Jeff Locke staggered through four innings, giving up all seven runs (six were earned) while giving up eight hits and three walks, laboring through 89 mainly off-the-mark pitches and thus a heavy dose of hitter's counts. His ERA is now 5.34, and you have to wonder how many of his nine lives he's used up. After starting the year with a pair of strong outings, only two of his last eight games have cleared the minimal bar of quality starts.
The night's bright spot was provided by Vance Worley, who worked the final four frames in typical Vanimal style, surrendering five hits but no runs, both saving the pen for another more competitive day and building a case for his return to the rotation.
|Vanimal tossed four goose eggs (photo: Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
The Pirates made Odrisamer Despaignes, a spot starter, look good. He went eight frames, yielding seven hits and one run, a late homer by Gregory Polanco that cost him his shutout. The Bucs stranded eight runners and were 0-for-6 with RISP when they did have a mild threat. The D committed a pair of errors (although Starling did gun a runner at home), and all-in-all, it was a good game to flush out of their system.
They've been playing at a pretty high level over the past couple of weeks, and were due for a clunker, and last night certainly qualifies as one.
As Clint Hurdle is fond of saying, they're hopefully going to "shower off" this outing as they head to San Francisco, where the Big Three of Cole Train, LFrankie and AJ are scheduled to work. Gerrit opens the series tonight against Ryan Vogelsong. Vogelsong has been quite strong throughout May, so this should be a good one. San Fran is a team on the jump, with 30 wins and sitting 1/2 game behind the Dodgers in the NL West.
- Gregory Polanco homered and had a pair of knocks while Fran Cervelli had another big night with three hits; that duo had five of Pittsburgh's eight hits from the 7-8 holes.
- Pittsburgh string of quality starts by the starters ended at 10.
- To add insult to injury, Clint Barmes had three hits last night. Justin Upton added three more to pace the Friars' 13 hit attack.