Saturday, July 30, 2016

Pirates Lackluster In 5-3 Loss

Well, Chase Anderson had it going in the first, striking out the side. Jameson Taillon didn't. Jonathan Villar legged out an infield knock, stole second and jogged home when Hernan Perez clubbed an inside, belt high heater over the fence in left. JT finished with a pair of whiffs, but it's 2-0 Brew Crew. Starling opened the second with a double the opposite way. A whiff, caught stealing and roller to first extinguished the frame. The Brewers started with a single but no drama followed.

Josh started the third with a single and never advanced. It was a quick 1-2-3 frame for Jameson. With one gone in the fourth, an error and walk put the Bucs in business. JHK singled in a run, but Starling's happy feet ran into another out as he was caught between second and third; he and Villar have been playing little mind games this series as the NL steal leaders, and maybe that's been getting into Marte's head. Fran walked and Josh singled, but JHK was thrown out easily at home; not even a bad relay helped. Not a good frame to be a go-go-Bucco. JT gave up a bunt single before tucking the Brewers away.

Starling - two hits, an assist, and two baserunning blunders (photo Pgh Pirates)

The Bucs went 1-2-3 in the fifth; JT shot a liner to right, but was a bit too leisurely going down the line and was gunned down 9-3. Freeser was given the heave-ho between innings after beefing once too often about a strike call. JT had another rockin' chair frame. Milwaukee milked Anderson for what he was worth; Carlos Torres took over in the sixth. Starling beat out an infield rap with two gone for the only noise. Scooter Gennett slapped a single the opposite way on a pitch that was halfway in the opposite batters box followed by a Perez knock. Even with a wild pitch, Jamo worked out of it to keep the count 2-1.

Tyler Thornburg put the Bucs down in the seventh. Arquimedes Caminero took over after a nice job by JT, and Keon Broxton ripped a one-out triple off him down the LF line; it would be a double for most anyone else, but KB can fly. Clint and the trainer came out, but Arquie stayed in and walked the next batter (who promptly stole second). They cut down a run at home on a comebacker, then Jon Niese came in. Gennett blooped home a run, and in came Jared Hughes. A stolen base was followed by a single; one run scored and another was cut down at home by Starling.

Will Smith climbed the mound for the eighth, and Gregory homered to make it 4-2. Neftali Feliz gave it right back when Kirk Nieuwenhuis took him deep. With two outs, Clint waved Tony Watson in; we have no idea why. Broxton got another knock before the gate shut. Jeremy Jeffress took the ball in the ninth. Fran singled and Josh walked with two gone. Jordy singled a run home, but all good things come to an end, and S-Rod's liner to center ended the rally. Good wood, bad aim.

Josh had his first two-hit game in four weeks tonight (photo Alex Trautwig/MLB)

Bad series to sleepwalk through; today both Lucroy and Braun were on the bench, making the loss especially painful. Clint was in a tough spot in the seventh. With The Shark swimming in new waters, he couldn't plug in Feliz. AJ Schugel would have been the natural option, except he was optioned. The FO has to straighten out the cattle call pitching. Rivero should be here tomorrow, but they have to do something with Jon Niese and Jeff Locke. We're still not sure why the FO is rumored to be looking for starters; JT, Chad Kuhl and Steven Brault look ready, with Tyler Glasnow just a buff and rub away.

The lineup needs work; we've been pounding for more at-bats from Matt Joyce and Adam Frazier against righties, while Josh Bell is sitting at Indy while JJ sits in Pittsburgh. The team needs to get its best 25 on the active roster, and they've not really handled the transition very well in the past three or four weeks. It's time for the suits to give Clint a better toolkit to work with. There are 60 games left, and the club is three games out of a playoff spot. The post-season is certainly attainable once Pittsburgh settles on a team.

  • Starling and Josh each had a pair of knocks. It was Harrison's first multi-hit day since July 1st.
  • JT has gone 24 IP without giving up a walk.
  • The Bucs used five relievers. None pitched more than 2/3 inning, but all gave up at least a hit and as a group gave up three runs in two IP.

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