Duke unravels in the 5th, Pirates take a beating and drop 4 straight
One inning, that’s all it took for Zach Duke’s outing to go from good to ugly. Duke was dealing through the first four innings. Battling arguably one of the NL’s best starting pitchers, Adam Wainwright. Duke was perfect for two innings and gave up his first hit in the third inning to Brendan Ryan.
The fifth was not pretty for Duke. Nine men came to the plate and five runs scored, including a two-run Home Run to Albert Pujols. (Pujols career against the pirates: .370 AVG, 41 HR, 123RBI in 147 games)
“I feel like I made one mistake in the inning and that was the home run to Pujols,” Duke said. “But other than that — two lob-wedge shots over the shortstop, a ground ball, perfect bunt. There’s not much I can do.”
Duke was done after five innings, giving up seven hits, six runs, one walk and one strikeout.
Obviously, the numbers don’t match up as well as I feel like I pitched,” Duke added. “It’s tough. I’m still going to take the positives from this outing and keep building on it.”
This seems like a trend for the Pirates. Does it not? The Starter pitching brillantly, then having one really bad inning that they can’t get out of? It seems to have occured quite often this season.
As if the game couldn’t get any worse, in came Steven Jackson for relief in the ninth. I hate to say it, but he is just not good. At all. He has been up in down over the years and his appearences just seem to get worse.
The ninth inning was not pretty at all. The first pitch he threw to Matt Holliday was a Solo Home Run. Nine more men came to the plate, three more runs scored.
The Pitching wasn’t the only culprit on the night. The Pirates had plenty of oppurtunities to score runs and they didn’t.
1st inning; Cutch and Tabata were left on base
5th inning; Cutch and JJ were left on base
8th inning; Tabata and Walker were left on base
I’m sure there were more scenarios on the night, those were just a few that I remember.
Can you really blame the Pirates, though honestly? They were facing the Cardinals. A really, really, really good team. There is a reason why they have a 23 game lead on them in the NL C.
Wainwright went seven innings, six hits, one run, five strike outs, zero walks. He improves to 15-6 on the season, 11-0 at home and lowered his ERA to just 2.19.
On to some positive notes. Jeff Clement is proving that doesn’t belong in Triple-A. In his two PH at bats, he has hit a HR and a Single. I’m glad to see he worked on some things in Indy. I hope he gets another chance to prove himself.
The Pirates have faced some pretty tough arms on this road trip. Jimenez, Wainwright and Carpenter. It hasn’t seemed to affect Jose Tabata who extended his hit streak to 12 games today.
I’m not surprised,” Tabata said of his string of success. “I trust myself.”
“He’s facing some pretty good pitching, too,” Russell said. “He’s a tough out when he has two strikes as well. That’s a good sign. He’s starting to really show some maturity in that area. He’s turning into a pretty tough out.”
- On Pirates Pre-Game Tim Neverett interviewed Jeff Clement, discussing what he has been working on in AAA and how the ump wouldn’t walk him even though he got hit by a pitch. And more.
Tim Neverett: “Jeff, It’s got to feel good to get back to the big leagues.I know you’ve worked very hard in Triple-A to get back here. Numbers were good there and those adjustments seem to pay off already.”
Jeff Clement: “Yeah, Obviously It’s just been one at bat but it went pretty well. Hopefully I”ll be able to build off of that and continue the last couple months, have some production and help the team win games.”
TN: “Let’s go back to the at bat a little bit. What did you see? It was a two strike pitch and frankly, you crushed it. You just hammered it deep to right center. What did you see? What were you expecting before he threw it and what did you see when he threw it?”
JC: “Well, he was throwing really hard. And I got up there and I swung at the first pitch. Swung right out of his hand, it was stupid. I was just expecting, you know, you got to be ready and after sitting for a whole game and just getting some swings off the tee and everything you dont know if your really game ready coming off the bench. I probally swung too soon and he had quite a bit of movement on his fastball. I thought, ”How do you throw 97 and have that much movement?” So, I swung through that one and he threw me a couple off speed pitches. Actually, the slider hit me on the back foot and just nicked my toe. And I know Tim McCelland, he’s from Iowa as well and I turned and I said “You probally wouldn’t believe me if that hit me on the back toe” And he said, “I believe you but I’m not sending you down to first base right now.” He’s like, “You want to hit anyway.” And i said “Yeah your right”. So, I swung through the next pitch and then he threw me one out over the plate and I was able to barrel up.”
TN: “Guys from Iowa don’t tell lies, do they?”
JC: [laughs] “No. He believed me obviously. It’s that midwest integrity that we have going. Like he said, he wasn’t going to send me to first and I didn’t blame him.”
