Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bedard Sharp; Bucs Beat Rox 6-2

The Bucs went down 1-2-3 against rookie lefty Chris Friedrich to open the game. The Rox also went scoreless in a pattern they would repeat throughout the night. With two outs, Eric Bedard gave up back-to-back knocks to Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez and walked Mike Cuddyer on four pitches. Jordan Pacheco bounced out to third, and the first crisis was averted.

The Bucs made a little two out noise of their own when Neil Walker drew a walk with one away and Mike McKenry dinked a two-out knock just over second baseman Marco Scutaro. But Clint Barmes tapped back to the mound to finish the frame. Bedard had an easy go if it, giving up just a two out single to his mound foe, Friedrich. The Pirates went down in order in the third.

The Rox jumped ahead 1-0 lead in their half. Scutaro led off with a single off Barmes' glove. Fowler bunted, and both Bedard and Casey McGehee went after the ball, and with Walker at DP depth, no one  covered first. It looked like Bedard would escape after CarGo grounded into a double play, turned nicely by a pirouetting Barmes.

Cuddyer sliced a fly ball toward the left center gap, but well within Alex Presley’s range. The King got there, but the ball didn't stick in his glove and fell to the grass for a two base, run scoring error. Presley said afterward that he lost the ball in the lights; at any rate, it was 1-0 Colorado.

Cutch evened it up in the fourth with a no doubt, lead off homer when Friedrich left a slider up. The ball, which barely stayed inside the foul pole, landed on the roof of a concession stand in the concourse behind left field, and almost left the park altogether. It flew about 442' and was the longest blast of the season at Coors. It was so impressive that even the Colorado faithful made some noise for Cutch as he circled the bases.

The Rockies quickly regained the lead in the fourth. Wil Rosario led off with a five-pitch walk and scored on Josh Rutledge’s triple, a first pitch heater lined into right that that rattled around in the corner. Bedard kept the damage to a minimum. He got both his Friedrich and Eric Young Jr. to freeze on called third strikes with fastballs, then retired Marco Scutaro on a routine fly to center.

Remember the old adage about never walking the bottom of the order? Apparently, Friedrich didn't get that memo. McKenry and Barmes opened the fifth with back-to-back five pitch walks, and were moved up on a Bedard bunt. McKenry scored on Presley’s ground out. That would be the last out for awhile; the Bucs followed with four straight singles.

Sutton rolled a single to right, scoring Barmes. A Cutch knock chased Sutton to third, and a wild pitch brought in another run. Casey McGehee broke his bat and blooped a hook into left, and Cutch motored home. Friedrich gave the ball to Matt Reynolds, and Walker greeted him with a single to right. He whiffed Pedro, but the Bucs were up 5-2 and never looked back.

The game quieted down for a bit. The Rox went down 1-2-3, and both sides were put away quietly in the sixth, with Adam Ottavino on the hill for the Rockies. In the seventh, Cutch drew a two out walk, the only runner the Bucs put on against Ottovina.

Bedard had the two out shakes again in the seventh. He loaded the bases in the seventh after getting two routine outs when Scutaro singled followed by consecutive walks to Fowler and Gonzalez. Jared Hughes got the call to finish out the frame, and he got Cuddyer to fly out to centerfield on a 3-2 heater, a big out with the runners on the move. Bedard worked 6-2⁄3 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on eight hits and walked four with four K after tossing 94 pitches.

Mike Ekstrom climbed the bump for Colorado in the eighth. The en fuego Walker started off with an infield single to short. With an out, The Fort went the opposite way with a 2-0 heater, sending it to right for a two bagger and plating The Kid. The Bucs were up 6-2. Chris Resop pitched the eighth for Pittsburgh, and put up a goose egg, giving up only a bloop single.

The Pirates tried to add on in the ninth against Carlos Torres. With one down, Gorkys Hernandez was plunked, and Torres threw wide on a comebacker by Cutch to put runners on first and second. Walker drew a two out free pass, but the bases were left packed when El Toro bounced out to second.

In the ninth, Juan Cruz came on and he caught the two out flu. He walked Marco Scutaro and Fowler, who he was up on 1-2. Joel Hanrahan toed the rubber now that it was a save situation, and he walked Cuddyer on four pitches. Pinch-hitter Tyler Colvin fell behind 0-2, took a couple of pitches, and then went down swinging on a slider in the dirt to end the game, netting Hanny his 25th save. For Bedard, it was win #5.

The Rox did their part. They left the bases loaded three times, stranded 13 runners and went 0-for-10 with RISP. And the Bucs still have that one inning where they forget their gloves. But hey, a win is a win, and the Rox are one of the teams they should be beat up on. And it's a step forward for Bedard, who had his hook back in sync for most of the night.

The rubber match to decide the series will pit James McDonald against the Rockies Jeremy Guthrie this afternoon.

  • How sick is Cutch? His BA is.374, his OBP .426, his slugging % .657 and his OPS+ is 197.In mid July!
  • Neil Walker his hitting streak to 17 games, the longest current string going on in the NL, and lifted his BA to .300, a number he hasn't been at since April 30th, 2011.
  • Since his knee bruise, Rod Barajas has been splitting time with Mike McKenry. It may end up that way the rest of the season - The Fort's 2-for-3 performance brought his average up to .255. It might not be long before he becomes the #1 guy behind the dish.
  • The Pirates remain one game behind the Reds in the Central race.


WilliamJPellas said...

McKenry is a nice story, but I'll be thunderstruck if he is able to maintain anything like his current pace. But, you ride the horse as long as he still has legs, so....Barajas, I think, is hurt worse than has been let on. A bone bruise for a catcher is no joke. It's no joke for any player, but for a catcher it's doubly bad. Anyway, the two-headed monster we've got behind the plate this year has been fairly productive overall.

I wouldn't call Bedard's outing "sharp", not when he walked four batters and was wobbling out of two bases loaded jams. It was better than what we've seen in recent weeks, but he hasn't been worth much since his back went out. They claim he's healthy; maybe he is, and his mileage meter is up. You can't have injury after injury after injury and it not add up over time. Bedard also hasn't pitched a full season in, like, forever, and I have to believe that is factoring into things, as well.

Ron Ieraci said...

Sharp is all relative, Will. He was better than before by a wide margin, though certainly not dominant. Still, he did last almost seven innings and worked out of a jam or two.

I think the game plan was to get Hot Rod 110 games; probably that's scaled down a bit now. For 37, he's hanging in. Wonder if they'll pick up his option next year now that Sanchez is starting to hit a little? I think they may, but we'll see what the last 10 weeks have in store.