for that reason, before returning to the lineup Monday.
News: Alvarez (knee) is out of the lineup Wednesday vs. the Dodgers.
Impact: The Pirates will rest Alvarez after he was forced out of Tuesday's game prematurely due to left knee discomfort. Josh Harrison will pick up another start at third base while Alvarez recovers from the ailment.
News: Liriano (2-7) gave up one run on four hits and two walks, while striking out four over seven innings, in Wednesday's win over the Dodgers.
Impact: Liriano turned in one of his better outings of the year in his third start since being activated from the disabled list. He held the Dodgers hitless through 4.1 innings before Miguel Rojas broke it up with a base knock. The lefty went seven innings for just the third time this season, and won for the first time since May 30 - oddly enough, against the Dodgers. He'll carry a 4.18 ERA into his next start against the Giants.
News: Harrison went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI in Wednesday's win over the Dodgers.
Impact: Harrison capped off a four-run first inning with a two-out, two-run double. After hitting .317 in both of the last two months, Harrison has batted just .242 in July. Even with the slump, Harrison is still hitting .291 with five homers and 11 stolen bases on the year.
News: Snider went 2-for-3 with a solo home run, three runs scored, and one RBI in Wednesday's win over the Dodgers.
Impact: Snider took Dan Haren deep in the second inning for his fifth homer of the year. He wraps up a solid series against the Dodgers, during which he went 4-for-7 with five runs scored, one home run, and two RBI. The 26-year-old is batting .252/.333/.374 on the year and will continue to serve in a reserve role for the Pirates.
News: Morel was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Tribune's Rob Biertempfel reports.
Impact: Starling Marte was placed on the 7-day concussion DL, and Morel rejoining the Pirates is the corresponding move. Pedro Alvarez (knee) is dealing with an injury, so Morel could see some action at third base. He has a .246/.318/.342 slash line at Triple-A this season, so he lacks fantasy value in most formats.
News: Marte (concussion) has been placed on the 7-day DL, the Pittsburgh Tribune's Rob Biertempfel reports.
Impact: There were some differing reports about Marte's DL status earlier Wednesday, but his concussion tests must have come back positive, and he will be out until at least July 28. Brent Morel was called up in the corresponding move.
Wed. July 23, 2014 | STATS
News: Walker was 2 for 4 with his third homer in six games in Tuesday's 12-7 win over the Dodgers.
Impact: Walker is 11 for 23 over his last six games with seven runs driven in.
Wed. July 23, 2014 | STATS
News: Worley improved to 3-1 in his sixth start of the season Tuesday against the Dodgers, giving up four runs - though just one was earned - and seven hits over six innings.
Impact: Worley owns a 3.10 ERA in seven games, including six starts.
News: The Pirates are awaiting to see the results of concussion tests before determining if Marte will have to go on the DL, the Pittsburgh Tribune's Rob Biertempfel reports.
Impact: Biertempfel reported earlier in the day that Marte was definitely going on the DL, and it was a matter of whether he would need the 15-day DL or the 7-day DL, which is reserved for players with concussions. However, this latest development suggests there's a chance Marte could avoid the DL if it is determined he doesn't have a concussion. Brent Morel would be recalled if Marte does end up on the DL, so stay tuned.
News: Cole (lat) threw approximately 70 pitches in a simulated game Wednesday and said it went well, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Impact: Cole was originally slated to throw only 50-60 pitches, but he ended up throwing close to 70 and relayed afterward that he was feeling good. The next step for the right-hander is to be determined, but manager Clint Hurdle said earlier this month that Cole's rehab program would almost certainly include a minor league start this time around.
News: Marte is out of the lineup for the second straight game Wednesday vs. the Dodgers.
Impact: Manager Clint Hurdle explained Marte's absence from Tuesday's game was not injury-related and only an effort to give his bench players some at-bats, but Marte's presence out of the lineup on back-to-back days raises further questions. Even if an injury isn't in play for Marte, it seems the team is at least entertaining the idea of possibly moving him in a trade, with the outfielder linked in trade talks with the Mariners. While Marte finds himself on the bench, Travis Snider earns his second straight start in the outfield.
