Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Locke Rocked; Bucs Go Down 6-2

Julio Teheran had the first inning you'd expect - a couple of outs, a Cutch single, and another routine out. Jeff Locke also got two easy outs before walking Freddy Freeman in a long at-bat. Then he lost Justin Upton on five pitches, but came back to whiff Jason Heyward on three pitches, so no damage.

Russ banged a ball into right to open the second and moved up a base on Ike's sharply hit grounder to first. An out later, Clint Barmes was walked intentionally before Locke went down on strikes.

Chris Johnson turned on an inside heater and drilled it into left for a lead off double; it was misread by Marte, who may have lost the ball in the lights. A grounder moved Johnson to third, followed by a five pitch walk to BJ Upton, who stole second. Teheran rolled a soft grounder up the right side; it froze the runners and also Ike as Julio legged it out for an infield single. Emilio Bonifacio singled to right on a routine grounder with Barmes shaded toward the middle to bring in a pair. Another grounder put Braves at second and third before Freeman flew out. Chalk that frame up to some lackadaisical D.

Starling walked with an out in the third, and swiped second as Cutch K'ed. Travis drew a free pass, but Russ whiffed as the Bucs left a couple more ducks on the pond.

Justin Upton opened with a bloop knock to right and stole second with an out. But he got happy feet, and was thrown out at third on a come-backer. It hurt the Bravos when Christian Bethancourt followed with a ground rule double, snatched up by a knucklehead fan. BJ Upton was intentionally walked, but it didn't work this time, as Teheran roped a two-run knock into center. Bonifacio K'ed, but it was 4-0.

Ike yanked a hung curve to right to begin the fourth with a double; he never moved off the base. Russ landed awkwardly on his second inning single, and Chris Stewart came on to don the tools (later it was announced Russ had tightness in his hammy). With an out, Freeman walked and Justin Upton drove a change over the wall in left center over the 380' mark. An out later, Johnson doubled before the inning came to an end with the Bravos up 6-0.

Starling singled off of Teheran's glove with one gone in the fifth and trotted home when Cutch banged a tight heater over the left field wall. Travis followed with a single that dropped into right center. Ahead 3-1, Stew looked at two fastballs pretty much down the pipe and Ike lined out. Jeanmar Gomez grabbed the ball. He walked Bonifacio with two away and Andrelton Simmons singled, which brought on LOOGY Bobby LaFromboise to face Freeman. Freddy bounced out to end the frame quietly.

Anthony Varvaro took the hill for Atlanta, and Jordy opened the sixth with a walk. Two grounders for a force and DP squelched the frame. Justin Wilson came in and got two easy outs before Phil Gosselin's third base dribbler was ruled an infield knock. He was out by a step, and the Pirates asked for a review; it took about 30 seconds to overturn the call.

Juan Jaime took the bump in the seventh. After Josh hit a rocket short of the track in right center that was nicely run down by Heyward, Starling dropped a soft liner into right. A wild pitch moved him to second. Cutch flew out and lefty Chasen Shreve came on to face Travis. he got him chasing a slider; the Bucs have stranded eight and are 0-for-8 with RISP. John Axford got the call, and Bethancourt greeted him with his second ground rule double. With an out, Barmes dropped an at 'em liner; he got the out at first, but Bethacourt moved to third. It didn't cost as Bonifacio tapped back to the mound.

Jaames Russell worked the eighth, and Stew said "hi" with a single to right. Gaby hit for Ike with a lefty twirling and K'ed; nobody throws him a fastball anymore, and his average shows it. Two garden variety outs later, and the Bucs had their ninth runner left aboard. Stolmy Pimentel was sent in and gave up a lead off knock to Simmons, but retired the next three Bravos routinely.

Jordan Walden came on in the ninth, and Josh singled with one gone. Gosselin booted Marte's bouncer, and that brought Craig Kimbrel in to face Cutch. Andrew went down swinging; the pitch before should have been ball four, but ump Manny Gonzalez gave Kimbrel a pass, though in justice he probably missed a strike earlier in the count. travis went down swinging and the Bucs dropped a 6-2 decision.

Disappointing but not surprising that Jeff Locke can't seem to build on his good outings. And the Buc bats continue to be cold, scoring just twice ven with nine hits, four walks and an error. They missed quite a few balls down the middle as they caught Teheran on a day when he was struggling with command, but couldn't take advantage. Well, gotta lose sometime; time to shower off and get 'em tomorrow.

Edinson Volquez finishes up the series against David Hale tomorrow night.
  • Keeping our fingers crossed; Russ' left hammy is what landed him on the DL in late April. Hopefully, he caught tonight's tightness in time to prevent a recurrence.
  • Josh kept his hitting streak alive at 12 games with a ninth inning knock.
  • Martin Scherer of MLB Dish looks at Russ Martin's FA options when his contract expires at the end of the season, with LA, the Cubs and Blue Jays at the top of his list.
  • Wilbur Miller of Bucs Dugout notes that two GCL payers, SS Cole Tucker and RHP Mitch Keller, made the Top-20 All-Prospect team selected by Baseball America.
  • The Pirates claimed RHP Chaz Roe from the Yankees. He's had a couple of cups of coffee in the show, and the 6'-5", 27-year reliever is a guy with a good K rate and a shaky walk record. Charlie Morton was moved to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster space for Roe.
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