Saturday, July 4, 2015

Locke Magnificent In 1-0 Bucco Win

Well, Jeff Locke sure quieted the ado about Clayton Richard in a big hurry. He went eight innings of two-hit (three, if you count a game opening hit batter) with six K and no walks on just 89 pitches. With two DP's behind him, he faced one batter over the minimum. If it wasn't the game of his career, it was certainly by far his strongest showing of the campaign. No nibbling; he went right after hitters with first pitch strikes and filled the zone, going to three balls twice all day.

His only brief jam was in the second when he gave up both hits, singles to lead off the frame. But a DP cleaned that up before it became a mess, and that led to a streak of working to 21 batters over the last seven innings. Mark Melancon provided more drama making the save in the ninth, when a two out walk and infield single put the tying run on second, but a tapper to first earned The Shark his 26th save.

Jeff Locke Tosses a Gem (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

it took the Buc three tries to dent Cody Anderson, who pitched a whale of a game himself. He's the kind of soft tosser that gives the Bucs fits, and he scattered six hits over eight innings. The Pirates helped by not playing very good small ball.

In the first, Josh doubled and went to third on a groundout, but a K and soft fly ended that threat. In the third, Jordy singled, went to second on a balk (Anderson dropped the ball while on the rubber) and was bunted to third. In a bad break TOOTBLAN, Josh hit a one hopper directly over the bad at third (maybe think opposite way next time, Josh), Jordy couldn't get back to the sack and was eventually tossed out in a rundown.

Finally in the sixth, a Josh double followed by The Kid's single to right brought home the one run Pittsburgh needed. Good thing, too - that was the last Pirate push of the afternoon.

Gerrit Cole and hard throwing Danny Salazar meet in the rubber match tomorrow at 1:35.

  • Cutch extended his hitting streak to 11 games and The Kid to eight.
  • Mark the Shark now has converted 24 straight save opportunities.
  • The Pirates drew 37,928 to the ballyard today, yet another sellout. The holiday crowd had a while to kill before the fireworks as the game lasted just 2:06.
  • Corey Hart hit another homer in his Indy rehab tour.


WilliamJPellas said...

Nice outing from Locke, but I still cannot believe the Pirates gave away Clayton Richard for peanuts, and I don't care WHAT his contract supposedly specified. Even if only to keep him out of the Cubs' hands---and BTW Chicago is breathing down our necks in the rear view mirror and right now would be the Pirates' opponent in the NL Wildcard Game---but even just to keep him away from them, Clayton absoultely should have been brought up. Period, end of story. A bad, bad, BAD move by this front office. Huntington has a history of bonehead maneuvers like this, moves that he inexplicably mixes in along with his usually much more competent actions.

Ron Ieraci said...

I think you doth protest too much, Will. The Pirates figured he's seventh on the starting list and didn't have anywhere to stash him. A short-term hit, for sure, but Clayton's resume is as a fourth arm who can eat innings and generally outperform his peripherals. That's handy to have. He was in line for an injury call up and a bubble guy for a 2016 spot, but he's never gone back-to-back years without a big hurt. We'll see if you're right - he is just 31 and may have some tread left, but I think he fits into the journeyman mode. Richard is another poster child for NH's big selling point - we fix broken pitchers and get them back to the show, even if not in Pittsburgh, which is always a nice card to have up your sleeve in the off season.

WilliamJPellas said...

Nice rejoinder for the opposing view, Ron, but I think Richard---when healthy---is a bit better than your description of him. He has had two 200 inning seasons to date in the big leagues, which is two more than the entire Pirates starting staff other than A J has, and A J is not going to hit 200 again at his age.

I'm thinking of Gene Michael and his philosophy with the Yankees. Any time he could either 1) get a player off the Red Sox roster and onto the Yankees roster, or 2) prevent the Sox from improving themselves by "intercepting" pending trades or free agent deals, he did it. He figured---correctly in my book---that in the ultracompetitive AL East, any move he made like that was worth TWO comparable moves relative to other teams. The NL Central is fast becoming one of, if not the best, divisions in all of MLB, so that's why I'm irked by this development. You don't think the Cubs are twice as glad they got Richard from the Pirates? I do.

WilliamJPellas said...

Also, the Pirates' starting pitching depth this season has taken a number of hits, and they are one or two injuries in the rotation away from falling way off the pace. Brandon Cumpton and Nick Kingham went under the knife for Tommy John, Jameson Taillon got hurt again and had another operation, and Tyler Glasnow is still a year away. Which leaves Sadler as the next man up. Sadler? Really? He's your sixth starter? No way. Sadler is a four-A guy as far as I am concerned. Much prefer Richard. I just hope this doesn't come back to bite the Bucs in the second half.

Ron Ieraci said...

Vanimal is the sixth starter, Will. The minor league depth is weak this year, thx to injuries mainly; to take a snapshot, prob Radhames Liz is the next up after Worley as of this moment (Wilfredo Bosan? Angel Sanchez?) But the Bucs didn't just toss Richard away; he had a contract rider similar to Grilli's that if a club would place him on the 25-man, he had to be called up or traded to that team. The Pirates consider him depth, and apparently the Cubs were the only team that thought he was MLB ready. You're right that Cumpton, Taillon and Kingham being out hurts.