TN: “A little better for you, the way it turned out. Again, it gave the team a little bit of a boost at that point in time in the game when you really needed one. It seemed like the Cardinals just kind of nickled and dimed, run here, run there. Then they opened it up in the eighth.”
JC: “Yeah, That’s why they are in first place. They know how to win games and they know how to string at bats together. I mean, I thought McCutchen threw the ball extremely well. He battled and gave us a chance. They just didn’t give us any easy outs. He made some great pitches that they took and then they fouled off some other tough pitches. You got to give them credit, that’s why they are a great team. But I thought McCutchen battled well and gave us a chance.”
TN: “Going down to Triple-A is never an easy thing when you’ve been in the big leagues but it gave you an oppurtunity to really work on your game. What are some of the specific adjustments you had to make in your swing? I think you told me yesterday, you were feeling a little mechanical the first time here and you changed that.”
JC: “Yeah, I think it was good to just go down there where it’s a little more stress free and get a chance to get at bats everyday. I think that’s a big deal. You’ve got to have rhythm and timing to hit and I don’t feel like I had that when I was here and it just progressively got worse actually in the time that I was here. I was obviously dissapointed to be sent down but it was a blessing in disguise. Just the chance to play everyday and continue to work on the things that I needed to, to be productive at this level. There are a few mechanical things that I changed, but not really much to do with mechanics but more to do with just timing and timing and takes care of a lot of different problems with your swing, that’s for sure.”
TN: “When you went to spring training you were at first base. I know you’ve worked defensively, you even had a little time catching at Triple-A. You went back behind the plate and you’ve seen some of the other guys that have come through Indianapolis this year. Walker, Tabata and Pedro Alvarez and Guys that are going to be here that looks like for the rest of the season. What do you make of this Pirates club moving forward, now that we’ve seen all the young guys, like yourself, moving in.”
JC: “Those three names that you mentioned have done incredibly well here. Walker, has been putting productive at bats up, every single time he’s up there and Tabata. We all know what Pedro can do. I think it’s exciting to see how young the team is and that they can compete at this level and it’s just a matter of wining. That’s it. That’s the name of the game. That’s why we’re here and learning how to win. It’s not easy, it’s the highest level you can play at but we’re all competitors and we’re all excited of the oppurtunity.”
Other News & Notes:
- The Pirates only scored two runs in 28 innings during the Cardinals three-game series.
- The Bucs have been heating up Mid Season:
WIN PCT .350 .360
AVG .241 .254
RUNS/GAME 3.5 4.3
HOME RUNS/GAME 0.7 0.9
XBH/GAME 2.5 2.9
ERA 5.02 4.60
OPP AVG .280 .271
ZACH DUKE 5.09 3.18
- The Month of July has been especially good for the young bucs:
Pedro Alvarez – .255 AVG, 7HR, 16 RBI, .521 SLG
Neil Walker – .319 AVG, 2 HR, 14 RBI, .462 SLG
Jose Tabata .248 AVG, 4 HR, 14 RBI, .426 SLG
Garrett Jones – .316 AVG, 1 HR, 11 RBI, .431 SLG
- Jose Tabata has a current 12 game hitting streak. In his last 19 games, .397/.440/.462 = .902 OPS
- Prospect Watch: Hitters:
Alex Presley .344 AVG, 10 HR, 63 RBI, 10 SB
Brandon Moss .267 AVG, 18 HR, 74 RBI, .482 SLG (Since June 1st: .291/.350/.582, 57 games, 14HR, 59RBI)
Pedro Ciriaco .259 AVG, 6 HR, 51 RBI, 14 SB
Andrew Lambo .271 AVG, 4 HR, 25 RBI, .420 SLG
Josh Harrison .300 AVG, 1 HR, 59 RBI, 27 2B
- Prospect Watch: Pitchers:
Joe Martinez 5-3, 3.32 ERA
Rudy Owens 8-6, 2.92 ERA, 1.06 WHIP
Justin Wilson 8-6, 3.06 ERA, .220 OPP AVG
Bryan Morris 7-4, 2.83 ERA, 103K/30BB
Jeff Locke 10-3, 3.21 ERA, 105K/18BB
- Ryan Doumit will leave on tomorow to join Triple-A Indy for a rehab assignment. He is eligible to come off the DL Friday.
- Some excerpts from GM Neal Huntington on his weekly radio show -BucsBits
- Charlie Morton tonight for AAA-Indy 6IP 2R 0ER 3H 2K 6BB (ND)
Ex Bucco Closer, Octavio Dotel in his Blue, alongside his other two new teamates, Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot.