Bullpen blows early lead, Bucs lose 11-8 to O’s
After a great start by southpaw Paul Maholm, the Pirates bullpen got lit up –combined for 11 hits, 10 runs and seven walks over five innings in the 11-8 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night at McKechnie Field.
Maholm allowed just four hits and one run over four innings, striking out one in his third appearance this spring. The lone run came from a homer by Veteran Vladi Guerrero.
“The last two (outings) have been kitchen sink and trying to get outs,” Maholm said. “I’m getting into the rhythm of mixing sequences, reading hitters’ swings and going that way, instead of saying, ‘I’m going to throw a whole bunch inside.’ I understand there still are opportunities in each at-bat to go inside and open up the outer half. Tonight, if I missed it was in and not hittable. I tied up some guys and got some swings and misses with my changeup.”
“Paul was excellent,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “Paul threw very, very well tonight. Command, the cutter, changeup, sinker, he looked good today. Very crisp.”
Brad Bergeson was pulled after 2.2 innings (68 pitches). He allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits with two walks and one strikeout.
Both Joel Harahan (the Pirates closer) and Evan Meek (the Bucs set up man) had a rough outing. Hanrahan allowed four runs on five hits with one walk before striking out the side in the fifth inning. Hanrahan was relying mostly on his fastball while facing the first five batters –it wasn’t until he starting throwing his slider that he struck out three to end the inning.
“I was embarrassed for a little bit there,” Hanrahan said. “You give up five hits in a row, it’s not looking too good. I’m not overly concerned about it, but you’ve still got to get people out.”
“There wasn’t a downhill plane that you like to see,” Hurdle said. “It is what it is. No major concerns. He got his work in and he’s healthy. He’s got to have better command. If the ball’s up, you get hit. He’s got work to do, just like everybody else.”
Meek gave up three runs on two hits with two walks and two strikeouts. It was Meek’s second appearance since being sidelined this spring with a tight right calf.
Jeff Karstens allowed three more runs in the seventh (all un-earned), on three hits with a walk.
The Pirates scored three runs in the second inning and were showing aggressive base running –going from first to third on singles, stealing bases –something Manager Clint Hurdle has been focusing on a lot this spring.
“We looked good there for a spurt,” Hurdle said. “We ran the bases well. We put the barrel on the ball. We had better at-bats. That’s the kind of game we have to play. Speed, surprise and variety. Use the skills that we have.”
The Bucs attempted to rally in the eighth inning –scoring four runs. Garrett Jones hit an RBI single, Corey Wimberly picked up his first hit of the spring (after going 0-for-13) which scored Josh Fields. Dusty Brown followed up by a Sacrifice fly and John Bowker hit a RBI single scoring Jones.
- The Pirates committed four errors during the game –Jason Jaramillo, Pedro Ciriaco, John Bowker and Chase D’Arnaud. Jaramillo’s error happened after trying to throw out Matt Angle at second base but Neil Walker was not covering the bag.
- Ryan Doumit was scratched from Friday’s lineup against the Tampa Bay Rays. It was reported that Doumit tweaked his right oblique during batting practice earlier today.
Doumit will be reevaluated tomorrow morning and is listed as day-to-day.
- I jumped on a Podcast tonight, along with Tom from Rumbunter, that was hosted by Three Rivers Blog. We discussed spring training, prospects, pitching and what to expect in 2011. Be sure to check it out.
When talking about young players that should have good seasons this year, I completely failed to mention Tony Sanchez (blonde moment). I expect a huge year from Sanchez, who is healthy and anxious for the season. I got the opportunity to sit down with Tony at spring training. Click here for the interview.
- The Pirates will face the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday at 1:05.
James McDonald will start (four innings) followed by Brian Burres (two), Daniel Moskos, Justin Thomas and Chris Leroux.