Saturday, July 16, 2016

Nats Roll Over Pirates 6-0

The tarp went down less than an hour before the opening pitch, and came up about 7:30. By 8, there was a rainbow and the game commenced at 8:15 with a surprisingly full house that sat through a 70 minute delay. It was an easy first inning for Tanner Roarke. Jason Werth walked with an out and stole second against Cole Train, then Bryce Harper dropped a soft lob to put Nats on the corners. Anthony Rendon singled in a run, as Harper tried to scoot to third but Starling said no. S-Rod made a running grab of a liner at the track to save further damage. Gerrit and first innings just don't seem to see eye-to-eye.

JHK walked to open the second and S-Rod promptly banged into a DP. Josh and Jordy followed with knocks but were left treading water on the corners. Gerrit gave up back-to-back one out doubles to make it 2-0. The Bucs went down quietly in the third as did the Nats. Cutch opened the fourth with a rap and was forced at second by JHK. A force and strike 'em out, throw 'em out DP (JHK didn't offer much challenge on the swipe; he apparently thought there were two outs) shut the action down. Clint Robinson opened with a single, and an out later Stephen Drew doubled him to third. An intentional walk loaded for Roarke, who was credited with an infield knock when Josh's throw went astray on a tough play, plating two Nats. A fielder's choice grounder that left everyone safe after a late throw home made it 5-0 before the smoke cleared thx to a liner DP.

Jon Niese put up a couple of zeroes in his first outing since being sent to the pen (photo Pirates)

Pittsburgh went 1-2-3 in the fifth with Cole Train was gone after 80 pitches. AJ Schugel took the ball and gave up a bomb to Rendon. The Pirates went down in order again in the sixth; three of their last six outs have been liners. Jon Niese came out of the pen and surrendered a leadoff double. A two out wild-pitch moved the runner to third, followed by a walk and a whiff to register a zippo. S-Rod got the Bucs back in the hit column in the seventh, but his two out roller into right provided the only Bucco smoke. Jon tossed a clean frame.

Roarke kept dealing in the eighth. Juan Nicasio answered the call, giving up a leadoff knock and then settling in. JJ singled on Roarke's 105th pitch and Starling got bopped by a pitch on toss #110. Dusty tried to nurse his guy through a CG shutout; it didn't work and in came Blake Treinen. Cutch's single jammed the sacks, and they were left that way as Treinen preserved Roarke's shutout.

Unfortunately, this is reminiscent of last year; the Bucs were habanero hot before the ASB and then dropped 5-of-6 afterward. And Washington has been a tough draw for Pittsburgh at their home park. They swept the Bucs in a three-gamer in 2015 by a combined 19-3 tally and are 29-15 in the friendly confines so far this campaign. Still, the Bucs are missing on all cylinders so far this series; hopefully the alarm clock bell will ring shortly. And let this serve as another reminder that no matter how valuable the eight guys in the field are, pitching is still the coin of the MLB realm.

  • Cutch had two hits. He was the only Buc to reach base twice tonight.
  • Starling Marte has 10 outfield assists to place second in the NL.
  • S-Rod had homered in each of his last four starts; the streak was snapped tonight.
  • The Bucs don't plan on playing Gregory Polanco tomorrow and will make a decision regarding his status on Tuesday (Monday is an off day). This stuff seems to happen to the Bucs quite often; maybe they should advocate for the 7-day concussion DL to be available for all nagging injuries.
  • Nice outing for Indy's Stephen Brault tonight: 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K after 75 pitches.

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