Pirates Waste 13 Hits in 8-5 Loss

Neverauskas, Milbrath struggle in bulpen bids

Jim Colony
March 12, 2018 - 5:26 pm
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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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A pair of right-handed relievers hoping to make the Pirates bullpen didn’t do themselves any favors as the Bucs lost to the Orioles, 8-5 in Bradenton

Dovydas Neverauskas had all sorts of trouble in the 4th inning, allowing 5 runs on 4 hits but one was a bases-loaded double that Starling Marte misplayed. Marte later dropped a fly ball in the 7th inning. But Clint Hurdle says Neverauskus created his own trouble starting with the fastball.  “The command isn’t where it needs to be to set up the slider, set up the change,” Hurdle explained, “that’s been the big problem.”

Jordan Milbrath’s trouble came in the 8th; he faced 5 batters and only got one them out as he allowed 2 hits and 2 walks, charged with 2 runs in a third of an inning

There was some positive pitching, though.  Alex McRae (who spent all last season in Altoona) got the call when scheduled starter Tyler Glasnow came down with flu-like symptoms and McRae was outstanding, allowing one hit, one walk and 2 strikeouts in 3 scoreless innings. Another 2017 Altoona hurler, Tanner Anderson, got both hitters he faced with the bases-loaded in the 8th.

There was also a decent amount offense. Josh Harrison, Corey Dickerson, Gregory Polanco Colin Moran and Francisco Cervelli all had 2 hits while catcher Jackson Williams had a 2-run double and Jose Osuna a 2-run single. Moran is 9-for-his-last-19 with 3 doubles.  “He’s got a good offensive eye,” Hurdle said, ”he’s hunting pitches and we’re seeing the guy we’d thought we’d see coming in.”

Hurdle audio attached with a great anecdote toward the end abouswitching outfielders mid-inning. Hint - Hurdle was involved himself vs the Pirates 23 years ago

The Pirates are off tomorrow then play 15 games in 14 days (includes one split-squad date) before heading north.

Before the game, the Pirates re-assigned 8 players to the minors, including pitcher Clay Holmes who had turned in the team’s best start of the spring the day before.  But Neal Huntington indicated that’s so Holmes can get stretched out to pitch at the top of the Indianapolis rotation and be ready if a spot starter is needed early on.

Among those also optioned were former first round picks OF Austin Meadows and SS Cole Tucker, along with OFs Bryan Reynolds and Jason Martin who came over in the Cole and McCutchen trades respectively.