Blue Jays 6, Pirates 4 (ss); Phillies 11, Pirates 4 (ss)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Fastball command came in spurts for starter Ross Ohlendorf on Saturday.

It wasn’t so good in the first inning, which saw the Phillies score four times on four hits and two walks. Ohlendorf was leaving too many pitches up — some for balls and some that were turned into basehits.

Ohlendorf made an effort to throw inside — particularly to left-handers — and fared so-so in the attempt. He admitted to too often throwing a hittable pitch with two strikes, and many of those mistakes were turned into basehits.

If there was some good news, it’s that not all of the five hits he allowed were really all that hard hit. A few groundballs found holes and another of the hits would have been an easy catch had John Bowker not lost it in the sun. Ohlendorf didn’t help his cause, either, with a fielding error.

“The results aren’t necessarily the box score,” Ohlendorf said. “It might be how hard they hit the ball. Like today, most of the hits I didn’t feel like were hit that hard. I definitely wish it would have gone better today. I threw a lot more pitches than I should have.”

Ohlendorf needed about 35 pitches to get through the first inning. He couldn’t come anywhere close to finishing four innings (as scheduled) as his pitch count was already near 60 after facing two hitters in the third. When Ohlendorf couldn’t retire either of those two hitters, he was taken out.

“My arm still feels great, and my stuff still feels good,” Ohlendorf said. “I’m definitely encouraged by that.”

***

For those who might have missed the late addition to the morning blog, catcher Chris Snyder was scratched from today’s game against the Blue Jays in Dunedin because of back soreness. Snyder received treatment on his back at McKechnie Field on Saturday afternoon, and the team is expected to update Snyder’s status on Sunday.

Right now, the club said Snyder is day-to-day. The Pirates better hope that the ailment doesn’t linger, as it already looks like the team is going to be without Ryan Doumit (strained right oblique) for a while.

Snyder, who last played on Wednesday, is 4-for-15 this spring.

***

Over in Dunedin, the Pirates blew a 4-1 lead on the way to a 6-4 loss. Rough days were had by Daniel McCutchen and Ramon Aguero, though I wasn’t at the game to give you an accurate report about exactly how rough those outings were. An extra-base hit off the wall and a ball lost in the sun show up the same in the box score, so I hesitate to read too much into the raw stats.

Most encouraging about the game in Dunedin, though, has to be the day had by Andrew McCutchen. One day after complaining of left wrist soreness, McCutchen returned to the lineup on Saturday. He doubled and scored in his first at-bat, only to outdo himself with a two-run blast his next time up.

The wrist apparently is just fine.

A few other random items that caught my attention from the game in Dunedin:

  • Lefty Jeff Locke threw 29 of his 41 pitches for strikes in his two-inning outing. He allowed one run on two hits and struck out three.
  • Manager Clint Hurdle had this to say about Locke throwing so many first-pitch strikes: “That’s one of the things we have not been doing well overall as a staff. We had a little glitch, bumped it up over 60 percent, closer to 65, then we went south. He came in there and filled up the zone. The first-pitch fastball strikes were impressive and the fact that he was finishing his fastball. He was working both sides and spun the ball pretty effectively. It was a good outing and fun to watch him today.”
  • With two hits, Corey Wimberly now has five hits in his last six at-bats. This comes after Wimberly started the spring 0-for-12.
  • Michael Crotta tossed another 1 1/3 scoreless innings. He has now not been scored upon in 6 1/3 spring innings.
  • With a single, outfielder Matt Diaz has now hit safely in five of his last six games.
  • Steve Pearce played third base again, entering the game to take over for Andy Marte in the bottom of the sixth.

***

Don’t forget to turn your clocks forward before you go to bed. The Pirates are going to have a late morning on Sunday, meaning that the daily morning blog won’t be posted so early. The clubhouse opens at 10:30 and the team is not taking batting practice. There will be some light fielding work before the game against the Red Sox.

On the main site tonight, you can read about Rudy Owens’ chances to be in the Pirates’ rotation by the end of the year. Also, there are notes about McCutchen’s wrist, James McDonald’s side and the four cuts the Pirates made prior to Saturday’s games.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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