Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bucs Dazed and Confused In 5-0 Loss

Bartolo Colon tossed as effortlessly as your average beer league softball pitcher, and got a K and three weakly hit balls, one an infield knock by Cutch, to tuck the Bucs away in the first. Charlie Morton had a shaky start; with an out, he gave up a bloop hit to Daniel Murphy and walked David Wright. Chuck fell behind Curtis Granderson 3-0, got a gift strike call, and finished him off with a liner to center that Cutch ran down nicely. He whiffed Chris Young, but has gone to the well 28 times in the opening frame.

With an out in the second, Pedro one-hopped a ball into the Buc bullpen for a ground rule double. Jordy Mercer continued to do his Brian Bixler imitation, whiffing on three pitches without taking the bat off his shoulder. Chris Stewart was put aboard intentionally, and Chuck at least put the ball in play, bouncing out 4-3. Lucas Duda walked to open the frame and went to second on a wild pitch, advancing to third with two gone on a roller to second. With Colon at bat, Charlie uncorked another wild one - Stewart should have been able to block it; it looked like it hit the side of his mitt and kicked sideways, but why bury one with the pitcher up - to plate the run and make it 1-0 Mets.

Pittsburgh went down 1-2-3 in the third, with Cutch catching one on the end of the bat and flying out to the track in right. The NY half was more typically a Charlie Morton inning. With an out, Murphy's grounder to third was airmailed past first by Pedro; it came right off the wall to Neil Walker, whose throw to second had Murphy cleanly beaten. Jordy closed his glove before the ball was there, and it bounced off his leather into short left for a two-error play, with Murphy ending up at third. The Bucs appealed, saying that Murphy never touched second, but though close, it looks like he hit the side of the bag and then popped up, landing on Mercer's mitt. Wright singled him home and NY was up 2-0.

Marte reached second with one out in the fourth when Wright's throw skipped past Duda, but Colon picked up his fielders, following with a K and grounder to short. Morton worked a clean and quick frame. Josh singled with two outs in the fifth, the second hard-hit ball of the afternoon, and went to second on a passed ball that was ruled a wild pitch. Either way, it didn't help as Walker popped out. Lagares singled with an out and went to second on a grounder that was nicely played by Ike for the second out. With Wright up, Lagares had a mental cramp and headed to third; Charlie saw him break and threw him out easily.

Wright robbed Cutch to open the sixth but with two outs he bounced another throw to Duda (who isn't helping his 3Bman very much) to allow Marte to reach base, but he was left aboard. Frustration for Morton continued; after a one-out homer by Wright, he walked back-to-back Mets, and that brought out Clint Hurdle and Jared Hughes. Hughes walked Tejada, but threw a short passed ball during the at-bat, and Chris Young was tossed out at third by Stewart with a snap throw that was right on the money. A fly to center ended the inning.

The Pirates went down in order in the seventh. Bryan Morris came on. After two were down, Murphy got extra life when the Met fans outwrestled Marte for a foul ball at the railing, and the at-bat turned into an 11 pitch walk. It didn't cost; Wright bounced out to third.

Colon started the eighth. Josh's bid for a hit was run down by Lagares, then The Kid and Cutch singled. Bartolo was past the 120 pitch mark, and Collins called on Jeurys Familia to work to Ike. Davis bounced his first pitch to second, and the 4-6-3 probably drove the final nail into the coffin. Granderson walked to open against Morris, and was balked to second with an out. It made his jog home shorter when Duda crushed a ball over the wall in center to make it 5-0. An out later, he walked the eight hitter and surrendered Familia's first MLB hit before getting a call to whiff Lagares.

The Bucs managed an infield single off Familia in the ninth, and that was generously given as Duda dropped a low throw that had beaten Pedro by a step. The Bucs fell 5-0, and it was another in a string of ugly games this series.

Bartolo Colon is a joy to watch; he is quick, completely unflustered and a viral vid at bat. He also throws a fastball at 88 MPH that he keeps up in the zone with some arm run. The Pirates had no apparent game plan for him; instead of just waiting on the pitch and taking it where it was thrown, they took a number of heaters for strikes and rarely squared up when they swung; it was a dreadful exhibition at the plate. Ump Jeff Nelson was generous with the corners, where Colon lives, and the Pirates never adjusted; they preferred to glare at the man in blue than spoil a close pitch.

As for the pitchers, the Mets had no one after the top three in the order hitting .240 or better. But instead of aggressively attacking the lineup, the Bucs walked seven after issuing a half dozen free passes the night before. The fielding is still sporadic, and it seems a physical or mental error plates every game. This was a terribly played series by Pittsburgh, and it doesn't get any easier with LA next on the dance card.

Gerrit Cole opens against Dan Haren at LA tomorrow.
  • The Pirates are just 7-16 on the road this season.
  • Ground Chuck, who's had troubles against LH in his career, caught a break today as the Mets only had four in the lineup; they're not particularly deep in left-handed bats.
  • Bartolo Colon needed seven strikeouts today to reach 2,000 for his career to join CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett as active members of the club. He got it in the sixth, catching Ike Davis looking. Davis wasn't alone; the Bucs struck out nine times in 7-1/3 innings against Bartolo, his season high mark.
  • Hot prospect Tyler Glasnow whiffed 12 in 5-2/3 one-hit, shutout frames. He finished one K shy of the Marauder record, set last year by Nick Kingham.
  • In Sports on Earth, Matthew Kory posts that the most productive hitter against the Bucs all-time is...Jermaine Dye. "Dye's 1.232 OPS barely nips Barry Bonds by 0.105 points of OPS. More Bonds craziness: In 411 plate appearances, the Pirates walked Bonds 99 times."

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