CLEARWATER, Fla. — I’m usually not one to boo athletes when I attend games as a fan. I’ll grumble and/or curse fate, but unless I’m 100 percent sure the guy gave no effort, I figure I can’t criticize too much. There can be a lot of things that go into even a routine play.
Case in point: Saturday, the Pirates had a runner picked off first base, but Matt Hague’s throwing error let him get safely to third. Lousy play by Hague? Well … yes and no. Consider that Hague is pretty much a full-time third baseman, although he has experience at first base. He was a late substitution there because Gaby Sanchez’s knee was sore. The second baseman was Clint Barmes, a shortstop who hasn’t played second in three years. And Barmes had never worked with shortstop Robert Andino, who spent part of last season at Triple-A Indy.
So. Wandy Rodriguez throws the ball to Hague as the runner breaks for second base. Andino goes to cover the bag — and so does Barmes, out of habit. “We had a little bit of a mix-up,” Barmes said. “Being a little bit of a ball hog, I’m used to covering the bag on a pickoff. I reacted. Andino breaks for the bag, I break for the bag, then I have to re-route and try to back up. I think I messed up Matt; it looked like he threw the ball right to me. If I take a better angle, Matt hits Andino and we don’t have any issues.”
Instead, Hague’s throw went into the outfield. The runner went to third and wound up scoring an unearned run. Should Barmes get the blame? “Nah,” Hague said. “That one was totally on me. That’s just Clint being a nice guy. He’s a veteran and he’s trying to deflect the blame from me. I appreciate that, but it’s my fault.”
>> Chase d’Arnaud was back in the clubhouse this morning at McKechnie Field. He cleared waivers yesterday and was outrighted to Triple-A Indy, but for now will continue to work in big league camp as a non-roster player.
>> It will be interesting to see if the Red Sox include 1B/3B Mike Carp in their traveling crew for Monday’s game at McKechnie Field. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports the Pirates are scouting Carp as a possible trade target.
>> You Know Who is pitching today. Another ex-Bucco is in the lineup, too, for the Phightin’ Phils …
Pirates (2-1-1) @ Phillies (1-3), 1:05 p.m., Bight Cove Field
Radio: 93.7 FM Weather: Sunny, 80 degrees (I know, I know … y’nz are getting 6 inches today back home. Sorry.)
Pirates: 1. Jaff Decker LF, 2. Gregory Polanco CF, 3. Travis Snider DH, 4. Pedro Alvarez 3B, 5. Chris Dickerson RF, 6. Chris McGuiness 1B, 7. Chris Stewart C, 8. Josh Harrison 2B, 9. Jordy Mercer SS. Stomy Pimentel RHP
Phillies: 1. Tony Gwynn Jr. CF, 2. Carlos Ruiz C, 3. Chase Utley 2B, 4. Ryan Howard 1B, 5. Marlon Byrd RF, 6. Bobby Abreu DH, 7. Freddy Galvis SS, 8. Cody Asche 3B, 9. Zach Collier LF. A.J. Burnett RHP
Today’s backups: Andrew Lambo, Nevin Ashley, Omir Santos, Brent Morel, D.J. Crumlich, Michael Fransoso, Alen Hanson, Justin Howard, Michael Martinez, Chris McGuiness, Taylor Lewis, Adalberto Santos, Jose Tabata
Today’s other pitchers: Scheduled: Adam Wilk, Tao-Hsun Yang, Cody Eppley, Joely Rodriguez, Daniel Schlereth, Jay Jackson. Minor leaguers: Ryan Beckman, Matt Benedict, Kenn Kasparek, Eliecer Navarro
— Rob Biertempfel