Sunday, April 11, 2010

Unlucky Thirteen

Ouch! Talk about your perfect storm...

Start a pitcher who had one brief start against a MLB lineup during the spring and a command meltdown for a guy who depends on pinpoint control, which leads to three homers surrendered, and follow him with a waiver wire pick up, and whatta ya get? How about a record-setting (for both sides) 13 run inning.

Daniel McCutchen is the player with the deadeye command that deserted him today. He walked three, gave up six hits, half of which left the yard, and nine runs in 3-1/3 innings. His relief, Hayden Penn, gave up four more runs, walking three while getting one out. Jack Taschner came on to end the inning after giving up a bases-juiced double and home run - to the pitcher.

We already know McCutchen is headed to Indy; maybe he'll finally get some much needed work. Penn? Well, we'll see what the suits decide to do with him; he's put together a 30.86 ERA in 2-1/3 innings (eight runs on eleven hits). If his scholarship isn't revoked, it sure has to be on life support. And hey, he sure has made Kevin Hart look good while he's been here.

As for Tascher, the bullpen is a mess right now. Only Octavio Dotel has been sharp, and that will bear some watching, although everyone is on very short sample sizes this early in the season.

But they showed signs of wear toward the end of the Grapefruit League, and they're still not sharp. Maybe Hanrahan's return will get everyone back in their proper niche.

Pity, too. The Pirates banged out another pair of homers, from Andrew McCutchen and Bobby Crosby, and a half dozen runs should keep you in the game. Lastings Milledge had three hits, while Ryan Church, Ronny Cedeno, and McCutchen all had a pair of knocks.

A six spot is nice, but the Bucs were 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position; someone's gonna have to step up and start bring the ducks home.

At any rate, it ended up a 15-6 thumping at the hands of the D-backs. Now it's off to San Fran, where Ross Ohlendorf will match up with Barry Zito tomorrow night.

-- The thirteen runs in an inning shattered Arizona's old record of eight, and tied the Pirate mark, set on May 31, 1994, by the Padres.

-- JR used his getaway day lineup, and Delwyn Young got his first MLB action at third base, starting in place of Andy LaRoche. Got his first error there, too, on a wild throw.

-- Steven Strasburg got his first pro win against Altoona today, winning a 6-4 decision. Strasburg threw five innings and allowed four runs (one earned) on four hits with eight strikeouts and two walks for his first-career win. He hit 95-98 according to the Curve gun.

1 comment:

WilliamJPellas said...

The pitching has definitely been ragged so far, that's for sure. If Hanrahan is physically sound---something about which I'm skeptical---he should help to stabilize things somewhat. Taschner and, especially, Lopez look like they'll be OK as situational lefties, though I don't think either of them can pitch 2 or 3 innings at a time with the effectiveness that John Grabow had. Dotel and Donnelly will do nicely as old gunslingers.

But the rotation....we need to watch Maholm carefully. If his knee is still bothering him, our starting pitching looks a lot less formidable than it does on paper right now. Not that it was going to be great, anyway, but I think it has potential to be middle of the pack in the NL if everyone is healthy and pitching to their ability. As for the fifth spot, I'm not ready to write off Daniel McCutchen after one bad start. Kevin Hart is emphatically not the answer, and Brad Lincoln is not quite ready to take his shot at it just yet.