Thursday, April 21, 2016

Not Good, Very Bad Day For Locke; Padres Steamroll Pirates 8-2

Pitching to contact and getting a bushel of grounders is a Bucco mantra, but not one Jeff Locke will be chanting after last night. In a nightmare second frame, Jeff had balls hit into the dirt all inning, and was rewarded with a forty pitch, four run uprising by the Padres. Most of the damage was inflicted by the baseball gods (of the five hits that frame, three were infield knocks and another a Baltimore chop), abetted by a pair of walks. "They did the old hit-em-where-they-ain't thing," Locke told the press gang afterward.

In the third, it wasn't bad luck. Apparently gassed by the long outing last frame, Jeff was touched up for a triple, double and single to go with another walk and a wild pitch (it somehow managed to end up in the ump's shirt pocket) as the Padres added three more runs. Trying to take one for the team, Clint sent Locke back out in the fourth; a homer and walk later, with the score 8-0, he conceded the point and waved in Kyle Lobstein.

Jeff's wild pitch became the ump's boutonniere (image via

Locke's line was three innings, eight runs, 11 hits, four walks, a wild pitch and two whiffs on 85 pitches, sending his ERA for the year to 7.24. The bright spot was that the Lobster and AJ Schugel (two perfect frames) put up five goose eggs, giving up just one hit and fanning four between them.

The Pirates did tack on single runs in the seventh and eighth innings, but the attack was again mostly smoke and little fire. They collected eight hits (Jordy, a surprise leadoff man, went 3-for-4) and drew five walks of their own, but a DP and 11 more K led to 11 LOB and a 1-for-8 RISP line.

It wasn't quite as terrible as it looked; the Padres had fortune on their side while the Bucs just missed on some hard hit balls. Still, walks and strands are becoming a trend. Two numbers jump out: 44 walks in 46-2/3 IP by Frankie, Locke, Arquie, Cory Luebke and Tony Watson (lefties seem to have an especially hard time finding the strike zone) and 11.67, which is the average number LOB by the Bucs in the past four games. The Corsairs need a good dose of throwing strikes and movin 'em around to cure what ails 'em.

Jordy liked leadoff; he had three hits last night (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
  • Drew Pomeranz K'ed a career high 10 batters in 6-2/3 innings, six taking four or fewer pitches. He was dealing a nasty curve; maybe it's a good thing the Bucs don't see many southpaws.
  • Cutch and Starling had rough nights; they combined to go 1-for-8 with five whiffs and left seven runners aboard.
  • Melvin Upton brought back a Matt Joyce drive from over the wall in the ninth, taking away a two run homer. It was a frustrating night; both S-Rod and Figgy hit long balls that Petco kept in the yard, and Adam Rosales made a great play to rob Fran of a two bagger.
  • John Jaso now has a 10 game hitting streak; he came in as a pinch hitter and poked a single the opposite way against a shift.
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