Pirates Pitchers Shaky against Long Ball Hitting Red Sox
By Tom Smith
Bay, Ortiz, Pedroia, and Youklis were not in the lineup today against Tom Gorzelany. It didn’t matter. Gorzelany, Chris Bootcheck, and Brian Slocum easily had the Pirates worst performance on the mound this spring against a Red Sox squad that didn’t bother to bring any of the stars on the trip.
It was disturbing to watch Gorzy today. The others have little chance on making the team, but Gorzy is pitching for a rotation spot. Some would say he is pitching his way off the rotation.
Gorzelany gave up four earned runs on two home runs today. A three run shot by DH Josh Bard (C with Padres last year who hit .202) with nobody out in the first inning and journeyman SS Neil Green launched his solo shot in the second, also with nobody out.
Chris Bootcheck who was having a solid spring came on in the third after Gorzelany faced two batters. (Bootcheck had gone six innings without giving up a run and allowed only three hits.) Bootcheck allowed a grand slam to Brad Wilkerson. That Wilkerson, you know the one that OF picked up from the Jays this year after hitting .216?
Bright side for Bootcheck? He recorded all three outs in his one inning on the mound via strikeout.
The Pirates trailed 8-0 when they came to the plate in the bottom half of the third inning. It looked like the Bucs would have a big inning as Robinzon Diaz doubled, Jeff Salazar walked, and Nyjer Morgan (who was 2-3 at the plate, but got picked off first base) had his second hit of the game.
With the core of the lineup coming to the plate, Freddy Sanchez drove in Diaz with a sacrifice, but the bases were left loaded by Nate McClouth on a questionable strike three call. DH Ryan Doumit drove in Salazer and then with two outs Adam LaRoche drove in the fourth run of the inning as Sox Pitcher Michael James allowed all three of the inherited runners to score. With two Buccos aboard, Jack Wilson (.122)struck out to end the inning.
Tyler Yates ran his scoreless innings streak to five this spring. He retired all three batters he faced in the fourth inning.
The Pirates brought former Indian righthander Brian Slocum to work the fifth inning and he was touched for three runs on four hits in his inning of work. He also hit two batters including Neil Green (it seemed Green might have looked like one of those Kerrigan dummies as he was also plunked by Gorzy.)
Craig Hansen continued to look strong as he retired all three Sox batters he faced in the sixth inning. Hansen has 7K, 6IP, 0ER this spring.
In bottom of sixth, Garrett Jones, who was 2 for 2 with three runs scored on the day, walked and then scored on Andrew McCutchen’s two out RBI triple to left center. McCutchen had a solid day drawing two walks and scoring three runs. Jose Tabata plated McCutchcen to close the gap to 11-7.
The Pirates youngsters kept hammering the ball with Tabata having another hit, this one a double in the four run eighth inning when he, Brian Bixler, and then Neil Walker who was 2 for 3 all had key two out RBI with big Neil’s pulling the Pirates to within one at 12-11. However, Pirate right hander Juan Mateo allowed two more runs in the top of the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Jose Tabata, who must have read the morning post regarding outfielders taking a job, blistered his third hit on the day, another double driving in two runs to allow the Buccos to come all the way back and tie it at 14. Quite a comeback in spite of leaving ten runners on base.
The Red Sox didn’t stop scoring as Mateo give up another run in the top of the tenth setting the final at 15-14.
On this day, the Pirates youth proved to be a solid match against the Red Sox. Another good sign despite our poor pitching effort.