Friday, June 2, 2017

Diaz Comes Up Big; Bucs Run Away From Mets 12-7

A leadoff walk, single and walk loaded the bases for the Bucs in the first against Matt Harvey. He had the Pirates right where he wanted them, almost. He did allow a run on Freeser's grounder, and 33 pitches is a moral victory, but a very golden opp down the drain. It was 1-2-3 for Gerrit Cole with a pair of whiffs. The Pirates went down in order with a pair of their own whiffs in the second, and bad Cole Train took the hill; a walk and a crush job by Lucas Duda on 2-0 pitch down Broadway gave the Mets the lead. A one-out walk and knock threatened to turn it into a yuge frame, but Harvey bunted into a DP. He didn't take it to the mound, retiring nine in-a-row after three frames. Gerrit had a calm inning too.

His woes continued, but he did get the W (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

The fourth opened with a Freeser walk, Bell knock and Cutch infield single to fill the bases with Buccos with no outs. Jordy popped out, but Elias Diaz picked him up with a bases-clearing two-bagger off the wall in left center. Cole gave up a two-out knock with no damage. J-Hay got plunked to start the fifth; he was erased an out later on a Freeser 3-6 DP; his bad luck Duda was holding Josh. The NY'ers opened with a knock; Harvey's bad day bunting continued as he rolled into a force out. Didn't hurt, tho, as Michael Conforto homered to knot the game. A two-out single came around when Gregory turned every which way but the right one, allowing Neil Walker's ball to fall for a triple. A wild pitch brought him home and another Duda homer added to the dumpster fire.

J-Bell answered with a leadoff long ball in the sixth and a Cutch walk brought on Paul Sewald. Jordy singled and the pair trotted home ahead of Diaz, who smacked his first MLB homer to retake the lead at 8-7. Fraze singled off Duda's glove an out later and J-Hay doubled him home. Gregory's knock and a Freeser plunking jammed the sacks. J-Bell walked on five pitches and Terry Collins finally called for help. Neil Ramirez was touched for a sac fly by Cutch (and he didn't miss it by much) before getting the 12th hitter of the inning, Jordy, on a bouncer. The Pirates rang up a seven-spot to jump ahead 11-7. Wade LeBlanc got the ball and gave up a hit but no runs. Pittsburgh had not a peep left in the seventh. Juan Nicasio, as usual, cruised through the frame. J-Hay went deep to start the eighth to add some pad. Daniel Hudson walked the first hitter he faced with a five run lead, then an out later walked another. Uncle Ray came out for a little chat, followed by Huddy tossing some strikes and closing out the inning.

J-Bell is starting to stir again (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Josh Smoker worked the ninth, giving up a couple of raps but keeping the scoreboard clean. Felipe Rivero came in; maybe Clint wants to see how how he handles putting a game to bed. He looked OK to us, going 1-2-3.

Well, two takeaways. One is that it's nice to see the offense in gear, sparked by a kid that was at Indy on Wednesday and didn't know he was starting until a half-hour before first pitch. The other is that it would be nice to see Cole Train get back in sync; this is three games in a row that he's looked more like a palooka than an champ (see notes). But hey, it's a great way to start the set so raise the Roger and sail on!

Notes:
  • J-Hay remains smokin' with three hits. J-Bell had two raps with a walk, and Jordy & Eli had a pair of knocks. Fraze, Cutch and Gregory had a knock and a walk, while Freeser walked and was bopped.
This man is on fire (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • Elias Diaz is the first Pirates rookie to chase home six runs in a game since Cutch drove home six RBI on August 1st, 2009 vs. Washington. He joins Don "Sluggo" Slaught, Tony Pena, Smokey Bugess and Clyde McCullough as Bucco catchers to drive in six or more runs (post-1950).
  • All eight Pirates position starters reached base safely (Freeser was the only one w/o a hit, but he walked & was HBP) and scored. You don't see this kind of offense in a Bucco game often - the Pirates scored three in the fourth, the Mets answered with five in the fifth, and Pittsburgh responded with seven in the sixth.
  • Gerrit Cole has given up 15 homers this year; 11 was his previous season high. He's given up eight in his last three starts, with six to the Mets. He's been absolutely torched over that span: 14-2/3 innings, 16 runs (all earned), 28 hits, four walks and 11 Ks using 291 pitches.
  • Cervy was a late scratch from the lineup; he's ill (in the bad way). His replacement did a pretty good job in his stead.
  • Jameson Taillon went five innings for Indy tonight. He gave up a run (unearned) on three hits with six K's after 68 pitches. Lookin' like it's just a matter of regaining strength and length before he's back.

2 comments:

WilliamJPellas said...

Something is wrong with Cole, I promise you. I believe he has, or is fast developing, a significant arm injury. He's actually had a number of physical maladies during his brief career. My guess is that most of these are related to his "max effort" delivery and perhaps to his mechanics.

When he is healthy, Cole is a good major league pitcher. There's no doubt about that. I also like his decent-for-a-pitcher hitting, even if he is still a long way from past Pirates pitchers who were strong hitters, guys like Rick Rhoden, Don Robinson, Ken Brett, and to a lesser degree Jim Rooker.

But he was never, ever going to sign with the Bucs long term, not with Boras as his agent, and if he lands on the DL in 2017 it will be his third (fourth?) extended stretch on the disabled list. That's far too many for a guy as young and strong as he is. I think the Pirates need to move on from him as soon as they can.

Ron Ieraci said...

Could be, Will, that's been discussed and we'll find out down the line. Could just be that he's in a stretch where his pitches are flat; he's always had spells with that issue. Whatever it is, his velo hasn't been affected. But him going south does not bode well, so here's hoping that he finds his pitch movement again soon.