Thursday, April 14, 2016

Bullpen Funk Continues; Bucs Fall 7-4; Scahill Up, Masterson Signed

Well, Gerrit knocked of the rust pretty well, at least for three frames - nine up, nine down on 34 pitches. Jordan Zimmerman wasn't quite as efficient at 62 tosses, but then again, efficiency isn't exactly a hallmark of Buc batters - two hits and three walks with five stranded over the same span.

Ian Kinsler opened the fourth with a bloop to center to become the first El Tigre runner. He got to third with two gone when Cole's pickoff attempt was to an empty bag (Jaso was playing behind the runner, per bench orders), and that was followed by a walk on a squeezed 3-2 call. Motown is making Gerrit work this inning; three straight guys have gone full on him. Not Nick Castellanos; he ripped a first pitch slider off the wall to plate a pair before getting caught in a rundown. Cole is behind 2-0 and threw 28 pitches that frame while Zimmerman responded with his second clean inning.

Gerrit looked strong today (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Gerrit rebounded with a 1-2-3, six pitch frame, then opened the Bucco half with a single. JJ followed with another knock. Cutch flew out to left, then a David Freese single loaded 'em. A Marte pop up left the ducks on the pond as a result of a nicely spun 3-2 slider by Zim. Gregory got ahead 3-0, took a meatball and then popped up a slider that was down the middle.  That's bases left loaded twice and two aboard once...

Zimmerman started the sixth with a single, a liner that just grazed the side of Cole Train's cap, maybe deflected a bit by the glove; close call there. Motown hit a couple of balls hard, but a DP in the middle of the works prevented any damage. Josh started the Buccos off with a dink single; he stole second after Jordy was frozen by a two strike hook. With two gone, Matt Joyce stepped in for Cole and bounced out. Cole's line: six innings, two runs on four hits with a walk and five whiffs on 83 pitches. He was much better today except for one deep count frame that bit him.

Rob Scahill took over, and a walk and single put him in a quick bind. That was followed by a double and sac fly to make it 4-0, ugh-ly. Drew VerHagen took the ball for Detroit and gave up a leadoff double to JJ. Cutch walked, but Freese bounced into a 4-6-3 DP. Marte rolled over on a shin high curve, but it worked as he bled a roller to third, scoring JJ, who beat an off line throw home. El Coffee singled and scored on another well placed infield tapper by Josh that kicked off DVH's glove. Jordy singled home another, and that brought Mark Lowe on. He got the third out, but four straight two out hits made it a game at 4-3.

JJ had three hits (photo Joe Guzzy/Pirates)

Tony Watson climbed the hill; a single, stolen base and fly to right put a runner on third. Miggys was walked intentionally. Didn't work; another sac fly brought home an insurance run. Make that a bunch of insurance runs; Castellanos went deep to make it 7-3.  Jaso singled with an out and Cutch doubled; JJ was thrown out at home; not very smart coaching there by Rick Sofield. It became even more aggravating when Freese singled Cutch home, costing a run and an out the Bucs can't afford.

Arquie came in and put up a zero, leaving Tigers at second and third. Francisco Rodriguez took the ball. K-Rod had to throw 21 pitches, but got a 1-2-3 inning to send the Pirates to their fifth loss in seven games.

Well, wasted a couple of good starts. The Pirates are pretty good at two out rallies, but just can't seem to jump on guys consistently. Maybe Kang's return will provide a little energy; Cutch is going through a spell where he's just missing balls and could use a little help behind him. The bullpen has had a horrid stretch; the FO may want to rethink that flip a starter philosophy. Hughes should be close to returning, and that will help, but they could still use another arm. The Brew Crew is in tomorrow for three games.

  • The Bucs called up Rob Scahill from Indy after placing Cory Luebke on the 15-day DL with right hamstring tightness.
  • JJ and David Freese had three hits; Starling and Josh had a pair. 
  • It was another slow day at the gate despite great weather: 18,751 was the attendance.
  • Doc Emrick was in the Root Sports booth for a bit today.
  • Per @JonHeyman, Justin Masterson agreed to a minor league deal with the Pirates. He's been associated with the Bucs by innuendo for years and they finally got together. Masterson, 31, only had a couple of strong season (4.31 career ERA), but does have a nice arsenal of pitches and a 56% ground ball rate. He's coming back from off season arthroscopic shoulder surgery.

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