Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Arrieta Shuts Down Pirates 5-0

JA whiffed his batter as a Bucco, then gave up a ground ball single and had another runner reach on an A-Ram misfire. Anthony Rizzo's single loaded the bases. Jorge Soler walked on five pitches to make it 1-0. Starling Castro bounced into a 5-2 force at home, with A-Ram passing on the chance for an around the horn DP. No diff; another force ended the frame. Everything was hit on the ground, and maybe with JHK or Josh at third, it's a zippo inning, As it is, JA tossed 30 pitches. Cutch walked with two down against Jake Arrieta, but an A-Ram bouncer closed the frame.

After a second inning whiff to open, Addison Russell grounded a single to left. A punch out later, Chris Denofia drilled a double, but 8-6-2 cut down Russell at home as Cutch made a sliding stop to cut off the gapper, JHK a strong relay, and Joe Maddon came out to argue Fran blocked the plate, to no avail. Pittsburgh went down without a peep.

Happ again started with a K, then Rizzo followed with a double. Soler went down swinging, tho a wild pitch moved Rizzo to third. JA fell behind Castro 3-1, gave him a center cut heater, and the resulting double to right center made it 2-0. David Ross bounced a single up the middle, and the wheels are officially off the wagon even as he retired Arrieta, who tossed a 1-2-3 inning when he got back on the mound.

Not a Happ-y Day for JA (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
Hey, a clean inning in the fourth. with one gone, Cutch got the Bucs' first knock, a lined single to left and was quickly eliminated as part of a 6-4-3 A-Ram DP. After an out in the fifth, Rizzo banged another double, and Soler walked on Happ's 100th pitch. That brought on - are you ready - Jared Hughes (Blanton was burned in last night's rain-out). Castro greeted him with an RBI double down the line, and Ross was walked to load the bases for Arrieta. He tried to squeeze and the force was made at home. Russell whiffed, but it's 4-0, a big cushion for Arrieta. The Kid drew a long one-out walk, and it was Pedro's turn to bounce into a DP, 1-4-3.

Again, the Cubs got a one-out hit, this time a Denorfia single, an infield knock to third, and Kris Bryant was plunked with a 1-2 pitch in the hip and went down, eventually moving on to first. Rizzo blooped a ball into left; Denorfia wasn't sure about Starling's range and was forced at third after it hit the grass. Soler took the glow off the play by singling in Bryant. That brought on Arquimedes Caminero, with Ishy moving to first on the double switch. Arqie got the last out. The Buccos again went down in order.

Surprise - a one out single by Arrieta in the seventh, followed an out later by a four pitch walk to Dexter Fowler. A wild pitch moved them up a station, but Denorfia K'ed; Caminero struck out the side in between the shenanigans. Starling opened with a single to left and Cutch walked. Jake got A-Ram to line out to left, JHK to whiff at an under-the-letters heater and The Kid rolled out to first; at 109 pitches, Arrieta's most excellent night has come to an end.

Bryant opened the eighth with a knock, and Rizzo added another single, a soft roller into left. Then Arqie returned to his old tricks and whiffed the next trio of Cubbies. Tommy Hunter took the ball for Chicago and struck out Michael Morse on three pitches. Fran singled, but Ishy hit into the almost obligatory DP to end the frame. It was bang bang at first; the Bucs challenged; the Bucs lost.

Antonio Bastardo toed the rubber and worked a calm inning with a walk and whiff. Justin Grimm came on to close out. Starling doubled with an out, but no blood was drawn.

Arrieta was sharp; his four seamer, slider/cutter, sinker combo kept the righties at bay and his backdoor curve and change tamed the lefties as the Bucs squared up on very few balls he tossed. Happ showed with his six K's that there is something there, but his control, despite the whiffs, is a mess (he doesn't nibble at the corners; when he misses, it's by a ton) and can't work behind in the count when a batter can be patient.

  • Cutch was aboard three times with two walks and a knock while Starling had a pair of hits. The rest of the lineup had one hit and one walk combined.
  • Per Elias Sports: August 18th,1977 was the last time a Pirates-Cubs game had both teams 10+ games over .500. Pittsburgh was 70-51, Chicago 67-52. The Buccos won 7-6 as Phil Garner, Dave Parker, Bill Robinson & Al Oliver homered.
  • JA is wearing #32, made famous by Vernon Law and last worn by Vince Mazzaro.
  • The Bucs may want a redo on their scouting report of Anthony Rizzo. He's hitting .452 with an OBP of .538 against them this year. He's .293/.401 overall.
  • Kinda an oddity; in eight of nine innings, the second hitter for the Cubs reached safely.
  • Jordy and Josh have been taking infield this week; today they've added BP to their baseball activities, so both are progressing just fine. Josh went on the DL on July 6th and Jordy on July 20th. Both were estimated to take six weeks minimum to return.
  • Rob Scahill is slated to begin his rehab in the GCL this week, with the goal of getting to Altoona for some work the following week.
  • Wandy Rodriguez was released by the Rangers today.

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