Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bucs Go Down 6-3 To End Glum Road Trip

Josh doubled off Johnny Cueto with one gone, but he got Polanco and The Kid on whiffs and Cutch on a lazy pop. Francisco Liriano was sharp in his first inning back, getting a pair of grounders and a K. In the second, the Pirates went down in order with two soft flies and another whiff.

Everything that could go wrong for Frankie in the second did. Chris Heisey popped a ball into shallow right; Polanco was playing deep and by the time he got there - and he had a good shot at the catch - The Kid had already committed to trying to make the grab, but it fell a half step beyond him for a double.

It would ignite a big inning. Devin Mesoraco walked between a pair of fly outs, then Kris Negron hit a change up to right center. Being GABP and with the wind blowing out ahead of an oncoming storm, it dropped into the first row for a two-out, three-run blast. Francisco lost Cueto, gave up a spanked double to Hamilton, who turned on a curve and just missed going yard, and then walked Zack Cozart before getting Todd Frazier to poke a fly to right to escape without further damage.

Cueto pitched a clean third frame. Liriano got a pair of outs, then walked Mesoraco on four pitches. Another fly ended the inning. The Bucs got a run back in the fourth as a drizzle began. With one gone, Cutch broke his bat on a cue ball shot to right; it floated past the diving Bruce and Andrew ended up on third, where he scored on The Kid's bouncer. Russ got plunked on the elbow pad with a 3-2 pitch, but was left as Ike went down swinging.

Francisco struggled through his frame. With an out, he K'ed Cueto, but the ball in the dirt went through Russ' wickets. His throw to first went past or maybe through Davis; Ike didn't make a very inspired effort to grab the ball. That was followed by a pair of walks. It would have been three in a row, but Frazier bit on a 3-2 slider in the dirt. Frankie came all the way back when he punched out Chris Heisey, getting him to swing through a pair of changes.

The rain came down a little more seriously in the top of the fifth, and Cueto walked two Bucs in between a soft line out before the umps called for the tarp; the teams took ten until 3:45. The Bucs got one back on a two-out knock by Josh, and Stolmy Pimentel took the hill. Oddly, with a break of almost an hour, Cueto is still on the mound.

He looked lost, walking Bruce and then hanging a curve to Mesoraco who doubled in the run. He went to third on a fly, but the Reds handed the Bucs a gift when they went for the suicide squeeze. Negron missed and Russ made a nice pick off a breaking ball way out of the zone, then got back over to make the tag. Negron ended up walking, too - that's eight free passes in five innings - and though it took eight pitches, Stolmy whiffed Cueto.

The Kid whacked a ball into the RF stands to make it 4-3. Russ got to second when Cozart pulled a Pedro and tossed the ball into the seats, but gave it right back by trying an ill-advised (bone-headed is actually a better description) delayed steal of third - with no outs - and was gunned down by a mile. Ike whiffed on a gift call to Cueto by plate ump Tom Woodring, followed by an infield single by Pedro and another error by Cozart. Gaby came up to hit - Manny Parra, a lefty, was the only Red warming up - but a tiring Cueto got him to fly out on his 112th pitch.

Vance Worley took the hill in the sixth and Hamilton greeted him with a single. An out later, Frazier cranked a ball into the seats, another cheapo that just barely got inside the RF foul pole, and the game is quickly spinning out of control for Pittsburgh. Worley gave up two more hits before closing out the frame.

Jumbo Diaz worked a 1-2-3 seventh. After a couple of outs, pedro threw away another ball, although he had an excuse with Hamilton running. But Russ made up for it by catching him stealing, so Vaniaml did have a 1-2-3 frame, too. The Bucs went down in order to Jonathan Broxton, and Jared Hughes put up a goose egg, though he was touched for a two-out Heisey double.

Bryan Price wasn't fooling around; he brought Aroldis Chapman on to finish up, and he struck out the side again. Bad ending to a bad road trip; the Bucs went 2-5 and still can't beat the NL Central guys ahead of them. They're 13-25 against the division's top three of Mil, St. L and Cincy.

Frankie was making his first start since June 6th; Stolmy pitched one inning in July and Vanimal was making his first bullpen appearance since 2011 so a lot of rust was showing. A couple of not exactly crushed homers did them in, as did eight walks and a couple of plays that the Bucs self-destructed on hurt. But it's GABP, and keeping the ball on the ground whileBucs  tossing some strikes are keys to taking a win here. It's off to the ASG while the FO ponders the team's makeup as the deadline approaches, especially pitching.

The Bucs are off until Friday when they host the Rockies.

  • Starling Marte is expected to rejoin the team for the Colorado series.
  • Bob Smizik of the Post Gazette listed the team record by starting player; one regular starter that jumps out is Russ Martin. The team is 30-21 when he starts behind the dish. Gregory Polanco has a smaller set, but Pittsburgh is 18-11 when he's in right. They're 31-22 when Josh starts somewhere.


Aaron said...

They have the Rox @ PNC the following Friday will be @ Coors.

Ron Ieraci said...

Thx, Aaron. I did screw up by a week; they host the Rockies and Dodgers and then go on their West Coast trip. Appreciate the heads up.