S-Rod misfired again, and that was followed by back-to-back singles to allow a run, then a walk. A fly to right chased another Red home, and when Gregory's late throw skipped past both Stew (he was charged with an error later switched to El Coffee) and Jeff Locke backing, the runner from second came home, too, making it 3-0. Both sides exchanged singles in the third; Anthony DeSclafani has kept the Bucs at bay so far.
The fourth was a pitcher's inning; both sides went down 1-2-3 with a pair of whiffs. The Pirates wasted another single in the fifth; ditto the Redstockings. And yes, the Pirates added one more one-base knock in the sixth; stringing a couple of hits together seems to be a monumental task this afternoon. A Pedro error and a walk put Jeff in an early jackpot, and Jared Hughes was called in. A caught stealing and couple soft outs shut the door.
|S-Rod didn't have a day to write home about (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
Aroldis Chapman came on, with a couple of lefties, Pedro & Travis, due up. Josh pinch hit first; he spoiled some pitches before swinging through a 100 MPH heater. S-Rod took one for the team to bring the tying run, Starling Marte, to the dish. Whoops - change that: Rodriguez got picked off first, about as inexcusable a baserunning miscue as possible. The Bucs challenged, but it was upheld. Marte whiffed chasing a changeup, and that was it.
Jeff Locke wasn't the culprit for a change; with any support in the field or the plate, he deserved a win. Bucco blunders abounded (we don't expect to see much more of S-Rod at short) and they gift wrapped the game for the Reds. The Cards were being pounded 9-0 by the Cubs today (and Chicago is only two games behind the Bucs), so Pittsburgh lost a golden opportunity by sleep walking through the holiday; maybe Clint will find a more stable lineup for the final 26 games instead of trying to get everyone in the lineup.
Frankie takes on Raisel Iglesias tomorrow night.
The other news is that AJ will pitch Thursday against the Brewers at home; it's probably a good decision to start him at PNC Park. The Pirates are skipping a turn for Cole Train to conserve his strength down the stretch. That sets him up to pitch against the Cubs, Dodgers, Cubs again and the Cards, then the wild card. He's at 180 IP now; last year, he tossed 160 IP between Pittsburgh and Indy and a career high 185 in 2013. The Cards are doing the same with Michael Wacha, but we expect a fan firestorm, although it seems pretty well thought out by Clint and the FO.
- Pittsburgh is now 4-10 vs Cincinnati, the last place team in the NL Central.
- Today was Travis Snider's first Pirate start since the 2014 NL Wild Card game. It's S-Rod's first start at short since July 2nd, 2014 as a member of the Rays.
- Pedro Alvarez’s 19 errors are tied with Ryan Howard (2008) and Lee Stevens (2001) for most by any first baseman since Kevin Young's 23 boots in 1999.