Sunday, June 29, 2014

Bucs Take Series Behind Eddie & Pedro With 5-2 Win

Pretty good start for Edinson Volquez. He gave up a two-out single to Daniel Murphy, who went to second on a wild pickoff toss, but was left stranded. Bartolo Colon wasn't quite as effective.

With one gone, Starling Marte singled and went to third on The Kid's double. Both came home on Ike's knock. Josh hit into a force, which was a good thing as he had the wheels to come around on Pedro's two-bagger. All four Bucco hits came after the batter was behind 0-2 or 1-2, showing pretty good focus in the box early on.

In the second, the Mets got a one-out knock from Eric Campbell, but that was the extent of the damage. Colon retired the Pirates in order. Eddie had some problems in the third, giving up a double and single to put Mets on the corners with one out, but he whiffed Murphy and got Curtis Granderson to fly to right to wriggle out of trouble. The Bucs again went down quietly.

Lucas Duda opened the fourth with a double and went to third on a grounder. Again, Edinson reached back for the K, walked the eight man intentionally and then K'ed Colon. The Metropolitans are doing just about everything but scoring. Josh doubled the opposite way to start things off, then Pedro stroked a fastball way into the seats to make it 5-0. Chris Stewart singled and with two gone, El Coffee walked, but Starling couldn't bring them home.

The Mets left another duck on the pond in the fifth while Pittsburgh went down 1-2-3. Duda and Campbell started the sixth with back-to-back knocks, but a fly and 6-4-3 shut the door on them again. Colon worked a clean frame. Volquez left after six frames of ducking rain drops and a streak of 13 straight shutout innings.

Justin Wilson got the call in the seventh. He gave up a one out single on a tapper by Juan Lagares that got past him and then was chucked into right field off the tarp by Walker, sending the speedster to third. Wilson whiffed Tejada and got Murphy on a soft liner to post another goose egg. Gonzalez Germen came in for the Mets and shut down Pittsburgh.

Tony Watson took the ball in the eighth for no good reason we could think of outside of habit, and did his 1-2-3 thing. Dana Eveland worked for the Mets, just surrendering a one out knock to Ike.

Regression and quite probably payback of the baseball gods both reared their ugly heads in the ninth. Lagares singled on a soft roller barely beyond Neil Walker to greet Jared Hughes and Travis d'Arnaud doubled up the line on a grounder that Pedro just missed; a no-doubles D and it's a DP. Clint Barmes made a nifty jump pass throw out from the hole on Chris Young, plating a run, and Bobby Abreu flew out. Tejada dropped a ball between three people in short left to make it 5-2, and Hughes' luck had run out. Mark the Shark got the call, and gave up a single that was nearly snagged by Walker before getting a fly to right.

Volquez is now 6-6 and The Shark had his 15th save.

We're a bit lost as to Hurdle's thinking, bring in Watson when it's 5-0 and The Shark just to get an easy save opportunity. When their tongues are dragging in the dog days, games like this will be one of the reasons. As is, the Bucs stole one; NY had 13 hits and stranded 11 runners with a 2-for-15 RISP performance. But Volquez and Wilson both had the K-ball in their back pocket when they needed it. It's good to see Pedro starting to bang the ball with some authority; the six spot seems to suit him well.

The Bucs are off tomorrow.
  • The Pirates have won their third straight series and taken 7-of-9. After a day off, the home stand continues Tuesday against the D'Backs.
  • Today's attendance was 37,290, the Bucs fourth straight sellout. With a total gate of 150,819 against the Mets, the Pirates broke their previous four-date PNC Park record attendance by more than 21,000 fans. 
  • Even with today's win, the Bucs play like vampires - they're a MLB worst 11-20 in day games. 
  • Gregory Polanco is scheduled to be off Tuesday just as a maintenance day after a whirlwind start.


WilliamJPellas said...

Looks like Polanco is in his first mini-slump since coming up to the big leagues. Opponents are already noticing him and, presumably, meticulously breaking down the video to try and find a weakness. As is so often the case, it's whether a player can "adjust to the adjustments" that determines whether he will stick in the big leagues over the long haul. Polanco almost certainly will, but it wouldn't surprise me if the game comes harder to him over the rest of the season.

I have a different take on Melancon coming into the game yesterday. I think it showed how much Hurdle wanted the "W" and wanted to take 3 out of 4 from the Mess. In other words he wasn't taking any chances. Hughes is the guy to blame if you ask me, as he really spit the bit with a 5-0 lead. I do agree, however, that Hurdle leans too much on his 'pen in general. The Pirates desperately need starting pitchers who will go deeper into games. Speaking of which, Cumpton, to me, is a guy like that. A warrior who doesn't want to come out. I think they should have kept him for another start or two and sent Cole down for a rehab start or two, but instead they farmed Cumpton out (again) and brought Cole back before Cole was ready. That's assuming Cole isn't hurt worse than they are letting on.

Ron Ieraci said...

Yah, Will, the counter-punching has begun with Polanco. Cutch got through it; Marte is still having his moments.

As for the pitching, there's not much point in the starters going deep if Hurdle's going to use his back-enders to close out 5-0 games. I wonder what's up with Gomez - he was getting used in different spots, and suddenly has disappeared in games that you'd think would be right up his low leverage alley.