Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bucs Sleep Walk Through 6-2 Loss

Jeff Locke doesn't as a rule match up very well with the Cubs, particularly at Wrigley, and he sure didn't last night. A lethal brew of liners, ground ball singles, walks, steals and Bucco boots led to a five inning, six run outing, and that was more than the Bucs could overcome in a 6-2 loss to Chicago.

Travis Wood looked sharp against the Pirates, scattering two runs (a two-run shot by Starling Marte accounted for the scores) and five hits over seven innings with nine K. Overall, Pittsburgh whiffed 11 times without drawing a walk. Corey Hart had a particularly brutal day, bobbling a throw, then bouncing his relay off the ump, followed by being picked off third after taking too big a turn after a single and lah-di-dah'ing his way back.

He wasn't alone. The Cubs stole five bases off Fran Cervelli, with three different pitchers on the hill.  Jordy fumbled a DP ball, and the list goes on. Just the LOB line explains the Cubs dominance - they stranded 12 runners, and the Bucs just three. It's been a tough two days in the Friendly Confines, and the Bucs could use a wake-up call for tonight's game as Gerrit Cole hopes to be a stopper against Chi-Town's Kyle Hendricks.

Starling Marte providing some muscle (photo: Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
  • Neil Walker's hitting streak ended last night. 
  • Greg Polanco pinch hit last night, and told the media guys after the game that he felt fine, but it was a chore getting his legs loose in the cold weather of Chicago.
  • Chicago was a go-go in the fourth inning when they pulled off not one, but a pair of double steals.
  • Less than 55% of the pitches Pittsburgh sees are fastballs; opposing teams learned their lesson last year. Might be time for the Pirates to recognize that fact in the box; it takes more discipline than they've been showing early on to handle a diet of off speed stuff.
  • Charlie Morton will start a rehab assignment with the Bradenton Marauders on Saturday.
  • It may come as a surprise to you, but MLB is not a tax-exempt business; only the NHL among all the sports league is. And the truth is the teams themselves were always taxed; just the league offices, relative small fry in the revenue pool, were exempt. Major League Baseball  relinquished its tax exemption in 2007. The main reason was that as a taxable entity, it no longer had to disclose the pay of commissioner and others on the office payroll. But they all are still exempt from the anti-trust act, so it's business as usual.

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