Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bucs Rally Late, Take 5-1 Win

Hey, interesting matchup tonight. James McDonald sets up everything off his heater; RA Dickey throws the knuckler. It's the classic 95 MPH vs 75 MPH face off.

Jose Tabata started things off by doubling to right; Josh Harrison dutifully moved him to third on a grounder behind him. But McCutch K'ed, Neil Walker grounded out, and so went the early threat.

Angel Pagan copied JT and opened up the Met half of the inning with a two-bagger to right. A grounder got him to third, and he came in with Jay Bay banged out a two-out, 20 foot infield single. Shades of last night!

The Bucs went down in order in the second; the Mets got a lead off walk, but a one-out 6-4-3 closed that chapter. Pittsburgh made some two-out noise in the third with a Tabata walk and Harrison knock (his first MLB hit), but McCutch whiffed again; apparently he and the knuckler are akin to a mongoose and cobra. Pagan collected his second hit with one away, but was stranded by the New York nine.

Six up, six down in the fourth. The Mets got a single from Daniel Murphy, but McCutch tossed him out trying to stretch it, helped by a nice dig and tag by Walker. The Bucs again went down 1-2-3 in the fifth; the Mets got a lead off walk that never moved past first.

For the third straight inning, the Bucs went down in order. The Mets made a run at J-Mac. A one out Carlos Beltran single and a two-out knock by Murphy set up Nick Evans; McDonald K'ed him. But that would be J-Mac's last batter. He went six innings, gave up a run on six hits, two walks, and had five whiffs after tossing 106 pitches.

Pittsburgh was sat down in order for the fourth consecutive time in the seventh; Evan Meek returned the favor. The Bucs had one last two-out bolt left in their quiver, though.

Ronny Cedeno singled, and sat on first after Dusty Brown popped up a bunt try. Matt Diaz whiffed - the ninth on the night for Dickey - but his knuckler darted the wrong way as he hit JT. That was followed by an RBI single by Harrison. McCutch gave up trying to hit the knuckler, and walked to load the sacks. Neil Walker took an 0-2 dancer into center, and two runs crossed the dish; the Bucs were up 3-1.

Jose Veras mowed down the Mets in the eighth, and the Bucs tried to add on in the ninth against Bobby Parnell. Garrett Jones flew out, then Cedeno reached on a throwing error by SS Tejeda. Dusty Brown singled to put runners on the corners, but Xavier Paul went down swinging. Brown stole second and JT walked.

Brandon Wood, who came in as a defensive sub (yah, we were wondering about that too) made Clint Hurdle look like a genius when he blooped home a pair on a 2-2 slider. That made it 5-1, and even though it wasn't a save opportunity, Hurdle brought in his hammer, Joel Hanrahan.

Hanny was lighting up the gun at 98. Bay flew out deep to left, Murphy K'ed swinging at a slider, and so did Nick Evans. It took the Bucs a while to get started, but a couple of clutch two-out, two strike hits, strong starting pitching and a perfect night from the pen carried the day as Pittsburgh won 5-1.

Kevin Correia takes on Chris Capuano tomorrow night.

-- Tonight's game marked only the second time in 25 tries that Pittsburgh came back to win when trailing after six innings. It was also the Pirates first win at Citi Field in nine tries. Nothin' like a little hidden vigorish, as the Gunner would say.

-- How much trouble did the knuckler give the Bucs? RA Dickey set his career strikeout high tonight, whiffing ten Pirates. He got McCutch three times. It was the second night in a row that a Met pitcher recorded a personal best K number against the Bucs; Dillon Gee struck out eight Monday.

-- Welcome to the bigs, rook: Josh Harrison took a pie to the puss, delivered by Paul Maholm during the Root Sports post game interview with Lacee Collins. Harrison got his first hit, RBI and run scored in his debut MLB game; pretty nice start, hey? The only bad part was that his parents were in town yesterday, but had to leave for home today, so they missed it all.

Dusty Brown also collected his first knock in a Pirate uniform.

-- The Pirates/Washington May 17th rainout will be made up as part of a July 2nd doubleheader at Nationals Park, first pitch at 3:35 PM.

-- Bradenton Marauder RHP Kyle McPherson gave up a solo HR with one out in the ninth to lose his bid for a no-hitter as he beat Brevard County 4-1. McPherson is 4-1 with a 2.93 ERA.


Stress Relief Library said...

I think you need to give some (most) of the blame to the pen.

hard to say he mismanaged recently with the pen, and pulling the SP, which he seems to have timed pretty well (not yanking them early).

Ron Ieraci said...

Stress - I think you're talking about the Met game and Paul Maholm. I agree that generally Hurdle manages the pen pretty well (as long as Jose Ascanio isn't waved in), and Jose Veras had an off night; it happens.

And I do credit him with the starters going deeper this year; he gives them enough rope. But Maholm was struggling, and he didn't have much that night.

I admit that it's backseat driving from a TV coach, but I thought he was spent after the walk. Hurdle didn't, and he's who counts.

But that's just one game. Overall, he's been really professional in handling the pitching, and it shows.

The starters are going deeper, and I really like how he uses a mix of guys to set up Hanny instead of playing it by rote. Hurdle does a good job of rotating guys too, so that he doesn't get caught short very often.

I'm quibbling about one game, not his body of work.