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Pittsburgh Pirates News: Regular Season and Preseason Updates
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3/25/15: If only this had happened last season, then things may have been a lot different. Major League Baseball announced last week that all games on the final day of the regular season will start at the same time, 3:00pm Eastern. Why would this have changed things last season? Well, the Pirates lost on the final day before the St. Louis Cardinals played. That meant the Cardinals scratched starter Adam Wainwright to hold him for the first playoff game. If the games had started at the same time, the Cardinals would not have known to scratch their ace, and the NLDS may have looked a lot different.
3/18/15: The Pittsburgh Pirates again will have a strong squad to compete in the NL Central, which has been among the better divisions in baseball for the past several years. Once again, the Pirates are led by one of the best talents in the Majors - outfielder Andrew McCutcheon. McCutcheon sent shivers down the spines of Pirate fans last week by sitting out a few games with 'lower body soreness'. Before Pirates fans head toward the nearest ledge rather than wait another quarter century for a good team, remember that this is still spring training and players are getting conditioned for the regular season.
3/11/15: The Pittsburgh Pirates are generally not known for dabbling in the international market, particularly not the talent that has come out of Korea and Japan in recent years. However, the team did sign Jung-ho Kang (and a $16 million obligation) to add power. Kang hit .356 with 40 home runs in Korea last season, and the Pirates hope that translates well the U.S. game. It did for one day, at least. Kang took a pitch from Toronto Blue Jay's right-hander Marco Estrada deep over the wall in spring training. Hopefully for the Pirates, he can continue to do that, especially against NL Central pitching.
3/4/15: Sports analytics is a hot topic these days. Lines are being drawn between the stat guys and the eye test guys in every sport, with most reasonable people accepting that both have a place. The Pittsburgh Pirates are jumping into the forefront of the pro-analytics side and have been studying the analytical practices of other sports. For example, they are learning that giving their stars a few more days off during the regular season actually helps both the player but also the whole team. Of course, the old guard would say that they knew that already because they can just tell.
1/14/15: Just so everyone knows the score, Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett says that he has "one (season) left". And then he will retire. Unless he doesn't. Burnett returned to Pittsburgh with a one-year deal for $8.5 million after spending last season with people his own age - the Philadelphia Phillies. He actually declined $15 million from the Phillies to return there, so he must be serious about playing in Pittsburgh. He was great for the Pirates in 2013, and the team hopes that he can return to form just one more time so the Pirates can advance deep into the playoffs.
12/3/14: In professional golf, they refer to the winter tournaments as the 'silly season'. It is a good chance to make some money and get some headlines before the real tournaments start in a few months. The same can be said about Major League Baseball. For example, recent reports indicate that the Reds are considering trading Jay Bruce, with the San Diego Padres being a potential trade partner. Bruce is among the better outfielders and hitters in the league, though he had a rough 2014. Chances are, though, that the Reds are just getting their feelers out for who needs what and how much that would cost.
12/3/14: Last offseason, the word on the street was the that the Pittsburgh Pirates needed a first baseman and the Mets needed to get rid of one, so there would inevitably be a deal that made sense and sent Ike Davis to the Pirates. That deal finally happened and all was right with the world. Except Davis struggled in Pittsburgh and became a situational hitter. So the perfect deal was not perfect and the Pirates designated Davis for assignment. Now the Pirates are 'essentially committed' to Pedro Alvarez as their first baseman. He had been at third base, but had constant throwing problems.
11/19/14: After two great seasons as the Pittsburgh Pirates catcher, Russell Martin will probably be cleaning different laundry next season. He rejected the Pirates' $15.3 million single season qualifying offer to test free agency. That probably prices him out of Pittsburgh, so the Pirates moved quickly to replace him by trading lefty reliever Justin Wilson to the New York Yankees for catcher Francisco Cervelli. But the Pirates will not leave empty-handed. Making the qualifying offer entitles the Pirates to a first or second round pick in the 2015 draft for the team that does sign him, which means that Martin's price is not just $85 million over five years but also draft compensation.
11/12/14: The Pirates would love to keep catcher Russell Wilson around, though that seems unlikely. Wilson is coming off of a career year where he hit .290/.402/.832 and was a finalist for the Gold Glove (Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals won, his seventh in a row). Pittsburgh made a $15.3 million qualifying offer, which Martin is expected to reject. The offer entitles the Pirates to the first round pick of whoever ends up signing him. And, according to a few reports, the Chicago Cubs plan on targeting him this winter. They would lose only a second round pick because they were among the 10 worst teams last season.
10/22/14: Pirates catcher Russell Martin took advantage of the contract the team gave to him two years ago and put up career numbers - particularly in this past season. In 2014, he hit .290 with a .402 on-base percentage, really solidifying his offensive role. The Pirates offered him an extension during the season, but he turned it down, likely figuring he could get more on the open market even at age 32. The team now plans on making him a $15.3 million qualifying offer, meaning that the team would be entitled a first round draft pick if someone (picking outside the top 10) signs him. That may mean that Martin will be back again in 2015.
10/14/15: When the Pittsburgh Pirates were eliminated by the San Francisco Giants, the team may have seen the last of catcher Russell Martin. The team reportedly offered Martin an extension to his expiring contract but he rejected it. Martin, now 31 years old, will likely be a free agent looking to cash in on the success he has had over the last two years in Pittsburgh. This past season, he hit .290 with 11 home runs and 67 RBIs. He is also among the best defensive catchers in the game. There are no shortage of teams that want or need a top flight catcher, so Martin will probably have plenty of suitors.
10/8/14: The Pirates were eliminated from the MLB postseason in the Wild Card Game last Wednesday. Pittsburgh hosted the San Francisco Giants in the one-game series and was overwhelmed by the pitching of Madison Baumgarter, losing 8-0. It did not help that Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford hit a grand slam in the fourth inning to break the game open. With the season officially over, the team will be turning their attention to bolstering the roster, and that begins with trying to keep free agent catcher Russell Martin wearing the black and gold. In terms of importance, probably only Andrew McCutchen is more valuable to the team.
