Thursday, September 16, 2010

New York City Blues

Apparently it wasn't raining as much in the Big Apple as it was here; despite dire predictions, the games between Charlie Morton and Mike Pelfrey kicked off just ten minutes late.

All the action in the first consisted of a two-out NY single. In the second, Pittsburgh, showing no long-term nightmares from last night, got on the board when Pedro doubled and John Bowker blooped a single to bring him home. Morton walked a couple of guys in the Met half, though one was the eight guy who he probably decided not to mess with as Pelfrey was on deck; the Mets had walked Snyder in the top half to get to Charlie.

The Pirates went down in order in the third; ditto for the Metropolitans.

The Pirates looked like they were cookin' in the fourth; Garrett Jones singled and Pedro walked to open the frame. Bowker hit a shot to right center that Angel Pagan tracked down; El Toro, off to the races, was doubled off first. Fundamentals are still are a foreign concept to this club.

Ronny Cedeno tripled home Jones, Snyder drew another intention walk, and Morton flew out fairly deep to right, short of the track at the 383' mark. Pirate feet are scarred with self-inflicted shots.

And as usual, the bottom of the opposing order sprang to life against Bucco pitching. Lucas Duda, batting .032, doubled home Ike Davis and Josh Thole, who had both singled after an out. Mendoza line candidate (.202) Ruben Tejada walked; Pelfrey bunted them up a base. He got Jose Reyes to fly out. The Mets were sitting on Morton's fastball; he couldn't get his off-speed stuff over.

The Bucs went down 1-2-3. McCutch, we've noticed, is getting worked over inside by opposing pitchers; handling tight stuff is going to be his next adjustment.

Jesus Feliciano walked to open the NY half; Pagan followed with a bunt single. A 6-4-3 DP ball off David Wright's bat saved the inning for Morton. He's kept the Mets from a game-breaking frame so far without his best stuff, which is a good sign. But it's taken him 92 pitches to navigate five innings; that's not such a good sign.

Jones opened the sixth with a walk. Pedro drove a splitter to the 408' mark; Pagan caught up to it, and Jones moved on the second. Bowker lined out to right, and Cedeno bounced out softly. All four Pirates started off 0-2 against Pelfrey; maybe a bit more aggressiveness in is order tonight.

Wil Ledezema came on for Pittsburgh; JR decided to get Morton out while he still had a tolerable outing under his belt to build on. He went five, giving up two runs on five hits with four walks and a K.

Ledezema faced two batters, getting a ground out and giving up a double to Duda; the kid will end up ROY if he sees Pirate pitching much more. Ledezema seems to be on a very tight leash; Sean Gallagher took the hill. Tejada flew out, but Pelfrey smacked one to short that ticked off Cedeno's glove, and it was 3-2. Watching this team is like having a season pass to Groundhog Day.

Alex Presley pinch hit for Snyder; he bunted for a base hit (paying attention, McCutch and JT?). Dewey took a bat, and flew out. McCutch singled to left, putting some speed on first and second. JT tapped back to the hill, moving up the runners. But the Pittsburgh Kid went down swinging for the second time, endind the threat.

It's the seventh, so it's Chris Resop time. He walked Feliciano on a 3-2 pitch. Pagan tried to bunt him over, but rolled the ball to Resop, who got the force at second. Didn't make much dif; Pagan stole second (Baseball Reference stat: Dewey has thrown out 8 of 85 base stealers) and for good measure was balked to third.

Wright walked; Davis hit a sac fly followed by a Thole single to put runners on the corners. Duda had cashed in his luck and flew out to right.

Pedro Feliciano took the mound in the eighth and worked a clean inning. Steve Jackson took the ball for Pittsburgh. After an out, Chris Carter greeted him with a single, and in came a pinch runner. Reyes walked on five pitches; even the called strike was well off the dish.

A grounder moved the runners up, and Justin Thomas came in against the switch-hitting Pagan. He doubled both runs in on the first pitch. Wright was intentionally walked to get to the lefty Davis, who grounded out.

Bobby Parnell come on to close for the Mets, and got Pittsburgh to go down quietly to ice a 6-2 victory.

GW has been covering the Bucs since 2008, and it's a chore this season. The new guys have been here since June, yet the team still plays with the fundamentals of a beer league softball squad. JR is either too stubborn to change his ways or has bought into auditioning pitchers; in a 2-2 game, he brought in five relievers; one had an ERA under 6. Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan don't even warm up.

The Pirates don't play well enough nor are they managed well enough to win.

Brian Burres matches up against Ian Kennedy in tomorrow night's season finale.

-- The Pirates are 0-7 at Citi Field.

-- RHP Brian Bass cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to AAA Indy.

-- Nyjer Morgan's two suspensions have been reduced from fifteen games to eight. The Nats have 16 games left. He can return on September 25th against the Braves.

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