News: Walker went 2-for-4 with a double, a homer and three RBI against the Dodgers on Tuesday.
Impact: He's hitting .344 with four home runs and 11 RBI in the month of July. Since the beginning of last September, Walker's hit 22 home runs and has shown few signs of slowing down. The second baseman is Pittsburgh's hottest hitter right now.
News: Manager Clint Hurdle said Marte's absence from the lineup Tuesday was not due to an injury. "Manager's decision," Hurdle said in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I've been trying to get the bench guys in periodically after the break to get them some at-bats to keep them fresh."
Impact: Marte was beaned by a 93-mph fastball Friday and it wouldn't be surprising to find out he's still shaking off the cobwebs, despite Hurdle's claims. The outfielder has one hit in four career at-bats against Wednesday's starter Dan Haren, though the Bucs could go with left-handed hitting Travis Snider over Marte for another day.
News: Davis went 3-for-5 with a home run Tuesday, his first homer since June 17.
Impact: The first baseman had been hitting just .190 in his last 25 games, with just two extra-base hits and five RBI. For his career, Davis sports an .874 OPS after the All-Star break -- as opposed to a .698 mark prior to the Midsummer Classic -- giving fantasy owners a shred of hope going forward. He has two hits in 11 career at-bats against Wednesday's starter, Dan Haren.
News: Marte is not in the lineup for Tuesday's game against the Dodgers.
Impact: Tuesday's game will mark the eighth time in the Pirates' last 10 games that Marte has opened on the bench. Travis Snider will start in left field for the Pirates on Tuesday night.
News: Polanco picked up three RBI, plated three runs and smacked his fourth homer of the season in Tuesday's win over the visiting Dodgers. He finished the night 2-for-4.
Impact: What a nice bounce-back performance by the rookie after riding the pine Monday due to some recent struggles (3-for-35 over his last eight games prior to Tuesday). It wouldn't hurt to dangle a potential trade in front of owners -- especially in keeper leagues where his value is highest -- who may be soured by Polanco's horrific showing at the dish lately.
News: Worley (3-1) grabbed the win Tuesday, tossing six innings of seven-hit, four-run (only one earned) ball against the visiting Dodgers. He also sat down five and walked a pair.
Impact: Worley enjoyed a hit parade by the Bucs bats in front of him, as they unloaded on Dodgers starter Josh Beckett for three long balls and provided the 26-year-old with eight runs of support before his departure. The former Phillie and Twin has been a dependable option on the bump for Pittsburgh in limited action this season, posting a 3.10 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 40.2 innings (six starts).
News: Alvarez left Tuesday's game against the Dodgers with left knee discomfort, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Impact: After doubling in the bottom of the fourth inning off Josh Beckett, Alvarez was replaced at third base by Josh Harrison to open the top of the fifth. The team labeled the ailment discomfort, but it may be inclined to send Alvarez for additional testing to gauge the true extent of the injury.
Tue. July 22, 2014 | STATS
News: Volquez was hit hard in Monday's 5-2 defeat to the Dodgers.
Impact: Volquez allowed all five runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings. He had won his previous four starts behind a 0.90 ERA.
News: Alvarez is out of the lineup Monday against the Dodgers.
Impact: Despite starting three straight games against lefties in the Colorado series, Alvarez continues to struggle against southpaws this season, posting a .186 batting average with just two of his 15 home runs. With left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu set to take the hill for the Dodgers, manager Clint Hurdle decided it was time for his third baseman to get a regular day off.
News: Polanco is out of the lineup Monday against the Dodgers.
Impact: Despite snapping a 1-for-24 skid with two hits Friday against the Rockies, Polanco remains hitless in his last 11 at-bats, and will take a seat Monday night against left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu. Manager Clint Hurdle likely wanted to get another right-handed bat atop his lineup, as Josh Harrison will take over the leadoff spot. Utility man Michael Martinez will take over in right field.
News: Mercer provided half of the offense for the Pirates on Monday, going 1-for-4 with an RBI single.
