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Morning briefing: Game 5 @ Phillies


CLEARWATER, Fla. — I’m usually not one to boo athletes when I attend games as a fan. I’ll grumble and/or curse fate, but unless I’m 100 percent sure the guy gave no effort, I figure I can’t criticize too much. There can be a lot of things that go into even a routine play.

Case in point: Saturday, the Pirates had a runner picked off first base, but Matt Hague’s throwing error let him get safely to third. Lousy play by Hague? Well … yes and no. Consider that Hague is pretty much a full-time third baseman, although he has experience at first base. He was a late substitution there because Gaby Sanchez’s knee was sore. The second baseman was Clint Barmes, a shortstop who hasn’t played second in three years. And Barmes had never worked with shortstop Robert Andino, who spent part of last season at Triple-A Indy.

So. Wandy Rodriguez throws the ball to Hague as the runner breaks for second base. Andino goes to cover the bag — and so does Barmes, out of habit. “We had a little bit of a mix-up,” Barmes said. “Being a little bit of a ball hog, I’m used to covering the bag on a pickoff. I reacted. Andino breaks for the bag, I break for the bag, then I have to re-route and try to back up. I think I messed up Matt; it looked like he threw the ball right to me. If I take a better angle, Matt hits Andino and we don’t have any issues.”
Instead, Hague’s throw went into the outfield. The runner went to third and wound up scoring an unearned run. Should Barmes get the blame? “Nah,” Hague said. “That one was totally on me. That’s just Clint being a nice guy. He’s a veteran and he’s trying to deflect the blame from me. I appreciate that, but it’s my fault.”

>> Chase d’Arnaud was back in the clubhouse this morning at McKechnie Field. He cleared waivers yesterday and was outrighted to Triple-A Indy, but for now will continue to work in big league camp as a non-roster player.

>> It will be interesting to see if the Red Sox include 1B/3B Mike Carp in their traveling crew for Monday’s game at McKechnie Field. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports the Pirates are scouting Carp as a possible trade target.

>> You Know Who is pitching today. Another ex-Bucco is in the lineup, too, for the Phightin’ Phils …

Remember this guy?

Remember this guy?

Pirates (2-1-1) @ Phillies (1-3), 1:05 p.m., Bight Cove Field
Radio: 93.7 FM Weather: Sunny, 80 degrees (I know, I know … y’nz are getting 6 inches today back home. Sorry.)
Pirates: 1. Jaff Decker LF, 2. Gregory Polanco CF, 3. Travis Snider DH, 4. Pedro Alvarez 3B, 5. Chris Dickerson RF, 6. Chris McGuiness 1B, 7. Chris Stewart C, 8. Josh Harrison 2B, 9. Jordy Mercer SS. Stomy Pimentel RHP
Phillies: 1. Tony Gwynn Jr. CF, 2. Carlos Ruiz C, 3. Chase Utley 2B, 4. Ryan Howard 1B, 5. Marlon Byrd RF, 6. Bobby Abreu DH, 7. Freddy Galvis SS, 8. Cody Asche 3B, 9. Zach Collier LF. A.J. Burnett RHP
Today’s backups: Andrew Lambo, Nevin Ashley, Omir Santos, Brent Morel, D.J. Crumlich, Michael Fransoso, Alen Hanson, Justin Howard, Michael Martinez, Chris McGuiness, Taylor Lewis, Adalberto Santos, Jose Tabata
Today’s other pitchers: Scheduled: Adam Wilk, Tao-Hsun Yang, Cody Eppley, Joely Rodriguez, Daniel Schlereth, Jay Jackson. Minor leaguers: Ryan Beckman, Matt Benedict, Kenn Kasparek, Eliecer Navarro
Rob Biertempfel



  1. Keith says:

    Breaking down an infield error in an early spring training game involving AAA players might be parsing a bit too closely, but it’s pretty cool that we think so highly of the Bucs’ team defense that two blogs are devoting space to this!

  2. The Czar says:

    Defense wins championships! Will be nice to see how Pimentel does today.
    Carp was a good bat off the Red Sox bench last season. Might be a decent add, especially a veteran and someone who just won a championship!

  3. Steelkings says:

    AJ Burnett – 2 innings – 38 pitches – 1 run – 2 Pirate Vets HBP (Pedro – Mercer)

  4. bpn8pitt says:

    Not going to overreact March 2nd, but Gaby with bum knee already is kinda lame.

    Carp is intriguing. Could be a good player on a team with no room for him. Red Sox would prob want one of their young relievers.

