Monday, June 12, 2017

JT's Back; J-Hay & Buc Bats Welcome Him Home In 7-2 Win Over Rox - Texas HS'er Shane Baz Top Pick

Jamo gave up a single and steal in the first but otherwise was unscathed.  Kyle Freeland lost Max Moroff to start the game and then watched J-Hay go yard to give the Bucs a quick 2-0 cushion. It was a clean second for JT; the Bucs stranded Jordy at second. The Rox stirred it up a little with a one-out knock and walk in the third, but an around-the-horn DP settled things down. J-Hay got aboard on an error and then Freeser, Cutch and Jose Osuna came through with consecutive raps to add two more points to the Bucco tote board. A little more pressure was applied in the fourth with a free pass and rap from the first two Rockies, but Jamo got two pops and a whiff to stem the flow once more. Max Moroff got bopped with a pitch and made it to third but died there. In the fifth, Colorado got back-to-back two-out knocks but couldn't come up with a third. The Bucs left Cutch, who had walked, aboard.

JT twirled five shutout innings in his return (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

JT threw five scoreless innings, allowing five hits, two walks and fanning five; nice to see ya' again, Jamo. 82 pitches were enough after three straight stressful frames and Wade LeBlanc took his place. LeBlanc ran into two-down woes in the sixth; a double and single put the Rox on the scoreboard. The Bucs got it back after J-Bell, J-Hay and Gregory singles; the soft parade also brought Scott Oberg into the game for the Mile High nine. Tony Watson worked the seventh and gave up three knocks, but sprinkled a DP and whiff around to frustrate Colorado. Pittsburgh filled the sacks with an out against Oberg and LHP Chris Rusin took the ball with JJ up. Jaso fell behind 0-2 but still manged to draw a walk in a big-boy at-bat. A Mad Max sac fly brought in another tally, then an intentional walked juiced the sacks again. El Coffee couldn't keep the party going, popping out in his lefty-on-lefty matchup.

Edgar Santana took the bump in the eighth. An opening K was followed by a couple of walks (with a dash of some "welcome to the league" ump squeezing involved), but no sweat - the ol' 4-6-3 DP came to his rescue. Rusin spun a clean frame. Jhan Marinez took his turn in the conga line for the ninth. He gave up a double and wild pitch that turned into a run after a grounder, then fanned the next two to take it home.

Mad Max & J-Hay each scored twice from the top of the order (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)


Can't say that the the team stole a 7-2 win, but the Rox had comeback chances, stranding 10 and going 1-for-11 w/RISP. Of course, the Bucs had 11 LOB too, so it was a good day to at least pad the batting averages (there were 22 hits) if not the RBI column. Kinda nice to start the series with a win and it should be an interesting set if both clubs keep on shakin' the sticks like they did tonight.

Notes:
  • J-Hay's hitting streak is now at 10 games. He had two hits and a walk today; Freeser and Joey O (he's up to .260 w/.784 OPS) also had a pair of hits. Jordy and Cutch had a knock and a walk tonight. Mad Max worked a free pass and got nicked to reach twice.
  • Jhan Marinez, even with today's earned run, has tossed to a 2.51 ERA as a Pirate.
  • The Pirates drew 16,320 to the ballyard.

Draft Board:

The Bucs drafted a Texas high school arm, Shane Baz, at #12. The last time the Pirates used their first pick on a high school pitcher was when they selected Jameson Taillon second overall in 2010, and that worked out OK. Shane a fair-sized 17-year-old at 6'3" with a mid-nineties heater, cutter/slider & curve while working on a changeup and is considered a high-ceiling guy. Sounds like a good catch by Neal & the gang. The only possible downer is that he's a TCU commit and is expected to be a costly sign, but he sounds like he's ready to make the jump if the money is right.

(image via Pittsburgh Pirates)
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