Phillies 5, Pirates 1
It’s probably a bad sign when the home plate umpire turns to you and says, “It’s Spring Training for me, too.” That’s exactly what Triple-A umpire Justin Vogel said to catcher Ryan Doumit on Monday. It showed some, too, as Vogel’s strike zone was a bit all over the place at times. And it was particularly generous for Roy Halladay (who finished with six strikeouts), so it’s hard to fault the hitters for the little success they had against him. As if Halladay wasn’t tough enough as it is.
However, as Zach Duke and Paul Maholm reminded me afterward, Halladay has earned that strikezone. I guess, but that doesn’t make it fair.
Duke was hoping to get through four innings on Monday, but was limited to 3 2/3 after some close pitches didn’t go his way and the fourth inning got a little long. He walked three and was charged with one run on two hits. He had four strikeouts.
“I felt pretty good,” Duke said. “I got into a little bit of trouble there, but overall, I felt pretty good. You get more into the flow of the game and a little more rhythm when you know you’re going to be out there for a long time.”
Duke threw more curveballs than usual, which was his game plan going in. “I’m pretty pleased with where it is,” he said afterward. This was the first time this spring that Duke had particularly focued on that pitch.
His sinker also had a sharpness to it that wasn’t there in Duke’s last outing. That’s certainly encouraging considering how much the left-hander relies on that pitch.
“He threw pretty good,” manager John Russell said. “He was working on his breaking ball a little more, which got him into a little trouble. I thought he got some good work in. Guys are moving forward.”
Daniel McCutchen threw four innings (43 pitches) in an intrasquad game over at Pirate City on Monday as well. The Pirates sent him to pitch over there because he wouldn’t have been able to get that many innings under his belt with Duke making the extended start in the regular game.
There weren’t any official statistics from the game, but McCutchen said he allowed no walks and no runs in the outing. He estimated that he struck out three and gave up three hits.
“I felt good,” he said after returning to McKechnie Field. “I threw strikes. I’m just going to continue to work on what I’m working on.”
McCutchen said he commanded his fastball to both sides of the plate and that his slider once again proved to be a good out pitch.
“I feel really good right now,” McCutchen said. “I did a lot this offseason to get where I’m at, and I feel good right now.”
Though the Pirates haven’t publically posted pitching schedules beyond Wednesday, McCutchen said he expects his next outing to come in a Grapefruit League game.
Not that the Pirates seem at all concerned, but righty Evan Meek has had two rocky outings of the five he has now made. The most recent of those was Monday, when Meek gave up three runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings.
“Just some misfires,” Russell said. “We kind of brought him along slower this spring. We’ll get him more consistent work from here on out, which will help him. He’s got great stuff. Just a little inconsistent with his stuff today. The ball was flying a little bit. The breaking ball wasn’t as sharp. It’s just Spring Training. From here on out, he’ll get some every-other-day [work] and we’ll get him an extended outing at some point. He’ll be ready.”
One encouraging statistic, particularly for Meek, is this: In 4 1/3 innings, he has not walked a batter.
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