Saturday, June 17, 2017

El Coffee, Cutch Homers & Nova, Rivero Performances Carry Bucs to 4-3 Win

Ah, nice 10-pitch first frame for Ivan - single, GIDP, whiff. Jake Arrieta tumbled fielding Fraze's swinging bunt, allowing him to reach. Another dribbler moved him up a station but the extra 90' didn't make any difference when the previously frozen bat of El Coffee thawed - he lined a HR into the laps of the Clemente Wall fans. A couple of grounders sandwiched around a walk closed the inning. The Cubs got a knock in the second, but Cutch's two-out diving grab of a sinking liner closed the gate. Jake was back to his old tricks, punching out the side. Anthony Rizzo singled with two outs in the third; Ivan picked him off. Gregory is feelin' it; he doubled off The Clemente Wall with two gone but Freeser went down swinging. Ivan got the first two outs in the fourth, then the apparent third out on a roller in front of the dish resulting in a 2-3 put out. But the third base ump overruled the plate ump and called it foul, causing a brief beef, a honked pitcher and a walk. It cost Nova a half-dozen extra tosses and some heartburn. Jake got a couple more K's; his off-speed stuff has been outstanding tonight.

Ivan gutted out seven innings tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

With two outs (one on a crossing pattern by Cutch and JJ which fortunately didn't turn into a head-on) in the fifth, Ivan gave up a walk to the eight hitter. It proved costly when Jake went long, tucking a ball just inside the pole to tie the game. The Bucs answered. Jordy opened with a two-bagger, moved up on a wild pitch and came home an out later on a Fraze single. Another wild toss moved Adam up and Gregory was intentionally walked with two away. Freeser was HBP and lefty Brian Duensing was waved in to face J-Bell, whose liner to center hung up long enough to become the third out. Ivan tossed a solid sixth and Justin Grimm replaced Duensing. He gave up a first-pitch bomb to Andrew to make it 4-2. Again the seventh inning blues hit Ivan; Addison Russell homered, followed by a single and bunt. Ivan was equal to the task, getting a comebacker and whiff. The K was after he had fallen behind Jon Jay 3-0; when he got the final swing-and-miss on a 97 MPH heater, he double-pumped and the crowd gave him an ovation, earning a hat tip. Cool way to finish an outing.

Carl Edwards Jr took over in the Pirates half and walked Fraze. A K and GIDP killed that frame in a heartbeat. Huddy got the eighth inning call to face the top of the Cubbie order with Felipe loosening up. He got a line out, then Ian Happ hustled into a double; Gregory caught his liner on one hop and his routine toss-in allowed a heads-up Happ to stretch it. Clint called on Felipe; he allowed Huddy to face two lefties and Rivero gets a righty in Kris Bryant, sheesh. Bryant walked on four pitches, but a fly out and a nice snag by the double-switched Max Moroff on a grounder up the middle ended the threat. Pedro Strop got the call and J-Bell doubled with one gone. He was picked off heading to third on a comebacker well-played by Strop and poorly played by Bell. Felipe stayed on for the ninth and no one was tossing in the pen. No need; two balls hit back to the hill around a whiff finished the Cubs; his five-out save took 17 pitches.

Leather and lumber tonight (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

All's well that ends well, but we're thinking Clint has to do a little more tweaking of his bullpen-by-committee planning. This is Felipe's third save of the week of four+ outs; the kid's arm may be rubber, but still... Anyway, very nice win after yesterday's meltdown with tomorrow's rubber match for the marbles. Nice to see Gregory carry his weight; we'll wait to see if it's a thing or just a blip.

Notes:
  • Gregory had two hits and a free pass; Fraze and J-Bell had a knock and a walk. The Bucs only mustered six hits against the Cubbies.
  • J-Bell hasn't been yanked late in games lately for defensive purposes as Clint told the press gang that “We’ve taken the training wheels off..."
  • 34,383 rocked the park tonight.
  • Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors has a pretty long list of deadline trade candidates including the Pirates usual suspects, adding that Freeser is unlikely to be dangled.
  • Indy LHP Steven Brault is dealing. After winning tonight, he's 5-0 with a 1.32 ERA over his last eight starts (5-3/2.18 overall).
  • The Mariners claimed Indy RHP Pat Light, who was DFA'ed to clear a 40-man spot for Edgar Santana. It wasn't that long ago that the Bucs were combing the waiver wires instead of losing guys from it.
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