It's not like the Bucs didn't have their chances; they banged out eight hits, but went a depressing 0-for-14 with RISP. Jake Arrieta gave up six of those hits over six frames, but his 9 K kept the Bucs at bay.
Starling Marte opened the game with a double and was stranded. Garrett Jones and Travis Snider were on first & second with one out an inning later; there they stayed. Russell Martin and Snider were on first and second with an out in the fourth and died there. Snider doubled with an out in the sixth and never moved.
After that, Pittsburgh went dry. Luis Ayala and Troy Patton each worked two frames of no-run ball.
Brad Hawpe may have punched his ticket out of camp; he stranded five runners while striking out all three of his at-bats, dropping his BA to .139. Clint Barmes whiffed twice in four appearances, leaving six runners on. The middle of the order had its woes, too, as Cutch and Pedro each left four Buccos aboard.
But that performance at the dish didn't seem to rattle the pitchers. Jonathan Sanchez came up with his second strong start, going five innings and giving up two hits, a walk, and whiffing four. He never allowed a runner to reach second. Ryan Reid went two no-hit frames, with a walk and two Ks. Chris Leroux and Justin Wilson finished up with an inning apiece; Leroux yielded a hit while Wilson gave up a hit and a walk with a K.
So Sanchez and Jeffrey Locke have kept alive their claims for a spot on the staff. The FO is coming up on decision time; Sanchez's opt-out date if not on the 40-man roster is Sunday. Cuts are expected this weekend as the Pirates only have eight more games to go before they count.
Jeanmar Gomez goes against Alex Cobb and Tampa tomorrow afternoon.
- Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune Review wrote that "The lineup against the Rays includes several position players who are on the bubble: Ivan De Jesus Jr., Josh Harrison, Brad Hawpe, Brandon Inge, Alex Presley and Felix Pie. For some of them, it could be a 'one last look' game before rosters are reduced, perhaps as soon as Saturday." He added that Neil Huntington told him “The other two spots, it might be two outfielders, or it might be one infielder and one outfielder. Time will tell as it plays out.” The Fort and Gaby Sanchez are already guaranteed roster spots. W'd assume the first infield spot is John McDonald's and JT, being RH and out of options, the first OF choice.
- Travis Rietsma of Getting Blanked reviews the Bucs; he pegs them at 84 wins and posts "With improvements from their still-young core of position players, the Pirates could be a sleeper in the National League and only stand to get better in the years to come with a number of high-impact prospects on the way."
- Wandy Rodriguez gave up a run and three hits, while walking three and striking out two in 5-1/3 innings during a minor-league contest at Pirate City today. AJ Burnett will work a minor-league outing tomorrow as Jeanmar Gomez gets a last look on the hill.
- New SS John McDonald will report to camp tomorrow.
- Mike McKenry is sponsoring a veteran's family with game tickets during every home stand.
- Trip Advisor selected PNC Park as baseball's top stadium.