Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bucs Go Down Again 5-2

It's Fathers' Day, and we're hoping every dad has a good one. Let's see if the Buccos can salvage a game in Cleveland by winning one for their pappies - and themselves. It should be a good day for pitchers; it's damp and there's a strong breeze blowing in, at least during the pre-game.

McCutch started off by whiffing against Justin Masterson, as he continues to see soft stuff away. Xavier Paul, who the Indians play as an opposite field hitter, drove a slider into right center for a triple, and Neil Walker lined the next pitch up the middle to make it 1-0. Garrett Jones went the opposite way to rope a knock into left, putting runners on the corners with one away.

Matt Diaz hit a tailor-made DP ball to short, but the relay throw was misfired by Cord Phelps on the turn (it was ruled a fielders choice and error). A run scored and Diaz ended up at second. Lyle Overbay followed by drawing a four pitch walk. Brandon Wood K'ed swinging at 97 MPH heat, but the Bucs jumped on top 2-0.

After Jeff Karstens struck out Grady Sizemore, Michael Brantley laced a double into left center. Asdrubal Cabrera popped out, but JK plunked Travis Hafner to put two aboard. Shin-Soo Choo smoked a ball into left, but Diaz was there for the grab.

Ronny Cedeno got a ball that was borderline high and tight on an 0-2 delivery and inside-outed it up the right field line for a leadoff double. A passed ball moved him to third.  Dusty Brown couldn't get him in, popping out on a 3-2 pitch. Neither could McCutch, who grounded out softly to third as Cedeno was going on contact, and RC was tossed out at home.

The Tribe is working McCutch away, and he hasn't adjusted well; he's pulling almost everything, much like Jones' template when he was in his slump. Paul bounced out, and a golden opportunity went by the wayside. They could have used the run.

Carlos Santana took Karstens' yard; Phelps doubled on the next offering. a passed ball let him get to third, and it would cost the Bucs. Jack Hannahan walked on five pitches. Lou Marson stemmed the bleeding with a 6-4-3 DP, but the tying run came in.

The Bucs jammed the bases in the third.  Diaz and Lyle Overbay hit back-to-back singles with two outs, and Wood reached when he struck out on a ball in the dirt that got away, allowing him to reach first. Cedeno bounced to third, and another threat went down the tubes. Masterson is at 85 pitches after three, but the Bucs haven't solved the Tribe pen yet, so that's a double-edged sword. With two away in the Indian third, Hafner singled for the only mark against JK.

Masterson threw a clean fourth frame, as did Karstens. Walker opened the fifth with a hard knock into center. Jones and Diaz whiffed swinging while Walker was nailed trying to steal second on a strike 'em out, throw 'em out DP to end the inning. Sheesh! Masterson's pitch count is 110, and that should about be it for him. Karstens cruised, although he gave up another hard-hit ball; the Indians have been squaring up on him today.

 Chad Durbin, sporting a 7.39 ERA, climbed the hill for Cleveland. Overbay was caught looking. Wood roped a single into left. Cedeno flew out to fairly deep center.  Ground ball machine Brown bounced one to short; it deflected off Asdrubal Cabrera's glove and into center for a single to put runners on the corners. It added up to two more stranded runners.  McCutch, who is completely out of sorts at the dish in Cleveland, went down looking. He's as cold here as he was hot at Houston.

With two away in the Cleveland sixth, Choo rolled a single through the right side and went to second when a pickoff throw missed the mark. Santana was walked to get to Phelps. Good call; JK got him on a grounder to second.

Lefty Rafael Perez came on for Cleveland with Paul, Walker and Jones due up, and retired them routinely, and Karstens did the same with the Tribe hitters. Vinnie Pestano picked it up in the eighth, and gave up a two-out knock to Wood while collecting two K's. Then the clouds rolled in and the tarp was rolled out, pretty much assuring the end of Karsten's excellent outing.

JK went seven innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on five hits, walking two, hitting one batter, and striking out four while tossing 97 pitches.  It took awhile, but he looks like he's stretched out and capable of 100-pitch games now. Oh, and his ERA is now 2.54, among the MLB's Top Ten in that category.

The game restarted about 5:20 after a couple of hour delay. Jose Veras took the mound, Jose Tabata went to left, and Mike McKenry put on the tools. JV K'ed Branley to start off the second coming, Asdrubal Cabrera lined out to Overbay, and Hafner flew out to deep center.  Whew, a nice, drama-free frame.

JT led off against Chris Perez. He lined one back to the box; Perez knocked it down and got him. McCutch drew a 3-2 walk on a borderline call that went his way. Paul roped one the opposite way, but Brantley was there for the catch. Walker got hit by a low heater to move McCutch into scoring position. Jones walked to load the sacks, but McKenry couldn't deliver, bouncing out to short. Two walks, a hit batter, and two balls hit on the nose resulted in another Bucco goose egg.

Chris Resop took over the pitching chores. Choo lined a single to right, but was caught stealing by McKenry. Timely throw out, too, as Santana drilled a 3-2 heater into right for a double. That brought on a pitching change, and Tony Watson trotted in from the pen. Phelps flew out to deep right center; Santana tagged and moved up a station. Hannahan walked on five pitches. Watson was all around the plate but couldn't catch a call. No diff; he got Marson to pop out and live another day.

Joe Smith came on; he was nicked for a two-out single by Cedeno. But he may have been saved the batter before, when Asdrubal Cabrera went into the hole and barehanded a grounder by Wood and threw him out with room to spare. Watson stayed on the mound; he struck out the first pair of Indians and then watched JT make a great sliding catch on a shot by A Cabrera.

McCutch bounced out to start the eleventh; that brought on lefty Tony Sipp, who walked Paul. The X-Man swiped second, but there he died. Tim Wood came on for Pittsburgh. After an out, Choo singled, and this time he stole second. Santana was intentionally walked to get to Phelps; he drilled one into the seats in right center, and the Tribe broomed the Bucs.

The Indians tried to hand the game to Pittsburgh early, but the Bucs need help. They were 1-for-10 with RISP and stranded 14. Dewey and Pedro are due back, knock on wood, after the All-Star break, so that makes a three week rental problematic.

But Lyle Overbay and Matt Diaz are healthy and just not producing, which makes Ronny Cedeno's problems at the plate perhaps outweigh the consistently solid glove he's shown (and what exactly did Pedro Ciriaco do to Clint Hurdle to get so far in his doghouse?). Maybe it's time for Garrett Jones to take over first again and for the FO to find somebody to man RF with a little pop.

The Bucs come home to face the O's. Jake Arrieta goes against Charlie Morton.

  • Pittsburgh has lost 13 straight road interleague games. Think the DH doesn't make a difference?
  • The Pirates have now scored 44 first inning runs this year, which is tied for fourth in the show behind the New York Yankees (52), Toronto Blue Jays (48) and Milwaukee Brewers (47).
  • Indy's Scott McCauley tweeted that LHP Donnie Veal has joined the Tribe, and LHP Brian Burres was placed on the State College roster. We assume that's a minor-league paper move between starts (Burres pitched yesterday in a doubleheader), as the 30 year old Burres is 2-6, but with a 3.67 ERA at Indy and is the primary veteran tutor on the roster.
  • Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror passed on the news that Mike Crotta will continue his rehab at Indy.
  • Tim Williams of Pirate Prospects twittered that Philip Irwin was called to Altoona from High A Bradenton and will start today (and did great; he went 6 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk, striking out two). He was 5-0 for the Mauraders with a 2.02 ERA and 40 Ks in 47 IP. No word on whether it's a spot start or if he's been promoted to stay.

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