Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Walks & Miscues Haunt Bucs In 3-2 Loss

Ian Kennedy opened up in good shape; after a Josh at 'em ball, he settled in to whiff Travis Snider and Cutch. Chris Denorfia worked Francisco Liriano for a leadoff walk and stole second; Everth Cabrera reached on a bunt single to put Padres on the corners. Carlos Quentin hit a pop into short right; Josh made the catch, but Denorfia tagged for the run on a ball Snider should have played in what we suppose was a communication breakdown.

Frankie then plunked Chase Headley on a 1-2 pitch; not a very smooth start for the lefty. Tommy Medica hit a grounder that had DP written all over it; Liriano got it to Josh for the force, but the relay was bad and  Cabrera raced home. Maybin K'ed but sheesh; a walk, a HBP, a bunt single, a pop-up sac fly and an error; it took a horseshoe to keep it at only 2-0.

With an out in the second, JT banged a single to right. Pedro whiffed on a 3-2 pitch in the dirt and Jordy lined out to right. Rene Rivera drew a free pass for SD, but two strikeouts and a force ended the frame. Frankie's command wasn't a whole lot better, but he had some help this frame from plate ump Joe West's always interesting - and moving - strike zone.

After two were away in the third, Josh cranked a triple off the wall in right center. Snider flew out on the next pitch to keep it at 2-0. Liriano had a clean inning. Cutch cut the lead in half, opening the fourth with a bomb to left off a change; Kennedy came back to sit down the next trio of Bucs.

Medica opened by walking on four pitches, and a tapper put him on second with two outs. Jace Peterson took three balls nowhere near the dish and ball four was intentional, understandable with Kennedy (who may be a better hitter) due up. He went full on his mound opponent and lost him to load the bases, then walked Denrfia on five pitches to bring home the third Padre tally. With Frankie due up third, Clint milked one more batter out him, and the gamble worked as Cabrera bounced out. Francisco has given up one hit, a bunt single, and has five K, but six walks and a HBP in four innings, aye carumba!

Jordy led off the fifth with a single; Chris Stewart K'ed. Frankie batted and bunted him to second. The odd strategy paid off when Josh doubled to right center before Snider's bounce out. Liriano went back to the hill, and got Quentin to ground out into a shift on a 3-1 fastball. Alexi Amaristo whiffed pinch hitting for Chase Headley, and Hurdle's roll of the dice paid off when Medica swung through a 3-2 change.

Cutch tried to repeat to start the sixth, but his drive to right was hauled in at the track in front of the 364' mark. JT walked with two down, but Pedro K'ed for the second time to end the inning.

Jared Hughes came in, and started with what else but a walk to Maybin, who stole second. No diff; Rivera walked on five pitches. Peterson bunted them runners up a station for lefty pinch hitter Yonder Alonso, who was intentionally walked to load the bases for the top of the order. Lefty Seth Smith hit for Denorfia. He rolled over on a sinker away, and Jared escaped without a run thanks to the 4-6-3 DP.

Nick Vincent took the hill in the seventh. He retired Mercer routinely, then whiffed Stewart and Starling Marte, who went down on three pitches. Tony Watson took over for Pittsburgh and pitched a clean frame with a pair of strikeouts.

Joaquin Benoit faced the top of the order in the eighth, and the smokin' Josh doubled into the LF corner to open the frame. Neil Walker grabbed a stick instead of Snider, and flew out meekly to center. He pitched to Cutch with first base open and won; a longish fly to right center moved Josh to third. Ike went the other way on a fastball away against the shift and rolled it to the 3B'man who was manning short to end the frame.

Mark the Shark came in for the bottom half and pitched a quiet frame. Huston Street came in looking for the close. Pedro singled with one gone to keep hope alive, but it quickly faded. Mercer fouled out behind the plate and Russ Martin went down swinging.

It was a game that Pittsburgh could have taken with some strikes and some early leather. The San Diego runs came on a pop fly sac, an error and a bases loaded walk. But the Buc bats didn't boom tonight, and once the game got to the bullpens, both teams are among the league's top outfits and shut the door.

The Pirates are off tomorrow - the FO has that draft thing going on -  and the team resumes action Friday against the Brew Crew at PNC Park.

Whether Gregory Polanco joins the club for that series has been a hot mess of rumor mongering, pushed by some sources and denied by others. We lean toward yes; while the PR would be a boon, announcing it too soon would absolutely bottom out whatever value Travis Snider has. And there is the draft. We'll see; it will be soon, no matter what.
  • Josh Harrison has had multi-hit efforts in five of his last seven games. He joined Cutch and Gaby this season as players with three extra-base hits in a game.
  • Tony Watson has 18 straight scoreless appearances covering 18-2/3 IP and has retired 14 of his last 15 batters.
  • The Pirates have struck out 10+ batter in five straight games.
  • San Diego hit two balls to the outfield tonight; one was a first inning pop up that 2B Josh Harrison corraled and the other was an eighth inning fly to Cutch. 
  • The last time the Pirates threw a one-hitter and lost was July 25th, 1992 at Atlanta. The hit was a second inning homer by David Justice, the only run in a 1-0 Bravo win.
  • Neil Walker got a day off after 58 straight starts. The last Bucco with a longer streak was Jason Bay, who made 79 consecutive starts in 2007. He did appear as a pinch hitter.
  • A member of the old school, Don Zimmer, passed away today.

No comments: