Friday, April 26, 2013

Sanchez Lasts Four Batters As Bucs Fall 9-1

The Bucs started off by stranding a pair against Lance Lynn. The Cards opened with a bomb by Matt Carpenter on a 3-2 fastball down the middle off Jonathan Sanchez. Carlos Beltran crushed another long ball two pitches later. Matt Holliday had to be awfully disappointed to just get a line drive single.

Allen Craig got beaned, right off the helmet, and Sanchez was ejected by ump Tim Timmons before the ball ricocheted to the ground, and probably rightfully so. Clint Hurdle also got bounced, although he should have been after his pitcher instead of the man in blue. You can't blame him, though, for leaving this mess to Jeff Banister.

Jeanmar Gomez got a surprise wake-up call, coming in as cold as the Grinch's heart. Then again, he probably should have started tonight anyway. Dang if Yadier Molina didn't bang the first pitch to Pedro for an around the horn DP and David Freese lined out to Clint Barmes. So the ejection worked to the Bucs advantage for the time being, even if it is 2-0 St. Louis.

The Bucs went down tamely in the second; Jon Jay opened by reaching on a Barme's boot. A strikeout and bunt got him to second, and there he stayed. With an out in the third, Starling Marte got plunked in the wrist with a pitch; the docs looked him over and he stayed in. He didn't go anywhere; Lynn has five K so far. A walk and wild pitch put Holliday at second with an out in the Card half. Craig sent a seeing-eye bouncer through the left side to make it 3-0.

The fourth went quietly. With two outs in the fifth, Marte got plunked again; Timmons tossed Jay Bell for barking about it, as both benches had been warned. Starling stole second and Travis Snider walked, but Cutch's stick stayed in the deep freeze as he bounced out to end the frame.

Gomez's good outing went south when he walked Carpenter on five pitches and then served Beltran his second homer of the game on a middle-in sinker; he has one from both sides of the dish tonight. Holliday walked on four pitches. At 62 tosses, Gomez may be gassed, but Banister is low on arms and left him in.

After a K, Gomez was double-switched out. JT entered in left, Marte moved to center and Cutch took a seat as Jared Hughes took the hill and whiffed Molina and Freese. Banister was likely giving Cutch a blow in a game that's quickly getting out of hand with a day match tomorrow, but we wonder how that move will play out down the line.

It fired up Garrett Jones, who led off with a double in the sixth. A ground out and sac fly by Pedro to the track in left center brought home a run. Hughes gave up a one-out walk and then buzzed Lynn as he squared up to bunt. He didn't get a piece of him, but did K him. Carpenter singled on a ball off Hughe's glove, then he lost Beltran on four pitches. Holliday hit a comebacker to end the frame. We wonder what old-school AJ would have done with both Lynn and Beltran up?

The Pirates went down 1-2-3 in the seventh; Marte finally got a pitch over the plate and took it to the base of the wall in straightaway center at the 400' mark where Jay caught up to it. Hughes came up with a quick frame; he worked a 2-2/3 inning, 40-pitch outing.

Mitchell Boggs took over for Lynn, who had a two hit, three walk, nine K night. Snider greeted Boggs with an infield knock. Gaby followed, and guess what - he got beaned. After an out, The Kid walked to jam the sacks. With Pedro up, Mike Matheny waved in southpaw Randy Choate. Pedro worked the count full, then bounced a ball to second for a rally-killing 4-6-3 DP. To add injury to insult, Walker was shook up going into second and left the game.

Brandon Inge replaced him, and Vin Mazzaro took the bump. Jay greeted him with a double to the opposite field in right center. Pete Kozma singled to right on a ball Inge watched go by; he's pretty obviously a third baseman by profession. In 13 big league seasons, this is his eighth appearance at second and it shows.

Ty Wiggington blooped a fly single to right. Carpenter stopped the bleeding with a line out to JT. After a K of Beltran,  Holliday singled to right for a run, and Craig dropped a soft liner that popped out of a diving Snider's glove to plate two more, although Snider recovered quickly enough to toss out Craig at second. You can add Mazzaro to the arms used up; he threw 36 pitches in his inning of work.

Joe Kelly gave up a leadoff knock to Russell Martin and an out later JT singled. But he got Marte and Snider easily, and the Cards won in a romp 9-1.

A couple of problems glared tonight. Sanchez is one; he's not only been bad but killed the pen in every start,  We'd be surprised if he isn't released as you read this; the Pirates have to call up another arm. They'll probably go with Gomez for a start or two, unless they call Liriano up ahead of schedule. He's been shadowing Sanchez's starts during rehab.

The other is looking at third strikes. The Bucs went down 10 times tonight, and it's true that Timmons had a wide strike zone. But it was consistent, and after the first time up you have to adapt; the Pirates haven't gotten that memo yet this season.

AJ Burnett goes against Jake Westbrook tomorrow afternoon.

  • Starling Marte started the game with an infield single, making him an amazing 12-for-19 leading off (.632). 
  • The last starting Pirate pitcher to get the hook without getting an out for non-injury reasons was Ryan Vogelsong in 2004. Sanchez is 0-11/8.87 over 17 starts during the past two seasons, so he was a likely suspect to be next.
  • Today was Clint Hurdle's first ejection of the season. He was last tossed on September 22nd of last year, and by the same ump, Tim Timmons. It was his eleventh early exit as Bucco skipper.
  • Mike Sanserino of the Post Gazette tweets "Jeff Karstens threw a simulated game today. (His) next step could be a rehab start for Class A Bradenton. The Pirates are still looking to him as a starter."
  • Josh Harrison is a throwback kinda player, and to prove it, he went retro and stole home ala Honus Wagner for Indy tonight. RHP Brandon Cumpton gave up two hits over seven frames in the 5-1 win.

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