Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bucs Outdueled 2-0

OK, the not-very-deep Bucs are down two catchers and a third baseman, plus their primary back-ups.  What the hey, still gotta play.  As long as they have good pitching and McCutch, they at least have a puncher's chance to win.

Both Jeff Karstens and Josh Collmenter had the two-out blahs to start.  Karstens gave up a Justin Upton double, and Collmenter a walk to McCutch and single to Neil Walker.  Both got the third out without any problems, so the first went down without spilling any blood.

In the second, JK gave up a double with one away; with two away he intentionally walked the eight man to get to the pitcher, who bounced out to Walker.  Pittsburgh went down without a peep.

Chris Young started off the third with a single.  A fly ball and a 5-4-3 around-the-horn DP cleaned the frame up nicely.  Jose Tabata drew a one down walk.   Xavier Paul forced him at second, and then stole the base back.  McCutch lined a 3-2 pitch to left; Gerardo Parra was there for the catch.

Karstens had a drama-free inning in the fourth.   With one away, Lyle Overbay lined a knock to right.  With two away, Josh Harrison took one to the 389' mark in left center; it was just a loud out to end the frame.  Arizona went down in order in the fifth.  JT singled into left with two away.  Paul grounded out on a 3-2 pitch; he owes JT after fouling off five pitches with Tabata on the move.

The sixth was 1-2-3 for Karstens, with a nice catch by Paul at the wall to take away extra bases for Kelly Johnson.  McCutch started off with a single; he was erased on a Walker 6-4-3 DP against Joe Paterson.  Micah Owings came on to finish up the frame.

'Zona got a two-out single from Miguel Montero in the seventh; JK has been just what the doc ordered after last night's 12-inning contest, and he's still sitting on just 79 pitches thrown.

Harrison legged out a single to open the seventh; Brown bunted him over.  Garrett Jones grabbed a stick to bat for Karstens, who went seven scoreless frames, giving up four hits, an intentional walk, and whiffing a pair, dropping his ERA to 2.94.  Jones walked to put runners at first and second.  Tabata couldn't come through; he struck out swinging.  Paul looked at a pair of called strikes before bouncing out.

Chris Resop took over in the eighth.  Parra watched a ball, then fouled off seven straight offerings before grounding out.  Owings nubbed one to third; Harrison couldn't make the play on the infield single.  Resop fell behind Chris Young 2-0 and fed him a belt-high heater on the inside half of the plate; Young roped it into the left field stands a few feet inside the foul pole for his thirteenth to put the D-backs up 2-0.

After a K, Upton lined a ball into right for a single.  Tony Watson climbed the hill to face lefty Stephen Drew, and walked him on five pitches.  He got ahead of the original X-Man 0-2, came in on his hands and got him to ground out to short.

Owings remained on the hill.  He whiffed McCutch, and ditto Walker.  Overbay drew a walk, and Cedeno at least put the ball in play with two outs, flying out to center. Jose Ascanio to bring in anymore, so Hurdle stuck with Watson.  With two away, Parra lined a knock into left.  Righty Willie Bloomquist pinch hit; Watson caught him looking.

Harrison, Brown and the pitcher were due up in the ninth; Arizona countered with David Hernandez.  Jay Hay hit a comebacker for the first out.  Brandon Wood pinch hit for Brown and flew out to left.  Matt Diaz hit for the pitcher and struck out swing at a ball in the dirt.  So much for the heady days of .500.

The Bucs hung around tonight thanks to a strong effort from Jeff Karstens.  But with the current rash of injuries, Clint Hurdle needs a couple of more bullets to shoot; this lineup has a lot of holes, and it wasn't going great guns with everyone healthy.

The good news is the Bucs took the series from the D-Backs, a team very much in the NL West picture, and the pitching held up against a club that's third in the NL in runs scored.  The problem the FO faces in riding out the injury jinx is that the only two guys at Indy hitting .300+ are Alex Presley and John Bowker, both LH outfielders, and they're blocked by Garrett Jones and Xavier Paul.

It'll be interesting to see how the management reacts.  They certainly don't want to overpay to rent a player or make a jumble of their 40-man roster, but the guys that are out will be out for awhile.  We'll see if they try to weather the storm internally or make a minor deal/move to see the attack through until the All-Star Game.

One thing that is in their favor is that the next seven games are against the Mets and Astros, a pair of not so strong clubs, and then the remainder of June is interleague play, when they can call up someone to DH.  July is a big month.  The Bucs play NL Central teams fifteen straight times before and after the break.

The Mets are in town tomorrow.  Dillon Gee goes against Charlie Morton.

  • McCutch was the only Bucco to reach third base tonight; he did it with two outs in the first inning.
  • Chris Snyder herniated his disk last night and will have surgery tomorrow.  With Dewey having a broken ankle and JJ out, things are awfully thin behind the dish for awhile.


WilliamJPellas said...

The front office MUST make a deal for a catcher. There are any number of four-A veterans in various places who could be had for a pittance, any one of whom will at least reliably catch the ball, unlike Dusty Brown (who also doesn't hit). I'm surprised that Huntington hasn't been more active in this regard. The team badly needs a more capable replacement behind home plate.

As for potential Triple-A reinforcements, I don't think Bowker is in the picture, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Presley and Jones trade places in the near future.

Ron Ieraci said...

They do need help, Will. I don't know that they can tough it out until JJ gets healthy, especially with so many non-contributors already in the lineup.