Sunday, April 7, 2013

Bucs Whitewashed Again 1-0

Man, when the Bucs packed up their moving van in Florida, they should have double checked the equipment; they apparently left their bats in Bradenton. The Pirates wasted another strong effort on the hill, mustering two hits in a 1-0 loss to Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers.

AJ Burnett took the loss. He wasn't dominating, giving up four hits and having some control issues with four walks in 5-1/3 frames that ran his pitch count up to 108, but he had his sit-down pitch working with nine more K and allowed but one run. It was one too many.

And that run wasn't pretty. With two outs in the third, Carl Crawford beat out an infield single (Clint Barmes gloved his hard short hop but couldn't recover to make a throw to first), stole second and beat the throw home when Mark Ellis roped a 3-2 fastball into left.

The Pirates had three guys on all night; two of them were lost to baserunning blunders. Starling Marte singled to lead off the night, went to second on a Neil Walker bunt - which in itself doesn't show much confidence in the hitters and with good reason as Marte was the only Pirate to reach second - but was gunned down trying to go to third on a grounder to short, a mistake that would drive a high school coach to drink.

Russell Martin drew a two-out walk in the seventh. He was eying second as the tying run, but never had the chance to test AJ Ellis' arm; Kershaw picked him off.

Jared Hughes, Mark Melancon and Tony Watson kept the Dodgers off the board, with Hughes working out of a bases-loaded, one out jam inherited from AJ in the sixth. Paco Rodriguez and Kenley Jansen finished the job for the Blue, with Brandon Teague working the ninth for his second save in two nights.

Yah, it looks bleak right now, reminiscent of the 2012 stumble out of the blocks. But this game had as much to do with an ace being absolutely dominating as with the bats being ice cold. Kershaw, going back to the end of last year, has given up one run in his past 35 IP and has tossed a pair of shutouts to open this year.

Jeff Locke takes the hill this afternoon. The Bucs wanted to match him up against South Korean rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu rather than Kershaw. Maybe it'll work.

  • Marte had both Pirate hits, the first multi-hit game of the year for by Corsair. It's the third time in six games that the Bucs have been two-hit by their opponents.
  • The Pirate batting line after five games: .117/.185/.145.
  • In case you're wondering about last year's oddball Bucco record, there's still quite a way to go to approach it. To refresh your memory, the Bucs opened the 2012 season without scoring or allowing more than five runs in 18 games.
  • Mike McKenry is the only Buc position player to not have an at-bat yet; he should get the call today, although he was by-passed during the last night game-day game cycle.
  • Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to five games. On the other side of the pillow, Matt Kemp went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and a DP.
  • The Dodgers stole three bases early on; Martin changed up the way he flashed the signs in response, suspecting his old teammates might have swiping his wiggles. It worked; they didn't steal another sack after the third. Still, from what we saw, it wasn't so much the signs as AJ that gave the Dodgers an edge on the basepaths.

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