Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Frankie Flounders, Hitters Unclutch As Bucs Drop 7-4 Match to M's

Kinda typical Frankie frame - out, walk, wild pitch, walk, DP. As long as it adds up to zero... With an out, Felix Hernandez served Gregory a 3-2 sinker; El Coffee caught enough of it to drop it just barely over the CF wall. Cutch then got plunked. King Felix grooved one to Starling, and he bombed it off the Clemente Wall for a three bagger. JHK's bouncer made it 3-0 after the opening exchange.

It was the kind of lead Francisco had been blowing in June, and it didn't look like a sure thing tonight, either. A second inning bunt single, walk and double brought home a run, and only a time timely K kept it at that. Liriano took upon himself to even the score, and he did by knocking one yard to center. But he's paid to toss and in the third gave it back. A first-pitch, lead off homer by Franklin Gutierrez cut the lead to two, and with nobody on and two outs, a single and another homer, this one by Kyle Seager off a full count slider, squared the score. Gregory opened with a single; Cutch banged into a DP. Starling walked and stole second for some exercise.

Fran collected a couple of hits tonight (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Frankie usually doesn't suddenly find it when he loses command and the fourth was proof. Single, bunt, double, walk, single...in zoomed Jared Hughes. He put out the flames, but not before it was 7-4 Mariners. Fran started with a knock. After a Fraze force, Jordy dropped a soft lob into right. No help; Matt Joyce rolled into a DP as The King is getting his grounders when they count. Jeff Locke came on in the fifth and stranded a one-out double. Gregory singled with an out and stole second as Cutch K'ed, where he died.

Locke had an easy sixth - JHK boot, DP and pop to close it. Jung Ho opened with a two-bagger, helped a bit by Nelson Cruz in RF. After Fran took a borderline strike three call, Fraze singled and hustled into second...ooops, scratch that; he was, upon review, rightly ruled out. Of course, Jordy got bopped with a pitch and S-Rod's liner into LF turned into the third out instead of a sac fly. Arquimedes Caminero took over in the seventh and gave up a couple of hits but kept the M's off the scoreboard. Vidal Nuno replaced the King and was promptly touched for a walk and single to put Bucs on the corners. Tom Wilhelmsen raced in to K'ed Cutch and Starling. JHK bounced out and another opp went down the tubes.

Fraze added a couple of his own knocks, tho his happy feet cost (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Jon Niese worked the eighth cleanly. Edwin Diaz gave up a single and bloop double to start; two fly balls (and the first one appeared amply deep enough to score) and a grounder left those two Bucs aboard. AJ Schugel tossed a 1-2-3 ninth. Steve Cishik put it to bed.

Well, Frankie reverting back to can't-get-an-out mode was not a welcome sign, and one that may influence the Bucs FO before the weekend is up. Equally unwelcome was the Pirates trend to strand runners all over the place after a couple of efficient games against the Phils. They hitters went 1-for13 w/RISP, stranding nine and rolling into a pair of DPs. They ran themselves out of a score in the sixth and failed to convert 1st-and-3rd and 2nd-and-3rd with no outs in the following frames. So there's plenty of blame to spread around, except for the bullpen, which tossed six shutout innings.

  • Gregory was 4-for-5;, but Cutch was 0-for-4 with two whiffs and a DP behind him. Fran and Fraze added a pair of knocks apiece. 
  • There were 30,969 at the yard as it's been a pretty good home stand gate-wise.
  • Ryan Vogelsong will throw a rehab start for Indy tomorrow. Steven Brault was supposed to start, and the Magic 8 Ball thinks that he may get Friday's outing against the Brewers with Chad Kuhl & Tyler Glasnow hurt. It's a bit convoluted, but that was recently Jeff Locke's turn in the rotation. For the time being, he's glued to the bullpen, so it's been musical chairs.
  • San Diego OF'er Alex Dickerson hit a HR that went 467'. The Pirates 2011 third rounder was sent to SD for OF Jaff Decker and P Miles Mikolas in 2013. He's hitting .280/w four taters in 80 AB this year for the Padres.

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