10/1/14: Let's give the Pirates some credit - they did not go down without a fight. That is probably not a fair way to put things, especially considering that the Pirates are in the playoffs for the second straight year after being sub-500 since forever. But the Pirates could not quite close the gap on the St. Louis Cardinals during a feverish stretch run. That slump in early September ended up being the downfall. At the same time, Pittsburgh is in the playoffs and will host the San Francisco Giants in the National League Wild Card Game tonight, with the winner taking on the Washington Nationals.
9/24/14: The Pittsburgh Pirates should be able to make the playoffs this season, though they have a long climb and short time to win the NL Central outright. The Pirates are 3.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL Central crown, but hold a 3.5 game lead for the last wild card spot. Chances are, though this is not certain, that the Pirates will head to San Francisco for the one-game play-in game between the Wild Card teams. Should the Pirates win, then they would likely play the Washington Nationals in the real first round. Though Pirates fans may want a piece of St. Louis.
9/17/14: Once left for dead in the NL Central and National League Wild Card chase, the Pirates have risen (again) to make the division and wild card runs interesting. The Pirates were swept by the Cardinals a few weeks ago, and that would normally seem to signal the end of the run. But the team has heart and pride. They have bounced back nicely and are giving St. Louis all they can handle. As it currently stands, the Pirates are in line for a wild card spot, but there is still enough time to catch the Cardinals and avoid a wild card game altogether.
8/28/14: Remember a few months ago when the Pirates called up top prospect Gregory Polanco? He started out on fire - getting big hits and making sensational defensive plays. That was great highlight film material on a national stage. He has not been on the highlight reels much lately and has struggled mightily for the past two months. He has even been benched in favor of Travis Snyder. Now he is back in the minors to play regularly. Rosters will be expanded next week, so there is a really good chance that his Triple-A visit will be a very short one.
8/21/14: The Pirates have been a bit down since MVP center fielder Andrew McCutchen went to the disabled list. That was kind of expected and currently leaves the Pirates on the outside looking in for a playoff spot. But there is some relief on the way. Starting pitcher Garrett Cole is on the way back to the rotation. The Pirates have not seen Cole since early July due to a lat injury that saw some setbacks as he tried to rehab and return. But it looks like he is healthy again as he threw seven innings without allowing a run in his final rehab outing in Triple-A. McCutchen is just now back, but it is good news for the Pirates to start getting some quality pitching back as well.
8/14/14: The Pittsburgh Pirates are finally admitting that they have an issue at third base. Pedro Alvarez was a key player for the Pirates last season and even led the league with 36 home runs. But Alvarez is different this season and has committed a league high 24 errors this season. Additionally, he only has 15 homers and 49 RBIs, as well as a very unimpressive .234/.320/.400 slash line. It looks like manager Clint Hurdle will be moving Alvarez to first base while all-star Josh Harrison will see most of the third base activity for the rest of the season.
8/7/14: With the NL Central being the tightest division in MLB, and having four teams that could legitimately win the division, it was odd to see most of them stay inactive at the trade deadline. The Cardinals went out and got two starting pitchers, while the Pirates, Reds and Brewers were quiet. Well, it turns out that the Pirates may have made a big offer to Tampa for ace pitcher David Price. The offer would have been for prospects and minor leaguers, but the Rays wanted MLB players, and ended up trading Price to the Detroit Tigers.
7/31/14: It is no secret that the Pirates have not been the same team this season as they were a year ago, though they are still a strong team and have a great chance of making the playoffs. Starting third baseman Pedro Alvarez is one player who has struggled this season. Manager Clint Hurdle wants to look at his 'mental component' as a way to get him back on track. Alvarez has committed a MLB high 21 throwing errors this season and is only hitting .238. Perhaps there is a mental block that is keeping him from his optimal level and hopefully the Pirates will get it fixed soon.
7/24/14: Some may say the NL Central is a mess with four teams within three games of first place. That may be true if the division leader was at .500, but there are four good teams that deserve playoff bids in play, and likely only one or two will get in. That may put pressure on the Pirates to make a trade deadline move. There are a few options out there, but the Pirates may really be in the market for a true closer. Huston Street is not available now that he has gone to the Angels, so pickings may be slim.
7/17/14: The National League Central - arguably the best division from top to bottom (excluding the Cubs) - has gotten very interesting in the last two weeks. Milwaukee has led the division since day one and even had a 6.5 game lead as late at July 1. But they have gone on a seven game slide and lost 10 of 11. This has allowed the Cardinals to catch them and for the Pirates to pull within three games. So now the Pirates may be buyers at the trade deadline, with speculation that they may have interest in Huston Street from the Padres to be their new closer.
7/10/14: The Pirates have been on a bit of good run for the past few weeks, finally playing up to their potential. While they still trail the NL Central leading Brewers, they have closed the gap and at one point tied up with the St. Louis Cardinals for second in the division. But the All-Star break is coming this weekend and it is good timing. Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole left last Friday's game with soreness in his right lat. The hope is that it is a simple tweak and the break could give him a few more days to rest and recover - and they will need him in the stretch run as the Pirates try to return to the postseason.
7/3/14: The Pirates are spending this summer trying to bounce back from a lack-luster spring that has them nine games out of first place in the NL Central and fourth in the division. One player that will not be part of reclimbing the mountain is closer Jason Grilli. Grilli has struggled for much of the season and the team traded him last week to the LA Angles for their struggling closer, Ernest Frieri. If nothing else, the Pirates will get younger. Frieri is 28 while Grilli is 37. So far, Clint Hurdle has not made Frieri the closer, as Mark Melancon has been promoted to the role and may end up keeping it.
6/26/4: Pirates' fans will not have reliever Jason Grille to kick around anymore. Well, at least not as the team's closer. Manager Clint Hurdle demoted Grilli from the closer role after his latest gaffe. Grilli gave up a game-tying home run against the Reds, and that seems to have been the straw that broke the camel's back. A week earlier, Grilli allowed the Marlins to get back into a game in the ninth inning when the Pirates were up by three runs. Hurdle says that this is not meant to be a permanent change. Of course, that may depend upon how well Grilli's replacement, Mark Melanon, does with his opportunity.
