Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Locke Goes an Inning Too Far; Pirates Lose Opener 4-3

The Bucs drew first blood against Carlos Martinez. Marte doubled, and with two down, A-Ram was clipped by a pitch. JHK doubled, and it was 1-0. The Cards set themselves up when Matt Carpenter led off with a single off Jeff Locke, and an out later, a Wolten Kong knock put Cards on the corners. A 3-6-3 DP looked like it got the Bucs out of hot water, but a review overturned (correctly) the out at first, tying the score. An error by A-Ram loaded them with two away, but Jeff got a bouncer to end the inning. The second was a clean frame both ways.

Gregory opened the third with a triple; two outs later, he was still there, but A-Ram banged a clutch single to left to put the Bucs up 2-1. Two singles and a walk loaded the sacks with an out for St. Louis, but Locke got a whiff and grounder to escape. The fourth saw Pedro lose a ball over the center field fence to make it 3-1, and the Cards stranded a lead off double; Locke has been dodging quite a few early bullets.

The Pirates opened the fifth with back-to-back singles, but a Cutch 6-4-3 DP and A-Ram liner squelched that frame. The Cards had an inning. Two walks to lead off the frame, two ground ball singles and a short sac fly turned into a three-spot for the Redbirds, giving them a 4-3 edge. Clint had a fresh bullpen after the off day; it might have been a good time for him to use it. Pedro doubled with two down in the sixth and was left on; St. Louis also left a two-out single aboard with Arquimedes Caminero on the hill.

Gregory had three hits to lead the Buccos.

Gregory singled with an out in the seventh; Starling banged into a DP. Antonio Bastardo came in and had a quiet inning. Martinez, in his last frame, went out in style with a couple flies and a punch out. Jared Hughes had a bumpy inning, but kept the Cards off the board. back-to-back singles were followed by a bunt. The ball was pushed hard into the wheel play, but A-Ram went to first instead of third for no real apparent reason. A four pitch walk jammed the sacks, but a force at home and a soft roller to third closed the gate. Trevor Rosenthal came in to face the Bucs 6-7-8 batters in the ninth.

He sometimes has problems against Pittsburgh, but not tonight as he struck out the side (tho Walker's was a hotly disputed strike three call). So the Cards took another one-run decision at Busch, and the first game of a series is always a big one. Give Martinez credit; he struggled, but threw strikes (no walks, eight K) and got a pair of big twin killings. Locke again went an inning too long; you'd think by now that Clint would know the third time through the order is Locke's red flag.

Gerrit Cole goes after the evener tomorrow; he and Michael Wacha should be quite the show.

  • Gregory Polanco had three hits; Starling Marte and Pedro added a pair. But Martinez owned the Bucs main catalyst - Cutch went 0-for-4 with two whiffs and a DP.
  • It could have been worse. St. Louis left the bases loaded three times in eight innings.
  • Rob Scahill is on the mend; he worked a rehab outing tonight for Altoona, going three scoreless innings while giving up two hits and a walk on 34 economical pitches.
  • RHP Wilfredo Bascon has cleared waivers and is back at Indy.


Anonymous said...

Our corner infielders are killing us on DEFENSE. You can't beat the Cards if you can't play good D. Pedro and A-Ram are not mlb caliber defensive players.

Pedro should have stepped on the bag and then thrown to second on the DP that was overturned. He was literally standing at the bag. Instead of the DP we allow a run to score on a bonehead play. And what about the inept tag try on Hayward down the first base line - that cost us a run too.

A-Ram - ugh - he stinks - he should not be playing for a contending team. S-Rod is better because at least you don't have to hold your breath when a ball gets hit to third.

Overall too many called 3rd strikes tonight as well. Must win game tomorrow.


Ron Ieraci said...

Dave - I agree absolutely that the corners are brutal; at least at third, it's a temporary situation (tho I don't understand why A-Ram isn't subbed for late like Pedro). It's disappointing that Pedro has so little awareness at first; you'd hope after a full camp and four month full time he'd get a feel for the position. First base will be an interesting call next year; do they ride out Pedro's walk year or try to get something for him in the off season?

I'm glad you brought up the taken strikes. There are days you can see the game plan is to work the count when the batters keep taking first-pitch meatballs, and there is entirely too much umping as opposed to spoiling with two strikes. Umps aren't robot boxes (not yet, anyway, lol), and batters are taught from little league on to expand their hitting zone with two strikes. Other teams don't seem to have a problem with fouling off a few pitches; Pittsburgh could use the same mind set.

Anonymous said...

Game 2 - same situation with the corner infielders giving away runs early. Yes Walker got charged with the error but if PEDRO had a clue about his position he would have made the play prior.

A-ram screwed up a grounder to his left and could not lay a relatively easy tag on Molina's steal. Plus he couldn't get the runner him from third with less than two outs - the guy is USELESS

If I had to play this game again - Stewart should have caught. I can see getting Cole/Cerv ready to work with each other BUT NOT in this game, do it next week when we are playing a lesser team.

Cole had to be frustrated with the fielding. The ugly Polanco play was unfortunate.

They need to bring Angel Sanchez up asap - JayHay and Mercer can't get back fast enough.

7 games out - Clint/Neal need a better plan.

PS - I would look to trade PEDRO this winter - there is no point in continuing with him. I frankly would rather lose with other people than lose AGAIN with him. But then again I would have traded him already

Ron Ieraci said...

Dave - the corners are atrocious; I touched on the horrid D in the recap. I'm sure you noticed that the Pirate pitching has hit the skids since Josh and especially Jordy have been out of the lineup (Kang has been a pleasant surprise, sort of a Jhonny Peralta-style SS). Pedro, as I understood, was offered around at the deadline and the Bucs couldn't get any return for him, so I expect they'll try again in the winter. But the chance remains they keep him in 2016 as a place warmer for Josh Bell. He's at Indy now and not looking overmatched, but the Pirates hate making Super Twos out of their prospects.

WilliamJPellas said...

If it were up to me, I'd be done with Pedro this winter and go with an Ishikawa-Morse platoon next season, then bring Bell up for a cup of coffee late in the season unless he's totally killing it at Triple A.