Impact: Mercer has been on a roll in July, hitting .367 after seeing his batting average drop to .227 by the end of June. The shortstop has hit safely in each game since the All-Star break and has knocked in four runs in that span.
News: Volquez took the loss Monday, allowing five runs in 5.2 innings against the Dodgers.
Impact: Volquez had been on a roll before Monday's rough start -- allowing three runs in 30 innings. For the season, Volquez now owns a 3.86 ERA. The veteran will look to get back into the win column this weekend in Colorado.
News: Walker delivered on the fantasy stage Sunday.
Impact: Walker had three hits with a homer and went 7 for 12 in the series sweep.
News: Mercer showed the Rockies little mercy on Sunday.
Impact: Mercer went 2 for 3 with two runs scored - not bad for a .254 hitter.
News: Locke did not get a decision Sunday.
Impact: Locke gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings. He faces the Rockies again next weekend.
News: Cole (lat) is scheduled to throw 50-60 pitches in a simulated game Wednesday, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports.
Impact: Cole emerged from a bullpen session unscathed Sunday, and will proceed to face live hitters as the next step in his recovery. Should all go well, Cole could be cleared to begin a rehab assignment, although the Pirates will likely continue to take a cautious approach.
News: Marte (head) is back in the lineup Monday vs. the Dodgers, MLB.com reports.
Impact: Marte was able to avoid a concussion after taking a fastball to the head Friday vs. the Rockies, and his presence late in Sunday's game as a pinch-hitter suggested that a return to regular duty wasn't far off. It appears as though he'll be in line for a full run of everyday duties during the upcoming week, making him a seemingly safe play in fantasy lineups.
News: Marte's injury has been classified as "head trauma" rather than a concussion, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Impact: Marte will still be subjected to the concussion protocol as a precaution, and a trip to the 7-day DL hasn't been ruled out yet. Josh Harrison took his spot in the lineup Sunday and would be in line for more action if Marte is forced to miss further games.
News: Mercer is batting .306 (48-for-157) since June 2 and has four hits in 11 at-bats since the All-Star break.
Impact: He's proven to be sneaky good after a terrible start and has shown no signs of slowing down. Mercer could begin to show some wear and tear with backup Clint Barmes (groin) out for 6-8 weeks, but for now it's all systems go.
News: Harrison reached base three times Sunday, going 2-for-4 with a walk while stealing his 10th and 11th bases of the season.
Impact: At some point the Pirates need to consider moving Gregory Polanco out of the leadoff spot. If and when that happens, look for Harrison to see some of those opportunities. Of course, Harrison is looking for playing time on a regular basis and his starting spot isn't guaranteed. So long as he continues to hit, however, the Pirates will likely fit him into the lineup.
News: Cole (back) completed a side session without incident Sunday. The Pirates will wait until Monday to see how the righty feels before deciding upon his next step, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Impact: He's slated to next throw another bullpen session or simulated game. Either way, Cole won't return to the rotation in the coming week.
News: Sanchez went 1-for-4 with a run and a walk in his third consecutive start Sunday afternoon.
Impact: He hit a pair of line drives which were caught for outs, preventing him from a big day. Sanchez will likely make his fourth straight start Monday with the Dodgers throwing left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu.
News: Marte (head) walked in a pinch-hitting appearance Sunday afternoon against the Rockies.
Impact: He didn't play in the outfield at all, but his ability to pinch hit is a good sign. Heading into Week 17, Marte represents somewhat of a risk to fantasy owners in weekly leagues, but it looks like he could return to the starting lineup in the next couple days.
Sun. July 20, 2014 | STATS
News: Morton did not get a decision Saturday night.
Impact: Morton struck out three and gave up two runs in seven innings ahead of his next outing, also against the Rockies.
News: Walker continued his hot hitting Sunday against Colorado, going 3-for-4 with a solo home run and two runs scored.
Impact: Walker is off to a hot start to the second half of the season, going 7-for-12 with five runs and 11 total bases during the series against Colorado.
News: Melancon struck out one in a perfect ninth inning to pick up the save against Colorado on Sunday.
Impact: Melancon converted his eighth consecutive save and is settling in as one of the better fantasy closers. He has 40 strikeouts in 44.2 innings and a 2.22 ERA to go with a 0.87 WHIP.
