Thursday, July 3, 2014

Bullpen Blasted, Bucs Fall 10-2

Vance Worley got off to a great start with a comebacker and a couple of K looking on cutters. Brandon McCarthy almost matched him, giving up a two-out single to Cutch before whiffing Neil Walker. In the second, the D-backs squared up on Vanimal, but hit three rockets at people, with Ike and El Coffee making above average grabs, so no damage was done but to the ego. The Bucs got another two-out knock, this one by Pedro, but he was quickly erased trying to steal.

Arizona went down in order again in the third, and the Pirates dented the board. Jordy opened the Bucco half with a double to left off a curve and went to third on a Worley worm-burner to the right side. He plated on the contact play with the infield in on a Polanco chopper when Didi Gregorius decided to go to first than risk the play at the plate, where he had a shot. Starling Marte singled and stole second - on a pitchout, no less - but Cutch whiffed chasing a hook to limit the fallout.

The D-Backs were 12 up, 12 down after the fourth, and Vanimal is at just 39 pitches. The Kid started the Bucs off by banging a curve to right for a hustle double. Russ singled him to third, and an Ike knock brought him home. Pedro dumped cold water on the frame by hitting into an around-the-horn DP. The D-Backs don't use a radical shift on El Toro or he would have had a hit. Score one for the old school. Mercer was intentionally walked to get to Vance, who went down swinging on three pitches.

Miguel Montero became the first Arizona runner when he drew a 3-2 walk to start the fifth, followed by three routine outs. Polanco opened by dropping a 3-2 curve softly into no-man's land in right center for a knock. He swiped second with two outs, and Arizona challenged the bang-bang call; the tag may have beat him hitting the bag. After a long, long look by the NY reviewers, he was rung up. The Bucs have eight hits through six frames, but a DP and two caught stealings have kept the runs to a minimum.

Worley walked the eight hitter, Gregorius, on five pitches, not the way to start off the bottom of the order. McCarthy bunted him up a base, and Ender Inciarte's single, the D-Back's first hit, brought him in. Worley's struggling with the strike zone this frame.

He hung a 2-0 slider to David Peralta, and he took it over the Clemente Wall a couple of rows deep to make it 3-2 Arizona. Paul Goldschmidt  ripped a first pitch fastball to right for a double, and Worley's wheels are quickly coming off. But Vanimal found the edges again and whiffed Montero looking and Hill swinging to keep the inning from completely getting away. Ike drew a two out walk for Pittsburgh, and that brought LOOGY and ex-Buc Ollie Perez in to face Pedro. Clint countered with Josh Harrison, who bounced the first pitch to short to end the frame.

With two gone in the seventh, Gregorius bit Worley again with a flare the opposite way for a knock. Gerardo Parra hit for McCarthy and grounded out to Josh at third. Evan Marshall took the bump for the D-Backs. He tried to walk Jordy, but Mercer wouldn't let him, whiffing on a curve in the dirt. Travis Snider went down chasing a change in the dirt.  El Coffee bounced out to short, and it's on to the eighth.

Jared Hughes climbed the hill for Pittsburgh. Peralta singled with an out after a long at-bat. Russ nailed him trying to steal, and good thing as Goldschmidt walked. Hughes punched out Montero to keep it at a run. Brad Ziegler took the ball. With an out, Cutch legged out a hit to short. The Kid didn't see a strike in five pitches, but rolled over on a 2-2 pitch to second, moving Cutch up a base. Didn't help; Russ whiffed on a hook for the Pirates ninth strikeout.

Ernesto Frieri came in for the ninth. Hill greeted him by lining a single to left off Mercer's mitt. Martin Prado got a 3-2 fastball and roped it into center, moving Hill to third. Cody Ross grabbed some lumber and banged the next pitch to left center, plating Hill. Gregorius dropped a single into center to bring home another run on a ball someone should have caught, falling among Cutch, The Kid and Jordy.

After a force, another 3-2 fastball was drilled into center to load the sacks. Jeanmar Gomez came in after that, about a half dozen batters too late. Not much diff; a bloop into center by Peralta scored two more Snakes. Goldschmidt tripled in two more, and Montero singled him home. Two grounders finally ended the dismal frame. Matt Stites answered the phone for the Diamondbacks. Josh singled with an out and Jordy followed with a walk. Nothing more came of it, and the Bucs went down 10-2.

The Pirates had a lot of chances to put the game away early; they had 10 runners on in the first six frames and only plated a pair. A lead late would have surely changed Clint's pitching calls, although a guy that brings in Marck Melancon up 5-1 one night and Ernesto Frieri in a 3-2 game the next is sometimes hard to predict. Freiri throws a straight fastball and refuses to toss a change. As a result, he's faced 14 batters as a Pirate and given up eight hits with just one whiff. He needs a lot of work, though he must have something to have picked up double-digit K numbers with the Angels.

Philly comes to town tomorrow. The matchup will be Roberto Hernandez vs. Gerrit Cole with a July 4th starting time of 5:05.
  • This was the eighth time the Bucs had a chance to win a series by taking the last game this year, and the eighth time they've failed. 
  • The Bucs had a decent crowd to lead into the holiday with 27,473 in the house.
  • Francisco Liriano will either make a rehab start for Indy Monday, with a five inning/85 pitch limit, or stay with the club for another sim game. Either way, he's getting close to returning, and the Bucs will face another decision with their pitching, with Vanimal or Jeff Locke looking to be on the bubble, although Jeanmar Gomez hasn't done much lately.

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