Burres struggles in 10-6 loss to Astros
Left-hander Brian Burres had his first rough outing of the spring on Wednesday’s 10-6 loss to the Houston Astros in Bradenton, Fla.
Burres entered the game without allowing a single run over nine spring innings. But that didn’t last long as Burres allowed two in the first inning after allowing a lead-off hit, a four pitch walk (six straight balls thrown), a RBI double by Hunter Pence and a sac fly by Brett Wallace.
The Pirates quickly tied the game at two in the bottom of the first after a walk by Neil Walker and a home run by Andrew McCutchen off of J.A. Happ — his first of the spring.
The Bucs tacked on two more runs to take a 4-2 lead in the second, but Hunter Pence homered off Burres in the third to cut the lead to just one run.
More trouble came in the fifth for Burres. Angel Sanchez and Pence hit back-to-back doubles and Tony Manzella, who pinch ran for Sanchez, scored on a fielding error by Matt Diaz in right field. Jason Michaels doubled, but advanced to third on a bad throw by Diaz. Wallace hit a sac fly scoring Michaels and taking a 6-4 lead.
Burres combined to allow six runs on 10 hits with one walk and two strikeouts over five innings.
Burres told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “Even when I was throwing strikes, it wasn’t where I wanted them all the time. Little bit wild with the strike zone today. I wasn’t keeping the ball over the plate enough and when I was, it was up and they did a pretty good job taking advantage of it.”
Pedro Alvarez hit his first home run of the spring in the sixth –and it was crushed to deep center field.
The Astros combined to score four more runs off the Pirates relievers, three off of Tyler Yates in the ninth inning.
- Lyle Overbay continued his hot spring, going 2-for-2 with an RBI and a walk. He seems to feel pretty comfortable as a Bucco (He’s batting .425 ).
Manager Clint Hurdle told Langosch of MLB.com, “This man is determined this spring. He has made a conscious effort of getting out of the blocks clean. The confidence should have been built up. I think he’s found an approach that is going to work. It’s good to see.”
- Ronny Cedeno had a good day at the plate, he went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
- Ryan Doumit went 2-for-4 with a run scored but he allowed two passed balls (one scored a run in the seventh) and was picked off twice, at both first and second base.
- Mike Crotta pitched a scoreless ninth inning and has yet to allow an earned run this spring (10.1 innings).
- Ross Ohlendorf is scheduled to start on Thursday against the Orioles in Sarasota, Fla. He will pitch six innings followed by Evan Meek (one), Garrett Olson (one or two) and Chris Leroux (one). The O’s will send Jake Arrieta to the mound.
- The members of the 2010 Eastern League champion Altoona Curve received their rings in a pre-game ceremony held at McKechnie Field.
- On Monday, Pedro Alvarez, Josh Fields and Josh Rodriguez stayed after the game for additional batting practice with Manager Clint Hurdle, hitting coach Gregg Ritchie, and several other coaches. Today after the game, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Alvarez stayed after again, but this time he was joined by Neil Walker and Ronny Cedeno.
Hurdle told Langosch of MLB.com, It’s something I’ve always done. I would have preferred to have done it a few times earlier, but we waited because of the workload these guys have been carrying. It’s just more practice is all it is.”
So what exactly is the focus of the session? Manager Clint Hurdle said, “Sometimes you have to find a way to slow the game down. When you’re behind the fastball and ahead of the soft stuff, it’s a very uncomfortable place to be. Sometimes you get up there and just have too much going on. All the thinking needs to be done on-deck. Once you get in the batter’s box, you need to compete.”
- Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune reports that James McDonald (left side) is scheduled to pitch on Saturday, most likely in a minor league game. McDonald has not pitched more than three innings in a start this spring and has been sidelined since March 11th. If all goes well on Saturday, he could remain in Florida to pitch a minor league game on the 31st –putting him in line for an April 6th start for the Pirates. If he suffers any set backs, Jeff Karstens or Brian Burres could be used as a spot starter.
Biertempfel of the Trib also reports that Chris Snyder (back soreness) who has been sidelined since March 9th will be in the lineup on Thursday against the Orioles.