Saturday, July 10, 2010

Can't Close An Inning...

Talk about your broken records. The Bucs started off by stranding Jose Tabata and Neil Walker at second and third, and then give up a two-out run to the Brew Crew in the first.

Jeff Karstens got the first two outs handily, then walked Ryan Braun, who stole second. With the open base, he intentionally unintentionally walked Prince Fielder. Then he fell behind Casey McGehee 3-1, hung a changeup, and he spanked it into left to score Braun.

You can't win; if you're aggressive, the opponents knock it over the fence; if you walk them, they score. This year's pitching has not been Joe Kerrigan's shining moment; the question is whether that's the fault of Joe's coaching or a staff that just doesn't have it. You can't always make chicken salad out of chicken feathers.

That risk/reward conundrum came into play in the third. With two outs and the bases empty, Karstens went after Braun and Fielder. They both homered.

In the fifth, Braun doubled, Fielder was intentionally walked, and McGehee singled off Pedro's glove - that seems to happen a lot - to load the bases with one away.

Craig Counsell hit a sac fly to the track to add another run to the Brew Crew tally. Bobby Crosby made a heads-up play to get the force at third on a ball hit in the hole to end the frame.

The Bucs got off the scheid in the sixth, when Jones led off with his eleventh homer into right. Pedro followed with a single, but Dewey put a damper on the inning by hitting into a 4-6-3 DP, his eleventh twin killing of the year.

Sean Gallagher made his Pirate debut in the sixth. Karstens went five innings, giving up four runs on five hits, six walks (one intentional) and striking out five on 93 pitches.

Pitching behind in the count to everyone, Gallagher loaded the bases on two singles and a bopped batter. With one out, Braun and Fielder were due up. He fell behind Braun 2-0, but came back to get him swinging at a curve in the dirt. Then JR called on Javier Lopez to match up against Fielder, and he caught him looking at a slider.

After Crosby led off with an infield single and Andy LaRoche tapped out, moving him to second, and Dave Bush got the hook with the top of the order due up. He went 6-1/3 innings, giving up two runs on six hits, walking two and K'ing five.

Kameron Loe came on in relief, and wild-pitched Crosby to third. He fed McCutch nothing but changeups, and the result was an eight-pitch at-bat and sac fly to make it 4-2.

DJ Carrasco held the game tight, pitching two scoreless innings. The Pirates cut the lead to one in the ninth, when Dewey led off with his eighth homer, drilling a 96 MPH heater into the right field stands. But John Axford got Ryan Church and Delwyn Young swinging, with a Crosby pop up in between, and the Bucs fell 4-3.

No problem figuring this one out. If the Pirate pitching could close out an inning - and Karstens isn't alone; the staff hasn't been worth a lick at doing it all year - they win. Milwaukee scored three of their four runs after there were two outs and no one on base.

Brad Lincoln will square off against Randy Wolf tomorrow afternoon in the get-away game before the All-Star break.

-- Hey, about time. The Pirates and Brewers will honor their Hispanic roots tonight. Pittsburgh will sport the Piratas logo; Milwaukee the Cerveceros.

-- Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports in his "Full Count" vid Rosenthal notes that the Mets has had interest in Octavio Dotel as a free agent in the past and are looking for a bullpen arm.

-- RH reliever Ron Belisario, once a hot Bucco prospect, has been placed on the restricted list and removed from the Dodgers' 40-man roster. Dylan Hernandez and Bill Shaikin of the LA Times reports that he left the team earlier this week to receive treatment in a substance abuse program. So maybe a little more than talent was involved when the Pirates decided to cut him loose from their system.

-- The first big deal of the trading season was made yesterday. Cliff Lee went to the AL West-leading Texas Rangers, bankruptcy be danged.

The Seattle Mariners sent the ace left-hander and reliever Mark Lowe to the Rangers on Friday for rookie first baseman Justin Smoak and three minor leaguers. Texas also receives cash as part of the deal. High price, we think, for a rental player, but we'll see how it plays out.


Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls said...

Sean Gallagher looks like he'll fit right in: "Pitching behind in the count to everyone, Gallagher loaded the bases on two singles and a bopped batter." Well, give him credit for striking out Braun.


Huh. Never would have guessed.

If the Pirates' franchise has any "Hispanic roots" to speak of, I'd kind of like to see them wearing the Santurces Sand Crabs uniforms of the Puerto Rican team that Roberto Celemente played for.

I don't know what the hell the Brewers would wear ... there must be a team sponsored by a rum company somewhere in the Caribbean ... no, wait, that's distilling, not brewing. Ah, forget it.

I like what the Rangers are doing, and I especially liked that they one-upped the Yankees on the Cliff Lee deal. They're going for it. Gotta respect that.

The Pirates get Sean Gallagher. The Rangers get Cliff Lee. I know, two completely different situations. Two completely different universes.

Ron Ieraci said...

That's right on, JP. Pittsburgh does live in a universe far, far removed from the rest of the MLB.