Tuesday windup: Even Pharrell Williams is Happ-y

When GM Neal Huntington responded within hours of A.J. Burnett’s injury by acquiring J.A. Happ from Seattle, Pirates fans were disillusioned.

“That the best they could do?” was the overall sentiment.

Following Happ’s Pirates debut, they became downright hostile. The Cubs spanked the lefty for nine hits and four runs in 4 1/3 innings on Aug. 4, as he looked positively helpless.

Flash forward and, of course, Happ tonight can further cement his standing as one of the best Trade Deadline pick-ups ever. If not for David Price and his 8-1 record with the Blue Jays, Happ would even lead the conversation about this summer’s best acquisitions.

In seven starts since that first one, not only does Happ have a 1.30 ERA while going 5-1, but the only loss was a 2-1 squeaker to the Cubs.

That makes him another great Jim Benedict-Huntington find, and Ray Searage makeover. However, Clint Hurdle goes out of his way to stress that Happ didn’t just remember how to pitch when he donned Black & Gold.

“We continue to lose sight of how he was pitching in the first half,” Hurdle says, citing Happ’s first 11 starts for the Mariners,  of which he lost only one while posting a 3.31 ERA.

From that point on until his trade, Happ went 1-5 with a 6.65 ERA.

 “Sometimes a change of scenery can give a guy a shot in the arm,” Hurdle says. “He was coming from a team that was being challenged [translation: losing a lot] to a team in a pennant race. You don’t want to be a weak link, and that gets you to reacquire your focus. He knows he’s being counted on. He has been, and he’s showed up well.”

In trying to continue to put on a show tonight, Happ gets a sidebar split: He must deal with pitchers’ torture chamber, Coors Field, but gets to face a Rockies club an MLB-worst 9-28 against lefty starters.


Mr. Singer,

I had no idea the Rockies were league wurst vs. leftie starters. Thanks (from all of us) for the heads up.
I really can’t fault Mr. Happ for getting knocked around a bit tonight. I spent 25 years living in Denver, and I can tell you, it’s not only that breaking balls don’t break as much, or that baseballs travel further (even with the humidor), both the result of the thin atmosphere. (Somewhere between 25-30% less oxygen than at sea level.) Beyond that, continuous physical exertion (as in pitching) can sometimes become downright debilitating. You can most likely feel the effects yourself, every time you visit my old stomping grounds.
Mr. Happ is/was the best — or second-best — trade-deadline pick-up in the Majors. If you hear anything about him being re-signed by the Buccos after end the of this season, then after you, we sure would like to be the first to know.
(Thanks in Advance)

On a side note, going into tonight’s game, Joey Votto so far this season has a .462 OBP. For a hitter with the qualified number of AB’s, does anyone know who holds the single-season OBP record ?? And would that person have 28 HR’s as well ??

Votto, as usual, is having another monster of a year.

Win the final two games of this series, and the Buccos finish the 2015 season 27 – 6 versus West Division ball clubs. If not one, then that has to be close to some sort of a record. Doesn’t it ??

Who’d a thunk ???

I remember at the start of this year, dreading when Melacon came to the mound to blow another save. I remember dreading JA Happ’s second start. I recently remember dreading Jung Ho’s season ending injury (he has been my favorite player this year, remember my early season comments to you on the JHK School of Player Development?! He woke up this whole team, early, after we had
an horrific start).
Kudos, again, to Uncle Ray.
Now let’s get the freakin Cards so we don’t have to deal with 12-1 on-the-road Arrieta in the Wild Card. We do not need another Bumgarner experience!
In tribute to the Great Yogi, “It ain’t over till it’s over!”

And, robs, a bit of personal, well earned advice!
“Always remember to take your meds before you post on Tommy’s Blog!”

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