Pirates Get Offense Going, Get Back To .500 ((FREE))
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After a 2-5 start, the Pirates were just one game from getting back to .500 in the regular season.In their final game of the week, Moapa Valley traveled to Valley High School to take on the Vikings. Stewart was still taking snaps on offense.
1. Best case: With series against the Reds, Braves, White Sox and Brewers early in the second half, the Cubs might not feel particularly motivated to make an addition at the trade deadline. They could win 100 games again even without a full season of good health from their rotation -- within reason. Kris Bryant is only two years into his meteoric career, Jason Heyward should rebound and Kyle Schwarber will be back for a full season. What was already a very good offense should be even better. Barring the unforeseen, Chicago's real tests start in October.
2. Worst case: In September, Houston's opponents project above .500 overall, the only month this is the case. The Astros' offense seems like a good bet, but the pitching could be reason for concern. If Keuchel and McCullers pitch more like No. 3 and No. 4 starters than No. 1 and No. 2, they never swing a trade for another impact starter and the bullpen logs too many innings, the Astros could stumble.
2. Worst case: Could a May stretch featuring matchups with each of last season's other National League playoff teams sink the Giants The middle of the NL is likely to be better this season, and San Francisco will find itself in that crowd if Melancon proves to be a bad investment, the rotation becomes taxed and the top-heavy offense struggles to score runs. The Giants always seem to find a way, but there is a sub-.500 floor to this team.
3. Swing factors: If St. Louis can't get back above .500 by the time they finish with the Reds, Phillies and Brewers in early June, they might end up below it at season's end. The consensus is the Cardinals weren't a good defensive team in 2016, though the metrics gave them mixed reviews -- they had a plus-4 rating in defensive runs saved (13th in MLB), but UZR put them at minus-27 (24th). Inconsistent lineups were part of the problem as only Yadier Molina and Stephen Piscotty stayed at one position. Fowler was the big offseason move, allowing Randal Grichuk to slide over to left field to replace Matt Holliday. Aledmys Diaz looked better at shortstop in the second half, and the Kolten Wong outfield experiment won't happen again.
2. Worst case The O's have a tough stretch to end the season, last playing a team with a projected record under .500 on Aug. 23. The Orioles' projected September/October winning percentage (.492) is their worst monthly record of the season. While the O's could contend, there are several stumbling blocks -- Machado missing time; Chris Davis having one of his low-average, massive-strikeout seasons; and no real solution emerging in left field. If the starting rotation isn't healthy or effective, it would tax the team's biggest strength -- the back of the bullpen. If things go wrong, all of the last-place forecasts come true, leaving the Orioles scrambling to determine their next step with Machado one year away from free agency.
1. Best case: June projects as the Tigers' best month (.525 winning percentage). If they finish the month below .500 after late-June series against the Padres and Royals, they are likely to stay there. But the Tigers' aging core could be durable enough for one more run as a group. The offense has the potential to rank among the AL's best, but the starting rotation must perform well enough to justify midseason acquisitions. otherwise there is no reason to foresee a second-half boost.
1. Best case: ZiPS picks the Pirates to finish above .500, and that's fueled in part by the opponents the Bucs face in May -- a group that projects at a .479 clip. The Pirates will be dangerous if Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon put in full seasons and evolve into one of the best one-two rotation punches in the NL, Tyler Glasnow joins them as a legit No. 3 and Andrew McCutchen bounces back to give Pittsburgh one of the best outfields in the game.
1. Best case: A healthy dose of below-.500 opponents (Reds, Royals, A's) in June gives the Yankees their best projected month. This month the young hitters burst onto the scene, Gary Sanchez becomes an MVP candidate and Gleyber Torres forces his way into the big-league lineup. With the offense back among the elite, the starting rotation does just enough to put a great bullpen in plenty of high-leverage situations, and this easier stretch in June feeds the young squad's confidence.
1. Best case: With 15 games against below-.500 teams, August appears to be the Angels' easiest month. If Mike Trout is on pace for both Triple Crowns (AVG/HR/RBI, plus AVG/OBP/SLG), Albert Pujols has a strong late-career surge, the starting rotation stays healthy and the back of the bullpen holds up, a late August run could propel them to a wild-card spot.
