Whalen got two outs in the second before JHK spanked a two bagger, but the second line-out of the frame left him stranded. Nick Markakis doubled to open. He went to third an out later via a wild pitch and plated on a grounder. Matt pestered his way to an eight-pitch walk open the third and Freeser drew another but the Pirates couldn't cash in. Adonis Garcia doubled with an out and Freeman's two-bagger, skipping past Freeser, chased him home. Then came a walk. Markakis worked an eight-pitch appearance, but Jeff outlasted him for a 6-4-3 DP.
|Matt was today's lone bright spot (image Pirates via MLB.com)|
Pittsburgh went down quietly in the fourth. An Atlanta single, double, single trio cut the Bucco lead to 4-3. Starling got clipped in the wrist for the second time tonight to start the fifth. He stayed in and stole second - on a pitchout! Again, they left the duck on the pond. The Bravos opened with a walk and double that popped out of a sliding Starling's mitt. A sac fly tied it and a rap gave the Braves the lead, with the runner moving to second on the throw home. That brought on Jared Hughes, who was greeted with a knock to left. It worked out OK, though, as Matt came up gunning and got the out at home to keep it 5-4.
Ian Krol took the ball in the sixth and shut the door. Juan Nicasio fluffed the rosin bag, and gave up an infield knock off his glove. Two more singles brought home another run. A short passed ball moved them up (JHK was high with the tag) and a sac fly brought home another Bravo. Mauricio Cabrera climbed the hill in the seventh and worked a clean frame; the kid can bring it, touching 102 MPH. A single and triple off Juan tallied another point for Atlanta.
|Arquie tossed the only 1-2-3 frame for the Bucs (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
Chris Withrow toed the rubber in the eighth and sent the Bucs packing. Arquimedes Caminero drew the short straw for the Pirates and tossed Pittsburgh's first clean inning of the game. Jim Johnson spun the ball in the ninth and wrote the final chapter. The Pirates went hitless against a kid making his first start and the Atlanta bullpen for seven straight innings; any wonder they lost?
This was a bad day; except for Joyce's two-out long ball, the Buc offense was abysmal. The fielding was texas League and we won't even get into the pitching. The FO didn't do anything to make this team any better at the deadline.
We assumed that would be addressed internally with Chad Kuhl, Steven Brault, Tyler Glasnow, Josh Bell, AJ Schugel, maybe even Trevor Williams and Alen Hanson, ready to come up and energize the club. But the Pirates refuse to put their best 25 players on the roster, sticking with the same ol'. It's bewildering and frustrating to the fans, and we have to wonder how it's wearing on Clint and the team core. Maybe the bossmen have dropped the Jolly Roger and raised the white flag for 2016 to better serve financial flexibility and service time; otherwise it's inexplicable.
|Starling reached a milestone tonight (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)|
- Starling now has swiped 150 bases, becoming the 7th Bucco to have 150+ steals and 50+ (56) homers.
- The Pirates had just four hits and still managed to go 1-for-10 w/RISP.
- As first reported by @BiertempfelTrib, Cutch is getting a seat for the entire Bravo series. It's likely that Clint is just trying to stoke the fires, but a little voice wonders if Andrew's post-deadline comments ("Why? What was the reasoning behind some of our moves?") may have had a bit to do with it. Whatever the message, Cutch happening would be the biggest stretch-run boost the Bucs could get.
- The condition of Fran Cervelli is still being determined. Elias Diaz is here on "taxi squad" status, and the Bucs have until tomorrow's game to activate him or return him to Indy. Stew is also getting close to returning, running and catching some side sessions.
- Tyler Glasnow started throwing bullpen sessions this week.
- Drew Hutchison's Indy line tonight: 7 IP, 4 H, 4 R/ER, 4 BB, 5 K on 99 pitches.
- C Tony Sanchez signed a minor-league deal with the Giants.
- Baseball and softball are back on the Olympic slate for 2020. It should provide a financial and motivational boost for international ball outside of the already established hot spots.