Thursday, April 6, 2017

Can't Score, Can't Win - Bucs Go Down in 12 Innings 3-0

The first four innings were a repeat of last night, with nice pitching and sweet glove work, this time by the Bucs. A Freeser-to-JHay-to-Josh around-the-horn DP closed out the second, a nice barehanded pitch-and-stretch play between Freese and Bell followed by Cutch throwing out a runner at home in the third, and Andrew taking away a homer (not very dramatically; he backed against Fenway's five-foot wall to make the grab) kept it at zeros after four.

The fifth loomed ominous for young Jameson after the Bucs sat down. A walk and a knock to open put him in a first-and-third hole, but two whiffs (with a wild pitch in between) and a soft comebacker ended the threat with an exclamation point. The sixth was quiet, with a 6-4-3 to end Boston's half. Both guys are at around 85 pitches, so even with a DH it's getting to short leash time.

Can't ask for more from JT (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

No Bucco noise again in the seventh but for a two-out Freeser walk; Pittsburgh has had four men on base and not a one has gotten to second. But they did get Sale out after 104 tosses (three hits, one walk, seven K). JT gave up a walk but put up another goose egg. He also got the hook after 95 pitches, finishing up with five hits, three walks and six whiffs.

Matt Barnes, who the Pirates beat up some on Monday, came in and redeemed himself 1-2-3. Daniel Hudson did the Bucco eighth inning honors cleanly. Then it was Craig Kimbrel's turn in the ninth. Jordy reached on a lead-off boot by Kung Fu Panda, but it provided no help. For some reason, Starling tried to bunt (his decision, not Clint's) and popped out. Dusty Pedroia stole a hit from Cutch and turned it into a force and Gregory bounced out. Felipe Rivero toed the rubber and turned in a clean effort, help by a Jordy stab of a bullet.

Heath Hembree opened the extra baseball festivities and Xavier Bogaerts saved his bacon on a sweet play to rob Freeser of an opening rap. It helped; Fran hit a long single off the Monster. An out later, Robby Scott came in to face John Jaso lefty-to-lefty, and Clint sent the Goose up to hit for JJ. All the gear-shifting proved to be much ado over nothing as Gosselin K'ed. Tony Watson was handed the ball. With two outs and a runner on first, a bloop single and walk thx to zone that looked tightly squeezed loaded 'em up but Tony escaped.

Daniel Hudson was sharp in his first outing (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Joe Kelly got the 11th inning call. Starling singled with two gone, but Cutch popped out. Juan Nicasio strolled in and whiffed a pair in a three up, three down outing. In the 12th, Jackie Bradley nicely snagged a dying quail, Freeser lined out and a routine bouncer brought in Antonio Bastardo. He got a loud, long fly out - the ball is not carrying very well on a chilly night - followed by a walk. AB had Bradley picked off, but Goose, now the first baseman (for the seventh time in his career), muffed the throw to second during the chase. Pablo Sandoval walked on a 3-2 pitch and trotted home on Sandy Leon's homer over the Monster two pitches later on a heater down the middle.

It would have been nice to steal a win from the Boston tonight, but the Buc bats were as cold as the weather. The Red Sox pitching has been top notch, along with great leather support (except for Pablo, all the Red Sox are gettin' after it in the field), but scoring in just once in 21 frames is a tough way to compete. But as icy as the bats have been, the arms have been solid against a good lineup, so it's a glass half full.

  • Nice game by Fran defensively - he saved a run by controlling a wild pitch well enough to freeze a runner at third and framed a K call to steal a whiff, even tho the dish was a little tight tonight. Cutch looked at home in his new spot in right, too.
  • The Pirates didn't get a runner to second base, leaving six men on base.
Freeser was the only Buc to reach twice with a walk and a knock (photo via ESPN)
  • The Bucs were twice held to singles on balls hit off the Green Monster; Andrew Benintendi plays the wall like he built it.
  • The Bosox went into the game short-handed due to a bug going around the locker room. Brock Holt was sent home and Mookie Betts and Robbie Ross were both under the weather.

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