  5. The Gunner says:

    uh oh, poor AJ. Those piranhas in Philthadelphia aren’t going to be too pleased with that, especially if it keeps up.

  6. The Gunner says:

    Looks like Carp might work at 1B, his salary is $1.4 million, so he is affordable. Looks like he has played some OF, too but his lifetime fielding pct. there is .957. His OPS last year in 86 games, (246 ABs) was .885. If the price is right, I say go for him!!

  7. NMR says:

    The thing about Carp is that he’s remarkably similar to Andrew Lambo.

    Same height, weight, position, and handedness. Carp is two years older.

    Carp almost certainly will not replicate his performance last season, as he greatly benefited from an astronomical .385 BABIP. He’ll strike out a lot, but he’ll also take a walk and hit for power.

    Sounds exactly like Mr. Lambo, except that Carp has a bit of a Major League track record while Lambo has greater power and pedigree.

    The only problem I see with matching up for a trade is that the Red Sox truly don’t need anything for their Major League roster that the Pirates would reasonably give up. Carp may be worth more to them on in his current role than the lower level prospect he’d be worth in actual value.

  8. Andrew says:

    Mike Carp has a slight reverse platoon split for his career, last year was the first time he hit RHP better than LHP, albeit over sample sizes of little worth. Carp seems similar to Looney, undervalued asset that an intelligent team found a year ago, the Pirates need to get guys like this before their value is realized.

    However, the easiest argument to make this offseason is one against the proposed 1B options, if the Pirates are not sold on Lambo and decide to go the trade route it is completely reasonable.

  9. The Gunner says:

    At least with Carp, there is a track record of limited success in the majors vs. Lambo, who through no fault of his own, has no success in the majors. Let’s hope if the decision is made to go with Lambo, he gets a fair opportunity to show whether he “has it” or not.

    I doubt if the BMTIB will be able to steal Carp away from the Bosox, they’ll want too much in return.

  10. bpn8pitt says:

    I realize Lambo has limited ABs in the majors. And his power numbers in AAA garner a look. But I like Andrews assessment. Carp put those numbers up on the eventual champion. Red Sox are loaded with talent all over. This could still play out before the 31st.

  11. The Czar says:

    Can Stolmy crack the rotation? If he has an outstanding spring and Locke has an average spring I think he will earn a spot.

  12. NMR says:

    And Volquez to the pen?

  13. The Gunner says:

    I really hope Lambo blossoms this year, that would be great. I really think NH will give Lambo time to prove himself (at least until Memorial Day) before he makes a move.

  14. Steelkings says:

    Stolmy will need to be better than he was today. These are open auditions and he threw a Fastball to the backstop while facing Chase Utley. He did not show the maturity of a top 5 starter to me. This is about Locke and Volquez.

  15. Leo Walter says:

    NMR,I would almost bet that if Rodriguez is healthy and pitching well it will be Pimental to the BP and Locke to Indy,but would be the actual 6th starter. Just my guess. But that early season rotation at Indianapolis would be a mighty fine one for AAA !

  16. Steelkings says:

    Volquez, Gomez, Vin Mazzaro, Bryan Morris and Pimental are all 5 out of options. Only 3 of those players will make the 25 man roster. 1 starter and 2 relievers. 2 of those guys will have to clear waivers before being sent to Indy.
    Here is what Im saying. Volquez is the only player of the 5 that will clear waivers. 5 Million for a guy who has flamed out several seasons in a row is to much risk to acquire. That’s why the Pirates paid him so much money. I think Volquez starts in Indy and either Gomez or Morris are as good as gone, because they will certainly be claimed.

    This is the down side of stocking up prospects.

  17. Steelkings says:

    Morris may have an option left. He was given an extra option in 2013. I just dont know if the Pirates used it or not. Locke has an option that pretty much Guarantees he will start in Indy.

    I would think you will see someone like Locke or one of the above 5 sent packing in an upcoming trade for Carp.

  18. Jim S. says:

    Lambo takes walks? Not enough.

  19. Jim S. says:

    Personally, I question whether Vin Man can do it again this year, Steel. He did a very solid job last year, but every other season he has given up way more hits than innings. I think he would be the one who goes in an “odd man out” situation. At least, that is how I would lean.

  20. Rob Biertempfel says:

    Morris is out of options. — RB

  21. Rob Biertempfel says:

    Indications so far are Pimentel gets another start (3 IP/50 pitches) but likely will be shifted to reliever rather than be stretched out to 4 IP. — RB

  22. NMR says:

    9% AAA walk rate isn’t enough? That’s higher than major league average, Jim.

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