6/19/14: The Pirates may have found something in newcomer Gregory Polanco. In only his fourth game as a major leaguer, Polanco had five hits including a game-winning two run homer in the 13th inning against the Marlins last Friday. In one of the best games of the weekend (that still sounds odd because both of those teams have struggled historically), the Pirates walked six batters and surrendered three runs in the ninth inning. That tied the game at six. Polanco bailed them out in the 13th inning, becoming just the second player in history to have a homerun and five hits in his first five games.
6/12/14: The Pirates are not having the season they imagined at the outset and currently are well behind the division leading Milwaukee Brewers. It just got a bit tougher for Pittsburge as they announced that starting pitcher Garritt Cole is going on the 15 day disabled list. Cole has battled shoulder fatigue for a while, so he may need a rest. The team moved Charlie Morton's start back a day to fill in for Cole and called up Jeff Lock from triple-A Indianapolis to make a spot start or two. It is a tough blow for Cole, but he is still only 23, so maybe the rest will serve him well.
6/6/14: The Pirates fans will not have pitcher Wandy Rodriguez to kick around anymore. The team designated him for assignment recently and has now given him his outright release. Therefore, he is free to sign with anyone. Rodriguez has struggled all season as he has been pitching with an arthritic elbow. He has a 6.75 ERA and is averaging less than five innings per start. The good news for the 35 year old pitcher is that he is a lefty, and lefties are valued by professional teams, so there is a good chance he will land somewhere soon.
5/29/14: No decision has to be made to day, but we are only about a month and a half away from the trade deadline in MLB. Granted that is a relative term because there are still lots of transactions after that July day, but it is the big one. If it were today, the Pirates would be in a tough spot. The are in third or fourth place in the NL Central (depending on the day), but only about six games out. Would they be buyers or sellers? If they end up selling assets, then Francisco Liriano may be on the move. He has struggled this season, but has a pretty solid resume to his credit. We will know more in six weeks or so.
5/22/14: What has happened to the Pirates this season? This is a team that finally broke through last year and looked like they had a promising future. Expectations in Pittsburgh are sky-high, so the fact that they are six games under 500 is a bit of a shock. The team has loads of talent but the starting pitching has left much to be desired. It also does not help that Gregory Polanco is stuck in AAA when he could start for most teams. If the team does not pick up the pace, then the blame should be on management for not replacing the quality players that left in the offseason.
5/15/14: The Pirates are starting to get back into this baseball thing again rolled off four consecutive wins. Pittsburgh got off to a sluggish start in the beginning of the season and dropped way down in the NL Central Standings. Not to Cubs level or anything like that, but it is an uphill battle. Starting pitching has been inconsistent so far, but the bullpen is earning their keep by keeping the team in games and shutting down opponents when needed. The first month and a half of the season is likely a blip on the radar as the Pirates have too much talent not to be competitive late in the season.
5/8/14: The National League Central Division seems to be turned on its head through the first six weeks of the season. The Milwaukee Brewers have a commanding lead in the division and the best record in all of baseball. The Pirates, who finally broke through last season, are playing like the Pirates of old and are seven games under .500. Fortunately, this is a long season and the best teams will eventually get to the top of the division. The Pirates do need more production on offense, but that is probably on its way in short order.
5/1/14: The National League Central division should be controlled by the Pittsburgh Pirates, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Cincinnati Reds. At least that is what all the 'experts' would say. And maybe that will end up being the case in four months. But today, the Brewers are dominating the division and have opened up a five game lead. Pittsburgh has not looked as good as expected, and is five games under 500. One issue is leadoff hitter Starling Marte, who has a major league leading 35 strike outs through 24 games. Leadoff hitters must get on base, and without an effective Marte, the Pirates are struggling to score.
4/24/14: Well that certainly took a long time. After an entire offseason of speculation and negotiation, the Mets finally traded first baseman Ike Davis. It was long thought that Davis would end up in Milwaukee, but it turns out that Pittsburgh won the sweepstakes last week. The Pirates designated Travis Ishikawa for assignment to make room for their new player. We do not know for sure yet, but it looks like the Pirates will go forward with their platoon play at first base. Davis should be up against right handed pitching and Gaby Sanchez will see playing time against the lefties.
4/17/14: Pittsburgh entered last weekend playing pretty well and boasting two wins for every loss with a 6-3 record. Then they ran into the buzzsaw that is the Milwaukee Brewers this spring. Milwaukee has won ten in a row, and the last three were against the Pirates, dropping the Pirates to .500 for the season and already four games out of the NL Central lead. There is no need to worry yet as the World Series is not won in April. And Pittsburgh still has a strong young team that made the playoffs last season and is itching for more. With 150 games left to play, the Pirates are just fine where they are, and should win around 90 games this season.
4/10/14: Everyone in the NL Central is trying to catch the St. Louis Cardinals. And while the Cardinals may be tired of the way the media has distorted the term "The Cardinal Way", they are the target of the division because they are consistently one of the best franchises in the league and are always competitive. The Pirates returned to respectability over the past few seasons and this may be the season they make it back to the World Series for the first time since the early 1990's. They rewarded both manager Clint Hurdle and general manager Neal Huntington with new contract through 2017. That kind of stability may allow the Pirates to catch the Cardinals.
4/3/14: A nice start to the new season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Bucs opened the season on Monday against the Chicago Cubs and battled through nine innings at a scoreless tie. The Pirates earned the win in dramatic fashion when second baseman Neil Walker turned on a Carlos Villanueva pitch for a solo, walk-off homer to win the first game of the season. It was the first by a Pirates' player on opening day since Bob Bailery hit a walk-off home run off of The Giants' Juan Marichal in another 10 inning, 1-0 game in 1965.
3/27/14: This is not much of a baseball story, but an interesting one nonetheless. It seems that the Pittsburgh Pirates had an indirect influence on the classic "Mr. Yuk" poison face sticker. Children of the 70's and 80's will immediately recognize Mr. Yuk stickers. It was the neon green sticker with a face cringing and sticking out his tongue. It was a logo to show children that a product was poisonous and should not be ingested. Prior to Mr. Yuk, the common symbol for poison was a skull and crossbones. But with the popularity of the Pirates in those days (who had a similar logo), it was realized that something else was needed.
3/20/14: Sometimes, experience trumps talent - at least in the eyes of the guy making the decision. For the Pirates right now, that means that is it is likely that Edinson Voloquez will make the starting rotation despite putting up terrible numbers in spring training. H statline shows 11 earned runs allowed on 14 hits and five walks with only eight strikeouts. That is a tough break for lefty Jeff Locke, who will probably move to the bullpen or be shipped down to AAA affiliate Indianapolis. Of course, if Voloquez keeps this up, then Locke will be called into service to replace him.
3/13/14: The Pirates are going to be depending on third baseman Pedro Alvarez this season, and if they are right, then his name will be on the game recaps more often than in the past. Alvarez was selected in 2008 by the Pirates in the draft. He had a great season last year with 36 home runs and over 100 RBIs. Now they need Alvarez to become a better hitter. He batted only .233 last season. So basically, it was either a big hit or an easy out. If Alvarez can grow to just an adequate .280 hitter, than the Pirates just got better without having to bring in a high priced free agent.
3/6/14: The Pirates are said to be scouting Mike Carp in the event that the Red Sox decide to either trade him or make him a free agent. Central Division rival Milwaukee is also interested in Carp, who is best known as a first baseman that can hit right-handed pitching very well (As a left handed hitter). However, he makes more sense on paper going to the Pirates. Pittsburgh has a hole at first base, with Gaby Sanchez slated at first, but could use Carp as a platoon depending on the pitching matchup. Carp may be available because David Ortiz is the DH for Boston and Mike Napoli will take over at first.
2/27/14: The Pirates still are trying to settle on their first baseman for the 2014 season. The team traded for Justin Morneau in the middle of the 2013 season. He did nothing to inspire the team and left via free agency for the Rockies. Garrett Jones may have gotten the job, but he is now with the Marlins. That leaves an opportunity for Gaby Sanchez, who wants to be an everyday player. However, the Pirates are also working out outfielder Andrew Lambo at first, which means there might be a platoon situation for the Pirates. While it is not what Sanchez wants, he says he will do whatever the team asks of him.
2/20/14: Not much loyalty or truth to pitcher A.J. Burnett and his word. Burnett famously said early in the offseason that he would retire or return to the Pirates. He then took a long time to decide, while the Pirates basically left a seat at the table for him. He finally decided to play. That sounded good for the Pirates. However, he turned down a one year deal from Pittsburgh worth $12 million and accepted a one year deal with cross-state Philadelphia for a whopping $16 million. It is hard to fault a guy for taking the extra 33%, but must be disheartening for the Pirates who accommodated him only to get left at the altar.
2/13/14: The Pirates deserve better than this. They publicly want veteran starting pitcher A.J. Burnett back. They have held a roster spot for him while he decided if he was going to pitch in 2014 or not. Now that he has decided on doing so, it should be a quick process to get him under contract. However, Burnett is also looking at the Baltimore Orioles and possibly the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies as well. That is a lot of faith in a guy who went 10-11 last season on a good team and does not seem fully committed this coming season.
2/6/14: The Pirates look like they have some more competition in their efforts to re-sign veteran starting pitcher A.J. Burnett. Burnett famously stated a while back that he would retire or only pitch for the Pirates. He has decided to pitch in 2014, and it looks like both the Baltimore Orioles and Philadelphia Phillies. Pittsburgh probably gives Burnett the best chance to win, as they did make the playoffs last season and could improve this coming season. It is also possible that Burnett (or his agent) is just trying to bid up the market so the Pirates shell out more money.
1/30/14: It took some time - probably more than the Pirates would have liked, but veteran starting pitcher A.J. Burnett has decided to play in 2014. He has long held that he would either retire or pitch only for the Pirates (though Baltimore tried to bait him several weeks ago). However, now there are reports that Burnett is open to pitching for another team and he does live close to Baltimore....so let the speculation begin. Many people thought that he may pull a Roy Oswalt or Roger Clemons and wait until mid-season before deciding to join with a contender.
1/23/14: The Pirates are going to have to figure out their first base scenario in pretty short order. The team currently has Gaby Sanchez slotted to play first since Justin Morneau left via free agency to Colorado (and was not very effective anyhow). Sanchez is much, much better against right handed pitching than left handed pitching, so he make more sense as a platoon player. The Mets would like to trade their 1B Ike Davis and replace him with a more consistent option. Milwaukee has been the team most mentioned in the Davis sweepstakes, but he could make very good sense in Pittsburgh as well.
1/16/14: The Pirates are still waiting on A.J. Burnett to make a final decision on whether he is coming back next season or not. Burnett has said that he will either retire or return to the Pirates. Baltimore has expressed interest in Burnett as well, but it seems like he is intent on Pittsburgh or nothing. The Pirates' pitching coach, Ray Searage, was interviewed on the radio recently and believes that Burnett will not return for another season. In any case, the Pirates may have to make a move soon. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to training camp in February, so time is rapidly running out.
1/9/14: The Pirates made a very minor move to add some outfield depth this past week. The team signed veteran Chris Dickerson to a minor league deal. He will go to spring training and try to win a spot on the Pirates bench, but may end up starting the season in AAA ball. Dickerson is now 32 years old and has a career batting average of .262 with a .745 OPS in 214 games. Last season, with Baltimore, he was below his career average line. He batted only .238 with four home runs and an OPS of .666 in just 56 games. Perhaps a change of scenery and coaching will help him out.
1/2/14: The Pirates look like they are getting a little anxious with their rotation for next season. The team would like to have veteran A.J. Burnett back, and Burnett has said that he will retire or return to the Pirates (though Baltimore is trying to get into the conversation as well). Burnett has not provided the team a decision, so the organization may be making other arrangements. The Pirates have been linked to Johan Santana, who missed all of last season recovering from surgery in his shoulder. Santana is now 34, but was one of the best pitchers in baseball from 2002-2010, and could provide veteran leadership in the rotation.
12/26/13: Pittsburgh looks to be in the market for a first baseman this offseason. They traded for Justin Morneau in midseason, and he was a serviceable alternative for their playoff drive. But the Pirates need an everyday and long term solution to this issue. They may have had interest in Logan Morrison and James Loney, but Morrison was traded to Seattle while the Tampa Bay Rays re-signed Loney. Pittsburgh could be a destination for the Mets' Ike Davis. Most people expect Milwaukee to make a trade for him, but the Pirates could damage a division rival if they can sneak in and get him now.
