Monday, June 27, 2016

Second Verse, Same As the First: Liriano/Hughes Blow Early Lead; Bucs Fall 5-4

Frankie gave up a leadoff walk (surprise) but got of the inning undinged, thx greatly to a pop fly that dropped between a couple of Bucs but was still turned into a heads-up forceout. Scott Kazmir walked Jordy to open, and he was chased to third an out later on Cutch's two bagger. Another walked juiced 'em, and Starling brought a run home by poking a slider into right. Josh couldn't cash in, popping out, but S-Rod did, drawing the third walk of the frame. Kazmir hung a two strike changeup to Erik Kratz, who dropped the pitch into center for an extra pair of points before Frankie's bouncer ended the dance 40 pitches after it began.

Frankie frittered away a big lead last time out, but tossed a 1-2-3 second (w/a very nice pick and stretch by Freeser, saving JHK an error), as did Kazmir. Liriano left an 0-2 slider down but mid-plate, and Chris Taylor spanked it for a triple to start the third, with a whiff and a walk next. Justin Turner's RBI sac fly was a nice bit of hitting, lifting a down and tight slider to make it 4-1. Kaz got two fan jobs and a bunt back to box to tuck the Bucs away neatly. LA got a two out single and walk in the fourth before out number three was gloved. Kazmir ran his streak of Buccos buried to 10.

Where oh where has our Frankie gone? (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)

In the fifth, Liriano issued a one out walk and Turner doubled him to third. Yet another walk loaded the sacks and Yasiel Puig's knock plated a pair. Jared Hughes came on. A single tied it. Kratz tried a pickoff; this time it backfired with a bad throw, moving Puig to third. A steal put Dodgers at second and third, and an infield rap gave LA the lead. The first three Bucs hit ropes off Kazmir; only Cutch's two out liner found grass. JHK walked, but the run ended when Starling swung through a heater. Hughes tossed a clean sixth. The Bucs had S-Rod on second after a double with two outs. Matt Joyce grabbed a stick and the Dodgers called on lefty JP Howell. Howell won the southpaw challenge, getting Joyce swinging at a 3-2 knuckle curve.

Juan Nicasio came on in the seventh and worked a quiet frame. Joe Blanton took the ball for the Blue and walked Jordy. After a whiff, Cutch hit into a force and then was caught stealing to put the pin in the balloon. Juan's eighth went walk, fly, DP for a 1-2-3 affair. Pedro Baez answered the phone and struck out JHK and Starling. Kelly Jansen was waved in after that for some reason and completed the hat trick by whiffing Josh.

Juan's been lookin' good coming out of the pen. (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)

Nicasio gave up an opening walk and single in the ninth, and two outs later a plunked batter filled the bases with Dodgers, but he got through it. Jansen coaxed a pair of easy outs before walking JJ; Adam Frazier came in to run and stole second. Fraze died there as Jordy poked a fly to right that Puig cradled.

The Liriano/Hughes pairing hasn't panned out so well this homestand; they've managed to hand over 6-1 and 4-0 leads for two of the four losses. The offense tried to carry the day with one big frame in both matches, when grinding out an extra run or two, especially when you get into the opponent's bullpen early, would have made a world of difference. Still, they took 3-of-4 and can keep pushin' with Seattle and Oakland next up. It'd be nice to go into the St. Louis & Chicago sets before the break with some mojo risin'.

  • Cutch had two of the Bucs five hits. On the flip side, he's now 2-for-7 on steal attempts this year.
  • Clint said before the game that Gregory was sitting because of his hammy, not southpaw syndrome. He's cleared for base running only.
  • Fangraphs Dave Cameron said that now isn't the right time to move Cutch...but there are some indicators that the time is approaching. In a related post, Enos Sarris looks at the development of Austin Meadows.
  • John Sickels of Minor League Ball has updated his scouting report of Chad Kuhl.
  • Altoona lefty Brandon Waddell was named the AA Eastern League's Pitcher of the Week.
  • Bradenton LHP Stephen Tarpley was named High-A Florida State League Pitcher of the Week. He went 2-0.

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