Friday, June 17, 2016

Pirate Pitchers, Batters Can't Find the Plate In 6-0 Loss to Cubs

And it was 1-2-3 for Jake in the first, with a pair of K. Frankie, not so much of a start - a bleeder and Matt Szczur's blast made it 2-0 two pitches into the lineup. Two outs later, another infield hit - Frankie was beat to the bag - and wild pitch (looked like a passed ball, but hey, same result) was followed by a walk. Francisco picked up his second K to leave them aboard. The second was another clean, two whiff frame for Arrieta. Ditto for Liriano, who fanned a couple more Cubbies in his half.

Jordy opened the third with a knock, and Stew followed with a hit-and-run single, chasing Jordy to third. Frankie whiffed, as did JJ, as did Gregory. After two fan jobs, Anthony Rizzo was plunked in the back before a final K. Only one whiff for Jake in the fourth, but it's amazing how many swings he coaxes outside the zone. Javy Baez opened with a two bagger, and two outs later, Arrieta walked. A passed ball put the Cubs at second and third; another free pass loaded the sacks. Frankie got out of it; Szczur was no doubt sitting on a fastball and instead got a change away that he rolled to JJ *whew*.

Frankie - six K, five BB, two HBP, two WP (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

The Pirates went down in order in the fifth. After an out, Rizzo got HBP again (on a check swing), followed by a four pitch walk. With two gone, he had Addison Russell 0-2, but yep, walked him to load the bases again. Once again, he wiggled out, stranding nine runners in five innings.

JJ walked with an out in the sixth and El Coffee did the same. A wild pitch moved them up a station, and Cutch drew a free pass to load them. Freeser was up 3-0, took a strike, then swung at balls four and five to K (the 3-2 was a close pitch; the prior one wasn't). Matt Joyce got ahead 3-1 and looked at two no-doubt strikes; back-to-back wasted at bats. Chris Coughlin opened with a double, hitting for Jake, who was at 112 pitches. He went to third on a wild pitch. Liriano almost got away with it, but Ben Zobrist poked a change into center with two outs to make it 3-0, and in came Cory Luebke; Clint rolled the dice for an extra inning out of Frankie and lost on the roll. A walk and double brought in another tally, and an intentional walk loaded the sacks. That was followed by a 13 pitch walk to force in another run; 30 pitches from Luebke with one ball put in play and nary an out. In came Arquimedes Caminero to get that elusive last out.

Trevor Cahill worked an easy seventh. Arquie loaded the bases after two walks and a knock but escaped after a force; Rizzo and Josh had a meeting of the bodies at second, though both appear OK. The run was granted to the Cubs, tho we have no idea why. It was a tag (Rizzo came in standing up), but still a force out, and the tag seemed to be applied before the runner crossed. Oh well, one more doesn't make that much diff at this point. Travis Wood plunked JJ in the eighth; he was the only runner. Rob Scahill took his turn, and of course walked a guy, but a line drive DP carried him out of harm's way.

Cutch was aboard twice today (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Justin Grimm came on to pound in the final nail. Cutch dribbled an infield knock that didn't get past the mound. Josh singled with two gone, and a wild pitch moved them up, but Jordy was froze by a two strike curve and that was all she wrote.

Frankie gave up three runs and walked five in 5-2/3 IP; the bullpen gave up three runs and walked six in 2-1/3 frames. We're not sure when the FO is gonna notice the trend of short starts and shaky middle relief spiking, but it's prob about time to make a move or three. No use crying over losing JA Happ, Charlie Morton and even Vance Worley; the Buc brass bet that Cole-Liriano-Niese-Locke-Vogelsong could carry them for three months.

It's understandable that Tyler Glasnow is still considered a work in progress; he has control issues and walks a batter every other inning. Chad Kuhl has only worked 13 starts and 71 AAA innings. But they need someone, maybe a Wilfredo Boscan or even Kyle Lobstein to bump Juan Nicasio to the pen and carry them to the All-Star break. And another guy in addition to Nicasio would help, someone to fill the Antonio Bastardo or Joe Blanton role. So we'll see if there's any sense of urgency, or if the FO has a plan they're sticking to this season regardless of the results.

  • The Pirates only had three hits to go with 13 whiffs. Cutch and JJ were the only pair to reach base twice, Andrew with a walk & hit and Jaso via a walk & HBP.
  • Frankie leads the majors in walks with 46; he's tied for 10th in homers surrendered at 14. He hadn't been plunking hitters with only a pair coming into today - then he dusted Anthony Rizzo twice.
  • It took 67 games before the Pirates became the last MLB team to wear the collar.
  • Gerald Shifman of The Hardball Times examined the Pirates and ground ball rates.
  • The Pirates announced some more draft signings: 10th-round RHP Matt Anderson (signed for $10,000, slot value $156,600; he's a college senior with zero leverage), 12th-round C Arden Pabst, 17th-round RHP Matt Frawley and 25th-round OF Hunter Owen.

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