12/19/13: It has been well-documented that the Pirates finally broke through last season by making it to the playoffs. The expectations will be higher in 2014, and the Pirates seem content to roll with most of their returning lineup. They have signed starting pitcher Edinson Volquez and traded for catcher Chris Stewart, but otherwise there is little change. Pittsburgh may be getting impatient with starting pitcher A.J. Burnett - who says he will either come back to the Pirates or retire. That being said, Baltimore is now on record saying they would like to sign him as well.
12/12/13: The Pirates have said that they would like right handed pitcher A.J. Burnett back for another year and the Burnett himself has said that if he pitches in the 2014 then it would only be for the Pirates. His other option is to retire, which many people believe he is leaning towards. The problem is that Burnett has not made a decision yet and the Pirates front office needs to start setting their budget and roster for the next season pretty soon. So if Burnett does not make a choice soon, the Pirates will make it for him.
12/5/13: The Pirates made a minor move last week by signing pitcher Cody Eppley to a minor league contract with a non-roster invitation to spring training. If that name is familiar, it is because Eppley spent 2012 with the New York Yankees, posting 3.33 ERA in 46 innings as a middle reliever. Those were pretty good numbers, but he regressed in 2013 and spent most of the season in Triple-A ball with results that were not as good. For his career, he has a 4.61 ERA in just under 57 innings. Perhaps the Pirates think that he has the talent and they have the coaching to get him back to the majors.
11/28/13: Every team, of course, wants to make the playoffs to have a shot at winning the World Series. That is as obvious as saying that oxygen is good and sports bars have beer. But the money is good also. Making the post season earns players a portion of a bonus. The further the team goes, the more money they get in the bonus system. So a small market team like the Pirates can really benefit. Pittsburgh earned over $35,500 for their playoff run. While that sounds great, keep in mind what the World Series participants made: St. Louis players earned $228,000 while Red Sox players got $307,000. It pays be on a good team.
11/21/13: The Pirates' outfielder Andrew McCutchen won the National League MVP award last week, so congratulations to him and his team. Behind McCutchen, the Pirates made the playoffs for the first time in 21 years and look to be a contender for the next several seasons. McCutchen benefited from many voters splitting their votes between the Cardinals' catcher Yadier Molina and second baseman Matt Carpenter. While both Molina and McCutchen are worthy recipients, this certainly marks the acceptance of the Pirates as a legitimate team for the first time in decades. Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt finished second.
11/14/13: The Pirates want pitcher A.J. Burnett back. Burnett, 36, has not decided if he wants to come back or retire and spend more time with his family. He has said, though, that if he returns, then he wants to play for Pittsburgh. It is still early into the off season and no decisions are imminent, but perhaps Burnett pulls a Roger Clemons. Doing that would mean that Burnett would join the team in mid-season so he could have family time for a few more months. It would also allow the Pirates to pro-rate his contract so they would not be on the hook for the full amount.
11/7/13: After their breakout year, the Pirates should have every hope to keep the team together as best they can. Actually, much of the team has been together for the past few years as the team has gotten progressively better - growing from the cellar to the playoffs after a couple of dismal decades. Pitcher Wandy Rodriquez decided to exercise his $13 million option to stay with the team. Wandy missed four months of last season with injury, so he may not have had much of market to work with. He had a 3.59 ERA before going down with an elbow injury in June. When healthy, he is a mid-rotation starter and good for 10-15 wins a year.
10/31/13: The Pittsburgh Pirates may have to watch the St. Louis Cardinals play in the World Series this year, but the team is certainly on the rise and may get their moment soon enough. The team wants A.J. Burnett back in uniform for next season if he does not retire. Burnett has been strong ever since he left the Yankees, but his is undecided on returning or not. The Pirates also have three players nominated for Gold Glove awards: outfielders Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte, as well as catcher Russell Martin. McCutchen and Marte have great shots at their awards, but the Cardinals' Yadier Molina is generally the consensus pick at catcher.
10/24/13: The Pirates are going to have to deal with something that many of their fans have never dealt with in their lives - expectations. Certainly the Pirates have to be considered a playoff contender in 2014 - whether that is by winning the division or through the wild card system. As good as they were in 2013, they still could use a little bit extra to get them over the hump (read: past the Cardinals). They have a couple of interesting prospects for the pitching rotation and the outfield which could help - or they could try to spend a few dollars and get a Robinson Cano or Nelson Cruz.
10/17/13: The Pirates were able to return to the postseason for the first time since 1992. That's 21 years. That means that the Pirates' postseason drought was old enough to drink legally. Pittsburgh put up a great fight and they easily had the most enthusiastic fans in the three games they hosted. Unfortunately for them, the St. Louis Cardinals had to much talent and depth. The Cardinals were down in the series 2 games to 1, but battled back to win in five games. A great season for the Pirates and expect them to be a contending team for some time.
10/10/13: The return of playoff baseball to Pittsburgh has been a smashing success. The Pirates defeated the Reds in a one game play-in game with a crazy fan environment. They beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-1 in St. Louis in Game 2 and won 5-3 at home in Game 3. That gave the Pirates a 2-1 series lead and a lot of love from the fans and media experts. The Cardinals' rookie pitcher Michael Wacha kept the Pirates without a hit into the eight inning in Game 4, which the Cards won 2-1 to force a decisive Game 5 in St. Louis on Wednesday. Winner plays L.A. in the NLCS.
10/3/13: The Pirates were able to hold off the Cincinnati Reds enough to earn the home field in the wild card game, then they parlayed that into a victory to get to the real playoffs. Pittsburgh's return to the postseason after a 21 year absence had a jubilant and excited crowd - enough to push the Steelers to second fiddle for the time being. Pittsburgh now advances to face the St. Louis Cardinals in the Divisional Round. The Cardinals had the best record in the National League with 97 wins, though the Pirates were 11-8 against them this year. The winner advances to play the winner of the Braves/Dodgers series in the NLCS.
