Sunday, August 26, 2012

Brew Crew Cruises 7-0

OK, Eric Bedard got the memo. The Buc lefty tossed a scoreless first, walking, perhaps wisely, Ryan Braun, but otherwise runner-free. The Brewer's Mike Rogers got the first two Pirates routinely, then lost Cutch on a 3-2 pitch, and did the same to Garrett Jones. That brought up Jeff Clement, making his first start since 2010, who went down swinging.

After striking out Corey Hart to open the second, Bedard walked Jonathan Lucroy on five pitches; there's a real strike zone in effect today after last night's anything-in-the-zip-code calls. Carlos Gomez bounced into a force, and stole second two tosses later. Jean Segura went down swinging, so it's still goose eggs for the Brew Crew.

Not sure why, but the Bucs are sure taking a lot of 90-ish fastballs. Pedro struck out swinging after looking at two strikes, as did Clement before him, and Rod Barajas went down without ever taking the bat off his shoulders. Josh Harrison isn't afflicted with any paralysis by analysis; he legged out a first-pitch infield knock. Bedard rolled a ball to first, where Hart muffed the play, putting Pirates on the corners. Travis Snider worked the count full, but his drive to right fell just short of the wall for a loud third out.

Bedard tossed a clean third, getting three groundouts. With two down, Jones banged a double off the wall, but a Clement fly to left ended the frame, still scoreless after three. With the pace of the game so far, it may finish under the lights.

Hart singled on a 1-2 pitch with two away in the fourth for the Brew Crew's first knock, and Lucroy followed with a first pitch single to right to put runners at first and second. Gomez took advantage of the two out lightning by bombing a first pitch curve over the wall in left center to make it 3-0 Milwaukee. In Pittsburgh's half, Harrison singled to center with two down; at least he's turning the order over.

Rogers led off the fifth by doubling off the Clemente Wall. A grounder moved him to third, where Week's single to center scored him. Bedard struck out Braun. But he fell behind Ramirez 2-0, tossed him a meatball and watched it disappear into the Pittsburgh skyline to make it 6-0. That was it; Bedard went 4-2/3, giving up six runs on six hits and two walks with three whiffs on 84 pitches. Bedard wasn't the only one walking; a lot of the huge crowd was also heading elsewhere to enjoy a sunny Sunday afternoon.

KC took the hill, and Hart greeted him with a single. A Lucroy single chased him to third before Gomez flew out deep, looking for his second tater of the day. Snider opened with a walk. After a Walker fly out, Cutch bounced one up the middle for a tag 'em out, toss 'em out DP.

Segura led off the sixth with a triple, followed by a walk to Travis Ishikawa. An Aoki sac fly brought home another run. Weeks and Braun bounced out as the score mounted; it's now 7-0. Manny Parra came on and struck out the first pair of Bucs before Pedro singled. Barajas followed with another knock. Harrison squared up on the first pitch and banged it deep to center, but like Snider's ball in the second, it was an ooh-and-aah out.

KC got through the seventh frame surrendering just a two-out knock to Lucroy and a long out to Gomez, who is really seeing the ball well today. The Bucs first two hitters went down quietly to Parra before Walker reached on an error. Cutch bounced out, and it was on to the eighth.

Hisanori Takahashi took the bump; the Bucs didn't waste any time getting him in action. Looked good, too, tossing a clean frame. Jose Veras took the mound for Milwaukee. After striking out the first pair of Pirates, he lost Pedro. But he came back to catch Hot Rod looking.

Chris Resop came in for mop up duty. He walked Weeks, but got Nyjmo to bounce into a DP. Good thing, too - Jeff Bianchi came off the bench and doubled. Martin Maldonado grounded out, and it was last dibs for the Pirates. Kameron Loe took the ball. he got a pair of grounders before losing Snider on a 3-2 pitch. Walker banged an 0-2 pitch to third; it was tossed away to put Pirates at first and third. Cutch K'ed, and the last rites were official. It's not the end of the world yet, but the Apocalypse is approaching if Pittbsurgh doesn't find another gear soon.

The Bucs have seen a long line of ho-hum pitchers and treated them like Cy Young candidates. It only makes sense; they are second in the league in Ks, hit .240 with RISP, and their BA (.245) & OBP (.303) are near the bottom in the majors, so they don't have that many runners to waste. They're not gonna smack three run homers every game. The batters overachieved big time for six glorious weeks, but now it's the home stretch. The stretch is a grind, and grind 'em out games are decided by pitching and defense. 

We're getting a little bored with the pitching drama. Bedard isn't adding anything to the staff. Let him get a jump on free agency and cut him loose to bring up Jeff Locke. He's another lefty, and can't do much worse. If the FO still has the heebie-jeebies about disturbing Indy's playoff run - and our understanding is that they are still a big league feeder system - put KC back in the rotation (if you decide to keep him; he could go, too) and bring up Chris Leroux. Yah, we know September is just around the corner, but the Bucs management has cut cautious corners for too long.

A lot of the recent series have swung on a pivotal one-run or extra-inning game, and the Bucs have been coming up short because a team is as strong as its weakest link. Give the guys a fighting chance and show them the FO hasn't quit on them, even if it is a month overdue.

  • Jose Tabata is available off the bench today. He passed all his tests, but the Bucs are giving him an R&R day.
  • The Pirates left 12 men on base. Eleven of them reached after two outs.
  • On his radio show, Neal Huntington said they weren't planning to call up Tony Sanchez in September, making Eric Fryer a pretty likely candidate as a third catcher next week.
  • The game drew 36,626, which is the 16th sellout at PNC. There were 17 full houses last season, and the record is 19, set when the park opened in 2001.
  • The Pirates have had 10+ strikeouts in 7-of-8 games. The opposing starters: Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia, Edinson Volquez, Jason Marquis, Mike Fiers, Shaun Marcum and Mark Rogers. Two had just come off the 60 day DL and two others were spot starters.

No comments: