Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pirates Shut Down By Greene, Tigers 2-0

If it is pitching you like, then you would have loved last night's game - except, of course, for the outcome, a 2-0 Tiger victory.

Shane Greene (2-0) allowed three singles - one hit left the infield - and no Pirate reached second against him. He had three strikeouts and no walks on 81 pitches, with slider/sinker combo painting the dish low and away.. The only really well hit balls off him were Josh Harrison's drive to right and Neil Walkers belt that was hauled in at the front of the bullpen in left center, along with a couple of hard infield outs. A.J. Burnett pitched well, too, allowing only one run in 6-2/3 innings. He scattered seven hits, struck out eight and walked two while tossing 111 pitches.

Unfortunately, his two walks came in the seventh of a scoreless game, and to the seven & eight hitters. He may have been tiring (he was falling off a bit toward first during his delivery), but that frame was by and large won the game for Detroit when Rajai Davis rolled a two-out single into center, just under the mitt of a diving Neil Walker.

The Bucs were not real enamored by the work behind the dish by ump David Rackley. In his defense, both guys were working the edges, making for a lot of close calls. But he was quite iffy on pitches that were high strikes and missed his share that no-doubters, costing AJ a whiff or two. It was enough that Clint was tossed in the eighth, barking over another missed strike.

The insurance run came in the ninth, and highlights a bit of a problem for the league's best outfield. Jose Iglesias dumped a broken bat dinker into shallow center field, and Cutch, on a sore knee and playing his usual deep center, ho-hummed the retrieval. Iglesias took a peek, kicked in the jets, and got into second on a high throw. Tho a walk made him reaching second a moot point when a two out bouncer had eyes enough to sneak through the SS hole, it was the third time this series that the Tigers have taken second on hustle and lackadaisical outfield play.  The Bucco OF could ooze a little more sweat to complement its talent.

Tough to tell, but take our word: Cabrera was slap-happy (image: Fox Sports Detroit)
There was one ha-ha moment. In the fourth, Miguel Cabrera whiffed on a curveball in the dirt. When Fran Cervelli put a gentle tag on him to close out the K, Cabrera knocked the ball out his hand like a petulant child. AJ Burnett gave a little grin and said after the game "He's a little kid playing baseball."

  • Fran Cervelli has a six-game hitting streak to open the season.
  • Rob Scahill came on in the ninth to relieve Arquimedes Caminero, who had a another nice outing. We're kinda wondering what happened to Antonio Bastardo, who is supposed to be a back end guy. He's only faced six batters, and three of them have been lefties. His career splits show him equally effective against either sides, but we're curious if Clint perhaps sees him as more of a LOOGY of if Scahill has jumped over him?
  • None of the usual day-after regret by Bucco fans; 31,755 showed up last night.
  • Greene matched a Tiger record. Bob Sykes was the last Motown pitcher to toss back-to-back outings of eight or more innings without an earned run to begin his season back in 1978. Greene shut out the Twins over eight in his first game.
  • Charlie Morton pitched a sim game, but don't expect him back soon. The brain trust said that he still has things to iron out.
  • 1B Clint Robinson, who the Bucs traded for but cut after camp in 2013, may have found a home in Washington, per John Sickels.
  • Brad Ausmus, Tiger manager, celebrated his 46th B-Day yesterday. The club gave him some balloons and a win; we're sure the latter was more appreciated than the former.

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