Friday, August 27, 2010

Bumblin' Stumblin' Bucs

In the first, a two-out double by Neil Walker went by the boards.

In the second, a lead-off double by Lastings Milledge was followed by an Andy LaRoche K (he's giving Pedro a blow), but Ronny Cedeno singled him home and took second on the throw to the dish. Then Chris Narveson caught both Chris Snyder and J-Mac looking, leaving the Bucs 1-for-4 already with RISP.

But James McDonald is paid to pitch, not hit, and so far, so good - six up, six down, two K's and an idea where the plate is.

JT singled with one out in the third, but was caught trying to stretch the hard hit knock into right into a two-bagger. Walker flew out to left to end the frame. J-Mac's short streak ended when leadoff batter Alcides Escobar dribbled an infield single. No matter; McDonald struck out a couple more Brewers, running his total up to four in three innings.

The Bucs went quietly on three grounders in the fourth. Ditto for the Brew Crew, with a grounder, fly, and K against J-Mac. The Pirates added on in the fifth when Snyder ran into a fast ball and parked it over the left-center field wall. McDonald had a 1-2-3 frame.

Nice game by both pitchers, who are filling up the strike zone and have six K's and no walks apiece after five. J-Mac is leaning heavily on his heater, ranging from 92-94 MPH, and Narveson is using his high eighties fastball to set up his soft stuff.

Tabata started off with a single, but was doubled off first after Walker blooped a changeup, corralled spectacularly in short center by Escobar. Garrett Jones had a swinging bunt single, but Thrilledge popped out; Narveson is working his change now and the Pirates, as usual, are befuddled by the off speed stuff.

Jonathan Lucroy rolled a single to right, and was bunted over. Ricky Weeks was walked on five pitches to present J-Mac with his first jam of the night. Corey Hart singled to center on a 1-2 curve, and it was 2-1 with runners on the corners and Ryan Braun at the dish with Prince Fielder on deck.

Fielder would have to try his luck at leadoff; J-Mac got Braun to hit into a 6-4-3 bang-bang DP, highlighted by a strong pivot by Walker. Cryin' Ryan didn't like the call (and replays showed he probably had good reason); maybe he'll want Narveson to bean the ump with a pick-off throw.

Cedeno drew an eight pitch walk with one away in the seventh, but Snyder and J-Mac went down on strikes. McDonald walked Fielder to start the frame, and an out later a Chris Dickinson single put runners at first and second. They both jogged home on Escobar's triple to right center on a ball that should have been caught by Milledge (he apparently lost it in the lights), and the Brew Crew had their first lead of the night at 3-2.

Lucroy blooped a single into center on a fastball in on the hands, and pinch hitter Joe Inglett singled into right. JR again kept his starter in a batter or two too long, although in both his and J-Mac's defense, neither of the last two hits were on balls in the strike zone, and the triple...well.

McDonald went 6-1/3 innings, giving up six runs, seven hits, two walks, and striking out seven. Chris Resop got the call, and your druthers are that he came in against the bottom of the order instead of the top. He struck out Weeks, but Hart doubled another run in. Braun doubled in two more after seeing six straight fastballs during a nine pitch at-bat.

JR trudged out again, and called for Wil Ledezema to face Fielder. He walked him, bringing up righty Casey McGehee, who bounced to second. Catch a ball and it might be a scoreless inning; miss it and the fat lady is warming up her larynx.

Kameron Loe took the hill for Milwaukee. McCutch drew a nine pitch walk; seems to be a lot of deep at-bats tonight. Tabata walked on a 3-2 pitch. Hey, if he walks six more, it's a tie game. But he didn't get the chance; Zach Braddock took the ball from him. A game that had been zipping along for five innings had suddenly taken on a glacial pace.

Braddock picked up the pace catching Walker and Jones looking; both pitches may have been off the plate, but you have to protect when there's two strikes, and they didn't. Milledge tried to make amends for his fielding gaffe by bombing a slider, but his ball was caught at the wall 400' away in almost dead center, pulled in on a sweet catch by Dickerson who threw a shoe running it down. Sort of ironic, no?

Chan Ho Park was called on to work the ninth. He gave up a leadoff single, got a K, and then watched Cedeno throw away the ball trying to turn a DP; the error was compounded when Jones bounced his toss to second after the ball took a fortunate carom back to him. Park got out of it with another K; it's best to keep the ball away from the fielders tonight. John Axford worked the ninth, and struck out the side.

When you score twice on seven hits, strike out 13 times and are 1-for-8 with RISP, almost every night is going to be a long one. And a lot of them have been.

Zach Duke goes against Chris Capuano tomorrow afternoon.

-- Four of the seven games played in Miller Park by the Bucs and Brewers have been decided in the final frame.

-- The Pirates have lost eleven straight games away from home, which includes a winless month of August on the road. The Bucs back-to-back wins against the Cards was their first twin killing since July 27-28 against the Rox.

-- Jen Langosch of has a good piece on Brandon Moss as he tries to rebuild his rep. So far, so good...and all he did did was return to an open stance.

-- C Hector Gimenez and LHP Rudy Owens of Altoona made the post-season Eastern League All-Star team. Gimenez, 27, hit .299/16/67 with a 33% throw 'em out rate, and Owens, 23, was 11-6 with a 2.56 ERA and 123 K's in 144 IP.

-- Derek Thompson of The Atlantic magazine compares the Pirates' financial situation to the country's as a whole in his article "How Baseball's Worst Team Explains the U.S. Economy." (Thanks, Shannon)

-- Jay Bell, who spent time as a bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks, was named an assistant coach for team USA in the Pan-Am qualifiers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pirates' fans are the ones always cryin and the Pirates are the team that feels fulfilled by throwing at the other team.