Monday, September 12, 2016

Same Ol' Same Ol' - Bucs Drop Another 6-2

I'll bet the Root guys are lonely tonight...Steeler's open on Monday night while the stumblin', bumbling' Bucs are playing Philly. But someone's gotta die hard, so here we be. Fraze did what he does, opening the game with a knock off Jeremy Hellickson. J-Bell hit into a force and scampered to second following a wild pitch. Cutch walked, and Gregory smacked one through Ryan Howard's five-hole, scoring Bell on the error and sending Cutch to third. JHK went up 3-0, but sat down three changeups later and Fran couldn't chase him home either. Interesting frame for Gerrit Cole: walk, caught stealing, walk, whiff, steal, whiff.

Still hurt or reliving spring training after another DL stint? (image Positively Pittsburgh)

The Pirates managed just a Cole rap in the second. The Phils drilled everything Gerrit tossed, especially the lefties; Freddie Galvis homered and Cody Asche doubled high off the wall to plate another run. Then the pitcher walked, as did the next batter to load 'em. Gerrit's at 46 pitches, too - Clint better get him out while he still has an arm left. He didn't, and Cole fell behind 2-0, then served a meatball that was banged for a two-run double by Roman Quinn, his first MLB hit. A grounder brought in another point. Thank goodness for Howard, who K'ed again with the tally 5-1.

J-Bell walked to start the third and an out later (spoiler alert!) Gregory hit into a DP.  Juan Nicasio took the hill and dished out two fans, two walks, another whiff and 29 pitches. The game is 1-1/2 hours old after three frames. JHK hit into a hard out to start the fourth; the next two Bucs K'ed on seven tosses. Juan put up a zero. It was a 1-2-3 fifth for Pittsburgh. Antonio Bastardo got his call and kept the scoreboard clean. The Pirates had not a peep in them in the sixth. A walk and double added to Philly's booty when Jordy dropped Cutch's relay; been that kinda month.

A single and walk in the seventh put the hook to Hellickson, but didn't produce a score against Edubray Ramos. Felipe Rivero claimed the bump for the seventh, got checked out by the trainer, and wiggled through a walk and single to post a zippo. The Pirates went in order in the eighth, and Jared Hughes gave up a Phil knock but no runs. Old bud Jeanmar Gomez tossed the ninth; a couple of soft hits and an error made the final 6-2.

JHK is the only consistent stick with J-Hay on ice (photo Nam Huh/Associated Press)

A large part of the recent dumpster fire has been caused by fidgety roster management. Earlier in the year, the issue centered around multiple short starts burning out the pen, causing the occasional eight man relief corps and a short bench. This time around, it's the opposite - the dugout is so crowded that Clint has been shuffling guys in and out at a furious rate, trying to balance between competitiveness now and the future while the pen is loaded with bodies but short of, ya know, actual relievers. Everyone the Bucs called up was a starter, and they're up here with no clear assignment.

The FO has kinda been on the fence as to whether they're all in or committing to the future. It's time for a serious planning pow-wow. Personally, we'd give Bell, Frazier and the largely ignored Hanson lots of lineup love. As for the pitching, some clear cut roles need to be defined. If that involves shutting down Cole Train, so be it. Either way, a six-man rotation or perhaps some piggy-backing of starters should be considered to preserve arms and the bullpen. There are only three weeks left; it really shouldn't require brain surgery to sort out the roster going forward.

  • The Pirates had five hits, and it shouldn't come as a surprise that Jung Ho Kang collected two of them.
  • Pittsburgh has lost four in a row/12 of 14 and are circling the drain pretty rapidly now.
  • Not all bad news today: the Bradenton Marauders won the Florida State League championship 4-1. Jonathan Brubaker and Tanner Anderson scattered seven hits while Taylor Gushue homered and drove in a pair of runs.

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