I’m pretty tired so this should be a short post. The Buccos dropped their second straight in Spring Training game this year, losing to the Blue Jays 10-8. The slugfest started with Jon Niese getting through five outs no problem, then giving up five singles and a walk to yield four runs with two outs in the second. He finally got out of the inning with a strikeout. Many would say he had a rough outing, but he was one out away from a perfect outing; these kinds of things happen in the spring and I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Niese did have what I’m perceiving as a weird comment after the game, even though it’s probably nothing:
Niese: "Overall I felt pretty good. There’s a lot of things out there that are out of my control, but I fought through it."— Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) March 3, 2016
First point: It's "There are," not "There's." Niese has to get singular vs. plural straight if he's gonna stick around here. Second, it seems a little strange to me, given that two of the hits in the Jays’ rally came on grounders in the infield to Jason Rogersand Jordy Mercer, but I’ll assume he wasn’t calling out his teammates and was just talking about lucky hits or chalking it up to this being Spring Training or something.
Another Pirates starter, Ryan Vogelsong 2.0, got through two perfect innings, which is a good start to his second stint with the Pirates in his winding career. John Holdzkom was knocked around in the sixth, giving up a homer on the third pitch he threw and a few other hard hit balls after that. The Pirates’ young hitters had solid games, with Harold Ramirez notching two hits and Josh Bell getting two RBIs on his seventh inning double, which was part of a nice rally by the Pirates. They also put two on with no outs while down 10-8 in the ninth, but couldn’t push across enough runs to win. I'd like to see a little more effort on the part of Clint Hurdle in this game; maybe the should have let McCutchen hit in the ninth, despite the fact that today was a rest day for him.
Lastly, Doc Emrick was in the booth throughout the game, doing play-by-play for a few innings. It’s funny to hear a hockey guy who normally talks a million miles an hour try to do a baseball game and fill in the audible vacuum between pitches, but he was pretty entertaining. He’ll be on the game Friday as well against the Twins, which is televised(!) on MLB Network. The Pirates will trot out what will basically be their regular lineup, only leaving Kang on the bench and Figueroa in LF with Marte DH'ing. Here’s to hoping the Bucs can pull themselves out of the bottom third of the Grapefruit League standings, although at least they’re ahead of last year’s pennant-winning Mets right now! First pitch is at 1:05pm EST.