Friday, July 17, 2015

Bucs Sleepwalk Through 4-1 Loss To Brew Crew

Nothing going on for the Bucs in the first; it took the Brew Crew three pitches to take the lead with a Gerardo Parra double, sac bunt (by Jonathan Lucroy, yet) and Ryan Braun grounder (with a possible play at home not taken by Neil Walker) to put Charlie Morton in a 1-0 hole. Starling caught a pitch in the hand and stole second, but young Mike Fiers whiffed the next three Bucs to strand him in the second. Charlie left a couple more on in the second, giving up an A-Ram double and then intentional walk to get to Fiers for the last out.

The Bucs continued to go down quietly in the third, and the Brewers did the same. The Kid opened the fourth with a single and got to second on a wild pitch, but out later, Starling lined out to short and Walker was doubled up, unable to recover from his secondary lead. Charlie had another calm inning, giving up a two out walk.

JHK was hit in the back by a heater and went to second when Pedro's grounder was bobbled, a DP ball off the bat that turned into a 4-3. An out later, Jordy was walked and Charlie K'ed. Morton plunked Scooter Gennett in a bit of payback; he prob should have drilled Fiers. After a warning, Fiers bunted Scooter to second, and he scored on a Parra two-bagger.

For the third inning in a row, the Bucs got the leadoff hitter on when Gregory singled. And for the third inning in a row, nothing came of hit. Walker took two fastballs at the knees and swung through high heat, and Cutch bounced into a 6-4-3 DP. Charlie lost unlikely walk candidate Carlos Gomez with an out after being up 0-2, but left him on first.

The Bucs finally caught up to a couple of Fiers' fastballs and cut the lead in half. Starling just got under one, flying out to the track in straight center. JHK didn't miss; he drilled his fifth homer into the left field stands, Pedro hit a bullet, but right to CF'er Gomez. An out later, A-Ram contributed a boot, but Jordy popped out to end the dance.

JHK banged his fifth long ball tonight (Dave Arrigo/
The wheels came off for Charlie in the seventh; back-to-back singles by eight hitter Gennett and pinch hitter Shane Peterson, both on balls left over the plate, put Brewers on the corners. A DP (or play at home; works either way) grounder to Pedro was booted and Jared came in for Charlie. The next ball was hit to Jordy; he didn't handle it cleanly, allowing another run to score, but did manage to turn the DP against the slow-moving Lucroy. Then Hughes lost the plate, with two walks and a HBP (just in the foot; no message being sent) before getting an inning-ending grounder.

Will Smith worked a clean eighth with a pair of whiffs, and Arquimedes Caminero took the hill. He was up-and-down; single, walk, whiff, whiff, hit batter, and a narrow escape when Jordy dove to stop Ryan Braun's bid for a hit, getting a force to end the frame. Francisco Rodriguez came in sniffing for his 20th straight save, and got it easily despite a Jean Segura error.

The Bucs are supposed to be a fastball hitting team, and that's pretty much all they got from the Brewers with just three hits to go with 10 K to show for it. The fielding, as much mentally as physically, was sloppy and the pitchers walked six and hit three. Hopefully, it's just the rust from a long break; they've been playing on the edge for awhile and were due for a letdown.

Charlie threw well enough; the team didn't help him much. Some opposing dynamics were in play, too. The Brewers, for as poor as their record is, are 29-16 when they score first, countered by an abysmal record at home. First run won that coin toss.

Frankie Liriano takes on Jimmy Nelson tomorrow night.

  • Neil Walker has a seven game hitting streak.
  • Starling Marte's steal was #100 of his career. Since making his big league debut on July 26th, 2012, he ranks fourth in the NL in stolen bases, trailing only Billy Hamilton (113), Dee Gordon (109) and Carlos Gomez (101).
  • Sean Rodriguez appeared in his 700th MLB game as a pinch hitter. Don't think he'll keep the ball; he K'ed on three pitches.
  • Don't expect a lot of glovework this series. The Brewers lead the NL in errors with 71 and the Pirates are third highest with 63 (Pedro has 15 of them).
  • The Pirates top pick, SS Kevin Newman, hit his first pro homer tonight for the Morgantown Black Bears.
  • The LA-Washington game was suspended when the lights kept going out. The players, prob tongue in cheek, blamed Taylor Swift, who had a concert at the stadium during the AS break. As Joc Pederson tweeted to the diva "...your concert used up all the electricity."

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