Monday, July 21, 2014

Bucs Drop 5-2 Yawner To Dodgers

Edinson Volquez got off to a good start, whiffing the first two Dodgers. Then Adrian Gonzalez ripped one into right and slipped into second just ahead of Michael Martinez's throw; the Bucs challenged and lost (it did look like he was under the tag). Matt Kemp walked on four pitches, but Andre Ethier bounced out to end the frame quietly. Hyun-Jin Ryu tossed a clean opening frame.

Eddie again got two easy outs in the second, then he caught AJ Ellis with a curve (Ellis ducked into it and got clocked in the head, but was OK), allowing the Blue to turn the order over. With one gone, The Kid went the other way for a knock. He was left aboard after a Russ K and a fly out to the track in right by Jordy.

To start the third, Dee Gordon barely caught a piece of a two-strike, shoe-top change up and legged out the bleeder. Justin Turner hit into a force, taking some elite speed off the bases. Eddie walked Gonzalez on four pitches and paid. Kemp turned on a belt high heater to drive in one run and Ethier bounced out to short, plating another before Carl Crawford K'ed. Ryu had another rocking-chair frame.

Back-to-back singles by Juan Uribe and Ellis (on a bad hop) in the fourth put Dodgers on the corners with no outs. Ryu bunted Ellis to second. The Bucs caught Uribe at home; he was off on contact as Gordon bounced to The Kid. Turner turned on a 2-2 curve, banging sharply on one hop to third and off Josh's mitt into left; it scored a pair and went as a double. It was a hot shot, but should have been the inning-ender. Gonzalez dropped a flare into center just over Walker, and it was 5-0.

Cutch singled with a rope that Gordon knocked down but couldn't make a play on with one gone. Gaby sent a liner to center, corraled just short of the track by Ethier. Walker drew a free pass, and Russ brought a run home with a full count single to right. Jordy followed with another opposite field single, and it was 5-2 before Martinez bounced out to end the fun.

Uribe singled with two outs in the fifth, but that was all Eddie allowed. Pittsburgh went down in order. With an out in the sixth, Gordon rolled a single to left and stole second. But Gordon went a sack too far, and was picked off breaking for third. Good thing; Turner hit yet another ground ball single, and a wild pitch and intentional walk set the stage for reliever Jeanmar Gomez and Matt Kemp to match up. Gomez won, getting Kemp on a fly ball. Pittsburgh went down without a peep.

Crawford singled with one away in the seventh and stole second. Ellis was walked intentionally with two gone to get to Ryu, who bounced out. The Bucs got a two-out single from Martinez in their half, and it was Ernesto Frieri's turn in the eighth. He got the first two outs before allowing a Gonzalez double, but retired Kemp on a bouncer to short. Still no change up, though he's sprinkling some sliders with his heater.

Brian Wilson took the bump for LA. Josh helped him; he saw six balls in seven pitches, yet flew out on a 2-2 pitch. Marte went down swinging; the last two pitches were in the opposite batter's box. Cutch singled, and that brought up Ike to hit for Gaby, and lefty JP Howell to pitch for Wilson. Ike bounced out, and it was a bad inning for old school baseball. The leadoff guys were facing a bad pitcher in a spot where the Bucs needed runners and swung away. We think Clint messed up too; he left all LH on the bench, making it easy for a late inning match up, and in fact was probably better off leaving Gaby to hit against the righty Wilson.

Stolmy Pimentel got the ninth inning call. He was sharp, tossing a clean frame with a pair of whiffs and a 95 MPH heater. Kenley Jansen came in and tossed a 1-2-3 frame to finish the Bucs off.

Pretty ho-hum loss all the way around. The Pirates found another starter they couldn't solve, but the Dodger pen is stronger than Colorado's, especially without any plate discipline. Eddie in no way sharp, but neither was he beaten about as the stat line might suggest. He got a lot balls on the ground today, and some days they find holes, as they did today. It's still a 2-2 game if Josh spears that one hopper.

This does point out one of the Bucs bench holes, though. Clint can't sit Polanco, Alvarez and Davis against a lefty like he did tonight, no matter how sound the reasoning, and expect any offense; he doesn't have the personnel. The Pirates prefer to have a glove guy as their reserve infielder, and unless Josh fills that Barmes spot on the bench, a switch-hitting fourth outfielder would be a nice toy for Clint.

Vance Worley faces Josh Beckett tomorrow night.
  • The Pirates have scouts in Philly, but not necessarily for AJ. Tom Singer of is speculating a peek at Cliff Lee, while Rob Biertempfel of the Trib wonders if Antonio Bastardo is on their radar. Fox's Ken Rosenthal confirmed that the Bucs are one of a posse of clubs looking for relief help. Colin Dunlap of 93.7 The Fan tweeted that he heard the Bosox's Jon Lester's name pop up, too.
  • Gerrit Cole will toss a sim game against live hitting on Wednesday. If that goes well, he may be ready to get a rehab start or two starting next week.
  • Tonight's attendance was 28,255, which is pretty decent for a Monday night game not involving the Steelers.
  • Indy's Brandon Cumpton tossed an eight inning, two-hit shutout last week, earning him International League Pitcher of the Week honors.

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