Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bucs Misfire On All Cylinders, Go Down Quietly 11-0

The tarps came off and the game began a little late - well, a lot late, how about 8 PM? And oddly enough, the Dodgers didn't score in the first. In fact, after two frames, Kevin Correia had yet to allow a runner aboard.

The Bucs went down in order in the first against Chad Billingsley, but the man of the hour, Garrett Jones, led off the second with a double to right. The Kid didn't have such a great at bat, fishing at a pair of pitches that  quite tight to whiff. Pedro worked a 3-2 walk. Rod Barajas took some extra BP with Clint Hurdle pitching this afternoon, and it paid off - for LA. He lined a shot to third that Juan Uribe gloved, and he threw behind Jones at second for the DP.

The bottom of the Blue order came up, and ex-Bucco Luis Cruz got the first LA knock with a single to left. AJ Ellis drew a 3-2 walk that was close to being strike three; after working up and in, KC hit the outside corner above the knees, fooling both Ellis and the ump. It was doubly painful as Cruz was off on the pitch and would have been thrown out at second had Ellis been rung up. They were bunted up 90'. Shane Victorino rolled a ball to second, scoring Cruz and it was 1-0 Dodgers.

With an out in the Bucco half, KC dinked an infield single. Starling Marte hit into a force - good trade there - and ended up on third after Travis Snider's double to right, drilled so sharply that even Marte couldn't get all the way around. That also hurt as Cutch went down looking at a curve that caught the inside half.

Matt Kemp led off the fourth with an infield knock that went off Pedro's glove, getting the benefit of the call at first on a bang-bang play. More trouble; The Kid tagged Kemp as he went by on a slow rolling Ethier grounder and then dropped the ball after they collided. It looked like Kemp punched the ball out of The Kid's mitt before Walker could get it out for the throw to first. Angel Campos didn't think he controlled the ball long enough, and everyone ended up safe. Clint Hurdle came out to vent his spleen and stomped back to the dugout. Angel may have been right about Walker never reaching to get the ball out of his glove; even The Kid picked up the ball and tried to tag Kemp again.

Hanley Ramirez collected a swinging bunt topper that went all of 25' to load the sacks, and Loney's grounder to first plated Kemp and moved up Ethier and Ramirez. Cruz collected his second knock with a liner  into left center, and it was 4-0. KC got his K's a batter or two late when he fanned Ellis and Billingsley. So it's a big frame with one ball leaving the infield; the Bucs could have caught a break, or even better, made a couple of clean plays to shut the whole thing down. Pittsburgh answered by going down in order.

KC calmed the Dodgers in the fifth. In the Buc half, Correia reached on a two out boot, but Marte hit into a force to end the frame. With one down in the sixth, Ramirez took a fastball to left for a single, and Loney followed with another knock to put Dodgers at first and second. Cruz smacked his third hit of the night, singling on the first pitch to score Ramirez; all three hits were off heaters. Ellis added a sac fly - yes, off a fastball - and it was 6-0. No question about this inning's results; LA hit everything hard off KC. Pittsburgh again followed a big Dodger frame by going down 1-2-3.

Jeff Locke came in. KC went six innings, giving up six runs (five earned) on seven hits with a walk and three K, tossing 70 pitches. The Dodgers went down in order. Walker led off the seventh with a knock, but only got as far as second before the Bucs ran out of at-bats.

With two down in the eighth, Loney reached on an infield single, but Locke finally got Cruz out on a fly to left. For the Bucs, Marte took a slider to right with one away. He stole second and tagged to third on a Gaby Sanchez fly to right. Cutch whiffed, and the Fat Lady was standing stage right.

Chad Qualls took the bump in the ninth. With an out, Adam Kennedy reached via an infield hit and Victorino took a slider to right to put Blue runners at first and second. They moved up a base on a passed ball. Uribe drew a walk after a nine pitch battle with Qualls. Kemp followed with, yep, another infield knock. Ethier rapped a heater to left to plate another pair. Qualls cut the throw for no discernible reason, and his bad throw behind Ethier put runners in second and third. It got bad enough that Hurdle had to waste Chris Resop to try to close the frame. He couldn't, as Ramirez greeted him with a two run double to left. When the smoke cleared, it was 11-0 La-La Land.

Shawn Tolleson came in to mop up; Billingsley was at 107 pitches. three batters later, the Fat lady did her thing, and the Bucs suffered  their biggest loss of 2012.

Well, no matter what the score, it's just one loss. But the Bucs have lost 5-of-6 and the FO has to ask themselves if they have the best 25 players in the organization playing for the big team right now. We suspect the answer is no, and that needs addressed. They're six behind the Reds now and just barely hanging on to the second wild card and could stand a better job by the FO of putting the roster pieces together better than they have so far.

Clayton Kershaw takes on Wandy Rodriguez tomorrow.

  • Gaby Sanchez pinch hit for Travis Snider against a righty, leading us to speculate that Snider's hammy was acting up again.
  • The Dodger's Luis Cruz tied his career highs tonight with 3 hits (2nd time, other: 9/12/08 at PNC Park as a Pirate against the Cards) and three RBI (2nd time).
  • Every position player for the Blue scored, drove in a run or both.

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