1. Best case: Arizona's best shot to play above-.500 ball is a June featuring a healthy dose of the Padres, Brewers and Phillies. This month Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller return to form, Taijuan Walker becomes a top No. 3 guy in the rotation and the offense breaks out thanks to the return of A.J. Pollock. Arizona needs almost everything to go right, but if that comes close to happening, there are enough impact players to climb over .500.
2. Worst case: ZiPS doesn't project Arizona to be the favorite in a single August game, which could expose a thin roster leaning heavily on a few stars. If the starters don't regress, the bullpen implodes and the so-so offense is exposed by an off-year from Pollock and/or Paul Goldschmidt, the D-backs will be feeling the heat over the summer.
1. Best case: July projects as Oakland's best month (.466 winning percentage). If the A's can consistently beat the Braves, White Sox and Twins in July, maybe they will have a chance at another Moneyball miracle. The rotation could be one of the five best in the AL, and if the defense overachieves, the bullpen becomes a lockdown unit and the offense scores just enough, the A's could get back into playoff contention. That's a lot of ifs.
Sophomore Michelle Stalbaum led the Bulls' offense, tallying 18 kills. Two other USF players posted double-digit kill matches, as freshman Stephanie Augustavo netted 11 kills and sophomore Kristina Fabris posted 14. In addition, Augustavo hit .333 in the match, Kate Verhoff hit .625 leading the team and Ashley McDowell hit .500 as the freshmen had solid offensive performances.
USF's offense got off to a slow start in game two, scoring two points to Seton Hall's 10. The Bulls finally got some scoring going, tallying four-straight points to put the score at 10-6. The Pirates' offense would not let down, though, using a 7-4 run to take a 17-11 lead. USF would not go quietly, chipping into the lead by cutting it down to one point, 23-22. After Seton Hall took a timeout, the momentum shifted into the Pirates' corner, as they went on a 7-1 run to close out the game, 30-23.
Game three featured the Bulls taking their first lead to open a game, 5-2. Seton Hall quickly answered back, using a 5-1 run to tie it and then take lead, 7-6. From that point on both teams fought hard, as the game featured 12 ties and seven lead changes. With the score tied at 20 all, USF took command of the game, as its offense overpowered the Pirates by using a 10-3 run to pick up its first win of the match, 30-23. The Bulls' offense surged in their game victory, out-hitting the Pirates .262 to .167.
Game four started out just like the previous setsboth teams fighting for the advantage. With 12 ties to open up the game, neither offense would let down, with one always countering the other. Seton Hall was the first to put together multiple scoring chances, taking the largest advantage of the game, 19-15. USF did not give up, though, answering back by coming within one point, 26-25. USF finally tied the score, 27-27, but the Pirates posted the match win by closing out the game, 30-28.
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates pulled into the All-Star break four games over .500 and just one game out of first place. Those American Idol hopefuls who crammed Heinz Field last week aren't the only dreamers on the North Side. The Pirates are back on the local sports radar after 18 years of irrelevance. As of today, there are still 60 games left in the season, a long way to go. A lot can happen, good or bad. The Pirates have been here before, with three surprising seasons in the franchise's past.
We have a battle between two below .500 teams in interleague play on Tuesday. Still, it's a closely contested matchup where there is definitely some money to be made. Despite having the worse record, I'm confident in backing the Rockies at home.
Meanwhile, Marquez has really pitched well over the past month and change. In his three August starts, the right-hander has surrendered three runs or less in each of those outings while also lasting six innings in each contest. Marquez has also yielded two runs or less in five of his last seven starts, dating back to July 10. Oh, and despite being 17 games under .500, the Rockies are tied with Toronto for the highest batting average (.262) in all of baseball. Look for Colorado's offense to do enough to back another solid outing from Marquez.
Conklin is tied for the Jets lead with 18 catches. He also was building a nice rapport with Wilson before the quarterback was injured. Uzomah is off to a slow start with one catch on one target in two games (he missed Week 2 with a hamstring injury). LaFleur wants to get Uzomah more involved in the offense, and this is the perfect week to do so. 1e1e36bf2d