Saturday, August 13, 2016

Nova Bends But Doesn't Break; Bucs Glove & Stick Their Way To 5-1 Victory

Ross Stripling got softballed to death in the first. Josh opened with an infield rap courtesy of a NY review overturn, Starling lined a single and Cutch rolled another one into left to plate J-Hay. An out and Andrew stolen base later, Freeser's infield knock scored Starling, then Jordy's force out chased home Cutch to make it 3-0 with just one ball hit in the air. Big Blue hit a couple balls hard off Ivan Nova, but only one found grass. Stripling worked a quiet second. After a grounder, Cutch made a over-the-shoulder, back-to-the-infield rolling grab at the track that proved big when the next hitter, Joc Peterson, banged a double after nine pitches and scored following another knock, barely ahead of Gregory's throw. Joc looked safe by a hair, but the Bucs challenged anyway and lost to make it 3-1.

Cutch was happening tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Cutch happened in the third, driving one over the RF wall. LA led off with a knock - they're smoking the ball so far against Ivan - but a fly to left calmed things down when Marte gunned out Chase Utley trying to advance to second for a 7-4 DP (no challenge; the tag play was bang-bang but Utley came off the bag). Thx, Chase. A single followed, but another fly ended the frame. The Bucs went in order in the fourth. Peterson again doubled with two gone and an infield knock put Dodgers on the corners before Stripling K'ed. LA has seven hits already; fortunately for Nova and the Bucs, five have been with two gone.

The Pirates went down in a hurry in the fifth. Utley singled to open, but that was all the damage. Nova has been been getting pounded, but exceptional outfield defense has bailed him out so far. Stripling hasn't exactly been Don Drysdale, either - the Bucs have been squaring balls off him lately too, but he's got 11 straight outs going on after a 1-2-3 sixth inning. Funny game tonight. Adrian Gonzalez started up with a double that Andrew came within a heartbeat of snagging. Another fly out brought out Clint, who waved for Antonio Bastardo. After a K, he uncorked a wild pitch, but finished it out with a zero.

Jordy added to the pad in the seventh by drilling a long fly to left. Felipe Rivero answered the phone, and a couple of whiffs, single and grounder took the game to the eighth. Jesse Chavez (yes, the old Bucco for folk with good memories) took the bump and worked a clean frame. Neftali Feliz climbed the hill and did the same. Freeser singled with an out in the ninth and was left at first. Juan Nicasio took the ball, and alternated K's with singles. With runners on the corners, Tony Watson came in and four pitches later, it was over.

Jordy had a pair of RBI as he continues his steady season (photo USA Today)

The Bucs didn't get ground ball Nova tonight. Only three of his outs were bounced in the dirt, and he should light a candle for the outfield who ran around like kids in a playground tonight. That's not a good thing. But giving up one run is, so a good day for counting numbers and not so much for peripherals. The bullpen did a nice job, and hopefully is settling in after going through some changes. Something to watch is Andrew, who pranced like a colt tonight, spanking the ball, racing all over the pasture and even swiping a sack. If that becomes a thing again, Cutch happening would be the biggest boost of the campaign. 

  • Cutch and Freeser each had two hits; Andrew scored twice and had two RBI.
  • Starling Marte leads all NL outfielders w/13 assists after tonight's toss-out. 
  • The Bucs have taken 4-of-5 from the Dodgers this season, and are on a little bit of a roll, having won 5-of-7.
  • It was a rare game - not one walk was issued.
  • Under the radar guys at Indy: Frank Duncan worked a career-high eight shutout innings. He joins Trevor Williams as only Tribe hurlers to post eight full blanks in 2016. Indy's 16 shutout victories on the season match the Victory Field era (1996) single-season record, per @RyanSheets_. He added that Alen Hanson extended his hitting streak to 14 games to match the team's top mark this season.

No comments: