The Bucs had one bad inning from the pitching and no good innings from their hitters today as they fell to the Phillies 5-1.
Zach Duke posted the second consecutive strong start, following Charlie Morton's effort yesterday, with 3-2/3 frames of one-run ball. He allowed two hits and three walks while striking out four and struggled with command of his curve. The Zachster ran into trouble in the fourth, giving up his run, and Evan Meek came on to get the last out.
But in the fifth, the Phils got to Meek for three runs on four hits. The Pirates had him stressing his hook today, and apparently it still needs some polishing.
Jeremy Powell worked two innings and gave up a solo homer. Javier Lopez and Jack Taschner each pitched scoreless innings, though Taschner danced between the raindrops a bit, giving up a hit and walk to go along with two whiffs.
The Bucs were held to four hits, as their sticks continue in feast or famine mode.
The Pirates will be off Tuesday before returning to Grapefruit League action on Wednesday when they host the Tigers at 1:05 PM. Kevin Hart will make the start, and needs to step up his game after being smacked around in his first two appearances.
-- AAA ump Justin Vogel was behind the plate, and his strike zone was all over the place, and said to be especially generous for Roy Halladay. Of course, with his rep, Doc is going get his share of the calls, but remember when you cry about the calls, it can always be worse.
-- The Turk roamed around Pirate City again today, chopping seven more players. RHP Brad Lincoln and LHP Donnie Veal were optioned to Indianapolis. RHP Bryan Morris was sent to the Bradenton Marauders. C Tony Sanchez was reassigned to the minor league camp, as were RHP Virgil Vasquez, RHP Jeff Sues and LHP Justin Thomas.
Sanchez is almost certain to start the season at High A Bradenton; the final landing spot for the three pitchers is yet to be determined between Indy and Altoona.
-- Daniel McCutchen pitched four innings of intrasquad ball today to get some innings in; he's been the odd man out in the rotation. He gave up three hits with three strikeouts in a scoreless outing. Still, that's a sign that the Pirates are going to give Hart every chance to take that last rotation spot.
-- Octavio Dotel threw today, and is expected to get in a minor league game soon. He should be ready to rejoin the club this weekend, and is on course to be on the opening day roster.