San Diego took care of business along the Allegheny River on Sunday as they defeated the Pirates 8-2. It was the Padres 14th straight series victory at PNC Park, although the season series was tied at three wins apiece.
Coming off the weekend, I have a question for the Pirates: Is Pedro Alvarez going to be able to get back on the lineup card soon? On Sunday, with neither Andrew McCutchen nor Neil Walker available, “El Toro” sat when righty Tyson Ross threw against the Bucs in favor of Jayson Nix.
Nix went 0 for 3 to make him 9 for 55 this season with the Phillies and Pittsburgh. That works out as a .164 batting average. The other second baseman who can fill in for Walker is Michael Martinez and he is hitting .143 over 35 at-bats in 22 games.
Alvarez entered on defense at third base as part of an eighth-inning double switch. He struck out in the bottom of the inning against reliever Dale Thayer. He has just 33 plate appearances since the all-star break.
I know there are pros and cons about moving Alvarez over to first base this late in the season. On the most recent Three Rivers, One Show podcast here on City of Champions, the editors kicked around the idea of putting Alvarez in right field with Marte in center and Polanco in left with McCutchen out of action. Josh Harrison would remain at third and Ike Davis at first.
Since 2001, right field at PNC Park has been patrolled by Ryan Doumit, Brandon Moss, Eric Hinske, Craig Wilson, Rob Mackowiak and Travis Snider, among others – a group not exactly in the class of the legendary Roberto Clemente or seven-time all-star Dave “The Cobra” Parker.
A move to right field would allow Alvarez’s bat back in the lineup and give him some more time to learn and work at the nuances of first base in practice sessions.
The Jolly Roger crew hosts a two-game interleague series with the Detroit Tigers this week, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. Monday. The Tigers will send right-hander Justin Verlander (10-10, 4.57 ERA) to the mound while the Bucs will counter with lefty Jeff Locke (3-3, 3.78 ERA).
The 26-year-old Locke will be making his 13th start of the season on Monday night. He has posted a 3.41 ERA in seven starts at PNC Park this season. The game will be broadcast by ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.