Opener Fails Again: Bucs Thumped 10-2
Ah, this opener…Michael Feliz gave up a 3-2 single, then first pitch double and single to open. A walk loaded ‘em up, and Freeser unloaded ‘em with a bomb into the seats in right center to make it 5-0. That brought in Steven Brault a bit earlier than Clint had planned, and he gave up a double to the eight hitter but did get the inning done. Starling doubled, but Walker Buehler still put up a zero. A leadoff walk in the second was negated by a 4-6-3 DP an out later. The Bucs got a knock from Reynolds and ground rule double by Redbeard to start but settled for one run on a bounce out by Eli; they’re already 0-for-5 w/RISP. Two hard outs in the third were followed by two walks; Austin Barnes (.225) is feasting in the eight hole off Brault; he doubled just over Starling’s head to chase them both home. Pittsburgh went 1-2-3. Both clubs started the fourth with doubles and both wasted them. Steven tossed a clean fifth. Fraze singled with two gone and Starling walked; Gregory fanned.
|Steven looked a little sharper tonight. (2016 Topps)|
Brault, unlike Feliz, gave the Pirates what they wanted; a one-out boot in the sixth was erased on a 6-4-3 DP, and the lefty went 5-2/3 IP giving up two runs. There was no Bucco noise in the frame. Geoff Hartlieb was called on in the seventh five pitches after Chris Stratton started it; he went off with the trainer; the injury bug keeps on biting. Hartlieb gave up a single, Cody Bellinger bomb, walk and knock before settling in; not surprising results for a guy called in cold against the middle of the Dodger order. Ross Stripling came in and was tapped for a two-out double by K-Man; Fraze ‘s two-bagger sent him home. Starling was bopped on a 1-2 pitch, but Gregory, who has left five men on base, popped out. LA got a single and wild pitch in the eighth; a first-pitch, two-out triple plated him. Scott Alexander put the Bucs down without a peep. Clay Holmes drew the short straw for the ninth, giving up a leadoff rap and then striking out the side. Yimi Garcia took the bump and herded up the last dogies.
|Fraze had a couple of raps. (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Buehler didn’t blow the Bucs away; the Pirates had a couple of opportunities to chip away early and frittered them away. But this opener thing is a toy that should be discarded. It requires a reliever who can deal with the top and middle of the order so that the starter can get an inning to ease into the game. Except for Frankie, who’s become a part of the back end since Nick Burdi’s out, the Pirates don’t have that guy. Injuries suck, we know, but Jamo’s gone and who knows when Willy is due back; it’s about time to find a starter someplace instead of bemoaning fate.
- Fraze had two hits; Starling was the only other guy to reach twice, on a knock and a walk.
- Chris Stratton had “right side discomfort” that caused him to depart.
- This is the fifth consecutive series opener the Pirates have dropped.
- The summer weather apparently added a little carry to the ball tonight; both teams outfielders were fooled while tracking hits, with Starling misplaying three balls.
- The nice night also brought out 32,388 fans, who were not treated to much of a show until the post-game fireworks.
- Cody Bellinger won round one v J-Bell – both were held to a hit, but Bellinger’s left the yard while Josh’s was just a two-bagger.
- If the guy at first base looks a little different, that’s because Omar Moreno is coaching there for a bit. Kimera Bartee got a couple of days off to attend his kid’s graduation celebration.
- No matter what uni, it’s always good to see Russ and Freeser (he talked about Pgh days w/Adam Berry of MLB.com) back in the yard. Russ didn’t get in, but David had two hits, including a first at-bat granny.
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