In Altoona tonight, top ranked prospect Tyler Glasnow will make his second start of the season. This site will have live coverage of the game, with Tim Williams attending, along with new writer Sean McCool, who will be providing live coverage throughout the year for Altoona. I mentioned prior to Glasnow’s first start that is was a big start due to the fact he was making the jump to AA, but it was just another start for him due to the fact it was just one game.
Tonight’s start is much the same, but it’s still a start fans will be watching very closely. Glasnow pitched like Tyler Glasnow in his first start. He was nearly unhittable, getting strikeouts when his pitches were on and he ran up his pitch count early due to four walks and some deep counts.
That is what we have seen over the last two seasons, though he did show some improvements in 2014 over the previous season. What you hope for are less starts like his first one and more where he attacks hitters. You expect some bumps in the road, no one his age just clicks over night and goes from 4.5 BB/9 to Greg Maddux with pinpoint control. No one expects that, but if you see slight improvements this year and he’s even better at Indianapolis next year, then he will be up mid-season and part of the Pirates rotation for years to come.
You may have heard some people who rank prospects say that he could be a September bullpen option for the Pirates, but I think we will see the same path with Glasnow, as we saw with Adrian Sampson last year. Even though Sampson had the second best ERA in the Eastern League, he was there until August and got four Indianapolis starts at the end of the season. In 2013, Jameson Taillon got six late-season starts for Indianapolis after pitching well at Altoona. The Pirates were in a playoff race that year, he was their best pitching prospect and they didn’t call him up for a pennant run. I don’t expect them to do that with Glasnow either.
I mentioned yesterday about the lack of scoring from Indianapolis and Altoona. They didn’t do much better on Thursday, scoring three runs total. Indianapolis did get their first home run of the season when third baseman Deibinson Romero went deep, but that accounted for their only run. Altoona played 12 innings, scored twice, with the second run coming home on a bases loaded walk, which ended the game. They will eventually start to both hit, but not many players from either team look good right now. It was encouraging to see Alen Hanson get two hits and Josh Bell drive a triple to the gap.
Speaking of Josh Bell, his home run drought has reached a ridiculous level for someone so strong, who consistently makes solid contact, albeit with no loft to his swing. He finished last year with 200 straight plate appearances without a homer. Then he batted 97 times in the AFL without a homer. In between, he had eight plate appearances in All-Star games(FSL, Futures, AFL), giving him 305 straight plate appearances without a homer. Bell batted three times in Spring Training games this year, and has 31 plate appearances for Altoona, giving him 339 at-bats without a homer.
I have a feeling that once the drought ends, we won’t see a new one from him anywhere near half as long. We just don’t know when it will end.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 1-0 to the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday, dropping two of three in the series. They now open up a three-game series at home against the Milwaukee Brewers. Last week, the Pirates won two games in Milwaukee, including a 6-2 win with Jeff Locke on the mound. He makes his second start of the season tonight.
In the minors, Tyler Glasnow gets his second start, trying to extend the amazing run by Altoona starters, who have allowed one earned run in 37 innings this year. Casey Sadler gets his first minor league start, after winning his first big league start on Sunday against the Brewers. Steven Brault makes his second start for Bradenton. He is one of the two lefties the Pirates received back in the Travis Snider deal. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.
MLB: Pittsburgh (3-6) vs Brewers (2-7) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Jeff Locke (3.00 ERA, 1:2 BB/SO, 6.0 IP)
From Thursday night in Indianapolis, the home run from Deibinson Romero mentioned above. He is 3-for-13 so far, with a homer, double and five walks.
4/16: Jordan Luplow added to West Virginia Power. Jose Regalado transferred to West Virginia Black Bears.
4/16: Kelson Brown transferred to West Virginia Black Bears.
4/14: Jose Regalado added to West Virginia Power. Erik Forgione assigned to West Virginia Black Bears
4/14: Collin Balester assigned to Altoona.
4/13: Pirates release Jonathan Sandfort.
4/13: Francisco Liriano reinstated from paternity list. Casey Sadler optioned to Indianapolis.
4/12: Chris Stewart assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
4/12: Justin Topa placed on Bradenton disabled list. Matt Benedict assigned to Bradenton from Altoona
4/11: Pedro Florimon clears waivers. Assigned to Indianapolis.
4/11: Stolmy Pimentel claimed off waiver by the Texas Rangers.
4/9: Chris Stewart assigned to Altoona on rehab. Jaff Decker assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
4/7: Pirates release Matt Nevarez, Andrew Dennis and Dwight Childs.
4/5: Pirates recall Rob Scahill, designate Stolmy Pimentel and Pedro Florimon for assignment.
4/5: Pirates place Charlie Morton, Brandon Cumpton, Jaff Decker, Justin Sellers and Chris Stewart on the disabled list.
This Date in Pirates History
Just one former Pittsburgh Pirates player born on this date, 1931 pitcher Bob Osborn, so we concentrate on a big day in team history. At the time it didn’t seem like a big day and the Pirates lost 10-3 to the Dodgers in game one of a doubleheader, but it ended up being the beginning of a historic career. Batting third and playing right field was Roberto Clemente, making his Major League debut sixty years ago today. He went 1-for-4, scoring a run and collecting his first hit off Johnny Podres. Clemente had an infield single in his first career at-bat, then scored on a triple from Frank Thomas one batter later. In game two that day, Clemente batted lead-off and played center field. He had two hits in the second game and scored another run.