News: Locke pitched six innings Sunday against Colorado giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out three.
Impact: All the damage came via the long ball as Josh Rutledge and Mike McKenry both took the lefty deep in the first two innings. Locke has now turned in an impressive eight consecutive quality starts.
News: Martin is out of the lineup Sunday against the Rockies.
Impact: Martin will receive a routine day off after catching 11 innings Saturday night. Chris Stewart will take over behind the plate to catch Sunday's starter, Jeff Locke.
News: Davis is out of the lineup Sunday against the Rockies.
Impact: Davis hasn't started since the All-Star break and has sat in favor of Gaby Sanchez in four of the Pirates' past five games. It seems as if manager Clint Hurdle has grown weary of Davis' .233 batting average and may continue to roll with Sanchez full time down the stretch.
News: Marte (head) is not in the lineup Sunday against the Rockies.
Impact: Marte was lifted from Friday's contest a few innings after being hit in the head with a pitch, but he isn't thought to have sustained a serious injury. He was able to work out before Sunday's game, and may even be available off the bench, according to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Josh Harrison will once again man left field, while Marte will look to return for the upcoming three-game series with the Dodgers.
News: Sanchez went 1-for-2 with an RBI double Saturday -- his first RBI since June 2.
Impact: With Pittsburgh facing left-handed pitchers Sunday and Monday, Sanchez figures to see additional playing time. After commanding the strike zone with a 44:51 BB:K ratio in 2013, the first baseman has walked only 11 times while striking out on 41 occasions this season. Still, he's seeing the ball well right now and could prove to be a good play in daily leagues.
News: Walker went 3-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI against Colorado on Saturday.
Impact: Walker stayed in the game after Corey Dickerson's shoulder collided with his head during a fifth-inning stolen base attempt. Despite a stint on the DL, the second baseman is batting .277/.348/.449 with 13 homers and 44 RBI in 314 at-bats.
News: Morton received no decision while allowing two runs in seven innings against the Rockies on Saturday.
Impact: Morton delivered his fourth quality start in his last five outings but still matched a season low with three strikeouts. He's now made 11 starts since May 23 and allowed more than two earned runs in just two of them. Those two starts were the only ones during that span in which Morton had more outs via flyball than groundball. Clearly, he does better when he keeps the ball on the ground.
Sat. July 19, 2014 | STATS
News: Marte tripled and drove in two runs before leaving late in the game shortly after taking a fastball to the head Friday.
Impact: Manager Clint Hurdle called the decision to remove Marte "precautionary" and he will be re-evaluated on Saturday.
Sat. July 19, 2014 | STATS
News: Liriano worked five innings as he tries to bounce back from a difficult first half in which he managed just one win in 15 starts and spent a month on the disabled list with a back injury.
Impact: Liriano struck out eight and gave up an unearned run. He faces the Dodgers in his next outing.
News: Marte is not in the lineup Saturday against the Rockies.
Impact: Although Marte stayed in Friday's game initially after being hit in the head by an Adam Ottavino fastball in the seventh inning, he was ultimately lifted in the bottom of the ninth. Marte will sit Saturday, as Josh Harrison takes over in left, and the team may opt to send Marte for tests to see if there are any signs of a concussion.
News: Watson registered his sixth relief victory Friday, striking out one batter in a scoreless inning against Colorado.
Impact: Watson is next in line for the closer's role in Pittsburgh, should anything happen to Mark Melancon. In 2014, Watson features a 1.39 ERA and 1.06 WHIP with a 51:10 K:BB in 45.1 innings.
News: McCutchen went 0-for-3 with a walk Friday, stranding five baserunners against the Rockies.
Impact: Not even McCutchen can come through every night. Opponents have begun to pound him low and inside with pitches, a dubious strategy against one of the league's best hitters. The center fielder entered Friday with a .324 batting average, 17 homers and 61 RBI after 49 games. A year ago, McCutchen was batting .302 with 10 homers and 49 RBI after 49 contests.