9/26/13: Congratulations go out to the Pittsburgh Pirates who have officially qualified for the playoffs - their first appearance since 1992. Whether they go in as the NL Central champs or have to play a wild card game is still undecided. The St. Louis Cardinals hold a two game lead in the division, but the season is not over yet. The Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds will both be in the post season as well, and the Washington Nationals are eliminated. The Pirates may just be happy to get there, but they still have some work to do. Their final series of the regular season is against the Reds and will help decide the playoff seeding.
9/19/13: The regular season only has a couple weeks left and nothing is decided in the National League Central (except that the Brewers are praying for the end of the season and this will be 105 years since the Cubs last won the World Series). Pittsburgh secured their first winning season in two decades last week and are seeking the NL Central crown. A lot will be decided this week and next, especially since the Pirates still have six games remaining with the Cincinnati Reds. It is conceivable, should one team dominate the other in those two series, that the loser will miss the playoffs completely. The Washington Nationals are playing their best ball of the year and could use a late season collapse by the Pirates or Reds to sneak into the playoffs.
9/12/13: The best division race in baseball keeps getting more compelling. The Pirates sat on 81 wins for four games - all losses. Three of those games were to the St. Louis Cardinals who took the opportunity to seize first place from the Pirates. This put Pitt back in the wild card race, one game behind St. Louis and one game ahead of the Reds. The Pirates finally did get their 82nd win of the season and this is significant because it means they will have a record above .500 for the first time since 1992. But this race is not over yet, and the Pirates still have several games against the Reds.
9/4/13: The Pirates entered into a decisive three game series against the Cardinals at a game back and came out of the series tied for the lead in the NL Central. Pittsburgh held the Redbirds to just one run over the first two games and by doing so, clinched the season series. The Pirates travel to St. Louis this week for the final series against the Cardinals this regular season. Pittsburgh continues to add new blood in preparation for the playoffs, this time trading for Justin Morneau, formerly of the Minnesota Twins. With just a few more weeks in the season, the Pirates are on track to make their first postseason in 20 years.
8/29/13: The Pittsburgh Pirates are the media darlings this season, after 20 years of futility and missing the playoffs. It seems about certain that the team will make the postseason, the only question is will it be as the division champion or as a wild-card team. The Pirates, Cardinals, and Reds are locked in a heated battle. The Pirates and Cardinals are tied with the Reds only 2.5 games back. The division champion goes to the first round. The wild-cards have a one-game play-in game to determine who moves on. In any case, this is the best race in all of baseball.
8/22/13: The Pirates will be without closer Jason Grille for another few weeks, as he is not expected to return until September. The Pirates now find themselves in a heated three way race for the NL Central crown. They lead the division, but the Cardinals are only two games back and the Reds are only down 3.5. Chances are that all three will make the playoffs, but they each want the division title. The Pirates have struggled lately, getting blasted 15-5 by the Diamondbacks after dropping two of three to the Cardinals. They have two more series with St. Louis, so this has the makings of a great finish.
8/15/13: The Pirates have not fallen yet. There is still time, but this could be the year they finally break through and end their 20 year playoff drought. The Pirates have been hovering at the top of the NL Central the past two years at mid season, only to completely collapse in 2011 and 2012. This time they have built up a four game cushion on the Cardinals and a six game lead on the Reds. Taking four of five from St. Louis was a big bump, and they need to continue their strong play while St. Louis is struggling. They have a shot at the best record in the NL, though Atlanta is the best team in the majors right now.
8/8/13: The Pirates seized control of the NL Central lead and now have the best record in all of Major League Baseball. The team hosted the Cardinals for a rare five game series, which included a double header. Pittsburgh took four of five games, which completely altered the NL Central dynamic. Now the Cardinals are the ones playing catch-up. Both teams should make the playoffs, either as the division champion or as a wild card. If nothing else, both teams would like to put some distance from the Reds, who could be dangerous in the playoffs if they can qualify.
8/1/13: A big part of the Pirates success this year has been the unexpected emergence of Jason Grille in the closer role. Grille was leading the national league in saves going into the weekend, but injured his arm. He is expected to miss four to eight weeks for recovery. That is a big blow to a team that is in playoff contention. While it certainly does not close the door on the Pirates making the playoffs for the first time in two decades, it does make the road that much more difficult, especially since the Cardinals and Reds are in the same division and the Dodgers are playing much better lately.
7/25/13: A bit of good news for the Pirates as they start the stretch run. Left handed pitcher Wandy Rodriguez is set to begin throwing next week. He has not made a start since June 5 and even had a platelet rich plasma injection a few weeks ago to help out with elbow and forearm issues. If he can throw without any setbacks, then Wandy may get a rehab assignment in mid-August. The Pirates are trying to end about two decades of mediocrity and finally advance to the playoffs. They are in good shape now, but still have to worry about the Cardinals and the Reds.
7/18/13: Give the Pirates credit for going on a 9 game winning streak and finding themselves neck and neck with the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL Central lead. The pitching has been very good all season, particularly the bullpen. The knock on the team is that they need another bat, especially in right field. Reports indicate that the team is examining deals for Nate Schierholtz and Alex Rios. Either would be an upgrade from their current rotating situation which has only produced a batting average of .239 this season, with Travis Snider getting most of the playing time.
7/11/13: The Pirates continue to roll through the first half of the season. They have taken over sole possession of first place from the somewhat struggling Cardinals, and actually lead the entire league in the standings. However, we are nearing the All-Star break and we have seen this movie for the last two years. The Pirates hovering around the top of the standings only to completely fall apart in the second half. Many experts believe this year will be different (the same guys said the same thing last year) because the team has better pitching and more experienced. However, let's reserve judgement for another month or so.
7/4/13: Pittsburgh did it again. They managed to move into first place in the NL Central ahead of the All-Star Break. The Pirates have been surging while the St. Louis Cardinals have struggled against the AL West of late. The Pirates not only have the best record in the NL Central, but they also have the best record in the entire league. The Cardinals are a game back, and the Reds are not too far behind. The Pirates have been in this position for the past two years and have fallen apart. This team may have learned from their prior mistakes and be ready to make a run to October.
