Friday, June 17, 2011

Pen Pounded, Bucs Lose 5-1

Hey, beautiful night in Cleveland, and we're not spending it at the R&R Hall of Fame, but at Progressive Field, home of the Indians.

Josh Tomlin put down the Bucs routinely to open the contest; Kevin Correia gave up a couple of long flies, but did the same. Neil Walker singled to start the second, and was stranded there. Three up, three down, all on grounders, for the Tribe.

But trouble brewed for KC in the third. A Walker throw-away put Matt LaPorta at second; he was nailed at third on a grounder to short after a rundown; he left the game limping. But a single and walk juiced the sacks with one away. He lucked out with a liner to third for the second out, but luck ran out when he balked all the runners up a station when he and Mike McKenry appeared to have a communication breakdown. After three, it was 1-0, Cleveland.

Tomlin had a strong fourth inning, whiffing Xavier Paul and Walker sandwiched around a McCutch roller to second. With two away, Corriea fell behind Carlos Santana 2-0; he fed him a pair of four seamers, and the second one left the yard, the catcher's eighth bomb of the season. After four, it's 2-0 Cleveland.

Jones lined a single to center to start the fifth frame. Josh Harrison K'ed after a Lyle Overbay fly out, and McKenry's bouncer ended the frame. The Bucs aren't very disciplined so far against Tomlin; they're hacking away at pitches outside the zone, making his job that much easier. KC also made it look easy, putting down the Tribe cleanly.

Ronny Cedeno became the third leadoff hitter for the Pirates in six innings to get aboard when he doubled into left. JT lined one into center, but Grady Sizemore was there for the grab. Paul roped a singled to right to score Jose Tabata, but was gunned down easily at second when the throw home was cut off. But at least the Bucs are on the board.

With an out, Asdrubal Cabrera doubled to right. Travis Hafner walked on four pitches; KC wasn't going to fool with the hot-hitting (.339) lefty with first base open. Cabrera tried to swipe third; McKenry said no; the baserunning today has been less than textbook. Shin-Soo Choo walked to put runners at first and second. KC gave Santana another fastball, this time on a 2-2 count, and he lined a single to right to load the bases, with a strong peg in by Paul freezing the runners after ninety feet.

Clint Hurdle took the ball from Correia, and called on Chris Resop. Correia went 5-2/3 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits with two K's and three walks; he was already up to 94 pitches. It was a solid enough outing for the righty, who was left on the hook by the bats today, a rare happenstance for KC. Resop got a bouncer to end the frame without any damage done.

Jones singled to right with one away in the seventh. Overbay struck out swinging; the curve he missed may have been the only strike in the six pitch sequence that he saw. Harrison had a knock up the middle, and that was enough for Manny Acta; he called on Vinnie Pestano, who caught McKenry looking. Resop pitched a clean frame, K'ing a pair. Pestano also had a 1-2-3 inning.

Danny Moskos climbed the hill for the bottom of the eighth. Michael Brantley greeted him with a liner to right for a single, and Asdrubal Cabrera rolled a single into left. Moskos fell behind Hafner 2-1 and gave him a knee high slider on the inside part of the plate, a danger zone for lefty batters, and he whacked it into right center for a RBI double, almost taking it yard (it was reviewed). It was nearly grabbed by Paul, who couldn't quite get to the ball. That was it for Moskos; in came Tim Wood.

 He intentionally walked the lefty Choo to load the bases and get to Santana. he singled, his third knock of the night, and the Tribe was up 4-1.  The bases were still loaded with no outs. Adam Everett K'ed. Orlando Cabrera lofted a sac fly. Jack Hannahan grounded out, but the Bucs were down four with three outs remaining. 

Tony Sipp took over in the ninth. McCutch flew out to the wall in center, followed by a Walker free pass on a 3-2 pitch. Jones ended the misery with a grounder to first that was turned into a 3-6-1 DP, and the Tribe took the first match of the series 5-1.

The hitters had one of those days where they took strikes and swung at garbage; maybe it was an unfamiliar pitcher or plate ump John Tumpane's little bit high and fairly wide strike zone. The bullpen is being exposed; the starters have to get back to going deep into games.  The Pirate relief corps only has three guys on it that were there on opening day; the other four (McCutchen, Moskos, Watson, Wood) came from Indy's bullpen.

Let's see if Donny Iris can pump up the Pirates tomorrow, when Paul Maholm takes on Carlos Carrasco.  

  • Cleveland is taking a page out of Pittsburgh promotions this weekend - they have fireworks tonight, Donny Iris will play a post-game concert tomorrow, and Sunday is "Kids' Fun Day" - they get to run the bases.
  • George Guido of the Valley News reports that Leechburg's Mickey Morandini has landed a managing gig for Philly's Class A Williamsport team.  MM was a former All-Star second baseman who wore the uniforms of the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, and Toronto Blue Jays. He played in the Olympics and had an eleven year MLB career with an overall BA of .268. Morandini had been coaching at Valpo HS and helping out at extended spring training for the Phils.
  • Behind Nick Pollio's arm and Ryan Finnegan's bat, Riverside claimed its third State Class AA crown since 2005 today by a 5-2 tally over Sunbury Township from the Allentown area.
  • Serra Catholic's Alain Girman pitched a three-hitter and struck out 13 to prime a 4-0 victory over Reading Central Catholic in the State Class A championship.  The Eagles were runner-ups in 2009-10, so today's win was especially sweet.


WilliamJPellas said...

Hey, Ron, just wanted to say I really appreciate you keeping an eye on the Pittsburgh prep ranks. The Steel City is not a noted baseball hotbed, but Pittsburgh kids have had their moments and of course some have made it to The Show. Given your encyclopedic knowledge, I'm curious who you think the best native Pittsburgh baseball player of all time would be? I suppose we might say Ken Griffey Sr, if you consider his home burg of Donora to be part of Pittsburgh.

Ron Ieraci said...

I'm a 'Burg boy, Will, and the kids do get overlooked. Myself, I'd go for a different Donora product, Stan Musial.

Ron Ieraci said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron Ieraci said...

Of course, some guys would say that Carnegie's Honus Wagner could play a decent game, too. Other might argue that Junior outdid his pap. But I'll stick with Stan the Man.