Friday, June 24, 2016

Bats, Back End of the Pen Deliver 8-6 Win Over LA

Jameson Taillon got into a bit of jam giving up back-to-back two out knocks in the first, but got a whiff to waltz away. Cutch singled with two gone against Nick Tepesch, making his first MLB outing since 2014, and that was the extent of the Bucco damage.

LA got a leadoff knock in the second; a quick 4-6-3 DP mopped that up. Another single followed before JT put Tepesch away. Matt Joyce opened by drilling a slider away to The Notch for a double; Jordy singled and went to second when the throw went home. With Bucs at second and third, S-Rod's knock plated the pair home; he took second on another toss to the plate. Two whiffs proved to be one shy when JJ chased Sean home with a two out rip to center. Starling kept the party going one man longer with a RBI double to right center, with a good wave job by Rick Sofield to get JJ home.

Two more hits for Starling (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

But as we all know, no lead is safe for the Pirates. JT gave up back-to-back doubles in the third, and a grounder followed by a balk made it 4-2. The Bucs got one of those back on a HJK homer to left off a 1-2 slider. The fourth went quietly for both sides. JT lost it in the fifth, giving up a walk, double and single; Jared Hughes came in to douse the flames, but it was a 5-4 game now. Pittsburgh got those back in their half when two soft hits, a walk, a HBP and sac fly brought home a pair.

With an out, Hughes was tagged for a Yasiel Puig moon shot in the sixth, and after another knock, the Lobster came in. Two raps later, he got the hook for Neftali Feliz who finally ended things with the tally at 7-6. JP Howe took the hill for LA. Adam Frazier singled off him in his first MLB at bat and a wild pitch moved him to second with an out. With two gone, Cutch was intentionally walked. Casey Fien entered to face JHK and got him to roll out. Bless Neftali; he tossed a clean seventh. Chris Hatcher took the ball for the Dodgers, and Matt Joyce sent one into the night to make it 8-6 after seven frames.

Tony Watson - he gets a blessing, too - tossed a 1-2-3 eighth. Josh had a pinch hit single, but got picked off, and the Bucs couldn't add to the pad. Mark the Shark came on looking for save #21. The first Dodger reached on weak roller and weaker toss by Josh, but no matter - a nice 6-4-3 DP made it moot and a whiff put it in the books. Seems like a long time since we said "Raise It."

Neftali Feliz came up big time for the Bucs (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

JT again had problems with his fastball command; when he loses his downward plane, the ball is up and flat (d'oh, what else would it be?) Our guess is he's overthrowing, and with a couple of more starts under his belt, we're hopeful he'll find a comfort zone. The middle relief is brutal and way overexposed. Juan Nicasio should help that some, but they still need another arm to get to the back end trio. 

  • Man, Matt Joyce. He had three hits tonight, including his 8th homer, with two RBI & two runs...the guy has worked his way back onto the big league radar. Starling added a pair of knocks and S-Rod drove in three runs. 
  • Give the back end of the bullpen (The Shark, Tony & Neftali) their props. They worked 3-2/3 IP, giving up just an infield hit with three K.
  • Jordy has quietly put together a nine game hitting streak. 
  • It took awhile, but Clint finally got his 1,000th managerial win, the 61st MLB manager to reach that mark.
  • Gregory was on the pine tonight because of "left leg discomfort." Be kinda nice to see El Coffee and Starling in the same lineup every so often.
  • Clint made it official - Juan Nicasio is headed full-time to the pen. It looks like Chad Kuhl gets his start, as he's already at PNC Park, so expect his call up to become official Sunday. Nothing like starting your career on national TV against Clayton Kershaw!

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