6/27/13: Maybe the Pirates are for real this year. For the last two seasons, the Pirates started very strong. And both times they collapsed after the All-Star Game. Last year, they even led the NL Central before dropping completely out of contention in their quest to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 1993. But this year may be different. They are more mature and experienced, and they have a new toy - starting pitcher Garrett Cole. Cole was called up last week and is destroying opposing batters with a 101 mph fastball. With their weapons, they can challenge the Reds and Cardinals for the rest of the season.
6/13/13: The Pirates, believe it or not, are among the better teams in the league this season. Their problem is that they play in the NL Central with the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds, who are two other exceptional teams. The Pirates became the first team to 10 shutouts this season by blanking the Chicago Cubs (again). It is the third time this season that Pittsburgh has not allowed any Cub runs, and speaks to the validity of the Pirates' pitching staff. The team still has a long way to go to make the playoffs for the first time since 1993, and will try to avoid the second half slump that plagued them the past two years.
6/6/13:During the first three innings Francisco Liriano had some great pitches and seemed unstoppable overall. The Cincinnati Reds didn't seem to be able to get ahead. "Liriano was unbelievable," Baker said. "He was pitching backward, like American League style with breaking balls and change-ups early in the count then fastballs later in the count. All I knew about him is he's a kid we tried to trade for when he was with Minnesota. And I see why. He was really good." Liriano appeared to beat Phillips to the bag but first base umpire Bob Davidson called the runner safe. The Pirates had a loss of 2-0 against the Reds at PNC Park.
5/30/13: You may have heard this before. The Pittsburgh Pirates are near the top of the division after a few months of the season. For the past two seasons, the Pirates have been at or near the top of the NL Central at the All-Star Break. Both times they collapsed in the second half of the season and missed the playoffs. Again. The Pirates have not made the postseason since 1993. This time, they are in third in the NL Central and playing very well. But, the Cardinals and Reds are playing even better. The three teams have the three best records in the majors through Memorial Day. If the Pirates can keep going, then this should be an outstanding race to watch through the rest of the season.
5/23/13: Tuesday night was a memorable one for Pirates fans. Travis Snider had his first career home run and it happened to be a pinch-hit grand slam. The Pirates haven't had a pinch-hit grand slam since 2008 by Jason Michaels. "I actually grabbed the wrong helmet because I was kind of caught off guard," Snider said. "I didn't really know what I was supposed to do." The Pirates had a 5-4 victory against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park. Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates sat out during a previous game due to his sore knee. He made two of the Pirates' three outs during the sixth, leaving the bases loaded to end the inning.
5/9/13: Maybe this sounds familiar. The Pirates are off to a strong start. They trail the NL leading St. Louis Cardinals by one game, and are just ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds (and everyone is well ahead of the Chicago Cubs). The Pirates took two of three from the Cardinals in St. Louis - and always seem to have the Redbirds number (at least in the first half of the year). Closer Jason Grille is having a standout year so far and leads the majors in saves. The Pirates have collapsed in the second half for the past two years, but maybe this time they will be able to string 162 games together and make the playoffs for the first time since 1993.
The Pittsburgh Pirates had no answers for Chad Billingsley on Tuesday as they were shut out by the Los Angeles Dodgers by the score of 11-0. Keven Correia got the start for Pittsburgh and it's safe to say he didn't have his best stuff. While he did manage to last six innings, he gave up five earned runs on seven hits and a walk. Offensively, the Pirates managed to scatter just five hits and were an paltry 0-7 with runners in scoring position. No player managed more than a single hit on the day, with Starling Marte's stolen base in the fourth inning the only real excitement that they managed throughout the game. Wandy Rodriguez will get the ball for Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
Kevin Correia pitched well enough to earn his ninth win of the season on Tuesday as he led his Pittsburgh Pirates to a 7-6 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Correia pitched six innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits and three walks. He also added five strikeouts over the course of his 90 pitch outing to help seal the deal. Offensively, Neil Walker, Starling Marte and Jordy Mercer all went deep in the victory, each player accounting for all of the runs batted in on the game. Despite only nine hits, they were solid overall in the clutch, with the team hitting a solid 3-7 with runners in scoring position.
Despite only lasting five innings, Jeff Karstens was good enough to pick up the victory as he propelled the Pittsburgh Pirates to an 8-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field. Karstens allowed just one earned run over his five innings of work, surrendering three hits and a walk over his 93 pitch outing. He also earned his fourth victory of the season and lowered his ERA to 3.70 thus far. Offensively, Starling Marte and Mike McKenry each had home runs for Pittsburgh, while Garrett Jones also contributed three runs batted in for the cause. Overall, the team struggled with runners in scoring position, hitting just 2-11 not eh day.
Jack McDonald didn't have his best stuff on Tuesday night and Paul Maholm was on fire as the Pittsburgh Pirates dropped a 5-1 ball game to the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park. McDonald pitched six innings, allowing five earned runs on five hits and three walks. He also added six strikeouts on the day, but in the process also picked up his fourth loss of the year. Offensively, Garrett Jones provided the lone run, hitting his 14th home run of the year in the fourth off Maholm. The blast also gave him 44 runs batted in to go along with a .263 clip on the season so far. Overall, the team only managed five hits off Maholm and the Cubs bullpen.
The surprising Pittsburgh Pirates are winners of 7 of their last 10 games and are 29-27, currently 2 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the NL Central lead. The Pirates have been playing very consistent baseball as of late, led by great pitching from James McDonald, who is 5-2 with a 2.14 ERA. Despite being close to the bottom of the league in runs, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, the Pirates are finding ways to win. They will begin a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals on Friday night and will send Erik Bedard (3-6) to the mound against Luke Hochevar.
Despite being swept by the Baltimore Orioles this week, the Pittsburgh Pirates didn't really lose too much ground, and managed to remain tied for second- place with the St. Louis Cardinals, three games behind the first-place Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central. The Pirates, at 32-30, are one of the surprise stories of the season thus far and are looking to finish above .500 for the first time in over a decade. They still have a long road ahead of them though, and will face the Cleveland Indians this weekend in an interleague series at Progressive Field.
