In the latest edition of The Biggest Game in PNC Park History, Pittsburgh Pirates starter Jeff Locke was rocked for five runs by the Cincinnati Reds. The big red machine put five runs on the board in the first inning.
With a packed house it started innocently with Locke getting speedster Billy Hamilton to ground out to shortstop Clint Barmes. But then Chris Heisey hit a 1-1 changeup under the glove of Barmes for the first hit of the game.
Jay Bruce crushed a first pitch four-seamer to clear the bases and silenced the Jolly Roger waving faithful as Bruce stood on second smiling. Ray Searage paid a visit to the mound as Todd Frazier swung the club in the on-deck circle. A wild pitch moved Bruce to third before Frazier murdered a two-run shot into the seats.
Locke got a groundout and then Barmes’ 12th error of the season allowed to Ryan Hanigan to reach. Bronson Arroyo struckout to end Locke’s day. The line on Locke was 27 pitches, three hits, five earned runs, two walks and a strikeout.
If you listened to the excellently produced RumBunter Podcast you know my view on Jeff Locke. It’s a shame more people, well…more important people didn’t see it coming. Every start matters, putting the team down five runs in such a pivotal game in a pennant race is beyond devastating.
It’s the reason I was praying for a washout last night. I was hoping the game would have been rescheduled for Thursday. But oh, well now the Bucs offense has some work to do thanks to a very poorly timed outing from the Pirates 2013 All-Star.
The team has said they weren’t going to panic with Locke. They didn’t, they skipped him and then put him back on the mound showing the ultimate in faith and trust. Locke pitched very well and earned his All-Star berth.
In terms of Locke’s struggles, Neal Huntington said, “Did the Cardinals panic with Adam Wainwright?”
No, they didn’t.
But Locke isn’t Wainwright and I ain’t the GM. If I were, Jeff Locke would get a breather. Until pitchers and catchers report in Bradenton.