Saturday, April 15, 2017

Pirates Gloves Dig Big Hole; Bucco Bombs Cover the Damage In 8-7 Win.

The wind was blowing in yesterday at Wrigley but it's howling (25 MPH) out today, so it just might be a good time to notch some K's and get the ol' ball pounded into the dirt. Of course, with a middle infield of Adam Frazier at short (Jordy gets an R&R day) and Alen Hanson at second (Gregory tweaked his groin so J-Hay moved into left) dunno how that will work out, either. Jake Arrieta had a 1-2-3 first with two whiffs. The Cubs hit for the cycle and batted around against Tyler Glasnow. Not all the damage was of his making; the double was a well-placed bleeder against the shift & Fraze booted a ball, but between bloopers and blasts, it was 4-0 before the Bucs got back to the bat rack. Fran broke up the no-hitter and shutout with two outs in the second with a long ball that was jet stream-assisted. Tyler bounced back with an 11 pitch frame featuring a pair of whiffs.

Tyler didn't get much help but still took a step forward (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Pittsburgh used some two-out lightning to tally in the third. Fraze tripled and Starling knocked him home to half the lead to 4-2. The Buc defense continued to pile on Tyler; after a double, he got Ben Zobrist swinging. Fran couldn't corral the pitch and Cubs ended up on the corners. Another double (J-Hay played the ball into a two-bagger; correctly scored it should be a single & E-7) chased two runs home. Freeser stopped the bleeding with a nice play to chop down a run at the plate with an out, but a collision brought a challenge and no one knows how the Posey rule will be invoked. In this case, the call stood. The fourth was quiet; the only action for either club was a Josh Bell single with two outs.

Glasnow walked with an out in the fifth and was promptly back on the hill after a 1-6-3 DP by Fraze. Tyler was gassed; two walks and a plunk jammed the sacks with two gone, but G-Man worked out of it. That was his day; six runs (four earned), six hits, two walks, a bop and seven whiffs after 99 tosses. Starling went deep in the sixth, and Jake was given the hook for Brian Duensing with two outs, and he won the lefty bout with Josh Bell. Trevor Williams came on and was touched for a bloop single; a pair of whiffs and a caught stealing (praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!) closed it out.

J-Hay went long with an out in the seventh. Hanson then singled and Jason Heyward robbed John Jaso of extra bases but the Bucs kept grinding. Alen stole second and raced home on a Fraze soft lob to make it 6-5. Pedro Strop got the call and walked Starling. Then Cutch happened, his drive a few feet inside the LF foul pole, and suddenly it was 8-6 Buccos. Juan Nicasio took the ball and put up a zero thx to a nice running catch by Cutch on a ball that kept carrying to the track and a well-placed (and timed) shift. Koji Uehara goose egged the Bucs in the eighth and Daniel Hudson returned the favor.

Tony is now 4-for-4 in save opportunities (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

Wade Davis struck out the side in the ninth and Tony Watson came on for the close against the heart of Chicago's order. Kris Bryant smacked his second homer of the day; this one wasn't a blast but gently dropped into the basket above the outfield fence. A two-out walk made things nervous with a hot Addison Russell up representing the winning run. Tony K'ed him on a foul tip, so let that breath out and raise the Jolly Roger.

First, nice progress by Tyler Glasnow. His numbers bit, but he was just fine after a shaky start, more a victim of bad D than bad pitching. If he can accept the learning process mentally, he should be fine; his change-up was a nasty offering today. Nice to see the bats at work on a windy day, but that defense, sheesh. The leather makes every game a struggle and a staff that could use some support instead is being pushed to the limit by bad fielding. Maybe a benchful of folk that play every position isn't the ideal set-up. Anyway, a chance to sweep the Cubbies at Wrigley is on the horizon. Who'd thunk?

  • Starling had two hits and a walk today while Fraze also banged out a pair of knocks. Both guys score twice. Marte, Cutch, J-Hay and Fran homered; the Pirates almost doubled their long ball total, going from five to nine.
  • Cutch bypassed Barry Bonds for fourth place on the Pirates homers list by losing his 177th  ball to the seats today.
  • Big day for 2017 firsts - Fran threw out his first base stealer, J-Hay hit his first homer and The Goose collected his first hit, a bunt single.
Fran had a nice afternoon despite a bug (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • Gregory was a late scratch, replaced by Alen Hanson. Seems like Polanco has a groin issue to go along with a sore wing.
  • Fran started for the second day as a sick puppy. 
  • Mike LoPresti of the Indianapolis Business Journal has a story on Josh Lindblom that you may not be aware of that connects baseball and family. 
  • Altoona 2B Kevin Kramer extended his hitting streak to nine games this afternoon.

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