Friday, September 2, 2016

Field of the Living Dead: Bucs Lose 1-0

It was 1-2-3 for Jameson Taillon to open. Junior Geurra gave up a knock to Cutch in an otherwise quiet frame. In the second, Milwaukee got a single, but a pickoff made it another clean frame. Starling opened by bunting for a knock and paid it back by getting caught stealing on a bang-bang play. Fran walked with two gone, and Jordy followed with a leg hit to turn the order over. The Brew Crew got a runner to second on a single and bunt in the third, but no further. Cutch doubled with two gone, missing a dinger by a hair, But Gregory fished for a couple of splitters to leave him standing.

The Brewers didn't get the ball out of the infield in the fourth. Starling started things off with a hustle two-bagger, followed by a Freeser walk after he had fallen in an 0-2 hole. Fran swung at ball four and then K'ed. Guerra left on that high note; he's just off the DL and is at 70 pitches. Jacob Barnes came on and kept the ducks on the pond. It was a clean fifth for JT. Blaine Boyer climbed the hill and shut down the Bucs. The Brewers got the first plate touch of the game in the sixth when a HBP and a two-out Scooter Gennett double turned the trick. Jhan Marinez tossed a calm frame.

Jamo was an out away from a shutout, and instead took a loss (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Felipe Rivero took command in the seventh; Jamo gave up a run on three hits with four K on 76 pitches. A walk and stolen base put him in hot water while a couple of whiffs and a bouncer cooled things off. Carlos Torres was next in line. Matt Joyce pestered his way aboard with a two-out, nine-pitch walk, breaking a streak of 11 consecutive sit-downs. Alen Hanson ran for him, broke early and was erased at second. Antonio Bastardo answered the phone for the eighth, and gave up a two out walk, causing no damage. Corey Knebel toed the rubber and J-Hay greeted him with a rap. The Bucs did it again: a pickoff throw went wide, Harrison steamed into second and then tried to add another base. It was 90' too far and he was tossed out on a close play. Close or not, it was a pretty brain-dead scamper, whether it was on Josh or Rick Sofield; little league kids know you don't make the first out at third base. Cutch singled with two gone and was left aboard.

Juan Nicasio worked the ninth. With one gone, Gregory muffed a liner, putting Hernan Perez at second and followed by an intentional walk. A force put runners at the corners, and a steal put them at second and third. Orlando Arcia, hitting .184, drew a four-pitch walk to load them, but Juan coaxed a bouncer to escape. Tyler Thornburg came in for the save. Marte bit on a 3-1 fastball that was ball four and then flew out. Freeser's trigger finger wasn't as itchy and he drew a free pass. Fran popped out on the first pitch after watching the first two guys go full. Jordy's liner to right was hauled in, and now it's a four game funk.

Cutch had three hits, but every at bat was with two outs & the bases empty (photo Pgh Pirates)

This loss was bad. There was little plate discipline in the clutch and three guys were thrown out on the bases with only Starling's a legitimate risk. Teams in contention can't always be physically sharp, but there's no excuse to have mental lapses.

  • Pittsburgh had seven hits; Cutch had three and Starling a pair. Though one batted third and the other fifth, they never were both up in the same inning. No Bucco reached third base tonight.
  • The Pirates now have their seventh losing streak of four games or more.
  • The game drew 21,722; Labor Day weekend is often a tough sale.
  • The Bucs recalled Jameson Taillon, Adam Frazier, Steven Brault & Jason Rogers from the minors and activated Chris Stewart from the DL for the first September wave of players.
  • Shelley Lipton for Roto Experts posted on the five veteran pitchers who should bounce back in 2017; Gerrit Cole tops the list.

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