Pirates rack up K’s, lose 4-2 to the Yankees
If Sunday’s 13 strikeouts weren’t bad enough, the Pirates managed to top it on Wednesday night –fanning 16 times in a 4-2 loss to the New York Yankees in Tampa, Fla.
The Pirates have struck out 106 times through 13 spring training games so far but Manager Clint Hurdle isn’t worried.
“I’m not worried,” Hurdle said. “Worried wouldn’t be an appropriate word. I think one of the things you look at is how we’re getting to two strikes. I think we’re getting balls early to hit in the count and we’re not hitting on them.”
“Nobody likes to strike out 16 times,” Hurdle said. “That’s the challenge in front of our guys which has been presented since the beginning of Spring Training. It’s something they’ve got to continue to work at.”
As it was pointed out, The Arizona Diamondbacks have struck out 102 times in 15 games but no other team in the Arizona or Florida Leagues have struck out more than 87 times this spring.
Kevin Correia made his third appearance this spring, allowing three runs on six hits through four innings (65 pitches). He walked three and struck out four.
“I threw a couple of pitches I didn’t really like, but I feel like I’m getting a ground ball when I need to and a strikeout when I need to,” Correia said. “They hit the one ball hard in the first, and everything else, I kind of made a pitch that I wanted, and they got a hit. I think I’m real close. Obviously, there is a lot of work to be done, but we are in early Spring Training. I feel pretty good about where I’m at right now.”
Yankees’ Bartolo Colon struck out the side in the first inning on just 12 pitches (10 for strikes) and allowed two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts through four innings.
Charlie Morton pitched three strong innings –and is really having himself a nice spring. In eight innings he has allowed just two runs.
Pirates beat reporter, Jenifer Langosch said, “Actually, I think it’s fair to call him the favorite [for the 5th spot in the rotation] at this point — both because of what he has done and what Scott Olsen has not been able to do.”
Morton allowed just one run (Andrew Jones homer in the 5th) on two hits with two strikeouts.
“Very aggressive with all of his pitches,” Hurdle said. “I think the comfort is picking up. You’re watching him get on the mound, get set over the mound, get a sign and deliver. There’s not a lot of fidgeting. He’s very confident out there. He’s been very, very aggressive.”
“For the most part I felt pretty aggressive,” Morton said. “I fell behind in some counts, but I managed to stay in those counts and not allow a bunch of baserunners. That’s good. There are some things that I’m working on, but I feel fine. I’m just glad to get out there and compete instead of hanging out in Bradenton like I was all winter.”
Russell Martin hit a solo home run off of Correia in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead early. Steve Pearce hit a sac fly (scoring Matt Diaz) and Chris Snyder hit a RBI single (scoring Garrett Jones) to tie the game at two in the 2nd. The Yankees added two more runs in the third inning. Derek Jeter tripled, Alex Rodriguez singled and Robinson Cano had an RBI single.
- Daniel Moskos, is one of the players most likely moving from Double-A Altoona to Triple-A Indy this year. Pitchers Bryan Morris, Jeff Locke, Tony Watson, Rudy Owens and Michael Crotta; Position players Chase d’Arnaud, Andrew Lambo and Gorkys Hernandez are in the mix to make the jump as well.
“The team last year in Altoona was really good,” said Daniel Moskos, a former first-round pick and Altoona’s closer for most of 2010. “I think it’s almost to the point where there are so many good ballplayers that I don’t know where they are going to put them all. There is a lot of young talent, and it’s really good baseball talent.
“It’s starting to be exciting. You’ve heard management talk about how the focus was on the Minor League system initially, and now the focus is on the Major League team. They’re right, because they’ve got a lot of talent.”
- Andy Marte doubled in his pinch-hit at-bat. Three of his four hits this spring have been doubles.
- Manager Clint Hurdle could have used a designated hitter in the 4-2 loss to the Yankees on Wednesday night, but wants to work the pitchers at the plate –and improve last year’s results (pitchers batted just .089).
If anybody watched our club last year you saw the lack of execution we had from our pitchers,” said Hurdle, who hasn’t used a designated hitter since Saturday. “It was worse than a soft spot in our lineup. So we’ve put the pitcher in play much earlier in the season than they did last year just so they can get acclimated walking up there, digging in, putting down a bunt or swinging the bat, running down the baseline then having to go out and pitch.”
Hitting coach Gregg Ritchie said, Ritchie said. “It’s going to run that pitcher’s pitch count up. It’s going to move a baserunner 90 feet. Every 90 feet we’re one step closer to scoring a run. So if that pitcher can always get in there and move the runner ahead of him 90 feet no matter how he does it — whether it’s a sacrifice bunt, putting the ball in play, drawing a walk — that’s going to give our offense a better opportunity to score runs.”
- Pittsburgh will face the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday at McKechnie Field. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. ET. If you are in the Pittsburgh area, the game will be televised on FSN Pittsburgh.
Paul Maholm will start, (four innings) followed by Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek, Chris Resop, Jeff Karstens and Tony Watson.