Saturday, July 15, 2017

Opportunity Knocks But Bucs Don't Answer in 4-0 Loss

It's been a bit - 14 days, to be exact - since Jamo pitched, and he showed some rust by giving up back-to-back knocks to start the game. He buffed up quickly, tho, and a 4-6-3 DP and whiff later was in the dugout. Fraze opened against Lance Lynn by reaching on a dropped ball; a challenge and review overturned the call (it sure looked on TV like the ball was in the dirt and not the mitt, oh well). May or may not have made a diff; Cutch singled but the rest  of the guys were quiet. The Cards went down in order in the second; the Bucs got a pair of knocks from Freeser and Cervy, but Jordy's DP took then out of the inning. Both sides went down without a peep in the third. The Redbirds started the scoring in the fourth; Tommy Pham doubled and came in on Jedd Gyorko's one-out ground-ball single; Pittsburgh took a chance by bringing the infield in and lost. There was no further damage as Yadier Molina's liner was grabbed in the corner by Gregory, and he doubled up happy-foot Gyorko.

Jamo couldn't get that third out in the fifth (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

The Bucs kept the pressure on in their half; a boot and J-Bell knock opened the Pirates half. Freeser lowered the heat by bouncing into a 1-4-3 DP and El Coffee flew out; looks like a repeat of last night with Pirates runners everywhere but home. Luke Voit slapped one into left off Freeser's glove (the scorer ruled it a hit) to begin the fifth. Two K's later, Lynn doubled on the first pitch and the run came around when Cutch mishandled the ball. Matt Carpenter slapped a 1-2 change off the plate and up in the zone into center and suddenly with two outs and the pitcher hitting, a 1-0 game turned to 3-0 after four tosses. Carpenter stole second and scored on Tommy Pham's double before the brutality ended. The Goose pinch-hit for JT with two away and singled; Fraze followed with another. J-Hay lifted a soft fly to right on a pitch a mile outside and two more ducks were left quacking. Jhan Marinez worked the sixth. He gave up a leadoff walk but otherwise cruised. Pittsburgh went quietly.

Jhan again walked the first Card in the seventh, who was bunted to second. A tapper moved him up a station, but Marinez whiffed Pham to escape again. Cervy doubled with one gone and Jordy's knock put Buccos at the corners. Matt Bowman took the ball and walked Fraze with two gone to juice the sacks. J-Hay fell behind 0-2 and flew out; he's falling hard this month. AJ Schugel got the eighth inning call and fanned a pair. Trevor Rosenthal toed the rubber and matched AJ. Schugs made it look easy in the ninth. Tyler Lyons was greeted by a Gregory double but that was all the Bucco noise as they dropped the middle match 4-0.

AJ was strong out of the pen tonight (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

The Pirates had another night with runners all over - there were 11 Buccos on base - but nine reaches were good for just one base, and twice they hit into DPs with two runners on. Hopefully tomorrow they'll break out and touch home a few times. As for Jamo, this outing was a good learning experience on bearing down with the pitcher up and two outs. The series is up for grabs tomorrow afternoon and it will be a tough matchup with Trevor Williams facing Carlos Martinez.

  • Cervy had two hits while Fraze had a walk and a knock, though every starter had a hit except for J-Hay.
  • Josh Harrison is 5-for-42 (.119) this month, with three hits coming in one game. His slump hurts; J-Hay left five runners on tonight, three in scoring position.
  • There were 35,658 in the park tonight.
  • Gyorko's RBI ended JT's streak of 18-2/3 scoreless frames.
  • The Pirates futility in scoring is easy enough to figure out - they're seventh in GB rate at 46.4 % and 27th in slugging % at .398. The ground balls haven't helped their BABIP, which is at .280 mainly because their hard contact rate is 30.6 %, 20th in the league. So they hit a lot of grounders and not very hard which is not a great recipe for scoring.

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