Pittsburgh Pirates starter Charlie Morton had a rough outing on Tuesday night as he gave up five earned runs in just 4.1 innings to pick up his second loss of the season. The Pirates dropped the game by the score of 10-7 and were bested by St. Louis Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright, who gave up four earned runs through seven innings. Jose Tabata crushed his first home run of the season for Pittsburgh off of Wainwright, while Pedro Alvarez also added a home run in the seventh. The Pirates will turn to starter A.J. Burnett for a victory on Wednesday night.
While the Pittsburgh Pirates have been playing solid baseball in the month of April, the team has struggled to break the .500 mark and currently sports an 8-10 record in the National League Central. The division-leading Cardinals have not run away with the division just yet and the team finds itself only three and half games out of first place. Andre McCutchen continues to impress baseball fans across the board, leading the squad with a .329 batting average, 10 runs scored a .773 OPS. Kevin Correia has also been solid on the mound, leading the pitching staff with an even 2.00 ERA through his first four starts of the season.
While scoring runs has not been easy for the PIttsburgh Pirates through the first four games of the season, the team has managed to amass a 2-2 record through their first week of the season. Strong starting pitching performances from Eric Bedard, Kevin Correia, Jeff Karstens and James McDonald have kept the team in games and allowed small bits of offense to win them games. Offensively, left-fielder Alex Presley leads the team in batting with a .353 average, while Pedro Alvarez has smacked the team's lone home run. The team heads into a three game series against the 1-3 San Francisco Giants this weekend.
Pittsburgh Pirates Tickets - Team History
Pittsburgh Pirates tickets allow fans the opportunity to experience one of baseball's oldest franchises. The Pirates, based in Pittsburgh since 1882, have won five World Series championships to go along with nine NL pennants. The Pirates play at the PNC Park, which seats just 38,496 people, making it the second-smallest capacity of any Major League ballpark. PNC Park has also been hailed as one of the best ballparks in the country. Grab some Pirates tickets and enjoy a game this season!
Pittsburgh Pirates Tickets - Season Info
It's been tough sledding for the Pittsburgh Pirates in recent years, but the team looks to take big steps forward in the AL East in 2011. Last season didn't begin the way the Pirates planned, but encouragement and hope comes with the hiring of Clint Hurdle, who managed the Colorado Rockies to a NL pennant in 2007. The club will look for marked improvements from young guns Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan in 2011 but solid contributions need to be made throughout the team for it to win games next season.
Pittsburgh Pirates Tickets - Ticket Information
Pittsburgh Pirates tickets ensure that fans see the Pirates playing top contenders throughout the entire MLB season. The Pirates have their work cut out for them in an always-tough National League Central. With matchups with great teams like the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds and non-divisional meetings with the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies throughout the season, the Pirates will have plenty of opportunity to test themselves against top talent in 2011. Be a part of this great tradition and don't miss the action!
Pittsburgh Pirates Tickets - 2011 Season Update
The first half of the season turned out great for the Pirates. They were in a battle for first in the NL Central with the Cardinals and the Brewers. Its been a pleasant surprise for the city of Pittsburgh. Andrew McCutchen has been playing great baseball but recently the Pirates have been slacking. All season they have been exceeding expectations but they haven't been able to carry the momentum through the All-Star break into the second half. Although the they may not make the play offs this year, this team is definitely improving and is getting ready to make a run for the world series in the future.
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I wouldn't put NFL preseason games on this list last week, and this week's no different. Just can't do it. I mean, besides the fact that the NFL charges regular season prices for preseason football, it's just bad football. Thankfully, there's plenty of other action to take its place. #5. Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox…Read more
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Opening Day / Pittsburgh Pirates First Game 2015
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Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training Beginning 2015
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|Mar 28, 2015||Toronto Blue Jays vs Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Mar 29, 2015||Pittsburgh Pirates vs Atlanta Braves|
|Mar 30, 2015||Philadelphia Phillies vs Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Mar 31, 2015||Pittsburgh Pirates vs Detroit Tigers|
|Apr 1, 2015||Pittsburgh Pirates vs Baltimore Orioles|
|Apr 2, 2015||Pittsburgh Pirates vs New York Yankees|
Pittsburgh Pirates Past Games Schedule and Pittsburgh Pirates Scores
|Mar 26, 2015||Spring Training: Atlanta Braves - Pittsburgh Pirates||7 - 5|
|Mar 24, 2015||Spring Training: Baltimore Orioles - Pittsburgh Pirates||9 - 2|
|Mar 23, 2015||Pittsburgh Pirates - Tampa Bay Rays||7 - 6|
|Mar 22, 2015||Spring Training: Pittsburgh Pirates - Houston Astros||2 - 14|
|Mar 21, 2015||Spring Training: Boston Red Sox - Pittsburgh Pirates||2 - 2|
|Mar 20, 2015||Spring Training: Philadelphia Phillies - Pittsburgh Pirates||5 - 6|
|Mar 20, 2015||Pittsburgh Pirates - Minnesota Twins Spring Training||4 - 2|
|Mar 19, 2015||Spring Training: Pittsburgh Pirates - Baltimore Orioles||4 - 6|
|Mar 18, 2015||Spring Training: Detroit Tigers - Pittsburgh Pirates||7 - 8|
|Mar 17, 2015||Spring Training: Houston Astros - Pittsburgh Pirates||13 - 7|
|Mar 15, 2015||Spring Training: Baltimore Orioles - Pittsburgh Pirates||2 - 4|
|Mar 14, 2015||Spring Training: Pittsburgh Pirates - Boston Red Sox||5 - 2|
|Mar 13, 2015||Spring Training: Minnesota Twins - Pittsburgh Pirates||8 - 3|
|Mar 12, 2015||Spring Training: Boston Red Sox - Pittsburgh Pirates||5 - 1|
|Mar 11, 2015||Spring Training: Pittsburgh Pirates - Philadelphia Phillies||2 - 3|
|Mar 10, 2015||Pittsburgh Pirates - Tampa Bay Rays||4 - 3|
|Mar 9, 2015||Spring Training: Minnesota Twins - Pittsburgh Pirates||1 - 1|
|Mar 8, 2015||Spring Training: Pittsburgh Pirates - Toronto Blue Jays||1 - 0|
|Mar 7, 2015||Spring Training: Tampa Bay Rays - Pittsburgh Pirates||1 - 1|