Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Josh, Cutch Go Long As Bucs Roll Past Phils 7-2

It started off like yesterday's game - a couple of hits, a few at 'em balls, some runners stranded - before the Bucs kicked it in gear. In the fourth, Starling Marte took a pitch to the hand (imagine that) and Pedro singled to center. An out later, Sean O'Sullivan tried to sneak an inside half heater past Josh, and guess what? He ain't slumping that much; he lofted the fastball into the stands, and the Bucs were up 3-0.

Josh got to do his happy dance last night (photo: Justin Aller/Getty Images)
It sat that way until the sixth, when back-to-back opening doubles off AJ, a throwing error by El Coffee and a bouncer made it 3-2. But not for long. The Phils went to their pen, and Josh and Fran Cervelli walked to start the frame. AJ bunted them up a station, and Gregory made up for his misfire by singling them both in. He used his long legs to get to third on a ground out into a shift by The Kid when the Phils forgot to cover the hot corner, and then strolled home ahead of Cutch, who launched a shot into left center to make it 7-2.

After that, it was a mail-in. Burnett went seven while Rob Scahill and Arquimedes Caminero covered the last two innings, and the Jolly Roger fluttered in the Philly breeze for a second night as the Pirates took a 7-2 decision from Philadelphia. An added benefit was the back end of the pen got a night off at long last.

The degree of difficulty will be ratcheted up today against the sad sack Phils when Cole Hamels toes the rubber against Frankie Liriano. Aaron Harang's tomorrow, so taking the first two was a pretty key piece of the series.

  • Cutch continued on the road to recovery with a pair of hits and Cervelli added two doubles as they led the Pirates' attack.
  • Mixed bag for Josh - after some time off, he homered, walked and stole a base. He also made his sixth error at third in 27 games/236 innings; he made just three in 72 outings playing 519 frames last year.
  • Tho Arquimedes gave up a double, he was pumping hi-octane. Six of his eight pitches were timed at 100-101 while the other two were just 98 and 99.
  • AJ Burnett joins Bob Walk (1988) as only Pirates pitchers to allow two earned runs or less in each of his first seven starts of a season. Not bad for a 38 year-old guy on his farewell tour.


WilliamJPellas said...

Any word re: Harrison possibly being hurt? It's hard for me to believe he could be THIS bad without having SOMETHING wrong with him. Possible, I suppose, but....

Ron Ieraci said...

I think he's healthy, Will; just a matter of regression and maybe losing that chip on his shoulder. I have him pegged for a .275/.300/.400 slash guy; we'll see if that's not where he's at in September. After all, his batted ball average is a measly .190, so the baseball gods haven't been exactly smiling on him (or Jordy, who has a 25%+ line drive rate and .217 BABIP.

WilliamJPellas said...

Yeah, Harrison and Mercer have been hitting in bad "luck", ie, getting some hard outs. Mercer in particular. I still think Harrison COULD be a serviceable starting 3B (or a better than serviceable starting 2B if Walker leaves) if his true talent level is closer to what we saw in 2014 and not what he did previously. He HAS hit at every level in his amateur and professional career, so it's not unreasonable to conclude that last year was the first in which he figured it out at the big league level. On the other hand, maybe he had a career year and he'll never approach that kind of production again. I would gladly take the kind of numbers you suggest, and if you twist my arm I'll agree that they are more likely what he'll post most seasons, BUT I still have some hope that he might prove to be better than that. We'll see.

Ron Ieraci said...

That's the $64,000 question, Will - can he put up a solid slash after what was likely a career year? And I like him more at second myself; I think his bat plays much better there.