Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bucs Broomed 3-2

Ryan Vogelsong was cruisin' with a strike to go in the opening inning before Christain Yelick smacked an 0-2 fastball into the stands. That was followed by an error (by V-Song) and double; fortunately, Ichiro lined out to keep the damage at a run. Cutch singled, and that was all the early Bucco noise of Jose Urena. The second frame was quiet. The Fish went down 1-2-3 in the third, and the Bucs got Eric Fryer to second on a walk and bunt, but that's as far as he advanced.

Vogey gave the Bucs a chance to win (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

In the fourth, the Marlins stranded a walk. The Bucs took the lead on a Cutch single, Gregory double, a boot and a sac fly to get on top 2-1. The Pirates played pointy-headed baseball in the fifth. S-Rod bounced a throw from short that Josh Bell could have, but didn't pick, and a bunt moved the runner up. Freeser couldn't barehand an excellent bunt-for-a-hit effort by Dee Gordon (the Fish drop a couple every game) to put Miamians on the corners, and a steal made it a de facto double. A grounder brought home the tying tally, and a walk kept the frame going. A wild pitch scored the go-ahead run before the Pirates could shut it down. The top of Pittsburgh's order went down on eight pitches.

Vogey tossed a clean sixth. Urena survived a couple of rocket shots (both 105+ MPH off the bat) to perfectly positioned Gordon at second. Bell shot a liner into left after a nine eight-pitch at bat, then showed he's a big-league Pirate by getting thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Antonio Bastardo climbed the hill to work a quiet seventh. Nick Wittgren took the ball for Miami. S-Rod singled and was bunted to second. Clint should have used that at bat as he was left stranded. Juan Nicasio answered the bell in the eighth, allowing just a single. AJ Ramos, fresh off the DL, shut down the bats. Gregory's been snakebitten today, with a couple of lasered at 'em balls.

Cutch had a pair of knocks (image Root Sports)

Juan stayed on. After an out, a couple of ground ball singles turned up the heat. It got hotter when the ump missed a pair of clean strikes and then Fryer allowed a passed ball, both contributing to the ensuing 3-0 HBP to load 'em up. Felipe Rivero jumped into the fire. A force out at home took the temp down to a simmer, then a three-pitch K cooled everything off.  Fernando Rodney has been a busy man this series and came in looking for his third straight save. With two gone, Matt Joyce worked his way from 1-2 to a free pass. Unfortunately, pinch-hitter Fran Cervelli took a hack at ball four and grounded out to third to complete the brooming.

Pretty simple sweep to figure out. This was a grinder series, as expected, and though that's usually a Pirates strength, the Marlins outplayed Pittsburgh at every turn at their own game. The Bucs never came up with a late-inning rally, bled runs from the field, and ran the bases in their usual feast-or-famine style. Even when the Marlins tried to gift-wrap a game like in the opener, the Pirates refused to take advantage. And remember, they faced a club w/o Jose Fernandez or Giancola Stanton on hand. Hey, the season's not even close to being over, but the Pirates sure didn't help pave the road ahead.

  • Miami took 6-of-7 from the Pirates despite being outscored in the series 24-to-22. They lost the first game 10-0, then took four one-run and a pair of two-run decisions.
  • The Pirates had nine hits over the past two days. Cutch had a pair today, but we don't buy into him being the Andrew of old until we see some shots to right center instead of a pull-happy hitter.
  • On Neil Huntington's Sunday radio show, he said the JHK partially dislocated his shoulder and tore the labrum. Still, he's sticking to the 2-to-4 week return timetable.
  • Huntington also waffled on whether they would re-sign David Freese (basically "love him, we'll see") and what pitching role Felipe Rivero would have down the road. 
  • The Pirates drew 28,616 today.
  • We're wondering why Elias Diaz is still at Indy. Eric Fryer hits OK and might be a nice reserve corner OF/1B type, but he's Mr. Roboto behind the dish. Guess we didn't appreciate Stew enough...
  • Indy's Alen Hanson stole his 36th base today to set a new personal single-season high.

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