Monday, August 11, 2014

Snider Leads Hit Parade As Bucs Out-Slug Tigers 11-6

Not a great start for Jell Locke. Rajai Davis singled, stole second, went to third on a bunt and scored on a Miggy single. Jeff added a two-out walk to the mess, but escaped behind 1-0. But he'd look like CY Young compared to Justin Verlander.

We'll spare the blow-by-blow, but suffice to say that even with striking out the side, Verlander was touched for five runs on four hits, the big blow a bases loaded triple by Starling Marte, to go along with two walks and two Tiger errors as the Bucs sent 10 guys to the plate.

Jeff's control was way off in the second; a pair of walks on nine pitches followed by a bunt put Motown runners at second and third. Davis shot a liner to left; Travis came in to make the play and tossed out Alex Avila at home. Meanwhile, Verlander was done in the shortest outing of his career, pulled because of "right shoulder soreness." That's likely enough; he did throw 40 pitches in the first, but the last thing the beleaguered and overworked Tiger pen needed was a quick hook.

Justin Miller, who had an earlier stint with Detroit and was called up from AAA for round #2, was sent into the fray. A walk, two steals, a sac fly, another boot and a two run homer by Travis Snider made it 8-1. The third, fourth and fifth innings went along calmly enough, with the Bucs having a runner thrown out at home and stranding a couple more with Ian Kroll, another call-up, working the fourth and fifth.

But Locke couldn't stand success and faded badly in the sixth. Three opening hits, a walk and another hit made it 8-3 and brought on Jared Hughes with the bases loaded and no outs. Jared got a K and a grounder to second that plated another Tiger tally before striking out Davis; another good job by Hughes with the fat in the fire. Kevin Whalen, the third of the day's call-ups, took his turn on the hill. He was nicked for back-to-back blasts by Russ and Ike and gave up a couple of walks afterward that were stranded; it's now 10-4.

In the seventh, Hughes got two quick outs, then surrendered a single and double. He wiggled out of the jam with a called whiff of JD Martinez. Whalen gave up a one-out knock to Josh, and lefty Phil Coke got the call with El Coffee up and Ike in the hole. He fooled Polanco, who one handed his swing; it still went to track in right. Russ grounded out to end the frame.

Casey Sadler got a chance to get his feet wet in the eighth. He quickly gave up a single and double, and an out later Davis drilled a two-bagger to right center to chase them home. Casey followed with a K, but Clint waved in Tony Watson to face Miguel Cabrera. Sadler has left a lot of pitches over the dish, and that's not a good thing to do with Miggy at bat. Tony sorta did his job; Miggy lined a shot to right for a single, but Polanco's throw nailed Davis at the dish. El Coffee made a difficult pick of the ball cleanly, and though his throw was up the line, that was all she wrote.

Coke had the Bucs swinging at everything and got a couple of quick outs. Snider fished for a couple out of the zone, but found a 3-2 fastball he liked and went long again, dropping the pitch into the shrubbery in center. Jordy's fishing expedition came up empty as he K'ed, but it's now 11-6 and Justin Wilson (both he and Mark the Shark were warming up) took the hill. He got three grounders to close the gate.

It wasn't as easy as it looked; the Tigers mauled the Buc pitching pretty deeply, banging out 14 hits and drawing four walks from Locke; they were a couple of clutch hits away from making it a nail-biter.

Jeff Locke looks like he's buried deep in the second half blues again. He's become the odds-on favorite to lose his spot to Gerrit Cole, whenever he returns, though that saga has many a twist and turn so far and likely more to come. As for Sadler, he tossed too many down the pipe in his first go-around (8-2/3 IP, 0-1, 6.23) and doesn't look like he's done much to change that.

Edinson Volquez takes on Robbie Roy to close out the homestand.
  • Word must travel slow: Polanco has thrown out three runners in the past five games. Travis Snider isn't far behind with a pair of assists in his last five starts.
  • Dan Zangrilli of 93.7 The Fan noted that Josh has 33 multi-hit games; Cutch has 36. Scary.
  • Tonight was Travis Snider's third two-homer game and his first as a Buc; his last came in 2009 with the Jays.
  • The Pirates finally made up their mind and put Cutch on the 15-day DL, backdated to August 4th (he's eligible to return the 19th), and recalled RHP Casey Sandler from Indy in a move that restores balance between the pitchers and position players. We're a bit surprised; we thought a back end guy like Drew Oliver or Vinnie Mazzaro (who isn't on the 40-man) may have gotten the nod.
  • Charlie Wilmoth of Bucs Dugout has written an in-depth piece on Russ Martin's upcoming shot at free agency for MLB Trade Rumors.
  • Pedro has been working at both first and third in pre-games. The word is that Pedro has taken well to first, and may make an appearance there sooner as opposed to later, maybe even this weekend. 

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