Thursday, June 22, 2017

Bucs Miss Early Chances, Homer Off Huddy Carry Brew Crew To 4-3 Victory

Bit of bad luck in the first for the Bucs. J-Hay walked and stole second off Junior Guerra, then JJ lined a bullet up the first base line; sadly, it was an at 'em ball to 1B Jesus Aguilar, who turned the RBI bid into a 3-6 DP. Trevor Williams had a good start. After a knock, he struck out the side. With an out in the second, J-Bell singled and consecutive walks loaded the sacks; Stew GIDP on a ball hit up the middle that a dive-and-flip by 2B Eric Sogard converted. Guerra is a guy that way outperforms his peripherals (2.84 ERA, 5.98 xFIP) and so far, he's showing why. It was another three-up, three down for the Brew Crew. Fraze and J-Hay hit back-to-back doubles with an out in the third; Josh's was a bloop single hustled into a two-bagger. But he was caught trying to advance on a ball in the dirt, with the original safe call overturned by review as Junior's ball luck continues. The lead didn't last long as The Crew turned an infield hit, bunt (Stew had a play at second but took the sure out; it cost) and two-out single into the equalizer.

An inning too long for Trevor (photo Joe Guzy/Pirates)

The Bucs wasted two walks in the fourth. A double and a stolen base, thx to Freeser who for a second night was sloppy with a tag, followed by a two-out walk put Trevor under the gun. Another steal and an intentional walk loaded the sacks for Guerra, who stung the ball but saw it hauled in on the run by Andrew. Fraze doubled with one gone in the fifth and JJ's two-out two-bagger through the shift & up the line sent him home. Williams tossed a clean frame with a couple of Ks. J-Bell went ding(er) to open the sixth, making it 3-1. Cutch singled and moved up on a wild pitch but was left aboard as a couple of well-struck balls found OF leather. T-Will tossed seven pitches to put away Milwaukee. Oliver Drake worked the seventh and was nicked for a J-Hay knock. Ouch in the seventh. The first two Brewers singled and doubled, both turning on pitches low and inside, so good pitching lost to better hitting. And in came...Tony Watson? A grounder made it 3-2 followed by a K, then Huddy got the call (good job, Tony) v RH Domingo Santana. Bad decision; Santana homered and the Brewers took the lead 4-3.

Jacob Barnes toed the slab in the eighth. J-Bell was rung up on a 3-2 pitch that everyone in the park but the ump saw as ball four. Jordy singled with two outs, but pinch-hitter El Coffee got the same blind mouse treatment from ump Jerry Layne and whiffed; Clint barked throughout the at bat. Wade LeBlanc got the wave and gave up a rap that caused no damage. Corey Knebel came out for the save in the ninth. Fraze singled with an out and a wild pitch moved him up, but he died two bases short of the plate.

Fraze was strokin' (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

The Bucs lost this one early when they had Guerra on the ropes and couldn't deliver the KO. They finished 2-for-12 w/RISP tonight after a stretch of clutch at-bats. Clint's bullpen use always causes head-scratching and it's a fair debate whether or not Felipe Rivero should have gotten the call in the seventh. Rivero, of course, can't pitch every inning. The pen needs one more consistent back-end arm to join Felipe and Juan Nicasio to finish the last three frames. Andrew Miller isn't really a comparable - he has two guys behind him with ERAs of 2.00 or less and no one in the Tribe bullpen has an ERA over 3.31; the surrounding cast is key.

  • Fraze had three hits and scored twice while J-Hay and J-Bell had two knocks and walk. Cutch had a hit and walked twice, while Jordy had a rap and a walk.
  • Andrew had a streak of reaching base safely seven straight times and 9-of-10 at-bats before K'ing in the eighth, missing a high 99 MPH heater.
  • Road warrior: J-Hay has hit safely in 17 straight away games.
  • Amore is getting tested for a mystery flu-like ailment that's been bothering him off-and-on since April. His illness goes a long way in explaining the Bucs current three-catcher bench set-up.
  • Austin Meadows was pulled from today's game at Indy with a right hammy tweak and is getting an MRI. 
  • The Pirates announced some more signings of second-day draft picks: Alex Manasa (11th round), Hunter Stratton (16th), Will Reed (20th), Robbie Glendinning (21st), Brett Pope (22nd), Benjamin Bengtson (23rd), Lucas Tancas (26th) and Matt Seelinger (28th). That brings them to 20 agreements, with the deadline for signing still having some time to go, running until July 7th.

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