Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Cole On Fire But Bucs Lose On Airball 1-0

The first inning was quiet. Gerrit Cole 1-2-3'ed the Cubs; Kyle Hendricks gave up a J-Bell walk. Cole Train struck out the side in the second, but in between Addison Russell doubled and Alen Hansen threw away a grounder to let him plate. The Bucs stranded a Fran walk and Jordy single. In the third, the Cubs went in order; J-Hay led off with a single and was caught stealing to make it easy on Hendricks. Both sides went down w/o a peep in the fourth. Cole cruised through the fifth and singled in the Bucco half but was left on the pond. With two gone in the sixth, Kris Bryant rolled over on a ball but got the second Cub knock with an infield single. He stole second *sigh* but Cole Train left him there after winning a battle with Anthony Rizzo. El Coffee singled with two away and swiped a sack but Fran whiffed, swinging over a changeup.

Cole Train was rolling tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

The seventh was another walk in the park for Gerrit. Hendricks was done and Koji Uehara took up his torch. JJ greeted him with a two-bagger on an 0-2 heater and a Jordy fly moved him to third. Hansen couldn't atone for his error, striking out and looking bad doing it. Jose Osuna hit for Cole, who was dominating tonight: one unearned run, two hits, and eight K's on 78 pitches over seven frames. And Jose didn't help; he swung through a couple of high heaters before flying out. Juan Nicasio walked the first hitter and used a dozen more on Jan Jay, but it ended well with a strike 'em out, throw 'em out DP followed by a first-pitch garden-variety hopper. Hector Rondon took his turn, walking and stranding Cutch after Gregory hit a rocket right at Jason Heyward in right.

Felipe Rivero worked a clean ninth. Wade Davis answered the phone and apparently left a suitable sacrifice to the bullpen hit-'em-where-they-are gods as he gave up a pair of liners to the outfield and a ball to the track but worked a 1-2-3 inning for his fifth save.

Fran hasn't quite figured out that "hit 'em where they ain't" thing (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Not much to be said about today's loss except the Bucs gift run to the Cubs cost them dearly tonight. The Pirates best chance was laid on the shoulders of rookies Alen Hanson and Jose Osuna in the seventh; both were antsy and chased out of the zone while leaving the only Buc runner to reach third, John Jaso, ninety feet short. It begs the question "where was Freeser?" The answer: he was on the pine with a sore hamstring. Kinda hard to put together a lineup w/o Fraze and Freeser with Starling and Jung Ho out of the picture for the long run. Tyler Glasnow will try to stop the bleeding against Jon Lester tomorrow.

  • Fran and Gregory had one hit between them but hit a half-dozen bullets. The BABIP blues have struck Amore particularly hard in the early going; Fangraphs had him at a 42% hard-contact rate going into tonight.
  • Antonio Bastardo was placed on the 10-day DL with left quad strain suffered last night, not from the arm/hand weakness he had been complaining about lately. Recent Yankee acquisition RHP Johnny Barbato, a multi-inning reliever, was called to Pittsburgh to replace him. That move keeps the bullpen a man up (Tyler Glasnow goes tomorrow) and the bench a man down.
Antonio is on the DL (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
  • Pirates second basemen have committed four errors in the past five games; the team has a league-leading 19 boots in 20 outings.
  • 15,326 attended tonight's contest. It was supposed to be a nice night but ended up a little chilly with intermittent drizzle. Hope the pups in attendance stayed dry.
  • Josh Ruga of The North Shore Nine noted that this was the first time the Pirates had lost a nine-inning ball game at home while allowing only two hits to the opposition since 1985. Per Jesse Rogers of ESPN, this the first time the Cubs won a game without earning an RBI since July, 2011.
  • MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was at the game to help launch a Pirates youth baseball/softball initiative. He told the press that Starling, contrary to early reports, did not appeal his suspension and that rather than have umps mic'ed to explain review decisions, he would prefer the ruling would be shown on the scoreboard to get the game moving again.

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