Pirates Notebook: Locke Struggles in Start; Walker Could Get Shut Down

With the Pirates taking ample looks at Jeff Locke in the rotation for the final month of the season, the rookie has shown flashes of good stuff. Pittsburgh’s rotation heading into the offseason has several possible vacant spots and Locke has an opportunity to prove that he belongs in it. In two of his four starts in the Majors this season, Locke has held the opposing team to three runs or less. However, in those other two, the left-hander allowed five runs in each.

Heading into his start on Wednesday, the biggest issue for Locke had been the long ball. Locke allowed six home runs over just 24.2 innings. But one great sign was his walk to strikeout ratio. Over his last four starts, Locke walked four while striking out 22 batters over 20.1 innings.

Locke didn’t have any issues with the long ball on Wednesday, but one big inning didn’t allow him to pitch deep into the ballgame. After cruising through the lineup the first time around — Locke struck out four batters over his first two innings, allowing one hit — the lefty got into a jam in the third and wasn’t able to escape it cleanly.

Locke battled some adversity in the third inning. There were several plays that could have been made, that could have given him a different outcome, but Locke wasn’t able to battle his way out of it before the game got away from him.

After Locke notched his fourth strikeout to start the third, Ruben Tejada picked up his second hit with one-out and quickly swiped second. The Pirates had him picked off, but Garrett Jones hit Tejada with his throw to second to allow him slide in safe. The runner came home to score the first run with a RBI single to center field.

David Wright followed with an infield single to third base. Pedro Alvarez fielded the ball, but his quick throw sailed past the first base bag and into foul territory for an error allowing the second run to score. The error proved to be costly as the Mets were able to plate two more runs off Locke. Jerry Hairston connected for the fourth straight knock off Locke, with an extra-base hit that was ripped down the left field line to drive in the third run. The fourth and final run scored with two-outs when Kelly Shoppach singled up the left side.

Locke came out to pitch the fourth, but was pulled with two outs for his shortest start in the big leagues this season.

Andres Torres led off the fourth with an infield single to short for the Mets’ seventh hit off the lefty. Torres advanced to second on the sac bunt and swiped third to put Locke in another jam for the second straight inning. Tejada lined a single off the glove of a diving Alvarez to drive in the fifth run. After getting Tejada picked off, a two-out hit from Murphy ended Locke’s outing. Hurdle went to Chris Leroux from the bullpen, who gave up back-to-back singles. The inning ended after Starling Marte’s cannon arm nailed Murphy at the plate.

Overall, Locke was charged with five runs on nine hits over 3.2 innings in his fifth start this season. He walked one and struck out five while throwing 70 pitches, 47 for strikes.


Pirates Considering Shutting Walker Down

Neil Walker missed his second straight game on Wednesday, after being scratched from the lineup on Tuesday. Walker’s low back tightness continues to keep him on a day-to-day basis, but Manager Clint Hurdle said prior to the game today that the Pirates are considering shutting the second baseman down for the rest of the season.

Wednesday was the first time since Walker returned to game action that he missed two straight contests. Walker has not yet been able to play in back-to-back games. The Pirates season has just seven games remaining, with the fourth game of the series on Thursday in New York before the travel home for the final six.

Walker had been playing on an every other day schedule since September 14th until this recent set back. The second baseman has hit for just a .200 clip over his last 10 games. Overall on the season, Walker is hitting for a .280/.342/.426 line with a career-high 12 home runs.


Morris Solid Since Promotion to Bigs

Like Locke, Bryan Morris has a huge opportunity to showcase himself in the final stretch of the 2012 season. The right-hander posted impressive numbers while with Triple-A this year — 2.67 ERA over 81 frames — and has carried over that success in the Majors.

In the Pirates loss on Wednesday, Morris tossed a perfect seventh inning. He needed just 10 pitches, eight for strikes, to plow through the inning. Morris notched back-to-back strikeouts — the first one looking on a 1-2 pitch — and a fly out.

Since making his Major League debut on September 14th in Chicago, Morris has allowed one earned run on two hits over four innings. Morris will enter spring training with a chance of breaking camp for the first time in his professional career. The righty reliever will be out of options, also helping his chances.


— With the 6-0 loss to New York, the Pirates have been officially eliminated from the postseason. They have to go 6-1 the final stretch of the season to finish above .500.

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Pirates Notebook: Rodriguez Settles; Club Makes History in Homers and Strikeouts

Next Story »

Pirates Notebook: Rough Start From Correia Sends Club 80th Loss; McCutchen, Walker Updates

  • http://www.facebook.com/bryan.graham.773 Bryan Graham

    Granted Locke wasn’t able to make the pitches needed to get out of the jam his team put him in, but it also doesn’t seem very likely anymore that if he had, the fielders would have made the play on their end. Third inning on a solid club would have went strike out, single, caught stealing, and a 5-3 groundout as Wright would have been out by a half-step. 0 runs scored, but hey, this is the Pirates so expecting solid play is out of the question lol. Hope they give Locke a good long look.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=759082507 Stephen Stull

    the rookie has shown flashes of good stuff.???? Where? He only lasted less than 4 innings last night…

    • http://twitter.com/jlease717 John Lease

      In AAA, where all these bums should be.

  • whiteAngus

    since we’re out of the hunt, and walker will be shut down, the final games of the season should be a chance to show off Mercer/Holt/d’Arnaud/Harrison in the middle infield. but with hurdle? not sure that’ll happen.

Latest Analysis

  • Arquimedes Caminero

    Breaking Down the Final Pirates Roster Battles After Today’s Cuts

    2 hours ago

    With less than a week remaining in camp, the Pittsburgh Pirates made their latest round of cuts this morning, sending three relievers to minor league camp, including ...

    Read More
  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    2 days ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    3 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    4 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    5 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    1 week ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    1 week ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    1 week ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    2 weeks ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles