Saturday, April 23, 2016

Bats & Pen Go Cold; D-Backs Run Away Late 7-1

JJ wasted no time; he led off with a two-bagger against Rubby De La Rosa, and Cutch was plunked. A tapper moved them up, but they died on the bases; Starling had an especially brutal at bat. S-Rod at short laid back on a roller, costing a leg hit. But no harm; Juan did walk a guy, but no one got past second. The next frame, S-Rod atoned when he drilled a two out, 3-2 fastball over the RF wall to make it 1-0. In a quirk of bad umping, Rubby had lost Rodriguez the pitch before but blue blew the call. A leadoff walk (Nicasio was up 0-2 but lost him after nine pitches) hurt when a double sent him home to make it 1-1.

The Bucs were quiet in the third, leaving a beaned Freese at first. David Peralto gave the Snakes the lead when he sent a two-out, 3-2 meat ball into the seats. The roof opened for the fourth as the sun set. The Pirates stranded an opening walk; the D-Backs left a two out free pass aboard with Nicasio at 83 pitches and near the end of his leash. 1-2-3 for Pittsburgh in the fifth; Juan gave up another two out walk, this one on an iffy check swing call that brought Clint out of the dugout. It almost hurt, but a long fly ended it. Nicasio went five, giving up two runs on three hits with four walks and four whiffs on 101 tosses.

Cutch may be due for a blow; he's hitting just .217 (photo Pgh Pirates)
De La Rosa changed up from a slider-heavy diet to fastballs away, and worked a clean inning. Arquimedes Caminero gave up yet another walk but no other damage. Gregory opened with a single off Tyler Clippert in the seventh and was tossed out stealing; he slipped a bit as he took his break. Josh followed with a bunt hit. Clippert's bacon was saved by a great grab of a S-Rod liner in left by Yasmany Tomas. That was followed by a walk and a passed ball moved them, but JJ couldn't chase them home, flying out to the track. A lot of sparks that inning but no fire. AJ Schugel faced his former mates and tucked them away.

Daniel Hudson did the same to the Bucs in the eighth. AJ didn't have any such luck; the first four Snakes went after the first pitch, and three of them singled, making it 3-1. The next batter hit a ball right at David Freese; it went through him for an error, and Marte's throw home hit the runner to make it 4-1 while giving the D-Back's an extra base. Herrmann homered (he was hitting .160 coming into the game, but has a HR & 2B with four RBI), and the fat lady was stage right. In came Rob Scahill to get the last two outs.

Enrique Burgos took the ball and tucked the Bucs into bed. Final score: 7-1 Arizona.

Juan had command issues, but a promising change up tonight. (photo Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

The Buc bats finally went dead; four hits won't win ya many games. Rubby owns them. In two starts, he's gone 13 IP with two runs allowed on six hits, and generally made the Pirate hitters look as if they've never seen a slider before. The bullpen again threw gas on a fire, but in justice, if Freese turns two instead of pulling an ole, they did OK. It doesn't take an Einstein to figure out that a string of five inning starts will frazzle and overexpose any relief corp, even an eight-man unit.

As for Juan, he did OK too, and later began using his change. If he trusts it and shows it in games, he may stick as a starter although the staff overall might be stronger if he was in the pen. The team has way too many holes pitching; we'd expect a quick call to get Hughes back, and wonder if the Bucs will pull the trigger on Jameson Taillon before Super 2 time in June. As for now, let's see if Frankie can throw a couple of strikes and take the series for the Bucs tomorrow afternoon.

  • John Jaso's hitting streak is now at 12 games. 
  • The only Pirate to reach base twice tonight was S-Rod, with a long fly and a walk.
  • It ain't easy catching. Fran took a foul ball off his right thigh in the fifth and went down like a shot, but stayed in. He was also spotted flexing his hand that had taken an earlier foul.
  • Charlie Morton injured his hammy and had to be helped off the field; no telling how much time Ground Chuck (1-1, 4.15) will miss for the Phils.

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