Thursday, June 16, 2016

Juan Whacked; Buc Rally Falls Short As Mets Take Series With 6-4 Victory

Bartolo Colon gave up an opening single to Josh and then watched Micheal Conforto make a diving snag of Jung Ho's two out liner to save a run. The Bucs couldn't help Juan Nicasio - he gave up a lead off, 440' dinger to Curtis Granderson. He finished up OK, with a walk and an single that wasn't thx to great glove work by Josh, stealing a hit that was just a dozen feet inside of first. The Bucs went down in order meekly in the second. Juan bopped Wilmer Flores on an 0-2 pitch to start out; there was brief, losing beef about whether it hit the bat knob first. Moot point; a 3-6-3 DP cleaned it up and a K closed it out.

The third was another cup o' tea for Big Sexy, and then he led off the Met half with a double. A bloop put Metropolitans on the corners (Cutch had a chance to toss out Colon as he tottered to third, but the throw wasn't there). A sac fly plated Bartolo, then back-to-back homers by Neil Walker and Michael Conforto on back-to-back pitches made it 5-0. The Bucs stranded Cutch's double in the fourth. Juan struck out the side with a walk thrown in. Jordy singled with an out in the fifth; Kratz's grounder doubled him up. A couple of doubles brought in another Met run and sent Juan to the showers. AJ Schugel gave up a knock, but kept the scoreboard quiet.

AJ Schugel kept up his strong work (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Pittsburgh went quietly in the sixth; AJ was dinged for a single and tossed a wild pitch without any damage. Cutch flared a broken bat knock to open the seventh; JHK smoked the next pitch to third for a DP, followed by a whiff. Schugs tossed a clean frame. Matt Joyce homered to start the eighth, a 444' crush job, and two outs later S-Rod, in as part of an earlier double switch, doubled and came home on Josh's single. Exit Bartolo, enter Jerry Blevins, who shut down the frame.

Neftali Feliz came in and surrendered consecutive singles. Two outs later, they were at second and third as Jared Hughes was summoned; probably 20 pitches was Neftali's limit tonight. Jared barely got his man as Matt Joyce saved a pair with an over the shoulder grab on the track in left. Addison Reed was greeted by a Cutch homer and Jung Ho double. In trotted Jeurys Familia, who grabbed a hot shot up the middle to save a Freeser knock. A Joyce double put Bucs at second and third. A JJ grounder brought in a fourth run, leaving it up to...Erik Kratz, who flew out to right for the 27th out.

Matt Joyce had two knocks, went yard and made a sweet grab (photo Joe Guzzy/Pirates)

There's no mystery about the Bucs' 4-11 June swoon. Going into tonight, the team ERA for the month was 5.28. Behind Cole/Taillon, the starters' ERAs are Jon Niese (4.60), Frankie (4.92), Juan Nicasio (5.83) and Jeff Locke (5.90).

Clint pretty much has his hands tied; that poor starting pitching and a chronically short bench (tonight Starling was unavailable because of swelling around his eye and Stew may have also been hors d' combat) has limited the chess game. The team has dropped 7-of-8 and is now 33-33, with Jake Arrieta on the bump against them tomorrow afternoon.

  • Cutch snapped his 0-for-18 streak with a double off the wall in left in the fourth. He followed that with a single and home run; it'd be right on time for him to get back on the bike. Josh and Matt Joyce added a pair of knocks to go with Andrew's trifecta.
  • Matt Joyce smacked his 100th homer in the eighth. It was his seventh dinger as a Bucco. 
  • In his last six outings, AJ Schugel has tossed 12-2/3 IP and given up two runs on four hits with two walks and 11 whiffs.
  • Juan Nicasio has been banged for 12 homers this year. 10 have been launched by lefties, who are hitting .318 off him this campaign (6-for-14 tonight).
  • The schedule maker hasn't been very kind to the Pirates this month. Instead of a getaway game today in NY, the Bucs have to go from night-to-day mode on a travel day when they meet the Cubs tomorrow. 
  • Yes, he did - Austin Meadows now has a 24 game hitting streak going on at Altoona. Did it in style, too, with a long ball.

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