Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pirates Continue to Struggle. White Sox 6, Pirates 2

Another frustrating day for the Pirates as they dropped their ninth straight game to the Chicago White Sox 6-4. It was kind of a sloppy game with some seeing eye singles finding their way through for the Sox and some costly walks leads to a not so impressive start for Brad Lincoln.

I know I have not been doing much Pirates coverage, but I just got MLB Extra Innings so I will be able to watch most, if not all, the games so there will be more post game thoughts when it permits. Onto the game...

Mike Tomlin and his kid were at the game.

All business

Some quick notes on the game:

Lincoln’s results were a direst result of him putting people on base. In the first and third innings Lincoln retired the first two batters and proceeded to hit Alex Rios in the first inning and Paul Konerko in the third inning. That might see sort of insignificant but keeping the pitch count low is important in major league baseball these days. If he only throws ten extra pitches that is 20 extra pitches, probably an extra inning or more.

Lincoln actually started out looking alright, his curveball was just filthy and things looked pretty good. That was until he started walking a few more people. In the second and fourth innings Lincoln walked the leadoff hitter and the result in those innings were two runs in each inning, which included a squeeze play in the fourth inning. Not just any squeeze play, squeezing two pitches in a row. Unreal how this can happen, but it did. It’s the Pirates.

Neil Walker continues to play good baseball, whether you expect it or not. What I have been more impressed with Walker is his ability to control the bat. This is the second game that Walker has been able to lay down a perfect push bunt in order to reach base in the first inning of a game. It is very impressive that Walker is able to handle the bat the way he does and that is so important for where he hits in the order. Being able to handle the bat and pick his spots makes him ideal. When Tabata gets on he can move him over or go the other way or put down a push or drag bunt to get on so it is going to give the defense a lot to worry about.

GFJ has been playing some good baseball lately. In his last 15 games he has an over 1.000 OPS in his last 15 games and continued to rake with a two RBI double in the first inning off the right field wall. I thought it was out, but it was just short, as it hit the top of the wall, but it got the job done. GFJ also did a nice job of hitting later in the game when he wasn’t swinging. Cutch reached first base and swiped second and third base in two straight pitches, both of which Jones just let go. Now, to be fair, both were balls but close enough to swing. GFJ saw that Cutch got a great jump, knew he had the bag stolen and let him have it. That was with one out, what did Jones do? Pop out to the shortstop. Great.

Cutch, like I said before, swiped a few bags. Three in total, his second three stolen base game. He also came up lame after a ninth inning single. I am not going to lie I almost shit a brick. Luckily it was confirmed after the game that Cutch just had a cramp in his calf. Big relief.

Today was a big reason why left field can be so hard to play at PNC Park. Jose Tabata had a tough time playing it and misread a ground ball into the corner pretty badly. There is going to be a learning curve there, you just have to understand this and live with it for a little while. What I liked most is that as soon as Tabata went to the dugout Lastings Milledge was there to talk to him about it. Say what you want about Milledge but you got to love to see that. Milledge has played it all year and although he is a bad defensive outfielder he learned some ways to play it, being able to pass off that information to a kid who is taking his spot is good.

Andy LaRoche had a miserable game and was replaced at third base at the end of the game by Delwyn Young (actually Walker who moved to third and Young who played third base) but this spelled the end for Andy. Pedro was called up after the game. It is time. The future is here. The rest of Pedro will be in a separate post.

Lets Go Bucs.

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