Friday, July 22, 2016

Buc Bats, Bullpen Falter In 4-0 Loss

Cole Train whiffed the first two Phils on six pitches; his slider is dirty. Then he bopped the third, catching him on the wrist, and that was followed by a knock. Gerrit got out of it with a tapper; nice to see a zero in the opening frame. with two gone, Zach Eflin evened up by drilling Cutch in the hip. Eflin took a step off the mound toward Andrew, but ump Tony Randozza kept the peace and warned both benches. Peter Bourjos made a nice snag of Starling's liner to finish the frame.

Gerrit had one frame where nothing went right in an otherwise strong outing (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

After a whiff to start the second, Freddy Galvis banged a two-bagger. He stole third an out later and was left there. JJ doubled to start the Bucs; for some reason, he tried to steal third with the predictable result, breaking too soon and being nailed by the pitcher. Prob no diff; Fran and JHK fanned behind him. The Phils got back-to-back one-out knocks in the third, but a 6-4-3 DP doused the flames. Josh opened with an infield rap. Gerrit couldn't bunt him over, and it cost after a Jordy DP ball. Cole Train tossed a clean fourth, and so did Eflin.

Gerrit kept dealing in the fifth, helped by sweet stop and jump-throw by Jordy to catch the speedy Bourjos. Eflin also had no probs, with Odubel Herrera stole extra bases from JHK at the wall in LCF. Quite the duel is going on at PNC, with the leather backing the pitchers' good work. An infield single off the bag by Herrera opened the sixth, then Blanco (who took Franco's place) was barely nicked on an 0-2 pitch, followed by a four-pitch walk. Cameron Rupp's dink dropped just in front of a diving Gregory to plate a run. Cole got tough after that, rearing back for a pair of whiffs and a fly. It was 1-2-3 for the Pirates.

In the seventh, the third out proved elusive to Arquimedes Caminero. A double and single chased home another tally, followed by a third HBP. Jared Hughes came in and walked his only hitter. Jon Niese finally closed the gate, leaving the bases jammed with Phils. The Bucs didn't have an answer in their half. In the eighth, Niese served an 0-2 pitch right down the middle and Galvis ripped his second double. Jon left him stranded. JJ singled to lead off, the Pirates first hit since the third inning. A roller moved him up a station, where he died.

JJ had two of three Pirate hits (photo Joe Guzzy/Pirates)

The game got away in the ninth. Niese surrendered a one-out single and a two-out, first pitch homer on a center cut heater to Rupp, making it 4-0. The big question was could Eflin toss a Maddux (CG shutout in under 100 pitches). He couldn't - it took him 12 pitches to sit down the Bucs, giving him 100 on the night.

Cole looked much sahrper tonight, except for a Murphy's Law sixth inning. The pen gave up three runs in three innings - all with two outs - and the Bucs managed just three hits. Eflin pitched well and deserves his props, but the Pirates weren't very patient and did nada when they got a pitch in the hitting zone. The offense has been mostly in the doldrums since the ASB; it may be time to play Freeser every day, drop Cutch down in the order (and we realize that he'll have to buy into that) and get Frazier/Joyce some more at bats (June/July - Josh .205, JHK .224) until the bats start cracking. Maybe even take a look at that Bell kid...

  • John Jaso had two of three Bucco knocks. Pittsburgh didn't draw a walk. 
  • The middle of the Phils order (2-through-5) went 9-for-15 and scored/drove in all four runs.
  • Maikel Franco left the game for "precautionary reasons" in the third after catching a Cole pitch on the wrist in the first frame.
  • 33,703 attended tonight's contest.
  • C Erik Kratz opted for free agency after clearing waivers rather than accept an assignment to Indy.
  • Altoona's Harold Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 14 games.

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