News: Harrison came off the bench Friday, pinch-hitting a sacrifice fly and then taking over for Pedro Alvarez at third base.
Impact: With Alvarez making his major league-leading 21st error against Colorado, there's a chance Harrison might find himself at the hot corner more frequently. That said, it was telling that he wasn't in the starting lineup, even though the Rockies were throwing a southpaw.
News: Polanco snapped a 1-for-24 slide Friday, collecting two hits in five at-bats against the Rockies.
Impact: Polanco also made outs on two hard-hit balls to left field, another good sign for the rookie. He entered Friday hitting just .237 in the month of July.
News: Harrison is not in the lineup Friday against the Rockies.
Impact: Named to the NL All-Star team as a backup after hitting .297/.333/.450 with five homers and nine stolen bases in the first half, Harrison will find himself back on the bench for the team's first game after the break. He was out of the lineup for four of the final 13 games heading into the intermission, and it seems he'll continue to be deployed in a semi-regular role between left field, second base and third base.
News: Marte was 1-for-2 with a walk, a hit by pitch and two RBI in the Pirates' come-from-behind win over the Rockies on Friday night.
Impact: Quite an interesting game for the Pittsburgh left fielder. His triple drove in the Pirates' first run, but he ran through a stop sign and was thrown out at the plate. Two innings later he took an Adam Ottavino fastball off the helmet with the bases loaded to drive in the tying run the hard way. He was on the ground for a few minutes but remained in the game, though he was removed later in a double switch. You might want to check his status prior to Saturday's game.
News: Melancon pitched a scoreless ninth inning, allowing one hit and striking out one on the way to his 17th save of the season against Colorado on Friday night.
Impact: He and Tony Watson, who pitched a scoreless eighth and grabbed his sixth win of the season, have become a potent one-two punch in the late innings for the Pirates, who don't seem to be missing the traded Jason Grilli at all these days.
News: Liriano allowed one run (unearned) on three hits, walking three and striking out eight over five innings but was left with a no-decision against the Rockies on Friday night.
Impact: It was better (he walked six in his last start), but he still needed 95 pitches (just 56 for strikes) to get through five innings -- including 48 in the first two innings alone. Liriano did strike out eight and dropped his ERA to 4.43, so perhaps he is beginning to shake off some of the rust from missing most of the first half of the season.
News: Davis is not in the lineup Friday against the Rockies, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Impact: Davis' absence Friday comes as no surprise, with the Rockies starting a lefty in Jorge De La Rosa, but Davis has also sat out two of the Pirates' last three games against right-handed starters as well. It seems Gaby Sanchez has supplanted him as the primary option at first.
News: Cole (back) threw 30 pitches off a mound Wednesday and said it went well, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. "I'm not grinding through anything," Cole said. "I got no pain, so it's good."
Impact: Cole incorporated changeups in the session and is expected to throw another full bullpen in a couple days. The right-hander added that he feels healthy and that "it's about getting back into shape at this point." His words and progress are certainly encouraging, but the Pirates have stressed that they will be especially cautious with Cole this time around.
News: Mercer went 3 for 5 in a 6-5 win over Cincinnati in 11 innings Saturday.
Impact: The Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop, now batting .253, is hitting .415 (17 for 41) in 12 games this month with four doubles and six RBIs.
News: Snider had three hits in a 6-5 win over Cincinnati in 11 innings Saturday.
Impact: Snider, batting .237, was 0 for 10 in his prior eight games but had not started since going 0 for 5 on June 27.
Matt Hague - #51 - First Base - 6'3" - 225lbs
News: The Pittsburgh Pirates optioned Hague to Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday.
Impact: The infielder was promoted from Indianapolis on Wednesday and was 0 for 2 in three games.
News: McCutchen tied the game with a solo homer in the ninth inning Saturday night, then connected again in the 11th inning, rallying the struggling Pittsburgh Pirates to a 6-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Impact: McCutchen has 20 career homers against Cincinnati, the most by any player in the majors since 2009. He's hit six of them this season, including three during the first two games of the series. McCutchen has hit safely in 11 of the 12 games against Cincinnati this season, going 19 for 46 with four doubles, five homers and seven RBIs.