Friday, August 2, 2013

Bucs Blow Early Chances In 4-2 Loss

Gerrit Cole got off to a good start; he whiffed the first two Rox and had a 1-2-3 frame. Neil Walker doubled with an out off Jhoulys Chacin, but was stranded when Pedro's liner to center was gloved by Dexter Fowler. Troy Tulowitzki opened the second by taking a hung 3-2 slider to left for his 20th homer and putting the Rockies up 1-0. The Bucs put two guys on, but no one reached second base on a hit batter, DP, single, and pop out.

Colorado went down quietly in the third. The Bucs, with one down, got a single from Starling Marte and a double to The Notch by The Kid to set up Cutch, who ripped a single to right to score one and put Bucs on the corners. But it was Pedro's turn to hit in a DP. At least it's 1-1. With one out in the fourth, the Rox got a single and walk; a wild pitch moved them up a station. But a pair of punchouts kept them there. For the Bucs, same ol' - single, DP (Jones' second) and a K. In the fifth both sides were retired in order. But the Bucs' last hard was a ball that was lined hard off Chacin's wrist by Marte; we'll see if he comes out for the sixth.

Fowler opened the sixth with a walk and stole second as DJ LeMahieu struck out swinging.A single through the right side put Rox on the corners with one away. That was it; Justin Wilson got the call to face Tulo. Cole went 5-1/3, giving up three runs on three hits, two walks, and six K after 102 pitches in a short start, but his first over 100 pitches. No luck for the Bucs; Tulo chopped a curve between first and the mound for an infield knock - Jones and Wilson went for the ball, and Walker couldn't get to first in time, cheating for the DP - and it was 2-1 Colorado. A wild pitch moved the runners up and Todd Helton singled up the middle past the shift to make 4-1. Wilson gave up as many hits facing five batters, three, as Cole did in five+ frames.

Chacin did stay in, and got Walker to fly out to the wall in left. Cutch routinely flied out to center, and Pedro took four pitches and sat down. Wilson got what he needed last frame, three routine ground outs. The Bucs did pretty much the same. Russ Martin lined on to third on a when Nolan Arenado went upstairs and snow-coned the grab. It didn't matter, as Jones rolled out to short, so the catch just denied him a shot at three DPs. Presley was thrown out easily on a bunt attempt, and it's on to the eighth.

Jared Hughes toed the rubber. After two grounders, he lost Helton during a long at-bat, and Wil Rosario punched a knock between Pedro and Barmes. Charlie Blackmon flew out to end the frame quietly. Chacin was cruising, getting three bouncers. That brought out Bryan Morris from the Buc bullpen for the ninth.

He didn't have a pretty inning, but a couple of heads-up plays resulted in a zero. After Arenado and Charlie Culberton led off with back-to-back singles, a grounder to Walker with the infield partially in resulted in a rundown, erasing the man at second. Pedro went home on a chopper, and Martin pulled his throw from the first base side across the plate to make the tag count. Another wild pitch put Rox at second and third again, but Carlos Gonzalez, who came in as a defensive sub the inning before, flew out to left.We have to wonder if Martin's knee is affecting his ability to block those pitches; there were a couple that got by that he usually smothers in his sleep.

Lefty Rex Brothers came on, and the Bucs made a late run. Cutch doubled off the top of the wall in front of the Batter's Eyewith one gone and came home when Pedro followed with a soft liner to the track in right center, well placed for another double. Martin got the crowd to its feet with a drive to straight center, but he was under it too much and Fowler hauled it in short of the track for a loud out. Gaby pinch hit and shot a liner to right; it hung up for Blackmon, and the Pirates went down 4-2.

The Rox won the game on an inning that started with a walk, was kept going by an infield knock that the Bucs didn't particularly communicate well in fielding and a wild pitch. Pittsburgh's chances came early; especially in the third. Six runners reached between the second-fourth frames, but three DPs limited the damage to a run. And Chacin cruised after that; getting a couple of at 'em balls but in the main routinely getting weak outs.

It's been a Jeckyl and Hyde attack. Since the Miami series, they've scored five+ runs four times, but two or less five times. They could probably stand to smooth that production out a bit. Since the break, they've scored 66 times in 14 games, 4.7 runs per contest. If they can score that many consistently instead of in spurts, the pitching will carry them through the dog days.

It doesn't get any easier tomorrow as Jorge De La Rosa and Francisco Liriano hook up.

  • Tonight was the 10th sellout of the year at PNC Park with 37,487 fans, the eighth straight game of 30,000+ in the yard.
  • RHP Jameson Taillon is moving up; he's being promoted to AAA Indy.


WilliamJPellas said...

Still not enough hitting, I don't think. The second wildcard has really, REALLY cut down on trade deadline deals. You'd think, however, that a good second tier veteran hitter could still have been had. Chris Denorfia is a guy I've always liked and San Diego is going nowhere. I think he would have been an excellent fit, and I'd sure rather see him for the stretch run than Jose Tabata. At least they've finally decided to give Alex Presley some more playing time. That will help, but I think Denorfia would have helped more. From here, you just have to hope the pitching keeps it up and that a couple of guys get hot at the right time.

Ron Ieraci said...

Those guys didn't go to anyone else, either, Will. Without knowing, I'd guess that NH was right when he said the market was shallow and the prices too dear. I don't think they'll find any August waiver guys to help; they're on their own. And while that be a short term inconvenience, it's a good long term plan.