Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Pirates Pounded 15-4

Sweet start for Wilfredo Bascon; a neat little 11 pitch opening frame. JJ started things off with a double off Johnny Cueto. A grounder moved him to third, but the Bucs couldn't cash him in. It was a clean second for Boscan, bailed out by a leaping grab on the track in center by Cutch. Jordy got a two out knock to make the only Bucco noise. Gregor Blanco doubled to lead off the third, drilling an 0-2 fastball, and never advanced as Wlfredo tightened up. It was three grounders and three outs for Cueto.

It was the second time around the order for Wil, and the G-Men led off with a dying quail knock. Then Brandon Belt belted a change up for two bags, Buster Posey walked, and Boscan was in hot water. It boiled over after Brandon Crawford spoiled enough pitches to work an 11 pitch walk. That took its toll; Angel Pagan banged a grand salami on the next pitch. Another double followed; Cutch ran a ragged route to let it fall. Then another long ball; Boscan is keeping everything down - the last three pitches hit may not have been strikes - but right down the middle. Arquimedes Caminero took the ball, walked Cueto and gave up a rap (that made nine straight Giants to reach base) before he settled in and shut it down at 7-0.

Jake Stallings banged out his first MLB hit and RBI (photo Joe Robbins/Getty)

Arquie gave up a run in the fifth. AJ Schugel gave up a run in the sixth. Jorge Rondon gave up a run in the seventh. The Bucs made nary a peep until that frame, when an S-Rod plunking turned into a run when Jake Stallings collected his first MLB knock, a double, to plate him. That chased Cueto for Javier Lopez, and the southpaw walked two lefties, Matt Joyce and JJ. It would have been three in row but for the man in blue, Fieldin Culbreth, who rang up a pair of strike calls against Gregory that were not in the same zip code. El Coffee had a big zone to cover and swung at the fifth straight ball delivered, lining out softly. Big score or not, Culbreth took away Polanco's at bat.

Can it get worse? Sure. After taking a misstep in center, Starling came up hobbled after chasing a liner. The ball fell for a triple and Marte left the game. With the bench already basically empty (only Erik Kratz and Stew were left), Kratz went to first, JJ to right, Matt Joyce to left and Gregory to center (S-Rod was already at second and JHK was burned as a pinch hitter). Three singles, a double and three runs later, Jared Hughes came on and gave up a two run double before coaxing the last two outs.

Freeser didn't mail it in tonight (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Freeser contributed a two run shot off George Kontos, set up by Stew reaching on an error as a pinch hitter.  Stew stayed in and went to first while Erik Kratz took the bump in the ninth (he's been a MLB "closer" twice before), and showed off an 80-ish MPH fastball and 50 something changeup; tough to tell, but he might even have a knuckler in the toolkit. He gave up a couple of knocks, but registered a K and a goose egg. The Bucs added a final tally when Freeser doubled home Gregory to make the final 15-4.

Well, gotta kind of wonder, given some hindsight, if the FO would have brought back JA Happ and Joe Blanton. The water's over that dam; now they have the rock and a hard place decision to make about how to shore up pitching staff without disrupting the Indy pipeline, and it won't be easy. A last note that's neither here nor there - Culbreth should be embarrassed at the game he called behind the plate; he missed a handful of pitches that a HS ump would have gotten blindfolded. We're hoping he just had a bad night and wasn't trying the rush the Pirate hitters into getting a blowout over and done with.

  • Freeser had a homer and double good for three RBI.Gregory also collected a pair of hits.
  • Give El Coffee some props - with two gone in the ninth of a 15-3 game, he hustled out a grounder like the World Series was on the line. He was rung up (looked safe), but Clint let him know he appreciated the effort by challenging the call and got it overturned.
  • Stew pinch hit and got a little field time (at first), so that pretty much eliminates him going on the DL as it reset the clock to today if he were to go on it. 
  • And yes, the dreaded discomfort has struck again - per the Pirates, Starling Marte left the game with "left foot discomfort." 
  • After being shut out last night, the Giants responded by banging out 22 hits tonight, 10 for extra bases.
  • Neal Huntington told the press that that they anticipate the return of Juan Nicasio sometime this week, but haven't determined if he'll start his next regular turn Sunday.

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