Not Even Close: Mets 11, Pirates 2

06.16.16 Posted by

There was no point at which the Pirates felt like they were in this game. The Mets took a 3-0 lead in the first and it only got worse from there. They led 11-0 going into the ninth when the Bucs finally scraped together a couple of runs. Locke failed to go even five innings again, and has now given up 18 runs in his last 9.2 frames. And Syndergaard nearly shut them out, allowing five hits, no walks, and 11 Ks through 8.1 innings.

There’s virtually nothing to like in this game. Caminero was the only Pirate pitcher not to allow a run, and he allowed a walk and two hits instead. John Jaso went 3 for 4, but only one other starter had even one hit.

It’s an awful game, at a pretty bad time, and it really feels like the Bucs are hurtling towards a stretch of very tough opponents at a time when they’d probably struggle against mediocre ones. If they come out the other end of this over .500, it’ll be very pleasantly surprising.

Speaking of .500, the Bucs are on pace to win 82 games. Remember when that was a thing?

Filed under: Arquimedes Caminero, game recaps, Jeff Locke

Go With the Flo: Pirates 9, Diamondbacks 8

08.19.15 Posted by

It’s pretty easy to be all feel-good about Pedro Florimon’s (!) walk off triple against the Diamondbacks last night. And there’s plenty in those extra frames to like, particularly in regards to the bullpen. But I have to rain on the parade a little: this really, really should have been a nine-inning game.

The Bucs chased Anderson in the fifth inning and jumped out to an 8-3 lead. Giving back a few of those, especially to an offense like Arizona’s, is understandable. Giving them all back in two innings, with the last two coming on a play with two defensive miscues (one from a defensive replacement) is not. We won anyway, and that’s great, but what scared me about this game is how many of its ups and downs are now occurring on a regular basis. For example:

  • The starter gets into trouble early.
  • The Pirates hit their way back into the game.
  • The starter gives some of the runs back.
  • The defense misses plays late in the game.
  • The bullpen bails everyone out.

This is basically the boilerplate Pirate game right now. That’s reassuring on a few fronts, because it shows that the roster might be well-equipped to weather the rotation’s injuries and regression. But it’s deassuring (shut up, it should be a word) in the sense that the results are unpredictable and there’s little margin for error.

A little more gushing about the bullpen, which was good enough again tonight that I feel obligated to update the numbers: Antonio Bastardo has thrown 8.1 consecutive scoreless innings, and has only the third-longest such streak on the team. Blanton threw three more scoreless innings last night (the third time he’s done that in the last 10 days!), and hasn’t given up a run in his last 11.2 frames. And Arquimedes Caminero did the same, to bring his total to 15.1. That’s 35.1 combined scoreless innings, and none of these pitchers are the team’s closer or setup man.

Despite my misgivings about this game, I’m still pretty optimistic, because I think the strengths we’re seeing are mostly real, and the weaknesses are a little exaggeration. I expect the team to keep hitting and the bullpen to throw well (though neither at quite the same pace), but I can’t imagine the fielding miscues to continue at their current frequency, and I don’t expect the Pirates to go almost two weeks without a starter throwing 7 full innings, either. The things going right are things we can keep being good (if not great) at, and the things going wrong are probably somewhat fixable, especially when the roster is back to full strength.

EDIT: how crazy was this game? Crazy enough that Francisco Liriano hit an RBI double and I failed to mention it.

Filed under: Arquimedes Caminero, game recaps, Joe Blanton

Go Figure: Pirates 8, Mets 1

08.17.15 Posted by

Pretty much nothing about this game suggested the Pirates would win: Matt Harvey was on the mound. Jeff Locke was opposing him. McCutchen, Kang, and Cervelli were all sitting. The Bucs had already won the series. This was an easy game to write off. Which means it was all upside.

Of course, you don’t win a game like that by normal means. You win it with Weird Baseball. Weird as in:

  • Pedro Florimon drawing a walk.
  • A tailor made double play ball being thrown into center because neither fielder was on the bag.
  • Yoenis Cespedes making a horrendous throw home when one of his superhuman throws probably wasn’t even necessary.
  • Pedro Florimon drawing another walk.

Oh, and Pedro homered again, his third bomb in six games. Polanco had another multi-hit game, as well.

The end result is that the Pirates ran J.A. Happ, Charlie Morton, and Jeff Locke out against a first-place team, and swept them. Granted, the Mets are known for their pitching, not their offense, but you really don’t need your back of the rotation guys to throw well against good-hitting teams. You need them to throw well against the bad-hitting ones, and occasionally give you a chance to win against the others. If they did more than that, they wouldn’t be back-of-the-rotation guys.

One whatever-the-opposite-of-a-silver-lining-is is that Locke went only 5.1 innings, which is the fifth consecutive start he’s failed to go six. And though it came after two extra-inning games (including a 14-inning affair the night before an afternoon game), the bullpen came through again, shutting the Mets down through the final 3.2. And I do mean shutting them down (not merely out): they retired all 11 batters they faced.

Here’s the final line on the bullpen this series:

16 IP, 1 ER, 6 hits, 2 BBs, 17 Ks.

That’s a 0.56 ERA and a 0.50 WHIP. Caminero, in particular, has now thrown 12.1 consecutive scoreless innings. Bastardo’s at 8.1. Blanton’s at 7.1. The rotation hasn’t been going deep into games, but the bullpen has more than covered for them.

The Pirates have won four in a row, and for the first time in awhile, both the Cubs and Cardinals lost, too. Wins are always good, but this was more encouraging than most.

Filed under: Arquimedes Caminero, game recaps, Jeff Locke, Joe Blanton, Pedro Alvarez

An Ode to Arquimedes Caminero

04.30.15 Posted by

Sung to the tune of “Canyonero“.

Can you name the guy who throws four seams
Hurls so fast, he scares other teams.

Camerino! Cam-in-er-o.

His slider’s good, but his fastball’s live
His heat cooks steaks, hits a hundred-and-five.

Camerino! (Yeah!) Cam-in-er-o.

Well, he throws so fast, you wouldn’t believe
Lets go of the ball, sets fire to his sleeve.

Camerino! Cam-in-er-o.

6-foot-4, with a ten-foot stride
250 lbs. of Dominican pride.

Camerino! (Yeah!) Cam-in-er-o.

Top of the line in professional sports
Unexplained fires are a matter of course.

Camerino! Cam-in-er-o.

Well, he blinds everybody with his super high speed
He’s a bat-snappin’, glove-poppin’, pitchin’ machine!

Camerino! (Yeah!) Cam-in-er-o.

First threw a ball on the day of his birth
Give him a place to stand, and he’ll move the earth.

Camerino! Oh woahhhhh, Cam-in-er-o!

Throw Caminero! (Yah!)

Filed under: Arquimedes Caminero, parodies, The Simpsons